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Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Dec 2021

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COVID-19: 'Trigger' behind extremely rare AstraZeneca vaccine blood clots may have been discovered

Scientists led by a team from Arizona State University and Cardiff University worked with AstraZeneca to investigate the causes of thrombosis with vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia (VITT). TTS, which involves the formation of blood clots, is a life-threatening condition seen in a very small number of people after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The scientists say they now believe they have identified how a protein in the blood is attracted to a key component of the vaccine.
2nd Dec 2021 - Sky News

S.African data suggests Omicron gets around some, not all immunity

The Omicron variant appears able to get around some immunity but vaccines should still offer protection against severe disease, according to the latest data from South Africa where it is fast overtaking Delta to become the dominant variant.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

UK study finds mRNA COVID-19 vaccines provide biggest booster impact

COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna that use mRNA technology provide the biggest boost to antibody levels when given 10-12 weeks after the second dose, a British study published on Thursday has found. The "COV-Boost" study was cited by British officials when they announced that Pfizer and Moderna were preferred for use in the country's booster campaign, but the data has only been made publicly available now. The study found that six out of the seven boosters examined enhanced immunity after initial vaccination with Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine, while all seven increased immunity when given after two doses of AstraZeneca's (AZN.L) vaccine. "A third dose will be effective for many of the vaccines we've tested and in many different combinations," Professor Saul Faust, an immunologist at the University of Southampton and the trial's lead, told reporters.
2nd Dec 2021 - Reuters

Severe COVID tied to high risk of death, mostly by other causes, within year

Survivors of severe COVID-19—especially those younger than 65 years—may be at more than twice the risk of dying within the next year than those who had mild or moderate illness or were never infected, finds a study today in Frontiers in Medicine. Another finding of the analysis of electronic health records of 13,638 patients who tested positive or negative for COVID-19 is that only 20% of those who had severe COVID-19 (requiring hospitalization) and died did so because of complications of their infection, such as abnormal blood clotting, respiratory failure, or cardiovascular problems. Rather, 80% were due to different reasons typically considered unrelated to COVID-19. "Since these deaths were not for a direct COVID-19 cause of death among these patients who have recovered from the initial episode of COVID-19, this data suggests that the biological insult from COVID-19 and physiological stress from COVID-19 is significant," wrote the University of Florida at Gainesville researchers.
2nd Dec 2021 - CIDRAP


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Dec 2021

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COVID-19: Emerging picture from South Africa suggests Omicron variant could be real cause for concern

These graphs are showing a "sustained increase" in cases in recent days in most of South Africa's provinces. Out in front, is Gauteng province, home to Johannesburg and South Africa's capital Pretoria. This is where the Omicron was first documented. I've been told that data being published later this week will shows that nearly all this increase is likely due to cases of the Omicron variant. Like labs here in the UK, a PCR test for Omicron looks clearly different to the previously dominant Delta variant due to the "S-gene dropout". This is now the typical feature of cases in South Africa's fourth wave.
2nd Dec 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Most Omicron cases are 'mild' and there's no evidence to suggest vaccines may be less effective against the variant, says WHO official

Early indications suggest most Omicron coronavirus cases are "mild", an official at the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. Speaking on behalf of the organisation, the official said there is no evidence to suggest the efficacy of vaccines has been reduced by the new strain - but did say some mutations of the virus indicate an increased risk of quicker transmission. They said more than 40 different mutations have been identified with the Omicron variant. The WHO official, quoted by Reuters, added there is still a lot unknown about the new strain.
1st Dec 2021 - Sky News

Severe Covid infection doubles chances of dying in following year, study finds

Patients who survive severe Covid are more than twice as likely to die over the following year than those who remain uninfected or experience milder virus symptoms, a study says. The research, published in Frontiers in Medicine, suggests that serious coronavirus infections may significantly damage long-term health, showing the importance of vaccination. The increased risk of dying was greater for patients under 65, and only 20% of the severe Covid-19 patients who died did so because of typical Covid complications, such as respiratory failure.
1st Dec 2021 - The Guardian

Weak immune systems tied to more COVID-19 breakthrough infections

While COVID-19 breakthrough infections—cases after vaccination—are rare, fully vaccinated people with compromised immune systems have them three times more often than those with strong immune systems and have more severe illnesses, according to a real-world US study involving nearly 1.3 million people. In the retrospective study, published today in the Journal of Medical Economics, a team led by researchers from Pfizer analyzed the health records of 1,277,747 people aged 16 or older who had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from Dec 10, 2020, to Jul 8, 2021. The latter part of the study period included the emergence of the Delta (B1617.2) variant in the United States.
1st Dec 2021 - CIDRAP

Pfizer research head envisions a sprint to develop Omicron vaccine, if it’s needed

A top Pfizer executive says the company is hopeful that booster shots will provide sufficient protection against the Omicron variant — but has already envisioned a timeline for the development of a new vaccine if that’s not the case. Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, likened the company’s researchers to firefighters: They don’t know how serious the blaze will be, but need to prepare for the worst. And in this case, the worst would mean the need to develop new vaccines. “We do take the new variant of concern, Omicron, with seriousness,” Dolsten told STAT. “It can indeed be a potential new threatening wave … although we don’t know that yet. But we always start with being prepared for the worst.”
1st Dec 2021 - STAT News

Netherlands detections hint at earlier Omicron spread

In a statement today, the Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said that the samples that yielded the Omicron variant were obtained on Nov 19 and 23, before South Africa announced its findings and before travel bans went into effect. The samples were taken during municipal health service testing, and investigations and contact tracing are under way. RIVM also provided more details about the results of COVID-19 testing of 624 people returning from South Africa who arrived at Schiphol airport on Nov 26. Of 61 who tested positive for COVID-19, 14 had the Omicron variant. Sequencing revealed different strains of the Omicron variant, suggesting that people were probably infected from different sources and locations. Meanwhile, more countries reported Omicron cases. Japan confirmed its first case, which involves a Namibian diplomat who arrived in Japan on Nov 28, before the country's travel ban went into effect. Officials said the man had been fully vaccinated and was asymptomatic upon his arrival in Japan but developed a fever the next day.
1st Dec 2021 - CIDRAP


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Dec 2021

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The race is on to trace the new COVID-19 variant

Governments around the world are urgently scouring databases for recent cases of COVID-19 infections, screening travellers and decoding the viral genomes of the new variant as they try to measure how far it has spread. The pace of the work highlights the pressure on governments and public health authorities to decide quickly whether they need to take unpopular, economically damaging steps to curb Omicron's spread. Data shows it was circulating before it was officially identified in southern Africa last week and it has since been detected in more than a dozen countries read more . Work to establish if it is more infectious, deadly or evades vaccines will take weeks.
1st Dec 2021 - Reuters

Regeneron says its COVID-19 antibody drug could be less effective against Omicron

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc's COVID-19 antibody drug could be less effective against Omicron, it said on Tuesday, adding to fears about the efficacy of existing treatments after Moderna's top boss raised similar concerns about the company's vaccine. Global markets tumbled after comments from Moderna's chief executive officer rekindled worries that the variant may weigh on a nascent global economic recovery.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19 reinfection less likely to be severe; cardiac stress test useful for unexplained lingering breathlessness

Reinfections with the virus that causes COVID-19 are rarely severe, new findings suggest. Researchers in Qatar compared 1,304 individuals with a second SARS-CoV-2 infection with 6,520 people infected with the virus for the first time. The odds of developing severe disease were 88% lower for people with second infections, the researchers reported online on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters

How South African scientists spotted the Omicron COVID variant

On Friday Nov. 19, Raquel Viana, Head of Science at one of South Africa's biggest private testing labs, sequenced the genes on eight coronavirus samples - and got the shock of her life. The samples, tested in the Lancet laboratory, all bore a large number of mutations, especially on the spike protein that the virus uses to enter human cells. "I was quite shocked at what I was seeing. I questioned whether something had gone wrong in the process," she told Reuters, a thought that quickly gave way to "a sinking feeling that the samples were going to have huge ramifications".
30th Nov 2021 - Reuters


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Nov 2021

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WHO warns that new virus variant poses ‘very high’ risk

The World Health Organization warned Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences.” The assessment from the U.N. health agency, contained in a technical paper issued to member states, amounted to WHO’s strongest, most explicit warning yet about the new version that was first identified days ago by researchers in South Africa. It came as a widening circle of countries around the world reported cases of the variant and moved to slam their doors in an act-now-ask-questions-later approach while scientists race to figure out just how dangerous the mutant version might be.
29th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Scientists rapidly identified the Omicron variant. But firm answers about its impact could take weeks

The emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with a suite of mutations that suggests it might be extra transmissible and be able to evade at least some immune protection, has the world eager for answers about what it means for the Covid-19 pandemic. But so much remains unknown largely because the variant appears to have been detected and publicized so quickly. With other variants, a matter of months passed between the time they were first documented until they were designated “variants of concern” — in some cases giving scientists more opportunity to understand them before they attracted widespread attention. With Omicron, initially identified as B.1.1.529, it all happened within about two weeks.
29th Nov 2021 - STAT News


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Nov 2021

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China study warns of 'colossal' COVID outbreak if it opens up like U.S., France

China could face more than 630,000 COVID-19 infections a day if it dropped its zero-tolerance policies by lifting travel curbs, according to a study by Peking University mathematicians. In the report published in China CDC Weekly by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the mathematicians said China could not afford to lift travel restrictions without more efficient vaccinations or specific treatments. Using data for August from the United States, Britain, Spain, France and Israel, the mathematicians assessed the potential results if China adopted the same pandemic control tactics as those countries.
28th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Aussie vaccine researchers rush to include Omicron in jab development

Australian vaccine researchers will be putting the Omicron coronavirus variant under the microscope, with experts saying the rise of the new strain highlights the urgent need for sovereign vaccine manufacturing. The emergence of Omicron has prompted the companies that make COVID-19 vaccines for Australia, including Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna, to evaluate the efficacy of their products against the variant. Pfizer said it expects new data on the variant within a fortnight and would be able to tailor a new vaccine-specific variant within 100 days if it is found to be necessary. Nasdaq-listed Moderna, which is planning to set up operations in Australia, has said it is using a three-pronged strategy against Omicron. The company will evaluate data from a stronger booster shot of its original vaccine to see whether it is effective against the new strain. It is also studying two multi-variant booster candidates and will start work on an Omicron-specific booster in coming weeks.
28th Nov 2021 - The Age

BioNTech says it could tweak Covid vaccine in 100 days if needed

BioNTech says it could produce and ship an updated version of its vaccine within 100 days if the new Covid variant detected in southern Africa is found to evade existing immunity. The German biotechnology company is already investigating whether the vaccine it developed with US drugmaker Pfizer works well against the variant, named Omicron, which has caused concern due to its high number of mutations and initial suggestions that it could be transmitting more quickly. The company says it will know in two weeks whether its current vaccine is likely to be sufficiently effective against the B.1.1.529 variant, now named Omicron by the World Health Organization, based on lab-based experiments.
27th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Merck’s Covid-19 Pill Was 30% Effective in Final Analysis, Company Says

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said a final analysis of their experimental Covid-19 pill found the drug less effective than an early look, prompting U.S. health regulators to continue a staff review of the drug’s application days before an outside panel meets. The Food and Drug Administration made public Friday their initial review of the drug’s application, including an analysis of clinical-trial data for the drug, molnupiravir. Agency staff said the drug was effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death, but they didn’t take a position on whether the agency should authorize the drug. The agency also said no major safety concerns turned up in late-stage testing. The FDA said it is still conducting its review of molnupiravir, after the companies told the agency earlier this week the pill was 30% effective in a final analysis of the late-stage study results. After taking an early look at results, the companies had reported in October that molnupiravir was 50% effective.
27th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

BioNTech Expects Data on Vaccine Versus New Variant in Two Weeks

BioNTech SE has begun studying the new Covid-19 variant that has emerged in southern Africa and expects the first data from laboratory tests about how it interacts with its vaccine within two weeks. The lab data will shed light on whether the new variant, called B.1.1.529, can elude the vaccine it makes together with Pfizer Inc., the German biotech said on Friday. Pfizer and BioNTech put plans in place months ago to be able to ship a new version of their shot within 100 days if necessary, a BioNTech spokeswoman said. “We understand the concern of experts and have immediately initiated investigations,” BioNTech said in a statement.
26th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Moderna Edges Pfizer in Study of Five Covid Vaccines

The Moderna Inc. and Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccines both edged the version from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE in effectiveness in a large-scale study of five different immunization shots conducted by Hungarian researchers. Moderna’s vaccine was 88.7% effective in protecting against coronavirus infection and 93.6% effective against Covid-related mortality, compared with 85.7% and 95.4%, respectively for Sputnik, according to the paper published Wednesday on the website of the Clinical Microbiology and Infection medical journal. Pfizer came in third with 83.3% and 90.6%, respectively. The research reviewed the effectiveness of five vaccines in people at least seven days after they received their second dose. Data from more than 3.7 million vaccinated people aged 16 and over were reviewed from January to June of this year.
26th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

WHO Says New Strain Is a Variant of Concern, Names It Omicron

The World Health Organization said that a strain of coronavirus recently discovered by South African researchers is a variant of concern, posing a threat that could confound countries’ efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19. The WHO assigned the Greek letter omicron to the variant, which had been known as B.1.1.529, following a meeting by a panel of experts Friday. Scientists say the variant carries a high number of mutations in its spike protein, which plays a key role in the virus’s entry into cells in the body. It’s also what is targeted by vaccines, so if the protein changes enough, it raises concern that the mutations could make immunizations less effective.
26th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Nov 2021

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Africa Health Body Investigates New Covid Variant in South Africa

African health authorities plan to hold talks with their South African counterparts next week about a new coronavirus variant that has been found in the country. Data on the new variant is currently being analyzed and more information will be released after the meeting, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Director John Nkengasong said in a virtual briefing on Thursday. A new Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations has emerged, with cases reported in Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong, the Independent reported earlier. The B.1.1529, or so-called Botswana variant, is an offshoot of another variant called B.1.1., the London-based newspaper said.
25th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Nov 2021

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Bharat's COVID-19 shot 50% effective at height of India infections - small study

Bharat Biotech's vaccine was only 50% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in a high-risk population during a devastating second wave of infections in India this year, data gleaned from hospital workers showed. The real world study for Covaxin, conducted April 15-May 15, compares with a 77.8% effectiveness rate in a late-stage trial of more than 25,000 participants that was conducted November 2020 to January 2021. The new data analysed just over 1,000 COVID-19 cases with a test-negative control case group, matching by age and gender, according to the study which was published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
24th Nov 2021 - Reuters


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Nov 2021

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Covaxin Gave Lower Protection Amid India's Deadly Delta-Led Wave

Covaxin, one of the main vaccines used in India’s coronavirus immunization drive, provides only 50% protection against symptomatic Covid-19, according to a real-world study that suggests the shot is less effective than initially thought. As India was slammed by its second-major Covid wave earlier this year, researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi analyzed data from 2,714 of the hospital’s health workers who were showing signs of infection and underwent RT-PCR testing between April 15 and May 15, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. At the start of the country’s vaccination campaign in January, staff at AIIMS had exclusively been offered Covaxin, a shot co-developed by India’s state-funded health research agency and Bharat Biotech International Ltd.
23rd Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Vaccines Ward Off Severe Covid in U.S., Wane Against Infections

Covid-19 vaccines remain highly effective at keeping people alive and out of the hospital, but new U.S. data add further support to the argument that the shots aren’t preventing infections as much as they once did. Unvaccinated people were about five times more likely to test positive for the virus than the vaccinated in the week starting Sept. 26, down from about 15 times more likely in May, according to the latest age-adjusted data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which were updated Monday. The new figures come shortly after the CDC approved booster shots for all adults, and could provide additional support for third doses as the U.S. heads into its traditional winter virus season. Covid-19 cases are rising across many parts of the U.S., including the Midwest and Northeast. The CDC data isn’t adjusted for time since vaccination. That means that the earliest recipients of the vaccine -- mostly senior citizens and those with pre-existing conditions -- are possibly at even greater risk.
23rd Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID-19 tied to higher risk of stillbirth, maternal death

In the first study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Response Team analyzed data from the Premier Healthcare Database Special COVID-19 Release, a large, hospital-based database from March 2020 to September 2021, a period that included the emergence and eventual dominance of Delta. Of all pregnant women in the database, 53.7% were White, 50.6% had private health insurance, 15.4% were obese, 11.2% had diabetes, 17.2% had high blood pressure, 1.8% had multiple-gestation pregnancy, 4.9% smoked, and 1.73% had COVID-19. The study authors noted that most of the women who tested positive for COVID-19 at delivery were likely unvaccinated. Among 1,249,634 deliveries at 736 hospitals, stillbirths were rare, at 0.65%, but the rate was 1.26% among 21,653 deliveries to pregnant COVID-19 patients, compared with 0.64% among 1,227,981 deliveries to non–COVID-19 patients. Stillbirths were defined as fetal deaths at 20 weeks' gestation or later.
22nd Nov 2021 - CIDRAP


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Nov 2021

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Experimental chewing gum may reduce virus spread; Booster shot protection may be longer lasting

An experimental chewing gum containing a protein that "traps" coronavirus particles could limit the amount of virus in saliva and help curb transmission when infected people are talking, breathing or coughing, researchers believe. The gum contains copies of the ACE2 protein found on cell surfaces, which the virus uses as a gateway to break into cells and infect them. In test-tube experiments using saliva and swab samples from infected individuals, virus particles attached themselves to the ACE2 "receptors" in the chewing gum. As a result, the viral load in the samples fell by more than 95%, the research team from the University of Pennsylvania reported in Molecular Therapy. The gum feels and tastes like conventional chewing gum, can be stored for years at normal temperatures, and chewing it does not damage the ACE2 protein molecules, the researchers said. Using gum to reduce viral loads in saliva , they suggest, would add to the benefit of vaccines and would be particularly useful in countries where vaccines are not yet available or affordable.
22nd Nov 2021 - Reuters

‘Herd immunity’ more complex than reaching 70% vaccine rate, says Oregon health expert

With COVID cases declining and the vaccine rate reaching 73%, many Oregonians are wondering when they can drop their face masks. Health experts say: not until early next year, if not longer. The COVID-19 booster is now available to all adults in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority made the announcement Saturday, a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced similar federal guidelines. The news comes after a weeks-long decline in COVID cases across the state. Case numbers are about half what they were at the peak of the Delta surge in September, and COVID-related hospitalizations are down to about 400 patients. By contrast, there were 1,178 COVID patients in Oregon on Sept. 1. Nonetheless, state health officials say there’s still a long road ahead.
22nd Nov 2021 - OPB News

Pfizer's Covid vaccine was 100% effective in kids in longer-term study

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday that their Covid-19 vaccine was 100% efficacious in preventing infections in 12- to 15-year-olds, measured from seven days to four months after administration of the second dose of the vaccine. The companies said the new data — a longer-term analysis of a Phase 3 trial conducted in 2,228 participants — will form the basis of an application to the Food and Drug Administration for an extension of their Covid-19 vaccine license to cover youths in the age group.
22nd Nov 2021 - STAT


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Nov 2021

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Pfizer to apply for EU authorization of its COVID pill on Friday

Pfizer plans to apply for a European authorisation of its experimental antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 on Friday, German weekly Wirtschaftswoche said, citing sources close to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the company. The paper also said that acting German health minister Jens Spahn plans to buy Pfizer's medicine. "The health ministry is in contact with Pfizer regarding a possible procurement of the antiviral drug Paxlovid," Wirtschaftswoche quoted a ministry's spokesperson as saying.
20th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Could this gene double your risk of dying from COVID-19?

Soon after the pandemic began, we knew that certain groups of people are more at risk of dying from COVID-19 than others. It was immediately clear that those with specific underlying health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease were at increased risk, but slowly it became evident that certain ethnic groups were also being disproportionately affected. Social factors have played an important role in why these groups have been more affected than others, but genetics may also play a part. Scientists at Oxford University have now identified a version of a gene that may be associated with doubling the risk of respiratory failure from COVID, and it could go some way to explaining why people from particular backgrounds are more likely to die from the virus. The study’s authors said that their work identifying the gene was extremely difficult because it wasn’t merely the presence of the gene they were looking for, but whether it was switched “on”, making it more high risk.
20th Nov 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Scientists mystified, wary, as Africa avoids COVID disaster

There is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said. Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports.
20th Nov 2021 - The Associated Press

Delta variant dangerous during pregnancy, CDC reports say

Once the delta variant took hold in the United States, pregnant individuals and their fetuses or babies faced increased risks from coronavirus infections, according to two new reports released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One report found that 15 pregnant patients died of covid-related causes between March 2020 and early October, including nine who died after delta became the most prominent strain. All but one of the women who died had underlying health conditions, and none had been fully vaccinated. The second report found that the risk of stillbirth increased about fourfold for women with covid-19 as delta surged. The reports’ authors emphasize the importance of preventive measures including vaccination, which the CDC recommends for pregnant people. Only about 30 percent of pregnant Americans are vaccinated, a rate far lower than the population as a whole.
20th Nov 2021 - The Washington Post


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Nov 2021

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New Reconstruction Points to Animal Origins for Covid-19

A scientist known for investigating viral origins has reconstructed the first known weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, adding to a growing body of evidence that the virus behind it jumped from infected animals to humans rather than emerging from laboratory research. In a paper published Thursday in the academic journal Science, Michael Worobey concludes a wholesale seafood market in Wuhan, China, where live mammals were sold is very likely to be the site of the origin of the pandemic. The precise role of the Huanan market in the pandemic has been debated by scientists. Dr. Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona who previously unearthed clues about the origins of the 1918 pandemic flu and HIV, showed that most of the known Covid-19 cases in December 2019 had a direct or indirect link to the Huanan market. These infected people worked at the market, visited it, had contact with someone who was there or lived nearby, he found by piecing together genetic data, reports and accounts of early patients.
18th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

AstraZeneca's antibody drug over 80% effective at preventing Covid, trial shows

The data showed that patients given a single injection of the antibody treatment were 83% less likely to develop symptomatic cases of the coronavirus than participants who were given a placebo. Around 2% of the world’s population is thought to be at risk of not responding well to Covid-19 vaccines, according to AstraZeneca. In a separate trial, patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 who were given one dose of AZD7442 within three days of developing symptoms had their risk of developing severe disease reduced by 88%.
18th Nov 2021 - CNBC

UK study suggests Delta subvariant less likely to cause symptoms

A subvariant of Delta that is growing in Britain is less likely to lead to symptomatic COVID-19 infection, a coronavirus prevalence survey found, adding that overall cases had dropped from a peak in October. The Imperial College London REACT-1 study, released on Thursday, found that the subvariant, known as AY.4.2, had grown to be nearly 12% of samples sequenced, but only a third had "classic" COVID symptoms, compared with nearly a half of those with the currently dominant Delta lineage AY.4. Two-thirds of people with AY.4.2 had "any" symptom, compared with more than three-quarters with AY.4.
18th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Mask-wearing cuts Covid incidence by 53%, says global study

Mask-wearing is the single most effective public health measure at tackling Covid, reducing incidence by 53%, the first global study of its kind shows.Vaccines are safe and effective and saving lives around the world. But most do not confer 100% protection, most countries have not vaccinated everyone, and it is not yet known if jabs will prevent future transmission of emerging coronavirus variants. Globally, Covid cases exceeded 250 million this month. The virus is still infecting 50 million people worldwide every 90 days due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, with thousands dying each day. Now a systematic review and meta analysis of non-pharmaceutical interventions has found for the first time that mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing are all effective measures at curbing cases – with mask wearing the most effective.
18th Nov 2021 - The Guardian


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Nov 2021

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Atrial fibrillation significantly increases a person’s risk of serious complications and death from COVID-19

A new study from researchers at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City finds that patients with atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia in adults, are at significantly higher risk to experience serious complications from COVID-19 illness. The study found that patients with a history of atrial fibrillation who have COVID-19 illness are not only more likely to need hospitalization, ICU and ventilator support, but nearly 62% more likely to suffer a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart failure hospitalization, and 40% more likely to die than individuals who don’t have a history of atrial fibrillation.
17th Nov 2021 - EurekAlert!

Could this gene double your risk of dying from COVID-19?

Soon after the pandemic began, we knew that certain groups of people are more at risk of dying from COVID-19 than others. It was immediately clear that those with specific underlying health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease were at increased risk, but slowly it became evident that certain ethnic groups were also being disproportionately affected. Social factors have played an important role in why these groups have been more affected than others, but genetics may also play a part. Scientists at Oxford University have now identified a version of a gene that may be associated with doubling the risk of respiratory failure from COVID, and it could go some way to explaining why people from particular backgrounds are more likely to die from the virus. The study’s authors said that their work identifying the gene was extremely difficult because it wasn’t merely the presence of the gene they were looking for, but whether it was switched “on”, making it more high risk.
17th Nov 2021 - AlJazeera

Europe only region with increasing COVID deaths last week: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that Europe was the only region in the world where COVID-related deaths increased last week after a rise of 5 percent. In its weekly report on the pandemic issued on Tuesday, the WHO also said cases jumped 6 percent globally, driven by a rise in the Americas, Europe and Asia. WHO said COVID-19 deaths in all regions other than Europe remained stable or declined last week, totalling 50,000 worldwide. Of the 3.3 million new infections reported, 2.1 million came from Europe, it said. It was the seventh consecutive week that COVID-19 cases continued to mount across the 61 countries that WHO counts in its European region, which stretches through Russia to Central Asia.
17th Nov 2021 - AlJazeera


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Nov 2021

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Pfizer Submits Covid-19 Pill for FDA Authorization

Pfizer Inc. said it asked U.S. health regulators to authorize its oral Covid-19 drug for use in high-risk patients, putting the pill on a path that could make it available for people to take at home by the end of the year. Clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would give patients and doctors an easy-to-use treatment to keep people out of the hospital early in the course of the disease. “There is an urgent need for lifesaving treatment options,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said Thursday. “We are moving as quickly as possible in our effort to get this potential treatment into the hands of patients.”
16th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Why Impact of 'Long Covid' Could Outlast the Pandemic

Millions of people who have gotten Covid-19 and survived are finding that a full recovery can be frustratingly elusive. Weeks or even months after seemingly recovering from even a mild case, many patients still confront a wide range of health problems. As researchers try to measure the duration and depth of what’s being called “long Covid,” specialized, post–acute Covid clinics are opening to handle the patients. The scale of the pandemic and persistence of some of Covid’s disabling effects mean the economic pain and drain on health resources could continue well after the contagion ends.
16th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

Three doses of COVID-19 mRNA vaccination safe in high-risk populations

Earlier reports have suggested the high effectiveness of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines at preventing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. However, their efficacy against mild COVID-19 disease appears to wane over time. Thus, the need for additional/booster vaccine doses is being contemplated. This retrospective study included adults within the Mayo Clinic Enterprise who were vaccinated with three doses of United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines from December 1, 2020, to October 17, 2021. Participants received the first two doses of BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 according to the emergency use authorization (EUA) protocol. The study participants were administered a third dose of the same vaccine type as the original two doses at least 28 days after the second dose. All subjects were followed up for at least 14 days after their third vaccine dose.
16th Nov 2021 - News-Medical.Net

Researchers find way to filter coronavirus particles out of the air

A study by researchers suggests that air filters can remove almost all airborne traces of COVID-19. The findings by the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke's Hospital could not only improve the safety of "surge wards" but also opens up the possibility of setting standards for cleaner air to reduce the risk of indoor transmission. With fears growing of another potential wave this winter, the discovery could allow hospitals to better manage their repurposed "surge wards" which can often lack the ability to change the air with a high frequency.
16th Nov 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Boosters not only replenish immunity against transmission but lift it too, new data shows

These two types of protection - against transmission and against severe disease - are both very important, but they are also quite different. Just because a particular vaccine is good at one thing doesn't necessarily mean it's equally good at the other thing. Just because a particular vaccine's effectiveness at preventing transmission is waning doesn't necessarily mean its effectiveness at preventing serious disease is diminishing at the same rate. I say all of this not just because the two types of protection are often conflated (though they are) but because keeping this distinction under your hat is quite important when navigating all the data around COVID and vaccines.
16th Nov 2021 - Sky News


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Non-White race tied to higher risk for COVID infection, severity

A US meta-analysis and systematic review of data on 4.3 million patients analyzed in 68 cohort and cross-sectional studies shows that, relative to White people, Black, Hispanic, and Asian populations were at higher risk for COVID-19 infection and admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) but were less likely to die of the disease. The study, published yesterday in JAMA Network Open, was designed to uncover the link between socioeconomic determinants of health and racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes. A team led by University of California at San Diego researchers searched for COVID-19 studies that included data on race and rates of infection, disease severity, and socioeconomic status published from Jan 1, 2020, to Jan 6, 2021, well before the more transmissible Delta (B1617.2) variant was predominant in the United States.
12th Nov 2021 - CIDRAP

Late to the party: Europe on the verge of approving Roche and Celltrion antibodies for COVID

Nearly a full year after the U.S. gave Regeneron’s antibody cocktail for COVID-19 patients emergency authorization, Europe is on the verge of approving the monoclonal antibody duo. The European Medicines Agency's (EMA's) committee for human medicines also has recommended another antibody treatment for approval, Celltrion’s regdanvimab. The EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has passed the recommendations to the European Commission for approval. The Regeneron cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab, which is marketed outside of the U.S. by Roche and known commercially as Ronapreve, is recommended for COVID-19 patients who do not require supplemental oxygen and are at risk to progress to a severe form of the disease. It also is recommended for use as post-exposure prophylaxis. While the recommendations cover all adults, they also include adolescents 12 years or older weighing at least 40 kilograms, or roughly 88 pounds.
12th Nov 2021 - FiercePharma


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Nov 2021

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Covaxin, India’s homegrown COVID jab, ‘highly efficacious’: Study

Covaxin, the first COVID-19 vaccine developed in India, is “highly efficacious” and presents no safety concerns, according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet. Covaxin gained emergency approval from the World Health Organization last week, the eighth jab to be given the green light by the health body. The vaccine has already been cleared for use in 17 countries. Known by the code BBV152, Covaxin is an inactivated virus-based COVID-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology. The WHO has described it as “extremely suitable for low- and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements”. Some of the other approved vaccines must be stored at very low temperatures, which throws up logistical and cost problems.
12th Nov 2021 - Al Jazeera English

The Valneva COVID-19 vaccine: Why it might be a game-changer

French pharmaceutical company Valneva is throwing its hat into the vaccine ring, but it has a vaccine with a difference. Rather than induce an immune response that targets just the spike protein of the coronavirus, the Valneva vaccine, also known as VLA2001, stimulates an immune response to the entire virus, and that might just give it an edge over its competitors. It is different in that it uses the tried and tested method of taking the whole of the coronavirus and inactivating it so that it can no longer cause illness. It then combines with an adjuvant, a substance that helps it enter human cells effectively.
12th Nov 2021 - Al Jazeera English

WHO eyes meeting to set guidelines on COVID-19 pills

World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Friday they were hoping to convene a meeting soon to set guidelines on the use of COVID-19 antiviral pills, saying they offered "very attractive" new prospects for clinical care. Britain became the first country to approve one of the potentially game-changing pills earlier this month. Janet Diaz, the WHO's top official for clinical care responses, said that a meeting of its guidelines development group would consider the question of COVID pills in a forthcoming meeting in three weeks. Another WHO official Mike Ryan said preliminary findings on the pills was "very, very welcome", adding that a "careful process" was not required before the therapies should be expanded more broadly.
12th Nov 2021 - Reuters

GSK-Vir COVID-19 antibody works as shot in the arm as well as infusion

Britain's GSK and partner Vir said on Friday their antibody-based COVID-19 drug was shown in a trial to work as well when given as a shot in the arm awhen administered via the standard infusion, potentially offering more convenience. GSK said it would now speak to global regulators, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about potential approval for the new method of administration, known as intramuscular injection, which can be carried out by family doctors and spare patients a trip to hospital.
12th Nov 2021 - Reuters

An Interview With Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, described the current status of the pandemic in the United States as a “mixed bag” that is leaning more toward the positive than the negative. But there is still work to do, he said, including dealing with complicated factors such as vaccination rates, contagious variants of the virus and waning immunity to infection. In our conversation, Dr. Fauci weighed in on vaccine mandates, booster shots and the end of the pandemic. “Ultimately, all pandemics burn themselves out,” he told us, adding: “So you have a choice. Do you want it to burn itself out and kill a lot more people and make a lot more people sick? Or do you want to do something about it to prevent further deaths and further illness?”
12th Nov 2021 - The New York Times


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India's Covaxin 77.8% Effective Against Covid in Lancet Study

Covaxin, a vaccine developed by India’s government medical research agency and Bharat Biotech International Ltd., was found to have a 77.8% efficacy rate against symptomatic Covid-19 in a long-awaited analysis published in The Lancet. Covaxin, which uses traditional, inactivated-virus technology, “induces a robust antibody response” two weeks after two doses are given, The Lancet said in a statement. No severe-vaccine-related deaths or adverse events were recorded during a randomized trial involving 24,419 participants aged 18-97 years between Nov. 2020 and May 2021 in India, the medical journal said.
11th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

UK researchers identify T-cell targets for future COVID vaccines

British researchers said on Wednesday they had identified proteins in the coronavirus that are recognised by T-cells of people who are exposed to the virus but resist infection, possibly providing a new target for vaccine developers. Immunity against COVID-19 is a complex picture, and while there is evidence of waning antibody levels six months after vaccination, T-cells are also believed to play a vital role in providing protection. The University College London (UCL) researchers examined 731 health workers in two London hospitals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and found that many had not tested positive despite likely exposure to the original coronavirus.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Israeli 'wargame' sees kids suffering vaccine-resistant COVID strain

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and senior aides holed up in a nuclear command bunker on Thursday to simulate an outbreak of a vaccine-resistant COVID-19 variant to which children are vulnerable, describing such an eventuality as "the next war". Israel would brief foreign leaders next week on the findings of the drill, he said, citing Britain's Boris Johnson as among counterparts with whom he is in contact. Bennett said that, to enhance the challenge of the one-day exercise, he had been kept unaware of specific scenarios of an imagined 10-week crisis that starts over the December holidays.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Sleep apnea linked to COVID-19 outcomes

Sleep apnea tied to severe COVID-19 - The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is higher in people with obstructive sleep apnea and other breathing problems that cause oxygen levels to drop during sleep, researchers say. They tracked 5,402 adults with these problems and found that roughly a third of them eventually tested posted for the coronavirus. While periodic episodes of not-breathing while asleep - leading to low oxygen levels, or hypoxia - did not increase people's chances of being infected, sleep-related hypoxia did increase infected patients' odds of needing to be hospitalized or dying from COVID-19, Drs. Cinthya Pena Orbea and Reena Mehra of the Cleveland Clinic and colleagues reported on Wednesday in JAMA Network Open. It is not clear if treatments that improve sleep apnea, such as CPAP machines that push air into patients' airways during sleep, would also reduce the risk of severe COVID-19, said Pena Orbea and Mehra.
11th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Researcher blows the whistle on data integrity issues in Pfizer’s vaccine trial

Revelations of poor practices at a contract research company helping to carry out Pfizer’s pivotal covid-19 vaccine trial raise questions about data integrity and regulatory oversight. A regional director who was employed at the research organisation Ventavia Research Group has told The BMJ that the company falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported in Pfizer’s pivotal phase III trial.
2nd Nov 2021 - BMJ.com


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Israeli MRI study finds heart damage from COVID-19 vaccine is rare and mild

A study conducted by Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, using a detailed scanning technique to examine patients with symptoms of a heart muscle condition after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, found that damage was rare, mild, and expected to heal. The study used cardiac magnetic resonance imaging on patients diagnosed with myocarditis, a weakening of the heart muscles that has been found in a few patients after they were inoculated. A link has been seen in recent months between coronavirus vaccines using mRNA technology and very rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart).
10th Nov 2021 - The Times of Israel

Long COVID symptoms may have causes other than SARS-CoV-2

A French study finds that, of 20 persistent physical symptoms reported by adults who said they had recovered from COVID-19, only 1 was linked to SARS-CoV-2 infection, as indicated by the presence of antibodies to the virus. The researchers, however, said that the results don't discount the presence of symptoms but rather underscore the importance of considering all possible causes in addition to COVID-19, such as other diseases, anxiety, or deconditioning related to the pandemic but not the virus itself. The study, published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine, involved analysis of blood samples from 26,823 adult participants who reported recovering from COVID-19.
10th Nov 2021 - CIDRAP


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New data from Texas suggests unvaccinated people are 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19

The Texas Department of State Health Services released a report that analyzed COVID-19 cases and deaths starting from Jan. 15 through Oct. 1. The report initially found that unvaccinated people were 40 times more likely to die from COVID-19 between Jan. 15 and Oct. 1. But as the unvaccinated population shrunk, between Sept. 4 and Oct. 1 that number dropped to 20 times more likely to die.
10th Nov 2021 - The Hill

Covid-19 drove deaths up 16% in OECD countries and hit mental health, too, report finds

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a 16% rise in expected deaths among the 38 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, hitting overall life expectancy in 24 out of 30 members, the organization said Tuesday. Life expectancy fell the most in Spain and the United States, the group said, with the United States losing 1.6 years of life per capita on average over the year and a half of the pandemic so far, and Spain losing 1.5 years, the OECD said. "COVID 19 contributed, directly and indirectly, to a 16% increase in the expected number of deaths in 2020 and the first half of 2021 across OECD countries," the group said in its report.
9th Nov 2021 - CNN

Analysis: COVID-19 pills are coming, but no substitute for vaccines, disease experts say

Oral antiviral pills from Merck & Co and Pfizer Inc have been shown to significantly blunt the worst outcomes of COVID-19 if taken early enough, but doctors warn vaccine hesitant people not to confuse the benefit of the treatments with prevention afforded by vaccines. While 72% of American adults have gotten a first shot of the vaccine, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, the pace of vaccination has slowed, as political partisanship in the United States divides views on the value and safety of vaccines against the coronavirus.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Australia's NSW says unvaccinated 16 times more likely to die from COVID-19

Unvaccinated people are 16 times more likely to end up in intensive care units or die from COVID-19, Australia's New South Wales state said in a report, with officials urging people to get inoculated as Australia begins to live with the coronavirus. The data from New South Wales (NSW) health department out late on Monday showed only 11% of people out of 412 who died from the Delta outbreak over four months through early October were fully vaccinated. The average age of those deaths was 82. Only around 3% of people in intensive care units had two doses, while more than 63% of the 61,800 cases detected between June 16 and Oct. 7 were unvaccinated.
9th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Regeneron says antibody cocktail reduces risk of contracting Covid by 80% for at least 8 MONTHS

Regeneron says its antibody cocktail REGEN-COV reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 by 81.6% two to eight months after it is administered. During this period, seven people in the treatment group developed Covid compared to 38 in the placebo group. None of the people given the cocktail were hospitalized with the virus compared to five who received a placebo. The drug was authorized last year as a treatment for COVID-19 but has since been expanded so it can be used as a prophylactic
8th Nov 2021 - Daily Mail


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Pfizer Says Covid-19 Pill Is 89% Effective in Preliminary Assessment

Pfizer Inc. said a preliminary look at study results found that its experimental pill was highly effective at preventing people at high risk of severe Covid-19 from needing hospitalization or dying, the latest encouraging performance for an early virus treatment. The company’s drug cut the risk of hospitalization or death in study subjects with mild to moderate Covid-19 by about 89% if they took the pill within three days of diagnosis, Pfizer said Friday. The drug, called Paxlovid, was also found to be generally safe and well-tolerated in the early look at ongoing study results, the company said.
6th Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID-19 vaccines more protective than 'natural' immunity

A previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 vaccination can provide immunity and protection against future illness. A new study has compared the level of immunity afforded by a previous infection with the protection provided by a COVID-19 vaccine. The results suggest that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are around five times more effective at preventing hospitalization than a previous infection.
5th Nov 2021 - Medical News Today

Gene linked to doubling risk of COVID-19 death found by UK scientists

British scientists have identified a version of a gene that may be associated with double the risk of lung failure from COVID-19, a finding that provides new insights into why some people are more susceptible than othersto severe illness and which opens possibilities for targeted medicine. The high-risk genetic variant is in a chromosome region that is also tied to double the risk of death in COVID-19 patients under age 60. Around 60% of people with South Asian ancestry carry the high-risk version of the gene, researchers at Oxford University said on Friday, adding the discovery may partly explain the high number of deaths seen in some British communities, and the devastation wrought by COVID-19 in the Indian subcontinent.
5th Nov 2021 - Reuters


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Oxford Scientists Find Gene That Doubles Risk of Dying From Covid-19

Scientists identified a specific gene that doubles the risk of respiratory failure from Covid-19 and may go some way to explaining why some ethnic groups are more susceptible to severe disease than others. Researchers from the University of Oxford found that a higher-risk version of the gene most likely prevents the cells lining airways and the lungs from responding to the virus properly. About 60% of people with South Asian ancestry carry this version of the gene, compared with 15% of people with European heritage, according to the study published Thursday. The findings help explain why higher rates of hospitalization and death may have been seen in certain communities and on the Indian subcontinent. The authors cautioned that the gene cannot be used as a sole explanation as many other factors, such as socioeconomic conditions, play a role. Despite a significant impact from the virus to people with Afro-Caribbean ancestry, only 2% carry the higher-risk genotype. People with the gene, known as LZTFL1, would particularly benefit from vaccination, which remains the best method of protection, the authors said. The findings raise the possibility of research into treatments specific to patients with this gene, though no tailored drugs are currently available.
4th Nov 2021 - Bloomberg

No decrease in effectiveness if COVID-19 jab and flu vaccine is taken together - WHO

People can get inoculated against COVID-19 and the seasonal influenza at the same time without compromising the vaccines' effectiveness, a World Health Organization official said on Thursday. "Anybody can get both the vaccines together - there is no decrease in effectiveness of either of the vaccines when given together at one point of time," Siddhartha Datta, the WHO Europe's regional adviser for vaccines, told a news briefing.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters

England sees record COVID prevalence in October -Imperial study

COVID-19 prevalence in England rose to its highest level on record in October, Imperial College London said on Thursday, led by a high numbers of cases in children and a surge in the south-west of the country. Nearly 6% of school-aged children had COVID-19, the researchers found, although there was a drop in prevalence towards the end of the study's period coinciding with the closure of schools for half-term holiday. Despite that dip, researchers said rates had doubled in older groups compared to September, a concerning sign as the government races to give booster shots to the most vulnerable.
4th Nov 2021 - Reuters

Feds tout COVID-19 pediatric vaccines as way back to normal

Today during a White House press briefing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said now that she has authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, American schoolchildren have the chance to experience school "as we once one knew it, and as it should be." Walensky and Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, both called today a monumental day in the nation's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and assured American parents that the use of vaccines in kids ages 5 to 11 would be safe, free, and convenient. "We have been planning for this, and we are fully prepared," said Zients, who said the pediatric campaign will begin officially on Nov 8, but said some clinics and pharmacies have already begun to offer inoculations to kids. "I want to speak directly to parents," Walensky said. "Please know we have conducted a thorough review of the safety data before recommending this vaccine for your child."
4th Nov 2021 - CIDRAP

Real-world study shows J&J COVID-19 vaccine 74% effective

The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine is 74% effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection even amid phases of high Alpha (B117) and Delta (B1617.2) variant circulation, according to the preliminary findings of a real-world US study yesterday in JAMA Network Open. The comparative-effectiveness study, led by researchers from nference, a Massachusetts software company affiliated with Janssen, maker of the J&J vaccine, involved mining the Mayo Clinic electronic health records (EHRs) of 8,889 vaccinated and 88,898 matched unvaccinated adults living in 1 of 15 states from Feb 27 to Jul 22, 2021. The EHRs were from the multistate Mayo Clinic Health System. Men made up roughly half of both groups of patients, with a mean age of 52.4 years in the vaccinated group and 51.7 in the unvaccinated group.
4th Nov 2021 - CIDRAP


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Nov 2021

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Antibodies in breast milk provide extra benefit to babies; vaccine protection varies among immunocompromised

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that have yet to be certified by peer review. Mothers' COVID-19 antibodies provide unexpected benefit. COVID-19 antibodies passed from infected mothers to their breastfeeding newborns provide more benefit to the baby than researchers expected to see, according to a report published on Wednesday in JAMA Network Open.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

JCVI failed to back youth Covid jabs despite favourable modelling

The government’s independent vaccine advisers recommended against Covid shots for healthy teenagers despite considering evidence that the jabs would reduce infections, hospitalisations and some deaths in the age group. Modelling reviewed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in June showed that fully vaccinating 80% of 12- to 17-year-olds would lead to “large reductions” in infections and a “substantial reduction” in hospitalisations in the age group. The modelling from the University of Warwick was considered alongside calculations from Public Health England that found vaccinating healthy young people in an overlapping age group – those aged 15 to 19 – could reduce intensive care admissions and prevent two deaths per million in the teenagers receiving the shots.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19 virus does not infect human brain cells, new study suggests

The virus that causes Covid-19 does not infect human brain cells, according to a study published in the journal Cell. The findings will raise hopes that the damage caused by Sars-CoV-2 might be more superficial and reversible than previously feared. The study contradicts earlier research that suggested the virus infects neurons in the membrane that lines the upper recesses of the nose. This membrane, called the olfactory mucosa, is where the virus first lands when it is inhaled. Within it are olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs), which are responsible for initiating smell sensations. They are tightly entwined with a kind of support cell called sustentacular cells.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Sputnik Light produces strong level of antibodies against COVID-19 - early-stage trial

Russia's one-dose Sputnik Light vaccine had a good safety profile and induced strong immune responses especially in people who had already encountered COVID-19, according to the results of phase I and II trials published in The Lancet medical journal. The vaccine, a single-dose version of the two-dose Sputnik V vaccine unveiled last year, has already entered later phases of studies and is widely used in Russia, but the publication of the early research in a top Western journal is a milestone as Russia moves towards making Sputnik Light its main vaccine for export.
3rd Nov 2021 - Reuters

College football didn't fuel COVID-19 spread among players, study suggests

COVID-19 didn't appear to spread efficiently within and among teams competing in the fall 2020 Southeastern Conference (SEC) college football season, finds an observational study published late last week in JAMA Network Open. The study, led by a Texas A&M University researcher, analyzed close contacts (within 6 feet) among opposing players during official games and COVID-19 athlete testing data from Sep 26 to Dec 19, 2020. At that time, cases were surging, but the more transmissible Delta (B1617.2) SARS-CoV-2 variant had not yet been identified in the United States. This may limit the findings' generalizability to pandemic phases since the emergence of Delta.
3rd Nov 2021 - CIDRAP

Vaccine plus previous infection may offer enhanced COVID-19 protection

Two new studies in JAMA find that COVID-19 survivors who receive two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines may have stronger protection against coronavirus infection, one detailing much lower breakthrough infection rates in previously infected Qataris and one describing higher spike antibody levels among recovered US healthcare workers (HCWs). Breakthrough cases 65% to 82% lower in previously infected. Led by Cornell University researchers in Qatar, the first study involved following 1,531,736 Qataris starting 14 days after receipt of the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Dec 21, 2020, to Sep 19, 2021. The country weathered two COVID-19 surges with the Alpha (B117) and Beta (B1351) variants from January to June 2021. Community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B1617.2) variant was identified at the end of March, and the strain became dominant by summer.
2nd Nov 2021 - CIDRAP


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Nov 2021

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Pfizer/BioNTech booster vaccine reduces COVID-19 hospitalisations

International researchers have identified that the Pfizer/BioNTech booster vaccine is highly effective at reducing COVID-19 hospitalisations. Experts from the Clalit Research Institute and Harvard University have collaborated to investigate the efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162B2 booster vaccine against the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, discovering that it lowers hospitalisations from the disease. The study, based in Israel, utilised one of the world’s largest integrated health record databases, illuminating the effectiveness of a third “booster” dose of the BNT162B2 vaccine in a nationwide mass-vaccination setting. The investigation was partly funded by the recently announced Ivan and Francesca Berkowitz Family Living Laboratory.
2nd Nov 2021 - Health Europa


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Moderna Confirms FDA Delayed Covid-19 Vaccine in Adolescents to Review Myocarditis Risk

The Food and Drug Administration is delaying a decision on Moderna Inc.’s MRNA application to authorize use of its Covid-19 vaccine in adolescents to assess whether the shot leads to a heightened risk of myocarditis, the company said. The FDA notified Moderna on Friday evening that an analysis may not be completed until January of next year while the agency reviews recent international data on the risk of myocarditis after vaccination, the company said Sunday. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the FDA was delaying a decision on Moderna’s application for authorization in 12- to 17-year-olds after several Nordic countries limited use due to myocarditis reports.
1st Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Novavax Covid-19 Vaccine Gets First Authorization, in Indonesia

Indonesia became the first country to authorize the use of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Novavax Inc. and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.Novavax said Monday that Indonesia’s drug regulator cleared use of the new vaccine, called Covovax, in adults 18 years and older. The decision shows that, despite receiving substantial financial support from the U.S. government, the Novavax vaccine will be used in other countries first. Novavax said it expected additional countries to authorize the vaccine in coming weeks and months.
1st Nov 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Infertility is not a risk with Covid-19 vaccines for kids

It's among parents' top worries around kids getting vaccinated against Covid-19: Could the vaccine somehow impair their child's future fertility? A survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation last week found that 66% of parents of 5- to 11-year-olds worried that vaccines might negatively impact children's fertility later on. Doctors and public health officials are united in assuring parents this is not a concern. "Unfounded claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility have been scientifically disproven," the American Academy of Pediatrics -- which represents doctors who specialize in treating children -- says in a statement on its website.
1st Nov 2021 - CNN

Risk of Covid-19 death '32 times greater' if unvaccinated than if double-jabbed

The risk of death involving Covid-19 is 32 times greater in unvaccinated people than in people who have received both doses, new research suggests. Mortality rates for coronavirus deaths were found to be “consistently lower” for those who had had both jabs compared with those who had had one or no vaccinations, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The research used age-standardised mortality rates, which take into account differences in age structure and population size, to allow comparisons between vaccination groups.
1st Nov 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Breast milk shown to protect newborn babies against Covid-19

Newborn babies could have extra protection against Covid-19 by drinking their mother's breast milk, a new study has shown. Researchers at Swansea University and the University of Aberdeen found the ACE2 protein, which is commonly found in breast milk, acts as a "decoy" for the virus, trapping it in biological fluids and preventing it from infecting cells. The study may go some way to understanding why newborn babies are relatively protected against coronavirus and its harms when compared to older age groups.
1st Nov 2021 - Wales Online


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Needle-free vaccine patches coming soon, say researchers and makers

Effective vaccines, without a needle: Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, researchers have doubled down on efforts to create patches that deliver life-saving drugs painlessly to the skin, a development that could revolutionise medicine. The technique could help save children's tears at doctors' offices, and help people who have a phobia of syringes. Beyond that, skin patches could assist with distribution efforts, because they don't have cold-chain requirements - and might even heighten vaccine efficacy. A new mouse study in the area, published in the journal Science Advances, showed promising results. The Australian-US team used patches measuring one square centimetre that were dotted with more than 5,000 microscopic spikes, "so tiny you can't actually see them," David Muller, a virologist at the University of Queensland and co-author of the paper, told AFP.
30th Oct 2021 - The Straits Times

Study of Hospitalized Covid-19 Patients Shows Vaccination Is Better Guard Than Prior Infection

Covid-19 was over five times more common among hospitalized people who were unvaccinated and had a previous infection, compared with those who were fully vaccinated and hadn’t had Covid-19 before, a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. The report, released Friday and written by scientists from the federal agency as well as hospitals across the U.S., adds to the body of research suggesting that vaccines provide stronger protection against the coronavirus than prior-infection immunity. Research into immunity to Covid-19 has been limited in part by the short window of time in which the virus has been circulating and vaccines have been in use. Few clinical studies of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 have been conducted, compared with the more robust body of clinical research into the vaccines, making it hard to reach definitive conclusions about the nature of immunity provided by prior infection.
29th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine Authorized for Young Children by FDA

The Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. PFE 1.30% and BioNTech SE BNTX -1.85% was authorized for use in children as young as 5 years old, the first shot that federal health regulators have permitted for them in the U.S. The decision by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday for children age 5 to 11 paves the way for one of the last remaining groups in the U.S. to get vaccinated against Covid-19, probably starting within days. The shot works safely, the FDA said. Once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives its signoff, expected within days, the young children can begin getting their first dose. The children will be given two shots three weeks apart, the same schedule as adults and adolescents, although each shot will contain one-third of the dosage.
29th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal


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Delta Variant Is Spread by Vaccinated and Unvaccinated People Alike, Study Shows

People inoculated against Covid-19 are just as likely to spread the delta variant of the virus to contacts in their household as those who haven’t had shots, according to new research. In a yearlong study of 621 people in the U.K. with mild Covid-19, scientists found that their peak viral load was similar regardless of vaccination status, according to a paper published Thursday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal. The analysis also found that 25% of vaccinated household contacts still contracted the disease from an index case, while 38% of those who hadn’t had shots became infected.
28th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

WHO says seeks more data from Merck on COVID anti-viral, from Bharat on vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that it was seeking further data from Merck on its experimental new antiviral COVID-19 pill and hoped to issue guidance in coming weeks regarding its use for mild and moderate cases. "This is a drug that we are currently evaluating and we met with Merck on Friday to discuss data from their current clinical trials that are under way in other countries," WHO expert Maria van Kerkhove told a news conference where she was asked about Merck's molnupiravir, developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Most parents don't plan to vaccinate young children against Covid-19 right away, KFF survey finds

A Covid-19 vaccine could be available for little kids soon, and public health leaders say vaccinating them could help end the pandemic -- but only if parents actually get them vaccinated. A new survey suggests that's uncertain at best. The majority of parents say they will not get their younger children vaccinated right away, according to the survey published Thursday from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
28th Oct 2021 - CNN

90 per cent of people in Delhi have antibodies against Covid-19, says sero survey

More than 90 per cent of people in India’s capital city have developed antibodies against the coronavirus, according to a latest serological survey. A Delhi government official told the media: “We have found Covid antibodies in more than 90 per cent of the samples collected during the sixth round of the survey.” However, the official cautioned that “we cannot say Delhi has achieved herd immunity despite such a high level of seroprevalence.” Experts say this high level of seroprevalence indicates that Delhi might not suffer any devastating Covid waves anytime soon. But it all depends on whether any other variant of the virus emerges in the city, they cautioned.
28th Oct 2021 - The Independent

Study: Nearly all severely allergic people tolerate COVID vaccines

While healthcare workers at a Boston healthcare system with severe allergies reported more reactions after receiving a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, nearly all were able to safely complete the series, according to an observational study yesterday in JAMA Network Open. Researchers at Mass General Brigham and Harvard Medical School mined the electronic health records of 52,998 employees, of whom 97.6% received both doses of vaccine, and 0.9% reported a history of high-risk allergy. The study period was Dec 14, 2020, to Feb 1, 2021. Participants completed a prevaccination allergy risk assessment and at least one postvaccination symptom survey during the 3 days after vaccination.
27th Oct 2021 - CIDRAP


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Breakthrough infections can lead to long COVID; genes may explain critical illness in young, healthy adults

The persistent syndrome of COVID-19 after-effects known as long COVID can develop after "breakthrough" infections in vaccinated people, a new study shows. Researchers at Oxford University in the UK reviewed data on nearly 20,000 U.S. COVID-19 patients, half of whom had been vaccinated. Compared to unvaccinated patients, people who were fully vaccinated - and in particular those under age 60 - did have lower risks for death and serious complications such as lung failure, need for mechanical ventilation, ICU admission, life-threatening blood clots, seizures, and psychosis. "On the other hand," the research team reported on medRxiv on Tuesday ahead of peer review, "previous vaccination does not appear to protect against several previously documented outcomes of COVID-19 such as long COVID features, arrhythmia, joint pain, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, sleep disorders, and mood and anxiety disorders."
28th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Flu jabs may aid COVID-19 patients who need surgery

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that have yet to be certified by peer review. Flu-vaccinated COVID-19 patients have easier surgeries. COVID-19 patients who require surgery appear to face fewer complications if they have previously been vaccinated against the flu, new data suggest. In a preliminary study that has not yet undergone peer review, researchers analyzed outcomes after various types of surgery on nearly 44,000 COVID-19 patients worldwide, half of whom had received a flu vaccine in the previous six months
27th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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Moderna Data Shows Covid-19 Vaccine Produced Strong Immune Response in 6- to 11-Year-Olds

Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine was generally safe and induced the desired immune responses in children ages 6 to 11 in a clinical trial, according to the company. The Cambridge, Mass., company said Monday that it would submit the results to health regulators in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere in seeking authorization to widen the use of its shots to include this younger age group. The company announced the interim data in a press release, and results haven’t yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Moderna’s vaccine is currently authorized for use in adults 18 years and older in the U.S.
26th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Pfizer Says Lower-Dose Vaccine for Small Kids Could Also Work for Big Kids

Pfizer Inc.’s lower-dose Covid-19 vaccine for kids under 12 appears to offer protection across the board, company officials said, and the drug giant may look into offering lower doses for teens who now get the adult dose. A scientific advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration is deliberating Tuesday on whether to recommend the vaccine, which Pfizer makes with partner BioNTech SE, for 5- to 11-year-olds. If cleared by regulators, it would make a Covid-19 vaccine available to all school-age children for the first time. The proposed pediatric dose is 10 micrograms, or a third of the adult Pfizer dose everyone 12 and older currently receives.
26th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg


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Covid Poses Bigger Risk of Brain Conditions Than Vaccines, Study Says

Covid-19 is more likely to cause rare neurological conditions than vaccines, according to a study published in the Nature Medicine journal. The study, led by the University of Oxford, analyzed the health records of 32 million people in England to identify the risks of developing rare brain conditions before and after testing positive for Covid, or receiving the first dose of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca Plc or Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE jabs. The researchers compared how often neurological complications occurred in set windows of time. While the vaccines were found to result in an increase of neurological complications, like Bell’s palsy and Guillain-Barré syndrome, the study found that contracting Covid presented an even bigger risk.
25th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg


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Pfizer jab 90% effective in kids

The Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing symptomatic disease among childen agred 5-to-11, the company said in a document released Friday, that put forward its case for authorisation. The new data was published on the website of the Food and Drug Administration, which has called an advisory panel of independent experts to meet Tuesday to vote on whether to green light the shot.
24th Oct 2021 - Bangalore Mirror

FDA says benefits outweigh risks for Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children

Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday that the likely benefits of giving the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to 5 to 11 year olds clearly outweigh the risks of rare cases of heart inflammation. Earlier on Friday, the vaccine makers said their shot showed 90.7% efficacy against the coronavirus in a clinical trial of children 5 to 11 years old.
23rd Oct 2021 - Reuters


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Oct 2021

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Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Booster Shot Was 95.6% Effective in Large Trial, Companies Say

A third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc.and BioNTech SE was found in a large study to be highly protective against symptomatic Covid-19, the companies said Thursday. Researchers found 109 cases of symptomatic Covid-19 among study subjects who received a placebo shot, compared with five cases in people who took the vaccine, resulting in 95.6% efficacy, the companies said. The additional dose was safe and tolerable, and consistent with what was known about the vaccine, the companies said. The study was carried out while the highly contagious Delta variant was prevalent, the companies said, suggesting the booster helps protect against the contagious strain.
22nd Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Pfizer vaccine 90% effective in warding off COVID in adolescents

The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective against preventing coronavirus in adolescents, a new Israeli study published overnight Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine showed. The research, which focused on youth between the ages of 12 and 18, was carried out by Clalit Health Services. It found that the vaccine was 90% effective against warding off infection and 93% effective against stopping symptomatic infection on days seven to 21 after the second dose, even against the Delta variant.
21st Oct 2021 - The Jerusalem Post

EU decision on Russia's Sputnik V shot 'impossible' this year - source

The EU drug regulator is unlikely to decide whether to approve Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine until at least the first quarter of 2022 because some data needed for the review is still missing, a source with knowledge of the matter said. "An EMA decision by the end of the year is now absolutely impossible," the source said, referring to the European Medicines Agency. If the required data is received by the end of November, "then the regulators may well decide in the first quarter of next year", he said.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

U.S. FDA clears Moderna, J&J COVID-19 boosters, backs use of different vaccine for boost

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and said Americans can choose a different shot from their original inoculation as a booster. That means all three vaccines authorized in the United States can also be given as boosters to some groups. "The availability of these authorized boosters is important for continued protection against COVID-19 disease," acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement. She noted that data suggests vaccine effectiveness may wane over time in some fully vaccinated people.
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters

UK adds nerve disorder as rare side-effect of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

The UK drug regulator added an extremely rare nerve-damaging disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), as a very rare side effect of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, updates on the agency's website showed on Thursday. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) decision comes after the European medicines agency added GBS as a possible side-effect last month
21st Oct 2021 - Reuters


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NHS Chair Says Young May Be Infecting Old in U.K. Covid Surge

Amid concern that a new twist on the delta variant could be driving the current U.K. coronavirus surge, National Health Service chair David Prior said it’s more likely that school-aged children are infecting older people whose vaccine-induced immunity is on the wane. “It’s too early to say, but that’s what we think is the most likely explanation,” Prior said Tuesday evening in an interview at a Boston health conference. Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted on Sunday that “urgent research” was needed to determine if the new delta variant AY.4 -- which represents 8% of recently sequenced cases in the U.K. -- was more transmissible and better at evading immune defenses.
20th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Trials find no benefit of interferon, colchicine in COVID hospital patients

New clinical trials detail the failure of two COVID-19 treatments—a combination of interferon beta-1a and remdesivir and the drug colchicine—to reduce death by 28 days, length of hospital stay, or risk of requiring invasive mechanical ventilation or dying in hospitalized adults.
20th Oct 2021 - Scientific Viewpoint

Sex of the fetus influences the mother’s response to Covid-19 infection, new research shows

In two studies published Tuesday in Science Translational Medicine, the Boston-based research teams found that pregnant and lactating women mount robust antibody responses to both vaccination and infection. The encouraging data also came with some twists that offer intriguing new clues to one of the pandemic’s enduring mysteries: why Covid-19 hits male adults, children, and infants harder than females. “What’s striking here is that the mothers who are carrying male babies have much lower levels of antibodies to the coronavirus,” said Akiko Iwasaki, a virologist and immunologist at Yale University who was not involved in the study. “What’s interesting about that is it means that the sex of the baby can dictate how the mother responds to a viral infection.”
20th Oct 2021 - STAT News


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Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine highly protective in 12-18 age group - U.S. CDC study

The Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE COVID-19 vaccine was 93% effective in preventing hospitalizations among those aged 12 to 18, according to an analysis released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday. The study was conducted between June and September, when the extremely contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus was predominant. Yet, the data from 19 pediatric hospitals showed that among the 179 patients who were hospitalized for COVID-19, 97% were unvaccinated, providing reassurance of the vaccine's efficacy.
19th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Oxford scientists working on new Covid vaccine to target Delta variant

A new and modified version of the Oxford vaccine is being developed to target the Delta coronavirus variant, The Independent understands. Early work has been started by members of Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert’s team at the University of Oxford – the same scientists behind the AstraZeneca jab first rolled out in January. A source told The Independent the new vaccine was being designed with the aim of “having something on the shelf ready to scale up – if it’s needed”. Although the UK’s vaccine programme was singled out as a success in a recent report which largely condemned the government for its handling of Covid-19, scientists have insisted there is still more to be done in better protecting the nation, with large pockets of the population and certain communities still not fully vaccinated.
19th Oct 2021 - The Independent


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Covid-19 news: Valneva reports positive results from vaccine trial

A covid-19 vaccine made by Valneva produced stronger antibody responses and fewer side effects than the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a clinical trial, the French company has announced. The trial included more than 4600 participants in the UK, who were randomly allocated one of the two vaccines, while delta was the predominant coronavirus variant in circulation. The rate of covid-19 cases was similar in the two groups and no participants developed severe illness from covid-19. Valneva’s experimental vaccine, VLA2001, consists of inactivated whole virus particles, in combination with two adjuvants – drugs given to augment the immune response. “This is a much more traditional approach to vaccine manufacture than the vaccines so far deployed in the UK, Europe and North America and these results suggest this vaccine candidate is on track to play an important role in overcoming the pandemic,” said Adam Finn at the University of Bristol, UK, chief investigator for the trial, in a press release.
18th Oct 2021 - New Scientist

Merck COVID-19 pill sparks calls for access for lower income countries

The plan to roll out Merck & Co's (MRK.N) promising antiviral pill to treat COVID-19 risks repeating the inequities of vaccine distribution, potentially leaving the nations with the greatest need once again at the back of the line, international health groups say. For example, only about 5% of Africa’s population is immunized, creating an urgent need for therapeutics that could keep people out of hospitals. That compares with more than a 70% inoculation rate in most wealthy nations. Merck on Oct 11 applied for U.S. emergency clearance of the first pill for COVID-19 after it cut hospitalizations and deaths by 50% in a large clinical trial.
18th Oct 2021 - Reuters


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CDC data: Unvaccinated 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated | TheHill

Unvaccinated people have an 11 times higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people, according to new data posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data run through August and are from 16 health departments representing about 30 percent of the U.S. population, the CDC said. In addition, the data show that unvaccinated people have a six times higher chance of testing positive for COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people do.
17th Oct 2021 - The Hill

Studies show that mask-wearing reduces Covid-19 outbreaks in schools

New studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that US counties with masking policies in place in their schools have a lower risk of Covid-19 outbreaks compared to counties that do not have masking policies. The United States-based research assessed the impact of masking in schools on new Covid-19 cases in learners from kindergarten to grade 12 across the country. The CDC examined the difference between paediatric Covid-19 case rates in schools with and without school mask requirements. The researchers used data from 1 July to 4 September 2021. The researchers developed inclusion criteria that the schools had to meet to be part of the study. This included a valid school start date in districts with known school mask requirements, a uniform mask requirement for all learners and at least three weeks with seven full days of case data after the beginning of the school year.
16th Oct 2021 - News24

New fungus stalks Covid-recovered

After mucormycosis (black fungus), another fungal infection has been detected in four Covid-recovered patients in Pune in the last three months, raising concerns among the health fraternity. Prabhakar* (66) complained of mild fever and severe lower back pain a month after recovering from COVID-19. He was initially treated conservatively with muscle relaxants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs without relief. An MRI scan revealed severe infection-led bone damage to the spinal disc spaces called spondylodiscitis. A bone biopsy and culture grew aspergillus species — a type of mold (fungus).
15th Oct 2021 - Times of India

90,000 US Covid deaths could have been prevented by vaccines in 4 months, 2 leading nonprofits estimate

About 90,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US between June and September were preventable, two US nonprofits say. In September, 49,000 deaths could have been avoided if more adults got a Covid-19 shot, they said. The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Peterson Center on Healthcare cited a tracker that uses CDC data.
14th Oct 2021 - Business Insider South Africa


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The hidden cost of Covid-19: years of life lost among the young

Body counts appear to support the common perception that Covid-19 does its worst damage among the old and vulnerable. But body counts mask another reality, and focusing on them is skewing policy decisions and individual choices. There’s no question that deaths were most common among old and vulnerable individuals early in the pandemic. Some politicians and academics have used death rates to conclude that the pandemic’s toll has been largely confined to the elderly and sick, and that widespread mitigation measures such as mask and vaccine mandates are unjustified. We looked at Covid-related deaths through a different lens — years of life lost — which revealed a very different picture about the burden of illness than deaths alone.
14th Oct 2021 - CIDRAP


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J. & J. Recipients May Be Helped More by Other Brands’ Booster, Study Says

People who received a Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine may be better off with a booster shot from Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, according to preliminary data from a federal clinical trial published on Wednesday. That finding, along with a mixed review of Johnson & Johnson’s booster data from the Food and Drug Administration released earlier in the day, could lead to a heated debate about whether and how to offer additional shots to the 15 million Americans who have received the single-dose vaccine. The agency’s panel of vaccine advisers will meet on Friday and vote on whether to recommend that the agency authorize the company’s application for boosters for recipients of its vaccine.
13th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

Covid-19 Vaccine Effects on Death Rates Differ by Country, Why?

It’s one of the great puzzles of the pandemic. Most developed economies are now highly vaccinated with some of the most effective shots on offer, so why are the latest Covid-19 outbreaks more deadly in some places than in others? While it’s clear vaccines led to a drop in fatalities during the most recent delta variant-driven waves compared with earlier bouts with the virus, some countries saw deaths fall to a greater degree than others, an outcome scientists still don’t have answers for. Countries like Germany, Denmark and the U.K. have seen Covid deaths fall to roughly a tenth of previous peaks, according to Bloomberg calculations using data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In Israel, Greece and the U.S., fatalities fell but remained more than half of the previous peaks.
13th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

FDA scientists neutral on Moderna Covid-19 vaccine booster ahead of key meeting

Food and Drug Administration scientists did not take a clear position as to whether the agency should authorize booster doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in documents released Tuesday. Posted ahead of a two-day meeting convened by the FDA on booster shots of both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the documents laid out the case for authorizing Moderna’s proposed booster — a half dose of the existing vaccine — but also noted that data so far make it unclear that the third dose is needed. “Some real world effectiveness studies have suggested declining efficacy of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine over time against symptomatic infection or against the Delta variant, while others have not,” FDA scientists wrote in a briefing document. However, they wrote, current data suggest that Covid vaccines that are available in the U.S. still protect against severe Covid-19 disease and death.
12th Oct 2021 - STAT News


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Oct 2021

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Moderna Argues to FDA for Half-Dose of Vaccine as Booster

In documents released Tuesday morning, Moderna argued that the Food and Drug Administration should authorize a half-dose of its coronavirus vaccine as a booster shot for recipients at least six months after the second dose, citing evidence that the vaccine’s potency against infection wanes over time. The agency noted in its own analysis that, overall, available data show Moderna and the other vaccines “still afford protection against severe Covid-19 disease and death in the United States.” Moderna cited the rate of breakthrough infections, “real world evidence of reduced effectiveness against the Delta variant,” and falling levels of neutralizing antibodies from its vaccine six to eight months after a second dose. The company said its clinical trial studies showed that a third injection boosted antibody levels — one measure of the immune system’s response — higher than what they had been before the second dose.
12th Oct 2021 - The New York Times

AZ’s long-acting antibody combo shows benefit in COVID-19 trial

AstraZeneca has announced positive results from a Phase III trial evaluating its long-acting antibody (LAAB) combination AZD7442 in non-hospitalised patients with mild-to-moderate symptomatic COVID-19. In the Phase III TACKLE trial, a total of 90% of participants enrolled were from populations with a high-risk of progressing to severe COVID-19, including individuals with co-morbidities. The late-stage trial hit its primary endpoint, with AZD7442 600 mg given by intramuscular injections (IM) reducing the risk of developing severe COVID-19 or death from any cause by 50% compared to placebo in outpatients who had been symptomatic for seven days or less.
12th Oct 2021 - PharmaTimes

COVID infects all ages in family equally, but immunity plays a role

Two new studies explore the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission among household members, one finding that children and adults are at similar risk and one showing that COVID-19–naïve family members' risk was 45% to 97% lower, depending on the number of members immune through infection or full vaccination.
11th Oct 2021 - Scientific Viewpoint


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French study of over 22m people finds vaccines cut severe Covid risk by 90%

Vaccination reduces the risk of dying or being hospitalised with Covid-19 by 90%, a French study of 22.6 million people over the age of 50 has found. The research published on Monday also found that vaccines appear to protect against the worst effects of the most prevalent virus strain, the Delta variant. “This means that those who are vaccinated are nine times less at risk of being hospitalised or dying from Covid-19 than those who have not been vaccinated,” the epidemiologist Mahmoud Zureik, who oversaw the research, told Agence France-Presse. The study – the largest of its kind so far – was carried out by Epi-Phare a scientific group set up by France’s health system, its national health insurance fund, l’Assurance Maladie (CNAM), and the country’s ANSM medicines agency.
11th Oct 2021 - The Guardian

AstraZeneca antibody cocktail trials show it can halve risk of severe disease, prevent, treat Covid

AstraZeneca's antibody drug cut the risk of severe Covid-19 by at least 50% in a late stage study, the company announced on Monday. The injection, called AZD7442, contains two different antibodies developed from the the blood of people who previously contracted Covid-19. It's the drug first of its kind shown to both prevent and treat Covid-19 in late-stage trials, the company said in a press release. The company has already requested Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to use AZD7442 to prevent Covid-19, after late-stage trial results in August showed it reduced the risk of Covid-19 with symptoms by 77%.
11th Oct 2021 - Business Insider

WHO experts back booster jabs for people with weak immune systems

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday recommended that immunocompromised people be given an additional dose of Covid-19 vaccine, due to their higher risk of breakthrough infections after standard immunisation. The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunisation said the additional dose should be offered “as part of an extended primary series since these individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe Covid-19 disease”. WHO vaccine director Kate O’Brien, referring to people with lower immunity due to other conditions, told a news briefing: “The recommendation is for a third vaccination, an additional vaccination in the primary series and again that is based on the evidence showing that the immunogenicity and evidence on breakthrough infections is highly disproportionately represented by those people.”
11th Oct 2021 - South China Morning Post

New Clues Emerge About Whether Vaccines Can Help Fight Long Covid

Millions of people suffer from symptoms of long Covid, doctors estimate. Now, early research is offering some clues about whether vaccinations might help. When the vaccines first came out, some people who had suffered from debilitating symptoms for months after their initial Covid-19 infections told their doctors they felt better after getting vaccinated. The response intrigued scientists. Now, emerging research suggests that vaccines may help reduce symptoms in some people. Other recent research indicates that vaccination can reduce the likelihood of developing long-term Covid-19 symptoms in the first place.
11th Oct 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Brii Biosciences files EUA with US FDA for Covid-19 combination therapy

Brii Biosciences has filled an emergency use authorization (EUA) application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its combination therapy, BRII-196/BRII-198, to treat Covid-19 patients. BRII-196/BRII-198 is a SARS-CoV-2 neutralising monoclonal antibody combination therapy, which is intended to treat non-hospitalised Covid-19 patients at high risk of clinical progression to severe disease. The EUA submission is based on the positive Phase III results obtained from the ACTIV-2 clinical trial that was announced in August.
11th Oct 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology

INOVIO Gets Approval To Conduct Phase 3 Trial Of COVID-19 DNA Vaccine Candidate,INO-4800 In Colombia

INOVIO said Monday that it has received authorization from Colombia's INVIMA to conduct the phase 3 segment of the company's global Phase 2/3 trial, INNOVATE in Colombia, for INO-4800, its DNA vaccine candidate for COVID-19. The company noted that it is working with partner Advaccine Biopharmaceuticals Suzhou Co., Ltd. on the INNOVATE Phase 3 segment in multiple countries, with a focus on countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
11th Oct 2021 - Business Insider


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Novel vaccine strategy protects mice from COVID-19 and 4 related coronaviruses

The three marketed COVID-19 shots have validated the effectiveness of two vaccination technologies, mRNA and viral vector delivery. But the vaccines—from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson—only protect against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that sparked the pandemic. So a team of researchers in Japan set out to develop a universal coronavirus vaccine in the hopes of preventing future pandemics. Scientists at Osaka University engineered antibodies that prevented SARS-CoV-2 from infecting healthy cells in mice, they reported in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. They were also effective against SARS-CoV-1, which caused a small outbreak in the early 2000s, and three coronaviruses found in pangolins and bats, they said. The experimental vaccination approach exploits the biology of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which shuttles the virus into human cells by binding to a cell surface receptor called ACE2. The spike protein’s receptor-binding domain has a “head” region that facilitates that binding as well as a “core” region. While the head of each type of coronavirus is distinctive, the core regions are virtually identical.
9th Oct 2021 - FierceBiotech

Pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 have an increased risk of emergency deliveries

Pregnant women who contract symptomatic cases of COVID-19 are much more likely to suffer emergency complications or have babies who need intensive care, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, looked at more than 100 mothers-to-be who were diagnosed with the virus. More than half of pregnant women who developed symptoms had emergency deliveries compared to about four in 10 women without symptoms. Additionally, babies born to symptomatic mothers were more likely to need respiratory support or be admitted to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
9th Oct 2021 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

Two Indian drugmakers to end trials of generic Merck pill for moderate COVID-19

Two Indian drugmakers have requested permission to end late-stage trials of their generic versions of Merck & Co's promising experimental oral antiviral drug molnupiravir to treat moderate COVID-19, a week after Merck said its own trial had succeeded for mild-to-moderate patients. Merck earlier this year suspended its own development of molnupiravir as a treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients since many of them have reached a phase of the disease that is too late for an antiviral drug to provide much help.
9th Oct 2021 - Reuters


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Oct 2021

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Booster shot improves immune response of chemotherapy patients; post-COVID depression helped by widely used drugs

A new study helps quantify the improved protection against COVID-19 achieved with a third booster dose of the vaccine from Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech SE in cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. "Chemotherapy can weaken the ability of cancer patients to fight off infections and to respond appropriately to vaccines," said Deepta Bhattacharya of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, coauthor of the study reported in Nature Medicine. Her team studied 53 patients receiving chemotherapy for solid-tumor cancers who received two shots of the vaccine. Almost all of the subjects had an immune response after vaccination. But "the magnitude of these responses was worse than in people without cancer in almost every metric that we measured," Bhattacharya said. "In all likelihood, this leaves cancer patients more susceptible to infection and COVID-19 than healthy vaccinated people." The researchers were able to bring back 20 of the study participants for a third vaccine dose, to see if immune responses would improve.
7th Oct 2021 - Reuters

FDA Is Reviewing Data on Mixing and Matching Boosters, Fauci Says

A study of adults who received booster doses of different Covid-19 vaccines than their original shots has been completed, Fauci said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power with David Westin,” and the data have been presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The National Institutes of Health study looked at the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of mixing and matching of the three U.S. authorized vaccines for booster purposes. The vaccine from partners Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE has been cleared as a booster for vulnerable people, such as the elderly and immunocompromised. Next up for the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is consideration of boosters from Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.
6th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg on MSN.com

Italy says mRNA COVID jab effectiveness stable after 7 months, but not for all

Seven months after the second dose, there is no reduction in the efficacy of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in the general population in Italy, while a slight decline is seen for some specific groups, the National Health Institute (ISS) said on Wednesday. The report led by ISS and the health ministry examined data up to Aug. 29 from more than 29 million people who had received two doses of an mRNA vaccine such as those produced by Pfizer and Moderna. It said that in the general population, effectiveness against infection after seven months remained at 89%, while against hospitalisation and death, this time six months after the second dose, it remained at 96% and 99% respectively.
6th Oct 2021 - Reuters

Long COVID may affect almost 37% of COVID-19 patients

Individuals with long COVID exhibit lingering symptoms, such as fatigue and brain fog, that persist beyond the typical recovery period of 3–4 weeks after the symptom onset. A recent study assessed the incidence of long COVID symptoms using data extracted from de-identified electronic health records. The study found that more than one in three individuals experienced long COVID symptoms 3–6 months after receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis. The study also reports that women, older adults, and individuals with severe illness during the initial phase of a SARS-CoV-2 infection had an increased likelihood of experiencing long COVID symptoms.
6th Oct 2021 - Medical News Today

Covid-19 reinfection rate remains low, analysis shows

The rate of Covid-19 reinfections “remains low”, according to new analysis. When people do get infected for a second time, the virus is much less likely to cause serious illness, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Reinfections become more likely as time goes on, the analysis suggested. It also highlighted how some people are more likely to be reinfected than others. Kara Steel, senior statistician for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “The analysis shows that the estimated number of Covid-19 reinfections in the UK remains low.
6th Oct 2021 - Evening Standard

Cloth vs N95: Which coronavirus mask should you wear?

Mask wearing has been a hotly debated topic, but most scientists agree that face coverings do help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, though the degree to which they do so depends on the quality of the masks themselves. Because about one in three people who have COVID-19 display no symptoms at all, widespread use of masks remains important. A study which reviewed the evidence on mask wearing found in favour of widespread mask use by infected people as a way to help reduce community transmission, concluding that the available evidence suggests that near-universal adoption of any face covering at all, in combination with complementary public health measures, could successfully reduce the community spread of COVID. Models suggest that public mask wearing is most effective at reducing the spread of the virus when compliance is high.
6th Oct 2021 - AlJazeera


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EU Panel May Start Accelerated Review of Merck's Covid Pill

A European Union advisory committee will consider starting an accelerated review for Merck & Co.’s experimental antiviral pill against Covid-19 following the company’s announcement last week that it will seek emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible. The panel will consider starting a “rolling review” in coming days, Marco Cavaleri, the head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy at the European Medicines Agency, said at a press briefing Tuesday. That’s a procedure where data is evaluated as it becomes available to speed up the process. Merck’s new drug, molnupiravir, has led to optimism about the course of the pandemic after early studies show the drug has the potential to cut the rate of hospitalization and death by around 50% in mild to moderate Covid patients.
5th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Long Covid Symptoms May Be Caused by Micro Clots, Scientists Say

Some of the symptoms of so-called long-covid, the ailments that can persist for months after a Covid-19 infection, may be caused by inflammatory molecules trapped inside tiny blood clots, a scientist at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University said. High levels of inflammatory molecules were found in micro clots in blood samples from people with long-covid, Resia Pretorius, a researcher at the university, said in a statement on Monday. The molecules contained fibrinogen, a clotting protein, and alpha(2)-antiplasmin, which prevents the breakdown of blood clots, she said. These “might be the cause of some of the lingering symptoms experienced by individuals with long-covid,” the university said in the statement. This “provides further evidence that Covid-19, and now long-covid, have significant cardiovascular and clotting pathologies.”
5th Oct 2021 - Bloomberg

Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness drops after 6 months, study shows

The effectiveness of the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE vaccine in preventing infection by the coronavirus dropped to 47% from 88% six months after the second dose, according to data published on Monday that U.S. health agencies considered when deciding on the need for booster shots. The data, which was published in the Lancet medical journal, had been previously released in August ahead of peer review. The analysis showed that the vaccine's effectiveness in preventing hospitalization and death remained high at 90% for at least six months, even against the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
5th Oct 2021 - Reuters

CHMP positive option for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the EU

Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has issued a positive opinion for the administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as a booster shot six months after the second dose. CHMP, part of the EMA, has approved the use of the booster jab for individuals over the age of 18. Following the CHMP positive opinion, the European Commission (EC) will make a final decision on its update to the vaccine’s current Conditional Marketing Authorisation in the EU. In the clinical trial data provided by Pfizer and BioNTech, the COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, was found to elicit significantly higher neutralising antibody titers against SARS-CoV-2, and protection from both the Beta and Delta variants of the disease.
5th Oct 2021 - PharmaTimes

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ Oral Antiviral COVID-19 Treatment Reduces Risk of Hospitalization or Death by 50%

Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, and Ridgeback Therapeutics announced on Oct. 1st, 2021, that their investigational oral antiviral medicine molnupiravir significantly reduced severe outcomes associated with COVID-19. According to a planned interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 50% in non-hospitalized adult COVID-19 patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms. According to a company press release, 7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir (28/385) were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 of the study. Conversely, 14.1% of patients given placebo (53/377) were either hospitalized or died as a result of COVID-19 through Day 29. Additionally, no patients that were given molnupiravir died, whereas eight of those given the placebo did.
5th Oct 2021 - PharmTech


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Italian studies show COVID-19 shots less effective in immunocompromised

COVID-19 vaccines are less effective on people with weakened immune systems, three small Italian studies show, which the studies' researchers say highlight the need to deploy booster shots for this group of vulnerable people. The studies show that, on average, 30% of immunocompromised patients do not develop immunity to the virus after vaccination. The remaining 70% respond to the vaccine, especially after the second dose, but to a lesser extent than healthy people and with differences from group to group, the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome, which conducted the three small studies, said in a statement on Monday.
4th Oct 2021 - Reuters

How Merck's antiviral pill could change the game for COVID-19

A new drug by Merck significantly reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death in people who take it early in the course of their COVID-19 illness, according to the interim results of a major U.S. study released last week. It is the first oral antiviral found to be effective against this coronavirus. People who took this drug, called molnupiravir—four pills twice a day for five days—within five days of showing symptoms were about half as likely to be hospitalised as those taking the placebo. They were also less likely to die, with eight deaths in the placebo group reported within a month of treatment and none in those who received the medicine.
4th Oct 2021 - National Geographic


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Merck says COVID-19 pill cuts risk of death, hospitalization

In a potential leap forward in the global fight against the pandemic, drugmaker Merck said Friday that its experimental pill for people sick with COVID-19 reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half. If cleared by regulators, it would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19, adding a whole new, easy-to-use weapon to an arsenal that already includes the vaccine. The company said it will soon ask health officials in the U.S. and around the world to authorize the pill’s use. A decision from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could come within weeks after that, and the drug, if it gets the OK, could be distributed quickly soon afterward.
2nd Oct 2021 - The Associated Press

Is the Coronavirus Getting Better at Airborne Transmission?

Newer variants of the coronavirus like Alpha and Delta are highly contagious, infecting far more people than the original virus. Two new studies offer a possible explanation: The virus is evolving to spread more efficiently through air. The realization that the coronavirus is airborne indoors transformed efforts to contain the pandemic last year, igniting fiery debates about masks, social distancing and ventilation in public spaces. Most researchers now agree that the coronavirus is mostly transmitted through large droplets that quickly sink to the floor and through much smaller ones, called aerosols, that can float over longer distances indoors and settle directly into the lungs, where the virus is most harmful.
2nd Oct 2021 - New York Times

Children lead rise in England's COVID-19 prevalence

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England increased in the week ending Sept 25, Britain's Office for National Statistics said on Friday, led by an increase in infections in school-age children. Schools in England have been open for around a month, and some epidemiologists have highlighted concern about rising cases among children, although it is yet to translate into a sustained increase in infections for the population more broadly. There was an estimated prevalence of 4.58% among secondary school-age children, meaning more than 1 in 25 tested positive for COVID-19, compared to 2.81% of children in the age range testing positive in the previous week.
1st Oct 2021 - Reuters UK

J&J's one-shot COVID vaccine is linked to ANOTHER blood clotting condition by EU regulators

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Friday found a possible link between. Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine and venous thromboembolism (VTE). VTE is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in a leg, arm or groin, and may travel to the lungs causing a blockage of the blood supply. It could cause possible life-threatening consequences, especially to seniors. The agency is recommending that the condition be listed as a rare side effect. It also recommends that immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) be listed as a side effect of the J&J vaccine and AstraZeneca's vaccine. ITP is a bleeding disorder which sees sufferers' bodies mistakenly attack their own platelets
1st Oct 2021 - Daily Mail


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Coronavirus: Giving children two vaccine doses could prevent thousands of long COVID cases, study suggests

Thousands of long COVID cases in children could be prevented if they are given two vaccine doses, a study suggests. Children between 12 and 15 in the UK are now being offered a single dose of the Pfizer jab to cut their chance of catching the disease and passing it on. But a new study looked at 12-17-year-olds getting both shots and concluded the benefits outweighed the risks "unless case rates are sustainably low". The research, in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, examined rates of hospital admissions, intensive care support, and death among children in England with the virus.
30th Sep 2021 - Sky News

NRx reports positive safety data of Zyesami from Phase III Covid-19 trial

NRx Pharmaceuticals has reported the latest positive safety data from the Phase III ACTIV-3b Critical Care trial of its experimental product, Zyesami (aviptadil) for Covid-19. Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the randomised, placebo-controlled ACTIV-3b trial is analysing Zyesami and remdesivir (Veklury) as monotherapy and in combination in hospitalised Covid-19 patients with acute respiratory failure. It enrolled subjects who need high-flow supplemental oxygen delivered by nasal cannula, mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
30th Sep 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shows 74% efficacy in large U.S. trial

AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated 74% efficacy at preventing symptomatic disease, a figure that increased to 83.5% in people aged 65 and older, according to long-awaited results of the company's U.S. clinical trial published on Wednesday. Overall efficacy of 74% was lower than the interim 79% figure reported by the British drugmaker in March, a result AstraZeneca revised days later to 76% after a rare public rebuke from health officials that the figure was based on "outdated information.
30th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New Study Finds More Than A Third Of COVID-19 Patients Have Symptoms Months Later

Symptoms of COVID-19 persist or recur months after diagnosis for more than a third of all people who get the illness, a new study finds, potentially pushing the number of so-called long COVID cases higher than previously thought. In the study published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers found that about 36% of those studied still reported COVID-like symptoms three and six months after diagnosis. Most previous studies have estimated lingering post-COVID symptoms in 10% to 30% of patients. The study, led by University of Oxford scientists in the United Kingdom, searched anonymized data from millions of electronic health records, primarily in the United States, to identify a study group of 273,618 patients with COVID-19 and 114,449 patients with influenza as a control.
30th Sep 2021 - NPR

Two studies tie long COVID-19 to severe initial illness

Today, in JAMA Network Open, Chinese researchers describe "long COVID" symptoms of fatigue, sweating, chest tightness, anxiety, and muscle pain among 2,433 COVID-19 survivors released from one of two hospitals in Wuhan, China, from Feb 12 to Apr 10, 2020. The team conducted phone interviews and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) assessment tests (CATs) with the patients from Mar 1 to Mar 20, 2021. Among 2,433 patients, median age was 60 years, 49.5% were men, 27.9% had survived severe COVID-19, 29.3% had high blood pressure, 45.0% reported having at least one persistent symptom, and 15.8% reported at least three symptoms. The most common symptoms were fatigue (27.7%), sweating (16.9%), chest tightness (13.0%), anxiety (10.4%), and muscle pain (7.9%). While cough, anorexia, and shortness of breath decreased over the year since hospital release, several new symptoms appeared, including heart palpitations (4.2%), swelling of the lower limbs (1.4%), and changes in taste (1.4%) and smell (1.3%).
29th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP


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COVID-19: Vitamin A nasal drops to be trialled to help restore smell loss

A 12-week trial will look at whether nasal drops can help those who lost their sense of smell after having COVID-19. The "Apollo trial" will treat people who have experienced a loss of smell or altered sense of smell because of coronavirus using vitamin A nasal drops. The University of East Anglia (UEA) said research from Germany has shown the potential benefit of the vitamin, and its team "will explore how this treatment works to help repair tissues in the nose damaged by viruses". They hope the trial "could one day help improve the lives of millions around the world who suffer from smell loss, by returning their fifth sense".
29th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Covid: 37% of people have symptoms six months after infection

One in three people infected with coronavirus will experience at least one symptom of long Covid, a new study suggests. Much of the existing research into the condition – a mixture of symptoms reported by people often months after they were originally ill with Covid-19 – has been based either on self-reported symptoms or small studies. Now researchers at the University of Oxford, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) have shed fresh light on the scale of the problem after studying more than 270,000 people recovering from coronavirus in the US. They found 37% of patients had at least one long Covid symptom diagnosed three to six months after infection. The most common symptoms were breathing problems, abdominal symptoms, fatigue, pain and anxiety or depression.
29th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Coronavirus can transform pancreas cell function; certain genes may protect an infected person's spouse

Coronavirus transforms pancreas cell function - When the coronavirus infects cells, it not only impairs their activity but can also change their function, new findings suggest. For example, when insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas become infected with the virus, they not only produce much less insulin than usual, but also start to produce glucose and digestive enzymes, which is not their job, researchers found. "We call this a change of cell fate," said study leader Dr. Shuibing Chen, who described the work in a presentation on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, held virtually this year. It is not clear whether the changes are long-lasting, or if they might be reversible, the researchers noted earlier in a report published in Cell Metabolism. Chen noted that some COVID-19 survivors have developed diabetes shortly after infection. "It is definitely worth investigating the rate of new-onset diabetes patients in this COVID-19 pandemic," she said in a statement. Her team has been experimenting with the coronavirus in clusters of cells engineered to create mini-organs, or organoids, that resemble the lungs, liver, intestines, heart and nervous system. Their findings suggest loss of cell fate/function may be happening in lung tissues as well, Chen, from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, told Reuters.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Merck says research shows its COVID-19 pill works against variants

Laboratory studies show that Merck & Co's experimental oral COVID-19 antiviral drug, molnupiravir, is likely to be effective against known variants of the coronavirus, including the dominant, highly transmissible Delta, the company said on Wednesday. Since molnupiravir does not target the spike protein of the virus - the target of all current COVID-19 vaccines - which defines the differences between the variants, the drug should be equally effective as the virus continues to evolve, said Jay Grobler, head of infectious disease and vaccines at Merck. Molnupiravir instead targets the viral polymerase, an enzyme needed for the virus to make copies of itself. It is designed to work by introducing errors into the genetic code of the virus.
29th Sep 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Covid-19 Cases Improving in 47 of 50 States

The U.S. recovery from the latest Covid-19 wave is taking hold across the country, with cases dropping or poised to start falling in the vast majority of states. In 47 states plus the nation’s capital, a measure of average new infections from one newly infected person is below the key level of 1, signaling that cases are expected to decline, according to covidestim, a modeling project with contributers from Yale School of Public Health, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Stanford Medicine.
29th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

NIAID awards approximately $36.3 million to fuel vaccine research for coronaviruses

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded approximately $36.3 million to three academic institutions to conduct research to develop vaccines to protect against multiple types of coronaviruses and viral variants. The awards are intended to fuel vaccine research for a diverse family of coronaviruses, with a primary focus on potential pandemic-causing coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV-2. The new awards are funded by NIAID's Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and its Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation through the Emergency Awards Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) on Pa.n-Coronavirus Vaccine Development Program Projects. The notice was issued in November 2020 while many SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were still under development because a critical need remained for prophylactic vaccines offering broad protective immunity against other coronaviruses, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV).
29th Sep 2021 - News-Medical.Net

Sanofi reports positive Phase I/II interim trial data of Covid-19 vaccine

Sanofi has reported positive interim results from a Phase I/II clinical trial of its messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate. These results establish the potential of the lately acquired mRNA and lipid nanoparticle (LNP) platform from Translate Bio and also back Sanofi’s mRNA strategy. According to the preliminary data from the trial, neutralising antibody seroconversion defined as a four-times rise compared to baseline was observed in 91% to 100% of trial subjects two weeks after the second vaccine dose. This trend was noted across all the three dosages tested, Sanofi said. Furthermore, no safety concerns were reported while the tolerability profile was in line with that of other unmodified mRNA Covid-19 vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur Research and Development (R&D) global head Jean-Francois Toussaint said: “We have made an impressive move just nine months after the worldwide proof of concept of mRNA vaccines and only 17 since we started this first mRNA vaccine project.
29th Sep 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology

Some may have ‘protective version of gene which resists severe Covid-19’ – study

Some people possess a version of a gene which can potentially restrain the virus which causes Covid-19, a study has indicated. The findings offer an explanation for why some people have better natural defences against serious Sars-CoV-2 infection, say scientists. Scientists suggest antiviral responses are better in people who have a more protective “prenylated” version of the OAS1 gene, while others have a version which fails to detect the virus. But if new variants learn to evade the protection offered by the prenylated gene they could become “substantially more pathogenic and transmissible in unvaccinated populations”, say experts.
29th Sep 2021 - Evening Standard

A new study points to the power of wearables to predict even presymptomatic infections, suggesting use one day against Covid-19

A new study that infected willing participants with common cold and flu viruses provides the most rigorous evidence yet that wearable health monitors could predict infections, even before a person starts experiencing symptoms. If the wearables can similarly predict infections in real-world conditions, the technology could add to existing disease surveillance and testing methods. But unresolved issues with standardizing wearables and testing them on diverse populations raise questions about their immediate utility. The new study, published Wednesday in JAMA Network Open, took aim at a research problem that has plagued other efforts to study wearables as infection detectors: small sample size. In two previous studies that looked at wearable devices like Apple Watches and Fitbits, tens of thousands of enrolled individuals corresponded to around 50 cases of Covid-19. In these studies and similar ones, it wasn’t clear when infected people first contracted the virus, further constraining the possibility of making predictions.
29th Sep 2021 - STAT News

Side effect rates from a third Covid-19 vaccine dose similar to those after second shot, early data indicate

People who’ve received a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine are reporting rates of side effects similar to those after the second dose, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new report, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, relies on submissions from thousands of people who received third shots of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna after such doses were authorized for people with compromised immune systems. People submitted their reactions to v-safe, the CDC’s smartphone-based surveillance network. Among more than 12,500 people who completed surveys after each shot, 79.4% of people reported local reactions (including itching, pain, or redness at the injection site), while 74.1% reported systemic reactions (mostly fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches), typically the day after the shot. That compared to 77.6% and 76.5% of the people who reported local or systemic reactions, respectively, after their second shot.
28th Sep 2021 - STAT News


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COVID-19: One in 10 secondary school pupils with coronavirus suffered ongoing symptoms, ONS research finds

More than one in 10 secondary school students and over a third of school staff who have had COVID-19 have suffered ongoing symptoms, new research has found. Staff and pupils commonly reported weakness and tiredness, while staff were more likely to experience shortness of breath, according to a small study of schools in England. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 35.7% of staff and 12.3% of students, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, reported experiencing ongoing symptoms more than a month after contracting the virus.
28th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Pfizer submits data for COVID-19 vaccine use in younger kids

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE on Tuesday submitted initial trial data for their COVID-19 vaccine in 5-11 year olds and said they would make a formal request to U.S. regulators for emergency use in the coming weeks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said earlier this month it would look to complete its data review for this age group as quickly as possible, likely in a matter of weeks rather than months. That could mean an authorization of the shot for children by the end of October, sources have told Reuters.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

India allows Serum Institute to enrol 7-11 year olds in COVID-19 vaccine trial

India's drug regulator on Tuesday allowed vaccine maker Serum Institute to enrol kids aged 7-11 years for its trial of U.S. drugmaker Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine, as the country prepares to protect children from the novel coronavirus. The South Asian nation has already administered more than 870 million doses to adults among its population of nearly 1.4 billion.
28th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Early data shows ButanVac vaccine induces potent immune response

Developed by the Sao Paulo-based Butantan Biological Institute, the ButanVac coronavirus vaccine showed " an acceptable safety profile and potent immunogenicity" in clinical trials held in Thailand. The study showed that there were "no vaccine-related serious adverse events." The vaccine is also being tested in Brazil and Vietnam, but trial data from the two countries have not been made available so far.
28th Sep 2021 - The Brazilian Report

Pfizer Submits Favorable Initial Data To The FDA On Kids' COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Pfizer and BioNTech are another step closer to seeking authorization for young children to receive the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine, submitting data to the Food and Drug Administration that shows a "robust" antibody response and "favorable" safety outcomes in kids ages 5 to 11 who received the two-dose regimen in clinical trials. The companies plan to submit a formal request for emergency-use authorization of the vaccine for that age range "in the coming weeks," they said Tuesday. News of the data submission comes a week after Pfizer announced promising results from the trials, which have been closely watched by parents eager to protect their children from the coronavirus. COVID-19 has now killed more than 690,000 people in the U.S., with millions more sickened by the disease.
28th Sep 2021 - NPR

COVID-19: Younger children 'more hesitant than older teenagers to get jabbed' as researchers call for better vaccine messaging

The findings by researchers at the University of Oxford, University College London (UCL) and the University of Cambridge follow the government's confirmation earlier this month it would widen the vaccination programme to all 12 to 15-year-olds. More than 27,000 students in England, aged between nine and 18, took part in the survey which showed that 50% were willing to have a coronavirus vaccination, 37% were undecided while 13% wanted to opt out. Just over a third (36%) of nine-year-olds were willing to have a jab, compared with 51% of 13-year-olds and 78% of 17-year-olds.
28th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Smokers up to 80% more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid, study says

Smokers are 60%-80% more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and also more likely to die from the disease, data suggests. A study, which pooled observational and genetic data on smoking and Covid-19 to strengthen the evidence base, contradicts research published at the start of the pandemic suggesting that smoking might help to protect against the virus. This was later retracted after it was discovered that some of the paper’s authors had financial links to the tobacco industry.
28th Sep 2021 - The Guardian


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Pfizer begins study of oral drug for prevention of COVID-19

Pfizer Inc said on Monday it has started a large study testing its investigational oral antiviral drug for the prevention of COVID-19 infection among those who have been exposed to the virus. The drugmaker and its rivals, including U.S.-based Merck & Co Inc and Swiss pharmaceutical Roche Holding AG, have been racing to develop an easy-to-administer antiviral pill for COVID-19.
27th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Covid: New Delta mutation found in Italy can be beaten by vaccines, study suggests

An outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus among card-playing pensioners in northern Italy suggests it may not threaten vaccines as much as scientists fear. Public health chiefs are monitoring the strain – a combination of the highly infectious Delta variant and the E484K mutation associated with vaccine evasion – which has been identified in 19 people in the UK and a further 99 around the world. The strain is not yet a variant of concern due to the small numbers, but scientists are concerned it could take off as more people are vaccinated, which creates conditions for strains that can dodge vaccines.
27th Sep 2021 - iNews

COVID-19: Llama nanobodies may offer new treatment

Although vaccines are highly effective in preventing COVID-19, scientists still need to identify better treatments for the disease. Some scientists are investigating whether llama-derived antibodies might be a useful treatment approach. A recent study has shown that so-called nanobodies that scientists harvested from a llama reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral load in Syrian hamsters.
27th Sep 2021 - Medical News Today


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Schools without mask mandate 3.5 times more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks: CDC study

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that schools in two Arizona counties that didn’t require universal masking were 3.5 times more likely to endure COVID-19 outbreaks than schools with mask mandates. Out of the 191 schools in Maricopa and Pima counties that experienced outbreaks by the end of August, 59.2 percent did not have a mask requirement, compared to 8.4 percent that required masks from the start of the school year. Almost a third of outbreaks occurred in schools that implemented mask mandates after the school year began.
25th Sep 2021 - The Hill

Even Mild Cases of COVID May Leave a Mark on the Brain

With more than 18 months of the pandemic in the rearview mirror, researchers have been steadily gathering new and important insights into the effects of COVID-19 on the body and brain. These findings are raising concerns about the long-term impacts that the coronavirus might have on biological processes such as aging. As a cognitive neuroscientist, my past research has focused on understanding how normal brain changes related to aging affect people’s ability to think and move – particularly in middle age and beyond. But as more evidence came in showing that COVID-19 could affect the body and brain for months or longer following infection, my research team became interested in exploring how it might also impact the natural process of aging.
25th Sep 2021 - Scientific American

2021 Lasker Awards Honor Work in mRNA Vaccines, Neuroscience and More

Katalin Kariko, a senior vice president at BioNTech, and Dr. Drew Weissman, a professor in vaccine research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, shared this year’s Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. In retrospect, their 2005 breakthrough was apparent when Dr. Kariko and Dr. Weissman proudly published a surprising finding they had made about messenger RNA, also known as mRNA, which provides instructions to cells to make proteins. The scientists noticed that when they added mRNA to cells, the cells instantly destroyed it. But they could prevent that destruction by slightly modifying the mRNA. When they added the altered mRNA to cells, it could briefly prompt cells to make any protein they chose.
24th Sep 2021 - The New York Times

70% vaccinated prisoners got COVID, 93% of unvaccinated: Texas study

About 70% of fully vaccinated people in a Texas prison caught COVID-19 in an outbreak, the CDC said. The data suggests that while Delta can spread among vaccinated people, vaccines protect against severe COVID-19. Of the unvaccinated prisoners, 93% caught COVID-19, and one died, the CDC said.
22nd Sep 2021 - Business Insider


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EU drugs regulator says to decide on Pfizer vaccine booster in early October

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) aims to decide in early October whether to endorse a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech, COVID-19 vaccine to be given half a year after the initial two-shot course, saying breakthrough infections added some urgency to its review. "The outcome of this evaluation is expected in early October, unless supplementary information is needed," EMA's head of vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, told a press briefing on Thursday. Cavaleri's statement confirmed a Reuters report earlier in the day on EMA's expected review time on the matter
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus unlikely to become more deadly because it’s run out of ‘places to go’, says Oxford jab creator

Covid is unlikely to mutate into a deadlier, vaccine-evading, variant because it’s run out of “places to go” , the creator of the Oxford jab has said. Dame Sarah Gilbert said coronavirus is likely to become less severe in its effects. Speaking at a Royal Society of Medicine webinar on Wednesday, she said: “We normally see that viruses become less virulent as they circulate more easily and there is no reason to think we will have a more virulent version of Sars-CoV-2.” Dame Sarah said that some variations were to be expected but predicted that coronavirus would eventually become like the flu virus, saying: “What tends to happen over time is there’s just a slow drift, that’s what happens with flu viruses. You see small changes accumulating over a period of time and then we have the opportunity to react to that.”
23rd Sep 2021 - The Independent

Oxford researchers find Llama antibodies have “significant potential” as potent Covid-19 treatment

A unique type of tiny antibody produced by llamas could provide a new frontline treatment against Covid-19 that can be taken by patients as a simple nasal spray. Research led by scientists at the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford has shown that nanobodies – a smaller, simple form of antibody generated by llamas and camels – can effectively target the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. They found that short chains of the molecules, which can be produced in large quantities in the laboratory, significantly reduced signs of the Covid-19 disease when administered to infected animals. The nanobodies, which bind tightly to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, neutralising it in cell culture, could provide a cheaper and easier to use alternative to human antibodies taken from patients who have recovered from Covid-19.
23rd Sep 2021 - ITV News

Covid-19: Abnormalities in the womb detected among pregnant women even after they tested negative

Analysis of 115 women in the UK, Canada and France who gave birth over the last 18 months showed far more physical abnormalities in the placenta than doctors would expect to see in a pre-2020 pregnancy. The pandemic is taking a physical toll on pregnant women – even if they do not catch Covid-19, a small international study suggests. Analysis of 115 women in the UK, Canada and France who gave birth over the last 18 months showed far more physical abnormalities in the placenta than doctors would expect to see in a pre-pandemic pregnancy. Rates of problems with the placenta, the baby’s support system in the womb, tripled among expectant mothers with Covid-19 but doubled even among those who tested negative, suggesting the changes can be caused by the sheer stress of the pandemic as well as the virus itself.
23rd Sep 2021 - iNews

Heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccine: Are boys at higher risk?

A new, non-peer-reviewed study concluded that healthy boys aged 12–17 years had a higher hospitalization rate due to heart inflammation after their second mRNA COVID-19 vaccination than the expected hospitalization rate for COVID-19 in that age group. A non-peer-reviewed study reports on scientific research that other experts in the field have not evaluated before publication; it should not guide clinical decision-making. In the case of this paper, there are several issues with the data that the researchers used, which limits the accuracy and applicability of the study’s findings. A CDC analysis of reports of heart inflammation after COVID-19 vaccines is currently under review at a major peer-reviewed journal.
23rd Sep 2021 - Medical News Today

4DMedical lung imagery sheds more light on 'long COVID' effects

The scans by 4DMedical allow physicians to detect areas of high and low lung ventilation using existing equipment in hospitals, said founder and Chief Executive Andreas Fouras. The 'four dimensions' refers to the scan's ability to measure the phases of breath as it passes into and out of the lungs. "It takes a short video sequence. We use about 20 seconds worth of video sequence of the patient just breathing naturally," said Fouras. "From that video sequence, we're able to mathematically calculate the motion and then the airflow everywhere around the lungs."
23rd Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Moderna vs. Pfizer: Both Knockouts, but One Seems to Have the Edge

Roughly 221 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have been dispensed thus far in the United States, compared with about 150 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine. In a half-dozen studies published over the past few weeks, Moderna’s vaccine appeared to be more protective than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the months after immunization. The latest such study, published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, evaluated the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines at preventing symptomatic illness in about 5,000 health care workers in 25 states. The study found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had an effectiveness of 88.8 percent, compared with Moderna’s 96.3 percent.
22nd Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Pfizer Study of Covid-19 Vaccine in Pregnant Women Delayed by Slow Enrollment

Changing guidelines and the possibility of being given a placebo made the trial unappealing to some expectant mothers. fizer closed enrollment at many U.S. sites this summer, after fewer than expected numbers of subjects entered the study, researchers say. The slow enrollment was driven by revised guidelines from government and physician groups that recommend pregnant women receive the shots based on new real-world research, according to trial-site researchers. They also say increased vaccine supply made a trial that included the possibility of being given a placebo instead of a vaccine unappealing to expectant mothers and raised questions about the ethics of seeking volunteers.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Llama antibodies have 'significant potential' for Covid-19 treatment

Tiny antibodies produced by llamas could provide a new frontline treatment against coronavirus in the form of a nasal spray, research suggests. Scientists at the Rosalind Franklin Institute have found that the nanobodies – a smaller, simple form of antibody generated by llamas and camels – can effectively target the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. Short chains of the molecules, which can be produced in large quantities in the laboratory, significantly reduced signs of Covid-19 when given to infected animal models, according to the study. The nanobodies bind tightly to the virus, neutralising it in the laboratory, and could provide a cheaper and easier alternative to human antibodies taken from recovered from Covid-19 patients.
22nd Sep 2021 - Metro.co.uk

Has the Delta variant changed the symptoms of COVID-19?

It has been said many times that the arrival of the Delta variant of the coronavirus has changed the course of the pandemic. It is more transmissible than previous variants and has quickly become the dominant variant across the world. And because the vaccines are less effective against it, although still effective enough, it has brought the need for booster shots to the forefront of the debate. A new study has shown that the symptoms that the infection presents have also changed. According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID are...
22nd Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

Trials begin on Covid booster jab hoped to protect against new variants

The first trials have begun of a Covid booster jab that it is hoped will offer good protection against a wide range of variants, researchers have revealed. Covid jabs currently used in the UK trigger an immune response towards the coronavirus spike protein, which helps the virus get into human cells. However, different variants of the coronavirus have different mutations in this protein, meaning a vaccine that works well against one variant may not be as effective against another. The team behind the new booster jab hope to get around this problem by triggering an immune response towards the spike and non-spike proteins of the coronavirus.
21st Sep 2021 - The Guardian


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J&J says second shot boosts protection for moderate-severe COVID-19 to 94%

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday a second shot of its COVID-19 vaccine given about two months after the first increased its effectiveness to 94% in the United States against moderate to severe forms of the disease.
21st Sep 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Trials begin on new vaccine to fight Covid-19 variants

Trials are under way in Manchester of a new jab to fight Covid-19 variants in the hope it can offer longer-lasting immunity than current vaccines. Initially involving participants aged 60 and over, its creators hope the new drug – GRT-R910 – can boost the immune response of first-generation Covid-19 vaccines to a wide array of variants of Sars-Cov-2, which cause Covid-19. First to receive the trial jabs were retired NHS nurse Helen Clarke, 64, and her husband Andrew, 63, from Bolton, Greater Manchester. Mrs Clarke said: “I used to work in the NHS and had been involved in research as a nurse in the past.
21st Sep 2021 - Evening Standard


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Pfizer Vaccine Safe for 5 to 11 Year Olds, Large Trial Finds

Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE said their Covid-19 vaccine was safe and produced strong antibody responses in children ages 5 to 11 in a large-scale trial, findings that could pave the way to begin vaccinating grade-school kids within months. The long-awaited results offer one of the first looks at how well a Covid vaccine could work for younger children. Pressure to immunize kids has been on the climb in the U.S., where a new school year has started just as the delta variant is fueling a surge in cases.
20th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID-19: Coronavirus vaccine rollout reaches 12 to 15-year-olds

Children aged between 12 and 15 have started receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations. Up to three million youngsters are eligible for coronavirus jabs across the UK. Quinn Foakes, 15, was one of the first children in England to get the vaccine. Speaking after receiving his jab at Belfairs Academy secondary school in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, he said: "I was pretty nervous at first but once I'd got it done it was all good and I'm glad that I've done it." His mother Janine Lilleker, a teacher at the school, said: "Their education has been hindered since COVID and by getting their vaccination done it's a way of them protecting themselves and also protecting the wider community of the school."
20th Sep 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19 antibody drug Ronapreve rolled out to vulnerable patients

Thousands of vulnerable NHS patients in hospital due to COVID-19 are set to benefit from a ground-breaking new antibody treatment Ronapreve. The drug is the first neutralising antibody medicine specifically designed to treat COVID-19 to be authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK. Ronapreve, a combination of two monoclonal antibodies, will be targeted initially at those in hospital who have not mounted an antibody response against COVID-19. This includes people who are immunocompromised, for example those with certain cancers or autoimmune diseases, and therefore have difficulty building up an antibody response to the virus, either through being exposed to COVID-19 or from vaccination.
20th Sep 2021 - Pharmafield


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Bats in Laos Caves Harbor Closest Relatives to Covid-19 Virus

Bats dwelling in limestone caves in northern Laos were found to carry coronaviruses that share a key feature with SARS-CoV-2, moving scientists closer to pinpointing the cause of Covid-19. Researchers at France’s Pasteur Institute and the University of Laos looked for viruses similar to the one that causes Covid among hundreds of horseshoe bats. They found three with closely matched receptor binding domains -- the part of the coronavirus’s spike protein used to bind to human ACE-2, the enzyme it targets to cause an infection. The finding, reported in a paper released Friday that’s under consideration for publication by a Nature journal, shows that viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 exist in nature, including in several Rhinolophus, or horseshoe bat, species.
19th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

FDA advisers recommend COVID boosters for 65 and older after rejecting broad approval

Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for Americans 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness, after overwhelmingly rejecting a call for broader approval. The panel also recommended that the FDA include healthcare workers and others at high risk of occupational exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, such as teachers. Despite the narrowed scope of the proposed authorization, the panel's recommendation would cover most Americans who got their shots in the earliest stages of the U.S. vaccination campaign.
18th Sep 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: QCovid tool's new algorithm identifies those most at-risk from coronavirus after vaccination

A tool to calculate a person's risk from COVID-19 has been updated to include who could be susceptible to serious complications, even if they have been fully vaccinated. It found that the elderly, men and people from certain ethnic minorities were most likely to end up in hospital or die due to the coronavirus. Last year, the team behind the QCovid tool used data from more than 6 million people to design an algorithm which could predict COVID outcomes. Now, the analysis of 6.9 million people who received two shots of the vaccine allows for a prediction of who may be more susceptible even after their inoculations.
18th Sep 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19: Trial will see if children need second jab - with 12 to 16-year-olds getting different combinations in study

Youngsters aged 12-16 are to be offered a mix of coronavirus vaccines in a new trial to determine whether children need a second jab and if so which type would be most effective. It comes after health leaders approved first doses of the Pfizer vaccine for over-12s on Monday. Researchers from the University of Oxford are carrying out the trial which will analyse how the participants respond to various combinations. Those involved in the study will all receive a full dose of the Pfizer jab initially.
17th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Investigating COVID-19's hidden death toll

The official COVID-19 mortality count in the United States has surpassed 660,000, but inaccuracies in cause of death reports hide the true impact of the pandemic. Researchers at Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania recently explored healthcare factors at the county level that explained why 20% of excess deaths in 2020 were due to COVID-19. Their study found that most of these excess deaths occurred in areas affected by racial and social injustices.
17th Sep 2021 - Medical News Today

Cuba begins vaccinating children as young as two against COVID-19

On Thursday Cuba began a massive vaccination campaign for children between the ages of two and 10, becoming one of the first nations to do so. Health officials in the country say Cuba’s homegrown vaccines have been found safe for young children. “Our country would not put [infants] even at a minimal risk if the vaccines were not proven save and highly effective when put into children,” Aurolis Otano, director of the Vedado Polyclinic University, told The Associated Press news agency in a vaccination room. Otano said the circulation of the Delta variant led to an increase in infections among the youngest, so Cuba’s scientific community decided to “take the vaccine to clinical trial” and it was approved for children.
17th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera

Studies show good COVID booster effect, waning 2nd-dose protection

Several new studies on the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine describe good effectiveness against the Delta (B1617.2) variant after a booster dose and high but waning protection against infection and severe illness 6 months after the second dose. Other, much smaller, studies demonstrated the safety of third mRNA vaccine doses. And a new British study on waning two-dose effectiveness coincides with the recent decision by UK officials to recommend booster doses.
16th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP


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British study to test mixed COVID-19 vaccine dose schedules in children

A British study will look into the immune responses of children to mixed schedules of different COVID-19 vaccines as officials try to determine the best approach to second doses in adolescents given a small risk of heart inflammation. Children aged 12-15 in Britain will be vaccinated from next week, while those aged 16-17 have been eligible for shots since August.
17th Sep 2021 - Reuters UK

Pfizer and Moderna say Covid-19 vaccine protection wanes over time

Pfizer and Moderna said protection from their Covid-19 vaccines can wane over time, as the US drug regulator prepares to consider whether to approve a booster programme. Ahead of a crucial meeting of the Food and Drug Administration vaccines advisory committee on Friday to discuss its booster proposal, Pfizer on Wednesday submitted a study by Kaiser Permanente Southern California suggesting that vaccine efficacy wanes over time naturally, “irrespective of variant”, rather than as a consequence of the Delta coronavirus strain evading its jab.
16th Sep 2021 - The Financial Times

Researchers examine the persistent effects of COVID-19 on vascular function of young adults

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have examined the persistent effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the vascular function of otherwise healthy young adults. The research, published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, was chosen as an APSselect article for September. “It is intriguing that those with persistent [COVID-19] symptoms exhibited peripheral vascular dysfunction, whereas those who were asymptomatic at the time of testing had similar macrovascular and microvascular vasodilation to controls.”
16th Sep 2021 - News Medical

Menstrual changes after covid-19 vaccination

Common side effects of covid-19 vaccination listed by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) include a sore arm, fever, fatigue, and myalgia. Changes to periods and unexpected vaginal bleeding are not listed, but primary care clinicians and those working in reproductive health are increasingly approached by people who have experienced these events shortly after vaccination. More than 30 000 reports of these events had been made to MHRA’s yellow card surveillance scheme for adverse drug reactions by 2 September 2021, across all covid-19 vaccines currently offered.
16th Sep 2021 - The BMJ

Study: Farmworkers at 4 times risk of COVID-19

A study today in JAMA Network Open that found quadruple the risk of COVID-19 in California farmworkers reveals risk factors for current or previous SARS-CoV-2 infection in the group, including outdoor work exposures, crowded living conditions, and high body mass index (BMI). A team led by University of California at Berkeley researchers analyzed the data of 1,107 adult farmworkers undergoing testing for COVID-19 infection and immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies at federally qualified community clinics and community sites in the Salinas Valley from Jul 16 to Nov 30, 2020.
16th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP

No-fridge coronavirus vaccine looks promising: study

A team based at University of California, San Diego is working on a coronavirus vaccine that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. They grew plant and bacteria viruses and attached a piece of the spike protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In tests with mice, the vaccine led to high levels of neutralizing antibodies.
15th Sep 2021 - The Hill


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Covid USA: Babies could be given low-dose of Pfizer's jab this winter

Pfizer seeking approval to jab kids aged six months to five years by this winter. Timeline will depend on findings of in-house trials of vaccines on young children. Pfizer's jab already being used for over-12s in majority of countries in the West.
15th Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Booster Dose Slashes Rates of Covid Infection in Israeli Study

A third dose of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE Covid vaccine can dramatically reduce rates of Covid-related illness in people 60 and older, according to data from a short-term study in Israel. Starting 12 days after the extra dose, confirmed infection rates were 11 times lower in the booster group compared with a group that got the standard two doses, the analysis released Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine found. Rates of severe illness were almost 20 times lower in the booster group.
15th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Pfizer (PFE) Says Covid-19 Vaccine Efficacy Erodes Over Time

Pfizer Inc. said that data from the U.S. and Israel suggest that the efficacy of its Covid-19 vaccine wanes over time, and that a booster dose was safe and effective at warding off the virus and new variants. The company detailed the data in a presentation it will deliver to a meeting of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration on Friday. The panel is expected to make recommendations for whether more Americans should receive booster shots.
15th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19: Boys are more at risk of myocarditis after vaccination than of hospital admission for covid

The risk of 12-15 year old healthy boys experiencing cardiac adverse events such as myocarditis after their second dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is around four times adolescents’ risk of being admitted to hospital as a result of infection with SARS-CoV-2, a preprint study has found. The retrospective study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, used the US vaccine adverse reporting system (VAERS) to identify the rate of post-vaccination myocarditis among 12-15 and 16-17 year olds between January and June 2021 after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The researchers concluded that the rate of cardiac adverse events after the second dose exceeded the expected rate of 120 day covid-19 hospital admission at both a moderate (August 2021) and a high (January 2021) incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
15th Sep 2021 - The BMJ


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83% of stem cell recipients produce antibodies after 2 COVID-19 vaccine doses

Stem cell transplant recipients with cancers like leukemia had an antibody response rate of 83% to the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, with almost two-thirds having very strong responses, an observational, single-center study today in JAMA Network Open finds. Researchers from Nantes University Hospital in France studied 117 coronavirus-naïve adults who received a donor stem cell transplant for the treatment of hematologic cancer and were given two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Jan 20 to Apr 17. The median interval between the two doses was 22 days.
14th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP


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COVID-19: Freedom Day was 'gamble' and has contributed to 40,000 hospital admissions, BMA says

More than 130,000 people in the UK have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. The British Medical Association says the loosening of restrictions, notably England's so-called Freedom Day, was a "gamble" - contributing to more than 40,000 hospital admissions.
13th Sep 2021 - Sky News

Fully vaccinated people account for 1.2% of England’s Covid-19 deaths

People who were fully vaccinated accounted for just 1.2% of all deaths involving Covid-19 in England in the first seven months of this year. The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), have been seized on as proof of the success of the vaccine programme. The figures show a total of 51,281 deaths involving Covid-19 in England between 2 January and 2 July, of which 38,964 were of unvaccinated people.
13th Sep 2021 - The Guardian

FDA vaccine regulators argue against Covid-19 vaccine boosters in new international review

A group of international experts — including, notably, two outgoing Food and Drug Administration vaccine regulators — argues in a new paper against offering Covid-19 vaccine boosters to the general population. The paper, published Monday in the Lancet, is based on a review of available data about the durability of vaccine protection. That it was co-authored by Marion Gruber and Phil Krause, two veteran FDA officials who have been leading the agency’s review of Covid-19 vaccine applications, amounts to a strikingly direct rebuff to the Biden administration as it lays plans for booster shots. Gruber and Krause announced last month they would be leaving the agency this fall.
13th Sep 2021 - STAT News


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Some Vaccines Last a Lifetime. Here’s Why Covid-19 Shots Don’t.

Why don’t Covid-19 vaccinations last longer? Measles shots are good for life, chickenpox immunizations protect for 10 to 20 years, and tetanus jabs last a decade or more. But U.S. officials are weighing whether to authorize Covid-19 boosters for vaccinated adults as soon as six months after the initial inoculation. The goal of a vaccine is to provide the protection afforded by natural infection, but without the risk of serious illness or death. “A really good vaccine makes it so someone does not get infected even if they are exposed to the virus,” said Rustom Antia, a biology professor at Emory University who studies immune responses. “But not all vaccines are ideal.”
11th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Germany recommends COVID-19 vaccinations for pregnant women

Germany's vaccine oversight body on Friday recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an mRNA-based shot. The Permanent Vaccination Commission (STIKO) advises that women should receive two shots from the second trimester of pregnancy, according to guidance posted on the website of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
11th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Novavax developing joint COVID/flu vaccine

Vaccine manufacturer Novavax has announced it is developing a joint COVID-19/flu shot that is currently in the trial stage. Novavax already manufactures flu shots and a COVID-19 vaccine, which has not yet been approved for public use in Australia. However, the government has placed an order for 51 million doses.
9th Sep 2021 - 9News

Co-inventor of mRNA shots sets sights on pan-coronavirus vaccine

Drew Weissman's decades of research helped pave the way for mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, but the scientist isn't resting on his laurels. The University of Pennsylvania immunologist, who on Thursday shared the $3 million 2022 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences with his longtime collaborator Katalin Kariko, is now spearheading efforts to design a new vaccine against all coronaviruses. The Silicon Valley-backed award honors major discoveries with the highest cash amounts in science.
9th Sep 2021 - FRANCE 24

Moderna developing single-dose booster shot for COVID-19 and flu

Moderna Inc said on Thursday it is developing a single vaccine that combines a booster dose against COVID-19 with its experimental flu shot. The company hopes to eventually add vaccines it is working on for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory diseases as an annual shot. "We believe this is a very large opportunity that is ahead of us, if we could bring to market a high efficacy pan-respiratory annual booster," Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel said during a presentation to update investors on its drugs in development.
9th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Can kids get ‘long COVID’ after coronavirus infections?

Can kids get “long COVID” after coronavirus infections? Yes, but studies indicate they’re less likely than adults to be affected by symptoms that persist, recur or begin a month or more after infection. Estimates vary on how often the symptoms known as long COVID-19 occur in kids. A recently published U.K. study found about 4% of young children and teens had symptoms more than a month after getting infected. Fatigue, headaches and loss of smell were among the most common complaints and most were gone by two months. Coughing, chest pain and brain fog are among other long-term symptoms sometimes found in kids, and can occur even after mild infections or no initial symptoms.
9th Sep 2021 - The Conversation

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot joins the list of vaccines flagged for rare Guillain-Barre syndrome

Two months after the FDA flagged Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for the rare nerve disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) Europe’s drug regulator has done the same for AstraZeneca’s COVID shot. The European Medicines Agency will now list GBS as a possible and “very rare” side effect of Vaxzevria, which is administered as a two-dose regimen. Of the 592 million doses of the vaccine administered worldwide through the end of July, 833 cases of the nerve-damaging condition were reported. Both are adenovirus-based vaccines, as opposed to the mRNA shots offered by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. The J&J and AZ vaccines also have been linked to very rare cases of blood clots that occur alongside bleeding.
9th Sep 2021 - FiercePharma

Study says Alpha variant doubled COVID cases in Israeli kids

The SARS-CoV-2 Alpha (B117) variant spread faster and more efficiently than previous strains among children 9 years and younger in Israel in late 2020 and early 2021, even amid the concurrent immunization of adults against COVID-19, according to an observational study yesterday in JAMA Network Open. A team led by a researcher at Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel in Petah Tikva compared the publicly available daily data of 21,615 children who tested positive for COVID-19 from Aug 1 to Oct 2, 2020, with those of 50,811 children who tested positive from Dec 3, 2020, to Feb 3, 2021. The researchers adjusted weekly incidence rates according to the number of COVID-19 tests performed.
8th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP


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Novavax begins early-stage trial for flu-Covid combo vaccine

Vaccine developer Novavax Inc said today it has initiated an early-stage study to test its combined flu and Covid-19 vaccine. The trial, to be conducted in Australia, will enrol 640 healthy adults between the ages of 50 and 70 years and who have either been previously infected with the coronavirus or given an authorized Covid-19 vaccine at least eight weeks prior to the study.
8th Sep 2021 - Free Malaysia Today

Countries should prioritize pregnant, breastfeeding women for COVID-19 shots -PAHO

Countries in the Americas should prioritize pregnant and lactating women in distribution of COVID-19 shots, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, hailing the ability of the vaccines to protect women and their babies. "PAHO recommends that all pregnant women after their first trimester, as well as those who are breastfeeding, receive the COVID-19 vaccine," PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne said during the organization's weekly virtual briefing.
8th Sep 2021 - Reuters

EU lists rare nerve disorder as possible side-effect of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Europe's medicines regulator has added an extremely rare nerve-damaging disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, as a possible side-effect of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, regular safety updates from the watchdog showed on Wednesday. The European Medicines Agency said a causal relationship between GBS and the AstraZeneca shot, known as Vaxzevria, was a "at least a reasonable possibility" after 833 cases of GBS were reported out of 592 million doses of the vaccine given worldwide by July 31.
8th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Australia to support waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines

Trade Minister Dan Tehan says Australia will support an international push to waive intellectual property (IP) protections for COVID-19 vaccines as soaring infection rates across the globe prolong the pandemic and create ripe conditions for new variants. India and South Africa have spearheaded the campaign to change World Trade Organization (WTO) rules in an effort to make it easier for low and middle-income countries to manufacture and sell cheaper generic copies of COVID-19 vaccines produced by multinational pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer.
8th Sep 2021 - ABC News


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EMA begins analysis of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 booster shot data

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has commenced evaluation of an application submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech seeking an update to conditional marketing authorization (CMA) for the use of a booster shot of their Covid-19 vaccine, Comirnaty. A messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine, Comirnaty was granted a CMA by the European Commission in December last year. The third or booster shot is intended to be administered six months after the second dose in individuals aged 16 years or above, Pfizer noted.
7th Sep 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology

Japan picks three COVID-19 drug candidates to get research funds

Japan has selected three candidates for COVID-19 treatments to receive subsidies for clinical trials, the health ministry said on Tuesday. The drugs are AstraZeneca Plc's antibody treatment AZD7442, Shionogi & Co's protease inhibitor S-217622, and Fujifilm Holding Corp's antiviral favipiravir, known commercially as Avigan.
7th Sep 2021 - Reuters

New Studies Find Evidence Of 'Superhuman' Immunity To COVID-19 In Some Individuals

Some scientists have called it "superhuman immunity" or "bulletproof." But immunologist Shane Crotty prefers "hybrid immunity." "Overall, hybrid immunity to SARS-CoV-2 appears to be impressively potent," Crotty wrote in commentary in Science back in June. No matter what you call it, this type of immunity offers much-needed good news in what seems like an endless array of bad news regarding COVID-19. Over the past several months, a series of studies has found that some people mount an extraordinarily powerful immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.
7th Sep 2021 - NPR

COVID-19: release approved vaccines for trials of new ones

Scientists must develop the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines now, if the world is to meet the challenge of SARS-CoV-2 variants and reduce vaccine inequity by increasing global supply. This can be done only if comparator COVID-19 vaccines — those that have already been approved — are available to support clinical trials. Such comparator vaccines are almost impossible to secure; governments, developers and manufacturers must find a solution to unlock supplies. So far, COVID-19 vaccines have received approval on the basis of data from unvaccinated participants in placebo-controlled efficacy trials. These trials become increasingly difficult to carry out as the number of people who are immunized rises. Comparator vaccines, essentially replacing placebos, are therefore needed for trials that assess whether new candidate vaccines provide comparable levels of protection, including against emerging variants.
7th Sep 2021 - Nature.com


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Vaccination of young linked to downward Covid trend

The impact of vaccination among young people is driving optimism among senior Government figures and health chiefs that the level of Covid-19 infection in the country is on a downward trajectory. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said on Sunday night that the number of cases among 15-24 year olds had been “coming down significantly and coming down for quite a while”. He told The Irish Times that cases in these groups, “which were very, very high, have been falling markedly”.
6th Sep 2021 - The Irish Times

India's Hetero gets emergency use nod to make Roche's COVID-19 drug

Indian drug developer Hetero said on Monday it has received emergency use approval from the country's health authorities to make a generic version of Roche Holding AG's COVID-19 drug.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

Sinovac booster shot reverses drop in antibody activities against Delta-study

A booster dose of Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine reversed a decline in antibody activities against the Delta variant, a study showed, easing some concerns about its longer-term immune response to the highly contagious strain of the virus. The study comes amid concerns about the Chinese vaccine's efficacy against Delta, which has become the dominant variant globally and is driving a surge in new infections even in the most vaccinated countries.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters

China’s Sinopharm seeks to develop its own mRNA Covid vaccine

Sinopharm is developing a homegrown messenger RNA inoculation for Covid-19, becoming one of the first big Chinese pharmaceutical groups to pursue the technology to combat the disease. The state-owned pharma group’s move comes as concerns grow over the efficacy of conventional inactivated virus vaccines, which have dominated the rollout in China. Certain studies have shown the jabs produce fewer antibodies compared with mRNA shots. Inactivated vaccines, such as Sinopharm’s existing Covid vaccine, use dead viral particles to produce an immune response, while mRNA jabs contain genetic instructions that tell cells to make viral proteins that prime the immune system.
6th Sep 2021 - Financial Times

EU watchdog studying data on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster dose

Europe's medicines regulator said on Monday it was evaluating data on a booster dose for Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, to be given six months after the second dose in people 16 years of age and older.
6th Sep 2021 - Reuters


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Everything we know about the mu variant, the latest coronavirus mutation

On Monday the World Health Organization (WHO) officially labeled the mu variant as a "variant of interest," a designation that indicates a need for further study about possible dangers while falling short of the more serious classification, "variant of concern." Variants of concern are regarded as a top priority because they are more immunity-resistant, contagious or deadly than other strains. Currently the WHO considers four strains to meet those criteria: alpha, beta, gamma and delta (the variant most prevalent in the United States).
4th Sep 2021 - Salon

A generation of young people is at risk from the UK’s latest Covid experiment

The country is an international outlier in restoring in-person learning without mitigations or vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds. Neurologists warned that Covid-19 could fuel a pandemic of dementia, because of long-term brain damage wrought in some patients. Second, a paper in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology noted that “long Covid” sufferers are at increased risk of kidney damage. Millions may need dialysis for years to come, a costly tragedy for patients and creaking healthcare systems.
3rd Sep 2021 - Financial Times

One Vaccine Makes More Antibodies Than Another. Does it Matter?

Ten months ago, the results of large clinical trials appeared almost too good to be true: Two messenger RNA vaccines reduced symptomatic Covid-19 cases by more than 90% in almost every group that got them. Now, subtle differences between the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. vaccines are emerging across patient groups over time. One small U.S. study found waning levels of antibodies with Pfizer’s vaccine, particularly in an older group of people. And a larger study from Belgium found that Moderna’s shot may generate more antibodies than Pfizer’s.
3rd Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

mRNA COVID vaccines not tied to serious side effects

Ten months ago, the results of large clinical trials appeared almost too good to be true: Two messenger RNA vaccines reduced symptomatic Covid-19 cases by more than 90% in almost every group that got them. Now, subtle differences between the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. vaccines are emerging across patient groups over time. One small U.S. study found waning levels of antibodies with Pfizer’s vaccine, particularly in an older group of people. And a larger study from Belgium found that Moderna’s shot may generate more antibodies than Pfizer’s.
3rd Sep 2021 - CIDRAP

Covid Survivors More Likely to Have Kidney Problems, Study Finds

Since the beginning of the pandemic, doctors have found that people who become very ill with Covid-19 often experience kidney problems, not just the lung impairments that are the hallmark of the illness. Now, a large study suggests that kidney issues can last for months after patients recover from the initial infection, and may lead to a serious lifelong reduction of kidney function in some patients.
1st Sep 2021 - The New York Times

Covid-19: Children born during the pandemic score lower on cognitive tests, study finds

Children born during the pandemic score markedly lower on standard measures of verbal, motor, and overall cognitive ability, US researchers have found. In a longitudinal study of 672 children from Rhode Island that has run since 2011, those born after the pandemic began showed results on the Mullen scales of early learning that corresponded to an average IQ score of 78, a drop of 22 points from the average of previous cohorts. The researchers have largely ruled out a direct effect of the virus, as mothers or children with a history of testing positive for covid-19 were excluded from the analysis. Instead, the authors say, reduced interaction with parents and less outdoor exercise are likely culprits, along with effects that occurred during pregnancy.
16th Aug 2021 - The BMJ


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Sep 2021

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New Covid strain Mu lands in UK with 55 cases in England so far

A new Covid mutation has found its way to the UK with 55 cases identified in England so far. The new strain, called Mu, was first detected in South America and has been labelled a variant of interest by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Mu, or B.1.621, was first identified in Colombia and cases have been recorded in South America and various European countries. The WHO said the variant has mutations suggesting it could be more resistant to vaccines but that more studies would be needed to examine this further.
2nd Sep 2021 - Evening Standard

Pfizer launches later-stage study of pill to treat COVID-19

Pfizer on Wednesday announced that it had initiated a later-stage clinical trial for a pill that could potentially treat COVID-19. If proven to be safe and effective, the drug could fill an unmet need for a widespread, easier-to-use treatment, as opposed to an infusion like remdesivir, another treatment. Pfizer is beginning a trial that will enroll 1,140 participants, the company said.
2nd Sep 2021 - The Hill

JCVI advises booster COVID-19 jab for severely immunosuppressed

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that people with severely weakened immune systems should have a third vaccine dose as part of their primary COVID-19 vaccination schedule.
2nd Sep 2021 - PharmaTimes

Coronavirus vaccines cut risk of long Covid, study finds

Being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 not only cuts the risk of catching it, but also of an infection turning into long Covid, research led by King's College London suggests. It shows that in the minority of people who get Covid despite two jabs, the odds of developing symptoms lasting longer than four weeks are cut by 50%. This is compared with people who are not vaccinated. So far, 78.9% of over-16s in the UK have had two doses of a Covid vaccine. Many people who get Covid recover within four weeks but some have symptoms that continue or develop for weeks and months after the initial infection - sometimes known as long Covid. It can happen after people experience even mild coronavirus symptoms.
2nd Sep 2021 - BBC News

Entos to commence Phase II Covid-19 vaccine trial in South Africa

Entos Pharmaceuticals has obtained approval from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to commence a Phase II clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Covigenix VAX-001, in the country. Made using the Entos’ Fusogenix proteolipid vehicle (PLV) nucleic acid delivery platform, the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) vaccine encodes the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. It also includes two genetic adjuvants to induce the innate and adaptive immune systems, offering efficient and long-term protection from Covid-19.
2nd Sep 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology

Moderna submits preliminary data to FDA for Covid-19 booster shot

Moderna has commenced its submission to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the assessment of a booster shot of its Covid-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, at the 50µg dose level. The company plans to make similar submissions to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as well as other global regulatory agencies soon. In December last year, the FDA authorised the emergency use of this messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine for people aged 18 years or above.
2nd Sep 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology


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WHO: New Coronavirus Variant "Mu" May Be Resistant to Vaccines

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday it is monitoring a new coronavirus variant known as “Mu,” which was first identified in Colombia in January of 2021. Mu, known scientifically as B.1.621, has been classified as a “variant of interest,” the global health body stated in its weekly pandemic bulletin.
1st Sep 2021 - Greek Reporter

Most highly allergic people can be safely immunized against COVID-19

Most highly allergic individuals can be safely immunized against COVID-19, according to a study published online Aug. 31 in JAMA Network Open. Ronen Shavit, M.D., from Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel, and colleagues describe immunization of highly allergic individuals with the Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) COVID-19 vaccine in a prospective cohort study conducted from Dec. 27, 2020, to Feb. 22, 2021. A total of 8,102 patients with allergies underwent risk assessment using an algorithm that included a detailed questionnaire; 429 patients were considered highly allergic and immunized under medical supervision.
1st Sep 2021 - Medical Xpress

Pfizer, Merck launch large new trials of oral COVID-19 drugs

Pfizer and Merck & Co. each launched pivotal clinical studies of new experimental oral COVID-19 drugs, building on previous work to provide outpatient alternatives for patients. Merck is studying whether its medicine, molnupiravir, can prevent COVID-19 in adults who live with a symptomatic patient with a confirmed coronavirus infection. The trial will include about 1,300 patients who will take molnupiravir or a placebo every 12 hours for five days. Pfizer said the first of about 1,140 patients has received a dose of its therapy in a trial to treat symptomatic patients who have not been hospitalized and aren’t at high risk of severe illness. The dosing of the Pfizer treatment – a combination of an older medicine and an experimental drug called PF-07321332 – is also every 12 hours for five days and measured against a placebo.
1st Sep 2021 - BioPharma Dive

Massive randomized study is proof that surgical masks limit coronavirus spread, authors say

The authors of a study based on an enormous randomized research project in Bangladesh say their results offer the best evidence yet that widespread wearing of surgical masks can limit the spread of the coronavirus in communities. The preprint paper, which tracked more than 340,000 adults across 600 villages in rural Bangladesh, is by far the largest randomized study on the effectiveness of masks at limiting the spread of coronavirus infections.
1st Sep 2021 - The Washington Post

What the data reveals about children and Covid-19 in the US

As students and staff return to school, the highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19 has caused cases, hospitalizations and death rates to soar across the country. Children under 12 are particularly vulnerable to infection as they are not yet eligible for vaccination, including the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine. Contrary to research early in the pandemic, children are just as likely to become infected as adults. According to the CDC, Covid-19 infection rates for adolescents aged 5 to 17 were as high as in adults 18 to 49, and higher than rates in adults over 50.
1st Sep 2021 - CNN

Why some COVID-19 infections may be free of symptoms but not free of harm

Eric Topol was worried when he first saw images of the lungs of people who had been infected with COVID-19 aboard the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan in the earliest weeks of the pandemic. A study of 104 passengers found that 76 of them had COVID but were asymptomatic. Of that group, CT scans showed that 54 percent had lung abnormalities—patchy grey spots known as ground glass opacities that signal fluid build-up in the lungs. These CT scans were “disturbing,” wrote Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, with co-author Daniel Oran in a narrative review of asymptomatic disease published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “If confirmed, this finding suggests that the absence of symptoms might not necessarily mean the absence of harm.”
1st Sep 2021 - National Geographic UK

Painless, Silent Organ Damage Seen in Covid ‘Long Hauler’ Study

Kidney damage is painless and silent, and it’s the latest ailment to be identified afflicting a large swath of Covid-19 survivors. Injury to the blood-filtering organ can occur among people who recover from the coronavirus at home, and escalates with the severity of Covid, a study found. Even non-hospitalized patients with no renal problems have almost a twofold higher risk of developing end-stage kidney disease, compared with someone who never had Covid. The findings, reported Wednesday in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, highlight yet another pernicious burden of the pandemic that’s sickened more than 200 million people globally.
1st Sep 2021 - Bloomberg

Pfizer Booster Shot Lowered Coronavirus Infection Risk in Study

A third shot of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE Covid vaccine provides added protection against the coronavirus during a delta outbreak, according to early data from Israel, where boosters began rolling out incrementally in mid-July. People who received the supplemental dose had a 48% to 68% lower risk of infection a week to 13 days later, compared to those who got the standard two-dose regimen, a preliminary analysis of data from Maccabi Healthcare Services found. The protection increased with time, with a 70% to 84% reduced risk of testing positive two weeks to 20 days after getting a third shot.
1st Sep 2021 - Bloomberg


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Covid-19 Booster Shots Get Support From Expert Panel

Health experts advising the U.S. government on vaccines expressed initial support for giving booster shots to people vaccinated against Covid-19, starting with healthcare workers, nursing-home residents and others immunized earliest. Members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, on Monday indicated their agreement with the Biden administration’s plans to offer the extra doses. Yet they said the priority should remain increasing vaccinations of unvaccinated people, and that boosters shouldn’t distract or impede from doing that.
31st Aug 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Moderna Creates Twice as Many Antibodies as Pfizer, Study Shows

Moderna Inc.’s Covid vaccine generated more than double the antibodies of a similar shot made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE in research that compared immune responses evoked by the two inoculations. The study is one of the first to compare levels of antibodies produced by the two vaccines, which are thought to be one of the important components of the immune response. It didn’t examine whether the antibody differences led to a difference in efficacy over time between the two shots, which both were more than 90% effective in final-stage clinical trials.
31st Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

GSK and SK Bioscience start late-stage trial of Covid-19 vaccine

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and South Korean pharmaceutical firm SK Bioscience have started a Phase 3 trial of their Covid-19 vaccine combination. GSK told the stock market on Tuesday that the advance follows “positive” interim results in the Phase 1 and 2 studies.
31st Aug 2021 - The Independent on MSN.com

WHO says C.1.2. COVID-19 variant does not seem to be spreading

A new coronavirus variant that was first detected in South Africa in May does not appear to be spreading, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday, adding it was monitoring the variant as the virus evolves.
31st Aug 2021 - Reuters

Side effects feared from vaccine are more common in COVID cases — Israeli study

Research on 2 million Israelis fails to find high incidence of any serious side effect post-inoculation; coronavirus patient 4 times more likely to get myocarditis than vaccinee
31st Aug 2021 - The Times of Israel

What is C.1.2, the new Covid variant in South Africa, and should we be worried?

The C.1.2 strain has scientists’ attention because it possesses mutations within the genome similar to those seen in variants of interest, like Delta. On Monday the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa issued an alert about the “C.1.2 lineage”, saying it had been detected in all provinces in the country, but at a relatively low rate. C.1.2 was first detected in May, the alert said, but Delta is still the dominant variant spreading in South Africa and the world. A pre-print, non peer-reviewed paper published about the variant said C.1.2 “has since been detected across the majority of the provinces in South Africa and in seven other countries spanning Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania”.
31st Aug 2021 - The Guardian Australia


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South Africa detects new coronavirus variant, still studying its mutations

C.1.2 contains mutations present in WHO variants of concern. Scientists running lab tests to understand more about variant. Still appears to account for small share of South Africa's cases
30th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Over two-thirds population has Covid-19 antibodies, seroprevalence study shows

Over two-thirds of the country’s population has developed antibodies to the coronavirus, according to a new study carried out by the Health Ministry. According to a statement issued by the ministry, the seroprevalence study was conducted on 13,161 people, chosen randomly between July 5 and August 14. The samples were tested at the National Public Health Laboratory. The preliminary report says antibodies have been seen in 68.6 percent of the samples collected from across the cou
30th Aug 2021 - The Kathmandu Post

Pfizer 'variant hunters' race to stay ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic

Hundreds of millions of doses have been injected worldwide, but at the Pearl River research center where the vaccine was created, the pace has not let up. A team of “variant hunters,” as they call themselves, race to track changes in the fast-mutating SARS-CoV-2. A “virus farmer” grows the latest variants so researchers can test how they fare against the vaccine. And a colleague known as the “graphing unicorn” converts the data into intelligible results overnight. The scientist leading all this work, Phil Dormitzer, was among the first to open the email bearing results of tests on how well Pfizer’s shot worked against Delta. For a heart-stopping moment, he thought the vaccine was indeed less protective against this wildfire of a variant. Then he looked again
30th Aug 2021 - STAT News

Two Experts Weigh In on Delta

We asked two of our favorite regular Sunday Covid Q&A experts — Monica Gandhi of University of California, San Francisco, and Bertha Hidalgo of the University of Alabama at Birmingham — to answer questions about the variant during a live Q&A for Bloomberg Terminal subscribers last week. Today, we’re giving our newsletter readers a peek at what our experts had to say. Here are some excerpts:
29th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg


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Coronavirus vaccine: How nasal vaccines will be administered and why it can defeat delta variant

The emergence of COVID-19 variants has posed a new challenge in front of the medical community to look for more efficient vaccines to minimise the risk of infection. The vaccines currently being administered across the globe have been found to be less effective on the variants, forcing several vaccine developers to look for stronger versions. Of all the vaccines being tried and tested, a nasal vaccine shot developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, the makers behind Covaxin is considered to be a game-changer, if approved after clinical trials.
29th Aug 2021 - Times of India

Scientists Warn Covid Set to Grow Exponentially in U.K. Schools

The U.K. government’s scientific advisers said Covid-19 cases are likely to rise exponentially among children when schools resume next month after the summer holidays. Most U.K. children haven’t been vaccinated against coronavirus and it would be “sensible” for the government to plan for “high prevalence” in schools by the end of September, according to a document dated Aug. 11 that was released on Friday by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
27th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Delta Variant Doubles Covid-19 Hospitalization Risk, Study Finds

People who contract the delta variant of Covid-19 are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized as those infected with the alpha strain, according to a U.K. study, raising the prospect of a greater burden on health services this winter. The review of more than 43,000 Covid-19 cases in England, most of whom were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal Friday, and highlighted the protection shots provide against hospitalization from both variants.
27th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Covid-19 Vaccine Efficacy: What Do the Numbers Really Mean?

The spread of the Delta variant, an increase in vaccinated people testing positive for Covid-19, and the U.S. government’s call for booster shots have raised new questions about the power of the coronavirus vaccines. Here’s what we know about how authorized vaccines perform against the variant, and their ability to prevent infection and serious illness.
27th Aug 2021 - The Wall Street Journal


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Blood clot risk greater after Covid infection than after vaccination

The chances of developing dangerous blood clots after being infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 far outweighs the risks of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, according to the largest study of its kind. The sweeping analysis used data from more than 29 million people in England to compare both vaccines with infection from Sars-Cov-2. It weighed up rates of hospital admission or death from blood clots, as well as other blood disorders, within 28 days of either a positive test or receiving the first jab.
27th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Reliance Life Sciences seeks nod to start human trials of COVID-19 vaccine - ET

India's Reliance Life Sciences has applied for regulatory approval to begin early stage human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, The Economic Times reported on Thursday. The unlisted firm's parent Reliance Industries did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

mRNA vaccines trigger backup immune response; some cancer drugs may help

A new study may help explain why mRNA vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are more effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths than they are at preventing infection. Test-tube experiments on blood samples from 61 fully vaccinated adults showed that by six months, vaccine-induced antibodies that can immediately neutralize the virus had declined. But so-called memory B cells, which produce new antibodies if they encounter the virus later on, had increased and become better at recognizing viral variants, according to a report posted on Monday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review.
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Heart inflammation risk boosted slightly by vaccine, more by COVID-19 -study

The use of Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE's (22UAy.DE) widely used COVID-19 vaccine marginally increases the risk of heart inflammation, but the risk is higher among those infected with the coronavirus,
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: Protection from coronavirus vaccines wanes within six months, study suggests

COVID-19 protection from two doses of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines begins to wane within six months, new research suggests. In a reasonable "worst-case scenario", protection could fall to below 50% for the elderly and healthcare workers by winter, analysis from the Zoe COVID study found. The Pfizer-BioNTech jab was 88% effective at preventing coronavirus infection a month after the second dose. But the protection decreased to 74% after five to six months - suggesting protection fell 14 percentage points in four months.
26th Aug 2021 - Sky News

China Livzon Pharma affiliate's COVID-19 vaccine candidate enters phase III trial

A potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by a biotech firm affiliated with China's Livzon Pharmaceutical Group Inc (Livzon) has entered a late-stage trial, Livzon said late on Thursday. A Phase III trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the candidate, named V-01, in people aged 18 and over has started recruiting participants in the Philippines, Livzon said in a filing.
26th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Pandemic had severe impact on young people, says report

The coronavirus pandemic and restrictions have had "a severe impact" on children and young people. That is according to a report from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY). More than half (52%) of 16-year-olds who took part in the research felt their mental and emotional health had worsened during the pandemic. "Insufficient consideration" was given to how children and young people's lives would be affected, it said.
26th Aug 2021 - BBC News


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Aug 2021

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Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosters increase antibodies: Data

The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) company is saying that a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine sharply increased levels of antibodies, according to interim data from two early-stage trials. A second dose of the United States company’s single-dose vaccine resulted in binding antibody levels nine times higher than the levels 28 days after people received their first dose, the company said in a news release on Wednesday.
25th Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

COVID vaccine protection wanes within six months - UK researchers

Protection against COVID-19 offered by two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines begins to fade within six months, underscoring the need for booster shots, according to researchers in Britain. After five to six months, the effectiveness of the Pfizer jab at preventing COVID-19 infection in the month after the second dose fell from 88% to 74%, an analysis of data collected in Britain's ZOE COVID study showed.
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

U.S. data show rising 'breakthrough' infections among fully vaccinated

Some 25% of SARS-CoV-2 infections among Los Angeles County residents occurred in fully vaccinated residents from May through July 25, a period that includes the impact of the highly transmissible Delta variant, U.S. officials reported on Tuesday. The data, published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly report on death and disease, shows an increase in so-called "breakthrough" infections among fully vaccinated individuals.
25th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Thailand develops robotic system to up Covid vaccine doses

Researchers in Thailand have developed a machine to draw out Covid-19 vaccine doses more efficiently and optimise lower-than-expected supplies as the country struggles with its worst coronavirus outbreak yet. Using a robotic arm, the “AutoVacc” system can draw 12 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in four minutes from a vial, according to researchers at Chulalongkorn University, who made the machine that has been used at the university’s vaccination centre since Monday. That is up 20% than from the standard 10 doses drawn manually, they said. The machine works only on AstraZeneca multi-dose vials currently and labels show each vial can provide 10 to 11 doses.
25th Aug 2021 - The Guardian


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Officials, experts warn against using COVID-19 vaccine in kids under 12

Health experts and federal officials are advising physicians not to administer the newly-approved Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to children under the age of 12, despite pressure from parents clamoring for a way to vaccinate their young children. While full approval of a drug generally allows for "off-label" use outside the prescribed population, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there's still not enough data about the safety of the vaccines for children in that age group.
24th Aug 2021 - The Hill

A lucky few seem 'resistant' to Covid-19. Scientists ask why

University of Sao Paolo's Mayana Zatz’s work is part of a growing effort to identify factors that may make people resistant to Covid, with the goal of finding clues to treatments, as well as understanding resistance against viruses more broadly. Other scientists have run lab experiments using CRISPR genome-editing technology to disable genes, in search of ones that could be manipulated to perhaps protect those of us not fortunate enough to have natural resistance against the coronavirus. “The biological implications [of identifying a resistance gene] are important because it will provide one more piece in the assembly of the puzzle of the pathogenesis of Covid,” said pediatric immunologist Jean-Laurent Casanova of Rockefeller University, who has been studying the genes involved in Covid-19 severity, but is now shifting to look at elements of resistance.
24th Aug 2021 - STAT News

Study shows why opening windows in class will not stop COVID-19

Open windows in a classroom may give a false, or incomplete, impression of good ventilation. Cold surfaces, such as windows, can pose an additional risk in enclosed spaces. The key to reducing transmission is to limit horizontal airflow at the breathing level. To reduce SARS-CoV-2 exposure indoors, it is crucial to space seating according to guidelines, wear masks, and keep windows open.
24th Aug 2021 - Medical News Today

Israel's COVID-19 vaccine boosters show signs of taming Delta

Less than a month into a COVID-19 vaccine booster drive, Israel is seeing signs of an impact on the country's high infection and severe illness rates fuelled by the fast-spreading Delta variant, officials and scientists say. Delta hit Israel in June, just as the country began to reap the benefits of one of the world's fastest vaccine roll-outs.
24th Aug 2021 - Reuters

MHRA approves first novel monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid-19

A new antibody treatment to be used in the prevention and treatment of ‘acute’ Covid-19 infection has been approved by the UK medicines regulator. Ronapreve, developed by Regenron/Roche, is the first novel monoclonal antibody treatment, developed specifically for targeting Covid-19, to be given the go ahead in the UK. NHS England previously said that GPs may soon handle referrals of patients to receive such treatments. And the DHSC told Pulse that ‘deployment details’ for Ronapreve, will be announced in due course – including which patients will be eligible to receive the treatment.
23rd Aug 2021 - Pulse Today


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Aug 2021

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Germany to drop incidence levels as key COVID yardstick - sources

Germany has decided to stop using the coronavirus infection rate as its yardstick for deciding if restrictions should be in force to contain the spread of the virus, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.
23rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Israel finds COVID-19 vaccine booster significantly lowers infection risk

A third dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has significantly improved protection from infection and serious illness among people aged 60 and older in Israel compared with those who received two shots, findings published by the Health Ministry showed on Sunday. The data were presented at a meeting of a ministry panel of vaccination experts on Thursday and uploaded to its website on Sunday, though the full details of the study were not released.
23rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

NewsGP - Research provides hope for 'Holy Grail' coronavirus vaccine

A Singapore-based study has fuelled hopes that a vaccine might one day offer protection against a range of different coronaviruses – and not just the SARS-CoV-2 virus that dominates now. The research, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked the post COVID-vaccine antibody responses of people who had previously been exposed to the 2002–04 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.
23rd Aug 2021 - RACGP


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US officials reviewing possibility Moderna vaccine is linked to higher risk of uncommon side effect than previously thought

Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for adolescents has yet to be authorized by federal health officials in part because they are investigating emerging reports that the shots may be associated with a higher risk of a heart condition in younger adults than previously believed, according to two people familiar with the review who emphasized the side effect still probably remains very uncommon. The investigation, which involves the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is focusing on Canadian data that suggests the Moderna vaccine may carry a higher risk of myocarditis for young people than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, especially for males below the age of 30 or so.
22nd Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

Russian developer ready to launch clinical trials of nasal spray coronavirus vaccine

Researchers at Russia’s Gamaleya Center have completed pre-clinical trials of a nasal spray coronavirus vaccine and are ready to launch clinical trials, the center’s Director Alexander Gintsburg told TASS. "There has been serious progress made in terms of the nasal spray vaccine, pre-clinical trials are over. We are ready to move on to clinical trials," he said. According to Gintsburg, the nasal spray vaccine consists of the second component of the Sputnik V vaccine. The Gamaleya Center’s director said earlier that clinical trials could begin in late 2021 or early 2022 and the vaccine was expected to be approved in 2022.
22nd Aug 2021 - TASS

COVID-19: Antibody testing programme to be rolled out across the UK for COVID positive people

An antibody testing programme for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 is to be launched across the UK. The government's new programme is intended to produce data on antibody protections for people following infection by different coronavirus variants. From Tuesday, anyone aged 18 or over in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, will be able to opt in to the programme when receiving a PCR test.
22nd Aug 2021 - Sky News

India gives emergency approval for world’s first COVID-19 DNA jab

The vaccine, ZyCoV-D, uses a section of genetic material from the virus that gives instructions as either DNA or RNA to make the protein that the immune system responds to.
22nd Aug 2021 - Al Jazeera English

UK regulator approves ‘first of its kind’ Covid antibody treatment

The antibody cocktail used to treat Donald Trump for Covid has been approved by the UK’s medicines regulator, becoming the first treatment in Britain using artificial antibodies to tackle the virus. The drug, developed by the US biotech company Regeneron, has received the backing of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Clinical trials showed it helped to prevent Covid infection as well as to reduce the risk of hospitalisation or symptoms in severe cases, when given soon after exposure. Known as Ronapreve, it is the first artificial antibody drug of its type to be approved in the UK, which was hailed by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, as “fantastic news”. Javid said he hoped it could be available for NHS patients as soon as possible.
20th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children following COVID-19

Researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System, NY, present the first genome-wide study to investigate the cause of a rare but severe inflammatory syndrome in children following SARS-CoV-2 infection. RNA sequencing of blood samples revealed that certain cells of the immune system were at lower levels in children who developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome after SARS-CoV-2 infection. The findings may provide scientists with a new pathway toward the treatment of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
20th Aug 2021 - Medical News Today

9,000 Covid cases linked to Euro 2020 games in mass events scheme

More than 9,000 Covid infections were linked to Euro 2020 football games monitored for the government’s mass events test scheme, and scientists have said the tournament generated “a significant risk to public health”. An analysis of the third and final stage of the research programme, released on Friday, found that more than 85% of all the infections connected to the 49 days of various outdoor sport, music and entertainment events came from the eight Euros games involved, and mainly the semi-final and final.
20th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

England’s Covid R rate jumps to a high of 1.2

England’s coronavirus reproduction number has risen to between 0.9 and 1.2 in the latest Government figures. R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes onto infect with the virus. Every 10 people who have coronavirus will infect between 9 and 12 others when the R number is between 0.9 and 1.2. The R value has begun to climb in England as Monday’s saw self-isolation rules for double-jabbed Britons relaxed.
20th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard


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Vaccines show declining effectiveness against infection overall but strong protection against hospitalization amid delta variant

Three studies published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that protection against the coronavirus given by vaccines declined in the midsummer months when the more contagious delta variant rose to dominance in the United States. At the same time, protection against hospitalization was strong for weeks after vaccination, indicating the shots will generate immune fighters that stave off the worst effects of the virus and its current variations.
19th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post

If you live in a state with a low vaccination rate, you're 4 times more likely to be hospitalized and more than 5 times more likely to die

A vast majority of US residents live in an area with high Covid-19 transmission, but hospitalization and death rates are significantly higher in states with the lowest vaccination rates. In the 10 states with the lowest vaccination rates, fewer than 41% of their residents have been fully vaccinated. In the 10 states with the highest vaccination rates, more than 58% of their residents have been inoculated against coronavirus. Hospitalization rates in those bottom 10 states are nearly four times higher, and death rates are more than 5.5 times higher than in the top 10 states, according to a CNN analysis of federal data.
19th Aug 2021 - CNN

Pfizer vaccine effectiveness declines quicker than AstraZeneca, says study

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is initially more effective against the Delta coronavirus variant than the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, but this protection then declines at a quicker rate, new research has shown. Scientists from the University of Oxford have confirmed that the general performance of the two jabs is diminished by Delta, compared to the previously dominant Alpha variant, with vaccinated people likely to pass the virus on to others. However, two doses of either jab still provides at least the same level of protection acquired through natural infection, and there is not yet clear evidence to suggest that the vaccines are failing to keep people infected with Delta out of hospital.
19th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Covid Vaccines Are Less Effective Against Delta, Large Study Finds

Covid-19 vaccines are less effective against the delta variant, according to results in the U.K. from one of the largest real-world studies into the efficacy of the shots. Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE’s messenger RNA vaccine lost effectiveness in the first 90 days after full vaccination, though that shot and the one made by AstraZeneca Plc still staved off a majority of Covid infections. When vaccinated people did get infected with delta, they were shown to have similar levels of virus in their bodies as those who hadn’t had shots. This suggests that vaccinating large portions of a population might not protect those who don’t get inoculated, casting doubt on the idea of achieving herd immunity.
18th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg


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Now, an Indian covid-19 vaccine made from plants?

Scientists in India plan to shortly begin clinical trials of a plant-based vaccine against covid-19, which could become one of the world’s first such vaccines against the deadly disease. A senior official at India’s plant genome research body said scientists are studying the plant Nicotiana benthamiana, a relative of tobacco, to develop a platform to make covid-related antigens to trigger immune response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes covid-19. Three research groups at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi, under the department of biotechnology, ministry of science and technology, in association with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in New Delhi, are working on the project.
18th Aug 2021 - Mint

Pfizer COVID vaccine 86% effective after third shot - Maccabi

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine has been shown to be 86% effective in preventing infection among those ages 60 and older after a third dose, according to initial results published Wednesday by Maccabi Health Services. “The vaccine has again proved its effectiveness,” said Dr. Anat Ekka Zohar, who led the study. “It has also demonstrated protection against the Delta variant. The triple dose is the solution to curbing the current outbreak.”
18th Aug 2021 - The Jerusalem Post

COVID-19 risks in young adult males may be under-recognized -study

The prospect of a next-generation COVID-19 vaccine that could offer protection against future virus variants took a step closer to reality this week. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has agreed to provide $20.6 million in funding to a six-year-old biotechnology company called Gritstone, based in Emeryville, Calif., to help it test a “universal” COVID-19 vaccine. CEPI is a global partnership of governments and nongovernmental organizations dedicated to creating mechanisms for quickly combating pandemics. COVID-19 has been the first real test for the organization, which was established in 2016.
18th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Studies: COVID vaccine protection waning against infection but not hospitalization

A trio of new real-world US studies examine the ongoing effectiveness of two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines against COVID-19, one finding significantly ebbing efficacy against infection in nursing home residents and two showing sustained protection against coronavirus-related hospitalizations but declining coverage against new adult cases. The studies were cited today as White House officials announced plans to offer booster doses of the vaccines beginning next month (see related CIDRAP News story). They were published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
18th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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No evidence Covid vaccines can raise the risk of miscarriage or affect fertility, drug watchdog insists

No evidence Covid vaccines raise miscarriage or stillbirth risk, MHRA says. There are also no signals that the jabs affect people's ability to have children. Around 55,000 pregnant women in the UK have been vaccinated
17th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Higher risk of Bell's Palsy after Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine - study

The risk of Bell's Palsy, a type of facial paralysis, is higher after Sinovac Biotech Ltd's COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac, but should not be a deterrent to vaccination, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
17th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Post Covid-19, patient input may play a greater role in drug development

A lasting memorial may be emerging for the millions of people who will have tragically died of Covid-19 by the time the pandemic ends: the demonstration that breakthroughs can happen fast when drug companies and regulators listen to and communicate openly with patients. The concept of patient engagement across the health care ecosystem emerged more than a decade ago. Its core idea — incorporating patients’ actual experiences, perspectives, needs, and priorities into treatment efforts and drug-development decisions rather than taking them for granted — started a fundamental change of thinking in the drug development world.
17th Aug 2021 - STAT News

Football with few fans not tied to county COVID spread

"We surmise that the NFL and NCAA policies regarding limited in-person attendance, mask use, and social and physical distancing measures in stadiums was not associated with substantially higher community spread of COVID-19," the study authors wrote. "Additionally, an important number of NFL and NCAA football stadiums are outdoors or have a retractable roof, which could have had an impact on mitigating spread." The authors say the study results may help sports leagues decide how to best proceed with future games, although research into potential coronavirus spread to adjacent counties is needed. "Our study provides evidence suggesting that in-person attendance of football games with social distancing and mask use could be resumed in the 2021 to 2022 season," they wrote. "However, it is worth noting that newly emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 have less predictable implications at this point and might lead to more disruptive interruptions in the future.
17th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

Vaccine firms working on combined Covid-19 and flu jab which could protect against both viruses in one dose

A new vaccines mega-factory could make a combined jab for Covid-19 and flu to be given to vulnerable Britons on a regular basis in the future, according to its boss. The Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) in Oxfordshire is due to open later this year and will start making doses to be used in a “revaccination campaign” if needed from 2022. Its chief executive, Matthew Duchars, said one project manufacturers were working on would see the vaccines against coronavirus and influenza combined in a single injection.
16th Aug 2021 - iNews


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Surgeon general worries about complacency on Covid-19 as cases surge and vaccinations lag

Pfizer and BioNTech said Monday they have submitted initial data to the US Food and Drug Administration to support the use of a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine. The booster dose elicited a significantly higher antibody response against the initial strain of coronavirus and the Delta and Beta variants, compared to what was seen among people who got two doses. The booster dose seemed to be equally protective against the Delta and Beta variants as against the original coronavirus.
16th Aug 2021 - CNN

GSK, CureVac say their COVID-19 vaccine shows promise in monkey trial

GlaxoSmithKline and CureVac said a study on macaque monkeys showed their jointly-developed mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate to be "strongly improved" in protecting against the virus compared with CureVac's first attempt. The encouraging news on its "second-generation" vaccine gave CureVac's German-listed shares an 8% lift, as the stock gradually recovers from a slump in June when the German biotech company's first vaccine candidate recorded a disappointing 48% efficacy in mass testing on humans.
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Research sheds light on how safe vaccinated people are from Covid-19

In a preprint paper last week, a group of researchers from both academia and U.S. health agencies reported their findings of the immune correlates for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine. The study demonstrated the link between the level of antibodies in a person’s system and how protected they are against Covid-19, validating the hypothesis that antibodies could be used as a measure that signifies overall protection.
16th Aug 2021 - STAT

German panel recommends all 12-17-year-olds get COVID-19 shot

Germany's vaccine advisory committee updated its guidance on Monday to recommend that all children and adolescents aged 12-17 be given a COVID-19 vaccine, citing further safety data and increased risks posed by the more infectious Delta variant. The committee, known as STIKO, had previously recommended that only children and adolescents with pre-existing conditions be given a coronavirus vaccine
16th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Young kids more likely than older kids to spread COVID-19 to household

A Canadian study in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that while younger children are less likely than older children to be the index COVID-19 patient in their home, they are more likely to spread it to household members. The study involved 6,280 households with COVID-19 index patients 17 years and younger from Jun 1 to Dec 31, 2020. Of the 6,280 households, 1,717 (27.3%) experienced SARS-CoV-2 transmission to a median of two siblings or caregivers in the household 1 to 14 days after index patient diagnosis. Children aged 0 to 8 had higher odds of transmitting the virus, but those 3 years and younger had the greatest infectivity
16th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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India's Chronic Disease Burden Helped Fuel Covid's Brutal Waves

High levels of chronic disease in India, such as diabetes and hypertension, helped stoke the brutal coronavirus waves that hit world’s second-most populous nation during the pandemic, researchers said. The findings from one of the few large-scale studies of Covid-19 in India showed patients from the southern district of Madurai had a higher risk of dying than those in China, Europe, South Korea and the U.S., even though 63% of those tested were asymptomatic. Chronic health conditions in the community may have played a role, according to the report published in The Lancet.
13th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine protects against Delta variant, study finds

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine protects people for at least six months and likely longer -- even against new variants, researchers reported Thursday. Protection against the Delta variant, now dominant across the US, barely waned, the National Institutes of Health-led team found. The team will continue to look for evidence of protection beyond six months. "High levels of binding antibodies recognizing all tested variants, including B.1.351 (Beta) and B.1.617.2 (Delta), were maintained in all subjects over this time period," immunologist Nicole Doria-Rose and colleagues at the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases wrote in their report, published in the journal Science.
14th Aug 2021 - CNN

Covid-19 third wave projections revised down by Sage following last month’s fall in cases

Scientists dramatically revised down their projections for the third wave of Covid-19 hospital admissions for August after cases began to fall last month, new papers have revealed. Modelling for the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) shows a stark difference in how the third wave might pan out for this month, in projections made just one week apart. While this shift is to be expected as the UK epidemic changes, it underlines how scientists believe the outlook for the rest of the summer is brighter than they thought a month ago.
14th Aug 2021 - iNews

Iceland has been a vaccination success. Why is it seeing a coronavirus surge?

What happened to Iceland? The island nation that has been praised for its coronavirus response and its world-leading vaccination rate is now seeing its highest levels of infection since the start of the pandemic. Just one month after the government scrapped all covid-19 restrictions, masks, social distancing and capacity limits have returned. And U.S. authorities last week warned Americans to stay away. Vaccine opponents have gleefully pointed to Iceland as proof that the shots are a “failure.” But contrary to online misinformation and conspiratorial social media posts, infectious-disease experts say Iceland’s outbreak actually illustrates how effective the vaccines are at preventing the virus’s most severe impacts.
13th Aug 2021 - Washington Post

11% of early COVID-19 was acquired in-hospital, study says

More than 1 in 10 COVID-19 patients from 314 UK hospitals acquired their infection from the hospital early in the pandemic, according to a research letter in The Lancet. "There are likely to be a number of reasons why many patients were infected in these care settings," said study author Chris A. Green, MBBS, DPhil, in a Lancaster University press release. "These include the large numbers of patients admitted to hospitals with limited facilities for case isolation, limited access to rapid and reliable diagnostic testing in the early stages of the outbreak, the challenges around access to and best use of [personal protective equipment], our understanding of when patients are most infectious in their illness, some misclassification of cases due to presentation with atypical symptoms, and an under-appreciation of the role of airborne transmission."
13th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine found to be still effective after six months

A team of researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, working with colleagues from Emory University School of Medicine, Emmes Company, Moderna, Inc. and Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, has found via testing, that the Moderna vaccine is still effective against COVID-19 six months after people are fully vaccinated. Their paper has been published in the journal Science.
13th Aug 2021 - Medical Xpress


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Pfizer's Covid vaccine may only be 42% effective against the Indian 'Delta' variant, Moderna's 76%

The two most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. may not be as effective against the Indian 'Delta' variant, a new study finds. Pfizer's vaccine efficacy dropped to 42% in July, with Moderna's falling down to 76%, when the Delta variant became the dominant strain. Hospitalizations among vaccinated people remained low despite an increase in cases, though with both vaccines more than 75 percent effective against hospitalization. The FDA may soon start allowing Americans to receive vaccine booster shots to shore up protection against virus
12th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Pre-clinical trials show intranasal COVID-19 vaccine reduces infection risk

Scientists from Lancaster University have carried out pre-clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine which can be administered through the nose. The results of the trials showed a reduction in both the impact of COVID-19 itself and transmission of the virus.
12th Aug 2021 - HealthEuropa

Experts look into why fully vaccinated people are still getting coronavirus

COVID-19 cases among those who are fully vaccinated continue to rise as experts look into it. Experts noted a number of reasons why this is happening, including the highly contagious Delta variant. None of the vaccines deployed around the US and Europe is 100% effective at preventing the infection and it remains unclear how long immunity from the coronavirus vaccine lasts. Data out of Israel found that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was only 40.5% effective at preventing symptomatic disease while a different study in England found the vaccine to be 88% effective against symptomatic disease caused by the Delta variant.
12th Aug 2021 - The Independent

Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine: rare blood clot syndrome has high mortality rate

Although extremely rare, a blood clot syndrome after the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine carries a high risk of death and can occur in otherwise young and healthy people, UK researchers have found. In those aged under 50, this blood clot syndrome occur in around one in 50,000 people who have received the vaccine, and that number falls to one in 100,000 in the over 50s, data suggests. But the risk of blood clots is much higher with Covid itself — research shows that more than a fifth of hospitalised patients with Covid have evidence of blood clots. Researchers examined the symptoms, signs and outcomes in 220 confirmed and probable cases who presented in UK hospitals between 22 March and 6 June.
12th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Study: Third COVID vaccine ups response in organ recipients

Organ transplant recipients who did not achieve satisfactory immunity from two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shot appeared to benefit from a third dose, according to a letter published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The University of Health Network researchers enrolled 120 organ transplant patients who had no history of COVID-19 infection, and who had suboptimal results from their two doses of Moderna vaccine. Two months after their second dose, half received another Moderna vaccine, while the remainder received a placebo. The resulting 2-month follow-up showed that patients who received a third dose had a higher likelihood of achieving satisfactory antibody levels against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as well as higher neutralizing antibody levels. "Although some may infer from these data that solid-organ transplant recipients should routinely receive a third vaccine dose, additional randomized trials will be key to learning how to better care for solid-organ transplant recipients during this pandemic," Winifred W. Williams, MD, and Julie R. Ingelfinger, MD, write in a related commentary.
12th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

COVID-19 May Accelerate Alzheimer's and Other Cognitive Issues

Researchers are learning more about how COVID-19 may impact memory. In one study, 1 in 10 patients have been reporting memory problems after mild cases of COVID-19 that did not require hospitalization, even 8 months after disease. People who have recovered from COVID-19 but presented with cognitive decline are more likely to be in poorer physical health and have low O2 saturation in their blood. COVID-19 may heighten the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and COVID-19 can cause an increase in blood-based molecular biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.
11th Aug 2021 - Healthline


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CDC recommends that pregnant women get COVID-19 vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that pregnant women should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Previously, the agency said that pregnant women were “eligible” for the vaccine. The CDC based its update on new research finding that there is no increased risk of miscarriages for pregnant women who receive an mRNA vaccine early in a pregnancy. For women receiving it late in pregnancy, the CDC found no safety concern for women or their unborn children.
11th Aug 2021 - YAHOO!News

Study showing antibody levels protecting against COVID-19 could speed creation of new vaccines, boosters

Eagerly anticipated new research pinpoints antibodies scientists can test for to see if a COVID-19 vaccine is effective. These "correlates of protection" could speed the development of new vaccines or boosters without requiring the enormous clinical trials used to create the first COVID-19 vaccines. Instead, researchers could vaccinate people with a new vaccine or booster, measure their antibodies over the course of several months, and know if it worked. This is "the Holy Grail" in terms of vaccines, and one that hasn't yet been set for the virus that causes COVID-19, said Peter Gilbert, co-author of the study posted Tuesday to medRxiv, a preprint site where scientific articles can be published prior to being accepted by peer-reviewed journals.
11th Aug 2021 - Yahoo

In A Small Study, A Booster Vaccine Protects Against COVID-19 Variants

The results of a new study from the United Kingdom’s University of Nottingham suggest that single booster shots of Pfizer’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine can help ward off infection by at least some of the dangerous variants of SARS-CoV-2, which is the Covid-19 virus. In the study, the booster proved especially effective in people who, prior to being vaccinated, had contracted Covid-19 and survived the infection. This may be because natural infection coupled with three doses of vaccine provided a total of four exposures to the virus’ spike protein.
11th Aug 2021 - Forbes

The Lancaster University Covid vaccine which could be given up your nose

Scientists in Lancashire have taken a big step towards creating a new coronavirus vaccine. Lancaster University professors say they are making headway with a new intranasal Covid vaccine, an alternative option to the jabs currently administered by the NHS. Whatsmore, the preclinical animal trials of the new vaccine have shown a reduction in both the impact of the disease itself and transmission of the virus; meaning that the new drug could reduce the spread of Covid.
11th Aug 2021 - Lancs Live

Human trials for nasal spray coronavirus vaccine to begin in Thailand

Two nasal spray coronavirus vaccines developed in Thailand are set to begin human trials by the end of 2021. The vaccines based on the adenovirus and influenza are being developed by the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Roughly 6 percent of the country is fully vaccinated.
11th Aug 2021 - The Hill

EU regulator looking at new possible side-effects of mRNA COVID-19 shots

Three new conditions reported by a small number of people after vaccination with COVID-19 shots from Pfizer and Moderna are being studied to assess if they may be possible side-effects, Europe's drugs regulator said on Wednesday. Erythema multiforme, a form of allergic skin reaction; glomerulonephritis or kidney inflammation; and nephrotic syndrome, a renal disorder characterised by heavy urinary protein losses, are being studied by the safety committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), according to the regulator.
11th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Certara's Covid-19 vaccine simulator could help optimise distribution

The Pitch study, conducted at Oxford University, recently found that an interval of eight to ten weeks between doses of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer appears to boost the effectiveness of immunisation compared to a shorter spacing. The UK government drew a lot of criticism following its decision to administer vaccine doses 12 weeks apart at the beginning of its rollout, but stretching out the interval from the three or four week wait faced by study participants appears to have paid off. Nevertheless, incoming data and the threat of the Delta variant prompted a recent decision to cut the time between jabs to eight weeks.
11th Aug 2021 - Medical Device Network

Leading expert says Covid-19 herd immunity is 'not a possibility'

It will not be possible to reach herd immunity from Covid and booster jabs may not be necessary according to one of the UK's leading experts. This analysis came from Sir Andrew Pollard who is a professor of paediatric infection and immunity and the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group. He also chairs the the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). He told the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on coronavirus on Tuesday that we would probably never get true herd immunity in the UK with the current vaccines. He said: "The problem with this virus is [it is] not measles. If 95% of people were vaccinated against measles, the virus cannot transmit in the population
11th Aug 2021 - Wales Online

Studies detail COVID childbirth, breastmilk vaccine antibodies

In line with previous research, two studies published today in JAMA Network Open suggested that pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are more likely to have negative outcomes including death, and that vaccine-produced SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are present in breastmilk. Both implications help support the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's announcement today that all pregnant people, or those thinking of becoming pregnant, should get vaccinated. "The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant [B1617.2] and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, in a CDC press release.
11th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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TWO-THIRDS of moderately ill coronavirus patients suffer from 'long Covid,' study suggests

A new study looked at 303 COVID-19 patients with mild or moderate symptoms who did not end up hospitalized. In total, 208 participants, or 68.7%, reported experiencing at least one symptom after 30 days, known as 'long Covid.' The most common symptoms were fatigue, shortness of breath, confusion/brain fog and stress/anxiety. Researchers say the findings provide more evidence that long Covid does not just affect those who fall seriously ill with the virus
10th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

MyMD Pharma's Unit Oravax Medical Preparing To Commence Clinical Trials For Oral COVID-19 Vaccine

MyMD Pharmaceuticals Inc said that its subsidiary Oravax Medical Inc., partially owned with its majority partner Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ORMP), is preparing to commence clinical trials for its oral COVID-19 vaccine, first in Israel, then in additional clinical sites internationally.
10th Aug 2021 - Business Insider

INDICAID(TM) COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Receives Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

PHASE Scientific International LTD (PHASE Scientific), a high-growth biotech company founded by bioengineers from UCLA, today announced that its INDICAID™ COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (INDICAID) received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 29, 2021. The FDA authorized the test for professional use in point of care CLIA-waived settings in the U.S. The test is intended for the qualitative detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigen in individuals suspected of contracting the virus within five days of symptom onset
10th Aug 2021 - Associated Press

‘This Is Really Scary’: Kids Struggle With Long Covid

Studies estimate long Covid may affect between 10 percent and 30 percent of adults infected with the coronavirus. Estimates from the handful of studies of children so far range widely. At an April congressional hearing, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, cited one study suggesting that between 11 percent and 15 percent of infected youths might “end up with this long-term consequence, which can be pretty devastating in terms of things like school performance.” The challenges facing young patients come as pediatric Covid-19 cases rise sharply, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant and the fact that well under half of 12-to-17-year-olds are fully vaccinated and children under 12 are still ineligible for vaccines.
10th Aug 2021 - The New York Times

Herd immunity ‘not a possibility’ with Delta variant

The director of the Oxford Vaccine Group has said that herd immunity is “not a possibility” with the current Delta variant. Professor Sir Andrew Pollard referred to the idea as “mythical” and warned that a vaccine programme should not be built around the idea of achieving it. Speaking to the All-Party Group on Coronavirus, he said that it was clear the Delta variant will still infect people who have been vaccinated. He explained that this meant “anyone who’s still unvaccinated, at some point, will meet the virus.
10th Aug 2021 - Evening Standard

Studies look at clotting, myocarditis tied to COVID-19 vaccines

Two studies published by JAMA Cardiology discuss adverse effects associated with COVID-19 vaccines. The first describes vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (VITT with CVST) linked to the AstraZeneca/Oxford and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The second is a case series looking at 15 adolescents who experienced myocarditis after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Despite these risks, both research teams continue to advocate for COVID-19 vaccines as the health risks from the virus are far greater than those linked to the vaccine. For instance, the VITT study researchers say that CVST risk from COVID-19 infection is 60- to 230-fold higher than the risk derived from COVID-19 vaccination.
10th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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Less than 10% of newborns contracted COVID-19 from their infected mothers during or just after birth

Only 18.5% of newborns contracted COVID-19 after their mothers tested positive, a new study finds. Less than 4% of babies born in Ontario during the pandemic tested positive for the virus. Researchers say that mother-to-child transmission is rare as long as guidelines are followed. Pregnant women are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, though the CDC says the long-term effects of the vaccine are unknown
9th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Big drop in Covid-19 patients thanks to vaccine – chief scientific adviser

There has been a dramatic reduction in the number of being people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 thanks to the vaccination programme, Northern Ireland’s chief scientific adviser has said. Professor Ian Young said there are 22 hospitalisations for every 1,000 cases of the virus, down from 80 per 1,000 last December. He was speaking during another surge of the virus in Northern Ireland on Monday when there were 245 Covid positive patients in hospital, with 41 in intensive care.
9th Aug 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

A 'super green' primary care clinic for shielding patients during Covid-19

How a nurse-led ‘super green’ clinic was set up to care for shielding patients during Covid-19. This initiative won the Infection prevention and control category in the 2020 Nursing Times Awards
9th Aug 2021 - Nursing Times

Moderna considers including Australian children in Covid-19 vaccine trial

The vaccine manufacturer Moderna is considering Australia as part of a clinical trial to test its Covid-19 vaccine in children. In its latest quarterly report filed in the United States to the federal financial regulatory agency, Moderna indicated it would test the safety and efficacy of its Covid vaccine in 6,000 healthy children aged between six months and 12 years. The pharmaceutical company reported it would enrol participants “in the US and up to two ex-US countries (eg. Canada and/or Australia)”
9th Aug 2021 - The Guardian

Depression and anxiety doubled in children, pandemic study says

Around the world, children's depression and anxiety rates may have doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the results of a meta-literature review published in JAMA Pediatrics today. The researchers looked at 29 general-population studies, one of which was not peer reviewed, and found pooled depression and anxiety rates at 25.2% and 20.5%, respectively. Both depression and anxiety rates were associated with later stages in the pandemic and with girls, and higher depression was also associated with older children.
9th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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Get Vaccinated Even If You've Gotten COVID-19, Study Suggests

Even those who’ve had COVID-19 should be vaccinated, suggests data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), shows 2.3 times the number of reinfections with natural immunity compared to breakthrough infections in those who are vaccinated. CDC investigators examined data from Kentucky residents infected with COVID-19 in 2020. They compared the vaccination status of those reinfected in May and June 2021 to residents who had not been reinfected. “May and June were selected because of vaccine supply and eligibility requirement considerations; this period was more likely to reflect resident choice to be vaccinated, rather than eligibility to receive vaccine,” the study states. “Control participants were Kentucky residents with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in 2020 who were not reinfected through June 30, 2021.”
8th Aug 2021 - Infection Control Today

COVID-19: Delta infections may produce similar virus levels regardless of vaccination status, early analysis suggests

Coronavirus levels in people with the Delta variant may be similar regardless of whether or not they've been vaccinated - and it could have implications for infectiousness, early analysis suggests. Public Health England's (PHE) said initial findings suggested "levels of virus in those who become infected with Delta having already been vaccinated may be similar to levels found in unvaccinated people". "This may have implications for people's infectiousness, whether they have been vaccinated or not," it added.
8th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19 nasal spray vaccines in development in Thailand

The National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, known as BIOTEC, believes that the solution to Covid-19 vaccination may be right under our noses. Thai virologists at BIOTEC have 2 nasal spray options currently in development for domestic production that may act as a substitute for Covid-19 vaccines in needle form. They believe a nasal spray or inhaler may provide additional benefits as well.
7th Aug 2021 - The Thaiger

COVID-19: England's R number estimate falls sharply to between 0.8 and 1.1

England's estimated R number has fallen to between 0.8 and 1.1, suggesting the pandemic could be shrinking. Last week, it was between 1.1 and 1.4. An R value - or reproduction number - between 0.8 and 1.1 means on average every 10 people infected with COVID-19 will infect between eight and 11 others. The daily growth rate of infections in England is estimated at between -3% and 1%, according to the figures from the United Kingdom Health Security Agency.
6th Aug 2021 - Sky News

Flu shots may protect against severe COVID-19, study finds

A new study compared medical records for COVID-19 patients who had and hadn't gotten the flu vaccine. Covid patients who got their flu shots were 58% less likely to visit the ER and 40% less likely to develop severe blood clots. More research is needed to determine how flu shots provide Covid protection. Flu vaccination may be a useful Covid mitigation tactic in countries that don't yet have access to Covid vaccines, the researchers say
6th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Fully vaccinated people who get a Covid-19 breakthrough infection can transmit the virus, CDC chief says

Fully vaccinated people who get a Covid-19 breakthrough infection can transmit the virus, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Thursday. "Our vaccines are working exceptionally well," Walensky told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "They continue to work well for Delta, with regard to severe illness and death -- they prevent it. But what they can't do anymore is prevent transmission." That's why the CDC changed its guidance last week and is now recommending even vaccinated people wear masks indoors again, Walensky said.
6th Aug 2021 - CNN

No link found so far between menstrual disorders and COVID-19 vaccines, EU says

No causal link between COVID-19 vaccines and menstrual disorders has been found so far, Europe's drugs regulator said on Friday, separately recommending that three new conditions be added as possible side-effects of J&J's coronavirus shot.
6th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Study ties COVID vaccines to lower transmission rates

COVID-19 vaccines appear to help prevent transmission between household contacts, with secondary attack rates dropping from 31% to 11% if the index patient was fully vaccinated, according to a Eurosurveillance study yesterday. The population-based data looked at the Netherlands from February to May, when the Alpha variant (B117) was dominant and the available vaccines were by Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. "This finding underscores the importance of full vaccination of close contacts of vulnerable persons," the researchers write. "Further research is needed to determine whether the observed differences between the different vaccines are due to the small sample size or have real public health relevance."
6th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP


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Covid-19 vaccine programme should extend to 12-year-olds to reduce virus spread, scientists say

The Government should consider extending the vaccination programme to children as young as 12 according to scientists who said it would reduce the spread of Covid-19 further. The call comes as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the rollout should be extended to include 16 and 17-year-olds after reviewing the latest data. Ministers have accepted the recommendation and the NHS is making preparations to start giving first doses to around 1.4 million children who will not need to obtain parental consent. The teenagers are expected to receive the Pfizer vaccine, which has been approved for use in the UK for people aged 12 and over.
5th Aug 2021 - i on MSN.com

Monoclonal antibody could inform development of pan-coronavirus vaccines

Researchers in the United States have demonstrated the potential of a monoclonal antibody to inform the design of pan-coronavirus vaccines that could prevent the outbreak of future pandemics such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, had already shown that the antibody – called CV3-25 –neutralizes the B.1.351 (beta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Furthermore, the antibody cross neutralized SARS-CoV-1 and displayed cross-reactive binding to recombinant proteins derived from the human coronaviruses OC43 and HKU.
5th Aug 2021 - News-Medical.Net

Coronavirus vaccine does protect against spread: RIVM research

Coronavirus vaccines are extremely effective at preventing the spread of the Alpha variant of the disease but the impact may be less on the more infectious Delta variant, according to researchers at Dutch public health institute RIVM. The researchers studied how often people who have been fully vaccinated infected others in their household between February and May, when the Alpha variant was dominant in the Netherlands. The study showed that people living in the same household as people who were fully vaccinated, but picked up coronavirus, were 71% less likely to be infected than household members of unvaccinated people.
5th Aug 2021 - DutchNews.nl

Moderna says its COVID-19 shot 93% effective six months after second dose

Moderna Inc said on Thursday its COVID-19 shot was about 93% effective through six months after the second dose, showing hardly any change from the 94% efficacy reported in its original clinical trial. However, it said it still expects booster shots to be necessary ahead of the winter season as antibody levels are expected to wane. It and rival Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE have been advocating a third shot to maintain a high level of protection against COVID-19.
5th Aug 2021 - Reuters


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COVID-19 vaccines appear to protect patients' lungs; depression on rise among youth

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. COVID-19 vaccines may protect patients' lungs. In vaccinated patients with "breakthrough" COVID-19 infections, the disease may not affect the lungs as much as in unvaccinated patients, new data from India suggest.
5th Aug 2021 - Reuters

Fully Vaccinated Half As Likely To Catch Covid-19 And Less Likely To Infect Others, Study Finds

People who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are half as likely to be infected with the coronavirus than those who have not been vaccinated, according to a new study led by researchers at Imperial College London, though the scientists warned a new vaccine targeting the infectious delta variant may be needed to combat concerns over vaccine efficacy.
4th Aug 2021 - Forbes

Long COVID-19 rare in children, study says

Less than 1 in 20 children with COVID-19 have symptoms lasting longer than 4 weeks, and by 8 weeks, almost all have recovered, according to a study yesterday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. "We know from other studies that many children who catch coronavirus don't show any symptoms at all; and it will be reassuring for families to know that those children who do fall ill with COVID-19 are unlikely to suffer prolonged effects," said senior author Emma Duncan, PhD, in a King's College London
4th Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

All over-12s could soon be offered Covid vaccines with further rollout 'likely'

All over-12s could soon be offered a Covid vaccine, the UK's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam has suggested. The remarks come as it emerged coronavirus jabs will be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds as ministers seek to halt the spread of the virus and prevent schools chaos. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said older teenagers should get inoculated in a move that will see an extra 1.4 million young people eligible for the jab. Health Secretary Sajid Javid accepted the JCVI recommendation and has asked the NHS to prepare to start giving first doses to youngsters "as soon as possible".
4th Aug 2021 - The Mirror


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COVID-19: Trial to find the best gap between vaccine doses for pregnant women

Scientists will study the best gap between coronavirus vaccine doses for pregnant women in a bid to increase confidence in the jabs. More than 600 pregnant women will be recruited for the trial which will see the vaccine's effectiveness monitored, along with the child's development to the age of one. Scientists hope the study will reassure pregnant women about the safety of the jab, less than a week after research revealed that most pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated.
3rd Aug 2021 - Sky News

Combining AstraZeneca and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is effective -Danish study

Combining AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine with a second dose from either Pfizer-BioNTech, or Moderna's jab provides "good protection", Denmark's State Serum Institute said on Monday.
3rd Aug 2021 - Reuters

Delta infections among vaccinated likely contagious; Lambda variant shows vaccine resistance in lab

Among people infected by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, fully vaccinated people with "breakthrough" infections may be just as likely as unvaccinated people to spread the virus to others, new research suggests. The Lambda variant of the coronavirus, first identified in Peru and now spreading in South America, is highly infectious and more resistant to vaccines than the original version of the virus the emerged from Wuhan, China, Japanese researchers have found.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters


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Arcturus to start clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccine in Vietnam

Arcturus Therapeutics Holdings Inc (ARCT.O) said on Monday its Vietnamese partner received regulatory approval to start a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the Southeast Asian country.
2nd Aug 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

About 99.999% of fully vaccinated Americans have not had a deadly Covid-19 breakthrough case, CDC data shows

More than 99.99% of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data highlights what leading health experts across the country have highlighted for months: Covid-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness and death from Covid-19 and are the country's best shot at slowing the pandemic down and avoiding further suffering.
2nd Aug 2021 - CNN

AAP urges post-COVID-19 follow-up to monitor for residual symptoms

New AAP interim guidance on post-COVID-19 conditions in children and adolescents recommends all patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection have at least one follow-up conversation or visit with their pediatrician to discuss residual symptoms, explore new symptoms and guide their return to activities. More than 4 million U.S. children have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Although acute illness may be less severe in children and adolescents than adults, severity does not predict subsequent or ongoing symptoms. According to the guidance, “COVID-19 can lead to many secondary conditions, which can range from subacute to severe. Long-term effects from SARS-CoV-2 infection may be significant, regardless of the initial disease severity.”
2nd Aug 2021 - AAP News

Study: Severe COVID, higher viral loads, immune response linked to obesity

Among US Military Health System (MHS) beneficiaries diagnosed as having COVID-19, obesity was independently and strongly associated with hospitalization, need for oxygen therapy, higher viral load, and an altered immune response, according to a prospective study late last week in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. A team led by researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, used logistic regression models to compare the viral loads and immune responses in obese and non-obese patients at seven military treatment sites, stratified by hospitalization. Patients were included if they had confirmed or suspected COVID-19 or had a recent high-risk exposure to the virus.
2nd Aug 2021 - CIDRAP

With expanded FDA nod, Regeneron's COVID-19 antibody drug can help the immunocompromised

With its rapid mutations, the evolutionary process of the coronavirus makes it a moving target. And so it is with treatments for the disease, which can quickly become in vogue or obsolete. Case in point for the former: Regeneron’s antibody cocktail REGEN-COV. Over the last few months, nearly every development in the COVID-19 antibody market has broken in favor of the treatment, a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab. On Friday, the FDA granted emergency use authorization to REGEN-COV as a preventative measure for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and who are at high risk to progress to a severe case because they are not fully vaccinated or are not expected to mount an adequate antibody response to vaccination.
30th Jul 2021 - FiercePharma


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CDC study shows three-fourths of people infected in Massachusetts coronavirus outbreak were vaccinated but few required hospitalization

A sobering scientific analysis published Friday found that three-quarters of the people infected during an explosive coronavirus outbreak fueled by the delta variant were fully vaccinated. The report on the Massachusetts cases, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers key evidence bolstering the hypothesis that vaccinated people can spread the more transmissible variant and may be a factor in the summer surge of infections. The data, detailed in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, helped persuade agency scientists to reverse recommendations on mask-wearing and advise that vaccinated individuals wear masks in indoor public settings in some circumstances.
31st Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Pfizer says immunity can drop to 83% within four months in people who got its COVID-19 shot, further bolstering the company case for a booster

The effectiveness of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot can drop to 83.7% within four to six months after getting the second dose of its vaccine. This is the latest indication that vaccine-induced immunity to the virus can wane and some kind of boost may be necessary in the future.
31st Jul 2021 - MSN MarketWatch

'War has changed', CDC says, calling for new response to Delta variant

The war against COVID-19 has changed because of the highly contagious Delta variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said, proposing a clearer message, mandatory vaccines for health workers and a return to universal masking. An internal CDC document said the variant, first detected in India and now dominant across the globe, is as contagious as chickenpox and far more contagious than the common cold or flu. It can be passed on even by vaccinated people, and may cause more serious disease than earlier coronavirus strains. The document, entitled “Improving communications around vaccine breakthrough and vaccine effectiveness”, said the variant required a new approach to help the public understand the danger - including making clear that unvaccinated people were more than 10 times more likely than those who are vaccinated to become seriously ill or die.
30th Jul 2021 - Reuters

New research links COVID-19 and signs of Alzheimer's disease

There is growing concern about the effects of COVID-19 on many parts of a person’s body besides the respiratory system. Researchers have shown that COVID-19 symptoms can persist after recovery and lead to neurological problems. Research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2021 further confirms these findings, including making links between COVID-19 and signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
30th Jul 2021 - Medical News Today

Pregnant women urged to get Covid jab amid rise in hospital admissions

England’s top midwife is urging expectant mums to get the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible, as new data suggests a worrying rise in Covid-19 hospital admissions among unvaccinated pregnant women in the UK. There is also evidence that the Delta variant poses a significantly greater risk to pregnant women than previous strains. The data suggests that the overwhelming majority (98%) of 171 pregnant women hospitalised with coronavirus symptoms since mid-May had not received a Covid-19 vaccine, compared to just three women who had received a first dose, and no fully vaccinated pregnant women.
30th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

U.S. CDC internal report says Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox - report

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described the Delta variant of the coronavirus as being as transmissible as chickenpox and cautioned it could cause severe disease, the Washington Post said, citing an internal CDC document.
30th Jul 2021 - Reuters

More than 100K vaccine breakthroughs identified in US: report

There have been more than 100,000 breakthrough cases, or cases where fully vaccinated individuals contracted the coronavirus, identified in the U.S., according to a Bloomberg analysis. Bloomberg has gathered data from 35 states since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stopped tracking all breakthrough cases and found that more than 111,000 breakthrough cases have occurred in those states within the past two months. There are more than 164 million Americans fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
30th Jul 2021 - The Hill

Perspex screens ‘may increase Covid-19 transmission risk if wrongly positioned’

Covid secure” perspex screens in workplaces may increase risk of virus transmission if they are placed in positions that block airflow or cause poor circulation, scientists advising the Government have warned. In an undated document released on Friday by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), the experts said there is very little overall evidence on the effectiveness of these barriers at reducing infection transmission through droplets.
29th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard


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FDA Extends Shelf Life Of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine To Six Months

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has extended the shelf life of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose Covid-19 vaccine from four-and-a-half months to six months, the drugmaker announced on Thursday, a decision that comes at a time when several health officials expressed concerns about vaccine doses expiring and going to waste.
29th Jul 2021 - Forbes

Vaccinated Britons report different coronavirus symptoms - including sneezing

Vaccinated Britons are reporting sneezing as a coronavirus symptom, according to experts working to improve understanding of the virus. The three recognised Covid symptoms by the NHS are a new, persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste or smell. However, people using the ZOE COVID Study App, a technology that relies on contributors logging symptoms to gather information about the virus, have reported other symptoms.
29th Jul 2021 - The Independent

No increased risk of blood clots after second AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

A recent study has found that there is no increased risk of developing blood clots after receiving a second dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and that the rates were comparable to those in healthy, unvaccinated people. AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine received a lot of negative attention in April due to blood clots being reported following a first shot, resulting in many governments temporarily putting a stop to administering it, and later setting a minimum age limit to minimise the risk of fatal side effects.
29th Jul 2021 - The Brussels Times

Israelis age 60 and up to start getting third coronavirus vaccine dose next week

Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash on Thursday told health management organizations to start giving a third COVID-19 vaccine shot to elderly Israelis from the beginning of next week. Ash told the HMOs the shots should be given to those aged 60 and older. His order came hours after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with top health officials to review an expert panel’s recommendations that older Israelis receive a third shot.
29th Jul 2021 - The Times of Israel

COVID-19 survivors are three times as likely to report memory issues eight months later compared to those who test negative as researchers say virus is not a 'mild disease'

A new study found 11% of people who had mild cases of COVID still experienced memory problems eight months later. Comparatively, only around 4% of people who tested negative are reporting similar memory issues. Researchers are worried about findings, say virus might not be a mild condition and could affect people long-term. Past research has found that around 80% of people with serious COVID cases develop cognitive issues
29th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail


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Pfizer data suggest third dose of Covid-19 vaccine 'strongly' boosts protection against Delta variant

A third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can "strongly" boost protection against the Delta variant -- beyond the protection afforded by the standard two doses, new data released by Pfizer on Wednesday suggests. The data posted online suggest that levels of antibodies that can target the Delta variant grow fivefold in people 18 to 55 who get a third dose of the vaccine.
28th Jul 2021 - CNN

Dyadic and Rubic to develop Covid-19 vaccines for African markets

Dyadic International has entered a Covid-19 vaccine technology transfer and licencing agreement with South Africa-based company, Rubic Consortium, to discover, develop, analyse and produce cost-efficient vaccines for supply mainly to the African markets. As per the agreement, Dyadic will licence its C1 Platform to Rubic for conducting research, development, regulatory approval and marketing of Covid-19 vaccines that may be produced in South Africa and marketed in various countries on the African continent.
28th Jul 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology

Health care workers who worked in COVID-19 wards more likely to contract virus, but from each other

Health care workers who worked in COVID-19 wards were more likely to contract the virus than their peers, a new study finds. Researchers from Amsterdam University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam analyzed data from each of their university hospitals. They found that frontline workers interacting with COVID-19 patients were four times more likely to be infected than those in other areas of the medical center. However, instead of primarily contracting the virus from patients, the workers were spreading the virus among each other
28th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Single Covid-19 vaccine dose as effective for clinically vulnerable, study finds

A single dose of the coronavirus vaccine offers as much protection against severe Covid-19 to people who were shielding during the pandemic as it does for the rest of the population, a study has found. Researchers from Public Health Scotland and the University of Edinburgh said there had been concerns that a weakened immune system may reduce the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines.
28th Jul 2021 - Evening Standard

Majority in India's big states with COVID-19 antibodies- survey

More than 70% of people in eight of India's large states are estimated to have COVID-19 antibodies, a government survey showed on Wednesday, suggesting that a second surge in infections affected many more people than the reported figures. The survey, which tested a sample of the population for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, was conducted in June and July and showed that two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people were likely to have been exposed to the virus
28th Jul 2021 - Reuters India

Efficacy of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine slips to 84% after six months, data show

The efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech fell from 96% to 84% over six months, according to data released Wednesday, a decline that could fuel Pfizer’s case that a third dose will eventually be required. The data, released in a preprint that has not been reviewed by outside scientists, suggest the vaccine was 91% effective overall at preventing Covid-19 over the course of six months. In the ongoing study, which enrolled more than 44,000 volunteers, the vaccine’s efficacy in preventing any Covid-19 infection that causes even minor symptoms appeared to decline by an average of 6% every two months after administration. It peaked at more than 96% within two months of vaccination and slipped to 84% after six months.
28th Jul 2021 - STAT News


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EU needs more than 70% vaccination coverage to stop variants, warns Belgian virologist

The European Union needs a vaccination coverage higher than 70% of adult population to stop the spread of new and highly transmissible COVID-19 variants, says Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst, warning the virus can "happily circulate" among the unvaccinated. "We have to reach a vaccination level that is higher than 70%, that is clear," Ranst told Euronews. "Against the original variant, the one that came from Wuhan, probably 70% would cut it. But then the British variant came, and then the Indian variant came, and they were much more infectious, which means you need a higher vaccination coverage to sort of counter this."
27th Jul 2021 - Euronews

Covid-19 UK: SAGE expert says group left 'scratching head' over falling infections

Warwick University's modelling suggested Britain would be seeing around 60,000 cases a day at the moment. Covid cases fell for the sixth day in a row yesterday down to 24,950 boosting hope the third wave has peaked. Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of SAGE, said the sharp drop off in Covid infections is 'quite surprising'
27th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

Covid-19 could cause lower intelligence in those who have had it, says study

Scientists say Covid-19 could have a negative effect on the intelligence of people admitted to hospital with the virus, according to a new study. Researchers found that people who had been hospitalised with Covid were more likely to get a lower score on the Great British Intelligence Test. The drop-off was even greater among those who had recovered from the virus after being put on a ventilator, according to the study, published in The Lancet, that analysed the results of 81,337 people who took the test between January and December 2020.
27th Jul 2021 - Wales Online

Antibodies from Sinovac's COVID-19 shot fade after about 6 months, booster helps - study

Antibodies triggered by Sinovac Biotech's (SVA.O) COVID-19 vaccine declined below a key threshold from around six months after a second dose for most recipients, but a third shot had a strong booster effect, a lab study showed. Chinese researchers reported the findings from a study of blood samples from healthy adults aged between 18-59 in a paper published on Sunday, which has not been peer reviewed
27th Jul 2021 - Reuters

People told to shield eight times more likely to get Covid-19, study suggests

Researchers also said people deemed at moderate risk from the virus due to health conditions like diabetes were four times more likely to have confirmed infections than the low-risk group, and five times more likely to die following confirmed infection. The study, led by the University of Glasgow and published in the journal Scientific Reports, also showed that people aged 70 and over accounted for almost half (49.55%) of deaths in a Scottish health board.
27th Jul 2021 - The Scotsman

Transplant patients' higher rate of COVID-19 breakthroughs boosts case for booster vaccines

Transplant physicians have worried for months that their patients might not be getting the protection they need from COVID-19 vaccines. Studies have already shown that many organ recipients don’t produce coronavirus-fighting antibodies even after two doses of the highly effective messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines—an indication their bodies are unable to mount a strong defense against SARS-CoV-2. A study out today indicates this lack of antibodies is indeed translating to a much higher risk of “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated transplant recipients.
26th Jul 2021 - Science Magazine


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A new way to visualize the surge in Covid-19 cases in the US

The month of July has seen Covid-19 cases in the United States increase at the fastest pace since last winter, marking the start of the latest wave of infections to afflict the nation. A new STAT analysis of Covid-19 case data reveals this new wave is already outpacing the spring and summer waves of 2020. There are many metrics that governments, scientists, and media outlets have used to try and reckon with the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the most popular ways of visualizing Covid data has been to track the weekly average of new cases.
26th Jul 2021 - STAT News


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COVID breakthrough infections: What we know about vaccinated people getting coronavirus

As coronavirus variants spread, breakthrough cases will go up. But experts say that's not a reason to question vaccines. Here's what we know right now.
25th Jul 2021 - CNET

Israel: Pfizer vaccine allows infection but prevents severe illness

A new study released this week from Israel’s Health Ministry found that while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant, it was much less effective than the health agency previously thought at protecting people from infection. The study, conducted from June 20 to July 17, found that the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation was roughly 88 percent effective at preventing hospitalization due to the delta variant and about 91 percent effective at protecting against severe cases. However, the Israeli health agency said that for symptomatic COVID-19 cases, the vaccine was found to offer just about 41 percent protection against the delta variant, with an overall effectiveness of 39 percent for preventing delta variant infections.
24th Jul 2021 - The Hill

Eight-week gap between first and second Pfizer vaccine doses ‘a sweet spot’

An eight-week gap between the first and second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is a “sweet spot” when it comes to generating a strong immune response while protecting the UK population against the Delta variant of coronavirus, scientists have said. In a new study, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), researchers have found that when compared to a four-week gap, a 10-week interval between the doses produces higher antibody levels, as well as a higher proportion of a group of infection-fighting cells in the body known as “helper” T cells. However, when all the "pros and cons" are taken into consideration - such as soaring cases of the Delta variant and society opening up - eight weeks is the optimum interval.
23rd Jul 2021 - ITV News

PHE upgrade Delta variant’s risk level due to reinfection risk

Public Health England has upgraded its risk assessment of the Delta variant after national testing data revealed it is more likely to cause reinfections than the Alpha variant, which was first identified in Kent. The health agency’s analysis found the risk of reinfection with Delta may be 46% greater than with the Alpha variant, with the highest risk seen six months after a first infection – when second cases caused by Delta were 2.37 times more common than with Alpha.
23rd Jul 2021 - The Guardian

J&J’s COVID-19 shot scores safety backing from CDC experts but booster need left for FDA

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine presents greater benefits than it does safety risks, especially amid the quickly spreading Delta variant, a key CDC expert panel decided. However, the panel said that a ruling over the need for a booster added to all COVID shots will have to start with the FDA. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) decision came after an hours-long discussion over a handful of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases reported after J&J’s jab. The independent group of experts were also tasked with reviewing the need for booster shots, specifically for people with compromised immune systems.
23rd Jul 2021 - Fierce Pharma

Longer Gap Between Pfizer Doses Boosts Antibodies, Study Finds

An interval of eight to 10 weeks between doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE boosts the effectiveness of the two-shot regimen compared with a shorter interval, a U.K. study found. “Eight weeks is probably the sweet spot,” in terms of the trade-off between getting as many people fully vaccinated as quickly as possible and allowing the population to produce higher antibody levels, professor Susanna Dunachie, the study lead from the University of Oxford, said at a briefing Thursday.
23rd Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID-19: Daily tests could be as effective in controlling transmission as isolation, study says

Daily testing of pupils who have been exposed to COVID-19 could be just as effective as isolating groups, according to a study. Research by the University of Oxford found that testing as an alternative to the 10-day isolation policy currently used can reduce COVID-related school absences by 39%. Around 200 secondary schools and colleges in England took part in the trial, with one group isolating for 10 days and the other taking rapid lateral flow tests for seven days.
23rd Jul 2021 - Sky News


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EU lists rare nerve disorder as side-effect of J&J COVID-19 vaccine

Europe's medicines regulator said on Thursday it had added a rare nerve-degenerating disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome, as a possible rare side effect from Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine after it reviewed 108 cases reported worldwide.
22nd Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid shots: why the vaccinated are still at risk from coronavirus

Although vaccines provide a strong defense against severe illness caused by SARS-CoV-2, none fully protects against the infection, meaning many vaccinated people are still at risk of catching the virus and of transmitting it to other people. The more SARS-CoV-2 is circulating in a community, the higher the chance of infection.
22nd Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

UK scientists back Covid boosters as study finds post-jab falls in antibodies

Scientists have backed proposals for Covid boosters in the autumn after blood tests on hundreds of people revealed that protective antibodies can wane substantially within weeks of second vaccine shots being given. Falls in antibodies after vaccination are expected and do not necessarily mean people are more vulnerable to disease, but the researchers are concerned that if the declines persist the effectiveness of the vaccines may diminish. The UCL Virus Watch study found that antibodies generated by two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines started to wane as early as six weeks after the second shot, in some cases falling more than 50% over 10 weeks.
22nd Jul 2021 - The Guardian

A spritz instead of a jab? Future COVID-19 vaccines may go up your nose.

The current batch of COVID-19 vaccines effectively prevents severe disease and death and offers substantial protection against the variants. But the authorised vaccines are not 100 percent effective at blocking all infections. To address this deficit, scientists are exploring new ways of delivering vaccines that yield stronger and more durable immunity against SARS-CoV-2. One promising approach might be to trade a jab in the arm for a spritz up the nose.
22nd Jul 2021 - National Geographic UK

Two Pfizer, AstraZeneca doses work against Delta variant: study

Two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine are nearly as effective against the highly transmissible Delta coronavirus variant as they are against the previously dominant Alpha variant, according to a new study. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday showed the vaccines were highly effective against the Delta variant, now the dominant strain worldwide, provided a person had received two shots.
22nd Jul 2021 - AlJazeera


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Covid-19 antibodies detected in 67% of India’s population

Covid-19 antibodies have been detected in 67% of the population of India, according to a new survey, indicating how widely the virus spread through communities during the second wave. India’s fourth national sero-survey, which examines the prevalence of Covid-19 antibodies either through infection or vaccination, found that 67.6% of the population of more than 1.3 billion has coronavirus antibodies. The survey also demonstrated the slow pace of India’s vaccination programme. Of those surveyed, 62.2% had not been vaccinated, 24.8% had taken one dose and 13% were fully vaccinated. The survey result marks a significant rise from the last such survey which was conducted in December and January and found that just 24% of the population had antibodies
21st Jul 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19 variants develop better lock-picking skills to invade human cells

Like expert lock pickers, COVID-19 variants may be more adept at breaking into and infecting human cells, according to new research conducted by FIU physicists. The variants are able to do this by flexing a spike protein that works like a lock pick, unlocking and slipping into a cell for infection. The better the virus can manipulate the spike protein, the easier time it has accessing the cell and eventually spreading in an unvaccinated population.
21st Jul 2021 - Phys.org

SARS-CoV-2: Achilles' heel of viral RNA

The scientists in the COVID-19-NMR consortium, which is coordinated by Professor Harald Schwalbe from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Goethe University, have now completed an important first step in the development of such a new class of SARS-CoV-2 drugs. They have identified 15 short segments of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that are very similar in various coronaviruses and are known to perform essential regulatory functions. In the course of 2020 too, these segments were very rarely affected by mutations.
21st Jul 2021 - Phys.org


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J.&J. Vaccine May Be Less Effective Against Delta, Study Suggests

The coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson is much less effective against the Delta and Lambda variants than against the original virus, according to a new study posted online on Tuesday. Although troubling, the findings result from experiments conducted with blood samples in a laboratory, and may not reflect the vaccine’s performance in the real world. But the conclusions add to evidence that the 13 million people inoculated with the J.&J. vaccine may need to receive a second dose — ideally of one of the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, the authors said. The conclusions are at odds with those from smaller studies published by Johnson & Johnson earlier this month suggesting that a single dose of the vaccine is effective against the variant even eight months after inoculation.
20th Jul 2021 - The New York Times

Covid-19 vaccines are safe for children but regulators say benefits may not outweigh the tiny risks of harm

In the UK, the Pfizer vaccine is already approved for use on anyone aged 12 or over, having been signed off by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). That decision was based on analysis of safety data and the experience of other countries which have already started administering vaccines to the under-18s. It shows that the experts believe it is not inherently unsafe to give the jab to teenagers. But the decision by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which determines the strategy used to give jabs in the UK, not to roll out the vaccine to most children this summer is based not just on the safety of the vaccine but on the cost-benefit ratio for any given individual.
20th Jul 2021 - iNews

Global quest underway to speed COVID-19 vaccine trials

Scientists are working on a benchmark for COVID-19 vaccine efficacy that would allow drugmakers to conduct smaller, speedier human trials to get them to market and address a huge global vaccine shortage. Researchers are trying to determine just what level of COVID-19 antibodies a vaccine must produce to provide protection against the illness. Regulators already use such benchmarks - known as correlates of protection - to evaluate flu vaccines without requiring large, lengthy clinical trials.
20th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Lockdowns not more harmful to health than COVID-19: researchers

Lockdowns are not more harmful to health than COVID-19, according to a commentary published Tuesday. In a commentary published in the journal BMJ Global Health, researchers evaluated evidence to examine whether government interventions such as lockdowns led to negative health consequence. "The fact that there are no locations anywhere in the world where a lockdown without large numbers of COVID-19 cases was associated with large numbers of excess deaths shows quite convincingly that the interventions themselves cannot be worse than large COVID-19 outbreaks, at least in the short term," the researchers wrote.
20th Jul 2021 - The Hill


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Covid vaccine may be less effective on older people, say Israeli experts

The Covid vaccine may be losing its efficacy in older people, researchers in Israel have warned, as the Delta variant drives a growing fourth wave in the country. The monitoring team at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem reported that about 90 per cent of new confirmed cases in the over-fifties group were people who had been fully vaccinated. “It seems there’s a reduced efficiency of the vaccine, at least for part of the population,” the team said.
19th Jul 2021 - The Times

Vulnerable UK children to be offered Covid jabs first, minister says

Children in the UK will get a Covid vaccine only if they are over 12 and extremely vulnerable, or live with someone at risk, as scientists raised concerns about inflammation around the heart linked to the Pfizer jab. Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said he accepted the advice of scientific advisers that only children over 12 with severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities should be allowed to get the Pfizer vaccine. Children over 12 who live in the same house as people who are immunosuppressed will also be eligible for jabs. The opinion of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) expands the eligibility for children, after a previous decision that vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds could get vaccinated.
19th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

American Academy of Pediatrics says ALL children above age 2 should wear masks in school even if they've been vaccinated

American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance that students above age 2 and staff in schools should wear masks regardless of vaccination status. The organization says it because most kids are not yet eligible for vaccines and masking reduces transmission of the virus. Dr Anthony Fauci said the new guidelines are 'a reasonable thing to do' due to vaccines not being approved for children under age 12. In the recommendations, the AAP said masks should be coupled with regular testing, promoting hand hygiene and contact tracing Children make up 14% of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. but just 0.1% of all deaths
19th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail


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China Zhifei's COVID shot largely retains effect against Delta variant-lab study

A COVID-19 vaccine developed by a unit of China's Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products largely retained its neutralising effect against the Delta variant but there was a slight reduction, Chinese researchers found in a laboratory study.
17th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Long Covid sufferers to benefit from £19.6 million research investment

Those suffering with long Covid could benefit from a new £19.6 million research programme, the government has announced. The new research, backed through the National Institute for Health Research with government funding, will aim to improve diagnosis and find new treatments for the condition. Previous research from the NIHR and UK Research and Innovation shows that up to one in three people diagnosed with Covid continue to experience chronic symptoms for months after their initial diagnosis.
17th Jul 2021 - ITV News

FDA grants priority review to Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine; decision on approval expected by January 2022

Pfizer and BioNTech said Friday that the US Food and Drug Administration has granted priority review designation to their application for full approval of their Covid-19 vaccine, and an FDA official said the decision will come "soon". The FDA official told CNN on Friday that a decision on full approval is likely to come within two months. The agency considers this matter a priority, said the official, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
16th Jul 2021 - CNN

Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine Generated 10 Times More Antibodies Than China’s Sinovac Shot, Hong Kong Study Shows

People who were inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine had ten times the amount of antibodies compared to those who had received the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine, a Hong Kong study has shown, likely offering evidence about the varying levels of protection offered by different Covid jabs.
16th Jul 2021 - Forbes

Heart medications may not affect COVID-19 outcomes

People with cardiovascular disease have a higher risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19, but the interaction between cardiovascular medications and COVID-19 is unclear. Analyzing hundreds of observational and research studies, scientists found that cardiovascular drugs do not affect COVID-19 outcomes. The results indicate that people at risk of or with COVID-19 should continue taking cardiovascular medications as prescribed. The researchers plan to continue to build their evidence base as new studies are published, creating a “living” systematic review.
16th Jul 2021 - Medical News Today

COVID-19 crisis could return quickly as infections surge, UK adviser warns

Chief Medical Officer: England not out of COVID-19 woods. Daily case numbers highest since January. England set to end legal restrictions on July 19. Self-isolation vexes businesses as full reopening nears
16th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Studies elucidate poorly understood long COVID

Three new studies detail "long-haul" COVID-19, one finding 203 symptoms involving 10 organ systems, another showing that more than five coronavirus symptoms in the first week of infection portends a long disease course, and one finding few long-haul–like symptoms in children.
16th Jul 2021 - CIDRAP

European officials say Delta driving deteriorating COVID-19 situation

COVID-19 cases in European Union (EU) and related countries rose 64% this week compared to the previous week, with the situation likely to get worse as Delta (B1617.2) variant activity continues to expand, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said today.
16th Jul 2021 - CIDRAP


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New study into COVID-19 vaccine uptake, efficacy in vulnerable populations

British Columbia is in the midst of two public health emergencies. While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the province and country, fatal drug poisonings have been on the rise. Researchers with UBC and the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU)—in partnership with the BC Centre for Disease Control and Vancouver Coastal Health—want to know how these dual health emergencies are being experienced. They have launched a new study to investigate the uptake, effectiveness, and safety of COVID-19 vaccines among members of vulnerable urban populations, including people who use unregulated drugs.
15th Jul 2021 - Medical Xpress

Long COVID-19 unlikely among fully vaccinated, physicians say

If a person is fully vaccinated and develops a breakthrough COVID-19 infection, early trends indicate it's unlikely they'll experience long-haul symptoms, NBC News reported July 15. While it's possible and more research is needed, some physicians working at post-COVID-19 clinics say they haven't seen demand from patients who've been fully vaccinated. At Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic's post-COVID-19 program, it's been "quite rare," Greg Vanichkachorn, MD, an occupational therapist who works with long-hauler patients, told NBC. Although anecdotal reports, physicians leading such clinics at Tulane University in New Orleans and Washington University in St. Louis haven't seen patients come in after a breakthrough infection either. Additionally, early research hasn't indicated there's a significant risk.
15th Jul 2021 - Becker's Hospital Review

Why a Covid-19 vaccine isn't available for kids yet

Americans 12 and older can get a Covid-19 vaccine, but younger children are still waiting. With many schools across the United States now just weeks from reopening for the fall semester, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna are still doing clinical trials to see how coronavirus vaccines work in children under 12 -- if they're safe and what the right dose should be. Meanwhile, all but four states are seeing an increasing trend in cases, with doctors describing patients who are younger and sicker than what they saw in the winter.
15th Jul 2021 - CNN

Study finds physicians are widely effective messengers of Covid-19 information

A new large-scale randomized evaluation has found that messages delivered by physicians increased knowledge about Covid-19 and use of preventative health measures, like mask-wearing and social distancing, regardless of recipients’ race or political beliefs. This research shows that information campaigns delivered by trusted experts can be effective in changing people’s health-related beliefs and behaviors.
15th Jul 2021 - MIT News

Long COVID patients report more than 200 symptoms with fatigue and brain fog most common, UCL study shows

Patients with long COVID have reported more than 200 symptoms affecting 10 organ systems, according to a new study. Researchers surveyed 3,762 people from 56 countries who joined the Body Politic online COVID-19 support group and reported coronavirus-like symptoms between December 2019 and May 2020. In total they reported 203 different symptoms, with 66 identified for the whole seven-month period.
15th Jul 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19 remdesivir study finds long hospital stay, but context matters

Remdesivir, the only antiviral fully approved for COVID-19 treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was associated with a longer hospital stay yet no improvement in survival rates, according to a real-world observational study of military veterans today in JAMA Network Open. The researchers suggest that the prescribed regimen (5 or 10 days) may have led to longer hospitalizations as patients finished the treatment course, and a related commentary agrees.
15th Jul 2021 - CIDRAP

Hand and contact surface hygiene is still essential to keep Covid-19 at bay

While Covid-19 is primarily an airborne pathogen (Hygiene theatre: how excessive cleaning gives us a false sense of security, 12 July), transmission via hands in combination with surfaces recently and frequently touched by other people remains a secondary but real danger, as the World Health Organization, the NHS and the Centers for Disease Control acknowledge. The need for an integrated approach (social distancing, ventilation, face coverings, hands and hand-contact surfaces) for controlling Covid-19 was reiterated in a 6 July government review. While “hygiene theatre”, particularly spraying of surfaces in public spaces, is largely irrelevant, bracketing this alongside – and thus dismissing – contact surface hygiene is a serious error.
14th Jul 2021 - The Guardian


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Scientists could create a single vaccine that fights multiple coronaviruses within 5 years, potentially preventing the next pandemic, an expert says

Twenty groups of scientists are trying to create a single vaccine that fights multiple coronaviruses. Coronavirus is the virus family that SARS-CoV-2 - which caused the COVID-19 pandemic - belongs to. An expert said scientists could make the vaccine within five years, preventing future pandemics.
14th Jul 2021 - Yahoo

WHO warns of ‘chaos’ if individuals mix Covid vaccines

The World Health Organization’s chief scientist has advised individuals against mixing and matching Covid-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, saying such decisions should be left to public health authorities. “It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here,” Soumya Swaminathan told an online briefing on Monday after a question about booster shots. “It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third and a fourth dose.” Swaminathan had called mixing a “data-free zone” but later clarified her remarks in an overnight tweet.
14th Jul 2021 - The Guardian


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J&J, AstraZeneca Explore Covid-19 Vaccine Modification in Response to Rare Blood Clots

Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford, along with outside scientists, are conducting early-stage research into whether potential modifications of their Covid-19 vaccines could reduce or eliminate the risk of rare but serious blood clots associated with the shots, according to people close to the process. Fast-developing clues into how the clots form—driven in part by independent scientists in Europe, the U.S. and Canada—are boosting hopes of identifying the cause and possibly re-engineering AstraZeneca’s shot by next year, according to some of these people. It is too early to know whether either shot can be modified, or whether doing so would make commercial sense, these people say.
13th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

WHO warns against people mixing and matching COVID vaccines

The World Health Organization's chief scientist has advised individualsagainst mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, saying such decisions should be left to public health authorities. "It's a little bit of a dangerous trend here," Soumya Swaminathan told an online briefing on Monday after a question about booster shots. "It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third and a fourth dose."
13th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Guillain-Barre syndrome: FDA flags ‘small’ risk with J&J jab

United States regulators have added a new warning to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine about links to a rare and potentially dangerous neurological reaction. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the new warning on Monday, flagging reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an immune system disorder that can cause muscle weakness and occasionally paralysis. Health officials described the side effect as a “small possible risk” for those getting the shot.
13th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera

Pfizer COVID vaccine shows 78% efficacy in pregnancy

Two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were safe and 78% effective in preventing infection in pregnant women in a real-world study in Israel. Led by researchers at Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv, the retrospective, observational study was published yesterday in JAMA. It involved analyzing data on 15,060 women in a pregnancy registry of a large, state-mandated healthcare system who were vaccinated with a first dose from Dec 19, 2020, to Feb 28, 2021.
13th Jul 2021 - CIDRAP


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Israel offers Covid vaccine booster shots to at-risk adults

Israel is offering a booster shot of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to adults with weak immune systems, but says it is still weighing up whether they should be given to the general public. The rapid spread of the Delta variant has fuelled a rise in the number of new infections from single digits a month ago to around 450 a day, and the country has moved to fast-track its next Pfizer shipment. The health minister, Nitzan Horowitz, said on Sunday that adults with impaired immune systems who had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine could get an immediate booster shot, with a decision pending on wider distribution.
12th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Hospital admissions could peak at 1,000 to 2,000 a day in England during third wave, scientists believe

Between 1,000 and 2,000 COVID-19 patients a day could be admitted to hospital in England at the peak of the third wave and there may be 100 to 200 daily deaths, government scientists believe. The number of daily infections in this latest wave is not expected to peak before mid-August, according to papers newly released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Experts are urging the public to "go slow" once most restrictions lift on 19 July, in order to curb infections and cut the number of people who will die from COVID-19.
12th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Flu jab may reduce severe effects of Covid, suggests study

People who are vaccinated against influenza may be partly protected against some of the severe effects of coronavirus, and be less likely to need emergency care, according to a major study. The analysis of nearly 75,000 Covid patients found significant reductions in stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and sepsis, and fewer admissions to emergency departments and intensive care units, among those who had been given the flu jab.
12th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

In first, Thailand to mix Sinovac, AstraZeneca vaccine doses

Thailand used Sinovac vaccine for frontliners. AstraZeneca vaccine available since June. Delta variant on increase in Thailand. New curbs imposed around capital.
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

WHO warns against mixing and matching COVID vaccines

The World Health Organization's chief scientist on Monday advised against people mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, calling it a "dangerous trend" since there was little data available about the health impact. "It's a little bit of a dangerous trend here. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as mix and match," Soumya Swaminathan told an online briefing. "It will be a chaotic situation in countries if citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third and a fourth dose."
12th Jul 2021 - Reuters

FDA To Warn About Post-COVID Vax Guillain-Barré Syndrome

The FDA will issue a warning that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine may trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in a small number of people, an agency spokesperson told MedPage Today on Monday. Of the 12.5 million Americans who received this vaccine, about 100 people reported having GBS in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Of these reports, 95 of them were serious and required hospitalization, and there was one reported death, an FDA official said.
12th Jul 2021 - MedPage Today


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Children face risk of long Covid as Delta dominates

An infectious diseases expert has warned Ireland needs a plan for treating long Covid as the Delta variant rips through the country’s young people. Jack Lambert, professor of clinical medicine at University College Dublin, said young people are already being treated for the debilitating symptoms that can linger for months after infection. Children were at risk, he said. “We have treated teenagers with chronic fatigue syndrome following a viral illness, even before Covid-19 existed. We know it is going to happen,” he added
11th Jul 2021 - irish Independent

Inhaled COVID-19 vaccine prevents disease and transmission in animals

In a new study assessing the potential of a single-dose, intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, a team from the University of Iowa and the University of Georgia found that the vaccine fully protects mice against lethal COVID-19 infection. The vaccine also blocks animal-to-animal transmission of the virus. The findings were published July 2 in the journal Science Advances.
10th Jul 2021 - Science Daily

Sinovac's Vaccine Found Inferior to Pfizer Shot in Chile Study

Sinovac’s vaccine was less potent than Pfizer’s at stopping Covid-19 in Chile where the two shots were used simultaneously, allowing the first real-world comparison of the two inoculations. China’s CoronaVac was 66% effective in preventing Covid among fully vaccinated adults, compared with 93% or the jab made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. The research shows both shots protect against severe disease. Sinovac’s inactivated inoculation, given to more than 10 million Chileans, was slightly less effective in preventing hospitalization and deaths than Pfizer’s messenger RNA vaccine, which was administered to fewer than half a million people, according to the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
10th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Scotland's Covid case surge drops off after the football team's exit from Euro 2020, expert claims

Professor Paul Hunter claims Scotland's cases's rounding off was caused by the team's exit from Euro 2020. Cases in Scotland skyrocketed last month, up from less than 500 on June 1 to more than 4,000 on July 1. Researchers blamed the sudden surge on people meeting up in pubs and homes to watch matches
10th Jul 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID and the brain: researchers zero in on how damage occurs

How COVID-19 damages the brain is becoming clearer. New evidence suggests that the coronavirus’s assault on the brain could be multipronged: it might attack certain brain cells directly, reduce blood flow to brain tissue or trigger production of immune molecules that can harm brain cells. Infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can cause memory loss, strokes and other effects on the brain. The question, says Serena Spudich, a neurologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, is: “Can we intervene early to address these abnormalities so that people don’t have long-term problems?”
10th Jul 2021 - Nature.com

Benefits of mRNA COVID vaccines outweigh rare heart risks, says WHO

The benefits of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the very small risk they might cause heart inflammation, as the jabs reduce hospitalisations and deaths, an advisory panel of the World Health Organization said on Friday. In a statement, the WHO said that reports of two rare conditions - myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, and of its lining, called pericarditis - had typically occurred within days of vaccination, mainly among younger males after the second dose.
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Very Few Kids Need to Shield From Covid, Large U.K. Study Finds

Most young people face an “extremely low” risk of illness and death from Covid-19 and have no need to shield from the virus, according to researchers behind a large U.K. study. The analysis, which its authors say is the most comprehensive on the topic to date, backs up clinical reports that show children and teens are less likely to be hospitalized or face severe effects from the virus. Covid-19 does increase the chance of serious illness in the most vulnerable children -- those with complex disabilities and severe existing medical conditions -- but even in those cases the risks are smaller compared with adults.
9th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg


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Pfizer to seek OK for 3rd vaccine dose; shots still protect

Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying Thursday that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome coronavirus mutant. Research from multiple countries shows the Pfizer shot and other widely used COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against the highly contagious delta variant, which is spreading rapidly around the world and now accounts for most new U.S. infections.
9th Jul 2021 - The Associated Press

Cuba says second COVID-19 vaccine Soberana 2 boasts 91.2% efficacy

Cuba said on Thursday its two-shot Soberana 2 vaccine, delivered with a booster called Soberana Plus, had proven 91.2% effective in late stage clinical trials against the coronavirus, following similar news about its Abdala vaccine. The announcement came from state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma, which oversees the Finlay Institute, the maker of Soberana 2, and the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, the producer of Abdala. Last month, Abdala was found to have a 92.28% efficacy
8th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Covid infection can lead to erectile dysfunction, scientists warn

The inflammation of blood vessels that typically takes place during a Coronavirus infection may limit the blood flow to the penis, leading to erectile disfunction, scientists have said. According to Dr Ryan Berglund, a urologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, warned she has seen a jump in patients with erectile problems only after they had contracted Covid-19. “The blood vessels that can become inflamed could cause an obstructive phenomenon and negatively impact the ability to get erections,” he told several US media outlets. “I would suggests young people to get their vaccinations. If they want to have sex better get the vaccine,” Berglund added.
8th Jul 2021 - City AM

Sinovac’s Vaccine Found Inferior to Pfizer Shot in Chile Study

Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine was less potent than Pfizer Inc.’s shot at stopping Covid-19 in Chile where the two shots were used simultaneously, the first real-world analysis comparing a China-made inoculation against an mRNA has found. Researchers found CoronaVac was 66% effective in preventing Covid-19 among fully vaccinated adults, versus 93% for the jab made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech SE. The inactivated inoculation, given to more than 10 million Chileans, was slightly less effective in preventing hospitalization and deaths than the mRNA vaccine, which was administered to fewer than half a million people, according to the study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
8th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Study highlights need for full Covid vaccination to protect against Delta variant

A new study published Thursday in Nature adds new detail about the dominant variant, analyzing how well Delta, in a lab dish, was able to evade monoclonal antibody drugs such as bamlamivimab and natural antibodies made in our bodies after infection or vaccination. Looking at both kinds of antibodies in blood drawn from 162 patients and how they reacted to Delta, researchers from the Institut Pasteur in France found lower protection against the variant than against three other variants also notable for how easily they spread from person to person. “This is an important study for confirming the immune evasiveness property of Delta, which is a feature that adds to its enhanced transmissibility, making it the most formidable version of the virus to date,” Eric Topol, director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told STAT. “No surprises, but further characterization of the variant, which reinforces why it is so challenging.”
8th Jul 2021 - STAT News

BioNTech/Pfizer plan to trial Delta variant vaccine in August

Pfizer and BioNTech are preparing to start clinical trials of a version of their Covid-19 vaccine targeting the Delta variant next month, amid fears that existing jabs will offer less protection against the infectious strain spreading quickly across much of the world. The drugmakers were developing an updated version of their existing vaccine that would be made using the lineage of the Delta variant, Pfizer said on Thursday. Pfizer and BioNTech are in discussions with the US medicine regulator to finalise their clinical trial plans and expect to begin studies in August.
8th Jul 2021 - Financial Times

Roche, Sanofi arthritis drugs score WHO backing for severe COVID-19, but agency echoes calls for lower prices

The World Health Organization has recommended Roche's Actemra and Sanofi/Regeneron's Kevzara, along with corticosteroids, for use in patients with severe COVID-19. The WHO also called on manufacturers of the drugs to cut prices and make them more accessible.
7th Jul 2021 - FiercePharma


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UK to track COVID-19 variants with genomic sequencing across the world

Britain said on Wednesday it would provide genomic sequencing support to Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan to help identify, assess and track new variants of the novel coronavirus. The novel coronavirus, which has killed 4 million people globally since it emerged in China in late 2019, mutates around once every few weeks, slower than influenza or HIV, but enough to require tweaks to vaccines. Public Health England will extend support to Britain's partners through the New Variant Assessment Platform Programme which tracks changes in the virus.
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

mRNA vaccines slash risk of COVID-19 infection by 91% in fully vaccinated people

People who receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are up to 91 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who are unvaccinated, according to a new nationwide study of eight sites, including Salt Lake City. For those few vaccinated people who do still get an infection, or “breakthrough” cases, the study suggests that vaccines reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and shorten its duration. Researchers say these results are among the first to show that mRNA vaccination benefits even those individuals who experience breakthrough infections. “One of the unique things about this study is that it measured the secondary benefits of the vaccine,” says Sarang Yoon, D.O., a study co-author, assistant professor at the University of Utah Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH), and principal investigator of the RECOVER (Research on the Epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Essential Response Personnel) study in Utah. The study, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, builds on preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in March. The study was designed to measure the risks and rates of infection among those on the front lines of the pandemic.
7th Jul 2021 - Outbreak News Today

Oxford scientists said 'no corners were cut' when creating the Covid vaccine despite the speed

The scientists behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab have insisted that no corners were cut while creating it, and explained that they’d been preparing the vaccine technology before the pandemic hit. Professor Sarah Gilbert said she had been preparing for the emergence of a new, unknown disease “for some time”, known as ‘Disease X’. With her team at Oxford University, Prof Gilbert was preparing to create a vaccine technology which could be adapted and used against Disease X if it ever appeared. “We’ve been working for some time on a way of making vaccines which means we can respond very quickly when there’s a new disease which is identified,” said Prof Gilbert, who received a standing ovation at Wimbledon for her role in the vaccine roll-out.
7th Jul 2021 - iNews

Covid-19 Vaccine-Related Blood Clots Linked to Amino Acids in New Study

Canadian researchers say they have pinpointed a handful of amino acids targeted by key antibodies in the blood of some people who received AstraZeneca PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine, offering fresh clues to what causes rare blood clots associated with the shot. The peer-reviewed findings, by a team of researchers from McMaster University in Ontario, were published online Wednesday by the science journal Nature. They could help doctors rapidly test for and treat the unusual clotting, arising from an immune-driven mix of coagulation and loss of platelets that stop bleeding.
7th Jul 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

COVID-19 affects men and women differently. So why don't clinical trials report gender data?

COVID-19 doesn’t strike the sexes equally. Globally, for every 10 COVID-19 intensive care unit admissions among women, there are 18 for men; for every 10 women who die of COVID-19, 15 men die. In the United States, a gender gap is emerging in vaccination rates, with women ahead of men by 6 percentage points, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And rare adverse effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine appear to strike women more frequently, whereas those from the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines more often affect young men.
7th Jul 2021 - Science Magazine

COVID-19: Around nine in 10 adults in most parts of UK likely to have virus antibodies, ONS data says

Around nine in 10 adults in most parts of the UK are likely to have COVID-19 antibodies, latest data shows. Latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show 89.8% of adults in England are likely to have the antibodies, with the highest percentage of adults testing positive for them estimated to be the age groups 60 to 64, 70 to 74 and 75 to 79 (all 96.8%). The lowest percentage was for 16 to 24-year-olds at around 59.7%.
7th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Brazil authorizes Butanvac vaccine for volunteers in clinical trial

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the Butanvac COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sao Paulo's Butantan Institute biomedical center to be used on volunteers in clinical trials. Anvisa in a statement said the vaccine will be applied in two doses, 28 days apart. Phase I of Butanvac's clinical trial will involve 400 volunteers, and the first two phases are expected to involve 6,000 volunteers in total.
7th Jul 2021 - Reuters

WHO adds ‘lifesaving’ drugs for severely ill COVID-19 patients

WHO added Interleukin-6 receptor blockers join corticosteroids on list of effective treatments for severe coronavirus.
7th Jul 2021 - AlJazeera


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Data predicts 2m UK summer Covid cases with 10m isolating

Two million people could contract Covid this summer, potentially meaning up to 10 million must isolate in just six weeks, Guardian analysis shows, prompting warnings over risks to health and disruption to the economy. The figures come as Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said England was entering “uncharted territory” in its wholesale scrapping of lockdown rules from 19 July. New infections could easily rise above 100,000 a day over the summer, he said, more than at any point in the pandemic.
6th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Drug That Blocks Immune System Overload Reduces Covid-19 Deaths

Combining two inflammation-blocking drugs reduces hospitalization and death from Covid-19 compared with a standard therapy, according to the World Health Organization. Adding drugs that block an immune protein called interleukin-6 to an already widely used treatment, corticosteroids, reduces the risk of death and the need for breathing assistance, the health agency said Tuesday in a statement. The recommendation was based on 27 trials involving almost 11,000 people.
6th Jul 2021 - Bloomberg

Pfizer vaccine less effective against delta variant

A study conducted in Israel found that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is somewhat less effective against the more infectious delta variant, though it was still found to be effective at preventing severe illness. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the Pfizer vaccine protected 64 percent of immunized people during an outbreak of the delta variant, a sharp drop when compared to the 94 percent of people it had previously been shown to protect. However, the shot was still 94 percent effective at preventing severe illness, a slight decrease from the 97 percent that were kept from experiencing severe illness previously.
6th Jul 2021 - The Hill

The Delta variant is causing more than 80% of new COVID-19 infections in 4 US states, including 96% of new cases in Missouri

The Delta variant is ripping through parts of the US, causing more than 80% of new COVID-19 infections in four states, data shows. The highly infectious Delta variant accounts for more than 80% of new coronavirus infections in Kansas, Arkansas, Connecticut, and Missouri, according to data compiled by Scripps Research's Outbreak.info. In Missouri, more than 96% of new cases are caused by Delta, the data showed on Tuesday — the highest percentage of any US state.
6th Jul 2021 - Business Insider

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Protects Against Delta Variant, Company Reports

The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is effective against the highly contagious Delta variant, even eight months after inoculation, the company reported on Thursday — a finding that should reassure the 11 million Americans who have gotten the shot. The vaccine showed a small drop in potency against the variant, compared with its effectiveness against the original virus, the company said. But the vaccine was more effective against the Delta variant than the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa — the pattern also seen with mRNA vaccines.
6th Jul 2021 - The New York Times


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Israel sees drop in Pfizer vaccine protection against infections

Israel reported on Monday a decrease in the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in preventing infections and symptomatic illness but said it remained highly effective in preventing serious illness. The decline coincided with the spread of the Delta variant and the end of social distancing restrictions in Israel. Vaccine effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease fell to 64% since June 6, the Health Ministry said. At the same time the vaccine was 93% effective in preventing hospitalizations and serious illness from the coronavirus.
5th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Lambda variant: What is the new strain of Covid detected in the UK?

The Lambda variant - known to scientists as C.37 - was first identified in Peru and has been detected in samples dating back to as early as December 2020. Since then it has become the dominant variant in the South American country, where it accounts for more than 80 per cent of new infections. It has now been detected in at least 26 countries, including the UK. So should we be concerned? The World Health Organisation designated the Lambda variant as a variant of interest on 14 June.
5th Jul 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: UK seeing 'COVID Mexican wave' as virus spreads from west to east, says expert

The UK is seeing its "own form of a COVID Mexican wave" as infections move from the west of the country to the east, a leading symptoms researcher has said. Professor Tim Spector, co-founder of the ZOE COVID symptom study, said areas in the west which have been worst affected are now seeing lower rates, suggesting they have reached the peak of infections. However, London, the South East, East Anglia and eastern parts of the country are seeing cases increase, according to data from his study.
5th Jul 2021 - Sky News

Scientists identify natural SARS-CoV-2 super immunity against 23 variants

A team of international scientists has recently identified ultrapotent anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies from convalescent donors. The antibodies are capable of neutralizing a wide range of SARS-CoV-2 variants even at sub-nanomolar concentrations. In addition, the combinations of these antibodies reduce the risk of generating escape mutants in vitro. The study is published in the journal Science.
5th Jul 2021 - News-Medical.net


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Long Covid: More than two million in England may have suffered, study suggests

A survey of half a million adults in England suggests around two million people may have had some long-lasting symptoms after having coronavirus - sometimes known as "long Covid". The React study shows about a third of people who report they have coronavirus symptoms have one or more symptoms that persist for at least 12 weeks. Researchers say managing the long-term consequences are a "major challenge". The government has provided £50m for research into long Covid.
4th Jul 2021 - BBC News

India's Bharat Biotech says vaccine 93.4% effective against severe COVID-19

Phase-III trials of a vaccine made by India's Bharat Biotech showed it was 93.4% effective against severe symptomatic COVID-19, the firm said on Saturday, a finding that could boost people's acceptance of Covaxin. The data demonstrated 65.2% protection against the Delta variant, first identified in India, that led to a surge in infections in April and May, and the world's highest daily death tolls.
3rd Jul 2021 - Reuters India

Vaccines ‘outpaced by variants’, WHO warns, as Delta now in 98 countries

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO, said the sharing of vaccines was “only a trickle, which is being outpaced by variants”, after it emerged that the Delta variant is now present in at least 98 countries. His warning came as Dame Sarah Gilbert, the Oxford professor who led the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, called for caution over proposals to vaccinate children in the UK. “We have to balance what we think about vaccinating children in high-income countries with vaccinating the rest of the world because we need to stop transmission of this virus globally,” she told the Observer.
3rd Jul 2021 - The Guardian

Germany issues world's strongest recommendation for mixing Covid-19 vaccines

Germany has issued what appears to be the strongest recommendation anywhere for the mixing of Covid-19 vaccines on efficacy grounds. The German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) said Thursday that people who receive a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine "should get an mRNA vaccine as their second dose, regardless of their age." This makes Germany one of the first countries to strongly recommend that people who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca receive either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as their second dose.
2nd Jul 2021 - CNN


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Covid Scotland: Third booster coronavirus jag in September will be 'beneficial', says Jason Leitch

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Professor Jason Leitch said trials of using the two vaccines together have suggested it is safe and effective. The UK-wide Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Wednesday set out interim guidance for a Covid vaccine booster programme. Speaking about third doses, Professor Leitch said they would be “beneficial” in prolonging protection of patients, particularly those in the more vulnerable age and health groups.
1st Jul 2021 - The Scotsman

Research shows COVID-19-mRNA vaccine efficiency against coronavirus variants

A new Finnish study shows that 180 health care workers who had received two doses of the Pfizer and Biontech vaccine have very good antibody responses against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The immune response was as strong against the alpha variant (formerly the UK variant) but was somewhat decreased against the beta variant (formerly the South Africa variant). Finnish researchers from the University of Turku and University of Helsinki together with Turku University Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare studied the immune response induced by the coronavirus vaccinations, which started in Finland in December. The researchers analysed vaccine responses in 180 health care workers, each of whom received two doses of the Pfizer and Biontech mRNA vaccine.
1st Jul 2021 - News-Medical.Net

Covid: Booster vaccine programme likely to start in September

Wales' coronavirus booster jab programme is likely to begin in September under Welsh government plans. It comes after UK officials gave the green light to give the most vulnerable a third dose of a Covid vaccine. Interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says boosters will help maintain protection against Covid and variants. Wales' health minister said the advice "very much aligns with our thinking and our planning assumptions to date".
1st Jul 2021 - BBC News

Pets catch Covid-19 but don’t infect owners, Dutch study suggests

Domestic cats and dogs often catch Covid-19 when their owners are infected, a Dutch study has found. Researchers at Utrecht University tested 310 pets from 196 households where a human infection had been detected.
1st Jul 2021 - The Times

COVID-19: Official list of symptoms should be expanded as it could be leading to missed cases - experts

The official list of coronavirus symptoms should be expanded as the current one could be leading to missed cases, experts have said. A high temperature, new or continuous cough, and a loss or change in smell or taste are the only three "main symptoms" of COVID-19, according to the NHS. But a group of experts says that the UK should follow the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries in updating that list as several others are now regularly reported - particularly with the emergence of the Delta (Indian) variant.
1st Jul 2021 - Sky News

COVID-19 cases on the rise again in Finland — infections reported particularly among Euro 2020 football fans returning from Russia

At least 4,500 Finnish fans travelled to St Petersburg, Russia, to watch Euro 2020 matches. By 30 June, a total of 386 football fans returning from Russia had tested positive for COVID-19, causing 50 further infections. Most of the cases were reported in the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa (a total of 264 cases and 17 further infections) and in the Hospital Districts of Pirkanmaa (38 cases and 8 further infections) and Southwest Finland (31 cases and 5 further infections).
1st Jul 2021 - Finnish Institute for Health & Welfare


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CureVac COVID-19 vaccine records only 48% efficacy in final trial readout

CureVac said its COVID-19 vaccine was 48% effective in the final analysis of its pivotal mass trial, only marginally better than the 47% reported after an initial read-out two weeks ago. The German biotech firm said that efficacy, measured by preventing symptomatic disease, was slightly better at 53% when excluding trial participants older than 60 years, an age group that is by far the most severely affected. CureVac said on June 16 its COVID-19 vaccine, known as CVnCoV, proved only 47% effective in an initial trial read-out and that new variants had proved a headwind, denting investor confidence in its ability to take on rival shots.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Britain starts planning for vaccine booster shots from September

Britain is starting to plan for a COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign starting later this year after top vaccine advisers said it might be necessary to give third shots to the elderly and most vulnerable from September. The government said that a final decision on whether a vaccine booster campaign was needed had not been made, but officials had advised that preparations should begin on a precautionary basis.
30th Jun 2021 - Reuters UK

CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine safe for children as young as three

A clinical trial has proven that the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine is safe for children and adolescents aged between three to 17. The CoronaVac vaccine, which is manufactured by Sinovac, has recently been approved for emergency use in China for children over the age of three. In a randomised controlled trial of the vaccine, researchers concluded that two doses of the vaccine are safe and generate a strong antibody response. The findings have been published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
30th Jun 2021 - HealthEuropa

COVID-19: Nearly 2,000 cases linked to Scotland fans watching Euro 2020 games

Nearly 2,000 COVID cases in Scotland have been linked to football fans watching Euro 2020 fixtures. Of the 1,991 cases registered by Public Health Scotland (PHS), two-thirds said they had travelled to London to watch England v Scotland on 18 June. The report states that it is working to ensure "all public health actions are taken in the close contacts of these Euro 2020 cases".
30th Jun 2021 - Sky News


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Cuba begins coronavirus vaccine trials on children

Cuba has begun testing its Soberana 2 coronavirus candidate vaccine on children ages three to 18 years, the government said this week. State-run television broadcast video of children receiving their first of three doses on Monday after adolescents were vaccinated last week. Soberana 2 is awaiting final stage trial results after its producer the Finlay Institute reported a 62% efficacy rate after two of three shots, the final one a booster called Soberana Plus.
29th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective in children as young as three – Lancet study

CoronaVac, the COVID-19 jab developed in China by Sinovac Biotech, was found to be safe and effective in children and adolescents, according to a study published in leading medical journal The Lancet. Two doses of the vaccine, given 28 days apart, produce a strong antibody response among those aged between three and 17. Chinese researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind, controlled phase 1/2 clinical trial in Zanhuang County, China. The vaccine was given to more than 500 healthy children and adolescents, 96 percent of whom developed Sars-CoV-2 antibodies.
29th Jun 2021 - CGTN

Rare heart inflammation linked to Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines is six times more likely to occur after second shot - but is still a less than one-in-100,000 side effect ...

In early 2021, 23 military service members experienced myocarditis - heart inflammation - after getting their shots, a DoD study found. Out of those 23, 20 patients experienced inflammation after their second dose. The U.S. military has administered over 2.8 million shots, making the risk of this side effect about 0.0008% or less than one in 100,000. Researchers say this study and others show a likely connection between heart inflammation and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, requiring more research
29th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail on MSN.com

COVID-19: 'Mix and match' jabs study finds combination of Oxford and Pfizer vaccines creates robust immune response

People who have been double-dosed with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could have a stronger immune response if they were given a different jab as a booster, a leading scientist has said. Professor Matthew Snape from the Oxford Vaccine Group said the "mix and match" approach may result in additional protection against coronavirus. He made the comments following the results of a clinical trial comparing the current UK strategy of giving two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines against a combination of the two jabs.
29th Jun 2021 - Sky News


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Mix-match method boosts immune response of AstraZeneca jab: Study

A mixed schedule of vaccines where a shot of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is given four weeks after an AstraZeneca shot will produce better immune responses than giving another dose of AstraZeneca, according to a new study. The Oxford University study, called Com-COV, compared mixed two-dose schedules of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, and found that in any combination, they produced high concentrations of antibodies against the coronavirus spike protein.
28th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines Are Likely to Produce Long-Lasting Immunity, Study Suggests

The vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna set off a persistent immune reaction in the body that may protect against the coronavirus for years, scientists reported on Monday. The findings add to growing evidence that most people immunized with the mRNA vaccines may not need boosters, so long as the virus and its variants do not evolve much beyond their current forms — which is not guaranteed. People who recovered from Covid-19 before being vaccinated may not need boosters even if the virus does make a significant transformation. “It’s a good sign for how durable our immunity is from this vaccine,” said Ali Ellebedy, an immunologist at Washington University in St. Louis who led the study, which was published in the journal Nature.
28th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection

Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.
17th Jun 2021 - American Journal of Therapeutics

Delta Covid variant may be edging race against vaccines

The transmission advantage of the Delta variant that is spreading at pace globally is a sign that the race between vaccination and the virus could tip in favour of the latter unless countries ramp up their immunisation campaigns and practise caution, scientists say. The variant, first detected in India, has been identified in at least 92 countries and is considered the “fittest” variant yet of the virus that causes Covid-19, with its enhanced ability to prey on the vulnerable – particularly in places with low vaccination rates. Research conducted in the UK, where the variant accounts for 99% of new Covid cases, suggests it is about 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which previously dominated. It may also be linked to a greater risk of hospitalisation and is somewhat more resistant to vaccines, particularly after one dose.
28th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

AZ doses first participants with COVID-19 variant vaccine

AstraZeneca (AZ) has announced that the first participants have been vaccinated as part of a Phase II/III trial testing a new COVID-19 variant vaccine – AZD2816. The trial, which is set to recruit approximately 2,250 participants, will administer AZD2816 to individuals who have been previously vaccinated with AZ’s authorised COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria or an mRNA vaccine, at least three months after their last dose.
28th Jun 2021 - PharmaTimes

COVID-19: Current vaccines may be less effective against Beta variant, says UK study

A study of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which cause COVID-19, suggests that current vaccines may be less effective against the Beta variant first identified in South Africa. Present on the surface of SARS-COV-2, spike proteins enable the virus to attach to and enter our cells, and all current vaccines are directed against them.
28th Jun 2021 - Business Today on MSN.com

The hunt for a coronavirus super shot

As global vaccination campaigns race to stay ahead of new Covid-19 variants, pioneering scientists have set out to ease fears of another pandemic by developing a single shot to protect against coronaviruses past, present and future. Melanie Saville, director of vaccine research and development at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, is among those leading the charge, having issued a call for the creation of a vaccine that would be broadly protective against all betacoronaviruses and potentially any new strain “that might hop from animals to humans in the future”.
28th Jun 2021 - Financial Times

Why reports of COVID-19 infections after 2 vaccine doses aren't cause for alarm

A Toronto hospital recently announced an outbreak involving cases among people who'd received one or both vaccine doses. Back in May, nine cases of COVID-19 were reported in just one week among fully-vaccinated members of the New York Yankees baseball team and its staff. And across Canada, deaths from the illness have even been reported among individuals who've had two shots, including a senior in Manitoba in May and an elderly long-term care resident in Ontario a month later. But there are two key things to keep in mind about these "breakthrough infections." For one thing, they're rare — making up around 0.5 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases since vaccination efforts began, the latest Canadian data shows. And when post-vaccination infections do happen, they typically tend to be mild.
28th Jun 2021 - CBC.ca


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FDA adds heart inflammation warning to Moderna, Pfizer vaccines

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a warning about the risk of heart inflammation to fact sheets for Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. The warning on Friday noted that reports of adverse events following vaccination – particularly after the second dose – suggest increased risks of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, or inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart.
27th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Chinese Covid-19 Vaccines Not As Effective Against Delta Variant: China Disease Control Researcher

Antibodies generated by the two Chinese Covid-19 vaccines are comparatively less effective against the Delta variant as compared to the other strains. However, the shots do offer some protection as mentioned by Chinese disease control researcher Feng Zijan in an interview aired by the China Central Television. Zijan mentioned that the aforementioned vaccines, namely that of Sinovac and Sinopharm, comprise of killed coronavirus that cannot replicate in the human cells. These vaccines have been widely used in nations like Bahrain, UAE, Seychelles, Chile and others. According to reports from earlier this week, these countries have been witnessing another surge of new infections and Bahrain even approved a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals already immunized with the Chinese shots.
26th Jun 2021 - Swarajya

Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines Immunize For Up to Three Years

COVID-19 vaccines developed with new messenger RNA technology, currently those produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, can prevent an adult from severe COVID-19 cases for three years, according to a study by Swiss scientists released on June 25. As reported by La Opinion de Malaga, the research, published by the Swiss Government’s Scientific Working Group against covid-19, reduces, however, to 16 months the possible immunity of those vaccinated with this type of vaccine against moderate forms of the virus. According to Swiss scientists, the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, the only ones currently administered in Spain, create an antibody response between two and four times greater than that presented by those who have overcome the disease, which means longer-lasting protection.
26th Jun 2021 - Euro Weekly News

AP analysis: Almost all US coronavirus deaths among unvaccinated

Almost all recent deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. are among those who have not been vaccinated, an analysis of government data by The Associated Press found. The data from May showed only 0.8 percent of COVID-19 deaths were people who were fully vaccinated. That is only 150 people out of the more than 18,000 who died from the virus last month, according to AP. The rate of hospitalization among fully vaccinated individuals was also incredibly low in May at 0.1 percent. Out of more than 853,000 hospitalizations, fewer than 1,200 were among fully vaccinated people
26th Jun 2021 - The Hill

Delta Variant Outbreak in Israel Infects Some Vaccinated Adults

About half of adults infected in an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Israel were fully inoculated with the Pfizer Inc. vaccine, prompting the government to reimpose an indoor mask requirement and other measures to contain the highly transmissible strain. Preliminary findings by Israeli health officials suggest about 90% of new infections were likely caused by the Delta variant, according to Ran Balicer, who leads an expert advisory panel on Covid-19 for the government. Children under 16, most of whom haven’t been vaccinated, accounted for about half of those infected, he said. The government this week expanded its vaccination campaign to include all 12- to 15-year-olds after a jump in infections among schoolchildren in a town in central Israel. It has since quickly spread geographically and to other groups of the population.
25th Jun 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

ACIP Backs Flu and COVID Vaccine Co-Administration

Influenza vaccines can be co-administered with COVID-19 vaccines for both children and adults, according to updated recommendations from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). In a unanimous 14-0 vote on Thursday, the committee approved language for co-administration of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, in line with current CDC guidance that says COVID-19 vaccines can be administered with other vaccines, though providers should be aware of increased reactogenicity.
25th Jun 2021 - MedPage Today

The man who tested positive for Covid 43 times

Scientists are studying the case of a man in Bristol who has recovered from 290 days being positive with SARS-CoV-2. Dave, 72, is a driving instructor and musician who's spent the last 10 months with an active coronavirus infection, visiting hospital seven times. His immune system was vulnerable to the virus after a leukaemia diagnosis and chemotherapy treatment. Dave was eventually treated with a new mixture of anti-viral drugs provided by the US company Regeneron on compassionate grounds. Now scientists at the University of Bristol are studying Dave's case to try and understand how Covid acts and mutates within the body.
25th Jun 2021 - BBC News


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Afrigen gears up to deliver Africa's first COVID-19 mRNA vaccine

Afrigen Biologics expects a decision in mid-July on partners to produce Africa's first COVID-19 vaccine using the mRNA platform, the South African start-up's managing director said. The World Health Organization picked Afrigen for a pilot to give poor and middle-income countries the know-how and licenses to make COVID-19 vaccines, in what South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called an historic step.
24th Jun 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Scientist's hunt for COVID-19's origin finds early virus sequences Chinese team deleted from NIH database

In a world starved for any fresh data to help clarify the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, a study claiming to have unearthed early sequences of SARS-CoV-2 that were deliberately hidden was bound to ignite a sizzling debate. The unreviewed paper, by evolutionary biologist Jesse Bloom of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, asserts that a team of Chinese researchers sampled viruses from some of the earliest COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China, posted the viral sequences to a widely used U.S. database, and then a few months later had the genetic information removed to “obscure their existence.” To some scientists, the claims reinforce suspicions that China has something to hide about the origins of the pandemic. But critics of the preprint, posted yesterday on bioRxiv, say Bloom’s detective work is much ado about nothing, because the Chinese scientists later published the viral information in a different form, and the recovered sequences add little to what’s known about SARS-CoV-2’s origins.
24th Jun 2021 - Science Magazine

Next steps for wastewater testing to help end this pandemic — and prevent the next one

During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, cities began tapping their wastewater to look for evidence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Now, more than a year into the pandemic, it’s clear that sewage surveillance carries several advantages over traditional surveillance. Unlike individual testing, wastewater testing captures virus shed by symptomatic and asymptomatic people alike, and can test en masse the 80% of U.S. households connected to a sewer system. Such testing can detect exactly when dangerous viral variants enter a community and provide an early warning to public officials. It can even predict new outbreaks with a lead time of one to two weeks.
24th Jun 2021 - STAT News

FDA to add warning about rare heart inflammation to Pfizer, Moderna vaccines

The US Food and Drug Administration will add a warning to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines after the CDC said there is a 'likely link' between them and rare cases of heart inflammation in teenagers and young adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the announcement Wednesday during a presentation. The COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group discussed nearly 500 reports of the heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, in vaccinated adults under age 30. The group of doctors said the risk of myocarditis or pericarditis following vaccination with the mRNA-based shots in adolescents and young adults is notably higher after the second dose and in males
23rd Jun 2021 - Reuters


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Coronavirus: Canadian vaccine yields promising early results

The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has announced positive early results from phase one trials of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate: COVAC-2. The results from the study show that the vaccine appears to be safe and “well tolerated,” according to a press release. The study, conducted by Canadian Centre for Vaccinology (CCfV), said that the most commonly reported side effects among those who received the vaccine were headaches and mild pain at the injection site.
23rd Jun 2021 - CTV News

Covid-19 news: Lasting symptoms common in young adults, study finds

More than half of people aged 16 to 30 who had mild covid-19 were still experiencing symptoms 6 months later, a small study in Bergen, Norway has found. Bjørn Blomberg at the University of Bergen and colleagues followed up with a group of 312 people who had covid-19 during the first wave of Norway’s epidemic, including 247 people who isolated at home during their illness and 65 people who were hospitalised. They found that after 6 months, 61 per cent of all people had persistent symptoms, commonly referred to as “long covid”.
23rd Jun 2021 - New Scientist

Only 2% of patients who receive COVID-19 vaccine will develop 'Covid arm' skin condition

Few people who receive coronavirus vaccines will develop skin reactions as a side effect, a new study finds. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston looked at Americans who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 shots. They found that only about two percent of people developed a rash, itching or another minor condition after their first dose also known as 'Covid arm.' The team noted that the conditions that appeared were all relatively minor, and should not be a deterrent to people getting vaccinated when it is available to them, and previous data shows that many of these conditions are harmless to people
23rd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Delta plus a Covid-19 'variant of concern' in India: Health ministry

In India, 16 of the 22 cases of Delta plus variant have been found in Ratnagiri and Jalgaon in Maharashtra and some in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan announced in the briefing. He also said that the Delta plus variant has been found in the US, the UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, China and Russia besides India. The health ministry issued the statement after Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) informed the officials that the Delta plus mutation has a number of characteristics including increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. In the same briefing, the consortium apprised the government that it is now a 'variant of concern.'
23rd Jun 2021 - Hindustan Times

Health: Tree pollen can carry COVID particles and may increase infection risk in crowded areas

Researchers from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus simulated a willow tree. They modelled how pollen grains spread out in a light breeze towards a crowd. In a breeze, pollen could pass through a crowd 44 feet from the tree in a minute. Given this, greater distancing might be called for in areas of high pollen levels
23rd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

CDC advisory group says there is a 'likely link' between COVID-19 vaccines and rare heart inflammation in young adults after nearly 500 reported cases

An advisory group for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there is a 'likely link' between rare cases of heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults and the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. In a presentation released on Wednesday, the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Work Group discussed nearly 500 reports of the heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, in vaccinated adults under age 30. The group of doctors said the risk of myocarditis or pericarditis following vaccination with the mRNA-based shots in adolescents and young adults is notably higher after the second dose and in males
23rd Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

COVID-19: India reports new 'Delta plus' coronavirus variant of concern

India has reported a new "Delta plus" coronavirus variant of concern, officials have said. Sixteen cases of the variant, a mutation of B.1.617.2, were found in the state of Maharashtra on Tuesday, federal health secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a news conference. Delta plus is thought to be more transmissible than the original Delta variant, according to state officials who are increasing testing and local vaccination drives.
22nd Jun 2021 - Sky News

How Immunity Generated from COVID-19 Vaccines Differs from an Infection

A key issue as we move closer to ending the pandemic is determining more precisely how long people exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, will make neutralizing antibodies against this dangerous coronavirus. Finding the answer is also potentially complicated with new SARS-CoV-2 “variants of concern” appearing around the world that could find ways to evade acquired immunity, increasing the chances of new outbreaks. Now, a new NIH-supported study shows that the answer to this question will vary based on how an individual’s antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were generated: over the course of a naturally acquired infection or from a COVID-19 vaccine. The new evidence shows that protective antibodies generated in response to an mRNA vaccine will target a broader range of SARS-CoV-2 variants carrying “single letter” changes in a key portion of their spike protein compared to antibodies acquired from an infection. These results add to evidence that people with acquired immunity may have differing levels of protection to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. More importantly, the data provide further documentation that those who’ve had and recovered from a COVID-19 infection still stand to benefit from getting vaccinated.
22nd Jun 2021 - National Institutes of Health


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COVID-19: Period changes after coronavirus vaccine 'could be coincidental', gynaecologists say

Changes to women's periods after the coronavirus vaccine are likely to be "coincidental", gynaecologists have said. It comes after data suggested more than 4,000 women reported changes in their menstrual cycle after getting a COVID jab. But experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) say that most women experience changes in their cycles - so the fact this is happening after the vaccine could be "by chance".
22nd Jun 2021 - Sky News

Cuba says Abdala vaccine 92.28% effective against coronavirus

Cuba said on Monday its three-shot Abdala vaccine against the coronavirus had proved 92.28% effective in last-stage clinical trials. The announcement came just days after the government said another homegrown vaccine, Soberana 2, had proved 62% effective with just two of its three doses. Hit by the pandemic, our scientists at the Finlay Institute and Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology have risen above all the obstacles and given us two very effective vaccines,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted. The announcement came from state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma, which oversees Finlay, the maker of Soberana 2, and the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, the producer of Abdala.
22nd Jun 2021 - The Hindu

G7 Summit Of World Leaders May Have Been Covid-19 Superspreader Event

The G7 summit held in Cornwall, England between 11–13 June has sparked off a significant rise in Covid-19 cases in the area, according to new case count data released by the U.K. government. The news was originally reported by inews on the weekend and shows that cases in the area which hosted the summit have risen by almost 2,500% since the event, causing significant alarm for local businesses and residents of the tourism-heavy area. Despite reasonably high vaccination rates, the U.K. is experiencing a significant surge in cases fueled by the Delta SARS-CoV2 variant originally discovered in India. Despite this, the U.K. is not currently experiencing a substantial rise in deaths, likely due to this surge being mostly driven by children and younger adults who have not yet been vaccinated, whereas the large majority of older adults and clinically vulnerable people have been fully vaccinated.
22nd Jun 2021 - Forbes

Persistent pulmonary disease after acute covid-19

Lingering pathology contributes to a wider picture of poor health after hospital discharge It has been over a year since the first patients were discharged from UK hospitals following treatment for covid-19. Hospital admission was largely dictated by the requirement for supplementary oxygen and additional respiratory support.1 Acute imaging commonly showed multifocal airspace opacification, and venous thromboembolism was recorded in around a quarter of adults admitted to critical care.2 This led to concern about the long term respiratory consequences of covid-19, particularly interstitial lung disease and pulmonary vascular disease.3 Fifteen months later, our understanding of the complications after hospital treatment for covid-19 is improving. A UK study of 47 780 discharged patients reported all cause mortality of 12% and readmissions in one third after 140 days of follow-up.4 Interestingly, although respiratory disease was diagnosed in 29.6% after discharge, rates of extrapulmonary complications, including diabetes, adverse cardiovascular events, and liver and kidney dysfunction were also increased compared with those in population matched controls, indicating that the effect of covid-19 extends far beyond the lungs.
22nd Jun 2021 - The BMJ

Oxford University explores anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment

The University of Oxford said on Wednesday it was testing anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19, as part of a British government-backed study that aims to aid recoveries in non-hospital settings. Ivermectin resulted in a reduction of virus replication in laboratory studies, the university said, adding that a small pilot showed giving the drug early could reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19
22nd Jun 2021 - Reuters


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jun 2021

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Surging infections divide UK airlines and gov’t on reopening

Britain’s surging coronavirus infection rate is widening a rift between airlines and health authorities over the government’s decision to maintain some of the tightest rules on travel in Europe. Travel industry officials plan to hold events on Wednesday in London, Edinburgh and Belfast to draw attention to some 195,000 jobs they say are at risk from restrictions on overseas trips. An adviser from Public Health England meanwhile warned that a fourth national lockdown may be needed this year to control the virus.
21st Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Israeli study links pre-infection vitamin D deficiency with severe COVID-19 illness

Israeli researchers have found that pre-infection deficiency of vitamin D is associated with increased COVID-19 severity and mortality, Bar Ilan University (BIU) said Monday. The study conducted by BIU and the Galilee Medical Center (GMC) assessed the correlation using low levels of vitamin D measured prior to infection and focused on disease severity. In the study, the records of COVID-19 patients who were admitted to GMC were searched for vitamin D levels measured 14 to 730 days prior to the positive test. It was found that compared with mildly or moderately diseased patients, those with severe or critical COVID-19 disease were more likely to have severe pre-infection vitamin D deficiency with levels less than 20 ng/mL.
21st Jun 2021 - Xinhua

Cuba encouraged by early efficacy results of COVID-19 vaccine

Cuba’s Soberana 2 vaccine candidate has shown 62 percent efficacy with just two of its three doses, state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma has said, citing preliminary data from late phase trials. Cuba, whose biotech sector has exported vaccines for decades, has five vaccine candidates in clinical trials, of which two – Soberana 2 and Abdala – are in late phase trials. “In a few weeks we should have the results for the efficacy with three doses which we expect will be superior,” said Vicente Vérez​, director of the state-run Finlay Vaccine Institute, which developed Soberana 2. The news comes as the Caribbean’s largest island is facing its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic in the wake of the arrival of more contagious variants, setting new records of daily coronavirus cases.
21st Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Gilead's remdesivir reduces COVID-19 mortality risk- data

Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) said an analysis showed its antiviral remdesivir reduced mortality rates in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and increased the likelihood of being discharged by day 28 after a five-day course of the treatment. The drugmaker said on Monday it analyzed data from 98,654 patients from three retrospective studies of the real-world treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
21st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19 vaccine side effects: Women hope more research will discover if jab causing period problems

Women around the world have been asking for several months whether early, heavy or painful periods might be an unlisted side effect to the Covid vaccine. The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has received reports from more than 4,000 women who suffered period problems after having their jab. Some 2,734 reports are linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, 1,158 related to the Pfizer/BioNtech jab, and 66 linked to the Moderna vaccine, up to May 17. The numbers roughly reflect the proportion of each vaccine in the UK’s vaccination programme. The majority of issues were reported in women aged between 30 and 49 and typically involved “heavier than usual” bleeding. Other issues included delayed periods and unexpected vaginal bleeding. The watchdog said it is “closely monitoring” the reports having said a review with experts found that there was no need to list the problem as a potential side effect alongside common issues such as a sore arm, fatigue or nausea.
21st Jun 2021 - iNews


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You can catch covid-19 twice, but the second bout is likely to be mild

Back in August 2020, a worrying report came in from Reno, Nevada. A 25-year-old man who had recovered from covid-19 in April had fallen ill with it again, and this time his symptoms were worse. He had tested negative for the virus in between bouts, so had been infected twice. Other reports of reinfection were also circulating at the time, raising fears that infections don’t lead to long-lasting immunity. Nine months on, however, those fears have receded...
21st Jun 2021 - New Scientist

Cuba encouraged by early efficacy results of homegrown COVID-19 vaccine

Cuba's Soberana 2 vaccine candidate has shown 62% efficacy with just two of its three doses, state-run biopharmaceutical corporation BioCubaFarma said on Saturday, citing preliminary data from late phase trials. Cuba, whose biotech sector has exported vaccines for decades, has five vaccine candidates in clinical trials, of which two - Soberana 2 and Abdala - are in late phase trials.
20th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Delta Covid variant becoming globally dominant – WHO official

The Delta variant of Covid-19, first identified in India, is becoming the globally dominant variant of the disease, the World Health Organisation’s chief scientist said yesterday. Britain has reported a steep rise in infections with the Delta variant, while Germany’s top public health official predicted it would rapidly become the dominant variant there despite rising vaccination rates. The Kremlin blamed a surge in Covid-19 cases on reluctance to have vaccinations and “nihilism” after record new infections in Moscow, mostly with the new Delta variant, fanned fears of a third wave
19th Jun 2021 - Independent.ie


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Jun 2021

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How COVID vaccines work against the Delta variant

The Delta variant of coronavirus is a source of serious concern as lab tests have shown it is more contagious and resistant to vaccines compared with other forms of COVID-19. However, there is evidence that the available jabs retain important effectiveness against it after two doses. A British study published in The Lancet medical journal in early June looked at levels of neutralising antibodies produced in vaccinated people exposed to the Delta, Alpha (first identified in Britain) and Beta (first identified in South Africa) variants. It found that antibody levels in people with two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot were six times lower in the presence of the Delta variant than in the presence of the original COVID-19 strain on which the vaccine was based. The Alpha and Beta variants also provoked lower responses, with 2.6 times fewer antibodies for Alpha and 4.9 times fewer for Beta.
18th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Previous Covid infection may not offer long-term protection, study finds

Previous infection with coronavirus does not necessarily protect against Covid in the longer term, especially when caused by new variants of concern, a study on healthcare workers suggests. Researchers at Oxford University found marked differences in the immune responses of medical staff who contracted Covid, with some appearing far better equipped than others to combat the disease six months later. Scientists on the study, conducted with the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, said the findings reinforced the importance of everyone getting vaccinated regardless of whether they had been infected with the virus earlier in the pandemic.
17th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

CureVac’s coronavirus vaccine only 47 percent effective

German company CureVac's coronavirus vaccine is far less effective than other jabs already in use, the firm said Wednesday. The company announced a 47 percent efficacy rate against all COVID-19 cases and said it "did not meet prespecified statistical success criteria" based on the second analysis of a large-scale efficacy trial. The study involved 40,000 people in 10 countries in Europe and Latin America with at least 13 coronavirus variants circulating, the company said. The "original strain" was "almost completely absent" from the trial.
17th Jun 2021 - POLITICO Europe

Covid-19: Regeneron's antibody combination cuts deaths in seronegative patients, trial finds

Regeneron’s antibody combination treatment cut deaths in seronegative patients—meaning those who had not mounted their own antibody response to covid-19—by one fifth, the Recovery trial has found. The researchers found that for every 100 seronegative patients treated with the combination of casirivimab and imdevimab, there were six fewer deaths. They said patients admitted to hospital should now be routinely tested for antibodies to determine whether the treatment could benefit them. The two virus neutralising antibodies work by binding non-competitively to the critical receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2’s spike protein, thereby stopping the virus from binding to and entering human cells. Recovery, which is being carried out in 177 UK hospitals, has been evaluating potential covid-19 treatments for patients admitted to hospital. It discovered the first effective treatment for reducing mortality—dexamethasone—while also discounting others including hydroxychloroquine and convalescent plasma.
17th Jun 2021 - The BMJ

Delta variant fuelled 50% rise in English COVID prevalence -study

The rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant has driven a 50% rise in infections in England since May, a large prevalence study led by Imperial College London found on Thursday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed the end of restrictions. The government said the data supported Johnson’s decision to push back the end of COVID restrictions in England to July 19, citing the threat of the Delta variant first identified in India, and the need to vaccinate more people. The latest round of the REACT-1 prevalence survey, conducted between May 20 and June 7, found prevalence was 0.15%, compared to 0.10% in the last set of data from late April to early May.
17th Jun 2021 - Reuters UK

Can you mix and match COVID-19 vaccines?

Can you mix and match two-dose COVID-19 vaccines? It’s likely safe and effective, but researchers are still gathering data to be sure. The authorized COVID-19 shots around the world are all designed to stimulate your immune system to produce virus-fighting antibodies, though the way they do so varies, noted Dr. Kate O’Brien, director of the World Health Organization’s vaccine unit. “Based on the basic principles of how vaccines work, we do think that the mix-and-match regimens are going to work,” she said. Scientists at Oxford University in the United Kingdom are testing combinations of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer-BioNTech. Smaller trials are also ongoing in Spain and Germany. “We really just need to get the evidence in each of these (vaccine) combinations,” O’Brien said.
17th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

Pfizer’s arthritis drug Xeljanz shows lifesaving benefits in hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Pfizer’s BioNTech-partnered COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty may be getting all the attention these days, but the pharma giant’s anti-inflammatory drug Xeljanz just chalked up a win in treating patients hospitalized with the disease. Xeljanz reduced the risk of death or respiratory failure among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia who didn’t require ventilation, according to data published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The company is now analyzing the full dataset and will assess the next steps, Tamas Koncz, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer of Pfizer Inflammation & Immunology, said in a statement Wednesday. The data come from the STOP-COVID study, which enrolled 289 hospitalized patients across 15 sites in Brazil. After 28 days of treatment, death or respiratory failure had occurred in 18.1% of patients on Xeljanz, compared with 29% for those who received placebo. All patients also received other standard-of-care treatments, including corticosteroids, which were given to nearly 90% of patients in both trial arms.
17th Jun 2021 - FiercePharma


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Jun 2021

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New COVID-19 variant of interest identified in 29 countries: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday that a new variant of COVID-19, named Lambda, was identified in 29 countries and notably in South America where it is believed to have originated. First identified in Peru, the Lambda lineage was classified as a global Variant of Interest on Monday due to an “elevated prevalence” in South America, the WHO said in its weekly update. Lambda has been rampant in Peru where 81 percent of COVID-19 cases since April 2021 were associated with this variant, authorities reported. In Chile, it was detected in 32 percent of all submitted sequences in the last 60 days, and only outclassed by the Gamma variant which was first identified in Brazil. Other countries such as Argentina and Ecuador have also reported elevated prevalence of the new variant.
17th Jun 2021 - Macau Business

Regeneron COVID-19 therapy cuts deaths among hospitalised patients who lack antibodies -study

A COVID-19 antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Roche reduced deaths in hospitalised patients whose own immune systems had failed to produce a response, a large British study found on Wednesday. The therapy, REGEN-COV, has been granted emergency use authorisation for people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in the United States, but results from the RECOVERY trial provide the clearest evidence of its effectiveness among hospitalised patients. It found that the antibody therapy reduced by a fifth the 28-day mortality of people admitted to hospital with COVID-19 whose immune system had not mounted an antibody response, known as seronegative.
16th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Sewage sleuths helped an Arizona town beat back Covid-19. For wastewater epidemiology, that’s just the start

Valerie Molina anxiously searched the desert sky, scanning the horizon for any clouds dark with rain. But all was blue and bright. Today, the weather wasn’t going to be on her side. It was March 20, 2020, and Guadalupe, over which Molina presides as mayor, was preparing for what should have been the third of six Friday ceremonies in the run-up to Easter. Normally, it’s the time of year when the town of 6,700 doubles in size, as spectators from across the state descend on its white adobe church to witness young men in wooden masks, a sacred deer antler headdress, and ankle rattles made from the cocoons of butterflies dance to beating drums beneath ribbons of flowers. Guadalupe was founded by Pascua Yaqui Indians who were forced from their homelands in Sonora, Mexico, and settled in the Salt River Valley in the early 1900s, bringing with them their unique religion — a blend of spiritual animism and Catholic beliefs picked up from Jesuit missionaries.
16th Jun 2021 - STAT News

Covid-19: Irish scientists discover link to life threatening blood clots

Irish scientists have identified how and why some Covid-19 patients can develop life-threatening blood clots. The work ,led by researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), could lead to targeted therapies that prevent such clots happening in future. The findings are published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. The scientists analysed samples from Covid-19 patients in intensive care in the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. They found the balance between a molecule that causes clotting called the von Willebrand Factor (VWF) and its regulator, ADANTS 13, is severely disrupted in Covid patients who had elevated levels of the VWF protein.
15th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Two shots of Pfizer, AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines effective against Delta variant: study

As the coronavirus surged across the globe, experts have raised concerns that skyrocketing infections would cause mutations that evade current vaccines. As more data comes in, those concerns are fading. A real world study conducted by Public Health England shows that two doses of the vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca are highly effective in preventing hospitalizations due to the troublesome Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which scientists first detected in India. The variant has become the predominant coronavirus strain in the U.K. Of those who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 96% avoided hospitalization with no deaths. Of those who received two shots of the AZ vaccine, 92% avoided hospitalization with no deaths. The study included 14,019 people in England who had contracted the Delta variant of the virus. Of them, 166 were hospitalized from April 12 to June 4.
15th Jun 2021 - FiercePharma


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Jun 2021

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Delta variant doubles risk of COVID hospitalisation - Scottish study

The Delta coronavirus variant doubles the risk of hospitalisation compared with the previously dominant variant in Britain, but two doses of vaccine still provide strong protection, a Scottish study found on Monday. The study said early evidence suggested the protection from vaccines against the Delta variant, first identified in India, might be lower than the effectivessness against the Alpha variant, first identified in Kent, southeast England.
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Seqirus Co-Authors First Study to Assess Simultaneous Administration of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

Seqirus, a global leader in influenza prevention and a division of CSL Limited (ASX: CSL), today announced that the company co-authored the first study to demonstrate the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy profile of a COVID-19 vaccine when co-administered with a seasonal influenza vaccine.1 The data is now available on medRxiv ahead of peer-review publication. The study was conducted by Novavax, Inc. as part of a Phase 3 clinical trial of NVX-CoV2373, its recombinant protein COVID-19 vaccine candidate, in the United Kingdom.1 The co-administration sub-study enrolled 431 volunteers, all of whom received either an adjuvanted, trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (aTIV) or a cell-based, quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (QIVc) provided by Seqirus.1 Approximately half of the volunteers also received NVX-CoV2373 while the remainder received the placebo. The study results suggest that efficacy of both the influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine candidate appeared to be preserved.1 No additional safety concerns were found with co-administration and adverse events were similar to the incidence and severity for each vaccine when administered separately.
14th Jun 2021 - PRNewswire

UK study finds vaccines offer high protection against hospitalisation from Delta variant

COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca offer high protection of more than 90% against hospitalisation from the Delta coronavirus variant, a new analysis by Public Health England showed on Monday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a delay to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in England due to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of concern, first identified in India, which is also associated with a higher risk of hospitalisation among the unvaccinated.
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Delta variant doubles risk of hospitalization; Novavax vaccine highly effective in large trial

Novavax Inc on Monday said its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective, including against a variety of concerning variants of the coronavirus in a large, late-stage U.S.-based clinical trial. The study of nearly 30,000 volunteers in the United States and Mexico puts Novavax on track to file for emergency authorization in the United States and elsewhere in the third quarter of 2021, the company said. The protein-based vaccine was more than 93% effective against the more easily transmissible predominant coronavirus variants that have caused concern among scientists and public health officials, Novavax said.
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Professor Jason Leitch warns first dose of coronavirus vaccine only offers about 30% protection from ‘horrid’ Delta variant

Scotland’s national clinical director stressed the need to get both vaccinations to offer “decent” protection and suggested eight to 10 weeks of progress thanks to the vaccine had been “lost” because of the variant, first identified in India. Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Prof Leitch said the new strain of Covid-19 has “changed the game” in terms of the vaccine rollout because of the lack of protection offered by the first dose alone.
14th Jun 2021 - The Scotsman

COVID-19: Delta variant increases hospitalisation risk but vaccine protection remains high, study suggests

The risk of being hospitalised with the Delta (Indian) variant of coronavirus is around double that of the Alpha (Kent) strain, but two vaccine doses still provide strong protection against it, new data suggests. However, the level of protection against the Indian variant of COVID-19 may be lower than with the Kent variant, early research published in The Lancet suggests.
14th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Celltrion says trial shows antibody COVID-19 treatment to be safe and effective

South Korean drugmaker Celltrion Inc on Monday announced positive results for its experimental antibody COVID-19 treatment that it said was safe and reduced the treatment period by nearly five days in Phase 3 global clinical trials. The trials, which involved 1,315 participants, have taken place since January in 13 countries, including in South Korea, the United States, Spain and Romania, Celltrion said in a statement. The treatment slowed severe symptoms of COVID-19 in more than 70% of patients, including the high-risk group with underlying conditions. It also cut the recovery period by 4.9 days, the company said.
14th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Covid-19: Vaccine booster study begins in Cambridge

Clinical trials have begun in Cambridge to see which Covid-19 vaccine works best as a third "booster" jab. Researchers at the Addenbrooke's Hospital site are recruiting about 180 participants for a national trial, which will test seven vaccines. The Cov-Boost study will give people a third dose of a vaccine to see whether it offers better protection against the virus than the standard two injections. Prof Krishna Chatterjee called the study an "exciting opportunity". The government-funded trial, led by the University of Southampton, is taking place at 18 sites across the UK and is said to be the first study in the world to provide vital data on the impact of a third dose on patients' immune responses.
14th Jun 2021 - BBC News