Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Jan 2021View this newsletter in full
Pfizer coronavirus jab has stopped 50% of infections - NOT just symptoms - Israeli study finds
Israel has given first dose of the Pfizer jab to almost 20 percent of its population
Preliminary studies show that the vaccine cuts transmission, not just symptoms
Expert warned initial studies not enough to conclude transmissions are stopped
Data from hundreds of thousands of people offers extensive view of efficacy
But experts have warned that people must stay vigilant despite having first dose
Two other studies were also done, with varying results. One found the vaccine cuts infection risk by 60 percent, while another found it was cut by 33 percent
Full 95 percent immunity is only achieved when a person is given second dose
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail
Future coronavirus vaccines may harness nanoparticles
A nanoparticle-based COVID-19 vaccine may be cheap, safe, and effective.
Preclinical study suggests that a single dose of a nanoparticle-based vaccine could provide robust immunity. It may be easier to store and transport than currently available vaccines.
14th Jan 2021 - Medical News Today
Recovering from Covid gives similar level of protection to vaccine
People who recover from coronavirus have a similar level of protection against future infection as those who receive a Covid vaccine – at least for the first five months, research suggests. A Public Health England (PHE) study of more than 20,000 healthcare workers found that immunity acquired from an earlier Covid infection provided 83% protection against reinfection for at least 20 weeks. The findings show that while people are unlikely to become reinfected soon after their first infection, it is possible to catch the virus again and potentially spread it to others. “Overall I think this is good news,” said Prof Susan Hopkins, a senior medical adviser to PHE. “It allows people to feel that prior infection will protect them from future infections, but at the same time it is not complete protection, and therefore they still need to be careful when they are out and about.”
14th Jan 2021 - The Guardian
Fourth coronavirus vaccine to be trialled in Birmingham as UK orders 60 million
A fourth Covid vaccine is undergoing a trial in the UK as the government orders 60 million doses. The Valneva coronavirus vaccine is being developed in West Lothian and will initially be tested on 150 volunteers at four National Institute for Health Research sites across the UK. Trials are set to begin within months at sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton. Alok Sharma said: “Today we have more welcome news that life-saving clinical trials will begin across the country to test the safety and effectiveness of Valneva’s coronavirus vaccine, which is being clinically developed right here in the UK.
14th Jan 2021 - Birmingham Live
Blood plasma transfusions with high levels of COVID-19 antibodies reduced the number of patient deaths by 25%, Mayo Clinic study finds
Convalescent plasma infusions can help reduce the number of coronavirus deaths, a new study suggests. Researchers looked at people ill with COVID-19 who received blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients. When given early enough, patients who received antibody-rich plasma had a one-quarter lower risk of death than those given plasma with low concentrations of COVID-19 antibodies.
The team, from the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, says the treatment could be a stopgap until enough people receive coronavirus vaccines for herd immunity to be achieved.
14th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail on MSN.com
COVID-19: How long are you protected for if you've already had coronavirus - and are you still a risk to others?
People who've had COVID are likely to be protected from reinfection for at least five months and have a similar defence to someone who's been vaccinated, according to a UK study. But does it mean those who have recovered are no longer a risk to others? And could the protection last any longer? Here's what you need to know.
14th Jan 2021 - Sky News
Lancaster scientists developing Covid-19 vaccine nasal spray
The researchers administered two doses of the vaccine via a nasal spray in animal trials which are the first stage in vaccine development. This elicited robust antibodies and T cell responses which were enough to be able to neutralize SARS-CoV-2. There was also a significant reduction in lung pathology, inflammation and clinical disease in the rodents who received the vaccine. The vaccine is based on a common poultry virus called the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), which can replicate in humans but is harmless. The scientists engineered NDV to produce the spike proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19, tricking the body into mounting an immune response against SARS-CoV-2.
14th Jan 2021 - Lancaster Guardian
Interim Results of a Phase 1–2a Trial of Ad26.COV2.S Covid-19 Vaccine
After the administration of the first vaccine dose in 805 participants in cohorts 1 and 3 and after the second dose in cohort 1, the most frequent solicited adverse events were fatigue, headache, myalgia, and injection-site pain. The most frequent systemic adverse event was fever. Systemic adverse events were less common in cohort 3 than in cohort 1 and in those who received the low vaccine dose than in those who received the high dose. Reactogenicity was lower after the second dose. Neutralizing-antibody titers against wild-type virus were detected in 90% or more of all participants on day 29 after the first vaccine dose (geometric mean titer [GMT], 224 to 354) and reached 100% by day 57 with a further increase in titers (GMT, 288 to 488), regardless of vaccine dose or age group. Titers remained stable until at least day 71. A second dose provided an increase in the titer by a factor of 2.6 to 2.9 (GMT, 827 to 1266). Spike-binding antibody responses were similar to neutralizing-antibody responses. On day 14, CD4+ T-cell responses were detected in 76 to 83% of the participants in cohort 1 and in 60 to 67% of those in cohort 3, with a clear skewing toward type 1 helper T cells. CD8+ T-cell responses were robust overall but lower in cohort 3.
14th Jan 2021 - nejm.org
Convalescent Plasma Antibody Levels and the Risk of Death from Covid-19
Of the 3082 patients included in this analysis, death within 30 days after plasma transfusion occurred in 115 of 515 patients (22.3%) in the high-titer group, 549 of 2006 patients (27.4%) in the medium-titer group, and 166 of 561 patients (29.6%) in the low-titer group. The association of anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels with the risk of death from Covid-19 was moderated by mechanical ventilation status. A lower risk of death within 30 days in the high-titer group than in the low-titer group was observed among patients who had not received mechanical ventilation before transfusion (relative risk, 0.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48 to 0.91), and no effect on the risk of death was observed among patients who had received mechanical ventilation (relative risk, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.78 to 1.32).
14th Jan 2021 - nejm.org
Past Covid-19 infection may provide 'months of immunity'
Most people who have had Covid-19 are protected from catching it again for at least five months, a study led by Public Health England shows. Past infection was linked to around a 83% lower risk of getting the virus, compared with those who had never had Covid-19, scientists found. But experts warn some people do catch Covid-19 again - and can infect others. And officials stress people should follow the stay-at-home rules - whether or not they have had the virus.
14th Jan 2021 - BBC News
J&J’s one-shot Covid vaccine is safe and generates promising immune response in early trial
J&J scientists randomly assigned healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55 and those 65 and older to receive a high or low dose of its vaccine — called Ad26.COV2.S — or a placebo. Most of the volunteers produced detectable neutralizing antibodies, which researchers believe play an important role in defending cells against the virus, after 28 days, according to the trial data.
By day 57, all volunteers had detectable antibodies, regardless of vaccine dose or age group, and remained stable for at least 71 days in the 18-to-55 age group.
14th Jan 2021 - CNBC
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COVID-19 infection gives some immunity for at least five months, UK study finds
People who have had COVID-19 are highly likely to have immunity to it for at least five months but there is evidence that those with antibodies may still be able to carry and spread the virus, a UK study of healthcare workers has found. Preliminary findings by scientists at Public Health England (PHE) showed that reinfections in people who have COVID-19 antibodies from a past infection are rare - with only 44 cases found among 6,614 previously infected people in the study.
But experts cautioned that the findings mean people who contracted the disease in the first wave of the pandemic in the early months of 2020 may now be vulnerable to catching it again. They also warned that people with so-called “natural immunity” - acquired through having had the infection - may still be able carry the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in their nose and throat, and could unwittingly pass it on.
14th Jan 2021 - Reuters
J&J likely to seek EU approval for COVID-19 vaccine in February: lawmaker
Johnson & Johnson could deliver the first doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to Europe in April, an EU official told Reuters on Wednesday after a top lawmaker said the U.S. healthcare company was likely to seek EU regulatory approval in February. Clinical data on the vaccine has been assessed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) since Dec. 1 under a rolling review to speed up possible approval. A senior EU official, who is involved in negotiations with vaccine makers and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the J&J shot could be available from April 1 in Europe. Earlier on Wednesday, an EU lawmaker said J&J could seek EU approval for its one-shot vaccine in February.
13th Jan 2021 - Reuters
Sinovac: Brazil results show Chinese vaccine 50.4% effective
A coronavirus vaccine developed by China's Sinovac has been found to be 50.4% effective in Brazilian clinical trials, according to the latest results released by researchers. It shows the vaccine is significantly less effective than previous data suggested - barely over the 50% needed for regulatory approval. The Chinese vaccine is one of two that the Brazilian government has lined up. Brazil has been one of the countries worst affected by Covid-19. Sinovac, a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company, is behind CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine. It works by using killed viral particles to expose the body's immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response.
13th Jan 2021 - BBC News
Are women with asthma at increased risk for severe COVID-19?
Although adults with asthma appear to have a reduced risk of severe COVID-19 compared with younger populations,1 women with asthma might represent a somewhat susceptible subgroup for severe COVID-19 requiring hospitalisation.2 A study by Atkins and colleagues established female sex as an independent risk factor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) hospitalisation among patients with asthma in the UK.2 This study and three additional studies from Paris, France, Illinois, USA, and New York, NY, USA, report that 37–53% of all individuals hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2 were women.3, 4, 5 However, 56–71% of patients with asthma hospitalised for COVID-19 were women in these studies
13th Jan 2021 - The Lancet
AstraZeneca boss says two million weekly doses of vaccine will be delivered to NHS ‘imminently’
Two million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs will “imminently” be delivered to the NHS a week as the vaccine roll-out is dramatically stepped up, a pharmaceutical boss said today. Tom Keith-Roach, president at AstraZeneca UK, said 1.1 million doses of the company’s Covid-19 jab had been released to date.
He told the Commons science and technology committee: “We are scaling up very rapidly and this will happen imminently to releasing two million doses a week. “We’re absolutely on track to do that and therefore deliver tens of millions of doses in the first quarter of the year.
13th Jan 2021 - Evening Standard
Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine generates immune response, few side effects, in early trials
Early stage trials of Johnson & Johnson's experimental coronavirus vaccine show it generated an immune response in nearly all volunteers, with minimal side-effects, after a single dose. The company expects to report details of more advanced trials later this month and is hoping to apply for authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration soon after. Researchers who tested the vaccine in a combined Phase 1-2 trial -- mostly meant to show safety -- found either one or two doses of the vaccine generated both antibody and T-cell responses against the coronavirus. The trials were not designed to show whether the vaccine protected people against either infection or symptoms of coronavirus -- that's what the ongoing Phase 3 trials are designed to do. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, an international team of researchers who tested the vaccine in around 800 volunteers said the early stage trials showed it was safe and probably should work.
13th Jan 2021 - CNN International
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Oral COVID-19 vaccine beckons, as ImmunityBio licenses iosBio tech
ImmunityBio has licensed technology underpinning a COVID-19 vaccine that could be administered orally rather than by injection from UK biotech iosBio. Approvals for injectable vaccines for COVID-19 are starting to build, but non-injectables like oral and intranasal vaccines could be required if the pandemic is to be fought across all areas of the globe, according to Wayne Channon, the UK firm’s chairman. “Non-injectables remove the need for health professional-led immunisation programmes, making widespread vaccine roll-outs quicker and easier and more affordable,” Channon told pharmaphorum.
12th Jan 2021 - pharmaphorum.com
Pfizer Says It Can Quickly Develop Vaccines for Covid-19 Variants
The Big Pharma company Pfizer is digging in for a long fight against Covid-19. In an interview on Tuesday morning, the company’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten, said that Pfizer (ticker: PFE) is working on a more stable formulation of its Covid-19 vaccine that will be easier to distribute, and is thinking through how to update the vaccine if new strains of the virus emerge that evade the current version. Dolsten said that the Covid-19 problem, and the problem of new coronaviruses in general, isn’t going away.
12th Jan 2021 - Barron's
Bacteria in your GUT 'affects Covid-19 severity'
South Korean study reviewed pre-existing research on role of gut microbiome
Hong Kong-based scientists examined blood and stool samples from patients
Both studies indicate a gut microbe imbalance is key in severe Covid-19
12th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail
JPM: 'Very soon,' says Johnson & Johnson CEO as world waits for its COVID-19 vaccine data
Johnson & Johnson's one-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimen could jump-start an immunization push that's faltering in spite of the millions of doses Pfizer, BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna are rolling out around the world. And the J&J shot is on the verge of its next big step forward. The pharma giant is in the “final stages” of data analysis for its phase 3 trial, CEO Alex Gorsky said Monday at the annual J.P. Morgan healthcare conference. The company hopes “to have that information very soon,” he added.
12th Jan 2021 - FiercePharma
Immunological characteristics govern the transition of COVID-19 to endemicity
We are currently faced with the question of how the CoV-2 severity may change in the years ahead. Our analysis of immunological and epidemiological data on endemic human coronaviruses (HCoVs) shows that infection-blocking immunity wanes rapidly, but disease-reducing immunity is long-lived. Our model, incorporating these components of immunity, recapitulates both the current severity of CoV-2 and the benign nature of HCoVs, suggesting that once the endemic phase is reached and primary exposure is in childhood, CoV-2 may be no more virulent than the common cold. We predict a different outcome for an emergent coronavirus that causes severe disease in children. These results reinforce the importance of behavioral containment during pandemic vaccine rollout, while prompting us to evaluate scenarios for continuing vaccination in the endemic phase.
11th Jan 2021 - Science Mag
Japan has found a new Covid variant. Here's how it compares to virus strains in the UK, South Africa
The identification of a new Covid variant comes as countries scramble to contain two other contagious strains that have emerged in the U.K. and South Africa.
Public health experts have expressed concern the fresh strains could pose a threat to inoculation efforts. In recent weeks, optimism about the mass rollout of coronavirus vaccines appears to have been tempered by the resurgent rate of virus spread worldwide.
11th Jan 2021 - CNBC
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Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine immunity to stay at least a year
Immunity from Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine should last at least a year, the company said on Monday at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference. The drugmaker said it was confident that the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology it used was well suited to deploy a vaccine based on the new variant of the coronavirus which has emerged in a handful of countries. The company’s vaccine, mRNA-1273, uses synthetic mRNA to mimic the surface of the coronavirus and teach the immune system to recognize and neutralize it. Moderna said in December it would run tests to confirm the vaccine's activity against any strain.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com
Vaccine makers prepare for game of Covid cat and mouse
Vaccine makers and medicine regulators are sketching out plans in case the mutating coronavirus turns vaccine development into a game of cat and mouse.
Just weeks after leading manufacturers secured the first regulatory approvals, mutations in the virus have forced scientists to re-test their Covid-19 vaccines and prepare to tweak their formula should the shots prove less effective. At the same time, regulators are considering how they could fast-track new approvals and whether they could use the seasonal flu jab as a model to authorise revised versions without requiring long trials.
11th Jan 2021 - Financial Times
Covid research: Convalescent plasma trial paused as results poor
Scientists running REMAP-CAP trial have stopped enrolling Covid ICU patients
Found 'no evidence' convalescent plasma therapy boosted their survival chance
Will continue to test the antibody-rich plasma on people with moderate illness
11th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail
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Hong Kong fourth wave: sewage tests for coronavirus to be expanded, aim for ‘gold standard’
Pilot scheme by HKU experts helped uncover nine infections in two blocks. Mandatory testing will be triggered if sewage checks reveal two consecutive positive results or two positives over three days
10th Jan 2021 - South China Morning Post
Covid-19: Breastfeeding women can have vaccine after guidance turnaround
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has revised its guidance so that pregnant and breastfeeding women can receive the covid-19 vaccine. Writing in BMJ Opinion, Helen Hare, an acute medicine trainee, and Kate Womersley, an academic foundation trainee, said that the change had come after strong pressure from campaigners, clinicians, and some of the women affected. The MHRA had previously recommended that breastfeeding women should not be given the vaccine, which Hare and Womersley said had been interpreted by NHS trusts as a blanket ban. But on 30 December the agency said that women who were breastfeeding could be given both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine
9th Jan 2021 - The BMJ
Oxford/AstraZeneca to submit coronavirus vaccine for EU approval next week
The University of Oxford/AstraZeneca will submit their jointly-produced coronavirus vaccine to the European Medicines Agency next week — with a decision on approval for use across the bloc expected by the end of January. The EMA already has the drug-makers' phase 3 data as part of a rolling review, but the vaccine producers are yet to hand a formal submission for conditional marketing authorization from the EU regulator. "Possible conclusion — end of [January], depending on data and evaluation progress," the agency tweeted. The Commission would need to rubber stamp a recommendation from the EMA.
9th Jan 2021 - POLITICO.eu
China's COVID-19 vaccine found capable of neutralizing UK strain
China's COVID-19 vaccine is found capable of neutralizing the new strain of the novel coronavirus that was reported to be behind the rise in transmission of the disease in parts of the United Kingdom, senior health official said on Saturday. Zeng Yixin, vice-minister of the National Health Commission, said China's scientific community is paying close attention to the new variant and its effect on current vaccines as reports indicated that the new strain had arrived in China via imported cases. Scientists from the Institute of Laboratory Animal Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong province are already working on the issue, Zeng said during a news briefing held by the State Council Information Office.
9th Jan 2021 - China Daily
Scientists create first computational model of entire virus responsible for COVID-19
Researchers at the University of Chicago have created the first usable computational model of the entire virus responsible for COVID-19—and they are making this model widely available to help advance research during the pandemic. "If you can understand how a virus works, that's the first step towards stopping it," said Prof. Gregory Voth, whose team created the model published in Biophysical Journal. "Each thing you know about the virus's life cycle and composition is a vulnerability point where you can hit it."
8th Jan 2021 - Phys.Org
Three studies highlight low COVID risk of in-person school
In the first study, published today in Pediatrics, a team led by researchers at Duke University traced contacts of North Carolina students infected with COVID-19 in 11 school districts in the first 9 weeks of in-person instruction in the fall. In August 2020, 56 of 115 North Carolina school districts joined the ABC Science Collaborative to put in place specific public health measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission and share what they learn in the process. Superintendents reported primary and secondary cases by school and week of the quarter. The collaborative was developed by faculty at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
8th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP
mRNA latecomer CureVac recruits Bayer to speed COVID-19 vaccine to market
Compared with Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership, which already have their COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use, CureVac seems a little late to the mRNA race. But now, the biotech has signed a Big Pharma teammate to help accelerate development, boost manufacturing and prep for a possible launch. CureVac partnered up with German compatriot Bayer on its COVID-19 vaccine, CVnCOV, which just entered phase 3 testing three weeks ago. No financial details were provided. The two companies aim to leverage Bayer's expertise and operations to supply “hundreds of millions” doses of the mRNA shot once it’s approved. Along the way, Bayer will help with clinical development, manufacturing, regulatory affairs and commercialization.
8th Jan 2021 - Fierce Pharma
Roche's Actemra, Regeneron's Kevzara win U.K.'s favor in COVID-19 after study shows 24% drop in death risk
The question of whether seriously ill COVID-19 patients can benefit from anti-inflammatories like Roche’s Actemra and Sanofi and Regeneron’s Kevzara has dogged practitioners in the United States thanks to conflicting clinical trial results.
The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has reached a definitive answer on the two drugs, both of which are IL-6 inhibitors: They significantly reduce the risk of death in COVID-19 patients needing intensive care, and they should be used to ease the pressure hospitals are now facing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to intensify, the country’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) said Thursday. The recommendation came after data from an NIHR-sponsored study showed that Actemra and Kevzara can cut hospital stays for COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care by 10 days and can lower the risk of death by 24% in patients who receive either drug within a day of admission. That finding prompted the U.K. government to recommend to the National Health Service (NHS) that IL-6 inhibitors be rolled out for the treatment of COVID-19.
8th Jan 2021 - Fierce Pharma
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine not affected by mutation seen in contagious coronavirus variant, study indicates
A mutation found in fast-spreading coronavirus variants does not negate the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, researchers reported late Thursday.
The result is positive, if expected, evidence that existing vaccines will be able to withstand some mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus without losing efficacy. But experts noted that this vaccine and others will still need to be tested against other mutations of concern, and that the new study only looked at one key mutation contained in the variants, not the full variants. “We’re working on that part now” in additional studies, Philip Dormitzer, Pfizer’s vice president and chief scientific officer of viral vaccines, told STAT.
8th Jan 2021 - STAT News
Most patients hospitalized for Covid-19 still have symptoms six months later, China study finds
Three-quarters of Covid-19 patients still have at least one symptom six months after first falling ill, researchers who followed hospital patients in China reported Friday. The new findings suggest symptoms linger longer and in a higher proportion of patients than previously thought. The largest and longest analysis to date of post-Covid recovery also warns that some patients’ antibody levels fell sharply, raising concern that while waiting for a return to full health, they could be reinfected with the coronavirus. Almost two-thirds of the patients said they were still suffering from fatigue and muscle weakness, the researchers wrote in The Lancet. A little over a quarter had difficulty sleeping, and a little under a quarter experienced anxiety and depression. Overall, more women than men reported lingering symptoms, and people whose disease was more severe had poorer lung health. Their median age was 57.
8th Jan 2021 - STAT News
Pfizer Says Its Covid Vaccine Works Against Key Mutation
Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Friday that their Covid vaccine is effective against one of the mutations present in the new contagious variants identified in Britain and South Africa. Independent experts said the findings were good news, but cautioned that each of those coronavirus variants has several other potentially dangerous mutations that have not yet been investigated. So it’s possible that one of those mutations affects how well the vaccine works. “It’s the first step in the right direction,” said Dr. John Brooks, the chief medical officer for the Centers for Disease Control Covid-19 emergency response. “I’m hoping that the additional work that comes out in the future will fall in line with that finding.”
8th Jan 2021 - The New York Times
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How Nine Covid-19 Vaccines Work
Researchers are testing 64 coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials on humans. Here are explanations about how nine of the leading vaccines work.
7th Jan 2021 - The New York Times
CureVac teams up with Bayer to accelerate development of Covid vaccine
Germany’s CureVac has teamed up with the country’s largest pharmaceuticals company Bayer to accelerate the development and production of its Covid-19 vaccine. The Tübingen-based company, whose vaccine uses a similar technology to the ones developed by BioNTech and Moderna, said on Thursday it had entered into a collaboration and services agreement that would help it deliver several hundred million doses. CureVac, the oldest of the trio of companies working on messenger RNA technology to develop vaccines, was among the first to announce it was working on a product to deal with Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. But it has since lagged far behind its competitors, both of which have already won authorisations in the US and EU.
7th Jan 2021 - Financial Times
UPDATE 1-Roche, Sanofi arthritis drugs reduce death rates among sickest COVID-19 patients
LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Treating critically ill COVID-19 patients with Roche’s Actemra or Sanofi’s Kevzara arthritis drugs significantly improves survival rates and reduces the amount of time patients need intensive care,
7th Jan 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com
Critically ill Covid-19 patients to receive new potentially life-saving drugs
Critically ill Covid-19 patients admitted to intensive care units across the UK will be able to receive new drugs that can “significantly” reduce the risk of death as well as time spent in hospital by up to 10 days. NHS patients will have access to tocilizumab and sarilumab – which are typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – under updated guidance due to be issued tomorrow by the Government and the NHS to Trusts across the UK. It comes after results from the Government-funded REMAP-CAP clinical trial showed that both drugs reduced the risk of mortality by 8.5% when administered to patients within a day of entering intensive care alongside a corticosteroid, such as dexamethasone.
7th Jan 2021 - ITV News
Babraham Institute study of Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine underscores importance of second dose
A study involving mice suggests the second dose of Oxford University and AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine will be particularly important to generate an effective immune response in older people. Immunologists at the Babraham Institute studied the effect of age on the immune response to the vaccine. Their findings agreed with vaccine trial data, published in The Lancet, that showed two doses are required for younger and older people to have a similar immune response. Dr Michelle Linterman, a Babraham Institute group leader and lead on the research study, said: “As we get older, our immune system function declines and we become more vulnerable to infectious disease. “The current pandemic has highlighted how much of a health imbalance this can cause. This work has allowed us to analyse the immune system response to the vaccine at cellular resolution and learn more about how age affects this.”
7th Jan 2021 - Cambridge Independent
Covid: New study claims five-day warning ruined last England lockdown
On September 21, the UK government’s Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) published a document calling for a national circuit-breaker lockdown to curb the steadily increasing cases of COVID. The Sage scientists warned that “not acting now to reduce cases will result in a very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences in terms of direct COVID-related deaths and the ability of the health service to meet needs”. Instead of heeding the warnings of their own scientists, the government instead solicited the fringe views of “experts” who advocated for controlling the effects of the virus with less restrictive measures, while shielding society’s most vulnerable.
7th Jan 2021 - Wales Online
Coronavirus vaccine Scotland: NHS advice for pregnant women
The NHS in Scotland has published guidance surrounding the coronavirus vaccine for pregnant women. As of January 3, 113,459 people in the country have received their first dose of the jab, according to Nicola Sturgeon. However, the risks to mums-to-be are still unknown, with the vaccine not yet been tested on pregnant women. According to NHS Inform, the vaccine is not recommended under a precautionary approach.
7th Jan 2021 - Glasgow Times
Sinovac’s Covid-19 Vaccine Is 78% Effective in Brazil Late-Stage Trials
China’s shot also gives 100% protection against severe cases of the disease, said Brazil’s Butantan Institute, raising hopes that it can be widely used in the developing world.
7th Jan 2021 - Wall Street Journal
COVID-19 was circulating silently in Wuhan even after the city reported no cases
COVID-19 may have continued to spread silently in Wuhan, China, during the spring of 2020, even after official government tallies had suggested the coronavirus had been stamped out, a new study suggests. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was first discovered in Wuhan in December 2019, and the city soon became the epicenter of what would become the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases peaked in Wuhan in February 2020 but soon declined rapidly, with just a few cases reported in late March. By early April, the city's lockdown had ended, and later that month, Wuhan was declared coronavirus-free.
7th Jan 2021 - Livescience.com
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Welsh researchers developing 'revolutionary' skin patch vaccine for coronavirus
Welsh researchers developing a 'revolutionary' skin patch vaccine for coronavirus say they hope to have a prototype ready as early as March. The body-worn patches - similar to those used by people aiming to give up smoking - are designed to break the skin barrier and deliver medicines in a less invasive way. Swansea University scientists say the world-first 'smart patches' will also be able to tell how effective the vaccine is for each recipient by measuring their body's response. Researchers say the patches could prove a cheaper and easier way of administering vaccines, and would be welcomed by those who dislike traditional hypodermic needles.
6th Jan 2021 - ITV News
Early convalescent plasma may lower risk of severe COVID in seniors
Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients with high levels of antibodies appeared to delay or stop progression of illness in mildly ill older adults infected with the novel coronavirus, a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded. Researchers at Fundacion INFANT in Buenos Aires, Argentina, led the small randomized, controlled, double-blind trial of the effects of infusing convalescent plasma in 160 older adults within 72 hours of symptom onset from Jun 4 to Oct 25, 2020, half of whom received the treatment. The patients were either 75 years and older (88 [55%]), with or without underlying illnesses, or 65 to 74 years with at least one underlying condition (72 [45%]).
6th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP
CDC reports more allergic reactions to Covid-19 vaccines, but cases remain few
Twenty-nine people in the United States have developed anaphylaxis after being vaccinated against Covid-19 since the vaccine rollout began, health officials reported Wednesday, with cases occurring after vaccination using both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at present it looks like anaphylaxis cases are occurring at a rate of about 5.5 per 1 million vaccine doses given, though the agency cautioned that figure may change as the vaccination effort continues. The allergic reactions do not change CDC’s recommendations on who can be vaccinated against Covid-19, with senior officials stressing that the risk of severe illness and death from the disease still outweighs the risk of developing anaphylaxis after vaccination.
6th Jan 2021 - STAT News
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COVID-19 vaccine: FDA pushes back against delaying second dose as US officials, health experts weigh in on debate
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration weighed in on a debate over when the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine should be administered. The FDA said in a statement there is no adequate scientific evidence that supports changing the authorized COVID-19 vaccine schedule or dosing. "Without appropriate data supporting such changes in vaccine administration, we run a significant risk of placing public health at risk, undermining the historic vaccination efforts to protect the population from COVID-19," the FDA said
5th Jan 2021 - USA Today
No sign S.Africa's COVID-19 variant more contagious than UK version -WHO
There is no indication that the coronavirus variant identified in South Africa is more transmissible than the one spreading fast in Britain, the World Health Organization's technical chief on COVID-19,
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters
WHO recommends two doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within 21-28 days
People should get two doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine within 21-28 days, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, as many countries struggled to administer the jabs that can ward off the COVID-19 virus. Many are experiencing intensifying pressure on their health services due to surging coronavirus cases and the emergence of new variants that appear to spread more easily. Governments are introducing new lockdown measures to halt the spread while facing massive demand for vaccines which are seen as the best way out of the global health crisis. But with jabs in limited supply as production ramps up, the WHO has been examining how they can be used most effectively.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters
Relief for cancer patients as study shows those with solid tumours have the same level of immune response to Covid-19 as healthy people
Charity Cancer research UK studied blood samples of 76 cancer patients
Forty-one of these patients tested positive for Covid-19 and 35 were uninfected
Reveals people with solid tumours respond in same way as non-cancer patients
But also found people with blood cancer have a milder immune response
5th Jan 2021 - Daily Mail
Decades of basic research paved the way for today’s ‘warp speed’ Covid-19 vaccines
The emergency use authorizations of mRNA vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna and the likely gradual rollout of multiple others is our collective best hope for curtailing the Covid-19 pandemic. The speed at which these vaccines has been developed is remarkable, both in absolute terms and compared to the multiyear time frame it normally takes to create and approve new vaccines. Great credit is due to the pharmaceutical industry and the university and government scientists who have worked directly and diligently on Covid-19 vaccine programs in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere. They deserve accolades for their skillful hard work. But the Covid-19 vaccines did not come from nowhere. Decades of research by tens of thousands of scientists worldwide put in place the essential knowledge and methods that underpinned their rapid development.
5th Jan 2021 - STAT News
Study: US COVID cases, deaths far higher than reported
An estimated 14.3% of the US population had antibodies against COVID-19 by mid-November 2020, suggesting that that the virus has infected vastly more people than reported—but still not enough to come close to the proportion needed for herd immunity, according to a study published today in JAMA Network Open. In the cross-sectional study, researchers from study sponsors Pfizer and Merck analyzed data from random community seroprevalence surveys and five such regional and national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys to estimate infection underreporting multipliers. Seroprevalence surveys reveal the proportion of a population that has antibodies against a certain disease, such as COVID-19.
5th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP
Not so fast: FDA warns of 'premature' changes to COVID-19 vaccine dosing in clash with Slaoui
Amid concerns over limited COVID-19 vaccine supplies, some have proposed tweaking the shots’ dosing to immunize more people. One suggestion came from none other than U.S. vaccine czar Moncef Slaoui, Ph.D. But the FDA’s stepping forward to dismiss the idea—at least for now. Any changes to currently authorized vaccine dosing regimens pose a “significant risk of placing public health at risk” and undermine “the historic vaccination efforts to protect the population from COVID-19,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., and Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., head of the agency’s biologics department, said in a statement Monday. The comment came on the heels of Operation Warp Speed chief Slaoui saying the vaccine task force is working with the FDA and Moderna to potentially reduce the company’s mRNA-1273 dose in half to stretch the supply.
5th Jan 2021 - Fierce Pharma
Moderna dials up low-end COVID-19 vaccine supply estimate, setting sights on 1B doses in 2021
Moderna Therapeutics is angling to surpass the hundreds of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses it’s already pledged to governments worldwide. And, on Monday, the drugmaker signaled that it's inching toward that goal, dialing up its low-end manufacturing predictions for the year. Moderna has raised its base-case global production estimate from 500 million doses to 600 million doses this year. The supply bump comes as the company continues to invest and staff up, with a view to potentially hit 1 billion doses in 2021, Moderna said. The company will need those extra doses, too: It recently received expanded vaccine orders from the likes of Canada, the U.S. and the EU. The FDA in December cleared the shot for emergency use in Americans 18 years and older, with Health Canada following suit a week later.
5th Jan 2021 - FiercePharma
UK scientists question COVID-19 vaccine dosing delay
Five UK medical scientists have criticised a British government plan to delay giving second doses of COVID-19 vaccines by up to 12 weeks, saying proven dosing schedules should not be altered “without solid scientific support or evidence”. In an opinion piece published online in the BMJ British Medical Journal, the scientists said the plan was based on “assumptions” rather than scientific evidence or trial data. They also questioned the rationale behind prolonging the time between first and second doses. The scientists from the universities of Nottingham, Manchester and De Montfort wrote that suggestions by officials on the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunization (JCVI) that the delay strategy was due to shortages of COVID-19 shots in the UK were “disputed by vaccine manufacturers”.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK
Explainer-How safe is it to switch and space COVID-19 vaccine doses?
Britain and other nations are considering ways to stretch scarce supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, including by delaying second doses, reducing dose sizes and switching vaccine types between the first and second shots.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters UK
The Nigerian scientist sequencing new COVID strain as cases rise
A Nigerian scientist has spent the holiday season in his laboratory doing genetic sequencing to learn more about the country’s COVID-19 variant, as cases increase in the country. Virologist Sunday Omilabu says the information he gathers about the variant will help battle the spread of the disease in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with 196 million people. Nigeria has confirmed 89,163 COVID-19 cases, including 1,302 deaths, according to the figures released on Sunday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The variants discovered in the UK and South Africa, they are distantly different from the variants discovered in Nigeria,” said Omilabu, who said it is not unusual for viruses to mutate and cause variants. Nigeria is seeing more infections of COVID-19 but it is not yet certain if that is from the variant, said Omilabu, the director of the Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology at the Lagos University College of Medicine and Teaching Hospital.
4th Jan 2021 - Al Jazeera English
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UK's decision to delay second Covid vaccine shot reluctantly endorsed by advisers
The U.K.’s independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said in a statement published Sunday that it was a “very difficult and finely balanced decision” but it endorsed the U.K. government’s move to pursue coverage of as high a proportion of the population as possible. However, it said the change of policy must be accompanied by several other measures. Germany’s health ministry on Monday sought the advice of an independent vaccination commission on whether to follow in the U.K.’s footsteps.
4th Jan 2021 - CNBC
Germany mulls delaying second COVID-19 vaccine shot, Denmark approves delay
Germany was weighing on Monday whether to allow a delay in administering a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from BioNTech and Pfizer to make scarce supplies go further, after a similar move by Britain last week. Separately, Denmark approved on Monday a delay of up to six weeks between the first and second shots of the vaccine. In Berlin, the health ministry was seeking the view of an independent vaccination commission on whether to delay a second shot beyond a current 42-day maximum limit, according to a one-page document seen by Reuters on Monday.
4th Jan 2021 - Reuters
South Africa testing whether vaccines work against its variant
Scientists in South Africa are urgently testing to see if the vaccines for COVID-19 will be effective against the country s variant virus. The genomic studies come as Britain’s health minister, Matt Hancock and other experts in the U.K. have said they worry that vaccines may not be effective against the South African variant. “This is the most pressing question facing us right now,” said Dr. Richard Lessells, an infectious diseases expert who is working on the country's genomic studies of the variant. “We are urgently doing experiments in the laboratory to test the variant," against the blood of people with antibodies and against the blood of people who have received vaccines, Lessells told The Associated Press Monday.
4th Jan 2021 - The Independent
Experts Debate Wisdom of Delaying Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose
The two experts state that supply constraints, distribution bottlenecks, and hundreds of thousands of new infections daily prompted them to change their stance on administering COVID-19 vaccines according to the two-dose clinical trial regimen. Furthermore, they cite a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggests 80% to 90% efficacy for preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection following one dose of the Moderna vaccine. Not everyone agrees one dose is a good idea. "Clinical trials with specific schedules for vaccine dosing — that's the whole basis of the scientific evidence," Maria Elena Bottazzi, PhD, associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, told Medscape Medical News. After one dose "the immune system is learning, but it's not ideal. That's why you need the second dose," Bottazzi said. "I appreciate the urgency and the anxiety…but the data support [that] clinical efficacy requires two doses."
4th Jan 2021 - Medscape
Peer-reviewed data show high protection for leading COVID vaccines
The peer-reviewed data on both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccines are in, demonstrating 94% to 95% protection from the disease. The phase 3 clinical trial results for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, and the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2 or Comirnaty, were published late last week in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). When compared with placebos, Moderna's vaccine showed 94.1% efficacy (95% confidence interval [CI], 89.3% to 96.8%), and Pfizer's had 95.0% efficacy (95% CI, 90.3% to 97.6%). Both rates are for patients who received the two intended doses. Adverse events were uncommon in both studies.
4th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP
Scientists cast doubt on WHO’s China mission to find virus origin
In the coming days, bar any last-minute hitches, 10 renowned international scientists will check into Chinese hotel rooms for two weeks of quarantine. So will start the World Health Organisation (WHO) mission of foreign experts to investigate the coronavirus, a year after the first reports emerged of a mystery disease sweeping the central city of Wuhan. The stakes could not be higher in the hunt for the origins of the greatest public health challenge of our era, amid persistent warnings that the world needs to prepare for much more deadly pandemics. But the mystery has become even harder to solve. Beijing has delayed the arrival of the WHO team for months with a barrage of logistical demands and rules.
3rd Jan 2021 - The Times
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Wuhan: nearly 490,000 people could have had Covid, study finds
A Chinese study of coronavirus antibodies has found almost half a million people may have had Covid-19 in Wuhan, a number that is 10 times the official figure. According to the study of antibody prevalence, the infection rate was also far higher in Wuhan than surrounding areas, suggesting the virus had been well contained in the city where the outbreak first began. The study, conducted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tested for antibodies in blood serum samples from around 34,000 people in Wuhan and other Hubei province cities, as well as the cities of Beijing and Shanghai and the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu, Sichuan and Liaoning.
2nd Jan 2021 - The Guardian
India's drug regulator approves AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine: sources
India’s drug regulator on Friday approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University for emergency use, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The decision clears the vaccine’s rollout in the world’s second-most populous country which, after the United States, has the highest number of COVID-19 infections. India wants to start administering the vaccine soon, most likely by Wednesday, said one of the sources, both of whom declined to be named ahead of an official announcement expected later in the day.
2nd Jan 2021 - Reuters
No approval for Covaxin, expert panel seeks more data from Bharat Biotech
The Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drug Standard Control Organization on Friday has held that the data provided by Bharat Biotech for its coronavirus vaccine 'Covaxin' is not sufficient for granting it emergency use approval and has asked the company to provide more information
1st Jan 2021 - Times of India
Pfizer warns there is NO proof its Covid jab works when doses are taken 12 weeks apart as UK regulator scraps 21-day rule in desperate attempt to get millions more vaccinated
Regulator now recommending jabs are given in two doses three months apart
Originally Pfizer and Oxford jabs intended to be injected in space of four weeks
Change in strategy is to cope with spiking Covid cases and hospitalisations
31st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail
Covid vaccine advice to people with severe allergies changes after Oxford jab approval
Coronavirus vaccine advice to people with severe allergies has changed after today's approval of the Oxford jab. People with a history of "significant" allergic reactions to medicines, food or vaccines were advised they should not receive the Pfizer vaccine when it was approved earlier this month. However, professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chairman of the Commission on Human Medicines expert working group on Covid-19 vaccines, gave updated advice for those with allergies following the approval of the Oxford vaccine today. He said: "We've come to the recommendation people with a known history of reacting to any specific ingredients of vaccines should not have it, but people with allergies to other medicines or food can have the vaccine.
30th Dec 2020 - Mirror Online
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Exclusive: Chile could greenlight AstraZeneca vaccine 'within days of US/UK approval, government says
AstraZeneca has filed data with Chilean regulators for the emergency roll-out of its COVID-19 vaccine in the country and could get a green light “weeks or even days” after approval by European or American regulators, the government’s point person for vaccine procurement told Reuters. The UK-based company has been conducting late-stage trials of its vaccine, developed with Oxford University, in Chile as well as in Brazil, the UK, the United States and South Africa. Chile has signed a deal to buy 14.4 million doses of the drug, an amount that would vaccinate half that number of people, or nearly 40% of the country’s population. Chile is already among the best-placed in the region for vaccine deals, with an agreement for 10 million doses from Pfizer BioNtech, 60 million doses over three years from China’s Sinovac and 7.6 million vaccine doses through the global vaccine distribution scheme COVAX.
30th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK
New coronavirus variant does not cause illness more severe than others -Public Health England study
A new variant of the novel coronavirus does not appear to cause more severe illness than other variants, according to a matched study bit.ly/2X7cLgp by Public Health England. Scientists say the new variant can spread more rapidly. It was found in England in mid December and led to other countries imposing travel restrictions to the United Kingdom. Several other countries have reported variants.
Under the study, researchers compared 1,769 people infected with the new variant with 1,769 who had what they described as “wild-type” virus. The two groups were matched 1:1 on the basis of age, sex, area of residence and time of testing.
30th Dec 2020 - Reuters
COVID-19 vaccine: India may get most of Serum Institute's initial Covishield stockpile
Poonawalla says Covishield shows efficacy level of 95 per cent provided two shots are taken after a gap of 2-3 months; AstraZeneca will make that public with documentation soon, he adds
29th Dec 2020 - Business Today
German Town Finds a Blueprint for Lowering Covid-19 Deaths
At the peak of the first wave in April, the town had 70 Covid-19 patients in its biggest hospital—out of 89,000 inhabitants—including 33 in intensive care, forcing doctors to cancel elective surgery. Now, at the height of the far more devastating current surge, patients number just 35, many transferred from other regions. Fifteen of them are in intensive care, of whom fewer than half are Tübingen residents. The hospital hasn’t canceled non-urgent surgery. Local authorities say such numbers are no accident. The town, they point out, started earlier than most German municipalities in carrying out frequent Covid-19 tests on care-home staff, residents and visitors. It subsidizes taxi rides for those over age 65 so they don’t have to use public transit. Younger residents are discouraged from shopping between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. so as to avoid seniors having to mingle with people who are more likely to carry the virus without symptoms.
29th Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal
Regeneron's COVID-19 antibody therapy shows promise in hospitalized patients
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday initial data from an ongoing study of its experimental antibody cocktail for use in hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring low-flow oxygen show the therapy was sufficiently effective to warrant continuing the trial. The drugmaker said in September the cocktail, a combination of two antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab, reduced viral levels and improved symptoms in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
29th Dec 2020 - Reuters
Study: COVID antibodies may fend off reinfection for 6 months
Few healthcare workers in the UK who recovered from COVID-19 and had immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against the virus were reinfected over the next 6 months, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The prospective, longitudinal cohort study involved measuring levels of IgG antibodies against the coronavirus's spike protein and nucleocapsid in symptomatic and asymptomatic healthcare workers at Oxford University Hospitals undergoing COVID-19 testing. Testing began Mar 27, and follow-up ended on Nov 30.
28th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP
Variant virus gains bigger foothold in UK as cases surge
Developments with variant SARS-CoV-2 continued to dominate global COVID-19 news today, with the United Kingdom reporting more record-high case numbers and new reports revealing more about the prevalence and risk. Meanwhile, a new risk assessment from European health officials said the UK variant may have emerged in September and is expected to push hospitalizations and deaths higher, and more countries reported the detection of the South African variant virus.
28th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP
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Healthcare workers have 7 times the risk of severe COVID-19
A new study in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine examines the risks that “essential” and “nonessential” British workers will develop severe COVID-19. It suggests that healthcare workers are seven times more likely to develop severe cases of COVID-19 than people with “nonessential” roles.
28th Dec 2020 - Medical News Today
The breakthrough medicines that could change the course of Covid
It remains one of the most dramatically successful outcomes in the battle against Covid-19. A cheap treatment for inflammation was found to save lives of seriously ill patients while a trio of much-touted therapies were shown to have no effect. It is now estimated that the discovery of the effectiveness of the drug dexamethasone has saved around 650,000 lives across the world, according to Professor Martin Landray, a founder of the Recovery programme – the world’s largest randomised Covid-19 drugs trial – which revealed the medicine’s anti-Covid properties last summer
28th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
Global report: AstraZeneca chief believes Covid vaccine will work on variant strain
The head of the firm behind the Oxford Covid vaccine has said researchers believe the jab will be effective against the variant strain of the virus that was first found in the UK. AstraZeneca chief executive, Pascal Soriot, told the Sunday Times more tests were needed to be sure, but hailed the discovery of what he called a “winning formula” to improve the vaccine’s efficacy. As Spain, Sweden and Canada joined the growing list of countries to have reported cases of the more contagious variant, Soirot said: “So far, we think the vaccine should remain effective. But we can’t be sure, so we’re going to test that.”
27th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
Ten reasons we got Covid-19 vaccines so quickly without 'cutting corners'
Long before the Covid-19 crisis, there was an awareness that a pandemic of some sort was likely in the coming years and plans had already been made to tackle it. Governments, international agencies and foundations had been pooling resources. The international Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched in 2017, and when Covid-19 arrived they were ready. In addition, several companies and academic institutions, notably including BioNTech, Moderna and the University of Oxford, had also been working on new technologies capable of generating vaccines from the genetic codes of infectious pathogens and cancers, and testing them for several years
27th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
New drug could offer 'instant immunity' against Covid-19
A new drug which could offer instant immunity against Covid-19 is being trialled by British scientists, it has been reported. The antibody therapy has been developed by University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and AstraZeneca - the pharmaceutical company that has, along with Oxford University, created a vaccine that is expected to be approved for use next week. But unlike a vaccine, the new drug would be given to someone who has been exposed to the virus, preventing them from going on to develop it.
26th Dec 2020 - Kent Online
Oxford Covid vaccine may become the first to get Indian regulator's nod for emergency use
The process of granting emergency use approval for Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' may take time as its phase 3 trials are still underway, while Pfizer is yet to make a presentation, say official sources.
26th Dec 2020 - Mint
UK scientists trial drug to prevent infection that leads to Covid
British scientists are trialling a new drug that could prevent someone who has been exposed to coronavirus from going on to develop the disease Covid-19, which experts say could save many lives. The antibody therapy would confer instant immunity against the disease and could be given as an emergency treatment to hospital inpatients and care home residents to help contain outbreaks.
25th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
Brazil says Sinovac vaccine over 50% effective but delays full results
Brazilian researchers said on Wednesday the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech is more than 50% effective based on trial data, but again withheld full results at the company's request, raising questions about transparency. Brazil is the first country to complete a late-stage trial of the vaccine, called CoronaVac, but a release of the results, first set for early December, has now been delayed three times. The latest delay is a blow to Beijing, which has been racing to catch up with Western drugmakers, and will add to criticism that Chinese vaccine makers have lacked transparency.
24th Dec 2020 - Nikkei Asia
Coronavirus Variant Is Indeed More Transmissible, New Study Suggests
A team of British scientists released a worrying study on Wednesday of the new coronavirus variant sweeping the United Kingdom. They warned that the variant is so contagious that new control measures, including closing down schools and universities, might be necessary. Even that may not be enough, they noted, saying, “It may be necessary to greatly accelerate vaccine rollout.” Nicholas Davies, the lead author of the study, said that the model should also serve as a warning to other countries where the variant may have already spread.
23rd Dec 2020 - New York Times
Asthma-style inhaler filled with powerful LLAMA antibodies could be used to treat patients with severe COVID-19
Camelids including llamas, camels and alpacas create nanobodies
These are smaller and easier to engineer by experts than human antibodies
Researchers found an nanobody called NIH-CoVnb-112 which binds to viral spike
They write nanoodies 'have therapeutic, preventative, and diagnostic potential'
22nd Dec 2020 - Daily Mail
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EMA recommends conditional approval for Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine
The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended granting Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine a conditional marketing authorisation (CMA) in the EU. Earlier this month, the EMA announced that it had scheduled an ‘exceptional meeting’ of the CHMP on 21 December to review additional data for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Originally, a meeting had been planned for 29 December, but was brought forward as the vaccine gained emergency approvals in the US, UK and other countries.
21st Dec 2020 - PMLiVE
Regulator clears way for use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Europe
The European Union geared up to start mass vaccinations against COVID-19 just after Christmas after the shot developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech cleared regulatory hurdles on Monday. European Union countries including Germany, France, Austria and Italy have said they plan to start vaccinations from Dec. 27 as Europe tries to catch up with the United States and Britain, where inoculations began earlier this month. Having secured a green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Commission gave final approval on Monday evening to the EU’s first COVID-19 vaccine.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters
Inside J&J's Latam COVID vaccine trial, a rush to recruit is followed by disappointment
Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson abruptly called for an end to enrollment in its coronavirus vaccine trial and told scientists from six Latin American countries to wrap up their work within 48 hours, two researchers told Reuters. The halt was due to J&J’s decision, announced later on that same day on Dec. 9, to cap the number of participants at about 40,000 people globally, down from a previous plan for 60,000. The drugmaker said that a surge in coronavirus cases in the areas it was testing would give it enough data to vet the vaccine.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters
NIH to Study Allergic Reactions Linked to Covid-19 Shots
The National Institutes of Health plans to begin a clinical trial that aims to help doctors “predict and manage” allergic reactions related to Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine. Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said during a Monday news briefing that the aim of the trial, which will also study the Moderna Inc. shot just authorized for emergency use, will be to pinpoint why the incidents, known as anaphylaxis, are occurring. During the briefing, Slaoui also addressed a new variant of the virus seen in the U.K., saying it’s no more dangerous than other strains and that there is “no hard evidence” it is more transmissible. Getting the data to determine that, he said, will take weeks.
21st Dec 2020 - Bloomberg on MSN.com
Healthcare workers who breastfeed should be offered the covid-19 vaccine
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has advised that no breastfeeding woman should receive the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine. NHS Trusts have interpreted this as a blanket-ban. The decision disregards an individual’s particular level of exposure to the virus or her likelihood of developing a severe form of the disease. The MHRA’s stance, and associated restrictions around pregnancy, could undermine efforts to achieve high levels of vaccination, and worsen the UK’s already low breastfeeding rates. Breastfeeding women have been excluded from the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccine trials. To date, no plausible biological mechanism for how an inactivated, recombinant vaccine would cause harm to a breastfed baby has been proposed.  However, any data gap leaves open a possibility of risk. Yet men who are trying to conceive can be vaccinated, even though no data exists about the vaccine’s effect on spermatogenesis. Regarding lactation, theoretical risk must be weighed against the established benefits of acquiring immunity to covid-19 and of continued breastfeeding.
21st Dec 2020 - The BMJ
BioNTech confident COVID-19 vaccine effective against new UK mutation
BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said on Monday he was confident a COVID-19 vaccine co-developed by his company would be effective against a variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in Britain. He said on Bild TV that the German company would investigate the mutation in the coming days but that he viewed the matter with “with a degree of soberness”.
21st Dec 2020 - Reuters
What you need to know about the new variant of coronavirus in the UK
Many countries have closed their borders to people leaving the UK due to the rapid spread within the country of a new variant of the coronavirus that might be more transmissible. Meanwhile, South Africa is also reporting the spread of another new variant. Here’s what you need to know. What do we know about the new UK variant so far? B.1.1.7, as it’s known, has 17 mutations compared with the original SARS-CoV-2 virus first discovered in Wuhan, China, including eight that may change the shape of the outer spike protein. Many of these mutations have been found before, but to have so many in a single virus is unusual. It was first sequenced in the UK on 20 September, but only caught the attention of scientists on 8 December, when they were looking for reasons for the rapid growth of cases in southeast England. On 14 December, the UK’s health minister, Matt Hancock, told parliament that a new variant that seems to spread faster had been identified.
21st Dec 2020 - New Scientist
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Mutant coronavirus in the United Kingdom sets off alarms but its importance remains unclear
Scientists have never seen the virus acquire more than a dozen mutations seemingly at once. They think it happened during a long infection of a single patient that allowed SARS-CoV-2 to go through an extended period of fast evolution, with multiple variants competing for advantage. One reason to be concerned, Rambaut says, is that among the 17 are eight mutations in the gene that encodes the spike protein on the viral surface, two of which are particularly worrisome. One, called N501Y, has previously been shown to increase how tightly the protein binds to the ACE2 receptor, its entry point into human cells. The other, named 69-70del, leads to the loss of two amino acids in the spike protein and has been found in viruses that eluded the immune response in some immunocompromised patients.
20th Dec 2020 - Science Magazine
New 'more traditional' coronavirus vaccine by Valneva to be trialled
Bristol is among a select few locations to launch clinical trials for a new coronavirus vaccine candidate. Biotech company Valneva has developed the "more traditional" vaccine in West Lothian, Scotland, and is rolling out a UK trial at four testing sites.
The vaccine will initially be tested on 150 participants across Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle and Southampton, with University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust hosting in Bristol. It is said to be the only vaccine candidate so far to use an inactive version of the virus, and if this early phase of testing is successful, it will progress to a much larger trial involving 4,000 people from April 2021. Bristol vaccine expert Adam Finn is chief investigator for the study, and said the first vaccinations will start on Monday (December 21).
18th Dec 2020 - Bristol Live
Antibody cocktail treatments show some benefit in 2 COVID studies
Two studies published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine discuss outcomes in COVID-19 patients given monoclonal antibody treatments, one showing that tocilizumab lowered the odds of needing mechanical ventilation and death but did not improve survival, and the other finding that REGN-COV2 lowered viral load—particularly in patients whose immune response hadn't yet been triggered or had a high viral load at baseline. Most benefit in moderate
18th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP
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Early data show two doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine provoked good immune response
Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate has a better immune response when a two full-dose regime is used rather than a full-dose followed by a half-dose booster, the university said on Thursday, citing data from early trials. The developers of the vaccine candidate, which has been licensed to pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca, have already published later stage trial results showing higher efficacy when a half dose is followed by a full dose, compared to a two full-dose regime. However, more work needs to be done to affirm that result. The latest details from the Phase I and 2 clinical trials released on Thursday made no reference to the half-dose/full-dose regime, which Oxford has said had been “unplanned” but approved by regulators.
17th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK
Oxford Covid-19 vaccine stimulates broad antibody and T cell functions – study
The University of Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine stimulates broad antibody and T cell responses, published trial results show. Researchers published further data from phase one/two clinical trials of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Covid-19 vaccine, showing the evidence for the decision to move to a two-dose regimen in ongoing phase three trials. The data also shows how the vaccine, developed with AstraZeneca, induces broad antibody and T cell functions. Previous studies have shown that in order to develop any vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, two key elements of the immune system need to be activated. These are neutralising antibodies against the coronavirus spike protein which is likely to be critically important in protecting against the disease, as well as robust T cell responses.
17th Dec 2020 - The Irish News
NICE: Not enough evidence to recommend vitamin D solely to prevent Covid-19
There is not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to treat or prevent Covid-19, a rapid review of clinical evidence has concluded. The review, carried out by NICE, Public Health England and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, was ordered by health secretary Matt Hancock following reports of links between vitamin D deficiency and severe Covid-19. Anticipating the results, Mr Hancock already announced that millions of vulnerable people in England would receive free supplies of Vitamin D for the winter. But the guidance, published today, advises healthcare professionals ‘not to offer vitamin D supplements to people solely to [prevent or treat] Covid-19, except as part of a clinical trial’.
17th Dec 2020 - Pulse
Devices Used In COVID-19 Treatment Can Give Errors For Patients With Dark Skin
The common fingertip devices that measures oxygen in the blood can sometimes give misleading readings in people with dark skin, according to a report Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. These devices, called pulse oximeters, are increasingly finding their way into people's homes, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, this is not just a concern for medical personnel using professional-grade devices. Dr. Michael Sjoding and colleagues at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor came across this issue this year when they received an influx of COVID-19 patients from Detroit's overflowing hospitals. Many of these patients are Black. Sjoding noticed something odd about results from the fingertip device used throughout hospitals.
17th Dec 2020 - NPR
More than HALF of schools in England had coronavirus cases in November, report finds
Infection rates were highest among secondary school pupils, the survey found
They were lowest in primary school staff, with primary pupils also lower
Teenagers have high rates of coronavirus but officials refuse to close schools
ONS survey is the first of its kind to look at asymptomatic cases in education
17th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail
COVID 5 times deadlier than flu for hospital patients, study finds
Compared with patients with seasonal flu, hospitalized COVID-19 patients face an increased need for ventilation and intensive care, longer hospital stays, more complications, and nearly five times the risk of death, according to a US study published yesterday in BMJ. The study, led by researchers from the VA Saint Louis Health Care System, mined the US Department of Veterans Affairs medical records database to compare the outcomes of 3,641 COVID-19 patients hospitalized from Feb 1 to Jun 17 with those of 12,676 hospitalized with the flu from 2017 to 2019.
16th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP
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FDA experts back safety and efficacy of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine
A briefing document published by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed the safety and efficacy of Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for a potential approval soon. The document, published ahead of tomorrow's FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting, confirmed that the vaccine has a 94.1% efficacy rate, supporting Moderna’s own findings. The FDA analysis found that although the mRNA-1273 vaccine caused some common adverse reactions, including injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle/joint pain and chills, serious adverse reactions occurred in 0.2% to 9.7% of participants.
16th Dec 2020 - PMLiVE
EU fast-tracks review of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has scheduled an ‘exceptional meeting’ of its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) on 21 December to review additional data for Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. The move to bring the review forward comes after the vaccine, BNT162b2, gained approval in the US last week and earlier this month in the UK. The meeting was originally scheduled for 29 December, and the EMA added that this meeting will still take place if needed, but that the CHMP is hoping to conclude the review on 21 December, if possible.
16th Dec 2020 - PMLiVE
COVID-19: Valneva begins clinical trials for new coronavirus vaccine in UK
Clinical trials have begun in the UK for a new COVID-19 vaccine being developed in Scotland. The UK government has pre-ordered 60 million doses of the Valneva candidate, which is being developed at the French biotech company's facility in Livingston, West Lothian. It is being tested on 150 volunteers at four National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) testing sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton.
16th Dec 2020 - Sky News
Rapid Covid-19 home test developed in Australia approved for emergency use in US
A rapid, over-the-counter Covid-19 test developed by Australian firm Ellume has been given emergency approval in the United States. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Brisbane-based company’s 20-minute Covid-19 Home Test on Tuesday as the US battles the virus that has infected 16.5 million people and killed more than 300,000 people in the country. The agency approved a prescription coronavirus test last month, but an over-the-counter product will make it easier to ramp up testing.
16th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
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Valneva to start clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine candidate in UK
French pharmaceutical firm Valneva will start the first clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate at four sites in England, Britain’s business ministry said on Wednesday. The Phase I and Phase II trials involve 150 volunteers in Bristol, Birmingham, Southampton and Newcastle, and will be designed to show whether the vaccine is safe and produces an immune response. If these are successful, larger trials are planned for April 2021 to determine efficacy. There are four other vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials in the United Kingdom.
16th Dec 2020 - Reuters
FDA Clears First At-Home, Over-the-Counter Covid-19 Test
The first Covid-19 test that can be performed entirely at home was cleared by U.S. regulators on Tuesday, and it can be acquired without a prescription. While availability will be limited initially, the new test and others in development could make virus screenings as accessible as over-the-counter pregnancy tests in the U.S. for the first time. The advance follows months of criticism that the Food and Drug Administration has been too slow to approve rapid home tests for the virus.
Manufactured by East Brisbane, Australia-based Ellume, the self-administered, single-use nasal swab test is small enough to fit in the palm of a person’s hand. It detects proteins on the virus’s surface in 15 minutes and delivers results to an app.
15th Dec 2020 - Bloomberg
US regulator deems Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine ‘highly effective’
The US regulator has found Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to be safe and “highly effective”, clearing the way for a second jab to receive emergency use authorisation later this week. The US Food and Drug Administration report on Moderna’s vaccine trials on Tuesday suggested that immunity starts about 10 days after the first of two injections, much like the one made by Pfizer and BioNTech, which received emergency use authorisation last week. A second approval could significantly expand access to Covid-19 vaccines in the US, where the pandemic has now killed more than 300,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University data. While the US government has been offering to help Pfizer expand manufacturing capacity, it secured another pre-order for 100m Moderna vaccines last week, bringing its total to 200m.
15th Dec 2020 - The Financial Times
EU regulator brings forward Covid vaccine ruling after German pressure
The EU drug regulator has brought forward its ruling on the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine after Germany made it clear it wanted approval before Christmas. The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency’s announcement that it will meet on 21 December instead of 29 December to decide whether to authorise the shot followed a growing backlash from desperate EU countries, with the German health minister, Jens Spahn, saying that the agency risked losing the trust of EU citizens if it did not act fast. “The goal is to get approval before Christmas,” he told a press conference in Berlin. “We want to start vaccinating in Germany before the end of the year.” Italy’s health minister, Roberto Speranza, said he hoped the EMA “will be able to approve the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine ahead of schedule”.
15th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
New coronavirus strain spreading in UK has key mutations, scientists say
British scientists are trying to establish whether the rapid spread in southern England of a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is linked to key mutations they have detected in the strain, they said on Tuesday. The mutations include changes to the important “spike” protein that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus uses to infect human cells, a group of scientists tracking the genetics of the virus said, but it is not yet clear whether these are making it more infectious. "Efforts are under way to confirm whether or not any of these mutations are contributing to increased transmission," the scientists, from the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, said in a statement
15th Dec 2020 - Reuters UK
FDA scientists endorse Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, as documents provide new hints on efficacy
Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration endorsed the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna as safe and efficacious on Tuesday, one day after the first doses of a competing vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech were delivered across the United States. The FDA reviewers said that the two-dose vaccine “was highly effective” in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 from occurring “at least 14 days after the receipt of the second dose.” Vaccine-related side effects, such as aches and pains, appeared more severe than with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, though such comparisons should be made with caution and are in no way expected to slow the clearance of the vaccine or present major concerns. There was also preliminary evidence that the vaccine has some efficacy after one dose, and that it prevents asymptomatic Covid-19 cases — those that occur without a person ever feeling ill
15th Dec 2020 - Stat News
Australia's initial vaccine rollout unlikely to stop Covid transmission, study finds
It is unlikely that the first generation of Covid-19 vaccines rolled out in Australia in 2021 will prevent virus transmission, making ongoing high levels of testing, strong contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine crucial, a review commissioned by the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences has found. The academy comprises more than 400 senior researchers, and the review outlines steps for Australia’s pandemic response into the new year. It was authored by the director of the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases Prof Tania Sorrell and University of Queensland immunologist Prof Ian Frazer.
14th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
Study finds no link between COVID-19, Guillain-Barré syndrome
A large epidemiologic study in the United Kingdom today finds no association between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune condition linked to other bacterial and viral infections. GBS is a rare neurologic disease that attacks the peripheral nervous system—typically the feet, hands, and limbs—causing numbness, weakness, pain, and occasionally, fatal paralysis or permanent neurological effects. The most common trigger for GBS is infection with Campylobacter jejuni, a bacterial strain that causes gastroenteritis, or infection of the digestive tract.
14th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP
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CureVac starts late-phase clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine
CureVac has begun a phase 2b/3 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate CVnCoV. The study will enroll 36,500 participants in Europe and Latin America with a view to generating data to support approval of the mRNA vaccine next year. BioNTech, working with Pfizer, and Moderna have validated the concept of using mRNA to provide protection against SARS-CoV-2, rapidly delivering stellar efficacy results that set a high bar for the rest of the field. CureVac has taken a slightly different approach to mRNA vaccines, choosing to use the potency of untranslated regions to optimize the RNA rather than make chemical modifications. The approach has created a candidate that triggers immune responses at a 12-µg dose, compared to the 100 µg used by Moderna. That will enable CureVac to make more doses of the vaccine. CureVac is also aiming to trigger balanced immune responses.
14th Dec 2020 - FierceBiotech
Scientists pinpoint genes common among people with severe coronavirus infections
Certain gene variants are linked to severe coronavirus infections, according to a team of scientists in Europe who studied the genomes of 2,200 critically ill covid-19 patients. Their results provide robust support that genetic makeup plays a role in the potentially fatal illness experienced by some people infected by the coronavirus. Diving into people’s DNA is an approach that could help answer one of the pandemic’s biggest mysteries: Why do some people have mild coronavirus cases, or no symptoms at all, while others rapidly fall ill and die? Evidence is clear that older age and underlying conditions are risk factors for increased covid-19 severity. But genetic predispositions to runaway inflammation or other harmful immune responses could also contribute to worse disease.
14th Dec 2020 - The Washington Post
New strain of Covid-19 may be cause of rise in cases, Hancock tells MPs
A new Covid-19 variant has been identified in the UK, the health secretary has revealed, suggesting it could be linked to the rapid spread of the virus in south-east England as millions more people in London are being moved into the toughest restrictions. Cases of the strain have been found in almost 60 areas, Matt Hancock disclosed, although he stressed that clinical advice suggested it was “highly unlikely” the mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine. It came as he confirmed that the capital, as well as the majority of Essex and parts of Hertfordshire, would be placed into tier 3 from Wednesday after an “exponential” rise in cases.
14th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
CSL 'optimistic' on vaccine delivery as AstraZeneca provides data to regulators
CSL's chief scientific officer Andrew Nash says Australia has a range of options in place when it comes to COVID vaccines even if the Oxford/AstraZeneca project were to hit regulatory hurdles. The axing of the local University of Queensland vaccine candidate last Friday puts the ASX-listed biotech's focus squarely on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, for which it has committed to make 50 million doses. While CSL has started the production process it must wait for AstraZeneca to secure regulatory approval of the product before it can be deployed.
14th Dec 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald
Almost 50 Brits to be given experimental nasal spray Covid-19 vaccine next month
New York company Codagenix said human studies to begin first week of January
Codagenix says its computer-edited virus is 1,000 times slower than real thing
Given via a nasal spray, in the same way the influenza jab is given to children
14th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail
Moderna will ship nearly 6 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine as soon as it gets FDA approval
Moderna Inc's first shipment of its coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. will include nearly six million doses. The jabs will be sent to 3,285 locations across the country via FedEx and UPS. In a briefing on Monday, Gen Gustave Perna said a reserve has been set aside, but he didn't disclose the exact amount, The FDA's advisory committee will meet on Thursday to discuss whether or not recommend approving Moderna's vaccine. If approved this week, the first Americans will likely not get immunized before December 21
14th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail
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U.S. FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it authorized the use of Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, with the first inoculations expected within days, marking a turning point in the United States where the pandemic has killed more than 292,
12th Dec 2020 - Reuters
GSK/Sanofi Covid vaccine delayed until end of next year
A coronavirus vaccine being developed by GlaxoSmithKline and its French partner, Sanofi, will be delayed until the end of next year after trials revealed it failed to produce a strong immune response in older people. The drug companies hoped to have regulatory approval for the candidate vaccine in the first half of 2021, but interim results from a phase 1/2 trial showed an “insufficient” response in the over-50s, the age group most vulnerable to severe Covid-19. The results released on Friday are a stark reminder that despite a flurry of positive results from vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, NIH/Moderna and Oxford University/AstraZeneca, developing effective vaccines at speed is no simple task.
12th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
J&J cuts size of Covid-19 vaccine study due to prevalence of disease
Johnson & Johnson is cutting the size of its pivotal U.S. Covid-19 vaccine trial — the only major study testing a single dose of a Covid vaccine — from 60,000 volunteers to 40,000 volunteers. The change is being made possible by the fact that Covid-19 is so pervasive across the country, according to a person familiar with the matter. The more virus there is in the U.S., the more likely it is that participants will be exposed to it, meaning researchers will be able to reach conclusions based on a smaller trial. Changing the size of the study does not indicate that results will come on a different timetable, or anything about whether they will be positive or negative
12th Dec 2020 - STAT
Boston Biogen conference of 175 people led to 300,000 infections across the world
A strategy meeting of 175 senior managers at Biogen Inc was held at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel in late February. In a recent study of 772 patients, researchers found one distinct strain in more than one-third of patients linked back to the conference. The strain was found in at least 29 states, including Florida, North Carolina and Indiana, and countries such as Australia, Slovakia, Sweden
At least 99 people at the meeting tested positive for COVID-19 and researchers now believe the conference is responsible for up to 330,000 global infections
11th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail
Five key genes linked to severe COVID-19 found, suggesting drug targets
Five key genes are linked with the most severe form of COVID-19, scientists said on Friday, in research that also pointed to several existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat people who risk getting critically ill with the pandemic disease. Researchers who studied the DNA of 2,700 COVID-19 patients in 208 intensive care units across Britain found that five genes involving in two molecular processes - antiviral immunity and lung inflammation - were central to many severe cases. “Our results immediately highlight which drugs should be at the top of the list for clinical testing,” said Kenneth Baillie, an academic consultant in critical care medicine at Edinburgh University who co-led the research.
11th Dec 2020 - Reuters
Covid: Trials to test combination of Oxford and Sputnik vaccines
UK and Russian scientists are teaming up to trial a combination of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines to see if protection against Covid-19 can be improved. Mixing two similar vaccines could lead to a better immune response in people. The trials, to be held in Russia, will involve over-18s, although it's not clear how many people will be involved. Oxford recently published results showing their jab was safe and effective in trials on people. The researchers are still collecting data on the effectiveness of the vaccine in older age groups while waiting for approval from the UK regulator, the MHRA. AstraZeneca said it was exploring combinations of different adenovirus vaccines to find out whether mixing them leads to a better immune response and, therefore, greater protection.
11th Dec 2020 - BBC News
Sanofi suffers major setback in development of a Covid-19 vaccine
One of the world’s leading vaccine manufacturers has suffered a major setback in its work to produce a Covid-19 vaccine. The problem will push the timeline for deployment of Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine — if it is approved — from the first half of 2021 into the second half of the year, the company said Friday. The news is not just disappointing for Sanofi and its development partner, GlaxoSmithKline, which is providing an adjuvant used in the vaccine. The companies have contracts with multiple countries, including the United States and Britain, as well as the European Union. Sanofi had hoped to start a Phase 3 trial of the vaccine this month and had projected it could produce 100 million doses of vaccine in 2020, and 1 billion doses in 2021.
11th Dec 2020 - STAT
Australia Scraps Covid-19 Vaccine That Produced H.I.V. False Positives
Australia on Friday canceled a roughly $750 million plan for a large order of a locally developed coronavirus vaccine after the inoculation produced false positive test results for H.I.V. in some volunteers participating in a trial study. Of the dozens of coronavirus vaccines being tested worldwide, the Australian one was the first to be abandoned. While its developers said the experimental vaccine had appeared to be safe and effective, the false positives risked undermining trust in the effort to vaccinate the public. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said that his government would compensate for the loss of 51 million doses it had planned to buy from the Australian consortium in part by increasing orders of vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Novavax. The government has said it plans to begin inoculating citizens by March
11th Dec 2020 - The New York Times
Peru suspends Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine trial after 'adverse event'
Peru suspended trials for China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine due to a “serious adverse event” that occurred with one of the volunteers for the study, the Peruvian government said in a statement on Saturday. The health ministry said the event is “under investigation to determine if it is related to the vaccine or if there is another explanation.”
11th Dec 2020 - Canoe.com
Covid vaccine: Four Pfizer trial participants developed facial paralysis, FDA says
New documents have revealed that four participants in the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine trial developed Bell's palsy - a condition that causes a temporary weakness or paralysis of the muscles in the face. The patients were taking part in the US vaccine trial, which included 38,000 participants. The Bell’s palsy is believed to be unrelated to the vaccine, with cases in the trial occurring at the same rate as in the general population. A document by the FDA said: “Among non-serious unsolicited adverse events, there was a numerical imbalance of four cases of Bell’s palsy in the vaccine group compared with no cases in the placebo group, though the four cases in the vaccine group do not represent a frequency above that expected in the general population.”
11th Dec 2020 - Mirror Online
Oxford COVID-vaccine paper highlights lingering unknowns about results
The first formally published results from a large clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine — which scientists hope could be among the cheapest and easiest to distribute around the world — suggest that the vaccine is safe and effective. But the data also highlight a number of lingering unknowns, including questions about the most effective dosing regimen and how well it works in older adults.
The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, UK, and the pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca in Cambridge, UK, has been closely watched, in part because it is likely to be simpler to distribute than the two RNA-based vaccines from companies Pfizer and Moderna, which need to be stored at low temperatures. The Oxford team is also now the first of these three leading COVID-vaccine developers to publish results from its phase III trials in a peer-reviewed journal — so far, the findings have been disseminated only through press releases.
8th Dec 2020 - Nature.com
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Biogen conference in Boston likely linked to 330,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, researchers say
It likely took just one of the 175 people gathered in February at a Biogen conference at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf hotel to ignite a COVID-19 wildfire. Within a week, attendees began falling ill. More than 99 would ultimately test positive. By then, many of them had hopped aboard planes to head home or even attend other conferences. And the spread only exploded from there. Researchers now believe roughly 330,000 COVID-19 cases across the nation and around the world can be traced back to the two-day Boston conference, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science. The study estimates some 96,360 of the cases with a genetic link to the Biogen conference were discovered in Florida, several hundred miles from the waterfront lobby and banquet rooms in Boston that served as the perfect incubator for an eager virus to multiply.
11th Dec 2020 - The Boston Globe on MSN.com
How does Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine work and how is it different to Pfizer and Moderna’s?
Results showing the effectiveness of the University of Oxford's coronavirus vaccine are expected to be released in the coming weeks. In the meantime, phase two trial data released on Thursday suggested the jab produces a strong immune response in older adults. And according to the researchers, volunteers in the trial demonstrated similar immune responses across all three age groups (18-55, 56-69, and 70 and over).
10th Dec 2020 - Evening Standard
Moderna begins study of COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents
Moderna Inc said on Thursday it had dosed the first participants in a mid-to-late stage study testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in adolescents aged 12 to less than 18, and aims for data ahead of the 2021 school year. The trial will enroll 3,000 healthy participants in the United States and will assess the safety and effectiveness of two doses of the company’s vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, given 28 days apart. Moderna has submitted applications seeking emergency use authorization (EUA) in the United States and EU after full results from a late-stage study showed the vaccine was 94.1% effective in adults with no serious safety concerns. Rival Pfizer/BioNTech have also sought EUA after their coronavirus vaccine’s two-dose regimen proved 95% effective against COVID-19 and had no major safety issues.
10th Dec 2020 - PharmaLive
COVID-19 vaccine not advised for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
The new Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has “not yet been assessed in pregnancy”, according to Public Health England.
10th Dec 2020 - The News Letter
Coronavirus vaccine: Expert addresses Warfarin concerns
Patients who take blood thinning drugs for heart problems have been reassured that the Covid-19 vaccine should not cause adverse effects if their condition is stable. Anti-coagulant treatments including Warfarin are prescribed to patients at increased risk of strokes or those who have a metal heart valve or those with conditions including Atrial Fibrillation. Like most vaccines, the coronavirus vaccine is injected into the muscle of the upper arm and may bleedmore than injections that are given under the skin but less than those that are administered into a vein.
10th Dec 2020 - heraldscotland.com
Covid vaccine from China's Sinopharm is 86% effective, says UAE
The United Arab Emirates, the first foreign country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm, said it had 86 per cent efficacy, according to interim results of a phase 3 trial. The announcement is a boost for Beijing’s ambitions to establish its pharmaceutical companies as global leaders in developing and distributing vaccines and comes after the release of final stage results from western frontrunners Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford. Chinese developers were forced to carry out phase 3 trials overseas because the virus is now almost fully under control in China.
10th Dec 2020 - Financial Times
Novavax Covid vaccine trial recruits in Oxfordshire
People in Oxfordshire are among volunteers recruited for another promising Covid vaccine. US biotech company Novavax is running trials in Oxford as part of more than 15,203 participants recruited across the UK. It is the largest double blind, placebo-controlled Covid-19 vaccine trial to be undertaken in the country so far.
It comes as the first Pfizer vaccinations against coronavirus were carried out in the city this week and new analysis of the Oxford University candidate showed it was 'safe and effective'.
10th Dec 2020 - Oxford Mail
Three groups of people urged to avoid the coronavirus vaccine
Three types of people who have been urged not to have the coronavirus vaccine have been revealed as hospital innoculations continue. The news of three groups unable to be vaccinated come as England's Chief Medical Officer attempts to dispel anti-vax myths. Professor Chris Whitty has said he will take any Covid-19 vaccine offered to him, adding it is a "society" and "political" decision as to when restrictions are lifted. England's chief medical officer told MPs he would be keen to have a jab to protect himself, as the NHS vaccination programme continues across the UK.
10th Dec 2020 - Birmingham Post
Even people with moderate cases of Covid-19 can suffer STROKES and seizures, study suggests
Moderate cases of Covid-19 which do not require treatment in intensive care can still lead to strokes and seizures, according to a new study. Researchers looked at the cases of 921 people who were admitted to a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, between April and July. Seventy-four had both Covid-19 and also underwent a neurologic examination. The study reveals symptoms such as stroke and seizures as well as inflammation may be more common than previously believed, irrespective of Covid-19 severity.
10th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com
New study shows boy, 4, had Covid in Italy in November 2019
Researchers say an Italian boy tested positive for coronavirus in November 2019 – a revelation which has dramatic implications for the timeline of when the virus was spreading. The Covid-19 outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December last year – although Chinese authorities now admit there were cases dating back to November, amid global scepticism about whether the country has been open about what it knew and when. The study in Italy adds to evidence that the virus may have been spreading far earlier than initially thought and even around Europe in autumn 2019 – months before the first official Italian case in February 2020.
10th Dec 2020 - Metro.co.uk
How kids’ immune systems can evade COVID
Young children account for only a small percentage of COVID-19 infections1 — a trend that has puzzled scientists. Now, a growing body of evidence suggests why: kids’ immune systems seem better equipped to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 than are adults’. “Children are very much adapted to respond — and very well equipped to respond — to new viruses,” says Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University in New York City. Even when they are infected with SARS-CoV-2, children are most likely to experience mild or asymptomatic illness2.
10th Dec 2020 - Nature
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India says it may approve vaccine in weeks, outlines plan
India’s Health Ministry has announced that some COVID-19 vaccines are likely to receive licenses in the next few weeks and outlined an initial plan to immunize 300 million people. Health officials said Tuesday that three vaccine companies have applied for early approval for emergency use in India: Serum Institute of India, which has been licensed to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine, Pfizer Inc., and Indian manufacturer Bharat Biotech. “Some of them may get licensed in the next few weeks,” federal Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.
10th Dec 2020 - Washington Post
Chinese Covid-19 vaccine has 86% efficacy, UAE says
The United Arab Emirates said a Chinese coronavirus vaccine tested in the federation of sheikhdoms has 86% efficacy, in a statement that provided few details but marked the first public release of information on the performance of the shot.
The announcement brought yet another contender into the worldwide race for a vaccine to end the pandemic, a scientific effort in which China and Russia are competing with western firms to develop an effective inoculation.
9th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
UK healthcare workers seven times more likely to develop severe coronavirus during first lockdown, study finds
Those working on the front lines against coronavirus during the UK’s first lockdown were up to seven times more likely to become severely infected, new research suggests. A University of Glasgow-led study of more than 120,000 employees aged 49 to 64 indicated that those in healthcare roles were seven times more likely to be hospitalised or killed with the virus. And those with jobs in the social care and transport sectors were found to be twice as likely to suffer such outcomes, which the researchers said emphasises the need to ensure that key workers are adequately protected against infection.
9th Dec 2020 - The Independent
Pharma Pfizer’s COVID vaccine data raise some flags, analysts say, but not enough to scuttle an FDA nod
When the FDA released a 53-page briefing document on Pfizer’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidate yesterday, most readers zeroed in on the shot’s high efficacy in a wide range of demographic groups. Wall Street analysts dug a bit deeper. Their conclusion? A few red flags in the FDA documents will likely generate some discussion at Thursday's advisory panel meeting, but not enough alarm to scuttle an emergency authorization.
9th Dec 2020 - FiercePharma
Johnson & Johnson to cut size of US vaccine trial
Johnson & Johnson is to reduce the size of its US vaccine trial to 40,000 participants because of the prevalence of coronavirus among the general population. “Given the high incidence of Covid-19 among the general population, we expect that approximately 40,000 participants will generate the data needed to determine the safety and efficacy of our investigational Covid-19 vaccine candidate,” J&J said in an emailed statement to the Financial Times on Wednesday.
9th Dec 2020 - Financial Times
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AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Data Underscore Safety, Range of Efficacy
Peer-reviewed data from late-stage human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC reaffirmed the shot’s strong safety results and provided some additional evidence that halving the first of two doses of the shot boosts its effectiveness. AstraZeneca and Oxford said the data gave them confidence to ask the U.K. and other countries for emergency-use authorization of the vaccine, but said regulators will have to decide which dosing regimen to approve. Last month, AstraZeneca and Oxford said trial data showed the vaccine was between 62% and 90% effective, but that the higher results were observed in a small subset of the wider trial.
8th Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal
Studies suggest AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safe, effective
New results on a possible COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca suggest it is safe and about 70% effective, but questions remain about how well it may help protect those over 55 — a key concern for a vaccine that health officials hope to rely on around the world because of its low cost, availability and ease of use. Still, experts say the vaccine seems likely to be approved, despite some confusion in the results and lower levels of protection than what some other vaccine candidates have shown.
8th Dec 2020 - ABC News
Oxford-Astra COVID-19 vaccine shows average 70.4% efficacy in pooled study
AstraZeneca and Oxford University have more work to do to confirm whether their COVID-19 vaccine can be 90% effective, peer-reviewed data published in The Lancet showed on Tuesday, potentially slowing its eventual rollout in the fight against the pandemic. Once seen as the frontrunner in the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus crisis, the British team was overtaken by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, whose shots - with a success rate of around 95% - were administered to UK pensioners on Tuesday in a world-first hailed as V-Day. Detailed results from the AstraZeneca/Oxford trials have been eagerly awaited after some scientists criticised a lack of information in their initial announcement last month.
8th Dec 2020 - Reuters
Phase 3 trials show AstraZeneca COVID vaccine has up to 90% efficacy
The first full peer-reviewed results of phase 3 trials of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University show that it is safe and up to 90% effective in preventing infection, supporting regulatory submissions for emergency use. The interim analysis, published today in The Lancet, identified no severe coronavirus disease or hospitalizations in pooled results from the 11,636 adults vaccinated in the United Kingdom and Brazil. Of the 11,636 adults, 131 (1.1%) had symptomatic COVID-19 more than 14 days after the second vaccine dose, including 30 of 5,807 (0.5%) in the COVID-19 vaccine group and 101 of 5,829 (1.7%) in the control group, indicating a vaccine efficacy of 70%
8th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP
FDA documents show Pfizer COVID vaccine protects after 1 dose
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documents posted in advance of advisory group consideration of emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine revealed promising new findings, including strong protection after the first dose and protection in groups at risk for disease complications.
The good news comes on the same day immunization with the vaccine began with much fanfare in the United Kingdom, where a 90-year-old woman who lives in Coventry was the first to receive it outside of a vaccine trial.
8th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP
Inovio sets new timeline for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine
Plymouth Meeting's Inovio Pharmaceuticals provides an updated timeline for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine and says it expects to play an important role in the battle against the coronavirus. On Monday, Inovio began phase-II testing of its DNA-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800.
8th Dec 2020 - The Business Journals
Sinovac vaccine shows up to 97 per cent efficacy in early trials, Bio Farma says
Indonesia's state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma said on Tuesday that interim data on trials it was conducting on vaccines produced by the Chinese company Sinovac showed up to 97 per cent efficacy. "Our clinical trial team found, within one month, that the interim data shows up to 97 per cent for its efficacy," said Iwan Setiawan, a spokesman for Bio Farma, at a news conference.
8th Dec 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald
Sinovac snags $515M investment to double COVID-19 vaccine capacity as phase 3 readout nears
As the various COVID-19 vaccines move closer to the finish line, their developers have been raising money from investors or through advance government purchases to ramp up manufacturing. Now, a Chinese company has done the same for its candidate. Sinovac Biotech netted $515 million in investment from local firm Sino Biopharmaceutical, which in exchange gets a 15.03% stake in Sinovac Life Sciences, a subsidiary of the Nasdaq-listed vaccine specialist. The money will help fund development, manufacturing and new production capacity for Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CoronaVac, as well as other activities, Sinovac said Monday. Currently, Sinovac can make 300 million doses of CoronaVac a year. But the company hopes to finish building another production facility by the end of 2020 to boost annual capacity to 600 million doses, with the potential to expand output even further in the future. CoronaVac, an inactivated shot, is one of the front-running COVID-19 vaccines. It's actually been used in China in a secretive emergency use program. Meanwhile, it's undergoing phase 3 trials in Brazil, Chile, Turkey and Indonesia, with supply deals in place with these countries.
8th Dec 2020 - Fierce Pharma
Turkey’s domestic COVID-19 vaccine set for next stage of human trials
Officials say the Phase 1 human trials of ERUCOV-VAC developed at Erciyes University in central Turkey will conclude on Dec. 14. and that Phase 2 may begin two days later. If the vaccine is proven to be effective, it will be added to Turkey's growing arsenal of vaccines to put an end to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Turkey announced it had received a shipment of the Chinese vaccine earlier. Ahmet Inal, deputy director of the university's research center where trials are being conducted, says they had 44 volunteers for the first phase, and they were planning to inoculate some 200 volunteers in the second phase. He noted that they have already received more than 100 volunteer applications.
6th Dec 2020 - Daily Sabah
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COVID-19: Scientific breakthrough in monitoring infections through wastewater
Scientists have achieved a breakthrough in sampling wastewater to detect changes in COVID-19 infections within large communities. The new method is capable of identifying the coronavirus within wastewater samples and tracking whether infection rates are growing or shrinking. Wastewater is a "robust source" of COVID-19, according to researchers, because infected people shed the virus in their stool, meaning large amounts of virus particles are flushed down the toilet.
8th Dec 2020 - Sky News
Years of research laid groundwork for speedy COVID-19 shots
How could scientists race out COVID-19 vaccines so fast without cutting corners? A head start helped -- over a decade of behind-the-scenes research that had new vaccine technology poised for a challenge just as the coronavirus erupted. “The speed is a reflection of years of work that went before,” Dr. Anthony Fauci the top U.S. infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press. “That’s what the public has to understand.” Creating vaccines and having results from rigorous studies less than a year after the world discovered a never-before-seen disease is incredible, cutting years off normal development. But the two U.S. frontrunners are made in a way that promises speedier development may become the norm -- especially if they prove to work long-term as well as early testing suggests.
7th Dec 2020 - The Independent
Prototype blood test detects people who will develop severe Covid-19
Test detects whether our immune systems are gearing up to fight SARS-CoV-2
It assesses levels of two molecules in the blood linked with our immune response
People with low levels of these molecules could be at risk of more severe Covid
Scientists say the test could be important during the wait for vaccines to roll out
7th Dec 2020 - Daily Mail
We still need Covid-19 treatments as well as vaccines
It’s a Friday morning in October and Charlotte Summers has been up since the crack of dawn. As a leading expert in respiratory and intensive care medicines, she is one of the clinical researchers responsible for advising on the UK’s national treatment guidelines for Covid-19. But overnight, results of a trial by the World Health Organisation have been published concluding that remdesivir – an antiviral drug global leaders once pinned high hopes on – has “little or no effect” on patient survival.
7th Dec 2020 - Wired.co.uk
WHO looks at giving Covid-19 to healthy people to speed up vaccine trials
The World Health Organization is holding discussions on Monday about the feasibility of trials in which healthy young volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to hasten vaccine development – amid questions over whether they should go ahead given the promising data from the frontrunner vaccine candidates.
Some scientists have reservations about exposing volunteers to a virus for which there is no cure, although there are treatments that can help patients. However, proponents argue that the risks of Covid-19 to the young and healthy are minimal, and the benefits to society are high.
7th Dec 2020 - The Guardian
1.2M doses of China-made COVID vaccine arrive in Indonesia
Indonesia’s government said 1.2 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech arrived in the country late Sunday. President Joko Widodo said in a televised address that another 1.8 million doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in early January. “We are very grateful, thank God, the vaccine is now available so that we can immediately curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease,” Widodo said. The government is still waiting for millions of other doses of the Sinovac vaccine to arrive in the form of raw materials that will be further processed by state-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma.
7th Dec 2020 - Associated Press
Diabetes drug linked to lower COVID-19 death rate in women
A Lancet Healthy Longevity study yesterday found that metformin—a common, generic type 2 diabetes medication used to manage blood sugar levels—is associated with significantly lower COVID-19 death risk in women, but not in men. Severe COVID-19 outcomes for people with diabetes have been widely observed, including greater risk of intensive care unit admission, intubation for mechanical ventilation, and death, possibly related to less effective glycemic, or blood sugar, control in these patients. This retrospective cohort study of 6,256 people with type 2 diabetes or obesity hospitalized for COVID-19 from Jan 1 to Jun 7 was a collaboration between the University of Minnesota Medical School and UnitedHealth Group (UHG)—a for-profit managed healthcare company based in Minnesota.
4th Dec 2020 - CIDRAP
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Research into Covid-19 dog detectors begins
Dogs could be used in the fight against Covid-19 – by being trained to sniff out infected people. Researchers in Australia have begun to train 14 dogs in a feasibility study, and the animals could become part of the screening process for incoming visitors if successful. Studies have previously shown dogs can detect particular odours – known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – which are produced by humans when they are suffering with a viral infection. Dr Anne-Lise Chaber of the University of Adelaide’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences said the current training – in Adelaide and at the Australian Border Force’s National Detector Dog Programme Facility – will test the accuracy of dogs detecting VOCs in sweat samples from people infected with coronavirus.
6th Dec 2020 - MSN.com
COVID-19 reinfections likely as antibody counts fall: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that new data suggest individuals who were once infected with COVID-19 can be susceptible to secondary infections as antibodies die off. “We have seen the number of people infected continue to grow, but we’re also seeing data emerge that protection may not be lifelong, and therefore we may see reinfections begin to occur,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said per CNBC. “So the question is: What are the levels of protection in society?” Researchers at the WHO are now working to determine how long antibodies in response to COVID-19 last in the human system.
6th Dec 2020 - The Hill
Indonesia receives first COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac
Indonesia received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine from China on Sunday (Dec 6), President Joko Widodo said, as the government prepares a mass inoculation programme. Jokowi, as the president is widely known, said in an online briefing that the country received 1.2 million doses from China's Sinovac Biotech, a vaccine Indonesia has been testing since August. He added that the government plans to receive another 1.8 million doses in early January. Late-stage trials of the Sinovac vaccine are also under way in Brazil and Turkey, with interim results on efficiency from Brazil expected by mid-December. Indonesia is also expected this month to receive shipments of raw materials to produce 15 million doses and materials for 30 million doses next month, the president said.
6th Dec 2020 - CNA
Bahrain becomes second country to approve Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
Bahrain said it had approved the emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. The approval on Friday makes Bahrain the second country in the world to grant an emergency use authorisation for the vaccine, the Bahraini national news agency BNA reported.
5th Dec 2020 - Al Jazeera English
Blood Tests Of Immune Response May Be Key To Future COVID-19 Vaccine Development : Shots - Health News
News today from Harvard's Center for Virology and Vaccine Research may help solve a problem that future COVID-19 manufacturers are sure to face: how to make sure that new and potentially better vaccines actually work without doing extremely large and expensive studies. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers show that a certain class of antibodies in a monkey's blood predicted protection from COVID-19. If that hold true for humans, a relative simple blood test may show whether an experimental vaccine is working. Here's the dilemma: Once a vaccine is approved, it's unethical to test it against a placebo. Approving new vaccine would require researchers to compare two vaccines against each other, instead of having a vaccine and a placebo--which would take a lot more people than the 30,000 for the initial trials.
4th Dec 2020 - NPR
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Repurposed Antiviral Drugs for Covid-19 — Interim WHO Solidarity Trial Results
At 405 hospitals in 30 countries, 11,330 adults underwent randomization; 2750 were assigned to receive remdesivir, 954 to hydroxychloroquine, 1411 to lopinavir (without interferon), 2063 to interferon (including 651 to interferon plus lopinavir), and 4088 to no trial drug. Adherence was 94 to 96% midway through treatment, with 2 to 6% crossover. In total, 1253 deaths were reported (median day of death, day 8; interquartile range, 4 to 14). The Kaplan–Meier 28-day mortality was 11.8% (39.0% if the patient was already receiving ventilation at randomization and 9.5% otherwise). Death occurred in 301 of 2743 patients receiving remdesivir and in 303 of 2708 receiving its control (rate ratio, 0.95; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81 to 1.11; P=0.50), in 104 of 947 patients receiving hydroxychloroquine and in 84 of 906 receiving its control (rate ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.89 to 1.59; P=0.23), in 148 of 1399 patients receiving lopinavir and in 146 of 1372 receiving its control (rate ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.79 to 1.25; P=0.97), and in 243 of 2050 patients receiving interferon and in 216 of 2050 receiving its control (rate ratio, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.96 to 1.39; P=0.11). No drug definitely reduced mortality, overall or in any subgroup, or reduced initiation of ventilation or hospitalization duration.
3rd Dec 2020 - nejm.org
Moderna plans to test COVID-19 vaccine on children
Moderna is planning to test the effects of its COVID-19 vaccine on children. Its study will include administering two doses of the vaccine within 28 days to 3,000 children aged 12 to 17. Earlier this week, the United Kingdom became the first country to grant emergency use to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, raising hopes that an end to the global pandemic, which has seen almost 65 million people infected and nearly 1.5 million deaths, might be in sight. Moderna, an American firm, said this week it would apply to United States and European regulators to grant emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine after further evidence confirmed the efficacy of its jab stood at more than 94 percent. Neither vaccines can be injected in children and pregnant women.
3rd Dec 2020 - Al Jazeera English
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U.K. Authorizes Pfizer, BioNTech’s Covid-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use
The U.K. became the first Western nation to grant emergency-use authorization for a Covid-19 vaccine, clearing a shot developed by Pfizer Inc. of the U.S. and BioNTech SE of Germany to be distributed in limited numbers within days. The two-shot vaccine is also being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., where a similar authorization could come later this month and a rollout before the end of the year. The U.K. green light on Wednesday punctuates a monthslong sprint by the two drugmakers, which teamed up earlier this year and then pulled ahead of two other Western pharmaceutical companies, each with its own promising shot. Vaccines typically take years to bring to market.
2nd Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine authorised for use in the UK
People in care homes may be first in UK to get authorised Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
The UK government has become the first in the world to give the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine temporary authorisation for emergency use. The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses – enough for 20 million people at most, as it is a two-shot vaccine – and will start to vaccinate people possibly as early as next week. To distribute the vaccine, Pfizer has designed special cardboard boxes that can be packed with dry ice, enabling the vaccine doses to be kept at -70°C during transport. They can then be stored in a normal fridge for up to five days. This afternoon the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) released its advice on who will receive priority for the vaccine. It recommended that priority be given first to care home residents and their carers, then to frontline health and social care workers and people aged 80 and over. People 75 and over will be next, followed by those aged 70 and above and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. The vaccine will not be given to pregnant women or to most children under 16, because there is no safety data for these groups.
2nd Dec 2020 - New Scientist
Researchers determine how the SARS-CoV-2 virus hijacks and rapidly causes damage to human lung cells
In a multi-group collaborative involving the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories (NEIDL), the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM), and the Center for Network Systems Biology (CNSB), scientists have reported the first map of the molecular responses of human lung cells to infection by SARS-CoV-2. By combining bioengineered human alveolar cells with sophisticated, highly precise mass spectrometry technology, Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers have identified host proteins and pathways in lung cells whose levels change upon infection by the SARS-CoV-2, providing insights into disease pathology and new therapeutic targets to block COVID-19.
2nd Dec 2020 - Phys.org
AstraZeneca U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial results likely in late-Jan, says health official
AstraZeneca Plc will likely get results of its U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial in late-January and could potentially file for an emergency authorization, the chief adviser for the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program said on Wednesday. The British drugmaker and Oxford University have already published interim efficacy results from their UK trial in November, but the results have raised questions among scientists. The company said the vaccine could be 90% effective when given as a half dose followed by a full dose, based on a relatively small number of volunteers, while overall effectiveness was around 70%. Speaking at a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services meeting, OWS chief adviser Moncef Slaoui said the large set of contrasting data coming out from the UK and Brazil trials may not be enough to ensure the vaccine receives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization.
2nd Dec 2020 - Reuters UK
Largest Clinical Trial in Africa to Treat COVID-19 Cases is Launched in 13 Countries
African countries and an international network of research institutions, including the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), have joined forces to launch the largest COVID-19 clinical trial in mild-to-moderate outpatients in Africa. The ANTICOV clinical trial aims to respond to the urgent need to identify treatments that can be used to treat mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 early and prevent spikes in hospitalisation that could overwhelm fragile and already overburdened health systems in Africa.
24th Nov 2020 - Swiss Tropical Public Health Institute
Medical journal editorial refutes WHO finding on Gilead's remdesivir for COVID-19
An editorial in the influential New England Journal of Medicine cites problems with a World Health Organization (WHO) study that found Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral remdesivir failed to improve COVID-19 survival, and said it does not refute trials that demonstrated benefits of the drug in treating the illness. The editorial, by David Harrington at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, infectious disease specialist Dr. Lindsey Baden and Brown University biostatistician Joseph Hogan, was published on Wednesday along with the WHO study. They noted that the trial called Solidarity, which looked at four drugs, was conducted in 30 countries ranging from Switzerland and Germany to Iran and Kenya, leading to inconsistencies in the data collected.
2nd Dec 2020 - Reuters
COVID-19 Vaccines Make Some Health Care Workers Wary
Health care workers are expected to be first in line to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available. It makes sense: Getting a safe, effective vaccine would help keep them and their patients healthy. Seeing doctors, nurses and medical aides getting COVID-19 vaccines would also set an example for the community. But the speed of COVID-19 vaccine development, along with concerns about political interference with the process, has left some health care workers on the fence about COVID-19 vaccines. So many health care workers are expressing concerns and anxiety about getting COVID-19 vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says addressing hesitancy in this group is a top priority. A CDC survey, shared at a public meeting of its vaccine advisory committee on Nov. 23, found that 63% of health care workers polled in recent months said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine.
1st Dec 2020 - NPR
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Pfizer, Moderna Request Covid-19 Vaccine Authorization in Europe
Pfizer Inc. partner BioNTech and U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc. both applied for their coronavirus vaccines to be approved in the European Union, the EU’s chief medicines regulator said Tuesday, with officials expected to make a decision on at least one of the vaccines by the end of the month. The announcement brings hope that the EU will soon be able to start vaccinating its 448 million people against a disease that has done some of its earliest and worst damage on the continent.
1st Dec 2020 - The Wall Street Journal
Covid-19: Lung damage 'identified' in study
Researchers made a mathematical model to find the daily disease growth rate
European nations took 9 days to bring in lockdown from first death, on average
In nine days, epidemic size grows by a factor of ten, the researchers say
1st Dec 2020 - BBC News
Britain DID lockdown too late in March: UK's coronavirus epidemic grew five times more than the European average between first the Covid death and the start of lockdown, study ...
Researchers made a mathematical model to find the daily disease growth rate
European nations took 9 days to bring in lockdown from first death, on average
In nine days, epidemic size grows by a factor of ten, the researchers say
1st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail
UEA study shows Chinese asymptomatic Covid-19 cases were not infectious
Researchers from Norwich have found a mass screening programme of more than 10 million people in the Chinese city of Wuhan identified 300 asymptomatic Covid-19 cases - but none were infectious. But the University of East Anglia scientists stressed the findings do not show people who have coronavirus, but no symptoms, cannot pass on the virus. Mass testing took place over two weeks at the end of May – after the city’s stringent lockdown was lifted in April. The study found no ‘viable’ virus in the asymptomatic cases and their close contacts did not test positive. Prof Fujian Song, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “The virus cultures indicated no viable virus in the identified asymptomatic cases. This means that these people were not likely to infect anyone else.”
1st Dec 2020 - Eastern Daily Press
Europe’s medical agency eyes safety of two COVID-19 vaccines
The European Medicines Agency has said it would convene a meeting on December 29 to decide if there is enough data about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for it to be approved. The agency also said on Tuesday it could decide as early as January 12 whether to approve an experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc.
1st Dec 2020 - Al Jazeera English
Analysis: Could COVID knock out flu in Europe this winter?
As Europeans brace for a grim winter with the threat of rising COVID-19 infections, minimal numbers of flu cases recorded so far point to a possible silver lining. Data available for Europe since the beginning of October, when flu case numbers usually start to ramp up, mirror shallow figures seen in the Southern Hemisphere earlier this year and in the United States where the flu season has also just begun. Some doctors say a combination of lockdowns, mask wearing and handwashing appear to have hampered transmission of the flu, while warning that the data should be treated with caution because the peak of the season is weeks or even months away. According to Flu News Europe, a joint monitoring platform of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization which collects samples in 54 European regions, only one person was diagnosed with flu out of 4,433 sentinel tests during Sept. 28-Nov. 22.
1st Dec 2020 - Reuters UK
Novavax expects delayed U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial to start in coming weeks
Novavax Inc on Monday pushed back the start of a U.S.-based, late-stage trial for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine for the second time and now expects it to begin in the coming weeks instead of November. While the U.S. trial has been hampered by issues in scaling up the vaccine’s manufacturing, Novavax has a late-stage study underway in the UK which finished enrollment on Monday. Shares of the U.S.-based company were up 10% in late-afternoon trading. The U.S. trial delay was not meaningful and it could provide more information into Novavax’s “second-generation” vaccine that already lags behind larger rivals, said Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Charles Duncan.
30th Nov 2020 - Reuters
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Moderna to seek FDA emergency authorization after COVID-19 vaccine shows 94% efficacy in final analysis
Moderna announced Monday it will ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine, making it the second company, after Pfizer, to seek EUA for a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.
Pfizer's public FDA hearing -- a crucial step in the authorization process -- is scheduled for Dec. 10, and the FDA could make its official authorization decision shortly thereafter. In an early morning press release, Moderna announced that its FDA hearing will be held a week later, on Dec. 17. Moderna also announced its coronavirus vaccine is more than 94% effective, according to the final analysis of its massive Phase 3 trial.
30th Nov 2020 - ABC
'No-swab' coronavirus test from OptiGene highly sensitive, UK says
A type of COVID-19 test that can be taken without the need for a nose or throat swab has been found to be highly effective in identifying infectious cases, including for people not showing symptoms, the British government said on Tuesday. The RT-LAMP tests, made by privately-held British company OptiGene, have been studied in a pilot programme in the southern English city of Southampton, where they were used to test some health service staff as well as 55,000 people connected to the local university. “We’ve shown through carefully conducted studies that the OptiGene LAMP test is fast, reliable and easy to use, and dependent on testing format can work directly with saliva samples as well as with swabs,” said Sue Hill, chief scientific officer for England in the National Health Service’s Test and Trace programme.
1st Dec 2020 - Reuters UK
UEA study shows Chinese asymptomatic Covid-19 cases were not infectious
Researchers from Norwich have found a mass screening programme of more than 10 million people in the Chinese city of Wuhan identified 300 asymptomatic Covid-19 cases - but none were infectious. But the University of East Anglia scientists stressed the findings do not show people who have coronavirus, but no symptoms, cannot pass on the virus. Mass testing took place over two weeks at the end of May – after the city’s stringent lockdown was lifted in April. The study found no ‘viable’ virus in the asymptomatic cases and their close contacts did not test positive. Prof Fujian Song, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “The virus cultures indicated no viable virus in the identified asymptomatic cases. This means that these people were not likely to infect anyone else.”
30th Nov 2020 - Norwich Evening News
Russia begins mass trials of second coronavirus vaccine
Russia plans to begin mass trials of its second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona, on people aged over 18 on Monday, the RIA news agency cited the consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor as saying. EpiVacCorona, which is being developed by Siberia’s Vector Institute, was authorised this month to carry out trials on 150 volunteers over 60 and 3,000 volunteers over 18, the watchdog has said.
30th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK
'Absolutely remarkable': No one who got Moderna's vaccine in trial developed severe COVID-19
Continuing the spate of stunning news about COVID-19 vaccines, the biotech company Moderna announced the final results of the 30,000-person efficacy trial for its candidate in a press release today: Only 11 people who received two doses of the vaccine developed COVID-19 symptoms after being infected with the pandemic coronavirus, versus 185 symptomatic cases in a placebo group. That is an efficacy of 94.1%, the company says, far above what many vaccine scientists were expecting just a few weeks ago. More impressive still, Moderna’s candidate had 100% efficacy against severe disease. There were zero such COVID-19 cases among those vaccinated, but 30 in the placebo group. The company today plans to file a request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for its vaccine with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is also seeking a similar green light from the European Medicines Agency.
30th Nov 2020 - Science Magazine
Singapore studies COVID-19 pregnancy puzzle after baby born with antibodies
Doctors are studying the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and their unborn babies in Singapore, where an infant delivered by an infected mother earlier this month had antibodies against the virus but did not carry the disease. The ongoing study among the city-state’s public hospitals adds to international efforts to better understand whether the infection or antibodies can be transferred during pregnancy, and if the latter offers an effective shield against the virus. The World Health Organisation says while some pregnant women have an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19, it is not yet known whether an infected pregnant woman can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.
30th Nov 2020 - Reuters
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Malaria gains at risk from COVID-19 pandemic: WHO
Funding shortfalls and disruptions to treatment in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic risk tens of thousands more lives being lost to malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned in its annual report on the mosquito-borne disease on Monday. The UN’s health agency said it was concerned that even moderate disruptions in access to treatment could lead to a “considerable loss of life”. A 10-percent disruption in access to effective anti-malarial treatment in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to 19,000 additional deaths, the report found. That number rose to 46,000 with a 25-percent disruption in access and 100,000 at 50-percent disruption. “Progress has stalled,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “COVID-19 threatens to further derail our efforts to overcome malaria, particularly treating people with the disease. Despite the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on African economies, international partners and countries need to do more to ensure that the resources are there to expand malaria programmes which are making such a difference in people’s lives.”
29th Nov 2020 - Aljazeera.com
Why Oxford's Covid-19 vaccine could do more for the world than other shots
In the days since Oxford University and AstraZeneca unveiled the results of the partnership's Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trials, a growing number of questions have emerged. The stated 70% average efficacy was significantly lower than the 94.5% to 95% reported by the other two leading candidates, Moderna and Pfizer.
Yet this vaccine could still prove to be more valuable for the world than the other two in the coming months. If the questions over its results are answered and it receives approval, it may lead the way in providing vaccine coverage in poorer countries where it is urgently needed.
28th Nov 2020 - CNN
Covid vaccine trials did NOT monitor whether participants took other steps to prevent infection like wearing masks and social distancing
A participant in Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine trials told Business Insider that the firm did not monitor the participants behavior if they didn't feel sick. Moderna also did not specify how to behave or track data on the participants' actions during its trial
It was left up to individuals to wear masks or socially distance - behaviors that are estimated to reduce the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19.
27th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
Europe coronavirus: Second wave began in Spain before spreading via tourists, study suggests
Europe was hit hard by a coronavirus second wave that saw cases rise faster than on any other continent. Scientists have identified a new viral strain they believe is to blame for much of the wave, which first emerged among fruit pickers in northern Spain before being passed to tourists as borders reopened. Tourists took the new strain home, where it spread like wildfire among local communites as rules were relaxed. Strain now accounts for up to 70 per cent of cases in Switzerland, Ireland, and the UK, and is 'prevalent' in Norway, Latvia, the Netherlands, and France
27th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
Why Covid-19 patients with diabetes or heart disease are more likely to die
Researchers studied the role of cholesterol in coronavirus infection. Found the presence of high cholesterol is linked to increased infection of cells. Believed the coronavirus binds to cholesterol and hijacks a lift to the cell surface
Once here it can then easily attach to ACE2, the receptor which allows the virus into human cells
27th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
Type O blood linked to lower COVID risk, taking Vitamin D unlikely to help
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
27th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK
Does the AstraZeneca Vaccine Also Stop Covid Transmission?
Vaccines can prevent symptoms, but some can also keep people from spreading infection. That’s critical, and no one knows if the new vaccines do it.
25th Nov 2020 - WIRED
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AstraZeneca will likely re-test its COVID-19 vaccine, CEO says after admitting an error in the first trial that led to skewed results
The UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is likely to run a second global trial to assess its COVID-19 vaccine's efficacy, its CEO told Bloomberg News on Thursday. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford announced Monday that preliminary results indicated their two-dose vaccine could be up to 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. But the team later said an error in the trial left some participants with half-doses instead of full doses. Experts said that error cast doubt on the validity of the efficacy rate and warranted further study.
26th Nov 2020 - Business Insider
Feds on COVID-19 mRNA vaccine distribution: Pfizer's dry runs predict a 'very doable process'
What will it take to distribute the first 6.4 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, if all goes according to plan and they ship in mid-December? Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services, acknowledged during a press conference Tuesday that the logistics—which include the need for ultra-cold storage—will be far from easy. But Azar and two other top officials running the government’s Operation Warp Speed effort to speed COVID-19 vaccine distribution did their best to boost the public’s confidence. The FDA has scheduled a meeting to review Pfizer’s vaccine on December 10, and if it’s authorized as expected, it could start shipping within 24 hours, Azar said. In addition to speeding the vaccine to healthcare workers, “CVS Health has said they expect to be vaccinating residents of nursing homes, one of the top priority groups, within 48 hours of FDA authorization,” he said.
25th Nov 2020 - FiercePharma
Less than 10% of Americans had COVID by September, study finds
Large-scale seroprevalence studies conducted over the summer show that, through September, less than 1 in 10 of Americans had evidence of previous coronavirus infection, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine. In the nationwide seroprevalence survey, researchers from the CDC's COVID-19 Response Team tested blood serum samples from people in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico during four periods from July through September, looking for the presence of detectable antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, (the virus that causes COVID-19.
25th Nov 2020 - CIDRAP
Studies find no COVID benefit for preventive hydroxychloroquine or for convalescent plasma
Two studies published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that two once-promising but largely discredited COVID-19 treatments —hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma—didn't prevent infection or lead to clinical improvement. 'No compelling data' - The first study, an open-label trial led by researchers at Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol in Barcelona, Spain, involved randomly assigning clusters of healthy adults with high-risk, close-contact exposure to a COVID-19 patient to either 800 milligrams (mg) of hydroxychloroquine followed by 6 days of 400-mg doses or usual care.
25th Nov 2020 - CIDRAP
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After dosing mix-up, latest COVID-19 vaccine success comes with big question mark
Some evidence suggests that slowly escalating the dose of a vaccine more closely mimics a natural viral infection, leading to a more robust immune response. “It’s not really mechanistically pinned down exactly how it works,” Hill says. Because the different dosing schemes likely led to different immune responses, Hill says researchers have a chance to suss out the mechanism by comparing vaccinated participants’ antibody and T cell levels. The 62% efficacy, he says, “is a blessing in disguise.” But Moore says the low-dose prime group resulted in too few cases to be confident in its results. “Was that a real, statistically robust 90%?” he asks.
25th Nov 2020 - Science Magazine
First round of US lockdowns cost about $6million for each death that was avoided, study finds
Study looked at cost of government-ordered shutdowns from March to May. Found that lockdowns saved 29,000 lives at a total cost of $169 billion. Costs included job losses and declines in companies' market value. Study comes as states impose new restrictions and virus surges
25th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
Researchers Say 90% Of Recent Coronavirus Sequences In U.K. Came From Spain
The U.K is on its second lockdown, and scientists say most sequences of new cases are from a coronavirus strain that originated in Spain — which British tourists brought home from summer vacations.
25th Nov 2020 - NPR
A Cluster-Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine for Prevention of Covid-19
The analysis included 2314 healthy contacts of 672 index case patients with Covid-19 who were identified between March 17 and April 28, 2020. A total of 1116 contacts were randomly assigned to receive hydroxychloroquine and 1198 to receive usual care. Results were similar in the hydroxychloroquine and usual-care groups with respect to the incidence of PCR-confirmed, symptomatic Covid-19 (5.7% and 6.2%, respectively; risk ratio, 0.86 [95% confidence interval, 0.52 to 1.42]). In addition, hydroxychloroquine was not associated with a lower incidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission than usual care (18.7% and 17.8%, respectively). The incidence of adverse events was higher in the hydroxychloroquine group than in the usual-care group (56.1% vs. 5.9%), but no treatment-related serious adverse events were reported.
25th Nov 2020 - nejm.org
Blood tests for Covid-19 could be made 'up to 100,000 times more sensitive' by using nanodiamonds
Exclusive: Pregnancy test-like sticks are currently being trialled for Covid-19. But they, like the widely-used HIV equivalent, use gold nanoparticles. A red line is made to indicate a positive result when gold particles stick to virus. But using glowing nanodiamonds instead of gold particles gives a stronger signal and is also much more sensitive
25th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
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Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID vaccine works — but scientists have questions
Early data indicate that the Oxford–AstraZeneca jab is effective, but dose makes a difference. Plus, the scientific dilemma posed by emergency vaccine approvals, and an AI that sums up papers in a sentence.
24th Nov 2020 - Nature.com
Plasma from recovered patients shows little benefit in those hospitalized with COVID-19: study
Using blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to treat patients with severe pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus showed little benefit, according to data released on Tuesday from a clinical trial in Argentina. The therapy know as convalescent plasma, which delivers antibodies from COVID-19 survivors to infected people, did not significantly improve patients’ health status or reduce their risk of dying from the disease any better than a placebo, the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found. Despite limited evidence of its efficacy, convalescent plasma, which U.S. President Donald Trump touted in August as a “historic breakthrough,” has been frequently given to patients in the United States.
24th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK
3rd major COVID-19 vaccine shown to be effective and cheaper
Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world. The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.
23rd Nov 2020 - The Associated Press
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AstraZeneca-Oxford Covid-19 Vaccine Up to 90% Effective in Late-Stage Trials
AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford added their vaccine candidate to a growing list of shots showing promising effectiveness against Covid-19—setting in motion disparate regulatory and distribution tracks that executives and researchers hope will result in the start of widespread vaccinations by the end of the year. AstraZeneca and Oxford said their vaccine was as much as 90% effective in preventing the infection without serious side effects in large clinical trials, though they said the vaccine’s efficacy is up to 90% in late stage trials
23rd Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal
Decades of work, and half a dose of fortune, drove Oxford vaccine success
It took Oxford University’s brightest minds decades of work to give them the expertise to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. In the end, it was a momentary error - and a dose of good fortune - that carried them over the line. The Oxford vaccinologists were exhilarated on Monday when drugmaker AstraZeneca, with whom they developed the shot, announced that it could be around 90% effective, citing data from late-stage trials. “It can only happen if extraordinary support is provided,” Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University’s Jenner Institute which developed the shot, told Reuters. “We had pretty well the whole institute in Oxford working on this vaccine.” While skill and hard work drove development, AstraZeneca said it was a minor mistake that made the team realise how they could significantly boost the shot’s success rate, to as much as 90% from around 60%: by administering a half dose, followed by a full dose a month later. The Oxford vaccinologists were exhilarated on Monday when drugmaker AstraZeneca, with whom they developed the shot, announced that it could be around 90% effective, citing data from late-stage trials. “It can only happen if extraordinary support is provided,” Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University’s Jenner Institute which developed the shot, told Reuters. “We had pretty well the whole institute in Oxford working on this vaccine.”
23rd Nov 2020 - Reuters UK
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Remdesivir: don't use drug Trump took for Covid-19, WHO says
Remdesivir, one of the drugs Donald Trump took when he developed Covid-19, should not be used in hospitals because there is no evidence it works, the World Health Organization has advised. The US president was an enthusiastic proponent of the drug, to the point where he boasted in July that he had bought up the world’s entire stock for Americans. The WHO’s guidelines committee, however, has said Covid patients may be better off without it. The WHO issued what it calls a “living guideline”, which can be updated as evidence comes in, largely as a result of a Solidarity trial it led in several countries. Solidarity allocated patients randomly to several drugs including remdesivir and found that those who took it were no more likely to survive severe Covid than those who did not.
21st Nov 2020 - The Guardian
Experimental drug given to Trump to treat covid-19 wins FDA clearance
The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday granted emergency authorization to the experimental antibody treatment given to President Trump last month when he developed covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The drug, made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is designed to prevent infected people from developing severe illness. Instead of waiting for the body to develop its own protective immune response, the drug imitates the body’s natural defenses. It is the second drug of this type — called a monoclonal antibody — to be cleared for treating covid-19. The FDA authorized Eli Lilly & Co.’s drug on Nov. 9.
22nd Nov 2020 - The Washington Post
Why the race to find Covid-19 vaccines is far from over
While everyone celebrated this month’s news that not one but two experimental vaccines against Covid-19 have proved at least 90% effective at preventing disease in late-stage clinical trials, research into understanding how the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, interacts with the human immune system never paused. There are plenty of questions still to answer about the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines: how well will they protect the elderly, for example, and how long for? Which aspects of the immune response that they elicit are protective and which aren’t? Can even better results be achieved, with vaccines that target different parts of the immune system?
22nd Nov 2020 - The Guardian
Trials For AstraZeneca's Covid-19 Treatment Set To Begin In UK
The UK will be the first country to begin clinical trials of a new coronavirus antibody treatment developed by drugs giant AstraZeneca aimed at people with a weakened immune system who cannot be vaccinated. A participant in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, will be the first in the world to receive the pharmaceutical company’s new “antibody cocktail” as part of the trial to test whether it will prevent Covid-19 for up to year. The clinical trial programme will recruit 5,000 participants, which includes 1,000 people from nine sites in the UK. The aim of the trial is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a combination of two long-acting monoclonal antibodies – man-made proteins that act like natural human antibodies in the immune system.
21st Nov 2020 - ITV News
Covid-19 carriers 'most infectious earlier on'
People are most likely to pass on coronavirus within the first five days of having symptoms, an extensive study suggests. The research indicates patients had the highest levels of virus early on in their illness and "live" virus, capable of replicating, was found up to nine days after symptoms began. UK scientists say their study emphasises early isolation is critical to stopping spread. The work appears in the Lancet Microbe.
21st Nov 2020 - BBC News
Pfizer applies for emergency vaccine approval as U.S. cases reach new high
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Friday became the first companies to seek emergency authorization for a coronavirus vaccine in the United States, a landmark moment and a signal that a powerful tool to help control the pandemic could begin to be available by late December. Conditions around the country remain dire: The United States reported a record high of more than 196,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday and is likely to cross 12 million cases nationwide on Saturday, six days after surpassing 11 million.
21st Nov 2020 - The Washington Post
Almost a million people have been given an experimental Chinese coronavirus vaccine, pharmaceutical giant claims
Almost a million people have been given an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Sinopharm as part of an emergency-use program authorized by Beijing, the Chinese pharmaceutical giant's chairman said. No serious adverse effects have been reported from vaccine recipients so far, Sinopharm said Wednesday in an article on social media platform WeChat, citing Chairman Liu Jingzhen. "In emergency use, we now have used it on nearly a million people. We have not received any reports of serious adverse reaction, and only a few have some mild symptoms," Liu said.
20th Nov 2020 - CNN
Covid: Jab for people who cannot be vaccinated trialled
A possible alternative to a vaccine, for people without functioning immune systems, is entering its final stage of trials. The injection was developed using antibodies - made by the immune system to fight infection - produced by a single Covid patient in the US. It is hoped it could provide at least six months' protection for patients who cannot receive vaccines. Trials involving 1,000 UK participants begin in Manchester on Saturday. A further 4,000 people are involved in the trial globally, which is being organised by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. Participants will be given either an injection containing two different Covid-19 antibodies, which have been specially engineered to last longer in the body - or a placebo.
20th Nov 2020 - BBC News
MMR jab could help protect people from coronavirus until a vaccine is ready, study finds
The MMR jab could be used to slow the spread of Covid-19 while Britons are gradually inoculated with vaccines being developed for the virus, a study suggests.
Researchers have found that people who had had the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine as a child suffered far less severe symptoms of Covid – in many cases having mild symptoms or not symptoms at all. “The study found a statistically significant inverse relationship between the level of mumps antibodies and Covid-19. This indicates that there is a relationship that warrants further investigation,” said Professor David Hurley, of the University of Georgia. “If it has the ultimate benefit of preventing infection from Covid-19, preventing the spread of Covid-19, reducing the severity of it, or a combination of any or all of those, it is a very high reward low risk ratio intervention. It would be prudent to vaccinate [people of all ages],” he said.
20th Nov 2020 - iNews
A nasal spray that can protect against Covid-19 is now ‘ready for use in humans
A nasal spray that can provide effective protection against Covid-19 is now ready for use in humans, according to researchers. The spray has been developed by scientists at the University of Birmingham and is formulated using compounds already widely approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US.
19th Nov 2020 - The Scotsman
Oxford vaccine produces strong response in older adults, early data reveals
Hopes have been raised that the UK could produce a successful coronavirus vaccine after data from the University of Oxford showed its jab provokes a strong immune response in older people. The ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine, developed with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and people over 70. Phase two data, published in The Lancet, suggests one of the groups most vulnerable to serious illness and death from Covid-19 could build immunity, researchers say.
19th Nov 2020 - The National
Childhood vaccine linked to less severe COVID-19, cigarette smoke raises risk
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
19th Nov 2020 - Reuters
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Oxford COVID-19 trial will look at interim Phase III data after 53 infections: investigator
Oxford University will start an initial analysis of data from its late-stage trial of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with AstraZeneca after 53 infections among its volunteers, the study’s chief investigator said on Thursday. The Oxford Vaccine Group’s director, Andrew Pollard, said in a media briefing there were “lots of cases” of infections in its Phase III trial in Britain, Brazil and South Africa. The first two sets of interim data from vaccine trials from Pfizer and BioNTech last week and Moderna on Monday were released after more than 90 infections among volunteers. Pfizer had planned to publish initial data after about 60 infections, but it exceeded its target after the big jump in infections recently in the United States.
19th Nov 2020 - Reuters
The known unknowns of T cell immunity to COVID-19
The broad clinical spectrum of COVID-19 indicates widespread intraindividual differences in the host immune defense against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The underlying cause of disease heterogeneity is probably multifactorial. However, a rapid early host response is likely critical to generate control of SARS-CoV-2 viremia before spread to the lower respiratory tract and onset of damaging hyperinflammation. In this regard, the literature is full of examples where functional T cell responses can provide early control of acute viral infections, including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV (1, 2). Although multiple studies have indicated that T cells play a role in the early immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and can generate a functional memory pool, there are still multiple unanswered questions in the field (Box 1). Here, we summarize and speculate on a specific set of questions related to T cell immunity against respiratory viral infections, with a focus on COVID-19 severity, immunity, long-term consequences, and vaccination
19th Nov 2020 - Science
Covid-19 mink variants discovered in humans in seven countries
Seven countries are now reporting mink-related Sars-CoV-2 mutations in humans, according to new scientific analysis. The mutations are identified as Covid-19 mink variants as they have repeatedly been found in mink and now in humans as well.
Uncertainty around the implications of the discovery of a Covid-19 mink variant in humans led Denmark, the world’s largest mink fur producer, to launch a nationwide cull earlier this month. The cull was sparked by research from Denmark’s public health body, the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), which showed that a mink variant called C5 was harder for antibodies to neutralise and posed a potential threat to vaccine efficacy.
19th Nov 2020 - The Guardian
Covid: Oxford vaccine shows 'encouraging' immune response in older adults
The Oxford coronavirus vaccine shows a strong immune response in adults in their 60s and 70s, raising hopes that it can protect age groups most at risk from the virus. Researchers say the Lancet phase two findings, based on 560 healthy adult volunteers, are "encouraging". They are also testing whether the vaccine stops people developing Covid-19 in larger, phase three trials. Early results from this crucial stage are expected in the coming weeks. Three vaccines - Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna - have already reported good preliminary data from phase three trials, with one suggesting 94% of over-65s could be protected from Covid-19.
19th Nov 2020 - BBC News
Anti-COVID-19 nasal spray 'ready for use in humans'
A nasal spray that can provide effective protection against the COVID-19 virus has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, using materials already cleared for use in humans. A team in the University’s Healthcare Technologies Institute formulated the spray using compounds already widely approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US. The materials are already widely used in medical devices, medicines and even food products.
19th Nov 2020 - University of Birmingham
Arthritis drug offers hope for severely ill Covid patients
Scientists have found that a drug used to fight rheumatoid arthritis leads to significantly improved outcomes for severely ill Covid-19 patients, the latest breakthrough in the search for a potential treatment. Tocilizumab, an immunosuppressant drug, was found to be so effective in randomised controlled clinical trials involving 303 patients, that the researchers have been told to stop recruiting people to the “no treatment group”. It is the first immune-modulating drug found to have an effect on outcomes of hospitalised Covid-19 patients, adding to positive results from the cheap and plentiful steroid dexamethasone, and the antiviral drug remdesivir.
19th Nov 2020 - Financial Times
WHO advises against Gilead's remdesivir for all hospitalised COVID-19 patients
Gilead’s drug remdesivir is not recommended for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, regardless of how ill they are, as there is no evidence it improves survival or reduces the need for ventilation, a World Health Organization panel said on Friday.
19th Nov 2020 - Reuters
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UK COVID-19 Update: BMA's Lockdown Exit Plan, 'Exciting' Vaccine News
The BMA has issued a strategy document for England's exit from the current lockdown on 3 December. It says measures are needed to bridge the gap until widespread vaccination. Recommendations include: Reforming Test and Trace with more local involvement - Replacing the 'rule of six' with a two household rule for social mixing - Banning travel between different tier levels - Targeted support for clinically extremely vulnerable people and those from at-risk backgrounds, such as BAME communities
18th Nov 2020 - Medscape
Cipla launches 'Covi-G' for COVID-19 rapid antibody detection
Cipla Limited today announced that it signed a licensing agreement with a Belgium-based firm, Multi G for the distribution of their COVID-19 Rapid Antibody test kit, across most Emerging markets and Europe. This licencing agreement is part of Cipla's efforts to enhance global access to life- saving treatments and diagnostic infrastructure for patients in need. As part of this agreement, Cipla will be responsible for distribution of the COVID-19 rapid antibody kit that will be manufactured by MultiG. It is marketed under the brand name 'Covi-G',this was among the earliest Antibody kits to declare CE-compliance and is awaiting approval by ICH country regulators. It has been commercialised in 20+ countries already, with sensitivity and specificity exceeding 92%. It tests for both IgM and IgG antibodies, using a single-prick blood test using of the test result indicator visual interpretation. The kit gives results within 10 minutes.
18th Nov 2020 - PR Newswire
Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine 95% Effective in Final Results, Company to Seek Approval Within Days
Pfizer Inc. said it will ask health regulators to authorize its experimental Covid-19 vaccine within days, after reporting the shot was 95% effective in its pivotal study and showed signs of being safe. The company’s plans, announced Wednesday, mean the shot is on track to go into distribution by the end of the year, if the regulators permit.
18th Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal
Covid-19: Chinese vaccine 'successful in mid-stage trials'
A Covid-19 vaccine developed in China has shown success in mid-stage trials, researchers say. There are several vaccines being developed in China, some of which are already being administered. According to the researchers, the Sinovac Biotech vaccine led to a quick immune response during trials with around 700 people. The announcement comes after European and US vaccines reported successful data from large late-stage trials. Three vaccines, developed in the US, Germany and Russia, have all released data suggesting efficiency of more than 90%, after trials with tens of thousands of people.
18th Nov 2020 - BBC News
Pfizer ends its COVID-19 vaccine trial with a 95% success rate
Pfizer Inc PFE.N and BioNTech 22UAy.DE could secure emergency U.S. and European authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed it had a 95% success rate and no serious side effects, the drugmakers said on Wednesday. The vaccine’s efficacy was found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities - a promising sign given the disease has disproportionately hurt the elderly and certain groups including Black people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency-use by the middle of December, BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Reuters TV. Conditional approval in the European Union could be secured in the second half of December, he added.
18th Nov 2020 - Reuters
'Incredible milestone for science.' Pfizer and BioNTech update their promising COVID-19 vaccine result
As opposed to the vague initial report last week that their vaccine had greater than 90% efficacy, Pfizer and BioNTech are providing more specific data now that the study has reached enough COVID-19 cases to end. In all, the trial had 162 confirmed cases of symptomatic COVID-19 in the placebo group versus eight among those who received the two scheduled doses of the vaccine. The efficacy, which was measured 7 days after the second dose of the vaccine, was the same in different races and ethnicities, the companies say—although subgroup analyses always have more uncertainty. Nine of the 10 people who had severe cases of COVID-19 during the trial received the placebo, which indicates that even if the vaccine fails to prevent symptomatic disease, it still offers powerful protection from serious harm. No serious side effects surfaced, the companies report, although 3.7% of the vaccinated reported fatigue after the injections.
18th Nov 2020 - Science Magazine
Early trial results show Sinovac vaccine triggers immune response
Sinovac Biotech’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac triggered a quick immune response but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who had recovered from the disease, early trial results showed on Wednesday. While the early to mid-stage trials were not designed to assess the efficacy of CoronaVac, researchers said it could provide sufficient protection, based on their experience with other vaccines and data from preclinical studies with macaques.
18th Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English
A rapid at-home covid-19 test — for under $50 — just got FDA approval
People who think they were exposed to the coronavirus face a number of logistical obstacles in the United States to get tested: Many tests take days to produce results, require leaving quarantine to visit a medical professional, or — most likely — both. That could change with Lucira Health’s “All-In-One” test kit, which on Tuesday became the first rapid, at-home test authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
18th Nov 2020 - Washington Post
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Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine induces quick immune response - study
Sinovac Biotech’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac triggered a quick immune response but the level of antibodies produced was lower than in people who had recovered from the disease, preliminary trial results showed on Wednesday.
18th Nov 2020 - Reuters
Pfizer launches Covid-19 vaccine delivery trial in four US states
Pfizer has launched a pilot delivery program for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine in four US states, as the drugmaker seeks to address distribution challenges posed by its ultra-cold storage requirements. The US drugmaker said it had selected Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee for the program because of their differences in overall size, diversity of populations and immunisation infrastructure, as well as the states’ need to reach individuals in varied urban and rural settings.
17th Nov 2020 - The Guardian on MSN.com
Covid: chemicals found in everyday products could hinder vaccine
The successful uptake of any vaccine for Covid-19, a crucial step in returning a sense of normalcy after a year ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, could be hindered by widespread contamination from a range of chemicals used in everyday products. Small amounts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl (or PFAS) chemicals are commonly found in the bodies of people in the US, as well as several other countries. These man-made chemicals, used in everything from non-stick pans to waterproof clothes to pizza boxes, have been linked to an elevated risk of liver damage, decreased fertility and even cancer.
17th Nov 2020 - The Guardian
J&J expects data for U.S. authorization of COVID-19 vaccine by February, says head scientist
Johnson & Johnson's chief scientist said the drugmaker is recruiting over 1,000 people per day for the late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine and expects to have all the data needed to seek U.S. authorization by February or earlier. “By the end of the year or around the end of the year, we should have 60,000 people in the study,” Dr. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, said in an interview ahead of this week’s Reuters Total Health conference. “And efficacy endpoint should be there in the first few weeks or months, January or February, of the new year,” he added.
17th Nov 2020 - Reuters
Roche on track to produce Regeneron’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail
Roche Holding AG has completed early tests of its ability to produce large quantities of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s COVID-19 antibody treatment, putting it on track to begin manufacturing the drug once it is authorised by regulators, Regeneron’s president said on Tuesday. The experimental therapy was used to treat United States President Donald Trump in October. The companies aim to be able to make two million doses of the antibody cocktail next year, but are awaiting clearance from regulators.
17th Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English
Coronavirus: Phase three trials of India-made vaccine begin
Phase three trials of India’s first vaccine against COVID-19 has started in what is the largest human trials to be conducted with about 26,000 participants, Bharat Biotech announced on Monday. The Hyderabad-based company has been developing the vaccine, Covaxin, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – India’s premier medical research body. The first doses of the vaccine were administered to volunteers at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad on Monday as part of the trial which will be monitored over the next year. Covaxin has shown promising safety and immunogenicity data in trials done during phase one and phase two, the company said. The India trial comes a day after the US biotech firm Moderna Inc said preliminary data from a continuing phase three study of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine showed it to be 94.5 percent effective.
17th Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English
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Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine boasts a nearly 95% effective rate
Moderna said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was proving to be highly effective in a major trial, a second dash of hope in the global race for a shot to tame a resurgent coronavirus that is now killing more than 8,000 people a day worldwide.
Moderna said its vaccine appeared to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from the company’s ongoing study. A week ago, competitor Pfizer announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared similarly effective — news that puts both companies on track to seek permission within weeks for emergency use in the U.S.
Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, welcomed the “really important milestone” and said that having similar results from two different companies was what was most reassuring.
16th Nov 2020 - Los Angeles Times
'Truly striking': Covid-19 vaccine candidate 94.5 percent effective, Moderna says
Moderna said Monday that early analysis from its Phase 3 trial shows its Covid-19 vaccine is 94.5 percent effective at preventing the illness, offering hope of a second breakthrough in as many weeks. The news comes a week after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said early analysis showed its vaccine candidate was more than 90 percent effective.
16th Nov 2020 - NBC News
Coronavirus: New UK vaccine trial starts crucial next stage
A global pharmaceutical company is set to begin clinical trials of its potential vaccine in the UK. Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, part of Johnson & Johnson, will start the next stage of its vaccine testing on Monday with 6,000 volunteers from across the country. Theirs is the third potential jab about to enter clinical trials in the UK, alongside US biotech company Novavax and the University of Oxford’s vaccine with AstraZeneca, whose trials are ongoing.
The Janssen vaccine is jointly funded by the government’s vaccine taskforce. The latest trial is designed to test its safety and efficacy.
16th Nov 2020 - The Independent
Arthritis drug 'cuts elderly Covid-19 deaths by two-thirds', say researchers
Daily drug reduces deaths by 71 per cent in those with moderate or severe illness
Drug baricitinib, marketed as Olumiant, has only been available for three years
Medics hope the arthritis drug could help save most vulnerable to coronavirus
15th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
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'Breakthrough finding' reveals why certain Covid-19 patients die
In an international study in Science, 10 percent of nearly 1,000 Covid-19 patients who developed life-threatening pneumonia had antibodies that disable key immune system proteins called interferons. These antibodies — known as autoantibodies, because they attack the body itself — weren't found at all in 663 people with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infections. Only four of 1,227 healthy patients had the autoantibodies. The study was led by the Covid Human Genetic Effort, which includes 200 research centers in 40 countries. "This is one of the most important things we've learned about the immune system since the start of the pandemic," said Dr. Eric Topol, executive vice president for research at Scripps Research in San Diego, who wasn't involved in the new study. "This is a breakthrough finding."
13th Nov 2020 - NBC News
Damage to multiple organs recorded in 'long Covid' cases
Young and previously healthy people with ongoing symptoms of Covid-19 are showing signs of damage to multiple organs four months after the initial infection, a study suggests. The findings are a step towards unpicking the physical underpinnings and developing treatments for some of the strange and extensive symptoms experienced by people with “long Covid”, which is thought to affect more than 60,000 people in the UK. Fatigue, brain fog, breathlessness and pain are among the most frequently reported effects. On Sunday, the NHS announced it would launch a network of more than 40 long Covid specialist clinics where doctors, nurses and therapists will assess patients’ physical and psychological symptoms.
15th Nov 2020 - The Guardian
Recovering Covid-19 patients struggle to return to normal after hospital discharge, study finds
Surviving Covid-19 is hard enough for those who get severely ill from the disease, but returning to normal is a struggle, too, according to new research that found survivors were likely to face health and financial hardships even months later. A team of scientists led by Dr. Vineet Chopra of the University of Michigan Health System looked at 488 Covid-19 patients treated and released from hospitals in Michigan. They surveyed them about two months after their release, between March 16 and July 1.
14th Nov 2020 - CNN
Coronavirus Long Haulers Tell Us Their Symptoms and the Aftereffects of Disease
Eight months and more than 50 million documented cases into the pandemic, there’s still much we don’t understand about SARS-CoV-2. We do know that the majority of those infected with the novel coronavirus display no or mild symptoms. Worryingly, a not-insignificant portion of the 20 million people globally who’ve recovered suffer lingering effects, including lung, heart, and nervous system impairment.
9th Nov 2020 - Bloomberg
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Another Covid-19 breakthrough as researchers find inhaled multiple sclerosis drug proven to work
Just 13 per cent of patients given SNG001 fell ill enough to need intensive care. That was compared to 22 per cent of Covid patients who received a placebo. SNG001 uses naturally-occurring protein interferon beta which fights viruses
12th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
Asian people are more likely to get Covid-19 and die, study claims
Researchers combed through data of 18million people in 50 studies. They found higher risk of infection in Asian and black people compared to white. But only those of Asian ethnicity had higher odds of ICU or death. Although the study is the largest of its kind, it still leaves questions unanswered
12th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
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Study of nearly 2,000 Marine recruits reveals asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 transmission
A study of nearly 2,000 Marine recruits who went through supervised quarantine before starting basic training revealed several instances of asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, despite the quarantine measures. The findings have important implications for the effectiveness of public health measures to suppress transmission of COVID-19 among young adults, whether in military training, schools, or other aspects of the pandemic. The researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Naval Medical Research Center studied new Marine recruits while they were in a two-week supervised quarantine. The study results, publishing November 11 in The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that few infected recruits had symptoms before diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, that transmission occurred despite implementing many best-practice public health measures, and that diagnoses were made only by scheduled tests, not by tests performed in response to symptoms.
12th Nov 2020 - Medical Xpress
People with one of eight genes found on seven chromosomes are at a much higher risk of dying from Covid-19, study shows
Scientists have identified eight genes that have a major influence on a person's likelihood of survival if they become infected with the coronavirus. Faulty versions of these genes, known as super-variants, were discovered scattered across seven chromosomes by researchers at Harvard University. Having just one of these faulty genes can slash the chance of survival by at least 20 per cent. Data from the UK Biobank, released in August, allowed researchers to scrutinise the genetics of 1,778 people who contracted Covid-19. Of these, 445 people died, equating to just over a quarter of the study cohort. A computer scanned through the genomes of the infected people and looked for genetic locations which crop up that may be linked to mortality. But having three or more can see survival likelihood plummet to as low as 60 per cent.
11th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com
This $1 made-in-Africa Covid-19 test kit could revolutionize testing on the continent
For the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak began, Africa may be poised to reshape rapid testing for the virus on the continent. The Pasteur Institute, a biomedical research center based in Senegal's capital city of Dakar, says it is close to producing an affordable, handheld Covid-19 diagnostic test kit that can give results in a matter of minutes. The institute is running a new venture called DiaTropix, which has been working in partnership with five research organizations since March, including Mologic in the UK, to create the test kit. Amadou Sall, director of the Pasteur Institute and DiaTropix, told CNN that the biomedical center hopes the kit will cost as little as $1 to purchase. "This is a very simple technology, like a pregnancy test that you can use everywhere at the community level, which is important for Africa," he said. According to Mologic, this rapid test kit does not require electricity or need laboratory analysis
11th Nov 2020 - CNN
Uzbekistan to carry out late-stage trial of Chinese COVID-19 vaccine candidate
Uzbekistan will carry out a phase III trial of a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by China’s Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical Co., the Central Asian nation’s ministry of innovative development told Reuters on Wednesday. The deal makes the Zhifei Longcom vaccine the fifth COVID-19 candidate in China to enter late-stage, large scale human tests overseas. “The third phase of the pilot process will be conducted in Uzbekistan for 5,000 volunteers and the process will continue for a year,” the ministry said, adding that volunteers were aged between 18 and 59 and would undergo eight medical examinations within a year.
11th Nov 2020 - Reuters
Moderna Vaccine Trial Reaches Key Goal to Gauge Shot’s Merit
Now it’s Moderna Inc.’s time to be in the spotlight. The same U.S. explosion of Covid-19 cases that helped Pfizer Inc. get results for its vaccine trial earlier this week is helping speed along Moderna’s trial. Moderna said Wednesday its study has accumulated more than 53 infections, allowing a preliminary analysis of the shot’s effectiveness to begin. The shares jumped. Moderna didn’t predict how long it could take an independent monitoring committee to analyze the data, but said the company could get the data to the committee within days. The company said it is still blinded to the data.
11th Nov 2020 - Bloomberg
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Planes, dry ice, pharmacies: The vaccine challenges
The United States could be the first country to launch one of the most ambitious vaccine operations in history: distributing and administering up to 600 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in just a few months. Massive vaccine campaigns are nothing new - they have been carried out for decades in the fight against measles and flu, for example. But stamping out the coronavirus is a distinctly new challenge due to three factors: the short timeframe for inoculating a huge number of people; the fact that most vaccines will require two doses; and the very low temperature at which some of the vaccines must be stored.
10th Nov 2020 - RTE.ie
Oxford ups COVID-19 testing capacity with Thermo Fisher deal
The University of Oxford has partnered with U.S.-based Thermo Fisher Scientific to ramp up its capacity to deliver COVID-19 testing data and help collect and quantify immune responses in its vaccine trials, the university said on Tuesday. The collaboration will increase Oxford’s testing capacity to up to 50,000 tests per day with its new rapid testing lab and a device from Thermo Fisher that can detect antibodies developed in a person against the new coronavirus, it added.
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters
Eli Lilly receives authorisation for Covid-19 antibody treatment
The US Food and Drug Administration has given Eli Lilly the first emergency use authorisation for a Covid-19 antibody treatment, which the drugmaker hopes will help vulnerable people avoid hospitalisation. Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab therapy has been authorised for mild-to-moderate patients who are at risk for developing a more serious condition, such as the elderly or those with chronic illnesses. The treatment, designed to boost patients’ immune systems with artificially engineered antibodies, is the first drug developed for use this early in the disease.
10th Nov 2020 - Financial Times
Gastrointestinal effects of COVID-19 highlighted in new study
In a new study, researchers have synthesized evidence from 36 scientific articles to highlight the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in people with COVID-19. The study, appearing in the journal Abdominal Radiology, also identifies some of the signs abdominal radiologists should look out for when imaging people. Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.
10th Nov 2020 - Medical News Today
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Covid-19 news: Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is 'more than 90% effective'
A coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer is “more than 90% effective in preventing covid-19”, according to early results, the company announced today. The results have been described as “reason for optimism for 2021” by Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer. Joe Biden, US president-elect, said this was “excellent news”, but warned that “the end of the battle against covid-19 is still months away” as it will take “many more months before there is widespread vaccination.” Pfizer said that an early analysis of the results from the phase III trial found more than 90 per cent fewer symptomatic coronavirus cases among trial participants who received two doses of the vaccine candidate three weeks apart compared to those who received a placebo. So far in the trial, 38,955 people have received two doses of either vaccine or placebo as of 8 November, and there have been 94 confirmed coronavirus cases in total among them. The results have not been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, and Pfizer said further analysis will occur once there have been 164 confirmed coronavirus cases among the participants. Pfizer is developing the vaccine in partnership with German biotechnology company BioNTech.
9th Nov 2020 - New Scientist
English study suggests T cells could be sufficient to protect from COVID-19
High levels of so-called “T cells” that respond to the coronavirus could be sufficient to offer protection against infection, an English study said on Tuesday, adding to the evidence of the crucial role they play in immunity to COVID-19. T cells, a type of white blood cell that makes up part of a healthy immune system, are thought to be essential to protect against infection from the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus, and could provide longer term immunity than antibodies. The study on nearly 3,000 people, conducted by Oxford Immunotec and Public Health England (PHE), found that no participants with a high T cell response developed symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection when researchers followed up with them.
10th Nov 2020 - Reuters UK
Eli Lilly receives authorisation for Covid-19 antibody treatment
The US Food and Drug Administration has given Eli Lilly the first emergency use authorisation for a Covid-19 antibody treatment, which the drugmaker hopes will help vulnerable people avoid hospitalisation. Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab therapy has been authorised for mild-to-moderate patients, who are at risk for developing a more serious condition, such as the elderly, or those with chronic illnesses. The treatment — designed to boost the immune system of patients with artificially engineered antibodies — is the first drug developed for use this early in the disease. David Ricks, Eli Lilly’s chief executive, said it was a “valuable tool for doctors fighting the now-increasing burden of this global pandemic”.
10th Nov 2020 - Financial Times
Scientists reveal the most accurate and up-to-date visualisation of the Covid-19 coronavirus yet
Scientists have released the most up-to-date illustration of the coronavirus ever made, mapping both its external appearance and internal structure. The visualisation was created via a 3D model and combines the latest data on the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which is causing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Experts at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia created the model and hope it can help create treatments for Covid-19. In a video the academics showcase their model which includes the protein spikes on its surface as well as the genetic material wound up inside the viral membrane.
9th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com
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The ‘other vaccine’: Why the Imperial jab offers a different kind of hope in the fight against Covid-19
Robin Shattock won’t say it himself - he is a man of modesty, after all - but more people should be paying attention to his vaccine. As the race for a Covid-19 jab intensifies, the team at Imperial College London has somewhat flown under the radar. Headlines have instead been dominated by the fast-moving progress of their counterparts at Oxford and elsewhere. In time, though, it feels this could all change.
8th Nov 2020 - The Independent
Common cold antibodies hold clues to COVID-19 behavior; lung scans speed COVID-19 diagnosis in stroke patients
Common cold antibodies yield clues to COVID-19 behavior - Among people who were never infected with the new coronavirus, a few adults - and many children - may have antibodies that can neutralize the virus, researchers reported on Friday in Science. Among 302 such adults, 16 (5.3%) had antibodies, likely generated during infections with "common cold" coronaviruses, that reacted to a specific region of the spike protein on the new virus called the S2 subunit. Among 48 children and adolescents, 21 (43.8%) had these antibodies. In test tube experiments, blood serum from both older and younger uninfected individuals with cross-reactive antibodies could neutralize the new coronavirus. That was not the case with serum from study participants who lacked these antibodies. "Together, these findings may help explain higher COVID-19 susceptibility in older people and provide insight into whether pre-established immunity to seasonal coronaviruses offers protection against SARS-CoV-2," the publishers of the journal said in a statement. The findings also suggest that targeting the S2 subunit on the coronavirus spike protein might be the basis for a drug or vaccine that works on multiple types of coronavirus.
7th Nov 2020 - YAHOO!
Will a small, long-shot U.S. company end up producing the best coronavirus vaccine?
What a difference a year—and a pandemic—make. Today, Novavax is slated to receive up to $2 billion from the U.S. government and a nonprofit organization to develop and manufacture a coronavirus vaccine. The company’s stock closed at $80.71 per share on 30 October, it has hired more than 300 new employees, and this month it plans to launch a pivotal clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine in the United States and Mexico. Made by moth cells harnessed to crank out the virus’ spike protein—which the pathogen uses to invade human cells—Novavax’s vaccine outshone major competitors on key measures in monkey and early human tests.
7th Nov 2020 - Science Magazine
Coronavirus: Oxford vaccine trial issues warning after participants share swabs with family and friends
A message to participants of the clinical trial, sent today from the Covid research team based at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals Trust in London and seen by The Independent, confirmed some positive infections identified by the trial had been tracked to people who were not participating in the study. Oxford University today confirmed the problem but said it was a small number of participants whose results could be easily identified and would not affect the final results. The Oxford University vaccine is one of the leading candidates for mass inoculation against coronavirus to help bring about an end to the pandemic and end the lockdown not just in the UK but around the world.
7th Nov 2020 - The Independent
Coronavirus vaccine campaign will admit that jab may not be 100% safe
A campaign to encourage people to have a Covid-19 vaccination will acknowledge that the jab is not 100 per cent safe under an honesty-first approach designed to win over waverers. Barely half of Britons say that they will definitely be vaccinated against coronavirus, and plans being developed in government aim to acknowledge concerns to ensure the undecided are not swayed by antivax propaganda.
7th Nov 2020 - The Times
If One Leading Coronavirus Vaccine Works, Thank This Tiny Firm in Rural Austria
A key ingredient in what could be the first U.S.-approved Covid-19 vaccine comes from a family-owned company with 90 employees in the Austrian countryside, underscoring the fragility of the potential treatment’s supply chain. Polymun Scientific Immunbiologische Forschung GmbH is one of a handful of makers of lipid nanoparticles, microscopic vessels used to deliver genetic material into the body.
6th Nov 2020 - The Wall Street Journal
Regeneron looks to target most in-need patients for Covid drug
Regeneron said on Thursday it was working to address questions over how to target the most in-need patients for its antibody treatment for Covid-19, which US president Donald Trump said was a “cure” for the disease. The treatment could be approved for emergency use in the “relatively near future”, Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron’s chief executive, told analysts in a discussion of its latest earnings. The New York-based biotech said it will have 80,000 doses available by the end of the month, and 300,000 by the end of January. But the number of Covid-19 patients who could benefit from the drug, if approved, is soaring, with 100,000 cases reported in the US in a single day on Wednesday for the first time.
5th Nov 2020 - Financial Times
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Danish Covid-19 mink variant could spark new pandemic, scientists warn
A Danish vaccine specialist has warned that a new wave of coronavirus could be started by the Covid-19 mink variant. “The worst-case scenario is that we would start off a new pandemic in Denmark. There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from the others that we’d have to put new things in a vaccine and therefore [the mutation] would slam us all in the whole world back to the start,” said Prof Kåre Mølbak, vaccine expert and director of infectious diseases at Denmark’s State Serum Institute (SSI). He added, however, that the world was in a better place than when the Covid-19 outbreak began.“We know the virus, have measures in place including testing and infection control, and the outbreak will be contained, to the best of our knowledge.”
5th Nov 2020 - The Guardian
Regeneron hopes US will greenlight COVID-19 antibody drug soon
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said United States health regulators were doing a careful analysis of its experimental antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19 and that it was hopeful the drug could be authorised for emergency use in the country soon.
The treatment, which was given to US President Donald Trump during his COVID-19 infection, has been under review by the US Food and Drug Administration since last month. “We hope that it will reach a successful conclusion. But we don’t know the timeline,” Regeneron Chief Executive Officer Leonard Schleifer said during a conference call to discuss the company’s earnings. The company has said that clinical trial data shows the drug reduced medical visits in patients with mild to moderate cases. The antibody treatment would be the first drug designed specifically to fight COVID-19 and could become a tool in the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than one million people globally. Based on clinical trials, Regeneron expects emergency use authorisation could be granted for outpatients, a group that it believes would benefit the most from the drug. About 80,000 doses of the treatment could be ready by the end of this month, and 300,000 doses by the end of January, Regeneron said.
6th Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English
AstraZeneca Expects Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Results This Year
The drugmaker said late-stage trials for the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford are on track to produce results “later this year,” with a potential rollout soon after, subject to regulatory approval.
5th Nov 2020 - Wall Street Journal
Covid-19 antibodies drop by HALF just three months after infection
Study looked at antibody levels in 3,217 healthcare workers who had Covid
Reveals maximum antibody levels occur 24 days after initial infection. 85 days later the concentration of antibodies falls to half this number. Antibodies then drop below detestable levels 52 days after this point
5th Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
South Korea Approves Single Test to Detect Both COVID-19 and Seasonal Flu
With the onset of winter, and experts round the globe warning of an imminent second wave, South Korean medical authorities decided to approve the use of a single test to detect both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza. The latter, a disease recurring in colder months each year, would also be diagnosed through the same samples that will be collected for testing coronavirus, officials in the South East Asian nation said.
5th Nov 2020 - YAHOO!
Clots, Strokes And Rashes. Is COVID-19 A Disease Of The Blood Vessels?
Whether it's strange rashes on the toes or blood clots in the brain, the widespread ravages of COVID-19 have increasingly led researchers to focus on how the novel coronavirus sabotages the body's blood vessels. As scientists have come to know the disease better, they have homed in on the vascular system — the body's network of arteries, veins and capillaries, stretching more than 60,000 miles — to understand this wide-ranging disease and to find treatments that can stymie its most pernicious effects. Some of the earliest insights into how COVID-19 can act like a vascular disease came from studying the aftermath of the most serious infections. Those reveal that the virus warps a critical piece of our vascular infrastructure: the single layer of cells lining the inside of every blood vessel, known as the endothelial cells or simply the endothelium. Dr. William Li, a vascular biologist, compares this lining to a freshly resurfaced ice skating rink before a hockey game on which the players and pucks glide smoothly along.
5th Nov 2020 - NPR
AstraZeneca chief says COVID vaccine on track for year end
AstraZeneca Plc’s coronavirus shot could be ready for large-scale vaccinations as early as this year, Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said, dismissing reports of delays and production snags. The U.K. drugmaker is poised to unveil vaccine test results by year-end even after trials were slightly delayed over the summer as infection rates slowed in the northern hemisphere. A recent resurgence has allowed scientists to gather the clinical data they need, according to Soriot. Astra and the University of Oxford are keeping the vaccine in a frozen bulk state to preserve its shelf life while they await final test results. “At the end of the day, we don’t yet know if the vaccine works,” Soriot said in a Bloomberg Television interview, adding that many questions remain, such as whether it will show results for everyone and for how long. “We would hope that large-scale vaccinations would be possible starting in January next year — possibly even December.”
5th Nov 2020 - Aljazeera.com
India-made COVID-19 vaccine likely by February: Gov’t scientist
An Indian government-backed COVID-19 vaccine could be launched as early as February – months earlier than expected – as last-stage trials begin this month and studies have so far shown it is safe and effective, a senior government scientist has told the Reuters news agency. Bharat Biotech, a private company that is developing COVAXIN alongside the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had earlier hoped to launch it only in the second quarter of next year. “The vaccine has shown good efficacy,” senior ICMR scientist Rajni Kant, who is also a member of its COVID-19 task force, said at the research body’s New Delhi headquarters on Thursday. “It is expected that by the beginning of next year, February or March, something would be available.” Bharat Biotech could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters said.
5th Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English
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Tiny air pollution rise linked to 11% more Covid-19 deaths – study
A small rise in people’s long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with an 11% increase in deaths from Covid-19, research has found. Another recent study suggests that 15% of all Covid-19 deaths around the world are attributable to dirty air. The available data only allows correlations to be established and further work is needed to confirm the connections, but the researchers said the evidence was now strong enough that levels of dirty air must be considered a key factor in handling coronavirus outbreaks. The new analysis is based on research reported by the Guardian in April, which has now been reviewed by independent scientists and published in a prominent journal. The consideration of additional data and more factors that may also influence Covid-19 death rates refined the rise in deaths from 15% down to 11%. Most scientists think it is very likely that air pollution increases the number and severity of Covid-19 cases. Breathing dirty air over years is already known to cause heart and lung disease, and these illnesses make coronavirus infections worse. Short-term exposure is also known to increase the risk of acute lung infections.
4th Nov 2020 - The Guardian
Scientists develop “ultrapotent” COVID-19 vaccine candidate
Scientists have developed vaccine candidate for COVID that produces “extremely high levels” of protective antibodies in animal models, an advance that may lead to a novel therapeutic to curb pandemic
4th Nov 2020 - National Herald
COVID-19 tracker: Fosun pivots to BioNTech's 2nd shot for Chinese nod; AstraZeneca on track for 2020 data reveal
AstraZeneca fell short of its target to supply the U.K. with 30 million vaccine doses by September, the country's vaccine taskforce chief, Kate Bingham, said. Meanwhile, Russia's Sputnik V vaccine has reportedly hit manufacturing and quality control challenges. Singapore's Breathonix said its COVID-19 breathalyzer achieved at least 90% accuracy in an ongoing pilot study. Becton Dickinson scored a deal to provide millions of rapid antigen tests to the Netherlands. And the FDA on Tuesday warned that antigen tests could yield false positives if users fail to follow instructions closely. The worldwide case count passed 47.6 million Wednesday afternoon, with more than 1.2 million reported deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 dashboard.
4th Nov 2020 - FiercePharma
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Covid-19: How do you make a vaccine? – podcast
With any future Covid-19 vaccine requiring its manufacturing process to be signed off as part of its regulatory approval for use on the general population, Madeleine Finlay talks to Dr Stephen Morris from the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub about how vaccines are made at the volume and speed required for a mass vaccination programme
3rd Nov 2020 - The Guardian
COVID-19 'nanoparticle' vaccine could trigger strong immune response
Scientists say they have developed an experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate that is far more potent than others currently being investigated. In trials conducted in mice, the team from the University of Washington School of Medicine said its vaccine triggered a 10-times stronger immune response to the infection than seen in COVID-19 survivors. What's more, it also provoked a strong memory cell response, in which the body remembers the invading virus to produce antibodies more quickly if infected. The team says its vaccine does not require freezer storage like those being made by other companies, which makes it easier to produce and ship across the globe.
2nd Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
Scientists warn of new coronavirus variant spreading across Europe
A coronavirus variant that originated in Spanish farm workers has spread rapidly through much of Europe since the summer, and now accounts for the majority of new Covid-19 cases in several countries — and more than 80 per cent in the UK.
An international team of scientists that has been tracking the virus through its genetic mutations has described the extraordinary spread of the variant, called 20A.EU1, in a research paper to be published on Thursday. Their work suggests that people returning from holiday in Spain played a key role in transmitting the virus across Europe, raising questions about whether the second wave that is sweeping the continent could have been reduced by improved screening at airports and other transport hubs
29th Oct 2020 - Financial Times
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Regeneron's COVID-19 antibody cocktail therapy hits safety problem -
Regeneron’s coronavirus antibody cocktail therapy against COVID-19, famously used to treat president Donald Trump, has hit a safety issue after independent safety experts recommended it should not be given to high-risk patients in a late-stage clinical trial. It’s the latest blow for antibody therapies against COVID-19 after Eli Lilly last week announced it won’t resume a trial in hospitalised patients, after National Institutes of Health researchers concluded it wouldn’t help. Regeneron said an Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) from the REGN-COV2 trial said that based on an unspecified safety signal and an “unfavourable risk benefit profile” the committee recommends a modification to the trial protocol. The IDMC recommends further enrolment of patients requiring high-flow oxygen or mechanical ventilation be placed on hold pending collection and analysis of further data from those already on the trial.
2nd Nov 2020 - pharmaphorum
T-cell Covid immunity 'present in adults six months after first infection'
Cellular (T-cell) immunity against the virus that causes Covid-19 is likely to be present within most adults six months after primary infection, with levels considerably higher in patients with symptoms, a study suggests. The data offers another piece of the puzzle that could be key to understanding whether previous Sars-CoV-2 infections – the virus behind Covid-19 – can prevent reinfection, and if so, for how long. The study, led by the UK coronavirus immunology consortium, evaluated 100 non-hospitalised healthcare workers in March and April after antibody responses were detected in them. It is yet to be peer-reviewed. It is the first study to offer data on T-cell levels six months after infection in people with mild or asymptomatic disease that is likely to represent the majority of infections, the authors say.
2nd Nov 2020 - The Guardian
Coronavirus D614G mutation found in 99.9% of cases at US hospital
Researchers looked at the coronavirus strain of more than 5,000 Houston cases
Found that 99.9 per cent of the strains discovered were the D614G variant. This appeared in Europe in February and rapidly became dominant globally. Other studies have found this strain is more infectious than the original variant
2nd Nov 2020 - Daily Mail
T-cell study adds to debate over duration of COVID-19 immunity
A small but key UK study has found that “cellular immunity” to the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus is present after six months in people who had mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 - suggesting they might have some level of protection for at least that time. Scientists presenting the findings, from 100 non-hospitalised COVID-19 patients in Britain, said they were “reassuring” but did not mean people cannot in rare cases be infected twice with the disease. “While our findings cause us to be cautiously optimistic about the strength and length of immunity generated after SARS-CoV-2 infection, this is just one piece of the puzzle,” said Paul Moss, a professor of haematology at Britain’s Birmingham University who co-led the study.
2nd Nov 2020 - Reuters
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Johnson & Johnson to test coronavirus vaccine in children
“We plan to go into children as soon as we possibly can, but very carefully in terms of safety,” Jerald Sadoff, senior advisor with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine division, said according to Reuters. Sadoff said the company also has plans to test the vaccine in children younger than 12 if it’s shown to be safe among those 12 to 18.
The vaccine is one of four currently in late-stage clinical trials.
31st Oct 2020 - The Hill
UK's MHRA begins rolling review of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has begun a rolling review of Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, will be reviewed on a rolling basis, meaning that the MHRA will begin an independent assessment of the vaccine using information submitted by Moderna. The MHRA will then accept and consider new evidence when it becomes available until the application is sufficient to warrant authorisation of the shot.
30th Oct 2020 - PMLiVE
Regeneron's antibody cocktail hit by safety concerns; Novo's Rybelsus emerging from pandemic slump
Regeneron suspended testing its antibody cocktail in patients on high-flow oxygen or ventilation after an independent data monitoring committee flagged safety concerns. Two other cohorts in the trial—which focuses on hospitalized patients—are continuing as planned, and a separate trial in outpatients will also continue. The CDC asked states to come up with vaccine distribution plans by Tuesday as WHO announced it's not convinced the front-runner shots actually work in the elderly. Plus, smartwatches and Fitbits could help spot COVID-19 cases and support public health efforts to slow the disease's spread, a new study found.
30th Oct 2020 - FiercePharma
'It's possible': the race to approve a Covid vaccine by Christmas
The race for a Covid vaccine is reaching a crucial stage, with the glimmer of a possibility that one of the leading contenders will be approved by Christmas. In an interview with the Guardian, Kate Bingham, who heads the UK’s vaccine taskforce, said the UK was in “a very good place”. But there are still hurdles to clear in the coming weeks. The Guardian’s health editor, Sarah Boseley, explains the challenges ahead.
30th Oct 2020 - The Guardian
Next crop of COVID-19 vaccine developers take more traditional route
The handful of drugmakers dominating the global coronavirus vaccine race are pushing the boundaries of vaccine technology. The next crop under development feature more conventional, proven designs. The world will need several different vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, given the sheer size of global need, variations in effects on different populations, and possible limits of effectiveness in the first crop. Many leading candidates now in final-stage testing are based on new, largely unproven technology platforms designed to produce vaccines at speed. They include messenger RNA (mRNA) technology used by Moderna Inc
29th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!
Maersk and COVAXX partner to supply global COVID-19 vaccines
The agreement outlines a framework for all transportation and supply chain services that will be needed to deliver COVAXX’s vaccine candidate UB-612 worldwide, once approved by regulatory authorities. COVAXX is currently developing UB-612 through a high precision, synthetic peptide platform that activates both B-cell and T-cell arms. The investigational vaccine has been manufactured to replicate natural biology and preclinical studies have outlined high immunogenicity and levels of neutralising titers against SARS-COV-2. The technology platform has been successful in commercialising blood diagnostics as well as safe and effective vaccines for infectious disease in animal health and has been tested in a number of clinical trials for other indications to date.
28th Oct 2020 - Supply Chain Digital
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Pfizer says no COVID-19 vaccine data yet, could be week or more before it reports
Drugmaker Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it does not yet have data from the late-stage trial of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Germany's BioNTech SE, and provided a timeline that makes its release unlikely ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.Pfizer said there had not yet been enough infections in the 44,000-volunteer trial to trigger an analysis of whether or not the vaccine works. An independent panel will conduct the first analysis when it reaches 32 infections. Chief Executive Albert Bourla said after it has enough data for the analysis, it typically takes 5 to 7 days before the company can publicly release the data, meaning it is likely to happen after the election.
30th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!
Exclusive: Russia's COVID-19 vaccine trial slows as focus shifts to second dose
Russia has temporarily paused the vaccination of new volunteers in its COVID-19 vaccine trial, staff at eight of 25 trial clinics said, with some citing high demand and a shortage of doses. However, the vaccine’s developer said the uptake of new participants had only slowed. At eight of the 25 Moscow clinics hosting the trial and inoculating volunteers, staff told Reuters the vaccination of new participants was temporarily on hold, and several said they had used up the doses allocated to their clinics, referencing a large influx of volunteers.
29th Oct 2020 - Reuters
A new coronavirus variant is seen spreading across Europe, research says
A new variant of the coronavirus, identified as 20A.EU1 by researchers from Switzerland and Spain, was first observed in Spain in June. It has been recorded in Spain at frequencies of above 40% since July, the study said. Elsewhere, the new variant of the coronavirus has increased from “very low” values prior to July 15 to 40% to 70% in Switzerland, Ireland, and the U.K. in September. It was also found to be prevalent in Norway, Latvia, the Netherlands, and France.
29th Oct 2020 - CNBC
Moderna on track to report late-stage COVID-19 vaccine data next month
Moderna Inc on Thursday said it is on track to report early data from a late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine next month, offering the clearest timeline yet for when the world will know whether it is effective. The company, one of the front-runners in the global race to produce vaccines to protect against COVID-19, said an independent data monitoring committee is expected to conduct an interim review of its ongoing 30,000-person trial in November. Its shares rose 3%. The company said it is preparing to distribute the vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, and expects to be able to produce 20 million doses by the end of the year, and between 500 million and 1 billion in 2021.
29th Oct 2020 - Reuters
Israeli COVID vaccine starts human trials: ‘I’m giving my body, but no big deal’
Israel has started producing its new coronavirus vaccine. Will it work? Boaz Kolodner and 80 other Israelis have volunteered their immune systems to find out
29th Oct 2020 - The Times of Israel
Moderna says Covid-19 vaccine trial data 'on track' for November
One of the front-runners in the global efforts to acquire a vaccine against Covid-19 said it was on track to report on the preliminary results of its clinical studies in November. Moderna said early-stage data on the clinical trial was expected during the following month and that two months of safety data would be available in the second half of November. The latter was the minimum required to file for emergency use authorisation wit the top US health regulator, the Food and Drug Administration. The US biotechnology outfit also said that it was working with the World Health Organisation on a tiered pricing model for access to its vaccine.
29th Oct 2020 - Hargreaves Lansdown
The 'very, very bad look' of remdesivir, the first FDA-approved COVID-19 drug
On 8 October, the company inked an agreement to supply the European Union with its drug remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19—a deal potentially worth more than $1 billion. Two weeks later, on 22 October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved remdesivir for use against the pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the United States—the first drug to receive that status. The EU and U.S. decisions pave the way for Gilead’s drug into two major markets, both with soaring COVID-19 cases. But both decisions baffled scientists who have closely watched the clinical trials of remdesivir unfold over the past 6 months—and who have many questions about remdesivir’s worth. At best, one large, well-designed study found remdesivir modestly reduced the time to recover from COVID-19 in hospitalized patients with severe illness. A few smaller studies found no impact of treatment on the disease whatsoever. Then, on 15 October—in this month’s decidedly unfavorable news for Gilead—the fourth and largest controlled study delivered what some believed was a coup de grâce: The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Solidarity trial showed that remdesivir does not reduce mortality or the time COVID-19 patients take to recover.
28th Oct 2020 - Science Magazine
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COVID's cognitive costs? Some patients' brains may age 10 years
People recovering from COVID-19 may suffer significant brain function impacts, with the worst cases of the infection linked to mental decline equivalent to the brain ageing by 10 years, researchers warned on Tuesday. A non-peer-reviewed study of more than 84,000 people, led by Adam Hampshire, a doctor at Imperial College London, found that in some severe cases, coronavirus infection is linked to substantial cognitive deficits for months. “Our analyses ... align with the view that there are chronic cognitive consequences of having COVID-19,” the researchers wrote in a report of their findings. “People who had recovered, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits.”
27th Oct 2020 - Reuters
Can You Get Covid Twice? What Reinfection Cases Really Mean
The questions of whether people have immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after getting it, and if so for how long, have become more acute now that scientists have found a growing number of individuals who’ve caught the coronavirus twice. One woman even died after the second infection. Researchers are still working out the full implications of the reinfections and the ramifications on efforts to end the deadliest pandemic in a century. 1. How many people have been reinfected?
A tracker maintained by the Dutch news agency BNO News had recorded 24 cases globally as of Oct. 16. The first confirmed case, a 33-year-old man from Hong Kong, was reported in August. He’d tested positive in March with mild symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, and had two negative tests a few weeks later. Four and a half months after the first event, he tested positive again, although he had no symptoms. The only known person to have died from a case of reinfection was an 89-year-old Dutch woman, who was also undergoing chemotherapy treatment for a rare white blood cell cancer....
28th Oct 2020 - Bloomberg
A room, a bar and a class: how the coronavirus is spread through the air
After studying this outbreak carefully, scientists were able to calculate the extent to which the risk could have been mitigated if they had taken measures against airborne transmission. For example, if masks had been worn, the risk would have been halved and only around 44% of those present would have been affected as opposed to 87%. If the rehearsal had been held over a shorter period of time in a space with more ventilation, only two singers would have become infected. These super-spreading scenarios increasingly appear to be critical to the development and spread of the pandemic, meaning that having tools to prevent mass transmission at such events is key to controlling it.
28th Oct 2020 - EL PAÍS in English
The concept of “fatigue” in tackling covid-19
The concept of “fatigue” has been used to describe a presumed tendency for people to naturally become “tired” of the rules and guidance they should follow to prevent the spread of covid-19. This fatigue, so the theory goes, eventually makes people less motivated to adhere to these rules over time.1 The idea appears to be gaining currency and has alternatively been referred to as “behavioural fatigue,” “pandemic fatigue,” “emergency fatigue,” “public fatigue,” and “adherence fatigue.” A Google search on the phrase “pandemic fatigue” resulted in around 200 million hits, with articles on the first page with titles such as “10 reasons why pandemic fatigue could threaten global health,” and “Europe experiencing pandemic fatigue.” The question is whether the concept of fatigue accurately captures what is happening. This question is important because it affects policies aimed at maximising adherence. Outside of covid-19, the term fatigue has three main uses. One is a subjective feeling of mental or physical tiredness, which can be caused by mental or physical exertion, sustained activity, lack of sleep, or a health condition. It is a common symptom of covid-19 and of diseases such as cancer.2,3 It is also found in healthy individuals as part of daily living. The exhaustion may or may not be accompanied by reduced motivation to engage in particular tasks.
28th Oct 2020 - The BMJ
Around 1.4% of Covid-19 patients will suffer a stroke, scientists warn
Patients who have a stroke tend to be older, but younger than expected. Strokes caused by Covid-19 appeared to be more deadly than typical strokes. High blood pressure and diabetes were risk factors for Covid-19 stroke. The findings come from analysing 100,000 hospitalised patients
28th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail
Needle-free injection tech to deliver UK's COVID-19 vaccine
The University of Cambridge has received multi-million-pound funding from the government for a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine. Trial preparations are underway for the vaccine, which will be delivered via an innovative needle-free injection technology developed by US firm PharmaJet. It is hoped that a successful trial will result in the widespread availability of a low-cost vaccine. The vaccine has been developed by DIOSynVax, a spinoff company supported by the University of Cambridge, and uses computer modelling of the virus’ structure to identify the distinct genetic code. The combined artificial intelligence and synthetic biology approach allows for development of a vaccine that is specific to developing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
28th Oct 2020 - BusinessCloud
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Oxford Covid vaccine works in all ages, trials suggest
One of the world’s leading Covid-19 experimental vaccines produces an immune response in older adults as well as the young, its developers say, raising hopes of protection for those most vulnerable to the coronavirus that has caused social and economic chaos around the world. Neither Oxford University nor its commercial partner AstraZeneca would release the data from the early trials showing the positive effects, which are being submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. But AstraZeneca confirmed the basic findings about the vaccine it calls AZD1222, which were shared at a closed academic meeting.
28th Oct 2020 - The Guardian
Covid-19 herd immunity theory dealt blow by UK research
The proportion of people in Britain with antibodies that protect against Covid-19 declined over the summer, according to research that adds to evidence that natural immunity can wane in a matter of months. The number of people with antibodies fell by a quarter, from 6 per cent of the population in June to 4.4 per cent in September, according to a study of hundreds of thousands of people, one of the largest of its kind to date. The results, from researchers at Imperial College London, are the latest sign that immunity to Covid-19 may be shortlived and cast further doubt on the idea that any population could develop herd immunity naturally. The study suggests that the immune system’s response to the virus is similar to its reaction to influenza and other coronaviruses such as the common cold, which can be contracted annually.
27th Oct 2020 - The Financial Times
Pfizer urges patience in ‘last mile’ of Covid-19 vaccine process
Pfizer’s chief executive has urged patience in the “last mile” of Covid-19 vaccine development, after the timeline for an early look at whether a late-stage trial shows its vaccine works was poised to slip into November. Albert Bourla said on Tuesday that he was still “cautiously optimistic” about the vaccine, which could be the first submitted for US emergency approval. He noted that “stress levels” around the world were rising as the “worst fears” come true, with Covid-19 spreading in Europe, the US and around the globe. But the trial — which has enrolled over 42,000 participants, with 36,000 having received their second dose — has not yet hit the threshold at which it is allowed to do an initial analysis on whether the vaccine works.
27th Oct 2020 - The Financial Times
Breath test 'can diagnose Covid-19 within one minute'
A non-invasive Covid-19 breath test that could deliver results “within one minute” is being developed by UK scientists. The technology, which was originally developed as part of a project known as TOXI-Triage, would use “breath signatures” to “rapidly distinguish Covid-19 from other respiratory conditions”. The researchers said their findings, published in The Lancet’s EclinicalMedicine journal, could dramatically improve the experience of taking a coronavirus test as well as “play a part in restarting the economy”.
27th Oct 2020 - Aberdeen Evening Express
South Korea begins preliminary review of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate
South Korea's food and drug ministry said on Tuesday it had begun a preliminary review of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC for potential fast-track approval. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a statement that it had formed a screening team to review the vaccine candidate, with an application for formal approval expected in 90 days under its rapid approval programme for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.
27th Oct 2020 - Reuters on MSN.com
Novavax delays U.S. trial of Covid-19 vaccine candidate to November
Novavax on Tuesday delayed the start of a late-stage U.S. trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by roughly a month to the end of November, citing delays in scaling up the manufacturing process. Data from an early-to-mid stage or phase 2 trial of the vaccine is now expected on Friday, the company said. Early-stage data had showed the vaccine produced high levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus.
27th Oct 2020 - CNBC
Eli Lilly ends one of its COVID-19 antibody drug trials: A timeline
Eli Lilly has ended a trial of its COVID-19 antibody drug, bamlanivimab, that tested the drug's effectiveness in treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients, a month after an interim analysis suggested the drug helped the virus leave patients' systems sooner. The drug was shown to have no effect on recovery times or survival rates for patients hospitalized with advanced COVID-19, but it will continue to be tested for other COVID-19 patients. A timeline of Eli Lilly's development of bamlanivimab:
27th Oct 2020 - Becker's Hospital Review
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Coronavirus immunity may only last a few months after an infection, study warns
The proportion of the public testing positive for antibodies fell from six per cent to 4.4 per cent in three months, according to a major study commissioned in England by the Department of Health and Social Care.
27th Oct 2020 - Mirror Online
Heart inflammation in athletes who survive COVID-19 is NOT a major concern, say US doctors
A team of cardiologists say increased rates of myocarditis, inflammation of the heart, particularly among college athletes in the US diagnosed with COVID-19, is not a cause for concern.
26th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com
Elderly people given Oxford University's vaccine DO get protection from Covid-19
Suggests group at highest risk of serious illness and death could be protected
Study found jab prompted release of antibodies and T-cells in people over 55
Findings not made public yet but Oxford released statement to build excitement
26th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail
Johnson & Johnson sees covid-19 vaccine available as soon as January
Johnson & Johnson’s first batches of its Covid-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use as soon as January, Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, the company’s head of public health research and development, said in a presentation at the World Health Summit.
26th Oct 2020 - Mint
Israel to start COVID-19 vaccine human trials on Nov. 1
Israel will begin human trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by a research institute overseen by the Defence Ministry on Nov. 1 after receiving regulatory approval, the ministry said on Sunday. The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) began animal trials for its “BriLife” vaccine in March. The Health Ministry and an oversight committee have now given the green light to take it to the next stage. Eighty volunteers aged between 18 and 55 will be monitored for three weeks to see if virus antibodies develop, the ministry said in a statement. A second phase, expected to begin in December, will involve 960 people over the age of 18.
26th Oct 2020 - Reuters
Celltrion nabs emergency use for rapid COVID-19 test from FDA
Celltrion has nabbed a speedy preapproval for its quick pandemic virus test as it forecasts high demand. This comes three months after asking the FDA for an emergency use authorization, which has been giving COVID-19 tests and drugs the ability to be used in the U.S. but is not a full approval.
26th Oct 2020 - Fierce Biotech
Covid 19 coronavirus: The strange ways virus can affect the brain
On March 17 this year, a man was taken to hospital in Israel suffering from a dry cough and a loss of sense of smell. He developed a fever and felt tired but, after three days as an in-patient, was released to quarantine. Then something strange started happening. His handwriting changed. It became smaller, crabbed and unreadable. Not just that, but he struggled to speak clearly or write texts on his phone. His right hand began to tremble. Eventually, symptoms became so bad that he returned to hospital, this time to the department of neurology, dealing in disorders of the brain and nervous system.
26th Oct 2020 - New Zealand Herald
Oxford vaccine prompts immune response in elderly: AstraZeneca
An experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom produces an immune response in both younger and older adults, triggering lower adverse responses among the elderly, British drugmaker says.
26th Oct 2020 - Al Jazeera English
Coronavirus vaccines stir doubts among many people worldwide, new study shows
Survey respondents represented a random sample of the populations of 19 countries that comprise around 55% of the global population. Their characteristics and a summary of their responses to the survey questions are listed in Table 1. Women were 53.5% of the study population, and 63.3% of all participants earned more than $32 per day. More than a third of the respondents (36.3%) had a university degree, and 62.4% were between 25 and 54 years old....
20th Oct 2020 - Newswise
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AstraZeneca resumes U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trial and next week J&J prepares to do same
AstraZeneca Plc has resumed the U.S. trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine after approval by regulators, and Johnson & Johnson is preparing to resume its trial on Monday or Tuesday, the companies said on Friday. The news signaled progress against the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 41 million globally, including 8 million Americans and comes 10 days before a U.S. presidential election that may hinge on plans here to fight the pandemic. AstraZeneca, one of the leading vaccine developers, paused its U.S. trial on Sept. 6 after a report of a serious neurological illness, believed to be transverse myelitis, in a participant in the company’s UK trial. J&J paused its large, late-stage trial last week after a study participant became ill.
25th Oct 2020 - Reuters
Coronavirus vaccine: Oxford jab provides ‘strong’ immune response, analysis finds
AstraZeneca's Oxford coronavirus vaccine accurately follows its preprogrammed genetic instructions to successfully provoke a strong immune response, an analysis has found. The vaccine “is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness,” said David Matthews, an expert in virology from Bristol University, which led the research. AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine alongside Oxford University researchers, is considered a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine against Covid-19. The first data from late-stage large-scale clinical trials being conducted in several countries around the world, including Brazil, the United States and Britain, are expected to be released before the end of the year.
25th Oct 2020 - The Independent
Coronavirus: The Kiwi company closing in on world-first bio-bead COVID-19 vaccine trial
New Zealand has recorded another day of zero new cases of COVID-19 in the community - but as we make the most of the freedoms that are the envy of the rest of the world, a Kiwi company has taken a huge leap towards trialling its very own COVID-19 vaccine. The Covid-19 Vaccine Corporation has successfully grown its own 'bio-beads' - microscopic beads that have bits of the virus on them - and now it's launching a PledgeMe campaign to begin working towards clinical trials. It might look like any old lab experiment, but the barely-visible dots of bacteria scientists are working with represent a giant milestone for the COVID-19 vaccine efforts of a Kiwi company.
25th Oct 2020 - Newshub
Moderna completes enrolment of phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial
Moderna has completed enrolment of its late-stage phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine study, with 30,000 participants now enrolled in the study. According to the company, 25,654 participants have now received their second vaccination with Moderna’s vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in the phase 3 COVE study. The biotech company also touted the diversity of its trial population, with participants from minority groups represented in the overall group. In total, 37% of the trial populations consists of participants from minority ethnic groups, representing 11,000 volunteers. In addition, Moderna has included participants with higher risks of contracting COVID-19 or developing severe disease, with 25% of the trial population being over the age of 65 years.
24th Oct 2020 - PMLiVE
Coronavirus vaccine final-stage testing to restart in US
Two drugmakers have announced the resumption of US testing of their Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Testing of AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate had been halted since early September, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine study was paused at the beginning of last week. Each company had a study volunteer develop a serious health issue, requiring a review of safety data.
24th Oct 2020 - The Guardian
Oxford coronavirus vaccine 'has only been tested on 500 over-70s'
High hopes for Oxford University's 'ChAdOx' jab but only 1,000 or so of the 10,000 people recruited to UK arm of Oxford's trial are aged 70 or over. Half of them have been given the vaccine and half have had a placebo. Last night, former immunisation 'tsar' Professor David Salisbury said relatively small numbers might not be enough to generate meaningful result
24th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail
Recon: AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine packs a wallop; Merck KGaA, partners link for COVID mAbs
There are serious signs the Food and Drug Administration is getting cold feet over the notion of issuing emergency use authorizations to allow for the widespread early deployment of Covid-19 vaccines. Instead, it appears the agency may be exploring the idea of using expanded access — a more limited program that is typically used for investigational drugs — in the early days of Covid vaccine rollouts. Whereas a few weeks ago the agency’s concern was to protect against the possibility that unproven vaccines would be pushed out prematurely due to pressure from President Trump, now the fear is that early authorization of vaccines could squander a one-time chance to determine how well the various vaccines work and which work best in whom.
23rd Oct 2020 - Stat News
How Pfizer Partner BioNTech Became a Leader in Coronavirus Vaccine Race
On a Friday in late January, Ugur Sahin received an email with bad news: A new study of a deadly new coronavirus in China suggested it was more infectious than previously believed. The outbreak, he believed, had the potential to grow into a pandemic. The following Monday, the German scientist and chief executive of biotech firm BioNTech SE summoned his board to announce that the company, which had been developing next-generation cancer treatments, would start work on a Covid-19 vaccine. Human trials would need to start by April, he added, in case Europe and the U.S. had to go into lockdowns.
23rd Oct 2020 - The Wall Street Journal
Roche and Atea link up for oral COVID-19 drug; UK to test coronavirus vaccine T cell responses
Swiss pharma giant Roche has partnered with Atea Pharmaceuticals to develop an antiviral oral treatment for COVID-19. The two companies will jointly develop, manufacture and distribute AT-527, Atea’s investigational oral antiviral for the potential treatment of COVID-19. According to Roche, AT-527 blocks the viral RNA polymerase enzyme required for viral replication. It is currently being studied in a phase 2 study for the treatment of patients hospitalised with moderate COVID-19.
In the first quarter of 2021, a phase 3 clinical trial is expected to launch testing AT-527 as a potential therapy for COVID-19 patients outside a hospital setting. The drug could also be developed for the post-exposure prophylactic settings, added Roche.
22nd Oct 2020 - PMLiVE
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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 -
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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:
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
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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 2020View this newsletter in full
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