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Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Oct 2020

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Sewage can reveal COVID outbreaks, UK project finds

Traces of COVID-19 can be successfully detected in sewage, helping to give health officials an early warning of local outbreaks of the virus, the British government said on Friday. A project, originally launched in June, has now proved that fragments of genetic material from the virus can be detected in waste water, indicating if a local community or institution is experiencing a spike in cases. The government said this would allow health officials to identify large outbreaks especially where there were carriers not displaying any symptoms and to encourage people to get tested or take precautions.
23rd Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Efficacy of Tocilizumab in Patients Hospitalized with Covid-19

Tocilizumab was not effective for preventing intubation or death in moderately ill hospitalized patients with Covid-19. Some benefit or harm cannot be ruled out, however, because the confidence intervals for efficacy comparisons were wide.
22nd Oct 2020 - nejm.org

COVID-19 Lockdown Contributes To Infant Mortality Cluster In Australia

The city of Adelaide in South Australia has seen four newborn deaths in four weeks due to COVID-19 lockdowns preventing transport to better-equipped hospitals in Victoria. Officials in Victoria say Adelaide lockdowns prevented them from initiating medical transport. Adelaide’s hospitals are chronically underfunded and lack both the personnel and equipment to deal with these difficult cases. The hospital was already under investigation for the third infant death when the fourth fatality occurred on Friday. Obstetrician, gynecologist and professor John Svigos testified on Oct. 13 that Adelaide’s hospital is the only one in a mainland capital city that does not have heart machines for children and infants.
22nd Oct 2020 - International Business Times

Remdesivir: US regulators approve first drug to treat Covid-19

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug to treat Covid-19: remdesivir, an antiviral medicine given through an IV for patients needing hospitalization. The drug, which California-based Gilead Sciences Inc is calling Veklury, cut the time to recovery from 15 days to 10 on average in a large study led by the US National Institutes of Health. It had been authorized for use on an emergency basis since spring, and now has become the first drug to win full US approval for treating Covid-19. Gilead says Veklury is approved for people at least 12 years old and weighing at least 88lb (40kg) who need hospitalization for their coronavirus infection. It works by inhibiting a substance the virus uses to make copies of itself.
22nd Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Blood of recovered COVID-19 patients shows little benefit as treatment

Using blood of recovered COVID-19 patients - or so-called convalescent plasma - as a potential treatment is of little benefit in helping hospitalised patients fight off the infection, according to results of a clinical trial in India. Published in the BMJ British Medical Journal on Friday, the results show that convalescent plasma, which delivers antibodies from COVID-19 survivors to infected people, failed to reduce death rates or halt progression to severe disease. The findings, from a study of more than 400 hospitalised COVID-19 patients, are a setback for a treatment that U.S. President Donald Trump touted in August as an “historic breakthrough”. The United States and India have authorised convalescent plasma for emergency use.
22nd Oct 2020 -


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Oct 2020

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AstraZeneca, J&J could resume COVID vaccine trials this week

Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, said he expects the U.S. trials of vaccines made by AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson to restart as soon as this week. The two companies developing Covid-19 vaccines backed by Operation Warp Speed temporarily halted their trials because participants fell ill, slowing down the race for a shot to halt the pandemic. J&J paused its trial last week when a participant got sick. AstraZeneca’s trial paused last month after a woman in the U.K. study developed neurological symptoms and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has yet to clear the study to resume in the U.S.
22nd Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Next up in hunt for COVID-19 vaccine: Testing shots in kids

The global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine for kids is only just beginning — a lagging start that has some U.S. pediatricians worried they may not know if any shots work for young children in time for the next school year. Older adults may be most vulnerable to the coronavirus, but ending the pandemic will require vaccinating children, too. Last week, Pfizer Inc. received permission to test its vaccine in U.S. kids as young as 12, one of only a handful of attempts around the world to start exploring if any experimental shots being pushed for adults also can protect children. “I just figured the more people they have to do tests on, the quicker they can put out a vaccine and people can be safe and healthy,” said 16-year-old Katelyn Evans, who became the first teen to get an injection in the Pfizer study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Multiple vaccine candidates are in final-stage studies in tens of thousands of adults, and scientists are hopeful that the next few months will bring evidence that at least some of them are safe and effective enough for widespread use.
21st Oct 2020 - The Independent

Volunteer in Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial has died, Brazil health authority says

Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University had died but added that the trial would continue. Oxford confirmed the plan to keep testing, saying in a statement that after careful assessment "there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial." AstraZeneca declined to comment immediately. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters the trial would have been suspended if the volunteer who died had received the COVID-19 vaccine, suggesting the person was part of the control group that was given a meningitis jab.
21st Oct 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

COVID-19 vaccines will be stored in secret locations to prevent theft

Vaccine candidate Pfizer Inc. is among the vaccine makers that will have GPS software on shipments. The company is also planning to carry out fake shipments in dummy trucks in a bid to confuse any potential thieves. The safeguards are being put in place amid concerns that the highly-awaited vaccines could be stolen when being distributed. Health authorities fear criminal rings will try and steal the vaccine when it is being given to prioritized groups and before it is made publicly available. Moderna, another maker, says it has enhanced security as the leading candidates inch closer to having a vaccine
21st Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Japanese research team develops COVID-19 breath testing system

Tohoku University and precision equipment maker Shimadzu Corp. have jointly developed a system that checks exhaled breath to detect novel coronavirus infections. The testing accuracy of the system is about the same as the levels achieved by widely used polymerase chain reaction tests, according to a joint announcement by the university and Shimadzu on Friday. They aim to put the system into practical use within a few years after conducting clinical research for about six months. The system collects exhaled breath from testing subjects for five to 10 minutes to examine the water vapor contained in it.
17th Oct 2020 - The Japan Times


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Oct 2020

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Exclusive: AstraZeneca U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Trial May Resume as Soon as This Week - Sources

AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine trial in the United States is expected to resume as early as this week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration completed its review of a serious illness, four sources told Reuters. AstraZeneca's large, late-stage U.S. trial has been on hold since Sept. 6, after a participant in the company's UK trial fell ill with what was suspected to be a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis. The sources, who were briefed on the matter but asked to remain anonymous, said they have been told the trial could resume later this week. It was unclear how the FDA would characterize the illness, they said.
20th Oct 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

UK plans COVID-19 "challenge" trials that deliberately infect volunteers

Britain will help to fund trials using a manufactured COVID-19 virus to deliberately infect young healthy volunteers with the hope of accelerating the development of vaccines against it.
20th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Patients who had more severe COVID-19 may be the best donors for convalescent plasma therapy: Study links stronger antibody responses to more severe disease, as well as more advanced age and male sex

Sex, age, and severity of disease may be useful in identifying COVID-19 survivors who are likely to have high levels of antibodies that can protect against the disease, according to a new study co-led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings suggest that older males who have recovered from COVID-19 after having been hospitalized are strong candidates for donating plasma for treating COVID-19 patients. Doctors have been using infusions of plasma -- the part of blood that contains antibodies -- from recovered COVID-19 patients to treat COVID-19 patients and also as a possible prophylaxis to prevent COVID-19. Doctors have used convalescent plasma to treat patients or immunize persons at high risk of virus exposure during outbreaks of measles, mumps, polio, Ebola, and even the 1918 pandemic flu.
20th Oct 2020 - Science Daily

Could certain COVID-19 vaccines leave people more vulnerable to the AIDS virus?

Certain COVID-19 vaccine candidates could increase susceptibility to HIV, warns a group of researchers who in 2007 learned that an experimental HIV vaccine had raised in some people the risk for infection with the AIDS virus. These concerns have percolated in the background of the race for a vaccine to stem the coronavirus pandemic, but now the researchers have gone public with a “cautionary tale,” in part because trials of those candidates may soon begin in locales that have pronounced HIV epidemics, such as South Africa. Some approved and experimental vaccines have as a backbone a variety of adenoviruses, which can cause the common cold but are often harmless. The ill-fated HIV vaccine trial used an engineered strain known as adenovirus 5 (Ad5) to shuttle into the body the gene for the surface protein of the AIDS virus. In four candidate COVID-19 vaccines now in clinical trials in several countries, including the United States, Ad5 similarly serves as the “vector” to carry in the surface protein gene of SARS-CoV-2, the viral cause of the pandemic; two of these have advanced to large-scale, phase III efficacy studies in Russia and Pakistan.
20th Oct 2020 - Science Magazine

This 14-year-old girl won a $25K prize for a discovery that could lead to a cure for Covid-19

As scientists around the world race to find a treatment for the coronavirus, a young girl among them stands out. Anika Chebrolu, a 14-year-old from Frisco, Texas, has just won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge -- and a $25,000 prize -- for a discovery that could provide a potential therapy to Covid-19. Anika's winning invention uses in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. "The last two days, I saw that there is a lot of media hype about my project since it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon," Anika told CNN.
20th Oct 2020 - CNN

As FDA sets the stage for the first Covid-19 vaccine EUAs, some big players are asking for a tweak of the guidelines

Setting the stage for an extraordinary one-day meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, the FDA has cleared 2 experts of financial conflicts to help beef up the committee. And regulators went on to specify the safety, efficacy and CMC input they’re looking for on EUAs, before they move on to the full BLA approval process. Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel recently outlined his new timeline, looking to nail down interim efficacy and safety data by the second half of next month that could allow them to hunt an EUA — provided the data work. And Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has just shifted his stance on their EUA timing to a point just after the looming election, underscoring how the scene has continued to change in light of a heated partisan debate between a president who has repeatedly promised a quick OK and his political opponent, who’s waiting for a thumbs up from experts like NIAID chief Anthony Fauci before offering his own support.
20th Oct 2020 - Endpoints News

Moderna CEO sees virus vaccine interim data in November: Report

Moderna Inc’s Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel expects interim results from its coronavirus vaccine trial in November and that the United States government could approve the drug for emergency use in December, the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported. Speaking at the newspaper’s annual Tech Live conference, Bancel also said on Monday that if sufficient interim results from the study are delayed, government permission to use the vaccine may not come until next year.
20th Oct 2020 - Aljazeera.com

Why the coronavirus is killing more men than women

Men have weaker immune systems that, in some cases, may actually sabotage the body’s response to an invader. But social and cultural factors may also play a role.
17th Oct 2020 - The Washington Post


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Oct 2020

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Placebo doses to be slashed in one of coronavirus vaccine trials in Russia

On Monday, the clinical trials of the inactivated whole-virion coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chumakov Federal Scientific Center for Research and Development of Immune and Biological Products began in the regional center. According to Ishmukhametov, it is common practice that some participants get a placebo in the trials to determine a vaccine’s efficiency. "The trials include 300 people. Usually, if a new medicine is used, then the [vaccine-placebo ratio] is one to one, or 50% each. However, the moment comes in the pandemic when we need to reduce the number of people getting placebo, therefore, [it will be] one to two," he noted.
19th Oct 2020 - TASS

France's Ose to enrol up to 400 for 'T-cell' coronavirus vaccine trials

France’s Ose Immunotherapeutics will enrol up to 400 patients for the first two stages of clinical trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine it hopes will provide an extra weapon in battle against the global pandemic. Chief executive Alexis Peyroles told Reuters Ose hoped to roll out its vaccine in Europe and the United States in 2022, potentially at least a year after the most advanced projects. However, he said the different modus operandi of Ose’s candidate meant it could still play an important role. More than 40 drugmakers and research groups are conducting human trials into vaccines against a virus that has led to more than 1 million deaths and roiled economies.
19th Oct 2020 - Reuters UK

Study led by Penn professor finds 206000 excess deaths across 21 countries due to COVID-19

An international team of researchers including a Penn professor found that excess deaths occurred at a rate of 18% across 21 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Penn sociology professor Michel Guillot and the team looked at data from 19 European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The team found that 206,000 more people died between mid-February and the end of May in comparison to a baseline simulation as if the pandemic had not occurred, Penn Today reported. The team did not look at the United States because data with enough details has yet to be released. The research accounted for not only deaths due to COVID-19 but also deaths that stemmed from compromised economic, social, and healthcare circumstances during the pandemic, Penn Today reported.
19th Oct 2020 - The Daily Pennsylvanian

‘Super antigens’ tied to mysterious COVID-19 syndrome in children

Thanks to months of urgent research, what began as a mysterious spectrum of symptoms has coalesced into a definable illness, with early signs that include fever, rashes, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Though MIS-C is rare—with 1,027 confirmed cases in the U.S. so far—it can develop into severe inflammation in a matter of hours, often requires intensive care, and is sometimes fatal. A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed coronavirus fatalities in people under 21 and found that the majority were from MIS-C. “It happens so rapidly, and the kids are so ill, that 70 percent will require admission into an ICU,” says Alvaro Moreira, a physician scientist at the University of Texas in San Antonio who recently published an analysis of results from multiple scientific papers in EClinicalMedicine based on 662 cases of MIS-C.
19th Oct 2020 - National Geographic UK

Doctors probe whether COVID-19 is causing diabetes

It’s already been well-documented that people with diabetes face much higher risks of severe illness or death if they contract COVID-19. In July, U.S. health officials found that nearly 40% of people who have died with COVID-19 had diabetes. Now, cases like Buelna’s suggest the connection between the diseases runs both ways. “COVID could be causing diabetes from scratch,” said Dr. Francesco Rubino, a diabetes researcher and chair of metabolic and bariatric surgery at King’s College London. Rubino is leading an international team that is collecting patient cases globally to unravel one of the biggest mysteries of the pandemic. Initially, he said, more than 300 doctors have applied to share cases for review, a number he expects to grow as infections flare up again.
19th Oct 2020 - Reuters


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Oct 2020

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Pfizer may seek US green light to use COVID vaccine in late Nov

Pfizer Inc said on Friday it may file for United States authorisation of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with German partner BioNTech in late November, making it unlikely a vaccine will be available before the US election as President Donald Trump has promised. Pfizer said that it may say if the vaccine is effective as soon as this month based on its 40,000-person clinical trial but that it also needs safety data that will not be available until November at the earliest. The Pfizer news, published in a letter from its chief executive on its website, lifted the US stock market and the company’s shares. Shares were up slightly in rival vaccine maker Moderna Inc, which is close to Pfizer in its vaccine development. “So let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said.
16th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Remdesivir and interferon fall flat in WHO's megastudy of COVID-19 treatments

One of the world’s biggest trials of COVID-19 therapies released its long-awaited interim results yesterday—and they’re a letdown. None of the four treatments in the Solidarity trial, which enrolled more than 11,000 patients in 400 hospitals around the globe, increased survival—not even the much-touted antiviral drug remdesivir. Scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) released the data as a preprint on medRxiv last night, ahead of its planned publication in The New England Journal of Medicine. Yet scientists praised the unprecedented study itself and the fact that it helped bring clarity about four existing, ”repurposed” treatments that each held some promise against COVID-19. “It’s disappointing that none of the four have come out and shown a difference in mortality, but it does show why you need big trials,” says Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. “We would love to have a drug that works, but it’s better to know if a drug works or not than not to know and continue to use it,” says WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan.
16th Oct 2020 - Science Magazine

Living novel coronavirus isolated from packaging of imported frozen food in Qingdao: China CDC

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday confirmed the detection and isolation of living novel coronavirus on the outer packaging of imported frozen cod in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao. The finding was made during an investigation to trace the source of recent infections reported in the city. It has proved that contact with packaging contaminated by living novel coronavirus could lead to infection, the China CDC announced on its website. It is the first time in the world that living novel coronavirus has been isolated from the outer packaging of cold-chain food, the China CDC said. The agency said that the risk of cold-chain food circulating in China's market being contaminated by the novel coronavirus is very low, citing recent nucleic acid test results for samples taken from the business.
18th Oct 2020 - XinhuaNet

Bharat Biotech & Washington Univ developing nasal vax for Covid: Minister

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday informed that Bharat Biotech will develop an intranasal vaccine for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The minister said that the Hyderabad-based drugs and vaccine research and manufacturing company has entered into an agreement with Washington University and St. Louis University for the trials of the nasal vaccine candidate.
18th Oct 2020 - Sify News


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Oct 2020

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Covid-19: Scientists develop test for that can identify virus in five minutes

Scientists have developed a new rapid test for coronavirus that detects and identifies viruses in less than five minutes. The test, created by researchers from Oxford University’s department of physics, is able to differentiate Sars-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, from negative clinical samples. It is also able to tell it apart from other viruses such as flu and seasonal human coronaviruses, according to the study. Working directly on throat swabs from Covid-19 patients, without the need for genome extraction, purification or amplification of the viruses, the method starts with the rapid labelling of virus particles in the sample with short fluorescent DNA strands.
15th Oct 2020 - ITV News

Did Lockdowns Lower Premature Births? A New Study Adds Evidence

Some public health researchers are seeing hints that the coronavirus pandemic might help solve a longstanding puzzle: What causes premature birth? Studies in Ireland and Denmark this summer showed that preterm births decreased in the spring during lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus in those countries. Anecdotally, doctors around the world reported similar drops. They speculated that reduced stress on mothers, cleaner air or better hygiene might have contributed. A large study from the Netherlands, published on Tuesday in The Lancet Public Health, has yielded even stronger evidence of an association between the lockdowns and a smaller number of early births.
15th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

People with blood type O may have lower risk of Covid-19 infection and severe illness, studies suggest

People with blood type O may be less vulnerable to Covid-19 and have a reduced likelihood of getting severely ill from the virus, according to two new studies. The two independent studies, carried out by researchers in Denmark and Canada and published in the journal Blood Advances, found that individuals with blood types A and AB are most vulnerable to the disease. The research provides further evidence that a person's blood type may play a role in their susceptibility to coronavirus and could shed further light on why the illness proves deadly for some but others only experience mild symptoms, or none at all.
15th Oct 2020 - Evening Standard

WHO fears more tuberculosis deaths as COVID-19 pandemic continues

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a “dramatic increase” in tuberculosis (TB) deaths in the coming years, as a result of the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a continuing shortage of funds in its annual report on global efforts to combat the disease. The WHO said there were “significant reductions” in the reporting and monitoring of new TB cases in the first half of 2020, as countries imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19. Professor Achilles Kapanidis, from Oxford's Department of Physics, said the test would be "simple, extremely rapid, and cost-effective".
15th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Safety and Immunogenicity of Two RNA-Based Covid-19 Vaccine Candidates

The safety and immunogenicity data from this U.S. phase 1 trial of two vaccine candidates in younger and older adults, added to earlier interim safety and immunogenicity data regarding BNT162b1 in younger adults from trials in Germany and the United States, support the selection of BNT162b2 for advancement to a pivotal phase 2–3 safety and efficacy evaluation.
14th Oct 2020 - NEJM.org

Study shows nearly 90% of people are asymptomatic with COVID-19

The ‘silent transmission’ of COVID-19 is of huge concern as researchers have found nearly 90% of people with the condition do not have the symptoms. People who have a persistent cough, high temperature and lose their sense of smell or taste are being told to stay home to protect other people and stop the spread.
14th Oct 2020 - Diabetes.co.uk


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Oct 2020

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Global Covid report: young and healthy may not get vaccine until 2022, WHO says

Healthy, young people may have to wait until 2022 to be vaccinated against coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, who says health workers and those at highest risks be prioritised. It comes as Germany recorded its highest daily number of infections since the start of the pandemic. Soumya Swaminathan indicated that, despite the many vaccine trials being undertaken, speedy, mass shots were unlikely, and organising who would given access first in the event of a safe vaccine being discovered was still being worked on. “Most people agree, it’s starting with healthcare workers, and frontline workers, but even there, you need to define which of them are at highest risk, and then the elderly, and so on,” Swaminathan said.
15th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Blood test could help predict which Covid-19 patients are at greatest risk of critical illness

A blood test could help to pinpoint which coronavirus patients are most susceptible to falling critically ill, a new study has suggested. Researchers at the University of Southampton found that patients who have high levels of some cytokines, a group of proteins released into the blood in response to an infection, are at an increased risk of serious illness. This is because cytokines can, if they are overproduced, lead to hyper-inflammation, an immune system response that sometimes proves fatal. If scientists conclusively work out which proteins are responsible for hyper-inflammation among coronavirus patients, drugs could be used to block them, according to the study’s researchers.
14th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Your Blood Type May Predict Your Risk For Severe COVID-19

There's more evidence that blood type may affect a person's risk for COVID-19 and severe illness from the disease. The findings are reported in a pair of studies published Oct. 14 in the journal Blood Advances. The findings suggest that people with A, B or AB blood may be more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than people with type O blood. Infection rates were similar among people with types A, B and AB blood.
14th Oct 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Russia approves second COVID-19 vaccine after preliminary trials

Russia has granted regulatory approval to a second COVID-19 vaccine, according to its register of authorised medicines. A delighted President Vladimir Putin announced the news at a government meeting on Wednesday. The jab was developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia and completed early-stage human trials last month. However, results have not been published yet and a large-scale trial, known as Phase III, has not yet begun. "We need to increase production of the first and second vaccine," Putin said in comments broadcast on state TV. "We are continuing to cooperate with our foreign partners and will promote our vaccine abroad." The peptide-based vaccine, named EpiVacCorona, is the second to be licensed for use in Russia. There has been a placebo-controlled trial on 100 volunteers between 18 and 60 in Novosibirsk.
14th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

Eli Lilly says other COVID-19 antibody drug trials ongoing after study halted for safety concern

Eli Lilly & Co LLY.N on Wednesday said other trials of its experimental coronavirus antibody therapy remain on track after a government-run study testing the treatment in hospitalized COVID-19 patients was paused due to safety concerns. Lilly said on Tuesday that an independent safety monitoring board requested a pause in the trial, called ACTIV-3, due to a potential safety issue. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is collaborating with Lilly on the trial, said the advisory board paused the trial after seeing a “difference in clinical status” between patients on Lilly’s drug on those who received a placebo, without providing further detail.
14th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Spain, England and Wales top the list for coronavirus deaths in new study

A new study from Imperial College London looking at both the direct and indirect deaths caused by the pandemic puts England and Wales at the top of the ranks for per capita mortality, along with Spain. The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Nature Medicine, studied the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 21 industrialized countries, mainly in central and western Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand.
14th Oct 2020 - POLITICO

COVID-19 in New Zealand and the impact of the national response: a descriptive epidemiological study

1503 cases were detected over the study period, including 95 (6·3%) hospital admissions and 22 (1·5%) COVID-19 deaths. The estimated case infection rate per million people per day peaked at 8·5 (95% CI 7·6–9·4) during the 10-day period of rapid response escalation, declining to 3·2 (2·8–3·7) in the start of lockdown and progressively thereafter. 1034 (69%) cases were imported or import related, tending to be younger adults, of European ethnicity, and of higher socioeconomic status. 702 (47%) cases were linked to 34 outbreaks. Severe outcomes were associated with locally acquired infection (crude odds ratio [OR] 2·32 [95% CI 1·40–3·82] compared with imported), older age (adjusted OR ranging from 2·72 [1·40–5·30] for 50–64 year olds to 8·25 [2·59–26·31] for people aged ≥80 years compared with 20–34 year olds), aged residential care residency (adjusted OR 3·86 [1·59–9·35]), and Pacific peoples (adjusted OR 2·76 [1·14–6·68]) and Asian (2·15 [1·10–4·20]) ethnicities relative to European or other. Times from illness onset to notification and isolation progressively decreased and testing increased over the study period, with few disparities and increasing coverage of females, Māori, Pacific peoples, and lower socioeconomic groups.
14th Oct 2020 - The Lancet

Long Covid sufferers left almost bed-ridden for months, study shows

People suffering from so-called "long-Covid" have told how they were left almost bed-ridden with fatigue months after their coronavirus infection. New research in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP Open) studied people with persistent and long-lasting symptoms following a Covid-19 infection. They were then interviewed by researchers and asked to share their experiences. The wife of one 67-year-old man, who had coronavirus in March, told the study team that her husband was sleeping "20 hours-a-day" at one point in his recovery.
14th Oct 2020 - Evening Standard


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Oct 2020

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Pfizer to start testing its Covid-19 vaccine in children as young as 12

Drugmaker Pfizer has plans to start testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 12, and parents have already expressed interest in enrolling their kids, the researcher leading the trial told CNN Tuesday. It will be the first coronavirus vaccine trial to include children in the United States. A team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital will begin vaccinating teenagers aged 16 and 17 this week, and will move to enroll 12-to 15-year-olds later, said Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the hospital. The company confirmed on its website it has approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to enroll children as young as 12 in its trial.
14th Oct 2020 - CNN

Harvard study finds patients with severe COVID-19 infections have protection up to four months

People who survive severe cases of the novel coronavirus may have immunity that is longer-lasting, a new study suggests. Researchers found antibodies levels remained high in patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 for up to four months. What's more, these antibodies were linked to other neutralizing antibodies that kill the virus on contact and stop it from reinfecting.
13th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Doctors will trial whether vitamin D can protect people from Covid-19

Doctors will finally trial whether vitamin D can actually protect people from Covid-19 amid mounting evidence the 3p-a-day supplement could be a life-saver. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London will recruit 5,000 volunteers to take the vitamin for six months if they do not already take high doses. Experts will then assess whether participants are at less risk of catching the virus and developing a severe bout of the disease over the winter months.
13th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

J&J's late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial halted after 'unexplained illness' -

Johnson & Johnson has paused further dosing in its COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial following an “unexplained illness” in a study participant. The company said it had voluntarily put the phase 3 ENSEMBLE trial on hold after the incident, the details of which are being kept under wraps. J&J is not saying whether the patient was given a placebo or the experimental vaccine, which is being developed by the company’s Janssen pharma unit.
13th Oct 2020 - pharmaphorum

Eli Lilly pauses COVID-19 antibody trial due to safety concern

US drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co said on Tuesday that the government-sponsored clinical trial of its COVID-19 antibody treatment has been paused because of a safety concern. “Out of an abundance of caution, the ACTIV-3 independent data safety monitoring board (DSMB) has recommended a pause in enrollment,” Lilly spokeswoman Molly McCully said in an emailed statement. “Lilly is supportive of the decision by the independent DSMB to cautiously ensure the safety of the patients participating in this study.”
13th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Dutch woman dies after catching Covid-19 twice, the first reported reinfection death

An elderly Dutch woman has become the first known person to die from catching Covid-19 twice, according to experts, raising serious questions about how long immunity and antibodies can last. The woman, 89, suffered from a rare type of bone marrow cancer called Waldenström's macroglobulinemia. Her immune system was compromised due to the cell-depleting therapy she received, the researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands wrote in a paper accepted for publication in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. However, the researchers said her natural immune response could still have been "sufficient" to fight-off Covid-19, as the type of treatment she received for cancer "does not necessarily result in life threatening disease."
13th Oct 2020 - CNN

Covid may cause sudden, permanent hearing loss – UK study

Covid-19 may cause sudden and permanent hearing loss, experts have found, adding that such problems need early detection and urgent treatment. The coronavirus has been found to affect the body in myriad ways, from a loss of taste and smell to organ damage. Now doctors have reported fresh evidence that Covid could also affect hearing. Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, experts at University College London report the case of a 45-year-old man with asthma who was admitted to intensive care with Covid, ventilated, and given drugs including the antiviral remdesivir and intravenous steroids. A week after leaving intensive care he developed a ringing sound – tinnitus – and then hearing loss in his left ear.
13th Oct 2020 - The Guardian


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Oct 2020

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Soon Covid-19 will be treatable, but it shouldn't just be the rich who benefit

We all want a cure for Covid-19, but it won’t come in a single drug. Neither can we expect to escape this global crisis if treatments, tests or vaccines are not made available to those most vulnerable worldwide. There’s a long way yet to go. Robust research has shown that hydroxychloroquine, the drug once heavily promoted by Donald Trump, doesn’t work as a treatment. We wait in hope for the first vaccines but must be realistic: they may only provide partial protection, important as that will be. Now, as the US president pins his hopes on Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, it must be made clear: life can only return to normal with a range of clinically proven, effective treatments, tests and vaccines; the resilient health systems to deliver them; and the trust of the public.
12th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Johnson & Johnson pauses Covid-19 vaccine trial after 'unexplained illness'

Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson said Monday it has paused the advanced clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. "Following our guidelines, the participant's illness is being reviewed and evaluated by the ENSEMBLE independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as well as our internal clinical and safety physicians," the company said in a statement. ENSEMBLE is the name of the study. "Adverse events -- illnesses, accidents, etc. -- even those that are serious, are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies."
13th Oct 2020 - CNN

Coronavirus: COVID-19 survivors may have protective antibodies for up to four months, study suggests

People who recover from COVID-19 may have protective antibodies for up to four months, according to a new study. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital aimed to determine how long immunity lasts in coronavirus survivors, and whether those infected with COVID-19 will develop lasting protection from the virus. The study, published in Science Immunology, also focused on the body's immune response to COVID-19 and the team's findings suggested antibodies can be an accurate tool for tracking the spread of the infection in the community.
12th Oct 2020 - Sky News

E-Therapeutics boasts 'encouraging results' for Covid-19 treatment

Work to find new drugs that can be used to treat coronavirus has yielded good results, according to a Tyneside drug discovery company. Earlier this year Newcastle's e-Therapeutics turned its computer modelling technology towards the Covid-19 pandemic, with the aim of finding drugs that could help treat the virus. The company specialises in discovering new drugs in silico (using computers) and in the past has used its technology to find compounds that can protect human cells from influenza. It now believes its technology could help the fight against coronavirus. Speaking in the company's interim results, CEO Ali Mortazavi said: "Our project to find compounds for the treatment of Covid-19 using our proprietary NDD (Network-drive Drug Discovery) platform has generated encouraging results. "We await the final read outs in SARS-COV2 assays from WuXi AppTec to decide next steps.
12th Oct 2020 - Business Live

BCG: Can a vaccine from 1921 save lives from Covid-19?

Scientists in the UK have begun testing the BCG vaccine, developed in 1921, to see if it can save lives from Covid. The vaccine was designed to stop tuberculosis, but there is some evidence it can protect against other infections as well. Around 1,000 people will take part in the trial at the University of Exeter. But while millions of people in the UK will have had the BCG jab as a child, it is thought they would need to be vaccinated again to benefit. Vaccines are designed to train the immune system in a highly targeted way that leaves lasting protection against one particular infection.
12th Oct 2020 - BBC News

Spotlight on COVID-19 antibody therapies after Trump's recovery -

The spotlight remains on the potential of antibody therapies as a possible way out of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, with the US government investing millions in a hopeful from AstraZeneca and president Donald Trump recovering from coronavirus after receiving a rival therapy from Regeneron. Thanks to a drug cocktail including Regeneron’s antibody therapy, Trump says he is back on his feet after becoming infected with the virus around the end of last month. Trump has hailed the Regeneron therapy as a cure for the virus, but the company’s CEO Leonard Schleifer was quick to point out that the scientific evidence is not there to support the claim.
12th Oct 2020 - pharmaphorum


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Oct 2020

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UK study tests if BCG vaccine protects against COVID

The widely used BCG tuberculosis vaccine will be tested on frontline care workers in Britain for its effectiveness against COVID-19, researchers running the UK arm of a global trial said. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, used to protect against tuberculosis, induces a broad innate immune-system response and has been shown to protect against infection or severe illness with other respiratory pathogens. “BCG has been shown to boost immunity in a generalised way, which may offer some protection against COVID-19,” Professor John Campbell, of the University of Exeter Medical School, said.
11th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Lilly's rheumatoid arthritis drug cuts COVID-19 deaths in trial, data shows

Eli Lilly and Co said on Thursday fewer deaths were reported among COVID-19 patients taking a combination of its rheumatoid arthritis drug and Gilead Sciences Inc's remdesivir in a clinical trial, compared to only remdesivir. Lilly said the effect was most pronounced in patients on oxygen therapy, according to data from a U.S. government-backed trial, which however, was not designed to measure the effectiveness of baricitinib in preventing death.
9th Oct 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

Risk of ADE with new Covid-19 vaccine candidate low, Chinese researchers say

Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) is a side-effect of inoculation that can make a virus more harmful. Team from Institute of Medical Biology say they cannot conclude their product will not cause ADE, but ‘likelihood as a result of inoculation with this vaccine is small’
9th Oct 2020 - South China Morning Post

Cheaper, faster: India’s Feluda Covid-19 test gets approval

An accurate and low cost paper-based strip test for Covid-19 has been approved for commercial launch by the Drugs Controller General of India. Indian scientists have come up with a new testing method called Feluda, a test which is similar to taking samples through a PCR swab test but is more reliable and simpler to use. It will cost 500 Indian rupees – about 6 euros. Kits are expected to reach the market shortly. The test was named after a famous fictional Bengali detective, though its full name is: Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) Feluda test.
9th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

China's experimental COVID-19 vaccine appears safe - study

A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said. In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group’s experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said on Tuesday in a paper posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.
7th Oct 2020 - Reuters


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Oct 2020

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Study: Most People Infected With Coronavirus During U.K. Lockdown Had No Symptoms When Tested

A team of researchers in the U.K. are calling for more widespread coronavirus testing after finding that more than four in five Britons who tested positive during the country’s lockdown did not exhibit the symptoms most commonly associated with a Covid-19 infection, like a fever, lasting cough or a loss of taste or smell. “The fact that so many people who tested positive were asymptomatic on the day of a positive test result calls for a change to future testing strategies,” said Irene Petersen, a professor at UCL in a statement. “More widespread testing will help to capture ‘silent’ transmission and potentially prevent future outbreaks.”
8th Oct 2020 - Forbes

Moderna says it won't enforce coronavirus vaccine patents during pandemic

Moderna will not enforce patent rights related to its experimental coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic, announcing Thursday that its leadership feels "a special obligation under the current circumstances" to address the global health crisis. The committment earned praise from an intellectual property activist who said Moderna's pledge "should be matched by every manufacturer." Moderna said it will allow open access to the patents for the "pandemic period," and is willing to out-license the same intellectual property once the pandemic is over. In doing so, the biotech joins Gilead in making its patent-protected discoveries available in the name of fighting COVID-19, although Gilead has restricted its Veklury licensing activity only to low- and middle-income countries.
8th Oct 2020 - BioPharma Dive

COVID-19 vaccines NOT affected by coronavirus mutations, study finds

Scientist infected ferret blood with two forms of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. These were the initially dominant 'D' strain and the now prevalent 'G' variant. A vaccine currently in development was found to be effective against both. Reassuring research indicates a vaccine should be effective against all strains. Means vaccines for the coronavirus pandemic will not have to be regularly changed and adapted, as is the case for seasonal flu
8th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus vaccine blow as Oxford trial faces another delay to investigate side effects

The hotly anticipated University of Oxford vaccine faces knock-on delays with its trials. A month-long pause in the jab's development could mean volunteers who had already been given one shot may not be able to get the planned second. The delay is due to American regulators investigating potential side effects, the Times reports. A previous delay on September 6 was triggered by AstraZenaca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford, after a trial participant in the UK fell ill. Other people who had received the first shot were due for a second one next week, which has now been cancelled.
8th Oct 2020 - Mirror Online

The state of coronavirus vaccine development in the U.S.

Virtual symposium, cohosted by Johns Hopkins and the University of Washington, brought together leading experts from government, media, and academia
8th Oct 2020 - The Hub at Johns Hopkins

PGI trial: 53 participants healthy after first dose of Covid vaccine

The late-phase human clinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is also known as ‘Covishield’ in India, have been running smoothly at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and have not shown any adverse side-effects so far. An official statement released by the institute today reads, “The second phase of human clinical trials of Covishield, the potential vaccine developed by the Oxford University, is going well here at PGIMER. Till date, 97 volunteers have been screened. Of them, 65 volunteers have already been vaccinated since September 25 when PGIMER started administering the first dose of the vaccine to the volunteers. Among 65 volunteers given first dose, 53 have already completed seven days post vaccination without any major side effects.”
8th Oct 2020 - The Tribune India

Chile scientists study potential coronavirus mutation in remote Patagonia

Scientists in Chile are investigating a possible mutation of the novel coronavirus in southern Patagonia, a far-flung region near the tip of the South American continent that has seen an unusually contagious second wave of infections in recent weeks. Dr. Marcelo Navarrete of the University of Magallanes told Reuters in an interview that researchers had detected “structural changes” in the spikes on the distinctive, crown-shaped virus. He said research is underway to better understand the potential mutation and its effects on humans. “The only thing we know to date is that this coincides in time and space with a second wave that is quite intense in the region,” Navarrete said. The Magallanes region of Chile is largely a remote, glacier-strewn wilderness dotted with small towns and the regional hub Punta Arenas, which has seen cases of COVID-19 spike in September and October following a first wave earlier this year.
8th Oct 2020 - Reuters

Lilly, with new data, seeks emergency clearance for COVID-19 antibody drug

Eli Lilly has asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve an experimental antibody drug for emergency use in treating COVID-19, making it the first of an emerging class of medicines to be submitted to public health regulators. Lilly aims to use one of its antibodies in higher-risk patients recently diagnosed with mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19. But the drugmaker on Wednesday shared new findings suggesting a combination of two antibodies may help treat COVID-19 patients as well. Lilly plans to ask for emergency clearance of that regimen in November, and file for a standard approval as early as the second quarter of 2021.
7th Oct 2020 - BioPharma Dive


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Oct 2020

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Lilly seeks emergency use of its antibody drug for COVID-19

A drug company says it has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy based on early results from a study that suggested the drug reduced symptoms, the amount of virus hospitalizations and ER visits for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19. Eli Lilly and Company announced the partial results Wednesday in a news release; they have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists. Its drug is similar to one that President Donald Trump received on Friday from Regeneron
7th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Having a vitamin D deficiency could make you more likely to catch Covid-19, another study claims

Further proof that vitamin D could protect people from coronavirus emerged today after another study found adults deficient in the nutrient are more at risk of catching the disease. Seventy-two per cent of NHS workers who were lacking in the 'sunshine vitamin' also tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies — a sign of previous infection. This compared to just 51 per cent for those who had a sufficient amount. The difference was even greater among those of a Black, Asian or ethnic minority, who may be more likely to have a deficiency because people with darker skin find it harder to obtain it from the sun.
7th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 could cause male infertility by harming testicular cells that produce sperm, study claims

Sperm production dropped to half its normal levels in male patients, study said More than one-in-ten sperm were also shown to be infected with the virus Covid-19 is able to infect the testes as they have ACE2 receptors like the lungs But to do this it must travel in the bloodstream which scientists say is unlikely
7th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

China’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine appears safe, study shows

A Chinese experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Institute of Medical Biology under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences was shown to be safe in an early stage clinical trial, researchers said. In a Phase 1 trial of 191 healthy participants aged between 18 and 59, vaccination with the group's experimental shot showed no severe adverse reactions, its researchers said in a paper posted on medRxiv preprint server ahead of peer review.
7th Oct 2020 - Al Arabiya


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Oct 2020

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Fluvoxamine Data Unveiled as Promising Early Treatment in Patients with Mild COVID-19

The COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund (CETF) announced the results of a recently funded outpatient clinical trial at Washington University in St. Louis that examined the viability of fluvoxamine in patients with mild COVID-19. The trial results indicated that fluvoxamine, if given early in the course of COVID-19, significantly reduced the likelihood of hospitalization.
6th Oct 2020 - Yahoo

EU fast-tracks process for Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine

The European Medicines Agency has accelerated the approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech and US pharma group Pfizer, to allow for the rapid authorisation of the shot as soon as safety data from its trial allows. The decision by the EU regulator was based on preliminary results from the companies’ early clinical trials, which showed the vaccine triggers an immune response in adults, the regulator and the companies said
6th Oct 2020 - The Financial Times

Covid-19 treatment hopes as GlaxoSmithKline's antibody drug moves onto phase 3 trial

A potential new coronavirus antibody treatment made by GSK has moved into late stage trials. GlaxoSmithKline said its treatment - known as Vir-7831 - could be rolled out by 2021 if its proven to be effective and safe. The drug uses antibodies - proteins found in people who have survived Covid-19 - that have been genetically modified in a lab. These substances are then injected into patients in the earliest stages of their illness.
6th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

CHMP starts rolling review of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine

A second candidate vaccine against COVID-19 is undergoing rolling review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as the agency begins with evaluation of pre-clinical data to support approval of a coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic. The human medicines committee of the agency, known as CHMP, announced on 6 October that it was initiating a rolling review of the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine under development by Pfizer in collaboration with the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech. “The rolling review of these vaccines started with CHMP evaluating the first batches of data. It continues until enough evidence is available to support a formal marketing authorization application,” according to EMA’s web page that lists the vaccine candidates undergoing rolling review.
6th Oct 2020 - Regulatory Focus

University of Bristol joins major £4m study in race for coronavirus vaccine

Bristol experts are taking part in a major study to unpick the mysteries of coronavirus, investigating how antiviral drugs could be used to fight it. The University of Bristol is among six institutions contributing to the £4m international project, which is funded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. They will specifically research severe cases of Covid-19, and their findings will help to develop the treatments and vaccines that are urgently needed to slow the spread of the infection.
6th Oct 2020 - Bristol Live

AstraZeneca's Coronavirus Vaccine Is Already Being Reviewed for Approval in Canada and Europe. Why Not in the U.S.?

It wasn't all that long ago that many people saw AstraZeneca as the leader in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The U.K.-based drugmaker partnered with the University of Oxford and got off to a fast start. AstraZeneca has fallen behind over the last four weeks -- at least in the U.S. Early last month, the company announced that it was temporarily pausing its late-stage clinical studies evaluating COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222. AstraZeneca has since resumed its trials in multiple countries; indeed, AZD1222 is already being reviewed for potential regulatory approvals in Canada and Europe. But the chances of a regulatory review in the U.S. for AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine this year appear to be dwindling. Why is this one-time Operation Warp Speed favorite progressing so slowly in the U.S.?
6th Oct 2020 - Motley Fool

Europe starts real-time review of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

The European health regulator is reviewing a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech in real time, days after launching a similar assessment process for AstraZeneca's vaccine. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Tuesday its human medicines committee was evaluating the first batch of data on the vaccine, and would continue to do so until enough data is available for a final decision.
6th Oct 2020 - Reuters

More than 80% of hospitalized coronavirus patients have neurological symptoms, study finds

Researchers looked at more than 500 patients with COVID-19 at 10 hospitals for neurological symptoms. About 42% had neurological symptoms when their symptoms began, 63% suffered them while in the hospital and 82% had them at some point while ill. The most common symptoms were muscle pain and headaches, with 45% and 38% having them, respectively. Nearly one-third of patients experienced encephalopathy, which is an altered mental state leaving them confused. Patients with encephalopathy has an average hospital stay that was three times longer and a death risk seven times higher.
5th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Oct 2020

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CDC says airborne transmission plays a role in coronavirus spread in a long-awaited update after a website error last month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that people can sometimes become infected with the novel coronavirus through airborne transmission, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation. The long-awaited update to the agency Web page explaining how the virus spreads represents an official acknowledgment of growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic.
6th Oct 2020 - The Washington Post

Pfizer, BioNTech, and Regeneron Hit With Patent Lawsuits Over COVID-19 Drugs and Vaccines

The three companies are accused of using a fluorescent protein in their research without paying royalties for it.
6th Oct 2020 - The Motley Fool

Pfizer and BioNTech Have Enrolled 83% of Their Up-Sized Coronavirus Vaccine Trial

Pfizer has now enrolled 36,576 participants in the late-stage clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, which it's developing with BioNTech. Last month, the companies increased their planned enrollment in the study from 30,000 to approximately 44,000, meaning that it is currently 83% enrolled. Pfizer and BioNTech have signed up more participants than Moderna, which had 28,043 people in the clinical trial of its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, as of Friday evening. Moderna's phase 3 trial still has a target of 30,000 participants, so it'll likely reach full enrollment first. But the amount of time it will take the companies to reach complete enrollment shouldn't much affect when they release their initial efficacy data, because those preliminary results will come from analyses of data generated by the participants inoculated earliest in the studies.
5th Oct 2020 - The Motley Fool

People who contract both flu and Covid-19 are more likely to die, research suggests

Public Health England research suggests that people people infected with both flu and COVID-19 between January and April were more at risk of severe illness and death. This year, 30 million people will be offered the free flu vaccine. Three of the nation’s senior medics – Dr Yvonne Doyle, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, and Dr Nikita Kanani – are calling on all eligible people to get vaccinated against flu, as the new research suggests that the risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and COVID-19, compared to those with COVID-19 alone.
5th Oct 2020 - Daily Echo

NPIs reduced SARS-CoV-2 transmission in South Korea

In South Korea, the first cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were identified in January 2020. By April 2020, the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases went up to 10,683 infections, and 237 people had died of the disease. A large percentage of the cases and deaths were a result of superspreader events in the Daegu-Gyeongsangbuk province. Although some studies examined how public health interventions can help contain COVID-19 outbreaks, not much information was available on public health measures against SARS-CoV-2 transmission, specifically in South Korea. Researchers from the Konyang University College of Medicine, South Korea, and The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, analyzed the transmission of COVID-19 outside of the Daegu-Gyeongsangbuk provincial region in South Korea, in a recent study published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.
5th Oct 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Study of 'excess deaths' finds there may be another 75,000 unconfirmed COVID-19 fatalities

Researchers looked at the number of 'excess' deaths between February and September compared to years prior. An analysis of more than 1,000 counties revealed at least 183,000 deaths with COVID-19 assigned as the direct cause of death. What's more, for every 100 deaths directly attributed to the virus, there were an additional 36 deaths. This means the death toll of 209,000 could actually be undercounted by up to 36% and around 284,000
5th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Oct 2020

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Scientists study whether immune response wards off or worsens Covid

British scientists have launched a major study aimed at uncovering the critical role that human antibodies and other immune defences play in the severity of Covid-19 cases. Results could support some scientists’ belief that antibodies triggered by common colds could be protecting children against the disease. Alternatively, the study could confirm other researchers’ fears that some immune responses to the virus may trigger deadly inflammatory reactions that could bedevil attempts to create anti-Covid vaccines.
4th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

Moderna Covid vaccine spurs ‘strong immune response, no serious side-effect’ in older adults

A phase 1 investigational trial has revealed that the Covid-19 vaccine developed by US-based pharmaceutical company Moderna elicited a strong immune response in older adults with no serious adverse effects, a study has claimed. The vaccine, called mRNA-1273, is being developed by Moderna in partnership with the US government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH). For the trial, 40 adults over the age of 56 were inoculated with the vaccine.
4th Oct 2020 - ThePrint

CDC identifies new Covid-19 syndrome in adults similar to MIS-C in kids

Adults can sometimes suffer from dangerous symptoms that resemble a coronavirus-linked syndrome in children, researchers with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. They're calling it multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults, or MIS-A, and say it's similar to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C. Like MIS-C, MIS-A is not obviously linked to coronavirus and sufferers may not show any other symptoms that would point to Covid-19 infection. But MIS-A has killed at least three patients and, similar to Covid-19, disproportionately hits racial and ethnic minorities, the CDC team said.
3rd Oct 2020 - CNN


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Oct 2020

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GlaxoSmithKline CEO optimistic COVID-19 vaccine widely available in 2021

The chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, said she was optimistic the industry will be able to make an immunisation against COVID-19 widely available next year. “I share the optimism that we will have solutions next year. The challenge here is getting to the scale that is required,” GSK CEO Emma Walmsley said at an online event of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Tuesday.
29th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus vaccine: Why are companies working on developing nasal vaccines? Are they better than injected ones?

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, makers of the homegrown Covaxin was recently in news for striking a deal that would allow it to produce upto a billion doses of a nasal COVID-19 adenovirus vaccine in collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri. While the vaccine is currently in phase I trial in the country, it is expected that expansive trials will also be held in centres across India. Bharat Biotech will also be handling large-scale production of the vaccine at its Hyderabad headquartered base.
1st Oct 2020 - Times of India

The Biggest Coronavirus Vaccine Winner So Far

Winners are usually easy to spot. In sports, for example, you only have to look at the scoreboard to see which team is winning. But how do you determine which companies are the winners when it comes to developing a coronavirus vaccine? While there's no scoreboard per se, there are objective, quantifiable metrics you can look at to identify winners even in the scramble to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Thus far, there's one hands-down biggest winner in the coronavirus vaccine race: Novavax
2nd Oct 2020 - Motley Fool

Israel's Enlivex reports positive results in COVID-19 drug trial

Enlivex Therapeutics Ltd ENLV.TA on Thursday reported positive results in a clinical trial of the immunotherapy firm's Allocetra treatment in COVID-19 patients in severe or critical condition. Shares of Enlivex were up 83% in Tel Aviv after resuming trade. They were halted in Tel Aviv and on Nasdaq pending the announcement. Israel-based Enlivex ENLV.O said the trial, which was conducted along with Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, included five patients -- three in severe condition and two in critical condition. All five had complete recoveries after an average of no more than 8.5 days following administration of Allocetra, while there were no reported severe adverse events.
1st Oct 2020 - Reuters

Wistar Institute lab tech and immigrant on frontline developing coronavirus vaccine

Inside a laboratory at the prestigious Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Yaya Dia, an immigrant from West Africa, is working tirelessly to create a vaccination for COVID-19. "It's a privilege working with the top scientists at the Weiner laboratory and especially being there and being able to contribute," said 29-year-old Dia. While his drive to help others during such a critical time speaks volumes, so does his personal journey. He came to Philadelphia from Burkina Faso in West Africa at the age of nine speaking no English. "When I continued with high school I had that mentality to be number one," Dia said.
2nd Oct 2020 - WPVI-TV

African remedies get WHO testing green light amid COVID-19 fight

New rules for the testing of African herbal remedies to fight COVID-19 have been agreed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The decision will be based upon scientific findings of any traditional remedies and if found safe and effective they will be fast-tracked for large manufacturing. In a statement, the WHO’s Dr Prosper Tumusiime said: “The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines.”
1st Oct 2020 - Diabetes.co.uk

'Provocative results' boost hopes of antibody treatment for COVID-19

A second company has now produced strong hints that monoclonal antibodies, synthetically produced versions of proteins made by the immune system, can work as treatments in people who are infected with the pandemic coronavirus but are not yet seriously ill. The biotech Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has developed a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies that attach to the surface protein of that coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and attempt to block it from infecting cells. Yesterday at an investor and media webcast, the firm revealed early results.
1st Oct 2020 - Science Magazine

Coronavirus vaccine trial participants report day-long exhaustion, fever and headaches — but say it's worth it

High fever, body aches, headaches and exhaustion are some of the symptoms participants in Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trials say they felt after receiving the shots. While the symptoms were uncomfortable, and at times intense, they often went away after a day, sometimes less. The phase three trials are a critical last step needed to get the vaccines cleared for distribution.
1st Oct 2020 - CNBC

Phase I trial of intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray approved in China

According to a new report, a Phase I clinical trial to test an intranasal COVID-19 vaccine spray has received approval in China. The report from Globaldata, says that the vaccine is being co-developed by Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise with researchers from Xiamen University and Hong Kong University. Furthermore, it is the first of its kind to receive clinical trial authorisation from the China National Medical Products Administration.
1st Oct 2020 - European Pharmaceutical Review


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Oct 2020

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Clinical study set to trial inhaled Covid-19 vaccines

A new clinical study, funded by UKRI and NIHR, has been launched to explore the effects of administering Covid-19 vaccines as inhaled airborne droplets rather than by injection into muscle – similar to how inhaled asthma medications are delivered. Researchers are set to begin small trials to assess inhalation of two of the UK’s coronavirus vaccines in development, by Imperial College London and Oxford University. These trials will assess the safety and effectiveness of delivering the vaccines directly to the respiratory tract of human volunteers, inhaled through the mouth. It is hoped that by directly targeting the cells lining the airways, which are typical points of infection for respiratory viruses, it may be able to induce a more effective immune response. This could potentially lead to accelerating the development of effective vaccines against Covid-19 by exploring additional methods and targets.
1st Oct 2020 - National Health Executive

Association of prior psychiatric diagnosis with mortality among hospitalized patients with COVID-19

What The Study Did: Researchers evaluated the association between having any prior psychiatric diagnosis and COVID-19- related mortality of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Authors: Luming Li, M.D., of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, is the corresponding author.
30th Sep 2020 - EurekAlert!

Study finds hydroxychloroquine does not prevent people catching Covid-19

US scientists found medics taking the drug no less likely to catch coronavirus Hospital staff had equal risk whether taking hydroxychloroquine or a fake pill There was also no difference in illness severity in group of eight who got sick US President Donald Trump said in May he was taking the drug to protect himself Australian researchers say they are 'undeterred' and will keep studying hydroxychloroquine as a hopeful preventive
30th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Inherited Neanderthal genes may put COVID-19 patients at risk

Scientists have identified a potential new risk factor for severe cases of COVID-19: a cluster of genes that originated in Neanderthals. These genes have been linked to a higher risk of hospitalization and respiratory failure in patients who are infected with the coronavirus, scientists reported Wednesday in the journal Nature. Researchers Hugo Zeberg of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany determined that the genes belong to a group, or haplotype, that likely came from Neanderthals. The haplotype is found in about 16% of the population in Europe and half the population in South Asia, while in Africa and East Asia it is nonexistent.
30th Sep 2020 - Los Angeles Times

More than 60 MILLION people in India may have already caught Covid-19, study finds

More than 60 million people in India could have contracted the novel coronavirus, the country's lead pandemic agency said Tuesday, citing a nationwide study measuring antibodies. According to official data India, home to 1.3 billion people, is the world's second most infected nation, with more than 6.1 million cases, just behind the United States. But the real figure could be 10 times the official figure, according to the latest serological survey - a study testing blood for certain antibodies to estimate the proportion of a population that has fought off the virus.
29th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Computer model shows how COVID-19 could lead to runaway inflammation

A study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Cedars-Sinai addresses a mystery first raised in March: Why do some people with COVID-19 develop severe inflammation? The research shows how the molecular structure and sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein--part of the virus that causes COVID-19--could be behind the inflammatory syndrome cropping up in infected patients.
29th Sep 2020 - EurekAlert


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Sep 2020

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China's Kangtai gets approval for clinical trial of coronavirus vaccine candidate

China’s Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products said on Tuesday it planned to launch a clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate as soon as possible after it had obtained regulatory approval from the Chinese medical products regulator. Kangtai’s candidate triggered antibodies when tested in mice and monkeys, and vaccinated monkeys tolerated high levels of the coronavirus, the company said in a filing. The firm also said the manufacturing facility to produce its vaccine candidate was complete, pending tests and regulatory certification.
30th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Can the common cold help protect you from COVID-19?

Seasonal colds are by all accounts no fun, but new research suggests the colds you've had in the past may provide some protection from COVID-19. The study, authored by infectious disease experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also suggests that immunity to COVID-19 is likely to last a long time - maybe even a lifetime. The study, published in mBio, is the first to show that the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2, induces memory B cells, long-lived immune cells that detect pathogens, create antibodies to destroy them and remember them for the future. The next time that pathogen tries to enter the body, those memory B cells can hop into action even faster to clear the infection before it starts. Because memory B cells can survive for decades, they could protect COVID-19 survivors from subsequent infections for a long time, but further research will have to bear that out. The study is also the first to report cross-reactivity of memory B cells - meaning B cells that once attacked cold-causing coronaviruses appeared to also recognize SARS-CoV-2. Study authors believe this could mean that anyone who has been infected by a common coronavirus - which is nearly everyone - may have some degree of pre-existing immunity to COVID-19.
29th Sep 2020 - EurekAlert!

US teens are twice as likely to catch coronavirus as younger kids, CDC finds

More than 277,000 children have caught coronavirus since May, new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows - Older children - between 12 and 17 - are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 as younger kids, ages five to 11 - Rates of coronavirus are also about twice as high among Hispanic children compared to white kids - Children with one or more underlying health conditions are at greater risk of being hospitalized, admitted to ICUs or dying of coronavirus - Cases among children climbed between late May and mid-July, fell and plateaued through August and early September, but may now be rising -
29th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Covid-19: Princeton University study dissects New Zealand's pandemic response

Social capital has been hailed as one of the reasons behind New Zealand's successful response to the Covid-19 pandemic, new Princeton University research suggests. Stuff reports were among the bodies of work drawn upon in the Innovations for Successful Societies research centre analysis which examined the response from March to June by Princeton researchers including New Zealand-born Blair Cameron. The research said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her response team “always acted quickly” throughout the pandemic, opting to make “pivotal decisions that sometimes were based on limited information”.
29th Sep 2020 - Stuff.co.nz

China firm claims faster COVID-19 tests, targets global sales

A Chinese company claims its coronavirus testing machine will return results faster than a lab and more reliably than at-home screening kits. The Flash 20 “is currently the fastest machine in the world for PCR tests for the new coronavirus,” Sabrina Li, founder of the company Coyote, said on Tuesday. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are the industry standard and a major weapon against a pandemic that has now killed more than a million people and eviscerated the global economy. As governments scramble to develop adequate response systems, Li is targeting global sales. Already used at hospitals and airports in China, the device can process four samples at a time and deliver results in half an hour, the company says. Coyote said its testing machine has been certified by the European Union and Australia, and it is seeking similar status from the United States and the World Health Organization.
29th Sep 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears safe, shows signs of working in older adults - study

Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc's coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of the vaccine's safety in older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19. The findings are reassuring because immunity tends to weaken with age, Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the study's lead researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, said in a phone interview. The study was an extension of Moderna's Phase I safety trial, first conducted in individuals aged 18-55. It tested two doses of Moderna's vaccine - 25 micrograms and 100 micrograms - in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older.
29th Sep 2020 - MSN.com

CureVac to start global late-stage trial for COVID-19 vaccine in fourth quarter

Germany’s CureVac NV said on Tuesday it has started a mid-stage study testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine and plans to begin a much larger trial in the fourth quarter.
29th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Regeneron says its COVID-19 treatment reduces viral levels, improves symptoms

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday said its experimental two-antibody cocktail reduced viral levels and improved symptoms in non-hospitalized patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. When asked whether the company would apply for emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company said it plans to “rapidly” discuss the early trial results with regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
29th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Sep 2020

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Africa has held off the worst of the coronavirus. Researchers are working to figure out how.

When the coronavirus first began spreading around the world, there was near-universal concern among experts that countries in Africa could be hit particularly hard, with high rates of transmission that could quickly overwhelm health care systems. But roughly nine months into the pandemic, which has sickened over 31 million people and caused more than 950,000 deaths around the world, most African countries have fared significantly better than other parts of the world. The reasons are still something of a mystery — more research is needed, and some studies that aim to answer the questions are only just beginning — but scientists said the success of many African countries so far offers crucial lessons for the rest of the world and shine a light on how inherent biases can distort scientific research.
25th Sep 2020 - NBC News

Weekly nasal spray could offer protection from Covid-19, research finds

A nasal spray given once or twice a week could offer protection against coronavirus, according to new research. Human trials could start within four months after studies on ferrets, led by an expert from Public Health England (PHE), found the spray could reduce infection and prevent transmission. The therapy, developed by Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory, was originally developed to boost the natural immune system to fight colds and flu. ut trials showed that INNA-051 could reduce Covid-19 replication by up to 96% after it managed to boost the immune response prior to infection.
28th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: Children half as likely to catch COVID-19 than adults, analysis suggests

Children are 44% less likely to catch coronavirus than adults, according to an analysis led by the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Preliminary evidence suggests children younger than 10 to 14 years old are less likely to catch the virus than adults over 20 years old. They are also more likely to be asymptomatic, meaning they have very few - if any - symptoms.
28th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Manchester man first in UK to be given arthritis drug in trial to treat COVID-19

A coronavirus patient from Manchester has become the first in the UK to be given an experimental arthritis drug to counter the severe effects of the virus. Farhan Hamid, 41, from south Manchester, has been given a dose of otilimab - a drug currently under investigation as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. He is currently in intensive care at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and was recruited to take part in the trial on 11 September.
28th Sep 2020 - Sky News

Could Exposure to the Common Cold Reduce the Severity of COVID-19 Infection?

The ongoing tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic afflicts every corner of the world. Vaccines may be our best hope for a safe return to workplaces, parties, stores and schools, but even if all leading vaccine candidates are protective, the British charity Oxfam estimates that nearly two thirds of the world’s population will not have access until at least 2022. We suggest a scalable alternative that may prevent morbidity and mortality from Covid-19 in the meantime: the common cold. Many different studies have shown that infection with one of the seasonal human coronaviruses (shCoVs) responsible for common colds confers a cross-reactive T-cell immune response to SARS-CoV-2, and on September 17, the British Medical Journal published an editorial speculating that “preexisting immunity” to SARS-Cov-2 may result from T cell cross-reactivity.
28th Sep 2020 - Scientific American

Coronavirus: New global test will give results 'in minutes'

A test that can diagnose Covid-19 in minutes will dramatically expand the capacity to detect cases in low- and middle-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. The $5 (£3.80) test could transform tracking of Covid-19 in less wealthy countries, which have shortages of healthcare workers and laboratories. A deal with manufacturers will provide 120 million tests over six months. The WHO's head called it a major milestone. Lengthy gaps between taking a test and receiving a result have hampered many countries' attempts to control the spread of coronavirus. In some countries with high infection rates, including India and Mexico, experts have said that low testing rates are disguising the true spread of their outbreaks. The "new, highly portable and easy-to-use test" will provide results in 15-30 minutes instead of hours or days, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Monday.
28th Sep 2020 - BBC News


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Johnson & Johson becomes fourth coronavirus vaccine study to enter final stages in the US

Johnson & Johnson is starting a huge final study today to determine if a single-dose coronavirus vaccine can provide protection against the disease. The vaccine candidate, which was developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is the fourth US company to begin Phase 3 trials in the US, following Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca. From Wednesday, 60,000 volunteers across the US, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru will be involved with testing of the vaccine.
27th Sep 2020 - London Evening Standard

Carriers of two genetic mutations at greater risk for illness and death from COVID-19

Researchers suggest that carriers of the genetic mutations PiZ and PiS are at high risk for severe illness and even death from COVID-19. These mutations lead to deficiency in the alpha1-antitrypsin protein, which protects lung tissues from damage in case of severe infections. Other studies have already associated deficiency in this protein with inflammatory damage to lung function in other diseases.
26th Sep 2020 - Science Daily

Vitamin D 'cuts chance of coronavirus death by half', study finds

Patients who take a daily dose of vitamin D are less likely to experience complications and die from coronavirus, according to a new study in the US. The vitamin was linked to higher levels of immune cells in the blood and much lower inflammatory markets, scientists at Boston University’s school of medicine found. This meant there were far fewer cytokine storms, a potentially deadly overreaction of the immune system sparked by coronavirus that overloads the blood with proteins.
25th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

China's annual production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines expected to reach 610 million doses by end-2020, official says

China’s annual production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to reach 610 million doses by end-2020, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday. Production capacity of the vaccines is forecast to reach 1 billion doses per year by 2021, Zheng Zhongwei,Director General of the Development Centre for Medical Science and Technology of the commission, told a news briefing.
25th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support in COVID-19: an international cohort study of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization registry

Data for 1035 patients with COVID-19 who received ECMO support were included in this study. Of these, 67 (6%) remained hospitalised, 311 (30%) were discharged home or to an acute rehabilitation centre, 101 (10%) were discharged to a long-term acute care centre or unspecified location, 176 (17%) were discharged to another hospital, and 380 (37%) died. The estimated cumulative incidence of in-hospital mortality 90 days after the initiation of ECMO was 37·4% (95% CI 34·4–40·4). Mortality was 39% (380 of 968) in patients with a final disposition of death or hospital discharge.
25th Sep 2020 - The Lancet

Genetic variants mimicking therapeutic inhibition of IL-6 receptor signaling and risk of COVID-19

Few effective therapeutic options are available for the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. IL-6 receptor blockade has been proposed as one potential therapeutic strategy, and more than 40 clinical trials of anti-IL-6 receptor antibodies (including tocilizumab and sarilumab) in the setting of SARS-CoV-2 infection are underway (appendix p 2). Early evidence from observational studies and open-label, uncontrolled trials has suggested that IL-6 receptor blockers might confer benefit, particularly in patients with severe COVID-19.1
25th Sep 2020 - The Lancet

Hidden immune weakness found in 14% of gravely ill COVID-19 patients

From the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists baffled by the disease’s ferocity have wondered whether the body’s vanguard virus fighter, a molecular messenger called type I interferon, is missing in action in some severe cases. Two papers published online in Science this week confirm that suspicion. They reveal that in a significant minority of patients with serious COVID-19, the interferon response has been crippled by genetic flaws or by rogue antibodies that attack interferon itself. “Together these two papers explain nearly 14% of severe COVID-19 cases. That is quite amazing,” says Qiang Pan- Hammarström, an immunologist at the Karolinska Institute
25th Sep 2020 - Science Magazine

Coronavirus vaccine: Johnson & Johnson jab shows response in 98% of test participants

One of the numerous proposed coronavirus vaccines has produced a strong immune response in test subjects according to a report issued Friday. Johnson & Johnson's JNJ.N Covid-19 vaccine, called Ad26.COV2.S, was well-tolerated by subjects at two dosing instances in early-to-mid stage coronavirus clinical trials. It is the only Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial in the US that is testing a single dose vaccine. Researchers said 98 per cent of participants in the study whose data was available had neutralising antibodies, which help the body fight off pathogens, a month after they received the vaccine.
25th Sep 2020 - The Independent

Trials of Russia coronavirus 'vaccine' show questionable results 'very unlikely' to be a coincidence

Initial reports on Sputnik V vaccine were published in the Lancet earlier this month. International scientists have falgged up several apparent anomalies. Graphs show the level of immune response in different people after taking the vaccine seems to be different in nature
25th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Merck, advancing single-dose and oral coronavirus vaccines, could still make Warp Speed: Bloomberg

The U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed has already inked COVID-19 vaccine research and manufacturing pacts with major vaccine players—excluding Merck & Co., that is. But the group’s description of an as-yet-unnamed participant matches Merck’s early-stage research, Bloomberg reports, indicating the drugmaker could still get in. Merck publicly entered COVID-19 vaccine research later than its peers through a buyout of the biotech Themis and a partnership with nonprofit research group IAVI. The company started phase 1/2 testing earlier this month with technology acquired in the Themis buy. The IAVI partnership uses the same platform as Merck's Ebola vaccine, which won FDA approval late last year. Merck’s vaccines are live attenuated candidates, meaning they use weakened viruses that replicate in the body to generate an immune response. Merck is testing a vaccine that could be given orally, which would “help lower the barrier to vaccination should it be effective,” Merck R&D chief Roger Perlmutter said on a July conference call.
25th Sep 2020 - FiercePharma

Czech coronavirus vaccine successfully passed first phase of testing on rodents

Czech researchers have successfully completed the first phase of vaccine development against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The prototype tested on rodents is safe and elicited an immune response, daily Lidove Noviny reported on September 23. The vaccine has been developed by the National Institute of Public Health (SZU), the Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (UHKT) with the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM). Further development will depend on the decision of the Ministry of Health. The ministry announced the start of the development of the COVID-19 vaccine in early May. The news of the successful completion of the first stage was reported by the ministry's scientists on September 18.
25th Sep 2020 - bne IntelliNews

Why so many people are hopeful about an mRNA coronavirus vaccine

The whole world is watching — including investors and public health specialists — as more than 30 biotech and pharmaceutical companies race to develop a safe Covid-19 vaccine. But there’s a big question lingering over the process: How do we balance safety with speed? The process is moving quickly with several vaccine candidates entering late stage trials in a matter of months. Pfizer and biotech Moderna are two of the companies the White House has chosen to fast track through the FDA’s regulatory process. Both companies are attempting to use messenger RNA, or mRNA, to produce their vaccines, a technology that has never before received regulatory approval....
25th Sep 2020 - CNBC

Sanofi isn't cutting corners in coronavirus vaccine development despite acceleration, CEO says

“We haven’t changed anything in the way we do things, we’ve just accelerated,” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson told CNBC’s Jim Cramer. Hudson expressed confidence in the company’s coronavirus vaccine candidates, noting it produces about a billion doses of other vaccines each other. “We feel pressure to get it right and maintain the standards and to play a big part in helping people get back to normal,” Hudson added on “Mad Money.”
25th Sep 2020 - CNBC

Johnson & Johnson Initiates Pivotal Global Phase 3 Clinical Trial of Janssen's COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

Johnson & Johnson today announced the launch of its large-scale, pivotal, multi-country Phase 3 trial (ENSEMBLE) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, JNJ-78436735, being developed by its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. The initiation of the ENSEMBLE trial follows positive interim results from the Company's Phase 1/2a clinical study, which demonstrated that the safety profile and immunogenicity after a single vaccination were supportive of further development. These results have been submitted to medRxiv and are due to be published online imminently. Based on these results and following discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ENSEMBLE will enroll up to 60,000 volunteers across three continents and will study the safety and efficacy of a single vaccine dose versus placebo in preventing COVID-19.
25th Sep 2020 - Benzinga.com

50 patients infected with coronavirus and 14 dead: How Covid-19 ripped through one Irish hospital

More than 50 patients were infected with Covid-19 in a Dublin hospital over six weeks, and 14 of whom died, according to a pioneering genome study by Irish scientists. The patients in most cases caught the virus from healthcare workers, while an older patient who was agitated and “wandered” the corridors was identified as a potential “super spreader”. The study, conducted at the height of the pandemic, investigated the genome sequences of 52 cases of hospital-acquired Covid-19 over March and April to track its transmission routes. The research sheds new light on how the virus spread across wards and between health workers and finds that, in most cases, the virus was spread to patients by healthcare workers — not the other way around.
25th Sep 2020 - Belfast Telegraph

In the race for a Covid-19 vaccine, here come the tortoises

The race is not always to the swift, as the cocky hare learned in Aesop’s classic fable, “The Hare and the Tortoise.” Those handicapping the so-called competition to develop Covid-19 vaccines would do well to keep an eye on the slower runners in this pursuit. Corporate giants Sanofi and Merck, which got a relatively late start in developing Covid-19 vaccines, may seem far behind the frontrunners. But experts say they also have such deep experience developing and testing vaccine candidates, and producing vaccine at commercial scale, that both could well close the gap considerably in the months ahead. Each is developing two vaccines, in partnership with others.
24th Sep 2020 - STAT News


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Sep 2020

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UK could become first country in world to deliberately infect volunteers with Covid-19 for vaccine test

The UK could host the world's first Covid-19 "human challenge trials" in which healthy volunteers are infected with coronavirus to test the effectiveness of experimental vaccines. The studies are expected to begin in January at a secure quarantine facility in east London, according to a Financial Times report. Those taking part will be inoculated with a vaccine before receiving a “challenge” dose of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, under controlled conditions a month or so later.
24th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Swedish researchers say they've created a 'fast, cheap' COVID-19 test

Researchers in Sweden say they have developed a "fast, cheap, yet accurate" COVID-19 test good for situations in which frequent rescreening is needed and resources are limited.
24th Sep 2020 - UPI.com

BAME: Genetic variation 'unlikely to influence Covid-19 mortality'

Black, Asian, minority ethnic people are 2-3 times more likely to die from virus Researchers say environmental factors and healthcare disparities are to blame They analysed databases for 7 genes associated with viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 But they found no significant differences across populations and ethnic groups
24th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Could a COVID-19 breath test help UK out of lockdown?

A potential COVID-19 breath test has been unveiled in the UK, as the country desperately searches for alternatives to crippling lockdown measures to prevent the disease from spreading. The breath test has been developed by Integumen in collaboration with Modern Water, Avacta and Aptamer Group, which had been working on test that identifies the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in waste water. Based on that technology the companies have designed, built and tested a prototype, Microtox BT, which can analyse the breath and detect the spike protein of the coronavirus in real time. Microtox BT will now be tested at a containment laboratory at the University of Aberdeen, followed by a joint trial of up to 5,000 participants, where results will be compared with standard lab antigen tests.
24th Sep 2020 - pharmaphorum

Fourth large-scale COVID-19 vaccine trial begins in the United States Trial evaluating investigational Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

A fourth Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating an investigational vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun enrolling adult volunteers. The trial is designed to evaluate if the investigational Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (JNJ-78436725) can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 after a single dose regimen. Up to 60,000 volunteers will be enrolled in the trial at up to nearly 215 clinical research sites in the United States and internationally.
24th Sep 2020 - National Institutes of Health

Houston study: More contagious coronavirus strain now dominates

The first study to analyze the structure of the novel coronavirus from two waves of infection in a major city found that a more contagious strain dominates recent samples, researchers from Houston Methodist Hospital said on Wednesday. They examined more than 5,000 genomes from viruses recovered in the earliest phase of the pandemic in Houston, an ethnically diverse city of 7 million, and from an ongoing more recent wave of infections. The study, which has not yet been reviewed by outside experts, found that nearly all strains in the second wave had a mutation, known as D614G, which has been shown to increase the number of “spikes” on the crown-shaped virus.
24th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Novavax starts late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial in UK

Novavax Inc on Thursday started a late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with the UK government’s Vaccines Taskforce. The trial is expected to enroll and test the vaccine on up to 10,000 individuals aged between 18 and 84 years over the next four to six weeks.
24th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Mymetics Starts Preclinical Studies with Baylor College of Medicine for Virosome-based Covid-19 Vaccine

Mymetics has started a Covid-19 vaccine development project based on Mymetics' virosome vaccine carrier platform, which will evaluate different rationally designed SARS-CoV-2 antigens for an effective and safe virosome-based Covid-19 vaccine. In May 2020 Mymetics and Baylor College of Medicine in Texas signed a Research Agreement to preclinically produce and test virosomes incorporating SARS-CoV-2 recombinant proteins. As part of the Research Agreement, Mymetics has successfully produced several virosome vaccine formulations that will now be tested in a preclinical model at Baylor College of Medicine.
23rd Sep 2020 - Biospace.com


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Sep 2020

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Children May Be Less Likely Than Adults to Have Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2

As schools reopen around the world, infectious diseases experts have focused on better understanding the risk of children being asymptomatic spreaders of SARS-CoV-2. A new research letter by investigators in Italy suggests that risk may not be as high as some have feared. The retrospective analysis, published in JAMA Pediatrics, looked at emergency department patients hospitalized during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown from March 1 to April 30 at one hospital in Milan.
23rd Sep 2020 - Contagionlive.com

China's BGI wins 1.5 million coronavirus test kit order from Ethiopia

Ethiopia has agreed to purchase 1.5 million coronavirus testing kits that will be manufactured at a factory in the African country that has been newly built by China's BGI Group, China's state media agency Xinhua said late on Tuesday.
23rd Sep 2020 - YAHOO!

A Kid's Covid Vaccine Isn't Coming Anytime Soon

Parents, brace yourselves: You may be able to get a coronavirus vaccine by next summer, but your kids will have to wait longer — perhaps a lot longer. While a number of vaccines for adults are in advanced clinical trials, there are currently no trials in the United States to determine whether they’re safe and effective for children. “ I’m pretty worried that we won’t have a vaccine available for kids by the start of next school year,” said Dr. Evan Anderson, aprofessor at the Emory University School of Medicine.
23rd Sep 2020 - The New York Times

How close is a coronavirus vaccine?

In total there are more than 300 vaccine candidates, according to the World Health Organization: roughly 40 are being tested on humans, and only nine of those have reached the final stage before possible implementation — phase 3 trials. One of the nine vaccines is being developed in the UK by AstraZeneca at Oxford university; two of the most advanced US candidates come from pharmaceutical company Pfizer, in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, and Moderna; four vaccines are being produced in China by Sinovac Biotech, CanSino Biologics and Sinopharm, which has two different shots in development; and one is being led by US multinational Johnson & Johnson. A Russian vaccine produced by the Gamaleya Research Institute entered phase 3 this month. All nine have already signed purchase agreements with governments around the world.
23rd Sep 2020 - Financial Times

Covid-19: UK volunteers could be given virus to test vaccine

The UK could be the first country in the world to carry out Covid "challenge trials" - where healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to test possible vaccines. It is understood the studies - first reported by the Financial Times - would be conducted in London. The UK government said it was holding discussions about developing a vaccine through such "human challenge studies". No contracts have yet been signed, the BBC understands.
23rd Sep 2020 - BBC News

London coronavirus: Imperial College London scientist reveals when Covid-19 vaccine could be ready

A top London professor has revealed more information about when a coronavirus vaccination could be ready. Professor Robin Shattock, the lead for Imperial College London's Covid-19 vaccine, updated the European Parliament on Tuesday (September 22) on the progress of his team's vaccine. He said that human volunteers seem to be 'responding well' to the vaccine and they are aiming to launch a large 20,000 person trial by the end of this year.
23rd Sep 2020 - My London

Coronavirus: Imperial vaccine could be approved by mid-2021

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by Imperial College London could be approved for use by the middle of next year, an expert has said. Professor Robin Shattock, who is leading the university’s COVID-19 vaccine effort, told the European Parliament trials are showing promising results. He said human volunteers seem to be “responding well” to the vaccine and the aim is to launch a large 20,000-person trial before the end of the year.
23rd Sep 2020 - BBC Focus Magazine

One-dose COVID-19 vaccine tested as US experts say no corners cut

“We feel cautiously optimistic that we will be able to have a safe and effective vaccine, although there is never a guarantee of that,” Dr Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, told a Senate committee. But President Donald Trump is pushing for a shorter timeline than many experts say is adequate to fully test the candidates. On Wednesday he tweeted a link to news about the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine study and said the Food and Drug Administration “must move quickly!” “President Trump is still trying to sabotage the work of our scientists and public health experts for his own political ends,” Senator Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, said before ticking off examples of pressure on the FDA. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said career scientists, not politicians, will decide whether any coronavirus vaccine meets clearly stated standards that it works and is safe.
23rd Sep 2020 - Aljazeera.com


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Imperial’s coronavirus vaccine could be approved by middle of next year, professor reveals

Imperial College London's coronavirus vaccine could be approved for use by the middle of next year, an expert has said. Professor Robin Shattock, who is leading the university’s vaccine effort against Covid-19, told the European Parliament trials are showing promising results. He said human volunteers seem to be “responding well” to the jab and the aim is to launch a large 20,000-person trial before the end of the year.
23rd Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Scientists plead for clarity on AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine trial

Scientists are demanding to know why AstraZeneca’s trial of its Covid-19 vaccine is still on hold in the US while it has been restarted elsewhere, worrying it could damage public trust. The trial was originally halted because a UK participant developed a serious inflammatory condition. In the US it has been on hold for almost two weeks, while trials in other countries including the UK have restarted. Ashish Jha, dean of the school of public health at Brown University, said: “Normally, companies wouldn’t give out information in the middle of a trial, but this is an exceptional case and we need to have radical transparency. Otherwise, there is a risk the public will lose confidence in the whole process.”
22nd Sep 2020 - Financial Times

Chinese state-backed firm expects coronavirus vaccine approval for public use within months

State-backed vaccine maker China National Biotec Group (CNBG) is hopeful of two of its novel coronavirus vaccine candidates receiving conditional regulatory approval for general public use within the year, its vice president said on Tuesday.
22nd Sep 2020 - Reuters UK


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Sep 2020

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CDC develops new nasal swab to test for coronavirus and flu

Receiving a coronavirus and flu test may soon be a one-stop-shop. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed and approved a swab that will test for influenza A, influenza B, and the coronavirus all at the same time. The question now is supply, and whether or not testing sites will be able to use on a large scale. Dr. William Epperson, Tidelands Health director of primary care, says when they usually test for influenza, they swab the nose to get the sample to determine if it’s ‘A’ or ‘B.’ Epperson notes it’s uncomfortable and a bother to do the swab again for a COVID-19, so the CDC came up with the multiplex test to have one sample for everything.
21st Sep 2020 - WMBF

What COVID-19 Does to the Heart

Last Monday, when I called the cardiologist Amy Kontorovich in the late morning, she apologized for sounding tired. “I’ve been in my lab infecting heart cells with SARS-CoV-2 since 6 a.m. this morning,” she said. That might seem like an odd experiment for a virus that spreads through the air, and primarily infects the lungs and airways. But SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic, can also damage the heart. That much was clear in the early months of the pandemic, when some COVID-19 patients would be hospitalized with respiratory problems and die from heart failure. “Cardiologists have been thinking about this since March,” said Kontorovich, who is based at Mount Sinai. “Data have been trickling in.”
21st Sep 2020 - The Atlantic

EXCLUSIVE-EU in early talks with Italy's ReiThera over potential vaccine supply deal -source

Italian biotech ReiThera is in early talks with the European Union about supplying the bloc with its potential COVID-19 vaccine, a source close to the company said, the latest attempt by Brussels to secure shots as the fight against the pandemic intensifies. The discussions come as Brussels seeks to raise more money to shore up supplies of potential inoculations amid concerns demand next year might exceed supply. The talks with ReiThera, which is developing a vaccine together with Germany's Leukocare and Belgium's Univercells, means the European Commission is now speaking with seven vaccine makers including Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N, Moderna MRNA.O, Pfizer PFE.N and CureVac CVAC.O about possible supply deals.
21st Sep 2020 - Nasdaq

GSK to supply up to 300m doses of Covid vaccine

A drugs giant has signed an agreement with the European Commission (EC) for the supply of up to 300 million doses of a Covid vaccine, once the drug is approved. The vaccine candidate is based on technology used by pharmaceutical company Sanofi to produce an influenza vaccine, and adjuvant technology, used by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which has a factory on Harmire Road, in Barnard Castle. This final agreement confirms the announcement made on July 31 by both companies and marks a key milestone in protecting European populations against Covid-19.
21st Sep 2020 - The Northern Echo

Philippines expects to approve Covid vaccine Q2 2021

The Philippines’ purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines can only be made starting the second quarter of 2021 as delays hit the review of possible candidates, an official said. This is a “practical and realistic timeline” as vaccines will go through registration then clinical trials for a number of months, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire says in a virtual briefing. The nation’s Food and Drug Administration has committed to cut the approval process by almost two weeks, she said. The government is still waiting for Russia’s Sputnik V clinical trial data for review, while the trial for potential Covid treatment Avigan, previously set to start Aug. 17, is also pending approval.
21st Sep 2020 - Bangkok Post

Coronavirus: Only one in 10 to be protected from COVID-19 in first year of vaccine use

Just one in 10 of the world's population is likely to be protected against COVID-19 in the first year of a vaccine being made available, experts have told Sky News. Analysis of global manufacturing capacity shows just two billion doses could be made in 2021, even if a vaccine was given the green light by safety regulators at the start of the year. But with seven of the nine prototype vaccines in late-stage clinical trials requiring two doses, that's likely to be enough to immunise only a little over 12% of the 7.8 billion people who need it.
20th Sep 2020 - Sky News


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NUS medical school developing Covid-19 vaccine with Monash University

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Monash University in Australia are developing a Covid-19 vaccine that could be ready for clinical trials by the end of next year. The vaccine, modified from a cancer drug, has undergone animal studies, and researchers are hoping to conduct clinical trials in Singapore and Australia. Called Clec9A-RBD, it is the third coronavirus vaccine that Singapore is involved in developing.
20th Sep 2020 - The Straits Times

Only one in 10 to be protected from coronavirus in first year of vaccine being made available, experts claim

Just one in 10 of the world's 7.8 billion population is likely to be protected against coronavirus in the first year of a vaccine being made available, it has been reported. Experts told Sky News that with seven of the nine prototype vaccines in late-stage clinical trials requiring two doses, there is likely to be enough doses to immunise just over 12 per cent of the global population. Ministers and experts working on vaccine trials have said a treatment could be given approval by Christmas.
20th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Moderna sees 20 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidate...

Moderna said Friday it can make 20 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine by the end of October. By the end of 2021, the company anticipates it can manufacture as many as 500 million doses. CEO Stephane Bancel said this week that the company will likely know if the shot works by November. President Trump has expressed optimism that coronavirus vaccines could be ready before the November 3 election
19th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Moscow takes part in 3rd phase of COVID vaccine trials

The global number of COVID-19 patients passed 30 million this week, and the virus is expected to pick up momentum with the arrival of the fall season as scientists, including Russia's, are striving to develop an effective vaccine against the disease. On Aug. 11, Russia issued a temporary conditional registration to a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology. This kind of registration is issued for medicines which are vital to protect the public health in an emergency such as the coronavirus pandemic. The Russian coronavirus vaccine, named as Gam-COVID-Vac (Gamaleya COVID Vaccine) by the developers and with the trade name Sputnik V (V for the vaccine), has a valid registration until Jan. 1, 2021 and suggests holding a third phase of trials involving up to 40,000 people as well as post-clinical research.
19th Sep 2020 - Anadolu Agency

Covid-19: Phase-III trial of Oxford vaccine to begin in Pune next week

The phase-III human clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) will begin at the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune next week Read more at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/78207558.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
19th Sep 2020 - Times of India

Covid-19 vaccine tracker, Sept 19: India Novavax trials may begin in October

The India trials of a vaccine candidate being developed by American company Novavax is likely to begin in late October, the government said in Lok Sabha on Friday. The Novavax vaccine candidate is currently undergoing phase-2 clinical trials in South Africa. Global phase-3 trials are expected to begin next month. In India, Novavax has entered into an agreement with Pune-based Serum Institute of India for production of 100 million doses of the vaccine. It is expected that at least 50 per cent of this would be meant for supplies within India. “ICMR and SII (Serum Institute of India) have partnered for clinical development of a glycol-protein sub-unit nanoparticle adjuvanted vaccine developed by Novavax from USA. The trial will be initiated in the second half of October after the vaccine is manufactured by Serum Institute. The trial is led by ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in Parliament.
19th Sep 2020 - The Indian Express

Moderna says it is on track to make 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by year-end

Moderna said Friday it can make 20 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine by the end of October. By the end of 2021, the company anticipates it can manufacture as many as 500 million doses. CEO Stephane Bancel said this week that the company will likely know if the shot works by November. President Trump has expressed optimism that coronavirus vaccines could be ready before the November 3 election
19th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Push is underway to test COVID-19 vaccines in diverse groups

In front of baskets of tomatoes and peppers, near a sizzling burrito grill, the “promotoras” stop masked shoppers at a busy Latino farmers market: Want to test a COVID-19 vaccine? Aided by Spanish-speaking “health promoters” and Black pastors, a stepped-up effort is underway around the U.S. to recruit minorities to ensure potential vaccines against the scourge are tested in the populations most ravaged by the virus. Many thousands of volunteers from minority groups are needed for huge clinical trials underway or about to begin. Scientists say a diverse group of test subjects is vital to determining whether a vaccine is safe and effective for everyone and instilling broad public confidence in the shots once they become available
19th Sep 2020 - The Independent

'So far, so good': The view from inside a coronavirus vaccine trial

‘It's very exciting and very motivational, but there is a lot of pressure,’ she said. Dr Oostvogels is steering the human trials of a coronavirus vaccine for German biopharmaceutical firm CureVac, where she is head of their infectious diseases programme and leads its development of vaccines and therapies. Back in January, after returning from Christmas holidays, CureVac’s infectious diseases team started to discuss the outbreak in Wuhan and whether they could work on a vaccine.
18th Sep 2020 - Horizon magazine

Secret blueprints for Covid-19 vaccine trials revealed by Moderna and Pfizer

Moderna and Pfizer revealed their complete blueprints for the late stages of clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. The move added pressure for the other companies developing a vaccine to do the same. In its 135-page document, Moderna estimated they could find a successful vaccine by the end of the year The secret blueprints were released in the hopes that the companies will win the trust of the public. Concerns have been raised that the quick discovery of a vaccine has become too much of a political issue to be deemed safe
18th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Pharma company drastically boosts its potential coronavirus vaccine production

German pharmaceutical company BioNTech, which is currently developing a possible vaccine against the novel coronavirus together with US drug giant Pfizer, announced Thursday it was buying a new production plant in order drastically to increase its production capacities. BioNTech said the acquisition of the vaccine plant in Marburg, Germany, from the pharmaceutical firm Novartis, would allow it to produce tens of millions more vaccine doses a month -- pending regulatory approval -- from next year.
17th Sep 2020 - CNN


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Sep 2020

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Coronavirus is NOT mutating to become more virulent: Scientific review suggests a vaccine is likely to work while debunking the myth the virus was created in a Chinese lab

Study traced the evolutionary origins of the coronavirus back to its origin. Found it is too different to other coronaviruses to have been man-made. The virus has an unusually slow mutation rate and is not changing to become more severe or infectious
18th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Steroid improves survival chances of sickest Covid-19 patients, study involving Cambridge University Hospitals finds

The survival chances for severely ill Covid-19 patients are improved by treating them with the steroid hydrocortisone, research involving Cambridge University Hospitals has shown. Patients had up to a 93 per cent chance of a better outcome if given an intravenous seven-day dose of the drug, results from the REMAP-CAP study suggested.
17th Sep 2020 - Cambridge Independent

US experts stress over safety of AZ's COVID-19 vaccine

US medical experts are reportedly concerned that a neurological side effect picked up in AstraZeneca’s closely-watched COVID-19 vaccine trial could compromise the whole project, as the FDA weighs whether to give the go ahead for US studies to resume. While tests of the vaccine co-developed with Oxford University have resumed in the UK, experts from the US National Institutes of Health have launched an investigation into the incident, which is still being kept under wraps by the UK pharma for patient confidentiality reasons. Side-effects that caused AstraZeneca to pause its coronavirus vaccine trial are unlikely to be caused by the shot according to documents posted online and cited in other press reports – but the FDA is yet to give the go ahead for US testing to restart.
17th Sep 2020 - pharmaphorum

NIH hands out seven digital health contracts to fight COVID-19

The US National Institutes of Health has awarded seven contracts to companies and academic institutions to develop digital health solutions to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the US-government funded NIH, the work could lead to user-friendly tools like smartphone apps, wearable devices, and software that can identify and trace contacts of infected individuals, keep track of verified COVID-19 test results, and monitor the health status of infected and potentially infected individuals. The NIH’s The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), selected the seven projects from nearly 200 ideas. Contracts are being awarded in two phases – initial awards will go to pilot projects to demonstrate feasibility, after which the NIH has an option to provide additional funding for further development.
17th Sep 2020 - pharmaphorum

An 'uncoordinated' immune response may explain why COVID-19 strikes some hard, particularly the elderly

Even a world-class orchestra will produce a cacophony if its strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections don’t play in harmony. Similarly, the sophisticated human immune system can fail to beat back a pathogen if its many players don’t hit the right notes at the right times. A new study now finds that people who suffer the most from COVID-19 have an immune response that’s out of sync. The results help clarify how the disease progresses and could possibly inform how best to use various treatments and how to design the most effective vaccines. “We need to know exactly how the immune response is shaped to this virus,” says Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University who was not involved in the research. “This is probably the most comprehensive analysis of virus-specific immunity in people who either had COVID or are acutely infected.”
17th Sep 2020 - Science Magazine

Pfizer vaccine trial bets on early win against coronavirus, documents show

Pfizer Inc is betting that its coronavirus vaccine candidate will show clear evidence of effectiveness early in its clinical trial, according to the company and internal documents reviewed by Reuters that describe how the trial is being run. Pfizer’s clinical trial protocol outlines for the company, scientists and regulators how the drugmaker could show that its vaccine meets efficacy and safety standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A company’s protocol is submitted to the FDA for review and is overseen by an independent panel of experts known as a Data and Safety Monitoring Board.
17th Sep 2020 - Reuters


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In Covid-19 vaccine race, China inoculates thousands before trials are completed

This has raised concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing. China is inoculating tens of thousands of its citizens with experimental coronavirus vaccines and attracting international interest in their development, despite expert concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing. China launched a vaccine emergency use programme in July, offering three experimental shots developed by a unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech. A fourth Covid-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
16th Sep 2020 - Business Line

Turkey begins Phase III trials of Chinese coronavirus vaccine - minister

Turkey began final Phase III trials of an experimental Chinese coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, the health minister said. “The first administration of the Sinovac vaccine was started with three healthcare workers at Hacettepe University, who volunteered to take part in the trials,” Fahrettin Koca told a news conference. The vaccine will be administered to between 1,200 and 1,300 health workers over 10 days and a second dose will be given 14 days after the first, broadcasters CNN Turk and Haberturk reported earlier. The results of the trial will be sent the World Health Organization (WHO).
16th Sep 2020 - Reuters

ERS Studies Highlight Long-Term Effects of COVID-19

In May, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro famously (or infamously) referred to COVID-19 as the “little flu.” Clearly, the grim figures on deaths attributed to the virus—in his country, and elsewhere—have proved him wrong, but research presented during the European Respiratory Society International Congress on September 7 should also cause him to take note. Together, the 2 studies suggest that COVID-19 patients may suffer long-term lung and heart damage—although, for many, it resolves over time. For the first paper, researchers working in a COVID-19 “hotspot” in Austria recruited their first 86 consecutive patients in May and early June (they now have more than 150 enrolled). The patients returned for evaluation 6, 12 and 24 weeks following their discharge from St. Vinzenz Hospital in Zams and underwent clinical examination, laboratory test, analysis of the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in arterial blood, lung function tests (FEV1 and DLCO), computed tomography (CT) scans, and echocardiograms at each visit.
16th Sep 2020 - Contagionlive.com

Trial backs Lilly's Olumiant plus remdesivir as combo COVID-19 therapy -

Adding Eli Lilly’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant (baricitinib) and Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir reduces recovery time in COVID-19 patients compared to remdesivir alone, says a new trial. The ACTT-2 trial, funded by the US government and run by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), involved COVID-19 patients who had been hospitalised because of severe symptoms. It showed that the median time to recovery for the combination was roughly a day shorter than with remdesivir alone, which was a modest but statistically significant improvement. Lilly now intends to discuss an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for Olumiant with the FDA and other regulators and says that because the drug is already approved it should be made available “through commercial channels.”
16th Sep 2020 - pharmaphorum

Experts say new treatments and local lockdowns will keep coronavirus under better control

Government experts believe a second wave of coronavirus wouldn't be as bad. They suggest local lockdowns and social distancing would reduce the impact There are also hopes that a vaccine could be ready by as early as next spring
16th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Pfizer says "no safety signal" in late-stage study of COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2

Pfizer said that subjects in its Phase III study of BNT162b2, a candidate mRNA-based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, have so far exhibited only mild-to-moderate side effects, with fatigue being the most common. The company, which is developing the vaccine as part of a collaboration with BioNTech, noted that over 12,000 participants have now received a second dose of BNT162b2. "So far there has been no safety signal reported," remarked Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer's chief scientific officer. The drugmaker noted that more than 29,000 people have been recruited into the study, which has a target enrolment of 44,000.
16th Sep 2020 - First Word Pharma

The root cause of excess covid infections in the care home sector: 30 years of market driven policies

Any root cause analysis into the excess deaths from covid-19 in the UK’s care homes must consider the decisions taken by policy makers over the past three decades which may have created the optimal conditions for the virus to spread among older people in institutional settings. Those decisions—taken by long departed government ministers—led to the intentional creation of a market in social care, the consequential casualisation of the social care workforce and the treatment of some care home residents as a source of income and revenue for international private financiers. Take for example, the emerging evidence which suggests that the size of a care home maybe a causal factor in the rates of infection from covid and patient deaths. Research from NHS Lothian (published on a pre-print) appears to show a correlation between the size of the home and the spread of the virus; thus in homes containing fewer than 20 residents, the chance of an outbreak was 5%, but in homes with 60 to 80 residents the likelihood increased to between 83% and 100%.
16th Sep 2020 - The BMJ

WHO Europe background document in preparation to the High-level virtual briefing for ministers of health on “schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic”

Schooling in the time of COVID-19 - Towards a consensus on schooling in the European Region during the COVID-19 pandemic This working paper serves as a reference point for national education and health authorities as they seek to plan and implement effective schooling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally prepared to inform the high-level meeting on “Schooling in the time of COVID-19” held on 31 August 2020, it seeks to provide a general framework and upstream considerations for decision-makers.
31st Aug 2020 - WHO


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Long-term health effects of Covid-19 could cause a ‘cycle of illness,’ scientists warn

The long-term health effects of Covid-19 could cause a "cycle of illness" and strain care systems, researchers have warned. Many coronavirus patients have reported debilitating symptoms months after initially falling ill, with common "long Covid" symptoms including breathlessness, chronic fatigue and brain fog. The reasons behind them are still unknown, scientists said. Dr Rachael Evans, a co-investigator on a UK-wide investigation into the long-term effects of Covid-19 for patients admitted to hospital, said: "At the moment it is just so unknown.
15th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Aurobindo Pharma ties up with BIRAC to develop COVID-19 vaccine

Aurobindo Pharma on Tuesday announced collaboration with the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), set up by the Department of Biotechnology for the development of COVID-19 vaccine. BIRAC has facilitated the establishment of 'the r-VSV vaccine' manufacturing platform for the first time in India by supporting Aurobindo Pharma’s COVID-19 vaccine development, the company said in a regulatory filing.
15th Sep 2020 - Moneycontrol.com

Chinese citizens can receive COVID-19 vaccines as early as November

Wu Guifen, chief biosafety expert of China's CDC, announced the news Monday She said the clinical trials for the unnamed vaccines were 'proceeding smoothly' China launched an emergency COVID-19 vaccine scheme for key workers in July It has four of the world's eight vaccines that are being tested in the final stage
15th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Analysis of COVID-19 spread from China, Italy and Iran

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over nine hundred thousand lives around the world and infected over 29 million individuals. The SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019, from where it rapidly spread around the world. SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious and rapidly spreads from one person to another. In this new study, the researchers looked at exported COVID-19 cases by country and the time taken between entry until case confirmation for the exported cases using publicly available data.
15th Sep 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Brazil authorises additional 5,000 volunteers for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa on Tuesday authorised AstraZeneca PLC to test its COVID-19 vaccine on an additional 5,000 volunteers in the country for clinical Phase III trials, the Sao Paulo university coordinating the test said. The increase, in addition to 5,000 volunteers already recruited and being vaccinated, will help provide more solid results on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, the Federal University of Sao Paulo said in a statement. It said volunteers over the age of 18 were being sought in the states of Rio Grande do Norte and Rio Grande do Sul, at opposite ends of Brazil. Anvisa has waived the age limit that was 69 years previously, so older volunteers can be vaccinated.
15th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK


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Researchers gain head start in coronavirus vaccine race

Cell and gene therapies have made impressive progress in recent years but have rarely grabbed the headlines. Now the coronavirus pandemic, and the race to develop vaccines and treatments, have pushed them into the global spotlight. Advocates say that their potential efficacy, and the speed with which testable doses can be developed, may give them the edge over more conventional approaches.
15th Sep 2020 - Financial Times

China Begins Human Trial for First COVID-19 Nasal Spray Vaccine

China has approved a nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine candidate for clinical trial in humans that could be more effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus through the respiratory tracts and serve as an alternative to painful injections. The nasal spray vaccine candidate against COVID-19 has been developed by the State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases of the University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) in partnership with the Xiamen University (Fujian, China) and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co. (Beijing, China).
14th Sep 2020 - HospiMedica

It’s time to focus on potential long-term organ damage from covid-19

New cases of covid-19 are declining across the country, so it's tempting to wonder whether the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Not by a long shot. Even as cases decline, it is possible we could soon be grappling with the burden of prolonged or permanent organ damage among the millions of people who have survived covid-19. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the long-term effects of this disease, but they could cripple not just these “survivors" but also our health-care system and our economy, too. The latest research suggests that this novel coronavirus does widespread damage to blood vessels far beyond the lungs — and is thus far more dangerous than previously thought.
14th Sep 2020 - Washington Post

Drugmaker says anti-inflamatory medicine may shorten COVID-19 recovery time

A drugmaker announced Monday that its arthritis drug shortens the number of days in the hospital for COVID-19 patients when used in combination with Remdesivir, another drug already used widely to treat the disease.
14th Sep 2020 - The Hill on MSN.com

Oxford University scientists to carry out first major trial of a tailor-made Covid-19 'antibody cocktail' on hospitalised patients to see if it treats the disease

The therapy REGN-COV2 will be trialled on up to 2,000 people in UK hospitals. It was developed using immune system antibodies from real recovered patients. Oxford University's RECOVERY trial to compare the drug to standard care. RECOVERY has already proven life-saving potential of steroid dexamethasone
14th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

AstraZeneca resumes COVID-19 vaccine trials in UK; awaits regulators elsewhere

AstraZeneca has resumed UK clinical trials for its Oxford coronavirus vaccine, having paused all trials last week for a safety review. Other late-stage global trials, however, remain on hold while AstraZeneca waits for regulators in each market.
14th Sep 2020 - BioPharma-Reporter.com

At least 2000 patients to receive new Covid-19 therapy in clinical trial

An antibody treatment that could lessen the impact of Covid-19 is to be trialled on patients in UK hospitals. The Recovery trial, co-ordinated by the University of Oxford, will assess the impact of giving patients REGN-COV2 alongside usual standard care to see if it lessens the severity of Covid-19 and can reduce deaths. In June, the Recovery trial, which includes 176 UK hospital sites, found that a cheap steroid called dexamethasone could save the lives of people with severe Covid infection. In the new phase 3 study, at least 2,000 patients will be randomly allocated to receive REGN-COV2 plus usual care, and the results will be compared with at least 2,000 patients not on the therapy.
14th Sep 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Tracing asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers among 3674 hospital staff:a cross-sectional survey

A total of 3764 hospital staff were included in this single-center cross-sectional study. Among them, 126 hospital staff had abnormal findings, and the proportion of asymptomatic infection accounted for 0.76% (28/3674). There were 26 staff with IgM+, 73 with IgG+, and 40 with ground glass shadow of chest CT. Of all staff with abnormal findings, the older they are, the more likely they are to be the staff with abnormal results, regardless of their gender. Of 3674 hospital staff, the positive rate of labor staff is obviously higher than that of health care workers (HCWs) and administrative staff (P<0.05). In the course of participating in the treatment of COVID-19, there was no statistically significant difference in positive rates between high-risk departments and low-risk departments (P>0.05). The positive rate of HCWs who participated in the COVID-19 knowledge training was lower than those did not participate in early training (P <0.01). Importantly, it was found that there was no statistical difference between the titers of IgM antibody of asymptomatic infections and confirmed patients with COVID-19 in recovery period (P>0.05). During 3 weeks follow-up, all asymptomatic patients did not present the development of clinical symptoms or radiographic abnormalities after active intervention in isolation point.
14th Sep 2020 - The Lancet

UK signs €1.4bn deal for Valneva coronavirus vaccine

The UK government has inked a €1.4bn (£1.3bn) deal to secure up to 190m doses of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by French biotech firm Valneva. Under the terms of the deal, Valneva will supply the government with 60m doses in the second half of 2021 at a cost of €470m. The UK then has options over 40m doses in 2022 and a further 30m to 90m up to 2025, with total possible revenue of €900m.
14th Sep 2020 - City A.M.

Coronavirus: UK to test inhaled vaccines

UK researchers are to begin trials of inhaled coronavirus vaccines. Delivering doses directly to the lungs might give a better immune response than conventional jabs, they say. The Imperial College London team will use two frontrunners already in development - the Oxford one recently paused in trials and one from Imperial that entered human testing in June. There are nearly 180 candidates being explored globally - but none has yet reached the end goal.
14th Sep 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus vaccine could give 'positive results' by Christmas and 'roll out in 9 months'

A coronavirus vaccine could be rolled out in the UK nine months from now - with trials hoping to report 'positive' results before Christmas, a leading scientist has said. Prof Peter Openshaw, who advises the government's SAGE group, said there were reasons for a glimmer of hope after a major trial was restarted following a patient's unexplained illness yesterday. But he and other scientists made clear a vaccine will not be ready in time for any second wave this winter. Prof Openshaw said "before the winter of 2021/22", there may a vaccine that is effective. But he also cautioned that it would not be available that soon in every country in the world.
14th Sep 2020 - Mirror Online

Moderna's Late-Stage Coronavirus Vaccine Study Hits 78% Enrollment

Moderna Inc, which is one of the three companies outside of China to have moved its coronavirus vaccine candidates into late-stage trials, is close to completing targeted enrollment into the study. As of Friday, Moderna said it has enrolled 23,497 participants — or roughly 78% of the targeted number of 30,000 — into the Phase 3 study dubbed COVE, which is evaluating its mRNA-1273 against the novel coronavirus. The company further said about 27% of the participants enrolled in the study are from diverse communities. "Working together with collaborators, the company hopes to achieve a shared goal that the participants in the COVE Study are representative of the communities at highest risk for COVID-19 and of our diverse society," Moderna said.
14th Sep 2020 - Benzinga

Pfizer proposes expanding Covid-19 vaccine trial to include more diversity as race for a vaccine continues

The race for a coronavirus vaccine shows no signs of slowing as more companies move their vaccine candidates through clinical trials, growing closer to determining which will be considered safe and effective. One such candidate is in development by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which announced along with its German partner BioNTech on Saturday they proposed expanding Phase 3 clinical trials to include 44,000 participants and more diverse patient populations, including people as young as 16. That's up from the initial plan of 30,000 participants, a benchmark they plan to meet next week, according to a news release. The proposal, which would need approval by the Food and Drug Administration, would allow the companies to collect more data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate while diversifying the pool of participants.
13th Sep 2020 - CNN


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Coronavirus vaccines: main contenders in the global race and when they could be available

The Oxford vaccine - STATUS - Doses are being manufactured to supply the NHS but there are no guarantees they will work. In July an early-stage trial involving about 1,100 healthy volunteers showed that the jab stimulated the kind of “robust immune responses” the researchers had hoped for. No side effects deemed to be dangerous were reported. Trials in Britain, South Africa and Brazil have recruited about 17,000 people. Another trial in the US, which aims to recruit a further 30,000, started injecting volunteers about a week ago and has now been paused.
10th Sep 2020 - The Times

Safety first: how to run a Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial | News | Wellcome

The world is waiting eagerly for Covid-19 vaccines to be developed as quickly as possible. But to make sure they are safe and effective, the clinical trials that test them have to be robust. So how do trials achieve this?
11th Sep 2020 - Wellcome Trust

Covid-19 antibodies 'decline sharply' after one month, study suggests

The antibody response in patients who have recovered from coronavirus is not typically strong, and declines sharply one month after hospital discharge, a new study suggests. A better understanding of antibody responses against Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, will provide fundamental information for developing effective treatments and a preventive vaccine , experts say. In the study researchers monitored Sars-CoV-2-specific antibody responses in 19 non-severe and seven severe Covid-19 patients for seven weeks from disease onset.
13th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

AstraZeneca resumes UK trials of COVID-19 vaccine halted by patient illness

AstraZeneca has resumed British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development, after getting the green light from safety watchdogs, the company said on Saturday.
12th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Pfizer, BioNTech propose expanding COVID-19 vaccine trial to 44,000 volunteers

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE on Saturday proposed to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand their Phase 3 pivotal COVID-19 vaccine trial to about 44,000 participants while increasing the diversity of the trial population. The initial target figure for the trial was up to 30,000 participants, which the companies said they expect to reach by next week. The proposed expansion would also allow the companies to enroll people as young as 16 and people with chronic, stable HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B, they added.
12th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Oxford University resumes Covid-19 vaccine trials

The closely watched trial of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine that was halted after a participant fell ill is to resume in the UK. The University of Oxford, which has partnered with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to pilot the study, said that the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had recommended that its trials resume after an independent committee review of safety data triggered a pause last week. In a statement, the university said: “Globally some 18,000 individuals have received study vaccines as part of the trial. In large trials such as this, it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety.”
12th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Bharat Biotech’s Covid vaccine generated 'robust immune response' on animals

Hyderabad-based vaccine major Bharat Biotech has announced that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin, during its testing on animal rhesus macaques, has develop a “robust immune response” to the highly infectious coronavirus, “preventing infection and disease in the primates upon high amounts of exposure to live SARS-CoV-2 virus."
12th Sep 2020 - Times of India

The underdog coronavirus vaccines the world will need if front runners stumble

As leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies fast-track COVID-19 vaccines through clinical trials, smaller developers face a battle to get their candidates noticed.
12th Sep 2020 - Nature.com

Oxford’s Sir John Bell: ‘We’re not going to beat the second wave’

At lunchtime on Tuesday, Sir John Bell received a call telling him that the groundbreaking Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial would, regretfully, be paused. Hours later, news of an urgent investigation into an “unexplained illness” in one of the trial volunteers began spreading across the world. It was, as White House adviser Anthony Fauci described it, “unfortunate”- Bell thought it unsurprising and the system was workinhg well
12th Sep 2020 - Telegraph.co.uk

The Covid-19 vaccine gamble: where bets have been placed and why

The UK has ordered a total of 340m doses of potential coronavirus vaccines from six manufacturers. The EU has done a deal said to be worth €2.4bn (£2.2bn) with one developer, while the US has orders with six companies for 800m doses under Operation Warp Speed, with options on a further 1.6bn. Wealthy countries are paying upfront for something that has not yet been proven to work, willing to spend whatever it takes to get their economies running again. And yet they could have backed the wrong horse. It is a lottery on an unprecedented scale. They have rolled the dice and cannot know whether the gamble will pay off. Earlier this week, the frontrunner the UK and EU have ordered, the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, was paused after a volunteer became ill. It may not be vaccine-related, but such things can happen.
12th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

China coronavirus vaccine: Over 100,000 people receive experimental Covid-19 vaccine

China has taken a shortcut in the global sprint to develop and deliver vaccines for the novel coronavirus. Sinopharm, the state-owned company developing two of China’s leading vaccine candidates, told China National Radio on Monday that it has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens — even though the company’s phase 3 clinical trials have not yet concluded. Individuals received one of two Sinopharm vaccines in development in an emergency use program launched by the Chinese government in late July, which also authorized a third vaccine, CoronaVac, developed by the privately owned drugmaker Sinovac Biotech. Under Chinese vaccine law, such authorization is allowed within a certain scope and time frame during a health emergency. China’s top vaccine official mentioned front-line medical workers and customs officials when he first announced the program, implying these high-risk groups had been prioritized to receive the still-experimental vaccines.
11th Sep 2020 - Vox.com

Transmission Dynamics of COVID-19 Outbreaks Associated with Child Care Facilities — Salt Lake City, Utah, April–July 2020

Children aged ≥10 years have been shown to transmit SARS-CoV-2 in school settings. Twelve children acquired COVID-19 in child care facilities. Transmission was documented from these children to at least 12 (26%) of 46 nonfacility contacts (confirmed or probable cases). One parent was hospitalized. Transmission was observed from two of three children with confirmed, asymptomatic COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 Infections among young children acquired in child care settings were transmitted to their household members. Testing of contacts of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in child care settings, including children who might not have symptoms, could improve control of transmission from child care attendees to family members.
11th Sep 2020 - CDC.gov


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Oxford vaccine could be approved by Christmas despite suspended trials, say AstraZeneca CEO

The chief executive of AstraZeneca has said it is "still feasible" for the Oxford vaccine to be approved by regulators by the end of this year. Pascal Soriot made the comments during an event hosted by media organisation Tortoise on Thursday. It comes after AstraZeneca said on Tuesday night that the late-stage studies of the vaccine had been paused while the company investigates whether a patient’s reported side effect is connected with the vaccine. A review is being conducted by an independent panel of experts to determine whether the patient's illness is linked to the trial. Mr Soriot said: “Then of course it depends on how fast the regulator will review and give approval, so we could still have a vaccine by the end of this year or maybe early next year."
11th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

Serum Institute puts India trials of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on hold

Serum Institute of India has put on hold trials of AstraZeneca's potential Covid-19 vaccine in the country until the British drugmaker confirms it wishes to restart them, the company said on Thursday.
11th Sep 2020 - Reuters

180 COVID-19 vaccines in development, says WHO

Around 180 vaccines to combat COVID-19 are in development worldwide, including 35 in human trials, the WHO chief said on Friday. "No disease in history has seen such rapid development in research. It's a testament to the incredible advances in science and technology the world has made in recent years," Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva. "It must be matched by its ambition to ensure as many people as possible have access to them." When journalists asked about differing claims on vaccines' arrival, including an aspiration by US President Donald Trump to have one by October, the WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said people should remember that "clinical trials take time."
11th Sep 2020 - Anadolu Agency

Delayed immune responses may make COVID-19 deadly for elderly people

University of Washington analyzed swabs from 500 people tested for coronavirus for differences in people of different ages and sexes. They found signs that genes that turn on the immune response in elderly people get activated more slowly than those in younger people. Genes that should turn the immune system 'off' to keep inflammation from getting out of control are less active in men
10th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Oxford Covid-19 vaccine is still possible this year, says AstraZeneca chief

AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine could still be available by the end of the year, or early next year, according to the company’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, despite clinical trials being paused after a volunteer fell ill. AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which are jointly developing the vaccine and testing it on 50,000 to 60,000 people around the world, halted trials on Wednesday to investigate the “potentially unexpected illness” of one participant. Soriot was unable to say when the trial would resume, but said “I still think we are on track for having a set of data that we would submit before the end of the year” for regulatory approval. They “could still have a vaccine by the end of this year, early next year”, depending on how fast the regulator moves, he added.
10th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

AstraZeneca vaccine trial pause a "wake-up call", ...

AstraZeneca's pause of an experimental vaccine for the coronavirus after the illness of a participant is a "wake-up call" but should not discourage researchers, the World Health Organization's (WHO) chief scientist said on Thursday. "This is a wake-up call to recognise that there are ups and downs in clinical development and that we have to be prepared," Soumya Swaminathan told a virtual briefing from Geneva. "We do not have to be discouraged. These things happen." Governments are desperate for a vaccine to help end the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused more than 900,000 deaths and global economic turmoil, and the WHO had flagged AstraZeneca's, being developed with Oxford University, as the most promising.
10th Sep 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Headaches and delirium: coronavirus can invade brain, study says

Preliminary study suggests virus is able to replicate inside the brain, and its presence starves nearby brain cells of oxygen. Neurological impacts could also have been the result an abnormal immune response known as a cytokine storm
10th Sep 2020 - South China Morning Post

N.I.H. Director Undercuts Trump’s Comments on Covid-19 Vaccines

Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, took issue on Wednesday with President Trump’s suggestion that a coronavirus vaccine would be available by Election Day, as he repeatedly sought to reassure senators and the public that a vaccine would not be made available to the public unless it was safe and effective. “Certainly, to try to predict whether it happens on a particular week before or after a particular date in early November is well beyond anything that any scientist right now could tell you and be confident they know what they are saying,” Dr. Collins told a Senate panel at a hearing on the effort to find a vaccine.
9th Sep 2020 - The New York Times


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AstraZeneca May Resume COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Next Week:

British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc could resume trials for its experimental coronavirus vaccine next week, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people associated with the trials. The London-listed firm had to pause global trials of its potential vaccine for COVID-19 after an unexplained illness in a participant, which sent its shares lower as the move was seen as dimming prospects for an early rollout.
9th Sep 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Regeneron expects to report biomarker data for COVID-19 therapy by September end

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said on Wednesday it expects to report biomarker data for its COVID-19 antibody cocktail by the end of this month. The drugmaker last month struck a partnership with Roche to make and supply the Covid-19 antibody cocktail, which is being tested on several hundreds of patients after it prevented and treated the respiratory disease in animals.
9th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Study finds no increased COVID-19 risk for train staff in Germany

Staff in long-distance trains of Deutsche Bahn were not subject to an increased risk of infection with COVID-19, according to an ongoing study of around 1,000 employees published by the German state-owned rail operator on Wednesday. Only one Deutsche Bahn employee tested positive for COVID-19, according to first results of the study by Deutsche Bahn and the Charite Research Organization (CRO). The aim of the study is to gain scientifically sound findings on the occurrence of infections on trains. It was important that train staff were "not exposed to an increased risk of falling ill with COVID-19," said Martin Seiler, member of the management board for human resources and legal affairs at Deutsche Bahn.
9th Sep 2020 - Xinhua

Drugmaker Pauses Covid-19 Vaccine Trial for Safety Review

Britain is expected to limit most social gatherings to six people after a spike in cases. A political uproar quashed plans for targeted lockdowns in Israel. People caught maskless in Indonesia were told to lie in a coffin as punishment.
9th Sep 2020 - The New York Times

Why COVID-19 is more deadly in people with obesity—even if they're young

Science's COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Heising-Simons Foundation. This spring, after days of flulike symptoms and fever, a man arrived at the emergency room at the University of Vermont Medical Center. He was young—in his late 30s—and adored his wife and small children. And he had been healthy, logging endless hours running his own small business, except for one thing: He had severe obesity. Now, he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was increasingly short of breath. He was admitted directly to the intensive care unit (ICU) and was on a ventilator within hours. Two weeks later, he died.
9th Sep 2020 - Science Magazine

Could face masks build IMMUNITY to Covid-19? Scientists theorise

Masks, particularly surgical and cloth ones worn by most, are not perfect. They allow small viral particles to slip through filters into people's airways. This may be helping train people's bodies to be able to fight Covid infection
9th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Brazil trials of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine show promising results, governor says

The governor of Brazil's Sao Paulo state said on wednesday that Phase 3 clinical trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech have shown promising results and it may be available to Brazilians as early as December. Governor Joao Doria added that Phase 2 trials of the potential vaccine had shown an immune response of 98% in the elderly.
9th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

UK science adviser: other vaccine trials also likely to be paused

Other COVID-19 vaccine trials are likely to be paused at some point the British government's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance, said, describing a pause in the trial of an AstraZeneca vaccine as "not good" but a sensible step.
9th Sep 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation


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Rates of Child Hospitalization Similar Between COVID-19, Flu: Study

While adults face raised odds for hospitalization with COVID-19, a new study shows that the risk for kids infected with SARS-CoV-2 is about equal to that seen with influenza. The researchers found that kids with COVID-19 or the seasonal flu have similar rates of hospitalization, admission to intensive care units (ICUs) and ventilator use. But the average age of children hospitalized differed: The average child hospitalized with COVID-19 was about 10 years of age, while kids hospitalized with flu average just over 4 years of age.
8th Sep 2020 - HealthDay News

LabCorp to launch single home swab test spanning COVID-19, the flu & RSV

LabCorp announced plans to launch a new at-home COVID-19 diagnostic that allows people to also get tested for the flu and respiratory syncytial virus from a single sample. The combined test is currently offered through doctors’ offices, hospitals and other healthcare providers, while the future, home-based version will be made available through LabCorp’s Pixel service, pending the FDA’s review and authorization. “The U.S. is facing the most challenging health crisis in a century and is about to enter flu season, which has the potential to put additional strain on our healthcare system and cost lives,” said Brian Caveney, LabCorp Diagnostics’ president and chief medical officer.
8th Sep 2020 - FierceBiotech

Coronavirus mutation rate faster in Bangladesh than global average: BCSIR

Coronavirus mutation rate in Bangladesh is faster than the global average and virus is changing rapidly, according to a study by Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR). It found the coronavirus mutation rate in the world at 7.23 per cent, while the rate in Bangladesh is 12.6 per cent. This information was given by a research team of the Genomic Research Laboratory of BCSIR. The observation was made at a press conference on Sunday morning. The study result was based on data of 263 cases of genome sequencing. The samples were collected between 7 May and 31 July.
8th Sep 2020 - Prothom Alo English

Hundreds of thousands have been given Covid-19 vaccines without a single infection, Chinese drug firm says

An official from China National Biotec Group says the evidence from an emergency use scheme suggests the products are working. Company is also confident its vaccines can offer protection for up to three years.
8th Sep 2020 - South China Morning Post

Study shows COVID-19 vaccine may not be as effective among obese people

Obese people who become infected with COVID-19 are nearly 50% more likely to die from it and any potential vaccine may not be as effective, researchers have said. The newly published study used coronavirus data from around the world and is likely to ramp up the pressure for governments around the world to take urgent action to tackle obesity. The US and UK have some of the highest obesity rates in the world. According to figures by the American government, more than 40% of US citizens are obese and in England, the condition impacts 27% of adults.
8th Sep 2020 - Diabetes.co.uk

What bats can teach us about developing immunity to Covid-19

Viruses love bats. The flying nocturnal mammals make outstanding hosts because — just like people — they live in large, dense groups, their air travel spreads germs between populations and their longevity enables a virus to persist for years in an individual animal. The big difference is that bats’ remarkable immune system tames and tolerates many viruses that cause havoc when they spread to humans, including the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19. “We should look at what bats are doing to control the virus and emulate that in some way,” says Bernard Crespi, professor of evolutionary biology at Simon Fraser University in Canada, one of a growing group of scientists finding clues to the pandemic through bat immunology.
8th Sep 2020 - Financial Times

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine trials put on hold after suspected 'serious' reaction

Late stage trials for the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University have been put on hold. A 'serious adverse event,' a possible reaction to the shot was reported in the UK. It's not clear what happened to the individual, but an adverse event is considered 'serious' if it requires hospitalization, is life-threatening or deadly. Stat News reported that the individual is expected to recover, but little else is known about their identity. It is not clear if regulators, AstraZeneca or Oxford called for the trial hold. The shot was dubbed the best hope for a vaccine by the WHO and is one of nine in phase three trials - the last tests before approval can be sought
8th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

London NHS staff join trial to see if 'super sniffer' dogs can detect coronavirus

London NHS workers have been recruited to a trial that aims to determine whether dogs can sniff out Covid-19. A team of 25 volunteers from University College Hospital (UCLH) in Euston are allowing trained “bio-detection dogs” to smell their socks and T-shirts to see if they can detect whether a person has the virus. They are among 3,500 NHS staff nationwide signed up in the trial. The £500,000 government-sponsored project is being led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University.
8th Sep 2020 - Evening Standard

China expands supply of seasonal flu vaccine; urgent-use COVID-19 vaccinations exceed 100000

China is reportedly expanding the supply of seasonal flu vaccines this year as more people are expected to seek an inoculation in the face of a double threat from the flu and COVID-19. Newly developed COVID-19 vaccination are being administered for urgent use. More than 15 million doses of the seasonal flu vaccine have been approved for market this year, but experts expect 50 million doses, double the number in 2019, will be approved, the Beijing News reported on Tuesday, Approval procedures are also being accelerated, as nearly 7 million doses were approved in the first eight days of September, according to the report. Some Chinese cities like Shanghai, Shijiazhuang and Zhangjiakou in North China's Hebei Province and Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province also reportedly launched this year's vaccination campaign against flu earlier than usual. Zhangjiakou started offering vaccinations as early as August, according to media report. National authorities are preparing for the possibility that more people will want to get vaccinated against the flu this year, Lü Mengtao, operation director of Beijing Zhimed Medical Science, told the Global Times on Tuesday. The immunization rate against the flu is not very high in China, but the COVID-19 epidemic has raised awareness of vaccines, so more people will want to be inoculated this year, said Lü.
8th Sep 2020 - Global Times

Covid-19: what happens when flu season hits? (part 1) – podcast

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, flu season is quickly approaching. This raises an important question: what will it mean for Covid-19? Could hospitals be overloaded? Is co-infection likely and could it make symptoms worse? Or, will transmission of Sars-CoV-2 prevent the spread of seasonal influenza? In the first of two parts, Ian Sample addresses the question of flu and Covid-19 by investigating how different respiratory viruses interact. Speaking with Prof Pablo Murcia, Ian explores the interplay when viruses meet – both on a population level, and on the human scale
8th Sep 2020 - The Guardian


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Covid-19 vaccine developers prepare joint safety pledge: Wall Street Journal

Several Covid-19 vaccine developers, including Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna Inc, plan to issue a public pledge not to seek government approval until their vaccine candidates are proven to be safe and effective, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday (Sept 4). The companies would pledge to adhere to high scientific and ethical standards in the conduct of clinical studies and in their manufacturing processes, the Journal report said, citing the draft of a joint statement that is still being finalised. The companies might issue the pledge as soon as early next week, the report added, citing two people familiar with the matter
7th Sep 2020 - The Straits Times

60,000 may have 'long Covid' for more than three months – UK study

Up to 60,000 people in the UK may have been suffering from “long Covid” for more than three months, unable to get the care they need to recover from prolonged and debilitating symptoms. Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London who runs the app-based Covid symptom study, said around 300,000 people had reported symptoms lasting for more than a month. A minority have been suffering for longer; up to 60,000 people have reported having symptoms for more than three months. Some cases are mild, but others are seriously debilitating, with breathlessness and fatigue. Some people have had to use wheelchairs. Others say attempting to carry out everyday tasks such as shopping or even climbing the stairs can leave them bedridden for days.
8th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Fatigue and headache most common Covid symptoms in children – study

Fatigue, headache and fever are the most common symptoms of coronavirus in children, with few developing a cough or losing their sense of taste or smell, researchers have found, adding to calls for age-specific symptom checklists. The NHS lists three symptoms as signs of Covid-19 in adults and children: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change in the sense of smell or taste. However, the team behind the Covid symptom study app say new data shows that the disease presents differently in children compared with adults. “We need to start to telling people what are the key symptoms at different ages rather than this blanket obsession with fever, cough and lack of smell,” said Prof Tim Spector, of King’s College London, who led the work.
7th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Let’s get real. No vaccine will work as if by magic, returning us to ‘normal’

Urgency must not be misunderstood; accelerating vaccine development must not mean compromising safety. Transparent, rigorous assessment by independent regulatory bodies without political interference is non-negotiable. Trust is our most important tool in public health and we must do everything we can to avoid putting that in doubt. It cannot be bought on short-term promises. Already, there are worrying signs of diminishing trust in potential Covid-19 vaccines. Polls suggest that in countries with some of the highest global case numbers, such as the United States, there could be low uptake of any Covid-19 vaccine, no matter how effective. This must not become a polarised political issue; public health is too important.
7th Sep 2020 - The Guardian

HK study finds COVID-19 stool tests may be more effective for infants

Stool tests may be more effective than respiratory tests in identifying COVID-19 infections in children and infants since they carry a higher viral load in their stool than adults, researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said. Sttol samples carry the virus even after it has cleared from a patient's respiratory tract and that could lead to better identification of asymptomatic cases, particularly in infants and others who have difficulty providing nasal or throat swabs, CUHK researchers said in a press release
7th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Australia expects to receive AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine within months

Australia expects to receive its first batches of a potential COVID-19 vaccine in January, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, as the number of new daily infections in the country's virus hotspot fell to a 10-week low
7th Sep 2020 - Reuters

The first Covid-19 vaccine may not be the magic bullet that returns life to 'normal'

The 'first' vaccine, or even the first generation of vaccines, will most likely not be perfect; we need to be pragmatic and transparent on that front. The reality is that with these vaccines, we will be taking small steps to return to a sense of normality. Plenty is attached to the word vaccine. When we hear it, we think of one of the greatest advances in human health, one that eliminates smallpox and saves millions every year from polio and tetanus, from HPV and the flu. However, the first generation of Covid-19 vaccines will probably be only partially effective. They might not be completely effective in all ages or appropriate in all health systems. It is very possible that they might provide immunity only for a limited period, even as short as 12 to 18 months. This might not be what we are used to from a vaccine, but there is no doubt that the first effective vaccines, even imperfect ones, can have a major impact and be a precious commodity.
7th Sep 2020 - Wellcome Trust

China shows off its COVID-19 vaccine candidates that could 'hit the market by the end of this year'

China showcased two potential coronavirus vaccines at a trade fair in Beijing. They are expected to be approved and ready to be produced as early as year-end. Nearly 10 COVID-19 vaccine candidates worldwide have entered phase 3 trials. Russia is the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine
7th Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

Australia expects to receive AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in January

Morrison said his government has struck a deal with CSL Ltd to manufacture two vaccines - one developed by rival AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and another developed in CSL's own labs with the University of Queensland. "Australia needs some hope," Morrison told reporters in Canberra. "Today, we take another significant step to protect the health of Australians against the coronavirus pandemic." Health Minister Greg Hunt said scientists leading the development of both vaccines have advised that recent evidence suggests both will offer "multi-year protection". Morrison said CSL is expected to deliver 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is currently undergoing late-stage clinical trials in Britain, Brazil and South Africa, in January and February next year. AstraZeneca's candidate, AZD1222, is viewed as a frontrunner in the global race to deliver an effective vaccine to combat the virus.
7th Sep 2020 - Japan Today


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Russian Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Yields Promising Early Results

Two early-phase Russian coronavirus vaccine trials have produced promising results, with participants experiencing no serious adverse effects and evidence of an antibody response. Controversy greeted the announcement last month that Russia had approved the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine – before it had completed final “phase 3” clinical trials.
5th Sep 2020 - Huffington Post UK

Explained: What a study from China tells us about airborne transmission in public transport

A new study published in the journal JAMA Network suggests airborne transmission in a bus in China led to one infected individual spreading of COVID-19 to 23 other fellow passengers. Analysing community transmission in China’s Zhejiang province, the study reports that 128 individuals took two buses on January 19, 2020 — 60 in bus 1 and 68 in bus 2 — on a 100 minute round trip to attend a 150-minute worship event. The source patient was a passenger on bus 2 and both the buses had central air conditioners functioning in indoor recirculation mode. Among these 128 individuals, 15 were men, 113 were women with a mean age of 58.6 years. On bus 2, 24 individuals turned out to be positive after the event, while none of the individuals in bus 1 were affected. Seven others who turned positive after the outdoor event had all come close to the index patient.
5th Sep 2020 - The Indian Express

COVID-19 - Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) authorizes Dompé's REPAVID-19, a Phase 2 Clinical Trial for Treatment of Severe Patients

Reparixin inhibits the action of interleukin 8 (IL-8), one of the inflammatory signaling proteins that is thought to be associated with the lung injury seen in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection. Consequently, this action is aimed to be useful in the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia patients. The treatment is based on Reparixin oral tablets 1200 mg TID till 21 days, in case of confirmed improvement after 7 days. REPAVID-19 will enroll 48 for Phase 2, 111 for Phase 3 with severe COVID-19 pneumonia randomized 2:1 in the Phase 2, and the results will inform the study design for the Phase 3. The study involves a minimum of 10 Brazilian centers. Following successful completion of Phase 2, Dompé has prepared a rapid transition into a Phase 3 program, to begin once data from Phase 2 are positively evaluated, and to be extended to multiple US centers.
5th Sep 2020 - PR Newswire

Children's inflammatory illness associated with coronavirus emerges in Australia. Here's what we know about it

A rare inflammatory condition found in children and associated with COVID-19 has emerged in Australia, with one case confirmed so far. The illness, known as Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS-TS), was first recorded in areas with large coronavirus outbreaks overseas earlier this year. The condition is mentioned alongside Kawasaki disease, which is also rare and potentially severe, because it has similar symptoms. Experts stress the illness is very rare but the emergence of the condition earlier this year, and the deaths of children overseas, has prompted concerns.
5th Sep 2020 - ABC News

Sanofi France chief: future COVID-19 vaccine seen below 10 euros

A coronavirus vaccine that Sanofi is developing with GlaxoSmithKline is likely to be priced at less than 10 euros per shot if it is approved for use, Sanofi's chief in France said on Saturday. "the price is not totally set...We are assessing production costs for the coming months...We will be below 10 euros," Olivier Bogillot told France Inter radio
5th Sep 2020 - Reuters UK

Glaxo and Sanofi start human trials in the US of coronavirus vaccine

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by a partnership involving one of Britain’s biggest drug companies has begun human trials. Glaxosmithkline and Sanofi, of France, are enrolling 440 healthy adults in the trial at 11 locations in the United States to test the safety, immune response and tolerability of the treatment. The results are expected as soon as early December, which would be the cue for a larger, late-stage trial before the end of the year. If the trials are successful, the companies plan to seek regulatory approval for the vaccine in the first half of next year.
4th Sep 2020 - The Times


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UNICEF says drugmakers can produce unprecedented vaccine quantities for COVID-19

Unprecedented quantities of vaccines could be produced by 28 manufacturers in 10 countries over the next two years to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said on Thursday, as it announced it would help lead efforts to procure and distribute them. UNICEF’s role is part of a COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan - known as COVAX and co-led by the World Health Organization - that aims to buy and provide equitable access to the shots. So far, 76 wealthy nations committed to joining the COVAX effort.
4th Sep 2020 - Reuters

Novavax Gains Following Promising Covid-19 Vaccine Trials

Shares of biotechnology company Novavax (NVAX) - Get Report rose on Thursday after the company revealed that early stage clinical trial results of its Covid-19 vaccine were safe and elicit an immune response. According to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, Novavax’s phase 1 clinical trial results showed that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate induced immune responses and was generally safe in people ages 18 to 59. “The rapid publication of Phase 1 results from our trial in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal reflects both the importance of the data and the urgent need for an effective vaccine to slow the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Gregory Glenn, Novavax president of research and development, in a statement. Based on the positive results, which were previously announced by the company in early August, Novavax said it plans to continue with broader phase 2 studies this month to see whether the vaccine protects against Covid-19, the company said.
3rd Sep 2020 - TheStreet.com

GSK and Sanofi to start human trials of potential Covid-19 vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi are to start testing their protein-based Covid-19 vaccine on humans for the first time, following promising results in earlier studies. GSK, the world’s largest vaccine maker, and the French drugmaker Sanofi joined forces in April to work on an effective treatment to halt the devastating pandemic. The vaccine being developed by London-headquartered GSK and Paris-based Sanofi combines existing technology used by Sanofi to make its flu vaccine, along with an add-on from GSK, known as an adjuvant, which can be mixed with a vaccine to trigger a stronger immune reaction.
3rd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19: India should abandon lockdown and refocus its testing policy, say public health specialists

Public health specialists in India have called on the government to adopt a more pragmatic approach to testing for covid-19, amid evidence of widespread prevalence of infection. Lockdown in India should be discontinued, said a joint statement from the Indian Public Health Association, the Indian Association of Epidemiologists, and the Indian Association of Social and Preventive Medicine.1 And local restrictions on movement and mingling should be imposed only where there is mild or limited spread of SARS-Cov-2 and only after the effects on the livelihood of target populations have been assessed, they advised. India imposed a nationwide lockdown in March that has been relaxed in phases, but several states and cities continue to impose local lockdowns, including closing all establishments at nights and weekends. The country’s current testing policy aims to track and test all contacts of at least 80% of new covid cases, which last week averaged 76 000 a day. The public health experts want the government to abandon its current approach, which they say is impractical and wasteful because it cannot detect most infections. Instead they recommend “targeted testing,” of people with symptoms and of high risk groups such as healthcare workers, elderly people, and surgical patients.
3rd Sep 2020 - The BMJ

Pfizer Targets End of October for COVID-19 Vaccine Update

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer should know in October if a COVID-19 vaccine it is developing works, Chief Executive Albert Bourla said on Thursday, potentially placing it at the centre of bitter U.S. presidential politics ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Pfizer would submit the candidate for approval immediately if data shows the vaccine, developed with partner, Germany's BioNTech, proves safe and effective, Bourla said at an online briefing sponsored by drug industry group IFPMA. The race for vaccines with Moderna, AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi and Chinese and Russian competitors comes as President Donald Trump seeks re-election, after committing billions of federal dollars to develop a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, which has killed more than 180,000 Americans.
3rd Sep 2020 - The New York Times


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Coronavirus US: Vaccine trials could stop early if safe, says Fauci

Dr Anthony Fauci told Kaiser Health News that researchers would have a 'moral obligation' to stop trials early if the data was good enough. The FDA has said a shot should cut rate of symptomatic COVID-19 by at least 50% to get its approval. Three coronavirus vaccines are currently in their final-stage trials in the US. Some experts and Americans are concerned that political pressure, not data, is driving the push to approve vaccines. Currently, the three trials are expected to conclude this winter
3rd Sep 2020 - Daily Mail

WHO recommends cheap everyday steroids as Covid-19 treatment

The World Health Organization has said anti-inflammatory steroids should be used to treat severely ill coronavirus patients as a landmark study provided a “clear signal” of their effectiveness in reducing mortality. Issuing its first guidance on treating Covid-19, the WHO strongly endorsed the use of two cheap steroids, informed by a report published on Wednesday which confirmed that the drugs significantly reduced the rate of death in patients requiring oxygen support. “We’ve received a clear signal that using steroids with severely ill patients improves their outcomes,” said Anthony Gordon, professor of anaesthesia and critical care at Imperial College London.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Financial Times

EU watchdog assessing Dexamethasone Taw as possible COVID-19 drug

The European health regulator said on Wednesday it was evaluating Taw Pharma’s branded steroidal drug dexamethasone as a potential COVID-19 treatment for hospitalised adult patients after it received an application from the drug developer. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said in a statement its human medicines committee (CHMP) would weigh-in on the application for Dexamethasone Taw within the shortest timeline possible. Europe is already evaluating the decades old dexamethasone for COVID-19 after it garnered international attention when a study, dubbed RECOVERY, showed in June the drug reduced death rates by about a third in severely ill, hospitalised COVID-19 patients. The EMA said results from RECOVERY would be considered in the assessment of Dexamethasone Taw.
2nd Sep 2020 - Reuters

U.S. FDA to bring outside experts to review COVID-19 vaccines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will organize meetings with an independent group of experts to review data of coronavirus vaccine candidates and advise the agency, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said on Wednesday. "The meetings will reinforce the transparency of the process as FDA reviews data from trials now underway," Hahn said in a post on Twitter. The statement comes after U.S. President Donald Trump last month accused members, without evidence, of a so-called “deep state” working within the FDA of complicating efforts to test COVID-19 vaccines in order to delay results until after the Nov. 3 presidential election. The FDA said last week it will hold a meeting of its advisory committee to address the general development of COVID-19 vaccines on Oct. 22, and have additional meetings as applications for coronavirus vaccines are submitted.
2nd Sep 2020 - Reuters

Oxford Biomedica Covid-19 vaccine gets cash injection to boost production

Oxford Biomedica’s role as lead manufacturer of a potential Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Astrazeneca has been expanded with an agreement to increase production. The gene and cell therapy group has signed an 18-month supply agreement to produce Astrazeneca’s AZD1222 vaccine on a commercial scale. Under the agreement, which can be extended for a further 18 months into 2022 and 2023, Astrazeneca will pay Oxford Biomedica an initial £15 million as a capacity reservation fee. Oxford Biomedica said that, subject to the stepping up of manufacturing capacity and the continuation of the vaccine programme, it expected to received further revenue of more than £35 million, plus “certain materials costs”, for the manufacture of multiple large-scale batches of AZD1222 until the end of 2021.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Times

Two types of steroid found to save lives of some Covid-19 patients

Studies around the world have confirmed that steroids can save lives in the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to new recommendations from the World Heath Organization that doctors should give them to severely ill patients. In June, the Recovery trial run in most NHS hospitals and led by Oxford University found that the lives of one in eight people sick enough from Covid-19 to need a ventilator could be saved by a steroid called dexamethasone. Now, combined results from that trial and six others have confirmed those findings and established that at least one other equally cheap and widely available steroid, hydrocortisone, also saves lives.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Covid-19 news: Steroid drugs save lives in severe coronavirus patients

“The evidence for benefit is strongest for dexamethasone,” Stephen Evans at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said in a statement. These new results, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, add weight to earlier findings from the RECOVERY trial, which found that dexamethasone reduced deaths in critically ill covid-19 patients by a third for patients on ventilators and by a fifth for those receiving oxygen – the first drug shown to do so. “This analysis increases confidence that [dexamethasone] has a really worthwhile role in critically ill patients with covid-19,” Evans said. As a result of the study, the WHO is expected to update its guidance on treatment. In the UK, the drug has been in use for treating severely ill covid-19 patients since June.
2nd Sep 2020 - New Scientist News

Coronavirus: Boston Dynamics robot dog trialled as way of monitoring patients

The robot dog has been used to measure temperature, rate of breathing, pulse and blood oxygen saturation in healthy volunteers.
2nd Sep 2020 - Sky News

CDC tells health officials to expect a coronavirus vaccine by November

Health officials across the US have reportedly been notified that they should expect a coronavirus vaccine available to health workers and high-risk groups by November, amid concerns the accelerated vaccine development process has become politicized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed health officials that “limited Covid-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020”, the New York Times reported. Meanwhile, in a letter to governors dated 27 August, Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, said states “in the near future” will receive permit applications from McKesson, a company which has contracted with CDC to distribute vaccines to places including state and local health departments and hospitals.
2nd Sep 2020 - The Guardian

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by end of 2020 - Italy minister

The first shots of British drug maker AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by the end of 2020, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday. “We are talking about a potential vaccine so we need to be extremely prudent, but... if the vaccine is confirmed as safe and able to meet its objective it will be already available by the end of 2020,” Speranza told parliament. Drugmakers are racing to combat the pandemic, which has killed more than 850,000 people and infected over 25 million.
2nd Sep 2020 - Reuters

Pregnant women in hospital with Covid-19 may not show symptoms, study finds

Pregnant women in hospital with coronavirus are less likely to show symptoms and may have a greater risk risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit than non-pregnant women of similar age, a study has found. The analysis, which encompassed 77 studies conducted globally and was published in the British Medical Journal, looked at 11,432 pregnant women admitted to hospital and diagnosed as having suspected or confirmed Covid-19. It showed that pregnant women may be at increased risk of needing admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) than non-pregnant women of similar age, as is the case with other respiratory viruses such as the flu. This could be partially attributed to the understanding that a mother’s immune system is often compromised to protect the baby, and that the lungs and the cardiovascular system – the coronavirus’s attacking ground – are already under strain during pregnancy.
1st Sep 2020 - The Guardian


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AstraZeneca expands Covid-19 vaccine deal as final trials begin

AstraZeneca has expanded an agreement with Oxford Biomedica to scale up production of its potential Covid-19 vaccine, as the race continues to find an effective prevention for the deadly virus. Under the supply agreement, the Oxford-based cell and gene therapy firm said it would produce tens of millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s potential vaccine, AZD1222, for 18 months, which could be extended by a further 18 months into 2023. It will be made at the firm’s three manufacturing suites at its new centre, Oxbox, in Oxford. Two of the suites will be ready to use in the next two months, earlier than expected. AstraZeneca will pay Oxford Biomedica £50m under the deal.
1st Sep 2020 - The Guardian

Derbyshire technology firm develops new scanning system to detect Covid-19 symptoms

A global leader in temperature measurement technology based in Derbyshire has developed a new screening system which can detect a key Covid-19 symptom. Ametek Land, based at Dronfield, near Chesterfield, has used its expertise to develop the Viralert 3, which it says can accurately detect elevated temperatures, a symptom of coronavirus. The technology can be installed in buildings and, according to the firm, it has already attracted interest across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, commercial, education, transportation, manufacturing, and sports. The system provides a solution for scanning visitors at entry points – and is already in use at Sheffield’s Hallamshire Tennis, Squash and Racquetball Club and a medical practice in Dronfield.
1st Sep 2020 - Business Live


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Gottlieb says "full approval" of coronavirus vaccine for general population unlikely before 2021

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday he does not believe there will be "full approval" of a coronavirus vaccine for the general population until early 2021. "We're likely to see a stepwise progression of authorization of this vaccine for certain select populations that are at higher risk of either contracting it or having a bad outcome before we see a full approval for the general population," Gottlieb said on "Face the Nation." "I think, again, full approval for the general population, where people can go to CVS and get a shot — that's really a 2021 event, maybe the first quarter of 2021, probably more likely the first half."
31st Aug 2020 - CBS News

Australian coronavirus antibody therapy aims for trial in early 2021

Australian researchers hope to start human trials of a coronavirus antibody therapy in early 2021, while a large-scale trial of a vaccine could begin by the end of this year, scientists said on Wednesday.
31st Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy in India’s outreach plan

The Union government is working on at least five distinct ways, ranging from free vaccines to guaranteed supply, in which it can help its immediate neighbours as well as countries in West Asia, Africa and even Latin America, officials familiar with the plan said on condition of anonymity. The idea is to leverage the country’s standing as the world’s vaccine factory to consolidate diplomatic ties. Indian companies are working on two vaccines which are currently in clinical trials. Though the arrangement will be largely for these vaccines, it might also include vaccines manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker, which has partnerships with three companies, including AstraZeneca.
31st Aug 2020 - Hindustan Times

Indonesia: Chinese vaccine being tested as COVID-19 cases rise

Advanced trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in China are under way in Indonesia. More than 2000 Indonesians signed up for the trial of the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturer Sinovac. This week, some candidates were given a second dose of the trial vaccine - as Jessica Washington reports from Bandung, Indonesia.
30th Aug 2020 - Aljazeera.com

U.S. Will Revive Global Virus-Hunting Effort Ended Last Year

A worldwide virus-hunting program allowed to expire last year by the Trump administration, just before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, will have a second life — whatever the outcome of the presidential election. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has promised that, if elected, he will restore the program, called Predict, which searched for dangerous new animal viruses in bat caves, camel pens, wet markets and wildlife-smuggling routes around the globe. The expiration of Predict just weeks before the advent of the pandemic prompted wide criticism among scientists, who noted that the coronavirus is exactly the sort of catastrophic animal virus the program was designed to head off.
30th Aug 2020 - The New York Times

Obese, diabetics over 3 times more likely to die of COVID: Study

COVID-19 patients hospitalised with high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes were over three times more likely to die from the viral disease, say researchers. The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, looked at the impact of metabolic syndrome on outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of at least three of five conditions - hypertension, high blood sugar, obesity, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol - that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. "Together, obesity, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels are all predictive of higher incidents of death in these patients," said the study lead author Joshua Denson from the Tulane University in the US.
30th Aug 2020 - Gulf News

Mutated coronavirus strain found in Indonesia as cases jump

A more infectious mutation of the new coronavirus has been found in Indonesia, the Jakarta-based Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology said on Sunday, as the Southeast Asian country's caseload surges. Indonesia reported 2,858 new infections on Sunday, data by the health ministry showed, below the previous day's record 3,308 but above the past month's daily average. Its total number of cases was 172,053, with 7,343 Covid-19 fatalities. The "infectious but milder" D614G mutation of the virus has been found in genome sequencing data from samples collected by the institute, deputy director Herawati Sudoyo told Reuters, adding that more study is required to determine whether that was behind the recent rise in cases.
30th Aug 2020 - Bangkok Post

Spain to participate in clinical trials of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine

The Spanish Agency for Medicine and Health Products (AEMPS) has authorized the first clinical trial in Spain of an experimental vaccine against the novel coronavirus. That’s according to Health Minister Salvador Illa, who made the announcement on Friday at a government press conference. The testing will involve a vaccine from Janssen, a company that is owned by the US multinational Johnson & Johnson, with 190 healthy volunteers from Spain. There will be a further 400 participants of the trial in Germany and Belgium. The recruitment of volunteers – who will be aged between 18 and 55, and over 65 – will begin “immediately,” Illa stated, with three Spanish hospitals – La Paz and La Princesa in Madrid, and Marqués de Valdecilla in Santander – taking part.
28th Aug 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Bangladesh's Beximco in coronavirus vaccine pact with India's Serum Institute

One of Bangladesh’s largest drugmakers, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, announced on Friday that it will invest with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to ensure Bangladesh gets access to vaccines it is developing for the novel coronavirus. The deal comes after Bangladesh said this month it was ready to hold trials of candidate vaccines developed by India as both countries seek to curb the spread of the virus. “The investment amount will be treated as an advance and once the vaccine receives regulatory approvals, SII will include Bangladesh among the countries who will be the first to receive an agreed quantity of this vaccine from SII on a priority basis,” Beximco said in a statement, citing the heads of both organisations. Beximco will also be the exclusive supplier for Bangladesh for a vaccine developed by the Serum Institute, it said.
28th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Covid-19 could be with us for next two to four years, expert warns

One of China’s leading experts on Covid-19 has told ITV News that the virus is likely to be with us for at least the next two to four years. In his first foreign television interview Dr Zhang Wenhong, the Director of Infectious Diseases at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, predicts we will be living with this for some time to come and he believes there is a high chance of a second international outbreak this autumn or winter. His forecasts are based on his knowledge of the virus as one of the first to face it and the current situation in the rest of the world, not in China where this week, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, there were no local infections. Dr Zhang points to the fact that the United States and India are still struggling to contain their first wave of the virus, and other parts of South America and Africa are only just at the beginning of their battle.
26th Aug 2020 - ITV News

India's use of less accurate coronavirus tests raise concerns

Health experts are concerned about the Indian government's decision to implement rapid tests - which screen for antigens, or viral proteins - as authorities ramp up coronavirus tests amid surging infections. India crossed the three-million-case milestone on Sunday, 17 days after it crossed the two-million mark. It is the worst-affected country in Asia, and third behind the United States and Brazil globally. In June, the world's second-most populous nation began using cheaper, faster, but less accurate tests to scale up testing - a strategy that the US is now considering.
24th Aug 2020 - Al Jazeera English


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Aug 2020

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Trump-backed hydroxychloroquine doesn't treat Covid-19 and raises the risk of death

A review of 29 studies showed hydroxychloroquine does not save lives. Combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, the risk of death increases by 27%. The researchers in France claimed there is 'no need' for more research. But British scientists have previously warned against prematurely discarding it President Trump has said the drug is a 'game changer' without proof it works
27th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine shows promising results in small trial of elderly patients

The vaccine was tested on 10 adults between the ages of 56 and 70 and 10 elderly adults aged 71 and older, Moderna said. Each participant received two 100 microgram doses of the vaccine 28 days apart. The vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies, which researchers believe are necessary to build immunity to the virus, and T-cells, Moderna said.
27th Aug 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus: the Commission signs first contract with AstraZeneca

Today, the first contract the European Commission has negotiated on behalf of the EU Member States with a pharmaceutical company entered into force following the formal signature between AstraZeneca and the Commission. The contract will allow the purchase of a vaccine against COVID-19 for all the Member States of the EU as well as the donation to lower and middle income countries or the re-direction to other European countries. Through the contract, all Member States will be able to purchase 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an option for further 100 million doses, to be distributed on a population-based pro-rata basis. The Commission continues discussing similar agreements with other vaccine manufacturers and has concluded successful exploratory talks with Sanofi-GSK on 31 July, Johnson & Johnson on 13 August, CureVac on 18 August and Moderna on 24 August.
27th Aug 2020 - EU News

Too many corners are being cut in the race to find a Covid-19 antibody test

During the pandemic, Covid-19 tests have provided a rich source of media coverage. Most of us now know a bit about how these tests work, and that they can generate errors that lead to wrong and harmful decisions. Tests have to be used on the right samples at the right time, else more errors can be made, and there are important differences between “have I got it?” viral swab tests, and “have I had it?” antibody blood tests.
27th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Novacyt launches test to differentiate COVID-19 and flu

Clinical diagnostics company Novacyt, one of many healthcare companies whose shares have surged during the pandemic, launched a test on Thursday to differentiate between COVID-19 and common winter diseases. Novacyt said its “Winterplex” test panel included two gene targets specific to COVID-19, as well as gene targets for influenza A&B and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). “We believe Winterplex™ is one of the world’s first approved respiratory test panels that can differentiate between COVID-19 and other common respiratory diseases,” Novacyt CEO Graham Mullis said. Novacyt said the new product was expected to drive major revenue growth, and Novacyt’s Paris-listed shares rose by around 6% in early trading, with the stock price having already surged by around 1,900% since the start of 2020. Novacyt’s new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) respiratory test panel is one of many such ‘PCR’ type products already on the market, aimed at diagnosing the presence of COVID-19. The PCR test is the preferred COVID-19 testing method in many countries. It detects the presence of the disease by amplifying its genetic material to a point where it can be spotted by scientists
27th Aug 2020 - PharmaLive

WHO advance team heads to China to set up probe into coronavirus origin

A two-member advance team of World Health Organization (WHO) experts has left for China to organise an investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus behind a pandemic that has killed more than 550,000 people globally, the U.N. agency said on Friday. The virus is believed to have emerged in a wholesale market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year after jumping the species barrier from the animal kingdom to infect humans. The two WHO experts, specialists in animal health and epidemiology, will work with Chinese scientists to determine the scope and itinerary of the investigation, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said, declining to name them. “We know it’s very, very similar to the virus in the bat, but did it go through an intermediate species? This is a question we all need answered,” Harris told a news briefing.
27th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Covid-19: Five ways to avoid catching the virus indoors

Good ventilation could be the key to avoiding coronavirus as autumn approaches and people spend more time indoors. For months we've been told to wash our hands and maintain social distancing to beat coronavirus. But scientists and engineers say we also need to think about the air we breathe, as children go back to school and more people return to offices. Good ventilation matters in five ways.
27th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Convalescent plasma treatment for covid-19 has been oversold by the US

Convalescent plasma is known to have been used to treat pandemic flu back in 1918. It involves collecting blood plasma – the yellow liquid component of blood stripped of its blood cells – from people who have recovered from a disease. The plasma can contain antibodies generated by the immune system to fight or prevent a future infection, although the antibody levels vary between donors. The treatment does appear to work for some infections, such as diphtheria, but research has been spotty, and there has been a lack of randomised, placebo-controlled trials, says Lise Estcourt at the University of Oxford. More recently, the treatment was found to be ineffective for Ebola. Several studies are under way to test convalescent plasma for covid-19. The largest has been run by the Mayo Clinic in the US – about 71,000 people have received treatment across 2780 hospitals over the past five months as part of a programme that enables access to experimental therapies. Based on the data collected from around 35,000 of these individuals, the researchers behind the project found that people treated with plasma containing higher levels of antibody, and those treated earlier in the course of their illness, appear less likely to die within a seven or 30-day window.
27th Aug 2020 - New Scientist News


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Aug 2020

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The Countries That Don’t Want to Wait for Superpowers’ Vaccines

After Covid-19’s emergence in Buenos Aires led to a strict lockdown in March, Juliana Cassataro and her fellow vaccine researchers grew concerned. The U.S., Europe and China had already revved up their quests to obtain shots; how far back in line would Argentina have to wait for supplies? “We did not want to stay in our homes,” said Cassataro, a scientist at the National University of San Martin in the nation’s capital. “We wanted to use our knowledge to help in this pandemic. ”Determined to give Latin America its own protection from the fast-spreading virus, Cassataro’s team -- 10 women and two men -- quickly got to work. A government grant of $100,000 in May paid for initial studies, and human trials could start in about six months.
26th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Coronavirus: Metabolic syndrome sufferers' death risk 300% higher

Researchers looked at hospitalized coronavirus patients with metabolic syndrome compared to those without it. The syndrome occurs when someone has three out of the five conditions: high blood sugar, hypertension, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and obesity. Coronavirus patients with metabolic syndrome were 3.4 times more likely to die. They were also five times more likely to be admitted to the ICU or be placed on a ventilator
26th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Healthy pregnant women are not more vulnerable to Covid-19 and do not fall more seriously ill

There were fears pregnant women were more vulnerable to catching Covid-19. Researchers looked at a total of 1.7million women from the UK, US and Sweden There were no differences between pregnant and non-pregnant women. They had similar rates of symptoms and hospitalisations
25th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

New drool-based tests are replacing the dreaded coronavirus nasal swab

First, a technician pushes a pencil-length swab to the very back of your nasal passages. Then you pay $100 or more, and wait days for an answer. But faster, cheaper, more pleasant ways to test for the novel coronavirus are coming online. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for two tests that sample saliva instead of nasal fluid, and more innovations are likely after FDA relaxed rules to allow new tests to be adopted more quickly. One candidate was announced last week: an experimental test, potentially faster and cheaper, that analyzes saliva in a new way.
25th Aug 2020 - Science Magazine

Doctors to trial treatment for Covid-19 patients with diabetes

Diabetes patients face a more-than-double risk of death if they catch Covid-19 High levels of sugar in the blood can make immune system unreliable. Drug used to reduce blood sugar could protect patients from severe illness. Trial will begin on UK patients in hospitals with 'mild to moderate' coronavirus
25th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

In FDA's green light for treating COVID-19 with plasma, critics see thin evidence—and politics

At a highly unusual Sunday night press conference, U.S. President Donald Trump revealed what he described as “a very historic breakthrough” in the fight against COVID-19 that “would save countless lives”: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for convalescent plasma to treat people with severe COVID-19. The authorization could allow more hospitalized patients to receive the antibody-rich plasma, which is donated by people who have recovered from the disease. But in the wake of Trump’s announcement, which came a day before the start of the Republican National Convention, researchers struggled to sort the politics from the medical and scientific import of the EUA.
25th Aug 2020 - Science Magazine

Six of the most promising treatments for Covid-19 so far

Many different drugs and therapies are being trialled and used on patients with Covid-19. There are some positive results, which may be beginning to bring the hospital death toll down, but there is still a long way to go towards something that will cure all comers. These are some of the most promising.
25th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

AstraZeneca starts Covid-19 antibody drug trial in UK

Trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine may have gathered enough data to show whether it works and is safe by the end of the year – but it will then need to go through the regulatory process, scientists say. Prof Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said it is “just possible” that there may be enough clinical trial data on Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine to put before the regulators this year. Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, has said a vaccine may not be ready until next winter. Pollard suggested they were hoping to go faster. “I think that Chris Whitty is quite rightly being cautious, that it could take as long as that to first of all demonstrate a vaccine works and is safe and then to go through the processes of regulators looking at that very carefully to make sure everything’s been done correctly,” Pollard told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
25th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Universities join forces to develop materials for the fight against COVID-19

Researchers around the world are racing to find treatments to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused more than 16 million human infections globally. COVID-19 is caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. A person becomes infected when the virus makes its way through the mouth or nose into the lungs and from there into the cells that line the inside of our lungs. Exactly how the virus gets past the protective barriers in our lungs is unknown, but scientists have recently discovered that SARS-CoV-2 binds to a type of carbohydrate-based polymer called glycosaminoglycan (GAG). The widely used anticoagulant heparin belongs to this class of natural polymers, and hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who were administered heparin to treat blood clotting disorders also experienced a lower risk of dying from COVID-19.
25th Aug 2020 - EurekAlert

China's Sinovac enters supply deal with Indonesia for COVID-19 vaccine doses

Sinovac Biotech Ltd said on Tuesday it would help Indonesia’s state-owned drugmaker Bio Farma produce in the country at least 40 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine before March 2021.The U.S.-listed Chinese drugmaker has signed two agreements with Bio Farma for supply, local production and technology licensing of its vaccine candidate CoronaVac and the Indonesian company is conducting the late-stage study of the candidate. Sinovac will continue to supply the bulk vaccine until the end of 2021 after March, it said in a statement. There are no approved vaccine for COVID-19, with drugmakers and research organizations racing to develop a safe and effective vaccine that is seen as crucial to combat the pandemic.
25th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: Safety watchdog to probe hospital spread of Covid-19

The spread of coronavirus to patients within hospitals is being investigated by a safety watchdog to try and help the NHS protect patients and prepare for winter. The independent Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch has launched a national enquiry after identifying multiple instances of patients contracting Covid-19 within hospitals. Its work comes as new research by King’s College London has found at least an eighth of Covid-19 hospital patients were infected while already in hospital. The study looked at 1,564 Covid-19 patients admitted to 10 hospitals in the UK and in Italy during April.
25th Aug 2020 - The Independent

India is key for global access to a COVID-19 vaccine – here's why

The great COVID-19 vaccine race is on. Pharmaceutical companies around the world are going head to head, while governments scramble to get priority access to the most promising candidates. But a richest-takes-all approach in the fight against the deadliest pandemic in living memory is bound to be counter productive, especially for the recovery of low and middle income countries. If governments cannot come together to agree a global strategy, then the global south may need to pin its hopes on the manufacturing might of India.
25th Aug 2020 - The Conversation UK

Airborne transmission of covid-19

It is wrong to assume that droplets land only on exposed mucosal surfaces such as the eyes and mouth.4 Particles up to 50 µm can be captured by inspiratory airflows and are deposited along the much more extensive surface area of the respiratory tract; particles below 10 µm can penetrate as far as alveoli. The site of deposition may determine the viral dose required and severity of respiratory infection, as observed in influenza. The term “aerosol generating procedures” became popular after the 2003 SARS epidemic, when small retrospective studies found an association between transmission to healthcare workers and use of procedures such as endotracheal intubation and non-invasive ventilation.9 This weak (grade D) evidence has been misused to infer a causal link between procedural aerosols and infection despite the fact that aerosols were not measured during these studies.9 Furthermore, nurses were more commonly infected than doctors performing procedures, suggesting that proximity and time exposed to patients with respiratory distress are stronger determinants of risk than the procedures themselves.3 Acutely ill patients do present additional risk to health workers from coughing, laboured breathing, airway collapse, sputum production, and high viral load.3
25th Aug 2020 - The BMJ


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Aug 2020

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Astrazeneca rejects Trump shortcut for coronavirus vaccine

The British drugmaker Astrazeneca has given the White House notice that it will not take shortcuts in safety trials of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University to boost President Trump’s re-election chances. The White House is said to have considered bypassing normal regulatory channels in an attempt to have the Oxford jab approved for use in the US before the presidential election on November 3.
25th Aug 2020 - The Times

Novavax starts enrollment for phase two of COVID-19 vaccine trial

Novavax Inc said on Monday it has begun enrolling volunteers for the second phase of an ongoing clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with interim data expected in the fourth quarter of 2020. In the new phase, the age range has been expanded, with adults between 60 and 84 years accounting for nearly 50% of the trial’s population. Early-stage data from a small clinical trial of the vaccine has shown it produced high levels of virus-fighting antibodies, and the company aims to begin larger studies to obtain regulatory approvals as early as December. The vaccine candidate is one of nearly 30 being tested in human clinical trials globally and lags candidates from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna that are in late-stage studies.
24th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Hong Kong scientists report 1st case of COVID-19 reinfection

- Researchers in Hong Kong said Monday they have confirmed the world's first documented case of a patient becoming reinfected with COVID-19 following recovery. Scientists at the University of Hong Kong said the coronavirus disease was found in a 33-year-old man who'd initially tested positive in April, and was subsequently cleared.
24th Aug 2020 - UPI News

Covid-19 is becoming less deadly in Europe but we don't know why

Fresh data has made it increasingly clear people are less likely to die if they get covid-19 now compared to earlier in the pandemic, at least in Europe, but the reasons why are still shrouded in uncertainty
24th Aug 2020 - New Scientist News

Looking at children as the silent spreaders of SARS-CoV-2

In the most comprehensive study of COVID-19 pediatric patients to date, researchers provide critical data showing that children play a larger role in the community spread of COVID-19 than previously thought. In a study of 192 children ages 0-22, 49 children tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and an additional 18 children had late-onset, COVID-19-related illness. The infected children were shown to have a significantly higher level of virus in their airways than hospitalized adults in ICUs for COVID-19 treatment, according to Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Mass General Hospital for Children (MGHfC).
20th Aug 2020 - Harvard Gazette

COVID-19: unravelling the host immune response

Using next-generation sequencing tools, scientists are exploring how SARS-CoV-2 interacts with the immune system to better understand the disease, identify those at higher risk, and minimize its impact.
24th Aug 2020 - Nature

Why Businesses Must Help Build Trust in a Covid-19 Vaccine

We cannot establish the level of “herd immunity” needed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic unless enough people accept a vaccine. Leaders have advocated that advancing health literacy — the degree to which people have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions — is crucial to building and maintaining public confidence in vaccines. Recognizing the importance of this effort, some large employers — including Mastercard, Apple and Google — are communicating with their employees that the full reopening of their workplaces depends on the success of a vaccine for Covid-19. We urge other businesses to join such efforts to dispel fear, mistrust, misinformation, and disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.
20th Aug 2020 - Harvard Business Review


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Aug 2020

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Doctors issue warning over 'rushed' coronavirus vaccine which may have 'dangerous' side-effects

Australians could face being banned from work or travelling for refusing jab Doctors warn the government not to make the 'rushed' vaccine compulsory More than 100 vaccine candidates studied worldwide, at least 10 in clinical trials
24th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus vaccine to go on sale in December, claims China

China's coronavirus vaccine will be available to buy in December, the company developing it has said. The state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation said the vaccine is currently undergoing its third and final trial. Two shots of the vaccine will cost less than 1,000 yuan (about £110) and will be completely effective, company president Liu Jingzhen said.
24th Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

China approves human testing for coronavirus vaccine grown in insect cells

China has approved human testing for a potential coronavirus vaccine cultivated within insect cells, local government in the southwestern city of Chengdu said on Saturday. China is in a global race to develop cost-effective vaccines to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. Using insect cells to grow proteins for the coronavirus vaccine - a first in China - could speed up large-scale production, the city government of Chengdu said in a notice on social media WeChat. The vaccine, developed by West China Hospital of Sichuan University in Chengdu, has received approval from the National Medical Products Administration to enter a clinical trial, the notice said.
23rd Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Thailand Seeks Local Production Rights to Oxford’s Covid Vaccine

Thailand is looking to secure access to a Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by University of Oxford through an agreement which would give the Southeast Asian nation the technology rights for local production. “We’re in the process of finalizing our letter of intent to cooperate with the Oxford vaccine research team,” Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Friday. “Once that process is done, I’ll sign it right away.”
23rd Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Argentina joins Chinese coronavirus vaccine trial, maker says

Argentina joined Peru, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates in approving Phase 3 clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the company said late Friday. As China forges ahead in the global race to develop a vaccine to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and as cases within China dwindle, CNBG needs research participants from other countries for testing. Phase 3 trials, which usually involve several thousand participants, allow researchers to gather data on the efficacy of potential vaccines for final regulatory approvals. CNBG will partner with Argentina’s ELEA in the vaccine trial, the Chinese company said in a statement late Friday.
23rd Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Peru, Morocco to test China Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 3 trial

Authorities in Peru and Morocco have approved Phase 3 clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the company said late on Thursday on Chinese social media platform WeChat. Phase 3 trials, which usually involve several thousand participants, allow researchers to gather data on the efficacy of potential vaccines for final regulatory approvals. The experimental vaccine of CNBG, a unit of state-owned pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), has entered a Phase 3 trial in the United Arab Emirates that has already recruited 15,000 volunteers
23rd Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Australia signs deal for Oxford University coronavirus vaccine as Scott Morrison vows to make it 'as mandatory as you can'

Australia has ordered 25 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University, in partnership with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, the country's prime minister has said. Scott Morrison promised to make the vaccine "as mandatory as you can" in an interview with Melbourne’s 3AW radio station,
22nd Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

Mexico exploring phase 3 trials of Russian coronavirus vaccine

Mexico told Moscow on Wednesday it would like to carry out phase 3 testing of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine, as part of the Latin American country’s intensifying efforts to secure early supplies of an effective medicine to control the pandemic. After a meeting with Russia’s ambassador to Mexico, Viktor Koronelli, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter he had expressed interest in carrying out large scale human trials “to have the vaccine as soon as possible in Mexico.” Russia has already produced the first batch of its new vaccine, giving approval before trials that would normally involve thousands of participants. Such phase 3 trials are usually considered essential precursors for a vaccine to secure regulatory approval. The race to produce a vaccine has become a contest for influence and prestige among major powers, while developing economies are trying to ensure a fair distribution of the medicines.
22nd Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Pifzer, BioNTech eye October approval for mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech have revealed additional data from a phase 1 study of two of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates, as well as their plans to potentially seek regulatory approval by October this year. At the beginning of July, Pfizer/BioNTech revealed early positive data from their mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine programme. Those results demonstrated that one of the candidates, BNT162b1, generated promising dose-dependent immunogenicity. However, the companies somewhat surprised commentators when they announced that another candidate, BNT162b2, had been selected for a large-scale, phase 3 clinical trial. In additional data shared today, Pfizer/BioNTech posted the results from all 332 participants tested with the two mRNA-based candidates, BNT162b1 or BNT162b2, to clarify their decision
21st Aug 2020 - PMLiVE

Blood Plasma Treatment for Covid-19 Now on Hold at F.D.A.

Last week, just as the Food and Drug Administration was preparing to issue an emergency authorization for blood plasma as a Covid-19 treatment, a group of top federal health officials including Dr. Francis S. Collins and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci intervened, arguing that emerging data on the treatment was too weak, according to two senior administration officials. The authorization is on hold for now as more data is reviewed, according to H. Clifford Lane, the clinical director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. An emergency approval could still be issued in the near future, he said. Donated by people who have survived the disease, antibody-rich plasma is considered safe. President Trump has hailed it as a “beautiful ingredient” in the veins of people who have survived Covid-19.
19th Aug 2020 - The New York Times

Brazil greenlights human trials for J&J's potential COVID-19 vaccine

Brazil approved on Tuesday human clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, the fourth candidate to trial in the Latin American country that has become key to the global race for a vaccine. Health regulator Anvisa said it had given the green light to the study which will see 6,000 people in Brazil volunteer to trial the vaccine contender of Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen. With the world's biggest coronavirus outbreak outside the United States, Brazil has become a hub for mass clinical trials of potential vaccines. Brazilian officials have vowed to start producing British and Chinese vaccines within a year, but experts warn it may take at least twice as long.
18th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!


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Russia's 'Sputnik V' COVID-19 vaccine to be tested on 40,000 people - TASS cites developer

Mass testing of Russia’s first potential COVID-19 vaccine to get domestic regulatory approval will involve more than 40,000 people, the TASS news agency cited the vaccine’s developer as saying on Thursday. The vaccine, called “Sputnik V” in homage to the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union, has been hailed as safe and effective by Russian authorities and scientists following two months of small-scale human trials, the results of which have not been made public yet.
20th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

UAE's G42 Healthcare and Israel's NanoScent partner for Covid-19 test

Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel’s NanoScent to develop, validate, manufacture and distribute a scent-reading solution to detect Covid-19. Called Scent Check, the solution is designed to identify suspected coronavirus cases, using a sample of exhaled nasal air. The Scent Check device can detect a combination of volatile organic compounds (VOC Signature) in exhaled nasal air obtained from the host response to Covid-19. A small bag equipped with a straw, called air trap, is used to capture the air sample, where an individual is required to blow nasal air.
20th Aug 2020 - Medical Device Network

Evidence grows that children may play a larger role in transmission than previously believed

Latest study is small but shows that kids’ rates of infection and viral loads may make them silent spreaders.
20th Aug 2020 - The Washington Post

Why Some People Get Terribly Sick from COVID-19

You might have a sniffle and be done. You might run a fever with a cough and unshakable fatigue for five days—or 10. Or you might end up in a hospital, gasping air into congested lungs, an immunological storm raging in your body. And you might not make it through COVID-19 alive. What determines if someone gets desperately ill from the disease that is ripping its way across the planet? You are likely familiar with the broad categories of people who face greater risk: older individuals, men, those who have certain chronic conditions, and—notably in the U.S. and England—people of color. But researchers are looking deeper into these groups to determine the underlying roots, both biological and social, for their vulnerability. Investigators are relating age-related risk to the ways that the immune system changes over the years, for example, and examining male-female differences in immune responses. Some scientists are probing for genetic variations that might raise susceptibility. Others are highlighting the social, environmental and economic factors that elevate risk, including racism.
20th Aug 2020 - Scientific American


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Children May Be Better at Spreading Coronavirus Than Once Thought, While Showing Symptoms Different to Adults

The study published in the Journal of Pediatrics involved 192 participants. They ranged from newborns to 22-year-olds (but all classed as children), who visited Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Respiratory Infection Control clinics for symptoms associated with COVID-19, and a condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome that is linked to the coronavirus. The volunteers provided the team with throat or nose swabs, and/or blood samples. The team examined these for traces of SARS-CoV-2, the name of the coronavirus germ that causes COVID-19. They also compared the levels of the receptor the virus uses to enter the body in this group and children who had check-ups at the institution during the pandemic, as well as adults evaluated for COVID-19.
20th Aug 2020 - Newsweek

We know too little about Covid-19 'long-haulers.' We need a comprehensive study

“Long-haulers” is no longer just a job description for truckers. This term now refers to the growing number of people who contracted Covid-19 and have continued to have symptoms for more than 100 days – even though tests reveal no virus left in the body. Covid-19 “long-haulers” continue to struggle with debilitating symptoms, often alone, in the shadows of this devastating disease. Having escaped the worst, they nevertheless continue to struggle. It feels like a betrayal. Symptoms reported include headaches, difficulty concentrating and extreme fatigue. In one survey of 1,500 people with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, conducted by a Facebook community of long-haulers, more than half reported debilitating symptoms for more than three months. A recent CDC report found that 35% of respondents who tested positive for Covid-19 and had symptoms didn’t feel like they were back to normal 2–3 weeks after testing. Although Covid-19 is considered most dangerous to the elderly or immunocompromised, the study noted that one in five respondents aged 18-34, without prior chronic medical conditions, said they hadn’t completely recovered. This is particularly concerning since much of the current spread of new cases in the US is in younger people.
19th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

FDA approves affordable saliva-based COVID-19 test developed by Yale scientists

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new and affordable saliva-based test for COVID-19 developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health. The new method for processing samples when testing for the novel coronavirus is called SalivaDirect. “The SalivaDirect test for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 is yet another testing innovation game-changer that will reduce the demand for scarce testing resources,” said Assistant Secretary for Health and COVID-19 Testing Coordinator Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., in a press release. 'I WILL NEVER FORGET': Houston ICU doc describes what it's like on COVID-19 frontlines
19th Aug 2020 - Chron.com

Coronavirus vaccine: Australia secures access to Oxford-AstraZeneca trial

Australia says it has secured access to a promising coronavirus vaccine and will be able to offer free doses to its entire population of 25 million people. The vaccine is being developed by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University. If clinical trials are successful, the deal with AstraZeneca would secure "early access for every Australian", Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. Mr Morrison said it was likely that vaccinations would be mandatory. Australia has recorded 450 coronavirus deaths, most from an outbreak in the state of Victoria. Earlier this month, Victoria declared a state of disaster and imposed strict lockdown measures after a surge in infections. It still has more than 7,000 active cases, but the number of new infections has declined in the past week.
19th Aug 2020 - BBC News

Majority of coronavirus patients still unwell months later, Bristol researchers reveal

A large majority of coronavirus patients are still experiencing symptoms three months after being released from hospital, Bristol researchers report. From a sample of 110 patients discharged from Southmead Hospital, almost three quarters were suffering a poorer quality of life months after their initial diagnosis. Many were struggling to carry out daily tasks such as washing, dressing or going back to work. Researchers found that 81 out of 110 patients discharged from Southmead Hospital were experiencing symptoms, such as breathlessness, excessive fatigue and muscle aches. Most of the patients did report improvements in their initial symptoms of fever, cough and loss of sense of smell. And the majority of people had no evidence of lung scarring or reductions in lung function.
19th Aug 2020 - Bristol Live

Roche and Regeneron link up on a coronavirus antibody cocktail

Regeneron and Roche are teaming up on an investigational antibody cocktail against Covid-19. The U.S. company will sell the cocktail in the U.S. and the Swiss drugmaker will sell it elsewhere, should the drug win approval.
19th Aug 2020 - CNBC

Coronavirus: UAE firm working on non-invasive test to detect Covid-19 within a minute

A UAE company is working on creating a Covid-19 test that will detect the virus in up to 60 seconds. G42 Healthcare, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42, signed an agreement with NanoScent, an Israeli company specialised in scent reading technologies, to develop and distribute Scent Check, a device capable of detecting suspected cases of Covid-19 from a sample of exhaled nasal air. The Scent Check device detects a combination of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from exhaled nasal air that is derived from the patient's response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The patient will blow nasal air into a a small bag fitted with a straw known as an "Air trap". The device then analyses the sample and provides the result in 30 to 60 seconds.
19th Aug 2020 - The National

Coronavirus: Home testing for coronavirus to be ramped up to 150,000 per fortnight

More people across the UK will be offered coronavirus tests in a bid to keep track of local outbreaks and reduce infection rates ahead of winter. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey will test 150,000 people per fortnight by October and will extend to cover Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Currently, 28,000 people are tested for coronavirus per fortnight in England. The survey is separate from the mass testing programme of people with symptoms.
19th Aug 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus smell loss 'different from cold and flu'

The loss of smell that can accompany coronavirus is unique and different from that experienced by someone with a bad cold or flu, say European researchers who have studied the experiences of patients. When Covid-19 patients have smell loss it tends to be sudden and severe. And they usually don't have a blocked, stuffy or runny nose - most people with coronavirus can still breathe freely. Another thing that sets them apart is their "true" loss of taste. It's not that their taste is somewhat impaired because their sense of smell is out of action, say the researchers in the journal Rhinology. Coronavirus patients with loss of taste really cannot tell the difference between bitter or sweet.
19th Aug 2020 - BBC News


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The Key To Treating Covid-19 Could Be In The Nose

The nose is a key entry point for the virus – a new study suggests targeting it could result in more effective treatments
19th Aug 2020 - HuffPost UK

Female-led countries handled coronavirus better, study suggests

Countries led by women had “systematically and significantly better” Covid-19 outcomes, research appears to show, locking down earlier and suffering half as many deaths on average as those led by men. The relative early success of leaders such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Denmark’s Mette Frederiksen, Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen and Finland’s Sanna Marin has so far attracted many headlines but little academic attention. The analysis of 194 countries, published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the World Economic Forum, suggests the difference is real and “may be explained by the proactive and coordinated policy responses” adopted by female leaders.
18th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

COVID-19 danger may rise in dry weather, 'provocative' study shows

During Sydney's COVID-19 surge in March and April, something curious happened. On days when the air was dry, more people seemed to catch the virus. When the city's air was more humid, fewer people caught it. That's no coincidence, the authors of a new study say. Dry air increases the coronavirus' ability to spread, they argue.
18th Aug 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

New hyper-infectious coronavirus strain may be 'a good thing', says disease expert

A strain of the novel coronavirus spreading across large parts of the globe may be ten times more infectious but less deadly, a top disease expert has said. President-elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases, Paul Tambyah, has said evidence suggests the proliferation of the D614G mutation in some parts of the world has coincided with a drop in death rates. He said this could mean the new strain, increasingly found in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, is less lethal.
18th Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

G42 Healthcare introduces wearable technology to COVID-19 vaccine trial

G42 Healthcare has announced a volunteer healthcare management programme with US wearable technology firm WHOOP to monitor the health and fitness of those taking part in the company’s COVID-19 vaccine trials. Volunteers participating in the world’s first Phase III trials of the COVID-19 vaccine are being offered the WHOOP Strap 3.0 fitness tracker in order to measure key biometrics during the process. Dubbed “Whoop4Humanity”, the initiative will allow volunteers to check parameters such as heart rate, respiratory rate, heart rate variability, and sleep performance.
18th Aug 2020 - Mobihealth News

Third of midwives who had Covid-19 'were asymptomatic'

A third of maternity care workers who contracted coronavirus may have experienced no discernible symptoms, a study by UK researchers suggests. Their research found that one in six maternity health workers they tested had been infected with Covid-19, of whom one in three were completely asymptomatic. Worryingly, the researchers said that 58% of those who tested positive never met the government's criteria for self-isolation, and, therefore, did not self-isolate and continued to work as normal in their hospital. Their study follows an earlier study suggesting that over 40% of people infected with coronavirus may display no symptoms.
12th Aug 2020 - Nursing Times


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Aug 2020

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Scientists See Signs of Lasting Immunity to Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections

To the immune system, not all germs are equally memorable. But our body’s cells seem to be seriously studying up on the coronavirus. Scientists who have been monitoring immune responses to the virus are now starting to see encouraging signs of strong, lasting immunity, even in people who developed only mild symptoms of Covid-19, a flurry of new studies suggests. Disease-fighting antibodies, as well as immune cells called B cells and T cells that are capable of recognizing the virus, appear to persist months after infections have resolved — an encouraging echo of the body’s enduring response to other viruses. “Things are really working as they’re supposed to,” said Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona and an author on one of the new studies, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.
17th Aug 2020 - The New York Times

The great gamble of COVID-19 vaccine development

My prediction is that vaccines indeed will become a reality, as in Russia, but they will be hurried to market only to be partially effective and the uptake and population benefit will remain uncertain given all the issues discussed. In the meantime, many doctors on the front lines and in clinics continue to press regulators for unrestricted use of any and all available medications to treat COVID-19 patients at home. Every day of vaccine development means more hospitalizations and deaths. Caregivers, unlike government officials and biotechnology executives, are terrible gamblers. They are trained to take calculated risks and prescribe drugs they know have a basis to work early with COVID-19. Vaccine stakeholders, including government agencies, should not hold up treatment now in the gamble for a future panacea - even if it comes at "warp speed."
17th Aug 2020 - MSN Money


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Covid-19: Impact of long term symptoms will be profound, warns BMA

A third of doctors have treated patients with long term covid-19 symptoms, including chronic fatigue and anosmia, a survey conducted by the BMA has found. Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s GP committee for England, said it was clear that the long term impact of covid-19 on patients and the NHS would be profound. An online survey of doctors conducted by the association between 6 and 12 August received 4279 responses.1 Of the 3729 doctors who answered a question about patients’ symptoms, around a third (1092) said that they had seen or treated patients with symptoms they believed to be a long term effect of the patient having had covid-19. The symptoms reported included chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of sense of smell, and concentration difficulties. “With more patients presenting with conditions as the result of infection, it’s essential that sufficient capacity is in place to support and treat them,” Vautrey said. “With the growing backlog of non-covid-19 treatment, the likelihood of a season flu outbreak, and the possibility of a second wave of infections we need to see a more comprehensive long term plan to enable doctors to care for their patients this winter and beyond.” The survey also asked doctors about their own experiences of covid-19. Of the 4120 who responded to the question, 63% said they did not believe they had contracted the virus, 12% had had a diagnosis of covid-19 confirmed by testing, and 14% believed they had been infected with the virus.
13th Aug 2020 - The BMJ

Best COVID-19 vaccine 'may not be the first' | Imperial News

In a week in which Russia approved its 'Sputnik V' coronavirus vaccine, a leading Imperial expert sounds a note of caution on the need for data. In the search for a vaccine against the coronavirus, our focus should be on the best vaccine, not just the first to become available, says Imperial’s Professor Robin Shattock. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week, Professor Shattock, said: “Everybody is very obsessed about the ‘first’ vaccine, but the first may not be the best. What we need is a vaccine that works extremely well and is widely available.”
14th Aug 2020 - Imperial College London

COVID-19 WRAP | US recruits scientists from South Africa for Covid-19 vaccine trials

US recruits scientists from South Africa and Latin America for Covid-19 vaccine trials, pledges access to supply. The Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine project is recruiting scientists in South Africa and Latin America to help test possible vaccines in US- backed clinical trials, pledging to ease their countries’ access to any successful products, Reuters has learned. Moncef Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical executive who heads Operation Warp Speed, a multi-billion dollar US collaboration between the federal government and drugmakers, made the commitment to international scientists late last month, two people familiar with the matter said.
13th Aug 2020 - Times Live

Malaysia Detects Coronavirus Strain That’s 10 Times More Infectious

Malaysia has detected a strain of the new coronavirus that’s been found to be 10 times more infectious. The mutation called D614G was found in at least three of the 45 cases in a cluster that started from a restaurant owner returning from India and breaching his 14-day home quarantine. The man has since been sentenced to five months in prison and fined. The strain was also found in another cluster involving people returning from the Philippines.
17th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

Yale's rapid COVID-19 saliva test receives FDA emergency use authorization

A saliva-based laboratory diagnostic test developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health to determine whether someone is infected with the novel coronavirus has been granted an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The method, called SalivaDirect, is being further validated as a test for asymptomatic individuals through a program that tests players and staff from the National Basketball Association (NBA). SalivaDirect is simpler, less expensive, and less invasive than the traditional method for such testing, known as nasopharyngeal (NP) swabbing. Results so far have found that SalivaDirect is highly sensitive and yields similar outcomes as NP swabbing.
15th Aug 2020 - Yale News

People who recover from covid-19 don’t need to be retested for three months, CDC says

In recently updated guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that people who have recovered from the coronavirus do not need to quarantine or seek testing for three months after they have recuperated. The new recommendation, last updated Aug. 3, cautions that those who were previously infected should still socially distance and wear masks but says they don’t need to quarantine or be tested unless they develop symptoms.
16th Aug 2020 - The Washington Post

Vietnam to buy Russian COVID-19 vaccine

Vietnam has registered to buy a Russian COVID-19 vaccine, state television reported on Friday, as it fights a new outbreak after going several months with no local cases. Russia said on Wednesday it would roll out the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine within two weeks, rejecting the concerns of experts who said it should not have been approved before completing large-scale trials. “In the meantime, Vietnam will still continue developing the country’s own COVID-19 vaccine,” state broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) said, citing the Ministry of Health. Vietnam has signed up for 50 million-150 million doses of the vaccine, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. Some will be a “donation” from Russia, Tuoi Tre said, with Vietnam paying for the rest.
16th Aug 2020 - Reuters


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Remote control for COVID-19 patient ventilators | Hub

A new robotic system designed by Johns Hopkins researchers may help hospitals preserve protective gear, limit staff exposure to COVID-19, and provide more time for clinical work
13th Aug 2020 - The Hub at Johns Hopkins

Using the COVID-19 to influenza ratio to estimate early pandemic spread in Wuhan, China and Seattle, US

In Wuhan, there were an estimated 1386 [95% CrI: 420-3793] symptomatic cases over 30 of COVID-19 between December 30, 2019 and January 12, 2020. In Seattle, we estimate that 2268 [95% CrI: 498, 6069] children under 18 and 4367 [95% CrI: 2776, 6526] adults were symptomatically infected between February 24 and March 9, 2020. We also find that the initial pandemic wave in Wuhan likely originated with a single infected case who developed symptoms sometime between October 26 and December 13, 2019; in Seattle, the seeding likely occurred between December 25, 2019 and January 15, 2020. The spread of COVID-19 in Wuhan and Seattle was far more extensive than initially reported. The virus likely spread for months in Wuhan before the lockdown. Given that COVID-19 appears to be overwhelmingly mild in children, our high estimate for symptomatic pediatric cases in Seattle suggests that there may have been thousands more mild cases at the time.
13th Aug 2020 - The Lancet

Russia's fast-track vaccine is a lesson in ethics, human exploitation

Russia recently announced that it has developed an effective vaccine against the COVID-19 virus despite less than two months of testing on humans. A billion doses of the evocatively Cold War-named Sputnik V, Russian officials claim, will be available worldwide by early 2021 at the latest. Given that safe and successful vaccines are often a decade in the making, what did the Russians do to score this victory? Simple, they truncated and skipped the usual trials that preface the release of any new pharmaceutical, and that help ensures its safety.
13th Aug 2020 - MSN.com

COVID-19 is fuelling a resurgence of AIDS, malaria and TB

More than three months of lockdowns have prevented many people from accessing treatments for non-COVID infectious diseases; at the same time, new cases of these illnesses will have gone undetected. Although lockdowns are easing, it will take some time for health care to get back to normal, as authorities continue to prioritize COVID-19. Taken together, this is resulting in a surge of cases. That’s why there needs to be a step change in funding for AIDS, malaria and TB prevention, treatment and research, and greater public awareness of the rising threat posed by infectious diseases. And researchers — particularly epidemiologists — must continue to refine the models that are alerting the world to this approaching catastrophe.
13th Aug 2020 - Nature.com

Coronavirus: Antibody study gives 'clearest insight yet' into number of people who've had COVID-19 in England

More than three million people in England have already been infected with coronavirus, a new study suggests. A major testing programme, led by Imperial College London, found that just under 6% of England's population - an estimated 3.4 million people - had antibodies to COVID-19 and were likely to have previously had the virus prior to the end of June. This is more than 12 times the number of cases shown by the government's official figures, which state a total of 270,971 people in England had a positive coronavirus test confirmed by a laboratory as of 4pm on Wednesday.
13th Aug 2020 - Sky News

EU wraps up talks with Johnson & Johnson to buy potential COVID-19 vaccine

The European Commission said on Thursday it had concluded preliminary talks with U.S. pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson for an advance purchase deal of a potential COVID-19 vaccine the company is developing. The EU executive arm said this could pave the way for the signing of a contract that would allow EU countries to buy the vaccines or donate to developing countries.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Israel develops fast saliva test for COVID-19

Israel's largest hospital says it has developed a coronavirus test which takes less than a second to deliver a result. Patients rinse their mouth with saline wash and spit into a vial. It is then examined by a device which shines light and analyses the reaction of the sample. An algorithm then determines whether the reaction is consistent with COVID-19. The team at the Sheba Medical Centre, near Tel Aviv, said hundreds of patients were tested in an initial clinical trial. And the new technique had a 95 per cent success rate. Eli Schwartz is from the Centre for Geographic Medicine and Tropical Diseases at the center.
13th Aug 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Novavax ties up with SK bioscience to boost supply of potential COVID-19 vaccine

Novavax Inc said on Thursday South Korea’s SK bioscience would manufacture a component of the U.S. drug developer’s experimental coronavirus vaccine in a bid to boost its supply. Shares of Maryland-based Novavax rose nearly 7% in morning trade. Novavax has received $2 billion in funding so far for its coronavirus vaccine, including $384 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). As part of that deal, Novavax has committed to supply its vaccine to COVAX, a scheme that aims to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe. The deal with SK bioscience would help it increase the supply to meet those commitments, Novavax said.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

AstraZeneca set to start making 400 million COVID-19 vaccines for Latam early in 2021

Production of 400 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for Latin America could begin early next year, an executive for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) said on Thursday, as the region’s coronavirus death toll stands at nearly 230,000. In partnership with the Mexican and Argentinean governments, AstraZeneca plans to initially produce 150 million doses, and eventually make at least 400 million for distribution throughout the region, said Sylvia Varela, head of AstraZeneca Mexico. Home to some 650 million people, Latin America has registered the world’s highest tallies for coronavirus cases and deaths, with Brazil and Mexico trailing only the United States in record numbers of fatalities. “We’ll be prioritizing the vulnerable populations,” Varela said at the Mexican president’s daily news conference, noting that the pricing, while still not final, was not expected to exceed $4 per dose. That could bring the cost of the first 150 million doses to $600 million.
13th Aug 2020 - Reuters

Seven African countries to start testing for COVID-19 antibodies

Seven African countries will start administering coronavirus antibody tests from next week, a regional body said on Thursday, as part of efforts to understand the extent of the outbreak on the continent. "Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco are the first set of countries that committed to it," said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Addis Ababa. Western governments are using antibody tests to find out how many of their citizens have been infected, in the hope that will help them reopen their economies.
13th Aug 2020 - Jakarta Post

EXCLUSIVE: What are risks of rushing a COVID-19 vaccine? Former FDA chief scientist talks transparency, safety

ABC7 spoke exclusively with the Food and Drug Administration's former Chief Scientist, Dr. Jesse Goodman, to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the process. "One thing I always say is expect the unexpected. When you're starting something new in vaccine development. Things occur," said Dr. Goodman, an infectious disease physician and professor at Georgetown University. Goodman led the FDA's response to the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009. "This is a bigger challenge than we had in 2009 because we could build on proven vaccines," Goodman said. "We had pretty high confidence in manufacturing quality and in their safety and performance." To put in perspective, it took eight years for an effective Ebola vaccine. It took six months for a safe H1N1 vaccine -- made possible with decades of prior research on influenza.
13th Aug 2020 - ABC7 San Francisco


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New robotic system remotely controls ventilators in COVID-19 patient rooms

A new robotic system allows medical staff to remotely operate ventilators and other bedside machines from outside intensive care rooms of patients suffering from infectious diseases. The system, developed by a team of Johns Hopkins University and Medicine researchers, is still being tested, but initial trials have demonstrated how it could be deployed to help hospitals preserve protective gear, limit staff exposure to COVID-19 and provide more time for clinical work.
13th Aug 2020 - Tech Xplore

'They've jumped the gun': scientists worry about Russia's Covid-19 vaccine

ADE “is a genuine concern”, Kevin Gilligan, a virologist and senior consultant with Biologics Consulting, told Nature Biotechnology in June. “Because if the gun is jumped and a vaccine is widely distributed that is disease-enhancing, that would be worse than actually not doing any vaccination at all.” This week, following Russia’s announcement that it is pushing ahead with mass production of Sputnik V and mass inoculation , the fears expressed by the likes of Gilligan became a chorus, underlining the concerns among scientists that Russian researchers have jumped the gun.
12th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

US to buy 100m doses of Moderna's potential Covid-19 vaccine for $1.5bn

The US has committed to buy 100m doses of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Moderna, Donald Trump has announced, even while the vaccine remains in an experimental stage. The US president on Tuesday said his administration had agreed to buy 100m doses from the US biotech group, with an option to buy another 400m, for which the company said it would be paid just over $1.5bn. The deal comes after the US struck a similar agreement with Moderna’s rival Pfizer to purchase 100m doses for a price of almost $2bn. Mr Trump said: “We are investing in the development and manufacture of the top six vaccine candidates to ensure rapid delivery. “The military is ready to go, they’re ready to deliver a vaccine to Americans as soon as one is fully approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] and we’re very close to that approval.”
12th Aug 2020 - Financial Times

Philippines talking to Russian vaccine maker on trials, seeks 'complete dossier'

Philippine scientists were set on Wednesday to meet representatives of the Russian state research facility that developed a coronavirus vaccine, to discuss participation in clinical trials and access to its research data. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the Russian vaccine and offered to be “injected in public”, to allay public fears about its safety. Russia on Tuesday became the world’s first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, to be named “Sputnik V” in homage to the Soviet Union’s launch of the world’s first satellite.
12th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Russian coronavirus vaccine ‘could kill the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong’

Germany has warned that Russia’s claim that it has developed the world’s first coronavirus vaccine could prove “dangerous”. Russian president Vladimir Putin said this week that a COVID-19 vaccine developed in the country has been registered for use and one of his daughters has already been inoculated. But German health minister Jens Spahn said he was sceptical about the claims, warning they could ultimately “kill the acceptance” of vaccination as a weapon against the pandemic. Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio: "It can be dangerous to start vaccinating millions, if not billions, of people too early because it could pretty much kill the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong, so I'm very sceptical about what's going on in Russia.
12th Aug 2020 - YAHOO!

Being overweight increases risk of severe Covid-19 by at least 40%, study finds

Researchers analysed data from more than 300,000 people in England. They found extra weight is linked with 'higher odds' of admission to hospital. Even being only overweight (BMI of 25 to 30) raised the risk by 40%. It came after a report by Public Health England last month warning of the risks
12th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Long after a Covid-19 infection, mental and neurological effects smolder

Even people who were never sick enough to go to a hospital, much less lie in an ICU bed with a ventilator, report feeling something as ill-defined as “Covid fog” or as frightening as numbed limbs. They’re unable to carry on with their lives, exhausted by crossing the street, fumbling for words, or laid low by depression, anxiety, or PTSD. As many as 1 in 3 patients recovering from Covid-19 could experience neurological or psychological after-effects of their infections, experts told STAT, reflecting a growing consensus that the disease can have lasting impact on the brain. Beyond the fatigue felt by “long haulers” as they heal post-Covid, these neuropsychological problems range from headache, dizziness, and lingering loss of smell or taste to mood disorders and deeper cognitive impairment. Dating to early reports from China and Europe, clinicians have seen people suffer from depression and anxiety. Muscle weakness and nerve damage sometimes mean they can’t walk.
12th Aug 2020 - STAT News

Argentina, Mexico to produce AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

An agreement signed between British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the biotechnology company mAbxience of the INSUD Group includes transfer of technology to initially produce 150 million doses of the vaccine to supply all of Latin America with the exception of Brazil, the Argentine government said. "Latin American production will be handled in Argentina and Mexico and that will allow timely and efficient access for all countries in the region," Fernandez said. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said later on Twitter that the deal had been pushed by Fernandez and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He said output of the vaccine could extend to 250 million doses.
12th Aug 2020 - Yahoo News


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New app allows remote monitoring of patients with motor neurone disease during Covid-19

A new online system, developed by the University of Sheffield, which enables healthcare professionals to remotely monitor and support patients who have motor neurone disease (MND) during the Covid-19 pandemic, has been fast-tracked for use by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. The Telehealth in Motor Neurone Disease (TiM) system ) has been rolled out to patients with MND in Sheffield and Edinburgh months ahead of schedule; thanks to a partnership between the University of Sheffield's Institute for Translational Research (SITraN), Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and technology firm Advanced Digital Innovation (UK) Limited (ADI) a leader in the field of technology-enabled health and care services, which has been working with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for the past four years, across its musculoskeletal services.
11th Aug 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Management of post-acute covid-19 in primary care

Management of covid-19 after the first three weeks is currently based on limited evidence. Approximately 10% of people experience prolonged illness after covid-19 Many such patients recover spontaneously (if slowly) with holistic support, rest, symptomatic treatment, and gradual increase in activity. Home pulse oximetry can be helpful in monitoring breathlessness. Indications for specialist assessment include clinical concern along with respiratory, cardiac, or neurological symptoms that are new, persistent, or progressive
11th Aug 2020 - The BMJ

Asthma patients not at higher risk of Covid-19 complications, research suggests

Patients with asthma do not seem to be at risk from complications associated with being hospitalised with Covid-19 disease, in sharp contrast to other viral infections say French researchers. In a group of 768 patients hospitalised from March to April, 37 patients (4.8%) had asthma – a broadly similar proportion to the general population of the same age in France. The patients were generally younger than non-asthmatic patients hospitalised for Covid-19 and far more likely to be female, the researchers reported in the European Respiratory Journal. None of the patients with asthma experienced a severe asthma attack warranting specific treatment on admission to hospital and their asthma therapy was unchanged, supporting previous research that Covid-19 is less likely to exacerbate asthma than other respiratory viral infections, the researchers concluded.
11th Aug 2020 - Pulse

Antibody drugs could be key tools against Covid-19. But will they matter?

From the moment Covid-19 emerged as a threat, one approach to making drugs to treat or prevent the disease seemed to hold the most promise: They’re known as monoclonal antibodies. Now, scientists are on the brink of getting important data that may indicate whether these desperately needed therapies could be safe and effective. Clinical trials involving a pair of antibodies developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals will read out early results in September. A separate effort from Eli Lilly could yield data later in the fall. Despite experts’ eagerness to see the data, however, there remains a debate over just how significant a role any antibody treatment might play in changing the course of the pandemic.
11th Aug 2020 - STAT News

J&J eyes one billion doses of potential COVID-19 shot in 2021, weighs challenge trials

Johnson & Johnson could produce 1 billion doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine next year if it proves successful and would consider injecting healthy volunteers with the novel coronavirus if there are not enough patients for final trials,
11th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

NHS appeal for those who have had Covid-19 to donate their blood plasma

The NHS is calling for people who have had Covid-19 to donate their blood plasma as a possible treatment for those suffering from the virus. The process, which is similar to giving blood, only takes 45 minutes and can be used to help treat patients who aren’t producing enough of their antibodies to fight Covid-19. Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Consultant Haematologist Professor Mike Murphy told Adil Ray and Kate Garraway: "We still need to confirm the effectiveness of the treatment in randomised clinical trials. They are the gold standard where some patients receive plasma, some patients don’t and we compare the results in the two, so we are urgently appealing for anyone who has suffered from coronavirus and recovered to come forward and donate plasma so that we have enough for the clinical trials and we can scale up production so there is enough to treat the patient and many more patients if the trials demonstrate that plasma is really effective."
11th Aug 2020 - ITV News


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The people with hidden immunity against Covid-19

The clues have been mounting for a while. First, scientists discovered patients who had recovered from infection with Covid-19, but mysteriously didn’t have any antibodies against it. Next it emerged that this might be the case for a significant number of people. Then came the finding that many of those who do develop antibodies seem to lose them again after just a few months. In short, though antibodies have proved invaluable for tracking the spread of the pandemic, they might not have the leading role in immunity that we once thought. If we are going to acquire long-term protection, it looks increasingly like it might have to come from somewhere else.
20th Jul 2020 - BBC

China's military takes centre stage in Covid-19 vaccine race

While governments around the world are planning to give the first doses of a proven Covid-19 vaccine to healthcare workers who are most exposed to the virus, China is prioritising people on a different frontline: the military. CanSino Biologics, a Chinese vaccine maker that has announced several sets of positive trial results, is already providing a vaccine to People’s Liberation Army soldiers, even though safety testing for commercial sale of the product is not yet complete. The decision has set the country apart in the frantic global race for a vaccine — and highlighted the central part played by the PLA in broader attempts to vanquish Covid-19.
10th Aug 2020 - Financial Times


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German-Chinese coronavirus vaccine trial begins

Clinical trials on humans have begun in China for a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by German pharmaceutical group BioNTech with Chinese company Fosun Pharma, the companies said Wednesday. Seventy-two participants have already received their first dose following approval for the phase 1 trial from Chinese regulatory authorities, Mainz-based BioNTech and Fosun Pharma said in a statement. The vaccine candidate, known as BNT162b1, is one of four based on BioNTech's proprietary mRNA technology.
8th Aug 2020 - The Local Germany

Anakinra for severe forms of COVID-19

There is an urgent need to seek new therapeutic approaches to combat the infective and post-infective stages of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The Article by Thomas Huet and colleagues1 on the clinical use of the interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist, anakinra, to treat patients with COVID-19 is very interesting. The main hypothesis of the study was based on hyperinflammation caused by an increase in proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, IL-6, and tumour necrosis factor (TNF), triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection. The recruited participants in this study did not have any other infection, but what if the patients did have another proinflammatory condition, such as obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disease?
8th Aug 2020 - The Lancet

Many COVID-19 patients lost their sense of smell. Will they get it back?

In early March, Peter Quagge began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as chills and a low-grade fever. As he cut pieces of raw chicken to cook for dinner one night, he noticed he couldn’t smell the meat. “Must be really fresh,” he remembers thinking. But the next morning he couldn’t smell the Dial soap in the shower or the bleach he used to clean the house. “It sounds crazy, but I thought the bleach had gone bad,” he says. When Quagge stuck his head into the bottle and took a long whiff, the bleach burned his eyes and nose, but he couldn’t smell a thing. The inability to smell, or anosmia, has emerged as a common symptom of COVID-19. Quagge was diagnosed with COVID-19, though he was not tested, since tests were not widely available at the time. He sought anosmia treatment with multiple specialists and still has not fully recovered his sense of smell.
8th Aug 2020 - National Geographic UK

Japan, AstraZeneca agree on 120 mil. COVID-19 vaccine dose supply

The Japanese government has reached an agreement with British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to receive a supply of 120 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine being developed with the University of Oxford, health minister Katsunobu Kato said Friday. The vaccine will be supplied to Japan from next year if put into practical use, with 30 million doses to be received by March. The drugmaker, which has been conducting a final-stage clinical trial of its experimental AZD1222 vaccine, has not yet decided whether it is necessary to inoculate a person once or twice. "We want to reach a final contract as quickly as possible, as well as proceed with negotiating with other vaccine developers," Kato told reporters. Japan has already agreed to receive a supply of 120 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine for 60 million people by the end of June next year from U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, if they succeed in developing it.
8th Aug 2020 - Kyodo News Plus

New clues on virus reproduction mystery; non-Covid vaccines may help

Scientists already knew that once the virus breaks into a cell, it forms double-membrane sacs, or vesicles, in which it makes copies of its genetic material. But the sacs appeared to be closed and it was previously unclear how the genetic material moved from the sac into the fluid in the cell, where new virus particles assembled themselves.
8th Aug 2020 - ETHealthworld.com

Wrexham Pharma Base Wins Race to Start Manufacturing Covid-19 Vaccines

A grey little factory in North Wales may be about to play a key part in rescuing us from the tedium of social network face mask shaming, as Wrexham's CP Pharmaceuticals is clearing the decks and preparing to take on the job of manufacturing mass doses of any covid-19 vaccine that aces trials and is deemed safe for the population. CP Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Wockhardt, a multinational responsible for making many generic medical products. Most importantly for the UK's vaccine developers, the deal includes the rights to make millions of doses of the University of Oxford's world-leading attempt at a covid-19 vaccine underway in cooperation with AstraZeneca, known as AZD1222.
8th Aug 2020 - Gizmodo UK

Covid-19: lack of diversity threatens to undermine vaccine trials, experts warn

The remarkably fast progress of two leading contenders for an effective coronavirus vaccine has raised hopes the pandemic may be speedily tamed. But some experts have warned the vaccine trials risk being undermined by a lack of diversity among their participants. Last month, the University of Oxford reported a vaccine it is developing with AstraZeneca from a chimpanzee virus elicited a “strong immune response” in people involved in an initial trial. A separate vaccine project, overseen by the US biotech company Moderna, also saw encouraging results from an early small-scale trial. The two research trials, striving to charge ahead of a pack of more than 140 different teams racing to find a vaccine to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, have sparked a rare burst of optimism during the crisis. But the trials are striking not only for their rapid pace but also their overwhelming whiteness.
8th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

Anthony Fauci says COVID-19 vaccine may be partially effective

An approved coronavirus vaccine could end up being effective only 50 to 60 percent of the time, meaning public health measures will still be needed to keep the pandemic under control, Dr Anthony Fauci, the top United States infectious diseases expert, said on Friday. "We don't know yet what the efficacy might be. We don't know if it will be 50 percent or 60 percent. I'd like it to be 75 percent or more," Fauci said in a webinar hosted by Brown University. "But the chances of it being 98 percent effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach."
8th Aug 2020 - Al Jazeera English

Rare syndrome linked to COVID-19 found in nearly 600 US ...

Nearly 600 children were admitted to U.S. hospitals with a rare inflammatory syndrome associated with the novel coronavirus over four months during the peak of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report on Friday. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) is a rare but severe condition that shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation. It has been reported in children and adolescent patients about two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19. With rising COVID-19 cases, there could be an increased occurrence of MIS-C, but this might not be apparent immediately because of the delay in development of symptoms, said the report's authors, including those from the CDC's COVID-19 response team.
8th Aug 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Dogs could sniff out Covid and speed up testing

In the dogged search for mass testing, maybe dogs are the solution. Scientists are calling for volunteers in northwest England to take part in a trial to identify the smells that are unique to Covid-19 infection and then see if dogs can sniff them out. The hope is their sensitive noses will be able to spot the signs of coronavirus without the need for laboratory testing. Dogs could then offer another means of mass screening at airports and in hot spots. In the past decade researchers have found that dogs are able to spot illness before it is even apparent to the people who are sick. This ability was first noticed by owners who claimed that their dogs had spotted they had cancer.
8th Aug 2020 - The Times

Pfizer agrees to manufacture Gilead's coronavirus drug remdesivir

Pfizer has agreed to manufacture and supply Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir. The multiyear agreement will support efforts to scale up the supply of the intravenous drug. Pfizer will manufacture the drug at its McPherson, Kansas, facility.
7th Aug 2020 - CNBC


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Covid-19 may spread more easily among children than thought, report warns

A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) into an outbreak at a summer camp in Georgia suggests children – even asymptomatic cases – may play an important role in community transmission of Covid-19. The claim contradicts a number of earlier studies where the consensus appeared to be that children rarely transmit the virus between themselves or to other people. This week 260 employees in one of Georgia’s biggest school districts were barred from entering their schools to plan for reopening because they either had the virus or had been in contact with an infected individual.
6th Aug 2020 - The Guardian

AstraZeneca in first COVID-19 vaccine deal with Chinese company

Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products will produce AstraZeneca Plc’s potential COVID-19 vaccine in mainland China, the British drugmaker said on Thursday, its first deal to supply one of the world’s most populous countries. The deal underscores Astra’s frontrunner position in a global race to deliver an effective vaccine, given that Chinese ventures are leading at least eight of the 26 global vaccine development projects currently testing on humans. Under the agreement Shenzhen Kangtai, one of China’s top vaccine makers, will ensure it has annual production capacity of at least 100 million doses of the experimental shot AZD1222, which AstraZeneca co-developed with researchers at Oxford University, by the end of this year, AstraZeneca said.
6th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Human Trials of Coronavirus Vaccine Set to Begin in Indonesia

Human trials on a potential coronavirus vaccine are due to start in Indonesia next week as part of a collaboration between state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma and China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a senior researcher said. The launch of the vaccine trial comes as Indonesia has struggled to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, with a consistently escalating number of cases. The phase 3 clinical trial is set to begin on Aug. 11 and will involve 1,620 volunteers aged between 18 and 59, Professor Kusnandi Rusmil, head researcher at Bandung’s Padjadjaran University, told reporters. Half of the participants will receive the vaccine over a six-month period, while the rest will receive a placebo, he said, noting 800 volunteers had been signed up so far. "We want to have our vaccines so we can use it for our people," Rusmil told reporters.
6th Aug 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

Coronavirus: Vaccine may be less effective in obese adults

Previous studies have found that vaccines for the fu and hepatitis B are less effective in obese adults than non-obese adults. Some theorize this is because those who are obese have an impaired T-cell response, a type of immune system cell, to immunizations. Researchers fear that a similar event could occur when a coronavirus vaccine finally becomes available. This puts 42.4% of the US adult population, who are obese, at risk of severe infection or complications such as death.
6th Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

Nation’s Leading Vaccine Authorities Urge Thorough Review of Safety and Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines should be made widely available only after the Food and Drug Administration has been able to evaluate safety and efficacy data from completed Phase 3 clinical trials, according to the nation’s leading vaccine authorities. Nearly 400 experts in virology, epidemiology, vaccinology, clinical care, and public health are calling on FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to ensure a thorough, transparent process that will give experts and the general public alike reassurance that the candidate vaccines are safe and effective.
5th Aug 2020 - Center for Science in the Public Interest

COVID-19 and cancer insights revealed in new European study | Imperial News

A large Imperial-led study has revealed valuable insights into the impact and risk factors for cancer patients with COVID-19. The findings, from almost 900 cancer patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany, highlight a number of key clinical insights, including: The average mortality rate among cancer patients with SARS-CoV-2 was 33.6% - Patients who were male, older aged and had pre-existing conditions were more likely to have worse outcomes from COVID-19 - Continued chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatment had little impact on the severity of COVID-19, or survival rates
5th Aug 2020 - Imperial College London


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Novavax Aims to Deploy Covid-19 Vaccine by December: R&D Head

Dr. Gregory Glenn, Novavax president of research and development, discusses the progress on the company's experimental vaccine for Covid-19 with Bloomberg's Alix Steel on "Bloomberg Markets.
5th Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

U.S. to pay $1 billion for 100 million doses of J&J's COVID-19 vaccine candidate

The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, as it stocks up on vaccine and drugs in an attempt to tame the pandemic. The latest contract is priced at roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J, or around $14.50 per dose, including a previous $456 million the U.S. government promised to J&J for vaccine development in March. That compares with the $19.50 per dose that the U.S. is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and German biotech BioNTech SE
5th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus UPDATES: R rate 'could soar by 0.5 across UK when schools go back'

The UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has asked for coronavirus survivors to receive the free winter flu vaccine. The proposal would mean that more than 250,000 Brits who have recovered from the disease can get the winter jab. It comes as the UK Covid-19 death toll went up by 65 today, while hospital fatalities increased by 15. The number of people who have died from coronavirus in hospital is down from the same time last week. Meanwhile, new lockdown restrictions have been put in place in Aberdeen following a rise in cases. Today's announcement is the first "local lockdown" in Scotland after a string of areas in England had restrictions reimposed.
6th Aug 2020 - Mirror.co.uk

Fauci talks vaccine prospects in Reuters interview

“We are likely going to have maybe tens of millions of doses in the early part of (next) year. But as we get into 2021, the manufacturers tell us that they will have hundreds of millions and likely a billion doses by the end of 2021. So I think the process is moving along at a pretty favorable pace.” “I’m cautiously optimistic, though you can never guarantee things with a vaccine. I’m cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine that’s effective enough to get approved, because the early studies in the Phase One study showed that it induced the kind of neutralizing antibodies that were at least comparable, if not better than what you see in convalescent serum. And that’s a whole mark of a predictive quality that a vaccine might work.”
5th Aug 2020 - Reuters UK


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Convalescent Plasma Reduced Death Rate Among Covid-19 Patients, Study Data Signals

Hospitalized patients who got earlier transfusions of blood plasma rich in antibodies to the coronavirus show a lower mortality rate
5th Aug 2020 - Wall Street Journal

1.5 Million Italians Had Coronavirus, Lockdown was Critical in Stemming Infection: Antibody Test

The results of nationwide antibody tests conducted on nearly 65,000 Italians indicate that some 1.5 million individuals or 2.5% of the population have had the coronavirus, health officials said on Monday. That figure is six times the number of confirmed cases in Italy's official virus tally. The results - viewed with the country's overall death toll of close to 35,000 -align with the 2.3% estimated mortality rate of the virus. Dr Franco Locatelli, a key scientific government adviser, said the tests were designed to understand the virus' circulation nationwide and not whether Italians with antibodies were safe from the virus.
4th Aug 2020 - Yahoo India News

Coronavirus: WHO urges caution over Russian vaccine claims

Russia is planning to go ahead with mass vaccinations in October - something the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised concerns about, APA reports citing BBC. About 140 vaccines across the world are in early development, and around two dozen are now being tested on people in clinical trials, including the Russian vaccine. There are generally three main phases of human testing before a vaccine can be approved for general use. The final stage, phase 3, involves trials among a much larger group of volunteers. Six potential vaccines have reached this third stage. One, developed by the University of Oxford, appears safe and triggers an immune response in humans. Early results from two trials in the US, run by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and biotech company Moderna, also appear to produce a good immune response in volunteers. However, they are all still under testing and none have received approval. According to a document release by the WHO last week, the Russian jab, which has been developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute, remains far behind and is still in phase 1.
4th Aug 2020 - apa.az


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4 former FDA commissioners: Blood plasma might be the covid-19 treatment we need

Blood plasma — also known as convalescent plasma — has been used as a therapy for infectious diseases for a century, including against the flu in 1918 as well as SARS, Ebola, meningitis and measles. While it doesn’t work for all infections, the idea is to use one person’s successful defense system of antibodies to bolster the immune response of a newly infected person.
3rd Aug 2020 - The Washington Post

Covid test: 'An entire laboratory in this cartridge'

New 90-minute tests that can detect coronavirus and flu will be rolled out in care homes and laboratories from 10 August in the UK. Currently, three-quarters of test results are returned within 24 hours and a quarter can take up to two days. The government says almost half a million of the new rapid swab tests, called LamPORE, will be available in adult care settings and laboratories, with millions more due to be rolled out later in the year. Additionally, thousands of DNA test machines, which can analyse nose swabs, will be rolled out across NHS hospitals from September. The "on-the-spot" swab and DNA tests will help distinguish between Covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses, according to the government. Professor Chris Toumazou, CEO of DnaNudge, showed the BBC how the new test works.
3rd Aug 2020 - BBC News

COVID-19 has “devastating” effect on women and girls

WHO issued interim guidance for maintaining essential services during an outbreak, which included advice to prioritise services related to reproductive health and make efforts to avert maternal and child mortality and morbidity.
3rd Aug 2020 - The Lancet

Dozens of COVID-19 vaccines are in development. Here are the ones to follow.

More than 150 coronavirus vaccines are in development across the world—and hopes are high to bring one to market in record time to ease the global crisis. Several efforts are underway to help make that possible, including the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which has pledged $10 billion (£7 billion) and aims to develop and deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by January 2021. The World Health Organisation is also coordinating global efforts to develop a vaccine, with an eye toward delivering two billion doses by the end of 2021.
3rd Aug 2020 - National Geographic UK


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COVID-19: WHO warns of 'lengthy' pandemic as cases rise

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to be "lengthy", the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Saturday as countries from France to Mexico reported a rise in cases. The WHO said it "highlighted the anticipated lengthy duration of this COVID-19 pandemic" in a statement after its emergency committee met on Friday to evaluate the crisis six months after it rang the global alarm on January 30. The group also warned of the risk of "response fatigue" given the socio-economic pressures on countries. "WHO continues to assess the global risk level of COVID-19 to be very high," said its latest statement.
1st Aug 2020 - Euronews

Antibody tests fail to detect people who had mild coronavirus symptoms

Tests designed to check whether people have had coronavirus might be missing those who only experienced mild symptoms, a new study has found. Researchers at Oxford University gave an antibody test to more than 900 healthcare workers and found significant numbers came back negative, even among those who were likely to have contracted Covid-19. The findings have thrown fresh doubts over the accuracy of the tests and how they can be used to help the UK avoid another lockdown.
2nd Aug 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Vaccine Confronts Humanity With Next Moral Test

When it comes to Covid-19, “It’s pretty hard to have informed consent when we barely know anything about this yet.” There are fears that the virus can cause lasting damage even in twentysomethings, for example, but little clear evidence. Can volunteers really consent to expose themselves to such poorly understood risks?
2nd Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

When It Comes to Covid Shots, Rich Nations Are First in Line

Although international groups and a number of nations are promising to make vaccines affordable and accessible to all, doses will likely struggle to keep up with demand in a world of roughly 7.8 billion people. The possibility wealthier countries will monopolize supply, a scenario that played out in the 2009 swine flu pandemic, has fueled concerns among poor nations and health advocates.
2nd Aug 2020 - Bloomberg

US gov announces $2.1bn deal with pharma companies to make 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine

French firm Sanofi and British company GlaxoSmithKline will make the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is being developed by both firms working together. They will receive up to $2.1 billion to supply vaccines for 50 million people. The U.S. government has the option to buy another 500 million doses
1st Aug 2020 - Daily Mail

1 in 5 Londoners who have had Covid-19 were symptomless, study suggests

One in five people in London and the South East who have had coronavirus did not show any symptoms, a new study suggests. It also found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of people who fell ill did not display the three main signs of Covid-19 – persistent cough, fever and loss of smell (anosmia). Researchers said this is the first UK-based pre-print study linking detailed ongoing symptom collection data with antibody testing, and highlights the likely extent of Covid-19 infection across the region.
1st Aug 2020 - Evening Standard

The Three Key Hurdles for a Coronavirus Vaccine to Clear

Vaccines have transformed the world, saving hundreds of millions of lives. They are also by far our best hope to stop the Covid-19 pandemic. Our other choices for stopping the disease are staying apart, which hammers our economy and society, or building “herd immunity” through natural infection, which would mean more than a million deaths in the U.S. and 10 million or more deaths world-wide. But the push for a Covid-19 vaccine faces three key hurdles.
31st Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

EU Poised to Secure Sanofi Deal for Coronavirus Vaccine

Sanofi SA and GlaxoSmithKline Plc on Friday said they are in advanced discussions to supply up to 300 million doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine for the 27-country European Union. Armed with an emergency fund of more than 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion), the European Commission wants to strike deals with up to six drugmakers for their vaccines for their 450 million citizens against the coronavirus that has killed 674,000 people worldwide. The Commission said the aim of the talks with Sanofi was to clinch an advance purchase deal.
31st Jul 2020 - New York Times

Large U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trials will exclude pregnant women for now

The first two COVID-19 vaccines to enter large-scale U.S. trials will not be tested in pregnant women this year, raising questions about how this vulnerable population will be protected from the coronavirus, researchers told Reuters. Moderna (MRNA.O) and Pfizer (PFE.N), which has partnered with Germany’s BioNTech (22UAy.F), this week separately launched clinical trials that use a new and unproven gene-based technology. Both companies are requiring proof of a negative pregnancy test and a commitment to using birth control from women of childbearing age who enroll. Drugmakers say they first need to make sure the vaccines are safe and effective more generally. In addition, U.S. regulators require that drugmakers conduct safety studies in pregnant animals before the vaccines are tested in pregnant women to ensure they don’t harm the fetus or lead to miscarriage.
31st Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

US agrees to buy Sanofi-GSK Covid-19 vaccine

The US has agreed to pay Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline up to $2.1bn to accelerate the development of the experimental Covid-19 vaccine the companies are developing and secure an initial 100m doses. The majority of the funding will go to Sanofi since the French pharma group came up with the vaccine candidate, which will be paired with GSK’s adjuvant, an extra ingredient designed to boost its effectiveness. The agreement is part of what President Donald Trump dubbed “Operation Warp Speed”, where the US is aiming to compress the time it takes to bring a vaccine to market from the usual decade to 12 to 18 months. It is also the eighth deal struck through the US’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (Barda) and brings the total pledged to over $8.3bn, more than any other country or government to date.
31st Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine performs well in early tests

A single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s experimental coronavirus vaccine elicited “robust” protection against Covid-19 when tested on animals, with clinical human trials now under way in the US and Belgium. The pre-clinical data, published in Nature magazine, show the drugmaker’s dose successfully prevented subsequent infection in non-human primates, spurring so-called “neutralising antibodies”. It also provided complete or near-complete protection against Covid-19 in their lungs. “The findings give us confidence as we progress our vaccine development and upscale manufacturing in parallel,” said Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer.
30th Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Scientists discover why coronavirus leads to a loss of smell

Scientists have discovered why coronavirus causes some patients to lose their sense of smell. Temporary loss of smell, or anosmia, is one of the earliest and most commonly reported warning signs of Covid-19. Studies suggest the “devastating” symptom better predicts the disease than other well-known symptoms such as a fever or cough. But the actual cause for loss of smell in Covid-19 patients has been unclear – until now. Researchers at Harvard Medical School in the United States have identified which cell types used for smelling are most vulnerable to infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
29th Jul 2020 - The Independent


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Hancock: NHS needs to 'double down' on tech advances after Covid-19

Speaking about the future of healthcare at a Royal College of Physicians event, Hancock told the audience better technology was needed for better healthcare. “We want to double down on the huge advances we’ve made in technology within the NHS and social care, because it’s not really about technology, it’s about people,” he said. The health secretary also said in his speech that digital services should be used to keep patients out of hospital when appointments aren’t essential, free up clinicians time, and better connect people with their care. Referencing difficulties in developing new technology, Hancock added they don’t make it “any less valuable”. “To promote collaboration and change we need more transparency, better use of data, more interoperability and the enthusiastic adoption of technological innovation that can improve care,” he said. “This crisis has shown that patients and clinicians alike, not just the young, want to use technology.
30th Jul 2020 - Digital Health

Russia plans 'world's first approved' COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 12

Russia plans to register a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by Aug. 10-12, clearing the way for what its backers say would be the world’s first official approval of an inoculation against the pandemic. The drug, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, may be approved for civilian use within three to seven days of registration by regulators, according to a person familiar with the process, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The Gamaleya vaccine is expected to get conditional registration in August, meaning trials will still need to be conducted on another 1,600 people, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said in a televised meeting of officials with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Production should begin in September, she said.
30th Jul 2020 - The Japan Times

This Is Where We're At With Treatments For Covid-19 Right Now

With a vaccine not looking likely this side of Christmas, scientists and health experts are scrabbling to find existing drugs that can help fight against the worst effects of Covid-19. The Recovery trial in the UK has already unearthed one game-changing drug, dexamethasone, and has crossed two other treatments off the list after they didn’t show any clinical benefits. The first is hydroxychloroquine, the drug fiercely advocated for by Donald Trump despite studies showing it’s not effective; the other is lopinavir-ritonavir, a drug commonly used to treat HIV.
30th Jul 2020 - HuffPost UK

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine performs well in early tests

A single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s experimental coronavirus vaccine elicited “robust” protection against Covid-19 when tested on animals, with clinical human trials now under way in the US and Belgium. The pre-clinical data, published in Nature magazine, show the drugmaker’s dose successfully prevented subsequent infection in non-human primates, spurring so-called “neutralising antibodies”. It also provided complete or near-complete protection against Covid-19 in their lungs. “The findings give us confidence as we progress our vaccine development and upscale manufacturing in parallel,” said Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer.
30th Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Sufficient vaccine doses perhaps only in end-2021

Sufficient doses of a Covid-19 vaccine may be available only towards the end of next year, the Ministry of Health's director of medical services Kenneth Mak has said. He also said Singapore is proactively working with vaccine developers, pharmaceutical firms and research institutions on finding a vaccine for Covid-19. Discussions have begun to ensure Singapore will have access to vaccines when they become available, he told a virtual press conference yesterday.
25th Jul 2020 - The Straits Times


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Russian COVID-19 vaccine approval imminent, source says

Russia's first potential COVID-19 vaccine will win local regulatory approval in the first half of August and be administered to frontline health workers soon afterwards, a development source close to the matter told Reuters. A state research facility in Moscow - the Gamaleya Institute - completed early human trials of the adenovirus-based vaccine this month and expects to begin large-scale trials in August. The vaccine will win regulatory approval from authorities in Russia while that large-scale trial continues, the source said, highlighting Moscow's determination to be the first country in the world to approve a vaccine. The speed at which Russia is moving to roll out the vaccine has prompted some Western media to question whether Moscow is putting national prestige before solid science and safety. "(Regulatory) approval will be in the first two weeks of August," the development source said. "August 10 is the expected date, but it will definitely be before August 15. All (trial) results so far are highly positive."
30th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Intravacc and Celonic to Develop and Produce a Novel COVID-19 Vaccine

Intravacc, a global leader in translational research and development of viral and bacterial vaccines, and Celonic Group, a premium biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), specialized in development and production of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) and mammalian cell lines expressed bio-therapeutics, today announced that they have signed a research agreement to further design, develop and produce a Covid-19 vaccine based on an immunogenic Spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 combined with Intravacc's prorietary Outer Membrane Vesicle (OMV) technology.
29th Jul 2020 - PR Newswire UK

EU readies up to $53 million to boost collection of plasma to fight COVID-19

The European Union has made available up to 45 million euros ($53 million/£40 million) to increase the collection of plasma from COVID-19 survivors for the treatment of people who contract the disease, a spokesman told Reuters. The move confirms the EU's growing confidence in experimental therapies based on so-called convalescent plasma, which is currently used in hospitals for direct transfusions to critically ill patients and is being tested to develop possible medicines against COVID-19. Money is coming from an emergency fund that the European Union has so far used only for highly sensitive issues throughout the pandemic, including the purchase of another COVID-19 treatment and potential vaccines. Grants will be distributed to blood collection centres to help them buy new equipment, such as testing kits and machines that separate plasma from blood, the EU spokesman said.
29th Jul 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK

Case characteristics, resource use, and outcomes of 10 021 patients with COVID-19 admitted to 920 German hospitals: an observational study

In the German health-care system, in which hospital capacities have not been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, mortality has been high for patients receiving mechanical ventilation, particularly for patients aged 80 years or older and those requiring dialysis, and has been considerably lower for patients younger than 60 years.
29th Jul 2020 - The Lancet

Coronavirus can infect people 26 FEET away in cold moving air, finds study that recreated an outbreak in a German food factory

Coronavirus is able to travel more than 26 feet (eight metres) in cold environments with moving air, according to a study that recreated an outbreak in a food factory. Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research focused on an outbreak of Covid-19 at a slaughterhouse in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, Germany, that infected 1,500 workers. They found a single person in the plant appeared to have infected several others within a 26 feet radius, made possible because of the cold conditions and the constantly circulating air inside the plant.
24th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail


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Pfizer Says Covid Could Endure, Sees Long-Term Need for Shot

Pfizer Inc. is preparing for the novel coronavirus to endure, leading to long-term demand for a seasonal shot to protect against Covid-19. The New York pharmaceutical giant and its German partner BioNTech SE are front-runners in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, employing a technology known as messenger RNA that can quickly advance through clinical studies. The companies dosed their first U.S. patient in a late-stage trial Monday, and they could be ready to seek approval from regulators as early as October. There has been a growing sense that a one-time vaccine regimen may not be enough to ward off Covid-19 forever. It isn’t clear how long coronavirus antibodies can protect people from the disease, and early trials haven’t yet yielded proof that a shot could prevent infection for an extended period of time. Pfizer said it expects that a Covid-19 vaccine could, like the flu shot, be an inoculation that is needed regularly to be effective.
28th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Survey suggests aerosol is significant form of COVID-19 transmission

Early results from a survey of 2000 people in the UK and US has suggested that the COVID-19 transmitted through aerosol transmission is materially significant. The survey analysed by a team of data scientists in the UK, Norway and the US is one of the first to examine a wide range of personal and work-related predictors of transmission. Taking both samples together, being tall more than doubled the probability of having a COVID 19 medical diagnosis or positive test for people over 6ft. The data in both countries, argue the researchers, could suggest that aerosol transmission is very likely, with taller individuals at higher risk – something that would not be expected if transmission was exclusively through droplets. And that, they say, something that would not have been observed if downward droplet transmission was the only transmission mechanism.
28th Jul 2020 - Manchester University

Loss of smell from Covid-19 is not permanent, scientists say

Loss of smell caused by the coronavirus has baffled scientists. Now, it has been discovered that it's not the crucial sensory neurons affected. Instead, the cells the provide structural support are infiltrated by the virus. These can be repaired, offering hope that anosmia is not permanent
28th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Evaluation of the mRNA-1273 Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in Nonhuman Primates

The mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate induced antibody levels exceeding those in human convalescent-phase serum, with live-virus reciprocal 50% inhibitory dilution (ID50) geometric mean titers of 501 in the 10-μg dose group and 3481 in the 100-μg dose group. Vaccination induced type 1 helper T-cell (Th1)–biased CD4 T-cell responses and low or undetectable Th2 or CD8 T-cell responses. Viral replication was not detectable in BAL fluid by day 2 after challenge in seven of eight animals in both vaccinated groups. No viral replication was detectable in the nose of any of the eight animals in the 100-μg dose group by day 2 after challenge, and limited inflammation or detectable viral genome or antigen was noted in lungs of animals in either vaccine group.
28th Jul 2020 - nejm.org

Monkey Data Support Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

The mRNA vaccine co-developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) protected both the upper and lower airways of non-human primates against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Rhesus macaques receiving low or high doses of mRNA-1273 vaccine (10 or 100 μg, two injections 4 weeks apart) were then challenged with the virus via both the nose and the lungs a month after the second injection. Seven of eight vaccinated monkeys in both dosing groups had no detectable virus in the lungs two days afterwards, whereas viral RNA was found in lungs of all eight monkeys receiving placebo, according to Barney Graham, MD, PhD, of NIAID, and colleagues.
28th Jul 2020 - MedPage

COVID-19: The Latest NICE Guidance

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has added to its growing set of rapid COVID-19 guidelines. The latest addition covers arrangements the NHS should put in place for patients needing elective surgery and other planned treatments and procedures, including diagnostics and imaging, during the pandemic.
28th Jul 2020 - Medscape


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Llama antibodies could help treat COVID-19

Llamas could be the answer to treating severe bouts of COVID-19, researchers have said. A collaborative team from the Rosalind Franklin Institute, Oxford University, Diamond Light Source and Public Health England say antibodies from the animals have shown to neutralise coronavirus in lab tests. Their findings were based on nanobodies which prevent COVID-19 from entering human cells because it binds so tightly to the spike protein of the virus. The nanobodies are engineered from naturally produced antibodies found in llamas, camels and alpacas.
28th Jul 2020 - Diabetes.co.uk

Pfizer-BioNTech begin late-stage study of lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate

German biotech BioNTech and U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc said on Monday they would begin a pivotal global study to evaluate their lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate. If the study is successful, the companies could submit the vaccine for regulatory approval as early as October, putting them on track to supply up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. Patients are each given two doses of the drugmakers’ vaccine to help boost immunity, so the first 100 million doses would vaccinate around 50 million people. The study is expected to include about 120 sites globally and could include up to 30,000 participants. It will include regions heavily impacted by COVID-19. “The initiation of the Phase 2/3 trial is a major step forward in our progress toward providing a potential vaccine to help fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer.
28th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Two coronavirus vaccines begin the last phase of testing: 30,000-person trials

The vaccines are being developed by Pfizer and biotechnology company Moderna in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health
28th Jul 2020 - The Washington Post

Moderna begins first late-stage US trial of Covid vaccine

Moderna has given the first doses of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine to participants in what will be a 30,000-person trial, as the US moved into a new phase in the race to develop a vaccine by the start of next year. The Boston-based biotech on Monday said it had begun the first phase-three study of a vaccine in the US, a large-scale trial that is usually the last before a new product is submitted for regulatory approval. The company’s shares were up as much as 10.6 per cent before paring some of their gains.
27th Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Covid-19 vaccines may cause mild side effects, experts say, stressing need for education, not alarm

While the world awaits the results of large clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines, experts say the data so far suggest one important possibility: The vaccines may carry a bit of a kick. In vaccine parlance, they appear to be “reactogenic,” meaning they have induced short-term discomfort in a percentage of the people who have received them in clinical trials. This kind of discomfort includes headache, sore arms, fatigue, chills, and fever. As long as the side effects of eventual Covid-19 vaccines are transient and not severe, these would not be sources of alarm — in fact, they may be signals of an immune system lurching into gear. It’s a simple fact that some vaccines are more unpleasant to take than others. Think about the pain of a tetanus shot, for instance.
27th Jul 2020 - STAT News

Indonesia Steps Up in COVID-19 Vaccine Race

Indonesia is set to move into the front ranks of countries pursuing a vaccine against the coronavirus next week with the launch of phase 3 clinical trials in Bandung, West Java. About 2,400 samples of an experimental vaccine have been shipped from China to Bandung for the trial, which will begin August 3. The vaccine, developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, is one of only five out of 166 candidates to have reached such an advanced stage of testing. An American entrant in the race for a vaccine, developed by Moderna, entered phase 3 trials in the United States on Monday. Phase 3 testing involves giving a vaccine to thousands of volunteers to see how many become infected, compared with others who are given a placebo. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi announced the Bandung plan in a virtual press conference last week, saying the project is directed in Indonesia by the state-owned pharmaceutical holding company Bio Farma.
27th Jul 2020 - VOA Asia

Enrollment in Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine trial to complete by end of summer: Fauci

The top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci said on Monday enrollment in Moderna Inc’s late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial is expected to be finished by the end of summer this year. Data readouts from the trial, which enrolled the first of 30,000 trial participants on Monday, could occur by November or even earlier, Fauci said in a media call discussing the late-stage study.
27th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK


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US ‘failures’ are holding back search for coronavirus drugs

The failure of the US medical system to match this output has meant that other promising treatments that could have been cleared for widespread use have still to be evaluated. In particular, convalescent plasma (blood plasma that is taken from Covid-19 patients and which contains antibodies that could protect others against the disease) has still to be properly tested on a large-scale randomised trial. “Tens of thousands of people have already been given convalescent plasma in the US but these treatments were not randomised,” said Professor Martin Landray, one of the founders of the Recovery programme. “They just give individuals convalescent plasma in the hope it will work. Vast quantities have been given and they still have no idea whether it helps or harms or has no impact,” added Landray, an expert in the setting up of large-scale drug trials.
26th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Gates Says Korean Firm Could Make 200 Million Vaccines by June

SK Bioscience, the South Korean pharmaceutical company backed by Bill Gates, may be capable of producing 200 million coronavirus vaccine kits by next June, the Microsoft Corp. co-founder said in a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Gates is seeking to cooperate closely with South Korea, the presidential office in Seoul said Sunday, citing the July 20 letter, without elaborating on what else it said.
26th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Your Coronavirus Antibodies Are Disappearing. Should You Care?

Declining antibody levels do not mean less immunity, experts say. Besides, two widely used tests may detect the wrong antibodies. Your blood carries the memory of every pathogen you’ve ever encountered. If you’ve been infected with the coronavirus, your body most likely remembers that, too. Antibodies are the legacy of that encounter. Why, then, have so many people stricken by the virus discovered that they don’t seem to have antibodies? Blame the tests. Most commercial antibody tests offer crude yes-no answers. The tests are notorious for delivering false positives — results indicating that someone has antibodies when he or she does not.
26th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

When will coronavirus cases peak? It's getting harder for experts to predict

The changing demographics of the latest outbreaks across the country, combined with inconsistent mitigation strategies by states, are making it more challenging for scientists to predict when the worrying new upward curve may start to level out. “The trends that we see across the U.S. don’t look like they’re peaking anytime soon,” said Loren Lipworth, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. “If these trends continue to go up, I think this wave could continue through the winter.”
25th Jul 2020 - NBC News

German scientists to host series of concerts to test how coronavirus spreads in crowds

Scientists are planning to hold a series of concerts to work out whether it's possible to hold large indoor events without spreading coronavirus. Researchers at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany are recruiting 4,000 volunteers for the "coronavirus experiment" at an indoor stadium in Leipzig with singer Tim Bendzko on August 22. The scientists have warned that "the existence of entire sports and cultural forms is endangered" as a result of banning crowds amid the Covid-19 outbreak. "We are trying to find out if there could be a middle way between the old and the new normal that would allow organisers to fit enough people into a concert venue to not make a loss," the university's head of clinical infectious diseases, Stefan Moritz, who is coordinating the experiment, told The Guardian.
25th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

From Iceland — Iceland To Participate In Covid-19 Vaccine Project

In a civil defense information meeting yesterday, it was stated by chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason that Iceland is going to take part in a project led by the World Health Organisation to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. The project is called COVAX and is an international co-operation lead by the WHO, in coordination with different manufacturers. According to a report from Vísir, the project is intended to support the development of a vaccine and establish overall control over its distribution. By participating, Iceland secures its access to vaccines. Fréttablaðið reports that nine manufacturers have been selected for collaboration and are deemed likely to succeed. Six of them are already in the clinical trail phase of testing their vaccine.
24th Jul 2020 - Reykjavík Grapevine

COVID-19 recovery can take a few weeks even for young adults

Recovering from even mild coronavirus infections can take at least two to three weeks, according to U.S. research published Friday. Lingering symptoms can even affect otherwise healthy young adults. Among those aged 18 to 34 with no chronic illness, 1 in 5 were still experiencing COVID-19 symptoms after two to three weeks, the study found. Cough, fatigue and body aches were among the most common persistent symptoms. Most previous research on long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms has focused on sicker hospitalized adults. Only 7% of patients in the new study needed hospital treatment.
24th Jul 2020 - The Associated Press

Preventing the next pandemic will cost $22.2 billion a year, scientists say

As the world grapples with the toll of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are warning the funding needed to prevent the next zoonotic disease outbreak is severely lacking — leaving everyone vulnerable. The price tag for protecting and monitoring pristine forests and wildlife trade where diseases emerge is an estimated $22.2 billion to $30.7 billion, according to the report in the journal Science. While hefty, it pales in comparison to the minimum of $8.1 trillion in losses globally resulting from the current pandemic, the report said.
23rd Jul 2020 - NBC News


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A coronavirus vaccine will NOT be available this year, World Health Organization warns in blow to hopes of a jab getting the pandemic under control

Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies programme, said the first use of a Covid-19 vaccine cannot be expected until early 2021.
23rd Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

U.K. Plans Biggest Ever Flu Vaccine Program as Covid Buffer

The U.K. announced its biggest ever flu vaccination program for the coming winter as it seeks to protect the National Health Service from a possible second wave of coronavirus. Authorities aim to vaccinate more than 30 million people, almost twice the 15.3 million inoculated in England last season, the Department for Health and Social Care said in a statement on Friday. Free vaccines -- normally available to the over-65s, young schoolchildren, pregnant women and other at-risk groups -- will also made available to all people over the age of 50. The beefed-up program, together with an additional 3 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) of funding for hospitals recently announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, is designed to help hospitals weather an expected surge of coronavirus cases when temperatures drop. Typically, hospitals are under the most strain in winter as seasonal flu spreads.
24th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Key Immune System Genes Identified to Explain High COVID Deaths and Spread in Northern Italy Versus Fewer Cases and Deaths in the South

“The identification of HLA alleles that are permissive or protective towards coronavirus infection could inform priorities in disease management and future vaccination campaigns in an easy, cost-effective manner,” says Prof. Luciano Mutti, MD, from the Sbarro Institute in Philadelphia, co-first author of the study. “Despite the intrinsic limits of the ecological approaches, such types of studies have the advantage of considering a large number of cases that are readily available through public datasets. Indeed, geographical studies are often the first to identify risk factors for a variety of diseases. Case-control studies will be then necessary to confirm these findings in Covid-19 patient cohorts,” says Giovanni Baglio, coauthor of the study, epidemiologist from the Ministry of Health. “We hope that this will be feasible in a reasonable timeframe because the research setting in Italy still presents many hurdles,” concludes Giordano.
23rd Jul 2020 - Newswise


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New antibody mix could form 'very potent' Covid-19 treatment, say scientists

Scientists at Columbia University in New York screened antibodies from 40 Covid-19 patients and identified 61 types from five individuals that effectively wiped out coronavirus. Among them were nine that displayed “exquisite potency” for neutralising the pathogen. Tests on cells showed that the antibodies killed off the virus, while experiments with hamsters revealed that an infusion of one of the more potent antibodies protected the animals from disease. “It shut off infectious virus completely in the lung tissue of the hamsters we treated,” said David Ho, a professor of medicine at Columbia who led the research.
22nd Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Pfizer, BioNTech snare $1.95B deal with U.S. government for 100M-plus doses of COVID-19 vaccine

The Trump administration's Warp Speed initiative has placed its biggest bet yet on an accelerated COVID-19 vaccine—and Pfizer and BioNTech are the lucky recipients. The vaccine partners landed an initial order from the U.S government for 100 million doses of their mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine at the eye-popping price tag of $1.95 billion, they said in a joint release Wednesday. The enormous order is the single largest pledge so far from the Trump administration's Warp Speed initiative to rapidly develop and distribute effective vaccines for COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS') Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will collect the first 100 million doses following an FDA approval or emergency authorization, Pfizer said. The government will then have the option of ordering an additional 500 million doses in the future at an undetermined cost.
22nd Jul 2020 - FiercePharma

Italy trials coronavirus test which gives accurate result in minutes

Italy is testing a coronavirus swab which gives a result in 12 minutes and costs only £11. The swab, manufactured in South Korea, has been tested 1,000 times in the northern region of Veneto and may soon be used in Italian airports to screen tourists for the infection, The Times reports. "It looks reliable and we hope to get it into use in Veneto by the autumn," Francesca Russo, who runs the region's Covid-19 response team, told the newspaper. Officials have recorded only two false results while trialling the test, which is called Standard Q Covid-19.
22nd Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Research shows that Covid antibodies fade rapidly, raising risk of lost immunity

Recovering from Covid-19 may not offer much lasting protection from future infections for those with only mild cases, according to a report that suggests caution regarding so-called herd immunity as well as the durability of vaccines. The correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine outlined research on antibodies taken from the blood of 34 patients who had recovered after suffering mainly mild symptoms that didn’t require intensive care. Just two needed supplemental oxygen and received an HIV medication, and none were on a ventilator or getting Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir. The first analysis was done on antibodies taken an average of 37 days after symptoms began, with a second after about 86 days, or less than three months. The researchers found that antibody levels fell quickly, with a half-life of about 73 days between the two time frames. The loss of antibodies occurred more quickly than with SARS, an earlier type of coronavirus infection.
22nd Jul 2020 - ETHealthworld.com

New COVID-19 vaccine trials under way in Brazil

Nearly two dozen potential vaccines for the novel coronavirus are under various stages of human testing worldwide, and at least two are being conducted in Brazil - the country with the world's second-worst outbreak. One is a Chinese-made drug that is being tested on 9,000 volunteers, the other is developed by Oxford University. Testing is now under way and is expected to last for about three months.
22nd Jul 2020 - Aljazeera.com

Don't expect first COVID-19 vaccinations until early 2021 - WHO's Ryan

WHO is working to ensure fair vaccine distribution, but in the meantime it is key to suppress the virus's spread, said Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies programme, as daily new cases around the globe are at near-record levels. "We're making good progress," Ryan said, noting that several vaccines were now in phase 3 trials and none had failed, so far, in terms of safety or ability to generate an immune response. "Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated," he told a public event on social media
22nd Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: COVID-19 vaccine has 'above 50%' chance of success but 'won't be ready until mid-2021'

The boss of a drugs company that has agreed to deliver up to 100 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine to the UK has told Sky News there is a more than 50% chance of it reaching patients. Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive of France-based Valneva, also told Sky's Ian King Live that he did not believe the drug would be widely available before the middle of next year. Valneva, which has a manufacturing base at Livingston in Scotland, is behind one of two coronavirus vaccine partnerships announced by the UK government earlier this week.
21st Jul 2020 - Sky News


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Coronavirus: Scientists call for caution after study suggests warm weather reduces severity of Covid-19

Scientists have called for caution over a new study that suggests the severity of Covid-19 may be reduced during the warmer months of the year, and that dry indoor air may encourage its spread. Researchers from King’s College London analysed data from 6,914 patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in Croatia, Spain, Italy, Finland, Poland, Germany, the UK and China. They mapped this against local temperature and estimated indoor humidity and found that severe outcomes – being taken to hospital, admittance to ICU or the need for ventilation – dropped in most European countries over the course of the pandemic, covering the transition from winter to early summer.
21st Jul 2020 - The Independent

Antibody study finds coronavirus infections may have been 10 times higher in Bay Area

Nearly ten times as many Bay Area residents had been infected with the coronavirus by the end of April than the official tally at the time, according to a new federal study that analyzed antibody tests to determine how widespread the virus was across a handful of United States hot spots. The study underscores just how deficient testing for the virus was in the early weeks of the pandemic, when the vast majority of cases were never identified. At the same time, it provides further evidence that aggressive shelter-in-place orders protected much of the Bay Area, where researchers estimate only about 1% of all residents had been infected by the time the study was done. That number is surely higher now with the outbreak surging again
21st Jul 2020 - San Francisco Chronicle

India coronavirus: Nearly one in four in Delhi had Covid-19, study says

Nearly one in four residents in India's capital, Delhi, has been exposed to coronavirus infection, antibody tests on a random sample of people suggest. The government survey said 23.48% of the 21,387 people whose blood samples were tested had Covid-19 antibodies. It suggests that infections in the city are much more widespread than the number of confirmed cases indicates. Delhi has so far recorded 123,747 cases, equivalent to less than 1% of its population of 19.8 million. At 23.44%, the number of infections would be 4.65 million in a city that size. A government press release says the difference shows that "a large number of infected persons remain asymptomatic". It even says the figure of 23.48% may be too low because Delhi has several pockets of dense population. But it adds that "a significant proportion of the population is still vulnerable" and all safety measures must be strictly followed.
21st Jul 2020 - BBC News

Controversial 'human challenge' trials for COVID-19 vaccines gain support

The volunteers come from an advocacy group, 1Day Sooner, that has signed up more than 30,000 people from 140 countries. The group, co-founded by a 22-year-old, organized an open letter that was signed by 15 Nobel laureates and 100 other prominent researchers, ethicists, and philosophers, which it sent to U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins on 15 July. The letter urged the U.S. government “to undertake immediate preparations for human challenge trials” in young, healthy people, who are less likely to suffer severe disease from COVID-19. Among the signatories was Adrian Hill of the University of Oxford, whose lab developed one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates and plans to produce virus strains that could be used in the trials.
21st Jul 2020 - Science Magazine

Coronavirus: 'Infection here for many years to come'

The UK will be living with coronavirus for many years to come and even a vaccine is unlikely to eliminate it for good, experts are warning. Wellcome Trust director Prof Sir Jeremy Farrar told the House of Commons' Health Committee "things will not be done by Christmas". He went on to say humanity would be living with the virus for "decades". It comes after the prime minister said last week he hoped for a return to normality by Christmas. Boris Johnson made the comments as he set out plans to further ease restrictions, including the opening of leisure centres and indoor swimming pools later this month and the prospect of mass gatherings being allowed from the autumn. But experts giving evidence to the cross-party group of MPs said it was important to be realistic that the virus would still be here. Sir Jeremy, a member of Sage, the government advisory body, said the world would be living with Covid-19 for "very many, many years to come". "Things will not be done by Christmas. This infection is not going away, it's now a human endemic infection.
21st Jul 2020 - BBC News

Oxford academic dismisses idea of deliberately infecting volunteers with Covid-19 to test vaccine

Professor Sarah Gilbert said it would not be safe for them to do a 'challenge trial.' No drug has been proven to stop the disease progressing, only to reduce death. The trial will need to rely on seeing whether vaccinated people catch the coronavirus in the community, which scientists fear will take too long. But Professor Gilbert is still confident in the end of year target
21st Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Genes May Influence COVID-19 Risk, New Studies Hint

As COVID-19 continues its fateful march around the globe, researchers have seen patterns of characteristics tied to bad cases of the disease. Increased age, diabetes, heart disease and lifelong experiences of systemic racism have come into focus as risk factors. Now some connections to certain genes are also emerging, although the links are fuzzier. Combing through the genome, researchers have tied COVID-19 severity and susceptibility to some genes associated with the immune system’s response, as well as a protein that allows the disease-causing SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus into our cells. They have also turned up links between risk and a person’s blood type—A, B, AB or O. The findings are not cut-and-dried, however. Scientists caution that even valid effects may be small, although knowledge about genes involved in serious disease outcomes may help to identify therapeutic drugs. Complicating the work are the effects of social and economic inequalities that also increase risk and tend to be concentrated in populations with specific ethnic backgrounds and ancestries
21st Jul 2020 - Scientific American


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Vaccine Studies Offer New Hope As Who Warns On Africa

One trial among more than 1,000 adults in Britain found that a vaccine induced "strong antibody and T cell immune responses." Two studies offered new hope of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus on Monday, as the World Health Organization warned about a possible acceleration of the disease in Africa. Seven months after COVID-19 was first identified in China and has since killed more than 600,000 people worldwide and battered economies, there is growing alarm over fresh outbreaks of the disease. Until recently, Africa had remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic compared to other parts of the world. But the situation has become increasingly worrying, particularly in South Africa, where the death toll passed 5,000 mark and the number of infections reached 350,000 at the weekend. The WHO's emergencies chief Michael Ryan told a virtual news conference in Geneva that the situation in South Africa could be seen as "a warning" for what the rest of the continent might have in store. "I am very concerned right now that we are beginning to see an acceleration of disease in Africa," he said.
21st Jul 2020 - New Vision

Immunosuppressant drug shows promise for Covid-19 patients

An initial trial showing that an immunosuppressant drug can significantly increase the likelihood of recovery among patients hospitalised by Covid-19 sent the share price of biotech company Synairgen soaring on Monday. In a study involving 101 patients from nine UK hospitals, those who were given interferon beta — which is commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis and thyroid dysfunction — were more than twice as likely to recover and were 79 per cent less likely to develop a more severe version of the disease. Their breathlessness was also “markedly reduced”, the company said.
20th Jul 2020 - Financial Times

Quest coronavirus test becomes 1st with FDA OK for sample pooling

A Quest Diagnostics coronavirus test is the first authorized by FDA for sample pooling, a method meant to screen more people using fewer resources, the agency announced Saturday. The product OK'd for use with the technique, Quest's SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test, first got emergency use authorization by FDA on March 17. The company said it will begin leveraging the method at labs near Washington, D.C. and Boston by the end of this week, planning to expand it to other sites later. Although the pooling technique may help stretch testing resources, "it is not a magic bullet," Quest's chief medical officer Jay Wohlgemuth said in a statement Saturday, adding that "testing times will continue to be strained as long as soaring COVID-19 test demand outpaces capacity."
20th Jul 2020 - MedTech Dive

Oxford coronavirus vaccine safe and promising, according to early human trial results published in the Lancet

A University of Oxford group and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca reported Monday that their coronavirus vaccine candidate, on which the U.S. and European governments have placed substantial bets, was shown in early-stage human trials to be safe and to stimulate a strong immune response. The study, published in the British medical journal the Lancet and involving 1,077 volunteers, was described as promising. A second report in the same publication on a Chinese vaccine showed what researchers not involved in the study described as modest positive results.
20th Jul 2020 - The Washington Post

AIIMS to start human trials of Covaxin today

The AIIMS Ethics Committee on Saturday gave its nod for a human clinical trial of the indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin following which the premier hospital to begin the exercise by enrolling healthy volunteers from Monday. AIIMS-Delhi is among the 12 sites selected by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting phase I and II human trials of Covaxin. In phase I, the vaccine would be tested on 375 volunteers and the maximum of 100 of them would be from AIIMS.
20th Jul 2020 - Deccan Chronicle

What happens when flu meets Covid-19?

Optimists had hoped Covid-19 might not withstand the blistering heat of a British summer. However those hopes have faded: the virus staged a recent resurgence in Iran amid actual blistering temperatures, and has had no trouble persisting in sultry Singapore. But what happens to Covid-19, and us, when the rain and chill – and flu and sniffles – of autumn set in? Especially, how will the annual winter flu epidemic play out amid a Covid-19 pandemic? One thing is a given. “We can expect waves of Covid in the fall,” says virologist Ab Osterhaus of the Research Centre for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses in Hanover. By then, he hopes, we might be better at treating severe cases, and more countries might be able to test, trace and quarantine all cases and their contacts, and contain the virus, better than they can now.
20th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

‘Game changer’ protein treatment 'cuts severe Covid-19 symptoms by nearly 80%'

A “groundbreaking” new coronavirus treatment dramatically reduces the number of patients suffering severe symptoms, according to preliminary trial results. The treatment, developed by Southampton-based biotech Synairgen, uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it contracts a viral infection. Covid-19 patients inhale the protein into the lungs using a nebuliser, with the aim of stimulating an immune response. Initial findings, published on Monday, suggest the treatment cuts the chances of a hospitalised coronavirus patient developing severe symptoms of the disease by 79 per cent.
20th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Large analysis of 170 countries shows that lockdown measures did reduce Covid-19 mortality

New research from the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh suggests that, in the absence of a vaccine, early, strict government measures and non-pharmaceutical interventions may have resulted in significantly fewer Covid-19 deaths. The aim of this study, published on medRxiv as a pre-print version, was to create a comprehensive database to track the response of 170 governments to the coronavirus, stretching from the period 1 January to 27 May 2020.
20th Jul 2020 - Health24

Over a million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine possible by September - researcher

Early estimates of the production a million doses of the University of Oxford’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine by September could be an underestimate depending on how quickly late-stage trials can be completed, a researcher said on Monday. “There might be a million doses manufactured by September: that now seems like a remarkable underestimate, given the scale of what’s going on,” Adrian Hill of University of Oxford said, referring to the manufacturing capability of partner AstraZeneca. “Certainly there’ll be a million doses around in September. What’s less predictable than the manufacturing scale-up is the incidence of disease, so when there’ll be an endpoint.” He added it was possible that there would be vaccines available by the end of the year
20th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

How Long Does COVID-19 Immunity Last?

A new study from King’s College London inspired a raft of headlines suggesting that immunity might vanish in months. The truth is a lot more complicated—and, thankfully, less dire.
20th Jul 2020 - The Atlantic

Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford 'safe and induces an immune reaction'

The Covid-19 vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford is safe and induces an immune reaction, findings of the first phases of the study suggest. Scientists and medical researchers across the UK have welcomed the results, with tests revealing the jab could provide double protection against Covid-19. The tests have shown the vaccine induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system – provoking a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination, and an antibody response within 28 days. It did cause minor side effects more frequently compared with the control group of those given a meningitis vaccine, according to the study, but researchers added that there were no serious adverse events from the vaccine. Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford vaccine group said the results were "very encouraging" but cautioned that much work lies ahead.
20th Jul 2020 - ITV News

Why those most at risk of COVID-19 are least likely to respond to a vaccine

A July 17 analysis of more than 50,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. found that 80 percent were people 65 or older. Second, the ageing thymus may also complicate vaccine development for the pandemic. Vaccines provide instructions for our immune system, which T-cells help pass along. By age 40 or 50, the thymus has exhausted most of its reserve of the kind of T-cells that can learn to recognise unfamiliar pathogens—and ‘train’ other immune cells to fight them. Many vaccines rely on such T-cells. Because of COVID-19, researchers are having to pay more attention than ever to how vaccines perform in older people. Moderna Therapeutics, for example, which published the first results this week from the phase-one trial of its novel mRNA vaccine, is running a phase two trial specifically for adults aged 55 and older.
20th Jul 2020 - National Geographic UK

Coronavirus | Seven Indian pharma players in race to develop COVID-19 vaccine

At least seven Indian pharma companies are working to develop a vaccine against coronavirus as they join global efforts to find a preventive to check the spread of the virus that has already infected more than 14 million globally. Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Biological E are among the domestic pharma firms working on the coronavirus vaccines in India. Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within months because of the pandemic.
19th Jul 2020 - The Hindu

Opaganib, a Sphingosine Kinase-2 (SK2) Inhibitor in COVID-19 Pneumonia

This is a phase 2/3 multi-center randomized, double-blind, parallel arm, placebo- controlled study with an adaptive design that will utilize a futility assessment. The study is planned be performed in Italy, other EU countries, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and the US in up to approximately 40 clinical sites. After informed consent is obtained, patients will enter a screening phase for no more than 3 days, to determine eligibility. Approximately 270 eligible patients will be randomized and receive either opaganib added to standard of care, or matching placebo added to standard of care, in a randomization ratio of 1:1. Treatment assignments will remain blinded to the patient, investigator and hospital staff, as well as the sponsor. As the approval and/or guidance for treating COVID-19 are evolving, for this protocol, standard of care will be defined by the recommended schemes of treatment according to the severity of the disease based on local diagnostic and guideline documents such as the Temporary Methodic Recommendations: Prophylactic, Diagnostics and Treatment of New Corona Virus Infection (COVID-19) (Appendix 10); the EU Commission, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Heads of Medicines Agency (HMA) and FDA, and as updated to the most current version of the recommendations.
15th Jul 2020 - ClinicalTrials.Gov

Intravenous Aviptadil for Critical COVID-19 With Respiratory Failure (COVID-AIV)

Novel Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2) is known to cause Respiratory Failure, which is the hallmark of Acute COVID-19, as defined by the new NIH/FDA classification. Approximately 50% of those who develop Critical COVID-19 die, despite intensive care and mechanical ventilation. Patients with Critical COVID-19 and respiratory failure, currently treated with high flow nasal oxygen, non-invasive ventilation or mechanical ventilation will be treated with Aviptadil, a synthetic form of Human Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP) plus maximal intensive care vs. placebo + maximal intensive care. Patients will be randomized to intravenous Aviptadil will receive escalating doses from 50 -150 pmol/kg/hr over 12 hours.
9th Jul 2020 - ClinicalTrials.Gov


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Coronavirus: UK secures early access to 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

The UK has secured early access to 90 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through partnerships with pharmaceutical companies. Included in the figure are 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, the first agreement the two companies have signed with any government. This vaccine has reached Phase 2 trials. The second deal is an agreement in principle for 60 million doses of a vaccine being developed by Valneva, with an option to acquire a further 40 million doses if this vaccine is proven to be safe, effective and suitable.
20th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus: Are mutations making it more infectious?

This coronavirus is actually changing very slowly compared with a virus-like flu. With relatively low levels of natural immunity in the population, no vaccine and few effective treatments, there's no pressure on it to adapt. So far, it's doing a good job of keeping itself in circulation as it is. The notable mutation - named D614G and situated within the protein making up the virus's "spike" it uses to break into our cells - appeared sometime after the initial Wuhan outbreak, probably in Italy. It is now seen in as many as 97% of samples around the world.
19th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Lockdown approach 'less effective in BAME communities', say scientists

The UK's coronavirus lockdown that began in March was less effective among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities because of the "one-size-fits-all' approach, scientists have claimed. Researchers at the University of Leicester found that coronavirus infections continued to rise among BAME people in certain parts of Leicester, while rates of infection among white people dropped off sharply. The scientists said the findings, which were published in the EClinicalMedicine journal by the Lancet, raised "serious questions" about how effective a lockdown can be in a country with an ethnically diverse population.
19th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Dangerous blood clots form in leg arteries of COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 is associated with life-threatening blood clots in the arteries of the legs, according to a study published in Radiology. Researchers said COVID-19 patients with symptoms of inadequate blood supply to the lower extremities tend to have larger clots and a significantly higher rate of amputation and death than uninfected people with the same condition.
19th Jul 2020 - Science Daily

Most of the World May Face Covid Without a Vaccine

Klaus Stohr has urged governments for many years to prepare for the grim possibility of a pandemic. In 2003, he played a key role in a World Health Organization investigation that swiftly identified a coronavirus as the cause of SARS. Stohr also sounded the alarm on the pandemic potential of avian flu, bringing countries and companies to the table to increase production of vaccines in case it began spreading widely in people. In Covid-19, which has killed almost 600,000 people, the world faces the crisis that the virologist has long feared. Stohr, who left the WHO to join drugmaker Novartis AG in 2007 and retired a couple of years ago, paints a sobering picture. He spoke with Bloomberg by phone, and his remarks have been edited for clarity and readability:
18th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

Oxford's Covid-19 vaccine will be produced in Moscow

A Russian drug company has signed a deal to mass produce a British coronavirus vaccine despite claims from intelligence agencies that British scientists were the targets of industrial espionage. R-Pharm, based in Moscow, said that it had agreed with Astrazeneca, the British pharmaceuticals giant, to manufacture the vaccine it is developing with Oxford University.
18th Jul 2020 - The Times

Scientists identify six different 'types' of Covid-19 each based on 'cluster of symptoms'

Data suggests coronavirus comes in several forms, each with symptom clusters King's College London's Symptom Study app findings could help the vulnerable Continuous cough, fever and loss of smell are the three main Covid-19 symptoms
18th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Steroid's COVID-19 benefits confirmed; spotlight on immune cells

The full results of a large randomized clinical trial in Britain - the gold-standard of tests - looking at the steroid dexamethasone confirm the benefits in its use in COVID-19 patients that were hinted at in early findings issued last month. The results, released on Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed benefits for people with advanced or moderate disease. Overall, 2,104 COVID-19 patients were randomly assigned to receive dexamethasone and 4,321 to receive usual care. Four weeks later, dexamethasone had reduced the risk of death by 36% among patients who needed mechanical ventilation when they entered the study, and by 18% among those who were receiving oxygen without mechanical ventilation.
18th Jul 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com

Fast-working fingerprick coronavirus antibody tests pass first major trials

Ministers are preparing to roll out fast-working fingerprick tests that can tell if a person has had coronavirus after they passed their first major trials, according to reports. The antibody tests, which work by taking blood from the tip of the finger and give results in just 20 minutes, were found to be 98.6 per cent accurate in secret tests carried out in June. And now the Government is making plans to buy millions of the tests and send them out to people across the UK, The Daily Telegraph reported.
18th Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Coronavirus: Over-65 death risk 18k times higher than under-20

Researchers estimated what the infection fatality risk is for Geneva, Switzerland.They found those over 65 had a 5.6 per cent risk of dying if they have Covid-19. For those under 20 the risk of death from the virus was just 0.0003 per cent
17th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Symptom tracker app reveals six distinct types of COVID-19 infection

British scientists analysing data from a widely-used COVID-19 symptom-tracking app have found there are six distinct types of the disease, each distinguished by a cluster of symptoms.A King’s College London team found that the six types also correlated with levels of severity of infection, and with the likelihood of a patient needing help with breathing - such as oxygen or ventilator treatment - if they are hospitalised. The findings could help doctors to predict which COVID-19 patients are most at risk and likely to need hospital care in future waves of the epidemic. “If you can predict who these people are at Day Five, you have time to give them support and early interventions such as monitoring blood oxygen and sugar levels, and ensuring they are properly hydrated,” said Claire Steves, a doctor who co-led the study. Besides cough, fever and loss of smell - often highlighted as three key symptoms of COVID-19 - the app data showed others including headaches, muscle pains, fatigue, diarrhoea, confusion, loss of appetite and shortness of breath.
17th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus: are two strains together deadlier than one?

Researchers in the United States say some people could be infected by two variations of the pathogen at once, sending the immune system into overdrive Major study needed to confirm whether theory is supported, Chinese scientist says
17th Jul 2020 - South China Morning Post

Australian researchers invent 20-minute coronavirus blood test

Researchers in Australia have devised a test that can determine novel coronavirus infection in about 20 minutes using blood samples in what they say is a world-first breakthrough. The researchers at Monash University said their test can determine if someone is currently infected and if they have been infected in the past. “Short-term applications include rapid case identification and contact tracing to limit viral spread, while population screening to determine the extent of viral infection across communities is a longer-term need,” the researchers said in a paper published in the journal ACS Sensors on Friday. The research team was led by BioPRIA and Monash University’s Chemical Engineering Department, including researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent BioNano Science and Technology (CBNS).
17th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Why Obesity May Stack the Deck for COVID-19 Risk

“My lungs were quite badly affected,” says O’Rahilly, 62, who spent almost a week getting extra oxygen in what’s known as a high-intensity care unit in the U.K. The experience got him thinking: While about 80% of cases of COVID-19 can be treated at home, why do some people, including him, wind up with more severe infections? Besides his age, O’Rahilly knew he had another strike against him when it comes to COVID-19 infection: his weight. His BMI, or body mass index, is over 30. O’Rahilly, who directs the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit at Cambridge University, is considered one of the world’s leading obesity researchers. He was knighted in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth II for his work, which includes the discovery of a genetic condition that robs the body of the hormone leptin, which controls appetite and weight. And so after his brush with the coronavirus, he started digging into exactly what it is about obesity that makes it so risky for a COVID-19 infection
14th Jul 2020 - WebMD

The heart: Before, during and after COVID-19

Back in February, research from China found people with preexisting heart conditions were more likely to die of the infection, with the Chinese Center for Disease Control reporting a death rate four times the population's average.
12th Jul 2020 - ABC News


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Coronavirus: Encouraging results in vaccine trials

Encouraging early results from clinical trials have raised hopes for an effective coronavirus vaccine. Studies in the US and UK suggest several experimental vaccines produce a good immune response in volunteers without serious side-effects. Nearly two dozen coronavirus vaccines are in clinical trials while another 140 are in early development. But some scientists are calling for volunteers to be exposed to the virus to accelerate research. Nobel laureates are among those who say it would make it easier to see if those who had received a vaccine were protected. They signed an open letter to the head of the US National Institutes of Health, saying these "challenge trials" could accelerate vaccine development. The race to create a coronavirus vaccine is certainly accelerating.
16th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Earlier lockdowns do cut Covid-19 outbreaks quicker, study shows

Researchers measured how Covid-19 cases changed in response to strict rules. They looked at five physical distancing measures including work closures. Britain was one of the slowest to introduce the potentially life-saving measures.
16th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

'Colour-blind' France avoids gauging COVID impact on ethnic minorities

Health and Medical Research (INSERM). French governments have long cherished their “colour-blind” policy. Census questionnaires, job applications and medical files avoid references to ethnicity or religion. But now – on the back of the global Black Lives Matter movement and heightened coronavirus suffering in immigrant communities – some campaigners in France say the policy can harm rather than shield minorities. “We’re too politically correct in France,” said Ghyslain Vedeux, who heads advocacy group the Representative Council of Black Associations. “Blacks, Arabs, immigrants, and more broadly poor people, were the hardest hit. Why not make it official?”
16th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Why do we have different blood types — and do they make us more vulnerable to Covid-19?

Most humans fall into one of four blood groups — A, B, AB or O. Ordinarily, your blood type makes very little difference in your daily life except if you need to have a blood transfusion. However, some studies have people wondering if blood type affects coronavirus risk. One, for instance, suggests that people with Type A may have a higher risk of catching Covid-19 and of developing severe symptoms while people with Type O blood may have a lower risk. A study published this week counters some these early findings, a reminder that scientific discovery is an evolving process. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital published a study Thursday that found no evidence that blood type affects whether someone develops severe symptoms (defined as intubation or death) from a coronavirus infection. Other past research indicates that certain blood groups may affect vulnerability to other diseases, including cancer.
16th Jul 2020 - CNN

US researchers say heparin may neutralise Covid-19 virus

This mechanism could enable the drug to act as a decoy, which may be delivered into the body via a nasal spray or nebulizer to interfere and lower the infection risk. According to the researchers, similar decoy strategies were observed to be beneficial in fighting other viruses such as influenza A, Zika and dengue. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute chemistry and chemical biology professor Robert Linhardt said: “This approach could be used as an early intervention to reduce the infection among people who have tested positive but aren’t yet suffering symptoms. But we also see this as part of a larger antiviral strategy.
16th Jul 2020 - Pharmaceutical Technology

From Hong Kong to Australia, COVID-19 spreads in unexplained ways

As countries across the Asia-Pacific region struggle with resurgences of the coronavirus, one data point is steering government responses: the share of cases with no clear indication of how infection occurred. These patients cannot be linked to other confirmed infections or existing outbreaks by virus responders, indicating hidden chains of transmission. A growing proportion of such cases in a city’s resurgence pushes governments, like in Australia and Hong Kong, to take broad and blunt action, returning entire cities to lockdown-like conditions. “You can hardly contain the outbreak because you have no idea where they will come out next,” said Yang Gonghuan, former deputy director general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “When there’s more cases where the origins are unknown, it adds to the difficulty for containment.”
16th Jul 2020 - The Japan Times

Coronavirus: Oxford vaccine could provide 'double protection' - report

Researchers at the University of Oxford believe they have made a breakthrough in the development of a coronavirus vaccine. Human trials are reported to have shown promising results after the team discovered the jab could provide "double protection" against the virus. Blood samples taken from volunteers in phase one trials have shown the vaccine stimulated the body to produce antibodies and T-cells, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
16th Jul 2020 - Sky News


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Covid-19 pandemic: the need for second-generation vaccines

It is astounding how quickly Covid-19 vaccines have progressed into and through clinical trials. However, there are concerns that these vaccines may not be particularly effective at preventing Covid-19 infections in the long-term, leading to the need for improved, next-generation vaccines against this novel coronavirus. One pair of companies working on the next phase of vaccine development are sister biotechs NantKwest and ImmunityBio.
15th Jul 2020 - Pharmaceutical Technology

Oxford's Covid-19 Vaccine Is the Coronavirus Front-Runner

The University of Oxford candidate, led by Sarah Gilbert, might be through human trials in September. AstraZeneca has lined up agreements to produce 2 billion doses. Could this be the one?
15th Jul 2020 - Bloomberg

More than 150 countries engaged in COVID-19 vaccine global access facility

Seventy-five countries submit expressions of interest to COVAX Facility, joining up to 90 further countries which could be supported by the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). The COVAX Facility, and the AMC within it, is designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world, rich and poor, to make rapid progress towards slowing the pandemic Interest from governments representing more than 60% of the world’s population offers ‘tremendous vote of confidence’ in the effort to ensure truly global access to COVID-19 vaccines, once developed
15th Jul 2020 - World Health Organization

Early-stage trial data on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine due Monday - Lancet

Early-stage human trial data on a vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will be published on July 20, The Lancet medical journal said on Wednesday. The vaccine candidate is already in large-scale Phase III human trials to assess whether it can protect against COVID-19, but its developers have yet to report Phase I results which would show whether it is safe and whether or not it induces an immune response. “We expect this paper, which is undergoing final editing and preparation, to be published on Monday, July 20, for immediate release,” a spokeswoman for the journal said. The Lancet’s statement came after reports earlier on Wednesday that the Phase I data could be released as soon Thursday.
15th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK


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Canada's Medicago begins human trials of plant-based COVID-19 vaccine

Medicago said it has begun testing its plant-based coronavirus vaccine in an early-stage clinical trial as the Canadian company, backed by tobacco company Phillip Morris, races against larger drugmakers to develop a treatment option to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicago's vaccine is being tested with adjuvants from GlaxoSmithKline and Dynavax Technologies. Medicago's potential vaccine uses the leaves of a plant from the tobacco family to produce the S-spike protein, one of the three spike proteins of the novel coronavirus. The company has already used this approach in a flu vaccine that is awaiting Canadian approval.
14th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Study predicts surge in HIV, TB and malaria deaths amid COVID-19 pandemic

Deaths from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria could surge in poor and middle-income countries as already weak health systems grapple with severe disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a predictive study published on Monday. Over the next five years, deaths from the three diseases could rise by as much as 10, 20 and 36 percent respectively - putting the mortality impact on a scale similar to the direct impact of the coronavirus pandemic itself, the modelling study found. "In countries with a high malaria burden and large HIV and TB epidemics, even short-term disruptions could have devastating consequences for the millions of people who depend on programmes to control and treat these diseases," said Timothy Hallett, a professor at Imperial College London who co-led the work. He said the knock-on impact of COVID-19 could undo some of the significant progress against these diseases made over the past two decades, "compounding the burden caused by the pandemic directly".
14th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Coronavirus antibodies may not help with cure, after Dutch study sees harmful effect in ICU patients

Researchers led by a professor in the Netherlands report that they might have found an important clue that may answer why immunoglobulin G appears only when patients are ill enough to be admitted to ICU. AFPResearchers led by a professor in the Netherlands report that they might have found an important clue that may answer why immunoglobulin G appears only when patients are ill enough to be admitted to ICU. Researchers led by a professor in the Netherlands report that they might have found an important clue that may answer why immunoglobulin G appears only when patients are ill enough to be admitted to ICU. Antibodies generated by the immune system to neutralise the novel coronavirus could cause severe harm or even kill the patient, according to a study by Dutch scientists. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is a fork-shaped molecule produced by adaptive immune cells to intercept foreign invaders. Each type of IgG targets a specific type of pathogen. The IgG for Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, fights off the virus by binding with the virus' unique spike protein to reduce its chance of infecting human cells. They usually appear a week or two after the onset of illness, when the symptoms of most critically-ill patients suddenly get worse. A research team led by Professor Menno de Winther from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands said they might have found an important clue that may answer why the IgG appears only when patients are ill enough to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
14th Jul 2020 - South China Morning Post

Moderna's coronavirus vaccine ready to advance to final phase of testing

The first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the United States revved up people's immune systems just the way scientists had hoped, researchers reported - as the shots are poised to begin key final testing. "No matter how you slice this, this is good news," Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press news agency. The experimental vaccine, developed by Fauci's colleagues at the National Institutes of Health in partnership with Moderna Inc, will start its most important step around July 27: a 30,000-person study to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against the coronavirus. But Tuesday, researchers reported anxiously awaited findings from the first 45 volunteers who rolled up their sleeves back in March. Sure enough, the vaccine provided a hoped-for immune boost. Those early volunteers developed what are called neutralising antibodies in their bloodstream - molecules key to blocking infection - at levels comparable to those found in people who survived COVID-19, the research team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
14th Jul 2020 - CBS News

What was the impact of Sweden's soft approach to lockdown?

Sweden’s softer approach to lockdown involved closing universities and other schools for older pupils and recommending that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and everyone over 70 self-isolate. Now, a new study suggests that these limited measures contributed to fewer deaths than expected. Still, Sweden saw more deaths from the pandemic than neighboring countries Denmark and Norway. The new research, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, makes clear the complexity of determining which strategies for reducing the spread of the virus and saving lives are most effective.
14th Jul 2020 - Medical News Today

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine fast-tracked by FDA

The Food and Drug Administration said it will speed the review of two vaccine candidates from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and partner company BioNTech. The fast-track status was granted based on preliminary data from phase one and two studies in the U.S. and Germany. The company expects to enroll 30,000 people in its next phase of trials. If the trials are successful, the companies hope to make 100 million doses by the end of the year and possibly more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021. The administration is investing in a range of vaccine approaches with the hope of landing a successful shot before the year ends.
14th Jul 2020 - Washington Times

'Little chance of a Covid-19 vaccine before 2021' warns French epidemiologist

There is little chance of a 100-percent effective coronavirus vaccine by 2021, a French expert warned on Sunday, urging people to take social distancing measures more seriously. "A vaccine is several years in development," said epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the team of scientists advising the government on the crisis, speaking on BFMTV television. "Of course, there is an unprecedented effort to develop a vaccine, but I would be very surprised if we had that was effective in 2021," he added. While we would probably have one that worked partially, we were very far from the end of the crisis, he said. That being the case, "we have to live with this virus" he said. And since another lockdown was out of the question, people had to go back to "more serious habits".
14th Jul 2020 - The Local France


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Coronavirus warning from Italy: Effects of COVID-19 could be worse than first thought

The long-term effects of COVID-19, even on people who suffered a mild infection, could be far worse than was originally anticipated, according to researchers and doctors in northern Italy. Psychosis, insomnia, kidney disease, spinal infections, strokes, chronic tiredness and mobility issues are being identified in former coronavirus patients in Lombardy, the worst-affected region in the country. The doctors warn that some victims may never recover from the illness and that all age groups are vulnerable.
13th Jul 2020 - Sky News

Russia claims world’s first COVID-19 vaccine after successful clinical trials

After over six months of coronavirus outbreak, Russia has become the first nation to complete clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine on humans. According to the reports, the vaccine has proven the medication's effectiveness, according to chief researcher, Elena Smolyarchuk, who heads the Center for Clinical Research on Miedications at Sechenov University
13th Jul 2020 - Business Insider India


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Thailand plans November human testing for potential coronavirus vaccine

Thai researchers plan to begin human trials of a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus in November and are preparing 10,000 doses, a senior official said on Sunday, aiming for a vaccine that could be ready for use by late next year. Following favourable results in trials on primates, the next step is to manufacture doses for human trials, said Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of the Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University vaccine development program. “At first we were going to send them in June, but it was not easy to plan everything,” Kiat told a news conference. There are no approved vaccines for the virus that causes COVID-19, but 19 candidates are being trailed in humans globally. China is leading the race, with an experimental vaccine by Sinovac Biotech Ltd
12th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

First cases of coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome identified in children in South Carolina

Two children in South Carolina have been diagnosed with the coronavirus-related pediatric inflammatory syndrome, according to the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control. The children are both under the age of 10, DHEC said in a news release Sunday. One is located in the Midlands region in central South Carolina. The other is in the Pee Dee region in the northeastern part of the state. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, is a potential complication seen in some children and teenagers following Covid-19 infections or exposure to those with Covid-19. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory to doctors across the country in May, warning them to be on the lookout for the syndrome. Symptoms include fever, stomach pain, vomiting, a rash and fatigue, according to the CDC.
12th Jul 2020 - CNN

Infectious virus could survive in the air for more than an hour

Professor Wendy Barclay, a virologist from the Govenrment's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, has warned that the novel coronavirus could spend more than an hour airborne
12th Jul 2020 - Mirror.co.uk

Getting Covid-19 twice: Why I think my patient was reinfected

“Wait. I can catch Covid twice?” my 50-year-old patient asked in disbelief. It was the beginning of July, and he had just tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, for a second time — three months after a previous infection. While there’s still much we don’t understand about immunity to this new illness, a small but growing number of cases like his suggest the answer is “yes.” Covid-19 may also be much worse the second time around. During his first infection, my patient experienced a mild cough and sore throat. His second infection, in contrast, was marked by a high fever, shortness of breath, and hypoxia, resulting in multiple trips to the hospital.
12th Jul 2020 - Vox.com

Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests

King’s College London team found steep drops in patients’ antibody levels three months after infection. People who have recovered from Covid-19 may lose their immunity to the disease within months, according to research suggesting the virus could reinfect people year after year, like common colds. In the first longitudinal study of its kind, scientists analysed the immune response of more than 90 patients and healthcare workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust and found levels of antibodies that can destroy the virus peaked about three weeks after the onset of symptoms then swiftly declined.
12th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

India’s Biocon secures approval to use drug on Covid-19 patients

India's Biocon Ltd has received regulatory approval for its drug Itolizumab to be used on coronavirus infected patients suffering from moderate to severe respiratory distress, the biopharmaceutical company said in a statement on Saturday.
11th Jul 2020 - The Daily Star

Coronavirus: German vaccine study draws thousands of volunteers

Researchers say they are surprised at the number of people who have offered to take part, as they usually struggle to find enough guinea pigs. The study will test the success of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by CureVac.
11th Jul 2020 - Deutsche Welle

About half of health care workers positive for COVID-19 by serology have no symptoms, study finds

A new study suggests that front-line health care workers are at high risk for COVID-19 and that many health care workers with the virus may not have typical symptoms of a respiratory infection.
9th Jul 2020 - Science Daily

Dozens More Cases of Neurological Problems in COVID-19 Reported

SARS-CoV-2 generally attacks the lungs, but researchers are also stressing its effects on the brain in a fraction of patients.
8th Jul 2020 - The Scientist

Spain's coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity

Spain's large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is "unachievable," the medical journal the Lancet reported on Monday. The findings show that 95% of Spain's population remains susceptible to the virus. Herd immunity is achieved when enough of a population has become infected with a virus or bacteria -- or vaccinated against it -- to stop its circulation. The European Center for Disease Control told CNN that Spain's research, on a nationwide representative sample of more than 61,000 participants, appears to be the largest study to date among a dozen serological studies on the coronavirus undertaken by European nations. It adds to the findings of an antibody study involving 2,766 participants in Geneva, Switzerland, published in the Lancet on June 11.
6th Jul 2020 - CNN

Fast COVID-19 vaccine timelines are unrealistic and put the integrity of scientists at risk

We contend that a safe and effective vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the causative agent of coronavirus disease COVID-19, most likely cannot be made available to the public in time to make a substantial difference to the natural outcome of this pandemic. People often cling to hope even when prospects of success are low. However, this can have negative consequences if that hope is not realized. We are academic scientists who manage vaccine research programs. In fact, Dr. Bridle received COVID-19-focused funding to develop a novel vaccine platform. Although many of us are working hard towards developing vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, we worry that some in the scientific community have offered too much hope for this to be accomplished in a timely fashion. Sometimes these promises are used by politicians and governments to inform public policies. As a result, the integrity of the scientific community is now in the limelight and, arguably, at risk.
15th Jun 2020 - The Conversation

Analysis: How close are we to COVID-19 herd immunity?

This week a clip of Dr Michael Ryan, from the World Health Organization, went viral when he provided a strong rebuke about hopes that herd immunity could help us to control the coronavirus. "Humans are not herds,” he denounced, almost in anger. He went on to say: “I think we need to be really careful when we use terms in this way around natural infection in humans because it can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people and life and suffering at the centre of that equation."
15th May 2020 - Euronews


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Jul 2020

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Coronavirus is revolutionizing scientific practices and communication. Here's how

Just as everyday life has been affected by COVID-19, science itself has changed. Scientists have had to learn how to produce meaningful information for a world clamoring for speedy results. This speed and openness is not typical of scientific research and required fundamental changes in the work scientists do. "Science immediately reorganized itself in a purposeful way to address a global threat," James Bradner, president of the Institutes for BioMedical Research at Novartis, said in a webinar hosted by Chemical & Engineering News. In most cases, scientists welcome the changes and are proud of what has been accomplished in such a short time.
7th Jul 2020 - USA Today

Scots wanted for coronavirus vaccine trial as more than 10,000 volunteers needed

Scots are being urged to volunteer for vaccine tests as health officials continue in their quest to find a cure for coronavirus. The study, which is run by the University of Oxford, is looking to recruit more than 10,000 volunteers to take part in the 12-month long trial.
9th Jul 2020 - Daily Record

Osivax receives funding for universal flu vaccine

Osivax receives public funding to apply its vaccine technology to protect against COVID-19 and future coronavirus strains.
9th Jul 2020 - BioPharma-Reporter.com

'It's going to happen again,' says former New Zealand PM Clark tasked with WHO COVID-19 review

New Zealand’s former prime minister Helen Clark warned if the world remained “flat-footed” in its response to pandemics it faces future economic, social and political crisis, after she was appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to lead a review of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO announced late on Thursday that Clark and Liberia’s former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will lead a panel scrutinising the global response. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called both women “strong-minded, independent leaders”, aiming to underscore their freedom in assessing his agency’s and governments’ COVID-19 responses.
9th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Scientists hail 'stunning' results that show areas of New York may have reached 68 percent immunity

Areas of New York have recorded a nearly 70 per cent rate of immunity to Covid-19, in what scientists have described as “stunning” findings that suggest they could be protected from any second wave. Some 68 per cent of people who took antibody tests at a clinic in the Corona neighbourhood of Queens received positive results, while at another clinic in Jackson Heights, 56 per cent tested positive. The results, shared by healthcare company CityMD with the New York Times, appear to show a higher antibody rate than anywhere in the world, based on publicly released data. The next closest is the Italian province of Bergamo, which recorded 57 per cent, followed by Alpine ski resort Ischgl, the site of Austria's biggest coronavirus outbreak, which reported 47 per cent....
9th Jul 2020 - The Telegraph

In race to bring vaccine to market, big pharma struggles to protect its intellectual property rights

The pharmaceutical industry is being careful to not set any dangerous precedent that may weaken their future intellectual property rights, Milena Izmirlieva from IHS Markit said. The World Health Organization said 21 candidate vaccines are in clinical trials at the moment, meaning they are being tested on human volunteers. Three of them are said to be in the third phase of those trials, according to the WHO.
9th Jul 2020 - CNBC

COVID-19 trial progresses, as 'cautious optimism' grows for RNA vaccine | Imperial News

More than 300 participants have been screened for Imperial's COVID-19 vaccine trial as its lead speaks of "cautious optimism". Professor Robin Shattock and his team, including chief investigator Dr Katrina Pollock and senior clinician Dr David Owen, have successfully administered first doses to 15 trial volunteers. The group's self-amplifying RNA vaccine technology is cheap, highly scalable and has the potential to deliver many effective doses next year, should the trials succeed. Imperial is continuing to recruit participants for the trial, which will deliver two doses to 300 people in the current phase, with plans for a further efficacy trial involving 6,000 people to start in October. Imperial and Professor Robin Shattock have partnered with Morningside Ventures to launch a social enterprise, VacEquity Global Health, to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine as cheaply and as widely as possible.
9th Jul 2020 - Imperial College London

Coronavirus Vaccine Race: Moderna or Vaxart?

Let's talk about two companies developing COVID-19 vaccines that are much different from the ones we're generally used to. These two aren't going the traditional route of injecting a weakened version of the pathogen into the body. They have new ways of addressing the problem. You've probably heard of Moderna by now. Moderna has taken center stage over the past few months as it became the first company to bring a COVID-19 vaccine into human trials. The biotech company is developing a vaccine that harnesses the power of messenger RNA to instruct the body to make proteins to defend itself.
9th Jul 2020 - Motley Fool


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Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine Collaboration with Butantan Receives Approval from Brazilian Regulator for Phase III Trial | Vaccines | News Channels

Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, today announced an update to its previously announced partnership with Butantan, a leading Brazilian producer of immunobiologic products and vaccines.
8th Jul 2020 - PipelineReview.com

Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms

Scientists at University College London are warning of the risk of brain damage from coronavirus. UCL researchers studied 43 patients who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, stroke, nerve damage or other serious effects on their brain, and say the disease can lead to severe neurological complications including psychosis and delirium. The study found nine of the patients were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections. The team said they would only usually see about one adult patient with ADEM a month, but it had risen to a "concerning" one a week while they were conducting the study. "Given the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," said Ross Paterson, who co-led the study. "Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."
8th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

FDA Authorizes Becton, Dickinson Portable 15-Minute Coronavirus Test

A new test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that results from it is now available on the market. Healthcare technology specialist Becton, Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) announced Monday that it has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antigen test that can effectively detect the presence of the coronavirus. The test is used in combination with the company's BD Veritor Plus System, a handheld electronic diagnostic machine. The small profile of this device makes it very portable, and thus ideal for situations where testing must occur at the many point-of-care locations now scattered throughout the country. According to Becton, Dickinson, it is also very fast; the company says it can produce results in 15 minutes.
8th Jul 2020 - The Motley Fool

Novavax, maker of Covid-19 vaccine, is backed by Operation Warp Speed

Novavax has joined the ranks of Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers being supported by the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration announced Tuesday. The Gaithersburg, Md.-based biotech has been awarded $1.6 billion to support late-stage clinical trials and expansion of its manufacturing capacity. In return, Novavax will supply the U.S. government with 100 million doses — likely enough product to vaccinate 50 million people, assuming the product is safe and effective — starting in late 2020. The full amount is expected to be made available by February, Stanley Erck, the company’s president and CEO, told STAT.
7th Jul 2020 - STAT

Risk of airborne coronavirus spread being underplayed, say researchers

Over 200 scientists have called for the world to take more precautions against the airborne transmission of the coronavirus. While the virus is known to spread through the air via large droplets produced when people cough or sneeze, they say it can also be spread by smaller droplets known as aerosols that can linger in the air. Preventing this means ventilating buildings and avoiding overcrowding. “Hand-washing and social distancing are appropriate, but, in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people,” states a letter written by Lidia Morawska at Queensland University of Technology in Australia. It has been signed by 239 researchers. The letter also calls for international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to acknowledge the possibility of this type of airborne spread and suggests precautions against it.
7th Jul 2020 - New Scientist News


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Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild Covid symptoms

Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned. Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom. The cases, published in the journal Brain, revealed a rise in a life-threatening condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem), as the first wave of infections swept through Britain. At UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Adem cases rose from one a month before the pandemic to two or three per week in April and May. One woman, who was 59, died of the complication.
8th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

WHO acknowledges 'emerging evidence' of airborne spread of COVID-19

The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people. “We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19,” Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO, told a news briefing. The WHO has previously said the virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sink to the ground.
8th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Majority testing positive have no symptoms

Only 22% of people testing positive for coronavirus reported having symptoms on the day of their test, according to the Office for National Statistics. This hammers home the role of people who aren't aware they're carrying the virus in spreading it onwards. Health and social care staff appeared to be more likely to test positive. This comes as deaths from all causes in the UK fell to below the average for the second week in a row.
7th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Research shows isolation of asymptomatic cases key to reduce COVID-19

A new modeling analysis of COVID-19 transmission data attributed to “silent” infections has suggests that even isolation of all symptomatic individuals may be insufficient to suppress outbreaks. According to the study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, at least one-third of asymptomatic cases would need to be detected and isolated in order to reduce the attack rate below one percent. “Silent” infections refer to people who either are in the presymptomatic stage or have asymptomatic infections. In the absence of population-wide restrictions, isolation of infected individuals is key to curtailing transmission. However, the effectiveness of symptom-based isolation in preventing a resurgence depends on the extent of presymptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, said the study.
7th Jul 2020 - Macau Business

Lack of COVID-19 Lockdown Increased Deaths in Sweden, Analysis Concludes

Sweden’s controversial decision not to lock down during COVID-19 produced more deaths and greater health care demand than seen in countries with earlier, more stringent interventions, a new analysis finds. But Sweden fared better than would be expected from its public health mandates alone, roughly similar to France, Italy and Spain – countries that imposed more stringent measures, but adopted them after the pandemic took hold there. Sweden’s unusual approach also saw fewer patients admitted to intensive-care units than expected. But the country has seen a higher percentage of deaths in older patients outside ICUs than other countries when ICU beds were not limited. That suggests Swedish health authorities have considered patients’ chances of recovery in deciding who receives access to intensive care, the researchers say.
7th Jul 2020 - University of Virginia

Coronavirus: Spanish study casts doubt on herd immunity feasibility

A Spanish study has cast doubt on the feasibility of herd immunity as a way of tackling the coronavirus pandemic. The study of more than 60,000 people estimates that around just 5% of the Spanish population has developed antibodies, the medical journal the Lancet reported. Herd immunity is achieved when enough people become immune to a virus to stop its spread. Around 70% to 90% of a population needs to be immune to protect the uninfected. The prevalence of Covid-19 antibodies was below 3% in coastal regions, but higher in areas of Spain with widespread outbreaks, the report said.
7th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Sub-saharan Africa 'just at the start' of its coronavirus outbreak, UK aid department warns

"We're expecting the rate of increase to keep going in the next few months and particularly as a lot of countries lift their lockdown measures because of the economic pressures and sustaining those." Dr Watts said estimated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Imperial College London supported by the department estimated that Covid-19 infections would peak in the next two to three months in parts of Africa.
7th Jul 2020 - The Independent

Blood Test at COVID-19 Diagnosis Can Predict Disease Severity, Study Finds

Doctors can examine COVID-19 patients’ blood to identify those at greatest risk of severe illness and to pinpoint those most likely to need a ventilator, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests. The discovery could lead to new treatments to prevent deadly “cytokine storms” seen in severe cases of COVID-19. It also may help explain why diabetes contributes to worse outcomes in patients with the coronavirus. The UVA scientists found that the levels of a particular cytokine in the blood upon diagnosis could be used to predict later outcomes. Cytokines – proteins produced by immune cells – are responsible for severe overreactions by the immune system, known as cytokine storms, associated with COVID-19 and other serious illnesses.
29th Jun 2020 - University of Virginia


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Regeneron starts Phase 3 trial of Covid antibody drug that might treat and prevent infection, company says

An antibody cocktail is now beginning late-stage clinical trials to evaluate the drug's ability to prevent and treat coronavirus infection. The biotechnology company Regeneron announced the late-stage clinical trials of REGN-COV2, its investigational double antibody cocktail for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19, in a news release on Monday. Specifically the release noted that a Phase 3 trial of the drug will assess its ability to prevent coronavirus infection among uninfected people who have had close contact to an infected person, such as a patient's housemate. The Phase 3 prevention trial is happening at around 100 sites and expected to include 2,000 patients across the United States, according to Regeneron
6th Jul 2020 - CNN

COVID-19 imperils AIDS progress, UN warns

COVID-19 could cause an additional half a million AIDS deaths if treatment is disrupted long term, the United Nations said Monday in a warning that the pandemic was jeopardising years of progress against HIV. At the start of a week of virtual International AIDS Conferences, the UN said the world was already way off course in its plan to end the public health threat even before COVID-19. Although AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 60 percent since the peak of the HIV epidemic in 2004, in 2019 around 690,000 still died from the illness.
6th Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

One in 20 people in Spain have had coronavirus, national survey finds

More than one in 20 people in Spain have had coronavirus, a national survey has found. The nationwide antibody study discovered that 5.2% of Spanish people have been exposed to COVID-19. The study has tested almost 70,000 people across Spain every month for the past three months, and the number of infected has held firm around the 5% mark since May. The figures are backed up by those from Johns Hopkins University, which reports more than 250,000 coronavirus cases out of a population of 47 million people. It says there have been more than 28,385 COVID-19 deaths in Spain, one of the worst-hit countries.
6th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Spain's coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity

Spain's large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is "unachievable," the medical journal the Lancet reported
6th Jul 2020 - CNN

Counting the Lives Saved by Lockdowns—and Lost to Slow Action

On May 20, disease modelers at Columbia University posted a preprint that concluded the US could have prevented 36,000 of the 65,300 deaths that the country had suffered as a result of COVID-19 by May 3 if states had instituted social distancing measures a week earlier. In early June, Imperial College London epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, one of the UK government’s key advisers in the early stages of the pandemic, came to a similar conclusion about the UK. In evidence he presented to a parliamentary committee inquiry, Ferguson said that if the country had introduced restrictions on movement and socializing a week sooner than it did, Britain’s official death toll of 40,000 could have been halved.
6th Jul 2020 - The Scientist

Brazil trials of potential Chinese COVID-19 vaccine to begin July 20

João Doria, governor of Brazil’s richest and most populous state São Paulo, said on Monday that trials of a new potential vaccine against COVID-19, developed by China’s SinoVac, will start on July 20. The trials, to be done in partnership with the Instituto Butantan, will involve 9,000 volunteers spread across 12 research centers located in Sao Paulo and four other states as well as the federal district Brasília.
6th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

UK launches study of Covid-19's long-term health effects

The Department of Health today announced an £8.4million study will be carried out on people who were hospitalised with coronavirus in the UK and it will begin at the end of this month.
5th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

CDC study reinforces COVID-19 cautions with pregnancy

As more young people test positive for COVID-19, doctors are reiterating the importance of social distancing for a subset of younger Minnesotans — expectant mothers. Federal health officials last month cited new study results when adding pregnancy to their list of conditions that might put people at greater risk of serious illness from the pandemic virus. Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health similarly updated online information for pregnant women while adding prevention tips. Pregnant women shouldn’t be alarmed, doctors say, but the study underscores the wisdom of following guidance on avoiding the coronavirus.
5th Jul 2020 - StarTribune

Study confirms new version of coronavirus spreads faster, but doesn't make people sicker

A global study has found strong evidence that a new form of the coronavirus has spread from Europe to the US. The new mutation makes the virus more likely to infect people but does not seem to make them any sicker than earlier variations of the virus, an international team of researchers reported Thursday. "It is now the dominant form infecting people," Erica Ollmann Saphire of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology and the Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium, who worked on the study, told CNN. "This is now the virus."
3rd Jul 2020 - CNN

How China's CanSino Biologics jumped to the front of the coronavirus vaccine race

In May, CanSino became the first globally to publish a full scientific study on its early human trials, an important step because it allows researchers worldwide to assess a vaccine’s potential. The company — which is yet to generate revenue and logged a $22 million loss last year — has so far kept up with, and occasionally even outpaced, Western pharmaceutical giants with the speed of its initial coronavirus vaccine trials. The research is still too nascent to know if the shot from CanSino, or indeed any company, will provide the magic bullet countries are seeking to open up while the pandemic rages. But CanSino’s inroads show China’s young biotechnology industry is becoming a global contender, and a powerful tool for President Xi Jinping.
2nd Jul 2020 - The Japan Times


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Jul 2020

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The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus

New federal data provides the most comprehensive view to date of how Black and Latino people have been likelier than their white peers to contract the virus and die from it.
5th Jul 2020 - New York Times

Coronavirus mortality in Italy is highest among poor, study shows

Poor Italians are significantly more likely to die of the coronavirus than higher-income groups, the country’s first significant study into the disease’s disproportionate social impact showed on Friday. Italy is one of the world’s worst-hit countries with almost 35,000 COVID-19 deaths since its outbreak emerged on Feb. 21 and it was the first European nation to report large-scale infections. In its annual report, national statistics bureau ISTAT studied mortality rates for each month from January 2019 to March 2020, when the outbreak took off, focusing on the education levels of those who died. On average, Italians who leave school early with few qualifications have lower life-expectancy than those who study for longer, ISTAT said, and this “excess mortality” remained roughly constant through February this year.
3rd Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

Hundreds of scientists say coronavirus is airborne, ask WHO to revise recommendations: NYT

Hundreds of scientists say there is evidence that novel coronavirus in smaller particles in the air can infect people and are calling for the World Health Organization to revise recommendations, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The WHO has said the coronavirus disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks. In an open letter to the agency, which the researchers plan to publish in a scientific journal next week, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined the evidence showing smaller particles can infect people, the NYT said
5th Jul 2020 - Reuters

WHO expects to see first results from coronavirus drug trials within two weeks

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) says it should soon get results from the clinical trials of drugs that might be effective in treating COVID-19 patients. The Solidarity Trial started in five parts looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19: standard care; remdesivir; the anti-malaria drug touted by US President Donald Trump, hydroxychloroquine; the HIV drugs lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopinavir/ritonavir combined with interferon.
4th Jul 2020 - ABC News

Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in Belgian long-term care facilities

Belgium was the worst-hit country per capita in Europe. They did systematic testing for #SARSCoV2 in long-term care facilities, just reported @TheLancetInfDis No symptoms were reported in 6,244 *(74.8%)* of 8,343 people who tested positive
3rd Jul 2020 - The Lancet

Stroke More Likely in COVID-19 Than Flu Patients

Ischemic stroke rate appears more than seven times higher with coronavirus
2nd Jul 2020 - MedPage Today


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Jul 2020

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Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine shows positive results

An experimental COVID-19 vaccine being created by America’s pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, and the German firm, BioNTech, activated immune responses in receivers more than individuals naturally recovering from an infection, according to a small journal published online yesterday. However, the research work has not yet been certified by other medical experts and it is still unknown what degree of immune response will protect an individual from falling sick. Still, medical experts praised Pfizer for publishing the data on 45 people and said the results encouraged moving to a larger clinical trial to test if the COVID-19 vaccine is actually safe and effective for humans. “It’s the first positive data I’ve seen coming out of Operation Warp Speed,” Peter Jay Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine said to Washington Post, referring to the U.S. government effort to speed up the development, testing, and production of multiple coronavirus vaccines. “I’m really happy Pfizer took the initiative to publish it, whereas the others haven’t. I think we need to see more of this.”
2nd Jul 2020 - Nairametrics

Covaxin: COVID-19 vaccine candidate cleared for human trials |

In a record feat, India’s Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine (Covaxin) has been approved for human trials, making it India’s first domestic candidate to get the green light from the government’s drug regulator as reported by Aljazeera. However, no vaccine has yet been approved for commercial use against the COVID-19 virus, as some COVID-19 vaccines from more than 100 different candidates worldwide are being tested on humans. The Drug Controller-General of India has approved the Bharat Biotech’s application to conduct a Phase I and II clinical trial of Covaxin, which was developed along with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology, the company said in a statement yesterday. Human clinical trials are scheduled to begin in India next month for the vaccine, which was developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s facility at Genome Valley in Hyderabad, India.
2nd Jul 2020 - Nairametrics

How lockdown stopped the virus in Italy

Previous studies have shown that many severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cases were tied to asymptomatic carriers or those who do not manifest symptoms of the viral infection. Now, a new study reveals that in the first Italian town hit by the virus, as much as 40 percent of the population had no symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The researchers at the University of Padua and Imperial College London revealed that many people in the town of Vo, northern Italy, and the first one to be locked down in Europe due to the coronavirus outbreak, had been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but did not display any symptoms. The results add to previous data that the number of those who had contracted the virus may be higher than what the official tally shows.
2nd Jul 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Russian fund steps up production of anti-viral drug approved by Moscow for COVID-19

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said on Thursday it will step up the production of the anti-viral drug Avifavir, an anti-influenza medicine which the Russian government has granted preliminary approval for treatment of COVID-19 patients. The Russian health ministry gave its approval for the drug’s use under a special accelerated process in May. Its Russian backers say it has shown a benefit in COVID-19 patients in early research. The first 100,000 treatment courses were delivered last month to 35 Russian regions, as well as to neighbouring Belarus, said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) which has promoted the drug. RDIF said it was now set to produce more than 100,000 courses in July and that a joint venture with pharmaceutical firm ChemRar Group would allow it to increase production threefold to meet growing demand both domestically and internationally
2nd Jul 2020 - Reuters

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine safe for people with weak immunity says Oxford Professor Sarah Gilbert

Volunteers have begun participating in Brazil's first clinical trial of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. The ChAdOx1 vaccine technology is based on an adenovirus and it is considered very safe, even in people with a weak immune system. "We have removed some of the adenovirus genes, so that when we use it as a vaccine, the adenovirus cannot spread through the body. That makes it very safe, even in people with a weak immune system. But because it is a live virus, it is good at inducing a strong immune response after vaccination," said Professor Sarah Gilbert, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University. Gilbert gave a short talk while participating in an informal discussion with ambassadors of the UN member states.
1st Jul 2020 - Business Insider India


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British scientists start a study of wastewater to see if Covid-19 can be spread by sewage and help warn of future outbreaks

£1million grant will help create a standardised process to study wastewater. Scientists hope it will allow consistent data on coronavirus in sewage. Will help shed light on if coronavirus in wastewater is infectious and poses a transmission risk for humans and animals
2nd Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Almost a third of people may have developed coronavirus immunity, Swedish study claims

Public immunity to Covid-19 could be as high as 30 per cent, a new study from Sweden has claimed. T cells, a type of white blood cell, could be a source of immunity for twice as many people as Covid-19 antibodies. The findings have been published by the Karolinka Institutet, in a paper that has yet to be peer reviewed and that only had a test sample of 200 people in Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden. Sweden sparked controversy by being the only European country, other than Belarus, to refuse to impose a lockdown.
2nd Jul 2020 - Evening Standard

Fauci: US ‘Unlikely’ To Reach Herd Immunity Even With Coronavirus Vaccine

Scientists have been moving closer to developing an effective vaccine for COVID-19. But even if it becomes available, the U.S. is "unlikely" to achieve herd immunity if the country fails to do one thing, according to the White House’s top infectious disease expert. That important step is to encourage the majority of citizens to get vaccinated. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said just a portion of the population that refuses it could jeopardize the country’s efforts to fight COVID-19. "That's one of the reasons why we have to make sure we engage the community as we're doing now, to get community people to help us, for people to understand that we are doing everything we can to show that it's safe and that it's effective and that it's for the good of them as individuals and in society to take the vaccine," he said during the Aspen Ideas Festival.
1st Jul 2020 - Medical Daily

Poor oral hygiene in COVID-19 patients can increase ..r risk of lung infections and pneumonia, says UK study

Certain enzymes change the mucosa of the mouth in such a way that it allows the lung-infection causing bacteria to stick and grow on the mucosa.
1st Jul 2020 - FirstPost

WHO warns some countries may have to reinstate lockdowns as coronavirus pandemic accelerates

Some countries might have to reimplement severe restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus such as “lockdowns,” a top World Health Organization official said Wednesday. The outbreak in some countries might seem “overwhelming,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said, urging national leaders to “break down” the problem. Some countries may have not fully committed to their initial coronavirus response, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
1st Jul 2020 - CNBC

BioNTech, Pfizer report progress in coronavirus vaccine trial

BioNTech of Germany and the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reported positive preliminary results on Wednesday from a joint project to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Known as BNT162b1, it produces antibody responses at or above the levels seen in any convalescent serum -- blood from people who have recovered -- at relatively low doses, according to BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin. The preliminary data come from a so-called phase 1/2 trial that aimed to show the vaccine is not toxic and triggers an immune system response to prepare the body to fight off the virus. Of 45 people aged 18 to 55 who took part in the trial, most received two doses, 21 days apart, of the vaccine or a placebo.
1st Jul 2020 - Yahoo! News

Covid-19: Evidence of effects on 'many organ systems', long-term damage

Scientists are only starting to grasp the vast array of health problems caused by the Covid-19 virus, some of which may have lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come, according to doctors and infectious disease experts. Besides the respiratory issues that leave patients gasping for breath, the coronavirus attacks many organ systems, in some cases causing catastrophic damage. "We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs," said Dr Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. "We didn't appreciate that in the beginning."
1st Jul 2020 - RNZ

Tracking COVID-19’s spread through an Italian town

Italy was one of the countries hit earliest as the COVID-19 pandemic spread beyond its origin in China, and the country struggled with a sudden surge in cases that threatened to overwhelm its health services. But Italy turned into a success story, as an aggressive lockdown reversed its curve, causing new daily cases to drop from a peak of over 6,000 down to a steady flow of about 300. Compared to a number of other industrialized democracies, this was a major success. Now, a team of researchers largely based in Italy is looking more carefully at the pandemic's spread there as well as the impact of control measures. The researchers have gotten most of the population of a small town to agree to testing before and after Italy's lockdown, providing a window into the behavior of the virus and how things changed during the lockdown.
1st Jul 2020 - Ars Technica


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40% of virus carriers in Italian town show no symptoms: study

More than 40 percent of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in one Italian town showed no signs of being ill, according to research published Tuesday indicating that asymptomatic carriers may be significant spreaders of the virus. The authors said their research showed how important mass testing and isolating carriers was in containing clusters of the virus. The town of Vo, population 3,200, registered Italy's first death from the disease in late February. It was immediately placed in a two-week lockdown, during which researchers were able to test more than 85 percent of the population for COVID-19. They found that 2.3 percent of Vo was infected at the beginning of quarantine, compared with 1.2 percent at the end of lockdown, and that more than 40 percent of those who tested positive showed no symptoms. The authors of the research, published in the journal Nature, said their findings showed how rapid case isolation and mass testing was able to effectively eliminate the virus from Vo.
30th Jun 2020 - Medical Xpress

Researchers search for SARS-CoV-2 fomites on an operational Italian bus

All surface and air samples proved negative for viral genes. If this is true, this means that the current cleaning and sanitization requirements – alcohol-based sanitizer use at the door of entrance, and wearing gloves - are adequate to keep the surfaces and air inside the bus virus-free. Meanwhile, the use of a facial mask and keeping the windows open during the ride allows free ventilation and prevents the virus from spreading to other passengers through the air. This finding also agrees with earlier studies that show facial masks prevent viral spread by aerosols and droplets emitted by asymptomatic people, as does free ventilation of confined spaces such as within a city bus. The end of a lockdown imposed to combat a viral pandemic is always a tension-fraught period, as growing numbers of individuals re-enter the travel mainstream, among other activities. The current study shows that public buses can be safely used to convey passengers even in the presence of about 30% asymptomatic but infected individuals if safety requirements are observed.
30th Jun 2020 - News-Medical.Net

US buys up world stock of key Covid-19 drug remdesivir

No other country will be able to buy remdesivir, which can help recovery from Covid-19, for next three months at least
30th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

China imposes lockdowns as new coronavirus cases surge

China proposes the use of six traditional medicines as treatments for COVID-19. The country reports that 91.6 percent of patients in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak in China, and 92.4 percent across the country have been treated with TCM. The country’s COVID-19 TCM used include three formulas and three medicines, which were claimed to be effective in treating infection. These include the Jinhua Qinggan granule, which was developed during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, the Lianhua Qingwen capsule, a common treatment for flu and colds, the Xuebijing injection, which was developed during the SARS epidemic, the Lung cleansing and detoxifying decoction, which has 21 herbal components to improve fever, cough, and fatigue, the Huashi Baidu formula, a core recipe developed by Chinese herbal experts, and the Xuanfei Baidu granule, which contains 13 potent herbal components.
30th Jun 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Dr. Anthony Fauci says new virus in China has traits of 2009 swine flu and 1918 pandemic flu

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said U.S. health officials are keeping an eye on a new strain of flu carried by pigs in China that has characteristics of the 2009 H1N1 virus and 1918 pandemic flu. The virus, which scientists are calling “G4 EA H1N1,” has not yet been shown to infect humans but it is exhibiting “reassortment capabilities,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing Tuesday. The H1N1 swine flu emerged in Mexico in April 2009, infecting 60.8 million people in the U.S. and at least 700 million worldwide. An estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people died from the virus across the globe, according to the CDC.
30th Jun 2020 - CNBC


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WHO director: Pandemic 'speeding up' | TheHill

More than 10 million people across the globe have tested positive for the coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, nearly 180,000 of whom tested positive in the last 24 hours. Almost half a million people have died worldwide. "The reality is this is not close to being over," Tedros told reporters. "Globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up." About half the cases, and nearly half the deaths across the globe, have come in the Americas. The United States, which accounts for about 4 percent of the global population, has nearly a quarter of the total confirmed cases, 2.4 million.
29th Jun 2020 - The Hill

Temasek-led investor group in $250 million vaccine bet on BioNTech

Singapore's state investor Temasek and other investors are injecting $250 million into German biotech company BioNTech , which is developing an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The investment, which BioNTech said was via a private placement, reflects heightened investor interest in the race to develop an agent that will stop the pandemic and sent shares in biotech firms such as Moderna and Novavax soaring this year. U.S.-listed shares in the German company jumped almost 15% to their highest since March 19 on the news. They have surged more than 80% so far this year against the Nasdaq biotech index's gain of 12%.
29th Jun 2020 - WSAU News

Gilead's coronavirus treatment remdesivir to cost $3,120 per U.S. patient with private insurance

Gilead Sciences announced its pricing plans in preparation for it to begin charging for the drug in July. The company has been donating doses to the U.S. government for distribution since it received emergency use authorization in May. The drugmaker said it will sell remdesivir for $390 per vial to governments “of developed countries” around the world, and the price for U.S. private insurance companies will stand at $520 per vial.
29th Jun 2020 - CNBC

Mexico consulting with China, Oxford and AstraZeneca on coronavirus vaccine trials

Mexico is in talks with the Chinese government and private Chinese laboratories, as well as the University of Oxford and company AstraZeneca about running trials for experimental COVID-19 vaccines, a senior Mexican official said on Monday. More than 100 vaccines against the novel coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and ravaged the global economy, are now being developed and tested by various teams around the world. Martha Delgado, a Mexican deputy foreign minister, told Reuters the government was seeking to collaborate with different countries and laboratories that are working on experimental vaccines.
29th Jun 2020 - Reuters

India's first COVID-19 vaccine candidate approved for human trials

Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for human trials, making it India’s first domestic candidate to get the green light from the government’s drug regulator as cases surge in a country with more than 1.3 billion people. The Drug Controller General of India has approved the company’s application to conduct a Phase I and II clinical trial of Covaxin, which was developed along with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology, the company said in a statement on Monday. Human clinical trials are scheduled to start across the country in July for the vaccine, which was developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s facility at Genome Valley in Hyderabad, India. India, which lags only the United States, Brazil and Russia in total cases, reported close to 20,000 new infections on Monday, according to data from the country’s federal Health Ministry.
29th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

CanSino's COVID-19 vaccine candidate approved for military use in China

China’s military has received the greenlight to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by its research unit and CanSino Biologics (6185.HK) after clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy, the company said on Monday. The Ad5-nCoV is one of China’s eight vaccine candidates approved for human trials at home and abroad for the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. The shot also won approval for human testing in Canada. China’s Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine by the military on June 25 for a period of one year, CanSino said in a filing. The vaccine candidate was developed jointly by CanSino and a research institute at the Academy of Military Science (AMS).
29th Jun 2020 - Reuters


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Some COVID-19 patients aren't getting better. Major medical centers are trying to figure out how to help.

She was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April, about a month after her symptoms — cough, congestion and extreme fatigue — began. Now, those symptoms have evolved into weeks of low-grade fever and a burning sensation under her skin. Watson's illness was never severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Instead, her symptoms have lurked in the background, never fully resolving. Doctors have had few answers for her.
28th Jun 2020 - NBC News

Coronavirus Or Flu? Scientists Are Developing A Sensor Which Tests For Both Simultaneously

In anticipation of these upcoming challenges, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin are developing a sensor which can differentiate between Covid-19 and the flu by testing a person for both simultaneously. The research is being funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation as a means to urgently roll out the project to benefit public health by the time flu season hits. The sensor, made of graphene, is tiny, about the dimensions of a micro-SD card. The researchers developed the sensor at this size so the results could be read out via laptop or cellphone.
28th Jun 2020 - Forbes

Asymptomatic COVID-19 findings dim hopes for 'herd immunity' and 'immunity passports'

A closer look at people who tested positive for COVID-19 but never developed symptoms has found that such asymptomatic carriers have few to no detectable antibodies just weeks after infection, suggesting they may not develop lasting immunity. There's growing evidence that a significant proportion of people who test positive for COVID-19 never show symptoms, although it's not clear what percentage of people that is and what role they play in spreading the disease. A Chinese study published this week in Nature followed 37 people in Wanzhou District in China who did not show any outward signs of the disease, despite testing positive when their respiratory tracts were swabbed and being kept in hospital for observation.
28th Jun 2020 - CBC.ca

INTERVIEW: What to know about COVID-19 strains in Nigeria - Molecular Biologist

In this interview with Chiamaka Okafor, Mr Happi, a molecular biologist and Director of the World Bank-funded African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, in Nigeria’s Osun State, discusses the findings of a recent study from an advanced sequencing of the SARS-COV2 which shows that there are 3 lineages or strains of COVID-19 existing in Nigeria. This interview also explored the implications of these findings in containing the virus, as well as other speculations around the mutation of the virus.
27th Jun 2020 - Premium Times

Brazil signs deal to produce experimental virus vaccine

The Brazilian government announced on Saturday an agreement with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce a promising coronavirus vaccine that is undergoing tests. Brazilian Health Ministry authorities said at a news conference that the country will pay $127 million and receive material to produce 30.4 million doses in two batches in December and January, which would allow it to quickly start inoculation efforts if the vaccine is certified to be safe and effective. They said the total deal is for 100 million vaccines for a country of about 210 million residents. It will be produced by local vaccine maker Fiocruz.
27th Jun 2020 - This is Money

Brazil university in talks to test Italian coronavirus vaccine

“We are already in advanced discussions with Italy’s Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute,” Unifesp President Soraya Smaili said in an interview on Wednesday. “We expect to bring it here, the accord is already moving forward and we’ll be able to do a lot of studies with this vaccine.” The Italian researchers want to conduct midstage trials and final Phase III studies involving thousands of subjects in Brazil, Smaili said. Francesco Vaia, the chief medical officer at Lazzaro Spallanzani, said the institute had agreed to do Phase II and III trials in Sao Paulo, once it completes the first phase which is expected to start in Italy in the first half of July. The candidate vaccine is produced by Italy’s ReiThera, he said. Over the weekend, Unifesp began clinical trials of a vaccine developed by Oxford University with support from AstraZeneca Plc. Brazil’s government is nearing an agreement to eventually produce that vaccine.
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Key U.S. Medical Group Adds Steroids to COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines

The group now suggests dexamethasone, or an equivalent steroid such as methylprednisolone or prednisone, for hospitalized COVID-19 patients who require supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal mechanical oxygenation (ECMO). The IDSA does not recommend steroids for COVID-19 patients who do not require supplemental oxygen. In patients with severe COVID-19, the immune system can overreact, triggering a potentially harmful cascade. Steroids are an older class of drugs used to suppress that inflammatory response, but they can also make it easier for other infections to take hold - and doctors are leery of their use in a hospital setting, or in patients in earlier stages of the illness when they body's immune response needs to be on high alert.
26th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

South Korea Backs Remdesivir for COVID-19, Urges Caution With Dexamethasone

South Korea has added Gilead's anti-viral drug remdesivir to its coronavirus treatment guidelines in its first revision of recommendations since the outbreak began and urged caution in the use of the steroid therapy dexamethasone. South Korea, widely praised around the world for its handling of the pandemic without a full lockdown, has reported 12,602 coronavirus cases as of Thursday midnight, with 282 deaths. Remdesivir is designed to hinder certain viruses, including the new coronavirus, from making copies of themselves and potentially overwhelming the body's immune system. The drug previously failed trials as an Ebola treatment. South Korea's updated guidelines come after a study showed that the cheap and widely used dexamethasone reduced deaths in very sick COVID-19 patients. They advised doctors to take caution until a full study is published.
26th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

Coronavirus traces found in March 2019 sewage sample, Spanish study shows

Spanish virologists have found traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the COVID-19 disease was identified in China, the University of Barcelona said on Friday. The discovery of virus genome presence so early in Spain, if confirmed, would imply the disease may have appeared much earlier than the scientific community thought. The University of Barcelona team, who had been testing waste water since mid-April this year to identify potential new outbreaks, decided to also run tests on older samples. They first found the virus was present in Barcelona on Jan. 15, 2020, 41 days before the first case was officially reported there. Then they ran tests on samples taken between January 2018 and December 2019 and found the presence of the virus genome in one of them, collected on March 12, 2019.
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Gilead's remdesivir endorsed as first COVID-19 treatment in Europe

Doctors in Europe will soon be able to treat COVID-19 patients with Gilead’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, after the healthcare regulator’s endorsement put it on track to become the first therapy for the disease on the continent
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Astrazeneca, Moderna most advanced in COVID-19 vaccine race ...

Astrazeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate is probably the world's leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development, the World Health Organization's chief scientist said on Friday. Soumya Swaminathan said that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine candidate was also "not far behind" Astrazeneca's, among more than 200 candidates, 15 of which have entered clinical trials. The WHO is in talks with multiple Chinese manufacturers, including Sinovac, on potential vaccines, she said. Swaminathan, speaking to a news briefing, called for considering collaborating on COVID-19 vaccine trials, similar to the WHO's ongoing Solidarity trial for drugs.
26th Jun 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Scientists just beginning to understand the many health problems caused by COVID-19

Scientists are only starting to grasp the vast array of health problems caused by the novel coronavirus, some of which may have lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come, according to doctors and infectious disease experts. Besides the respiratory issues that leave patients gasping for breath, the virus that causes COVID-19 attacks many organ systems, in some cases causing catastrophic damage. “We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs. We didn’t appreciate that in the beginning,” said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. In addition to respiratory distress, patients with COVID-19 can experience blood clotting disorders that can lead to strokes, and extreme inflammation that attacks multiple organ systems. The virus can also cause neurological complications that range from headache, dizziness and loss of taste or smell to seizures and confusion.
25th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Coronarvirus testing bot probes nose with incredibly long stick

A robot could replace healthcare workers administrating coronavirus tests. The system is operated using a joystick, allowing staff to direct the machine. A long swab is attached to the end that is insert through the nose to the throat. A healthcare worker watches the procedure on a monitor in another room.
25th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Severe COVID-19 can damage the brain, preliminary study ...

A preliminary study of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 has found the disease can damage the brain, causing complications such as stroke, inflammation, psychosis and dementia-like symptoms in some severe cases. The findings are the first detailed look at a range of neurological complications of COVID-19, the researchers said, and underline a need for larger studies to find the mechanisms behind them and assist the search for treatments. "This (is) an important snapshot of the brain-related complications of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients. It is critically important that we continue to collect this information to really understand this virus fully," said Sarah Pett, a University College London professor who co-led the work. The study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal on Thursday, looked in detail at 125 cases from across the UK. Co-lead researcher Benedict Michael, from Liverpool University, said it was important to note that it focused on severe cases.
25th Jun 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Why strange and debilitating coronavirus symptoms can last for months

From extreme fatigue to weight loss, numbness, breathing difficulties and chest pain, some people’s covid-19 symptoms are proving very hard to shake
24th Jun 2020 - New Scientist


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Jun 2020

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French consortium wins further approval for saliva-based coronavirus test

French technology company Vogo said a saliva-based product it was developing with partners to test for the coronavirus had won ‘CE marking approval’, denoting it meets required health standards set out by regulators. Vogo and its partners SKILLCELL and the CNRS SYS2DIAG laboratory aim to place their ‘EasyCov’ saliva-based coronavirus testing product on the market.
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus infection may make pregnant women more severely ill, CDC says

Pregnant women may be at an increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19 compared with women who are not expecting, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant women who get infected are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit and put on a ventilator, the CDC said in its weekly report on Thursday. The CDC previously has said on its website: "Although there are currently no data showing that COVID-19 affects pregnant people differently than others, we do know that pregnant people are at greater risk of getting sick from other respiratory viruses than people who are not pregnant." Now the new MMWR report has provided data; but there are some important limitations.
25th Jun 2020 - CNN

CDC head warns pregnant women with COVID-19 face greater risks

Pregnant women have increased risk of severe COVID-19 compared to women who are not pregnant, the head of the US Centers for Disease Prevention Robert Redfield told reporters on Thursday, warning that states with rising coronavirus cases need to take action. The CDC has found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and to be put on mechanical ventilators than non-pregnant women, he said. The agency said that pregnant women did not have a higher risk of death. The added it does not have data yet on how COVID-19 affects the outcomes of those pregnancies.
25th Jun 2020 - The Jakarta Post

Europe-wide study shows child Covid-19 deaths 'extremely rare'

Fewer than one in a hundred children who test positive for Covid-19 end up dying - although a small but significant percentage develop severe illness, a new Europe-wide study showed on Friday. A team of researchers led by experts in Britain, Austria and Spain looked at the outcomes of nearly 600 children under 18 infected with the novel coronavirus and found that only a quarter had pre-existing medical conditions. This is in sharp contrast to adults, among whom the vast majority of patients have underlying health problems. The team found that more than 60 per cent of Covid-19 positive children required hospital treatment, and that 8 per cent needed intensive care. Of the 582 children studied, just four died. On the other hand, more than 90 children, or 16 per cent, showed no symptoms at all.
25th Jun 2020 - New Straits Times

Brazil university in talks to test Italian coronavirus vaccine

The Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) is in talks to test a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Italian researchers, the dean of the Brazilian university told Reuters. With the world's worst outbreak outside the United States, Brazil has become a key front in the global race for a vaccine, as vaccine clinical trials are likely to yield results faster in places where the virus is widespread. "We are already in advanced discussions with Italy's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute," Unifesp President Soraya Smaili said in an interview on Wednesday. "We expect to bring it here, the accord is already moving forward and we'll be able to do a lot of studies with this vaccine."
25th Jun 2020 - msn.com


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Scientists want UK city to lift lockdown completely to see what happens

Scientists have proposed lifting lockdown completely in a UK city about the size of Southampton to see if coronavirus can be controlled through the weekly testing of residents. A demonstration study is needed on a “medium-sized city” of around 250,000 people to see if regular testing and local quarantines could tackle Covid-19 outbreaks, according to a paper published in the Royal Society Open Science journal. “It is a deep mystery to me why this idea has not gained traction,” said Julian Peto, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-authored the paper with 10 other experts.
24th Jun 2020 - The Independent

Chinese Covid-19 Vaccines Cleared for Final Testing in U.A.E.

Beijing-based China National Biotec Group Co. was awarded approval on Tuesday to conduct Phase III trials for its Covid-19 vaccines in the Middle Eastern country, the company said in a statement posted on its official WeChat account.
24th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

First Vaccinations Begin in Africa for Covid-19 Trial

Africa’s first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial started Wednesday as nervous volunteers received injections, while officials said the continent of 1.3 billion people cannot be left behind. The large-scale trial of the vaccine developed at the University of Oxford in Britain is being conducted in South Africa, Britain and Brazil. South Africa has nearly one-third of Africa’s confirmed cases with more than 106,000, including more than 2,100 deaths. The country late Tuesday reported its biggest one-day death toll of 111. “I feel a little bit scared but I want to know what is going on with this vaccine so that I can tell my friends and others what is going on with the study,” one of the vaccine trial volunteers, Junior Mhlongo, said in Johannesburg.
24th Jun 2020 - Courthouse News Service

Coronavirus: Human trial of new vaccine begins in UK

About 300 people will have the vaccine over the coming weeks, as part of a trial led by Prof Robin Shattock and his colleagues, at Imperial College London. Tests in animals suggest the vaccine is safe and triggers an effective immune response. Experts at Oxford University have already started human trials. The trials are among many across the world - there are around 120 vaccine programmes under way.
24th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Testing ALL of Britain for coronavirus every week 'could prevent second lockdown'

Testing everyone for coronavirus every week could drive out the coronavirus without a second wave or another lockdown, according to scientists. Researchers led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said routine testing, contact tracing and household isolation could stop Covid-19 'quite quickly'. They said Britain should do a single-city trial of the system to see whether it could bring down new infections and deaths faster than the current situation.
24th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Jun 2020

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Coronavirus tracker: Sanofi corners vaccine tech new and old; Merck series tackles cancer during COVID-19

Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson doesn't share the "need for speed" driving so many other big pharmas in the COVID-19 vaccine race; instead, his company will focus on older, proven tech to bring a shot to market sometime next summer. Still, Sanofi doubled down on a 2018 pact with Translate Bio, currently at work on an mRNA vaccine candidate. A private equity firm nabbed a former Bristol Myers Squibb plant where it hopes to entice drugmakers to ramp up production on U.S. shores. Plus, Indian CDMO Piramal Pharma Solutions continued its U.S. expansion when it snared a former G&W Laboratories site on Monday. Plus, Merck & Co. is expanding its partnership with Katie Couric in a new web series tackling the hurdles cancer patients face during the COVID-19 pandemic
24th Jun 2020 - FiercePharma

Covid-19 vaccine may work better as a nasal spray instead of an injection, top scientists claim

A coronavirus vaccine may be more effective as a nasal spray or inhaler, researchers behind Britain's most promising Covid-19 jabs claimed today. Oxford University and Imperial College London scientists believe getting the vaccine directly into the lungs may be the best way to protect people against the respiratory infection. Both universities are currently testing their Covid-19 jabs — administered by injection into the muscle — on thousands of humans in clinical trials, in the global race to find a way to end the pandemic. The Oxford vaccine, leading the global race for a Covid cure, is currently being trialled on more than 10,000 people in Britain, Brazil and South Africa after moving in phase III trials.
23rd Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

The long term predictions from Imperial College CovidSim Report 9

We present calculations using the CovidSim code which implements the Imperial College individual-based model of the COVID epidemic. Using the parameterization assumed in March 2020, we reproduce the predictions presented to inform UK government policy in March 2020. We find that CovidSim would have given a good forecast of the subsequent data if a higher initial value of R0 had been assumed. We then investigate further the whole trajectory of the epidemic, presenting results not previously published. We find that while prompt interventions are highly effective at reducing peak ICU demand, none of the pro- posed mitigation strategies reduces the predicted total number of deaths below 200,000. Surprisingly, some interventions such as school closures were predicted to increase the projected total number of deaths.
23rd Jun 2020 - Medrixv.org

S. Africa to start Africa's first coronavirus vaccine pilot

South Africa will roll out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, the university leading the pilot said Tuesday, as the country grapples with the highest number of cases in Africa. The vaccine, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute, is already being evaluated in Britain, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial. South Africa has set out to vaccinate 2,000 people with the vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Fifty of the candidates have HIV. “We began screening participants for the South African Oxford 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial last week, and the first participants will be vaccinated this week,” University of Witwatersrand (Wits) vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi told a virtual press conference.
23rd Jun 2020 - Manila Bulletin

Economic and social consequences of human mobility restrictions under COVID-19

The lockdown measures introduced in Italy to deal with COVID-19 have produced a mobility contraction which is not homogeneously distributed across Italian municipalities and regions. An examination of the steep fall on the Italian mobility network during the pandemic reveals some counterintuitive results, calling for further analysis.
23rd Jun 2020 - Medical Xpress

Coronavirus: Scotland achieves New Zealand-style testing benchmark as only one Covid case detected for every 200 tests

The ratio of positive to negative test results indicates that Scotland “is on the safe side” in terms of controlling the pandemic, according to a scientific briefing paper that draws comparisons with the performance in New Zealand and South Korea. It has also plunged since April, when more than one in five tests were coming back positive. It came as Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that no deaths from Covid had been reported in Scotland for a second day in a row, with just 15 confirmed or suspected Covid patients in intensive care.
23rd Jun 2020 - HeraldScotland

Inovio gets $71 million from U.S. defense department for COVID-19 vaccine device

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to scale up production of the company’s devices that are used to administer its experimental COVID-19 vaccine into the skin. The drug developer’s shares rose nearly 13% to $17.27 before the opening bell. The funding from the DoD will be used to expand the manufacturing of a next-generation version of the company’s Cellectra devices. The company began developing the devices in 2019 and has already begun initial production. Cellectra is a small, hand-held device that can be stockpiled in large quantities without maintenance. Inovio said a previous version of the device has been used in clinical trials to safely dose more than 2,000 patients
23rd Jun 2020 - Reuters

Blood Type May Play a Role in Covid-19 Severity

A very early study of patients with Covid-19 in Wuhan and Shenzhen, China was among the first to suggest an association between blood type and SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and disease severity. In that study, published ahead of peer review, the type A blood group appeared to be associated with a greater risk for acquiring Covid-19 and the type O blood group was linked to lower risk. Another early study involving cases in New York City, also published ahead of peer review, found a higher prevalence of group A blood type in patients who were SARS-CoV-2 positive and a lower prevalence of infection with group O blood type. And, preliminary data recently reported by the commercial genetic testing site 23andMe also suggested a protective role for type O blood type against the novel coronavirus when compared to other blood types. Blood specialist Parameswaran Hari, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, said while the research suggesting a role for blood type in Covid-19 remains preliminary, the findings appear to be consistent. Hari was not involved with the newly published study, but he talked to BreakingMED about the findings. “The studies are all pointing in the same direction, and that is really intriguing,” he said.
23rd Jun 2020 - Physician's Weekly


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jun 2020

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Telehealth in lockdown meant 7 million fewer chances to transmit the coronavirus

The expansion of telehealth services was a deliberate strategy to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission between practitioners and patients, so is it working? According to our analysis, the answer is that telehealth is indeed reducing the risk. Since March 2020, more than 7 million MBS-funded telehealth consultations have been reported, with the vast majority (91%) being done by telephone
22nd Jun 2020 - The Conversation AU

Gilead Sciences to start clinical trials of inhaled remdesivir for COVID-19

Gilead Sciences plans to start clinical trials for an inhaled version of the antiviral remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19, company officials said Monday. The inhaled form is delivered using a nebulizer -- similar to many asthma drugs -- making it easier to administer outside of a hospital at earlier stages of infection, they said.
22nd Jun 2020 - UPI News

What countries did right and wrong in responding to the pandemic

COVID-19 numbers with how strict their containment policies were, as measured by the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, which rates countries on a host of factors such as workplace closures, travel controls, restrictions on gatherings, and testing regimens. With the help of experts, CBC News found that successful countries were not only swift to respond, but also applied the three Ts of disease control: testing, tracing and trust.
22nd Jun 2020 - CBC.ca

EU to spend billions of euros to secure coronavirus vaccine

The EU plans to pump billions of euros into advance purchase deals with pharmaceutical companies for potential coronavirus vaccines, in a sign of intensifying rich country efforts to secure supplies of any future treatment. The bloc’s health ministers on Friday gave political backing to a European Commission plan to use a “large majority” of a €2.7bn emergency fund for the effort and to ensure fair access to any remedy worldwide. The move highlights the urgency of European efforts to escape a pandemic that has hit the populations and economies of many of its countries hard. It may also stoke fears that poorer countries will be squeezed out of vaccine purchases by the financial muscle of the world’s biggest economies.
15th Jun 2020 - Financial Times


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jun 2020

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Glaxosmithkline's coronavirus vaccine starts human trials | Business

A coronavirus vaccine being developed in partnership with Glaxosmithkline has begun human clinical trials. The FTSE 100 drugs company is providing its adjuvant technology as part of a collaboration with Clover Biopharmaceuticals, of China. After promising pre-clinical results in animals, the vaccine has begun a phase one study in Perth, Australia. Glaxo and Clover are planning a more in-depth phase two trial, which it is hoped will start later in the year. The partnership with Clover is one of several Covid-19 vaccine projects involving Glaxo, which also include a venture with Sanofi, of France. Glaxo, based in west London, is a leading player in the global vaccines market, along with Sanofi and the American companies Merck and Pfizer.
20th Jun 2020 - The Times

NHS Pathways coronavirus triage

This is a summary of the assessments completed using NHS Pathways in support of NHS 111 and 999 telephone services, and NHS 111 online, where potential coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms were reported.
22nd Jun 2020 - NHS Digital

Longitudinal Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 RNA Among Asymptomatic Staff in Five Colorado Skilled Nursing Facilities: Epidemiologic, Virologic and Sequence Analysis

SARS-CoV-2 emerged in 2019 and has become a major global pathogen in an astonishingly short period of time. The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 also has been notable due to its impacts on individuals residing within skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) such as rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. SNF residents tend to possess several risk factors for the most severe outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection, including advanced age and the presence of multiple comorbidities....
22nd Jun 2020 - Medrxiv.org

Genomewide Association Study of Severe Covid-19 with Respiratory Failure