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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Jul 2021

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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


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Jul 2021

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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


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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jul 2021

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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


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jul 2021

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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


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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Jun 2021

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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


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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jun 2021

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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

Extra Covid vaccine may help protect transplant patients

A small study offers the first hint that an extra dose of Covid-19 vaccines just might give some organ transplant recipients a needed boost in protection. Even as most vaccinated people celebrate a return to near normalcy, millions who take immune-suppressing medicines because of transplants, cancer, or other disorders remain in limbo — uncertain how protected they really are. It’s simply harder for vaccines to rev up a weak immune system. Monday’s study tracked just 30 transplant patients but it’s an important step toward learning if booster doses could help.
14th Jun 2021 - STAT News

Delta variant Covid symptoms ‘include headaches, sore throat and runny nose’

The data, collected as part of the app-based Zoe Covid symptom study, suggests that the Delta variant first detected in India feels like a “bad cold”, according to Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, who is leading the work. “Covid is … acting differently now, it’s more like a bad cold,” he said. “People might think they’ve just got some sort of seasonal cold, and they still go out to parties … we think this is fuelling a lot of the problem. So, what’s really important to realise is that since the start of May, we’ve been looking at the top symptoms in all the app users, and they’re not the same as they were. So, the number one symptom is headache … followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever.”
14th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Association Between Bitter Taste Receptor Phenotype and Clinical Outcomes Among Patients With COVID-19

Bitter taste receptors (T2Rs) have been implicated in sinonasal innate immunity, and genetic variation conferred by allelic variants in T2R genes is associated with variation in upper respiratory tract pathogen susceptibility, symptoms, and outcomes. Bitter taste receptor phenotype appears to be associated with the clinical course and symptom duration of SARS-CoV-2 infection. A prospective cohort study was performed from July 1 through September 30, 2020, at a tertiary outpatient clinical practice and inpatient hospital in the United States among 1935 participants (patients and health care workers) with occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2. This cohort study suggests that T2R38 receptor allelic variants were associated with participants’ innate immune response toward SARS-CoV-2. The T2R phenotype was associated with patients’ clinical course after SARS-CoV-2 infection
12th Jun 2021 - The Jama Network


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jun 2021

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Covid jabs can be tweaked within weeks to combat future variants thanks to UK ‘vaccine library’

The UK will be able to tweak current Covid jabs within weeks to combat any further highly transmissible variants and prevent further lockdowns, according to scientists at the country’s new “vaccine library”. Dr Lucy Foley, director of biologics and Covid response at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in Darlington, told i her team have been working closely with the Vaccines Taskforce on developing mRNA vaccines – the same technology used by Pfizer and Moderna in their Covid vaccines – to be ideally placed to combat any future threats. She said: “We’re working with the Government now to bank a library of different DNA and RNA clinical vaccines, which means if we do see something like the Delta variant, which becomes a variant of concern (VOC), the UK has the stock in the fridge if you like to go straight to a clinical trial to enable us to reduce the 300 days it took us to create a successful coronavirus vaccine to a much faster time.”
14th Jun 2021 - iNews

Covid 'alarm' that can SMELL if someone has infection: Device can detect if someone has virus

Device can detect chemical changes in skin and breath of Covid-infected people. Experts say Covid detection in large room could take between 15 and 30 minutes Although in early stages, study suggests devices is up to 100 per cent accurate Further trials will take place and company is also developing hand-held device
13th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Strong immune response protects young children from Covid-19, suggests study

Young children have relative protection from coronavirus because their bodies produce a strong immune response to it, according to a new study. The University of Bristol and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children conducted research which found that infants produce relatively high levels of antibodies and immune cells which protect against the virus, compared to adults. Researchers say the findings could help explain why younger children appear to be protected from the severe effects of Covid-19 at a time of their development when they could be more vulnerable. The study was led by academics and paediatricians from the university and hospital and is published in Cell Reports Medicine.
12th Jun 2021 - Evening Standard

Russia tests COVID-19 vaccine as nasal spray for children - agencies

Russia has tested a nasal spray form of its COVID-19 vaccine that is suitable for children aged 8-12, and plans to launch the new product in September, the scientist who led the development of the Sputnik V vaccine said on Saturday. Alexander Gintsburg, who heads the Gamaleya Institute that developed Sputnik V, said the spray for children used the same vaccine "only instead of a needle, a nozzle is put on", the TASS news agency reported. The children's shot is expected to be ready for distribution by Sept. 15, Gintsburg was quoted as saying during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
12th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Proposed mRNA Covid-19 vaccine trial stalls over indemnity risk

Top vaccine researchers have asked the government to step in and take on the indemnity risk for an international clinical trial that aims to determine the efficacy of Moderna’s mRNA coronavirus vaccine against strains circulating in Africa, as well as in people living with HIV. A $130m (R1.77bn) trial funded by the US National Institutes of Health is ready to launch in eight African countries, including SA, but has stalled because the two companies that manufacture mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, are unwilling to provide their shots, according to a report published in Science Magazine at the weekend...
11th Jun 2021 - Business Day

Chinese researchers say new batch of coronaviruses found in bats

Researchers in China say they have uncovered a new batch of coronaviruses in bats that resembles the COVID-19 virus that has swept the globe. The researchers said they collected samples from small bats that lived in forests in the Yunnan province between May 2019 and November 2020. The samples consisted of urine, feces and mouth swabs. "In total, we assembled 24 novel coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2 like coronaviruses," the researchers wrote in the journal Cell.
11th Jun 2021 - The Hill

Delta variant causes more than 90% of new Covid cases in UK

More than 90% of Covid cases in the UK are now down to the coronavirus Delta variant first discovered in India, data has revealed, as the total number of confirmed cases passed 42,000. Also known as B.1.617.2, the Delta variant has been linked to a rise in Covid cases in the UK in the past weeks. It is believed to spread more easily than the Alpha variant, B.1.1.7, that was first detected in Kent, and is somewhat more resistant to Covid vaccines, particularly after just one dose. It may be also associated with a greater risk of hospitalisation. Now, Public Health England (PHE) has said that more than 90% of new Covid cases in the UK involve the Delta variant. Indeed the most recent data suggests the figure could be as high as 96% of new cases in England.
11th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

COVID-19: Delta variant about 60% more transmissible than Alpha and more resistant to vaccines, PHE reports

The Delta (Indian) variant is 64% more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) variant indoors and vaccines are less effective against it, Public Health England has said. More than 90% of new COVID-19 cases in the UK are now the Delta variant. The variant, first identified in India, has taken over from the Alpha variant as the most dominant in the UK.
11th Jun 2021 - Sky News

Anticoagulation tied to fewer deaths in hospital COVID patients

Anticoagulation therapy given to prevent or treat venous thromboembolism (VTE) was linked to lower death rates in hospitalized adult COVID-19 patients, but the association remained at 60 days only for the prophylactic (preventive) strategy, according to a multicenter study today in JAMA Network Open. The study, led by University of Utah and University of Michigan researchers, involved a pseudorandom sample of 1,351 COVID-19 patients 18 years and older admitted to 30 Michigan hospitals from Mar 7 to Jun 17, 2020. VTE, or blood clots that cause a blockage in the veins, is a leading complication of COVID-19, the authors noted.
11th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Novavax Vaccine Effective Against COVID-19 Variants Found In UK & South Africa: Study

As newer COVID-19 variants emerge across the world, US vaccine manufacturer Novavax on Friday, stated that its vaccine was effective against both the Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) variant strains found originally in UK and South Africa. Issuing a press release, Novavax stated that preclinical and clinical data from its tests demonstrated strong immunogenicity and protection against both variants. The company has submitted a paper titled 'Immunogenicity and In vivo protection of a variant nanoparticle vaccine that confers broad protection against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants' for peer review.
11th Jun 2021 - RepublicWorld

The COVID-19 virus can cause diabetes, new studies find

There is troubling news for those infected with the COVID-19 virus. New studies have found that the virus may cause diabetes in addition to pneumonia and other health problems. Most people will recover from COVID without longer-term problems, but doctors have noticed that some patients go on to develop diabetes. Now, new research is finding that the virus may infect and destroy certain cells that are crucial for keeping diabetes at bay. Armed with this new knowledge, scientists are now racing to understand how to best prevent this from happening in patients with COVID-19.
10th Jun 2021 - ABC News

AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine may hinder blood clotting in rare cases

The Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine may be associated with a slightly increased risk of some bleeding disorders, according to new data, but such cases are very rare and the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh the risks, say researchers. An analysis of people who received a first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine revealed a small increased risk of an autoimmune bleeding condition known as immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) associated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, separate to the blood clotting syndrome that was linked to the vaccine previously. In ITP, the immune system destroys platelets, the blood cells that help the blood to clot. The condition can cause minor bruising in some people and excessive bleeding and long-term illness in others, but the symptoms are usually mild and death from ITP is very rare.
9th Jun 2021 - New Scientist News


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Jun 2021

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A 'Universal' Coronavirus Vaccine to Prevent the Next Pandemic

In the past 20 years alone, three coronaviruses have caused major disease outbreaks. First came the original SARS virus in 2002. Then, in 2012, MERS was identified. In 2019 SARS-CoV-2 emerged, setting off a global pandemic. Hundreds of other coronaviruses are known to be circulating in bats and other animals. Scientists have warned that some of them could emerge in the future and potentially infect people. Our current COVID-19 vaccines were specifically designed for SARS-CoV-2, but what if a next-generation vaccine could protect against both known and unknown coronaviruses? Scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., are working on a so-called universal coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad is leading the effort.
10th Jun 2021 - Scientific American

Johnson & Johnson vaccine effective against variants: study | TheHill

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine produces several immune responses allowing it to be effective against different variants of the virus, according to a study released Wednesday. The research, published in Nature as an accelerated article preview, determined that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine activated immune responses against the original COVID-19 strain, as well as the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Epsilon variants. The study concluded that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “offered strong protection against symptomatic” cases of COVID-19 in South Africa and Brazil where variants have caused most sequenced cases. Researchers studied the antibody and cellular immune responses of 20 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55.
10th Jun 2021 - The Hill

AstraZeneca vaccine linked to slightly higher risk of blood disorder

Data from Scotland’s Covid vaccination programme has revealed a possible small increase in the risk of a treatable and often mild bleeding disorder after the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Doctors examined the medical records of 5.4 million people in Scotland for instances of blood clots, unusual bleeding, and a condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), where a reduction in blood platelets can lead to easy bruising, bleeding gums and internal bleeding. The analysis conducted with Public Health Scotland found the risk of ITP was marginally higher in the 1.7 million people who had received a first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine than in a comparison group that did not receive the shot up to 14 April 2021.
9th Jun 2021 - The Guardian


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Jun 2021

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Sinovac, Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines prove highly effective in Uruguay -government

Uruguay on Tuesday released real-world data on the impact of Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine among its population that showed it was over 90% effective in preventing intensive care admissions and deaths. The shot reduced deaths by 95% and intensive care admissions by 92%, and also showed 61% efficacy in cutting coronavirus infections, the government said. A total of 795,684 people - health workers and members of the general population between the ages of 18 and 69 - at least 14 days after receiving their second dose of Sinovac's CoronaVac were compared to unvaccinated people to determine the real-world vaccine effectiveness, the government said in a report
9th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Research now backs routinely offering pregnant women the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine

New Zealand and Australia will now routinely offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to women at any stage of pregnancy, following an update of vaccination advice. This comes as research suggests the risk of severe outcomes from infection is significantly higher for pregnant women compared to the general population. At the same time, data from pregnant women who have already been vaccinated around the world have shown no safety concerns associated with COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccination during pregnancy may also protect the baby. Research has identified antibodies in cord blood and breast milk, suggesting temporary protection (passive immunity) for babies before and after birth.
9th Jun 2021 - The Conversation

A third dose of coronavirus vaccine could be beneficial for some

Giving a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine to residents and staff of residential care centres would be beneficial, Belgium’s Public Health Institute Sciensano said Wednesday, basing their conclusion on the PICOV-VAC study conducted in January in two care centres in the country. While all participants, young and old, made antibodies against the coronavirus after receiving two doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, the study found that the number of antibodies made after receiving the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine was much higher in people who had been infected with Covid-19 before vaccination.
9th Jun 2021 - The Brussels Times

Charity pledges £500,000 for research into COVID-19 and heart conditions

National charity Heart Research UK has pledged over £500,000 to support the research, as part of a new grant scheme to examine the links between COVID-19 and cardiovascular conditions. The charity hopes this research will improve outcomes for patients suffering from COVID-19 who may have underlying cardiovascular problems. The grants have been awarded to Newcastle University, the University of Dundee, and the University of Glasgow.
9th Jun 2021 - HealthEuropa

What's Happening With Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 Vaccine?

J&J is making some progress with its international rollout. The single-dose vaccine was authorized for emergency use by the U.K. regulator in late May and the U.K has ordered 20 million doses of the shot that is likely to be available later this year. J&J also filed for regulatory approval of the vaccine in Japan, noting that it could begin supplying doses to the country by 2022. Japan has made little progress with its vaccination drive so far, with less than 4% of its population fully vaccinated. The company is also looking to expand the vaccine's availability to India, working with manufacturer Biological E. to produce its shot locally. Overall, we still think the J&J shot has room for growth globally, as it could do much of the heavy lifting in getting the global population inoculated against Covid-19, considering its single-dose requirement and relatively easy storage.
9th Jun 2021 - Forbes

Delta coronavirus variant believed to have 60% transmission advantage - UK epidemiologist

The Delta coronavirus variant of concern, first identified in India, is believed to be 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant which was previously dominant in Britain, a prominent UK epidemiologist said on Wednesday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that England's full reopening from COVID-19 lockdown, pencilled in for June 21, could be pushed back due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
9th Jun 2021 - Reuters

Small risk of bleeding disorder after AstraZeneca COVID vaccine

A study of 5.4 million Scottish adults has revealed a small increased risk of an autoimmune bleeding disorder after the first dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, although a causal link hasn't been established. The study, led by University of Edinburgh researchers and published today in Nature Medicine, assessed the risk of bleeding-related events among 2.53 million people (57.5% of the population of Scotland 18 and older) up to 27 days after the first dose of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from December 2020 to April 2021. Of the 2.53 million, more than 1.7 million received the AstraZeneca vaccine, while about 800,000 received the Pfizer version.
9th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Delta variant accounts for 6 percent of new U.S. coronavirus infections

A highly transmissible coronavirus variant first identified in India accounts for 6 percent of new infections in the United States, the Biden administration said Tuesday. Yet vaccines appear to be highly effective against this version of the virus that has quickly spread into Great Britain and elsewhere. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, revealed the extent of the variant’s push into the United States, but said it appears to be slowed by vaccines. “It’s essentially taking over” in the United Kingdom, Fauci said at a briefing for reporters. “We cannot let that happen in the United States, which is such a powerful argument” for vaccination, he said.
9th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post


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‘Black fungus’ new scare in India as second COVID wave ebbs

As a devastating second wave of COVID-19 ebbs with less than 100,000 new cases reported on Tuesday, India is now battling a new scare: Mucormycosis, commonly referred to as “black fungus”, is a rare fungal disease with a high mortality rate. On Monday, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the country had more than 28,000 cases of the fungal infection.
9th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Pfizer to start large study to test COVID-19 vaccine in children below 12

Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it will start a large study to test its COVID-19 vaccine in children below 12 and selected a dosing regime for the trial. The study will enroll up to 4,500 children at more than 90 clinical sites in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain, the company said. Pfizer's vaccine has been authorized for use in children as young as 12 in Europe, the United States and Canada.
8th Jun 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

COVID-19 vaccine being tested on Sacramento children 5 to 11 years old

Some Sacramento kids will be part of a national clinical trial to test Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in those 5 to 11 years old. Kaiser Permanente Sacramento and Santa Clara locations will join the hospital's Vaccine Research Center in Oakland to enroll 75 kids in the national trial that aims to evaluate 4,
8th Jun 2021 - Yahoo

MCRI's BCG vaccine trial joins global race to better understand COVID-19 variants

An Australian-led study will investigate whether it's possible to predict who remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 variants after having COVID-19 or receiving a COVID-19-specific vaccine. The study will explore the immune response to COVID-19-specific vaccines in Brazilian healthcare workers to find biomarkers that indicate whether someone will be protected from - or remains at risk of - contracting COVID-19 if exposed to a variant. The research has received philanthropic funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is a sub-study of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute's (MCRI) study assessing if the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine can help protect against COVID-19.
8th Jun 2021 - EurekAlert!

Scientists identify Covid-19 ‘Mexican variant’ that’s already spread to Europe

A new variant of Covid-19 has been identified, originating in Mexico, that has already spread to Europe. This new strain appears to be highly contagious and already makes up 52.8% of the confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mexico. Known as T478K, or informally as the ‘Mexican variant’, it has yet to be given a name under the new WHO system. But scientists are alarmed at the rate of transmission.
8th Jun 2021 - Metro

Vegans ‘much less likely to get severe Covid-19’ than meat eaters, study suggests

People who enjoy a plant-based diet like vegetarians and vegans or take fish as their only source of meat are considerably less likely to contract severe Covid-19, a new study has found. According to the findings published in The BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, which examined data from healthcare workers across six countries including the UK, vegetarians are 73 per cent less likely to be hit by coronavirus while self-declared pescatarians were 59 per cent less likely to become ill than those who eat red and white meat. Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets appeared to be linked to an increased chance of contracting moderate to severe illness, though the findings were not statistically significant.
8th Jun 2021 - The Independent

Aspirin does not improve survival in COVID-19 patients - UK study

Aspirin does not improve the chances of survival in severely ill COVID-19 patients, early results from one of Britain's biggest trials studying the commonly used painkiller and blood thinner showed on Tuesday. The scientists behind the trial, which is looking into a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, evaluated aspirin's effects on nearly 15,000 hospitalised patients infected with the novel coronavirus. Since the drug helps reduce blood clots in other diseases, it was tested in COVID-19 patients who are at a higher risk of clotting issues.
8th Jun 2021 - Reuters

China to offer COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 3

China has approved the emergency use of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for those as young as three, the drugmaker confirmed on Tuesday (Jun 8), making it the first country to offer jabs to young children. Since the coronavirus first emerged in central China, Beijing has mostly managed to bring the country's outbreak under control, and has administered more than 777 million vaccine doses after a sluggish start. A spokesperson for Sinovac told AFP its vaccine had been approved for use on children.
8th Jun 2021 - CNA

No health issues in babies whose moms got flu vaccine while pregnant

Infants who were exposed to the flu vaccine in utero—meaning their mothers received the vaccine while pregnant—did not have an increased likelihood of adverse outcomes, according to a study today in JAMA. The study looked at more than 99% of live births during the 2010-11 to 2013-14 flu seasons in Nova Scotia, Canada. The World Health Organization began recommending that pregnant women be prioritized for flu vaccines in 2012 to help protect newborns as they face viruses with waning maternal antibodies and still-developing immune and pulmonary systems.
8th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Now Moderna seeks approval to give its Covid vaccine to children in Europe: US firm follows footsteps of Pfizer and says its jab is up to 100% effective at blocking symptoms in teenagers

Moderna asks EU agency for permission to give jabs to 12 to 17 year olds. It follows the UK's decision to approve the Pfizer jab for over-12s. But experts have warned against vaccinating children ahead of at-risk groups in poorer countries
7th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail


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A different kind of COVID-19 vaccine is coming, and it could be 'even more protective'

A COVID-19 vaccine different from those made by Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer could be available to Americans "as soon as this summer," NPR reported on Sunday. The three vaccines currently authorized for use in the USA
7th Jun 2021 - Yahoo

We’ll Probably Need Booster Shots for Covid-19. But When? And Which Ones?

As the nation edges closer to President Biden’s goal of a 70 percent vaccination rate, many people are beginning to wonder how long their protection will last. For now, scientists are asking a lot of questions about Covid-19 booster shots, but they don’t yet have many answers. The National Institutes of Health recently announced that it has begun a new clinical trial of people fully vaccinated — with any authorized vaccine — to see whether a booster of the Moderna shot will increase their antibodies and prolong protection against getting infected with the virus.
7th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

Swapping vaccines may be beneficial against Covid-19, German study suggests

Taking the AstraZeneca jab and then having the Pfizer shot ten weeks later could result in stronger immunity than sticking with the same vaccine for both doses, a German study suggests. The experiment is one of the first to indicate that swapping vaccines may be not only safe and effective but potentially beneficial. However, the research is still in its early days and much remains to be learnt about how various combinations work. There has been much speculation that patients who receive two vaccines based on separate underlying technologies might acquire better protection against Covid-19. This is because the vaccines elicit different forms of immune response from the body.
7th Jun 2021 - The Times

Would you have your DNA tested to predict how hard COVID-19 would strike? Should you?

For people not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 or still nervous about venturing into crowds, the sales pitch may be alluring: Drool into a tube to provide your DNA and mail it off to see how likely you are to be among the 10% to 15% of people who will end up in the hospital or die from a SARS-CoV-2 infection. That’s the promise of a test an Australian company launched last week in the United States. It combines genetic data with someone’s age, sex, and preexisting medical conditions to predict their risk of becoming extremely ill from COVID-19. The $175 test is based on genetic markers linked to severe COVID-19, along with other risk factors, and the company says it developed its predictions using data on thousands of COVID-19 patients in the United Kingdom. It may be a forerunner of similar risk tests: An academic team has recently detailed a simpler genetic test to help determine how aggressively some people infected with SARS-CoV-2 should be treated.
7th Jun 2021 - Science Magazine

EMA highlights guidance not to use heparin for COVID-19 vaccine-linked clots

The European Medicines Agency on Monday pushed guidance for doctors not to use the blood thinner heparin to treat rare blood clots and low blood platelets in people who got AstraZeneca's or Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 shots. Europe's drugs regulator, seeking to ensure proper treatment, highlighted the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis interim guidance. In April, the ISTH concluded "management should be initiated with non-heparin anticoagulation upon suspicion" of vaccine-linked clotting and low platelets.
7th Jun 2021 - Reuters

UK minister says Delta variant 40 percent more transmissible

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is estimated to be 40 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant that caused the previous wave of infections in the United Kingdom, Britain’s health minister has said. People who have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine should be equally protected against either variant, he added.
7th Jun 2021 - Al Jazeera English

Underlying illness, respiratory infection raise risk for severe COVID in kids

Type 1 diabetes, obesity, heart problems - In the first study, published today in JAMA Network Open, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used the Premier Healthcare Database Special COVID-19 Release, which houses data from 872 hospitals, to study 43,465 patients 18 and younger who visited an emergency department or were hospitalized for severe COVID-19 from March 2020 to January 2021.
7th Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

India battles deadly child illness that strikes during Coronavirus recovery

First it was black fungus, then white fungus, then yellow — all rare infections which are causing havoc in adult patients recovering from coronavirus. As India grapples with the eruption of strange Covid-related complications, doctors are now alarmed at a sharp escalation in a life-threatening condition in children recovering from the illness. Last year only three patients with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) were reported but in the second wave more children have caught the virus, leading to more cases. The syndrome catches parents unawares two to six weeks after the Covid infection when they are usually relieved at their child’s recovery. More than 2,000 cases have been recorded across the country, mostly affecting children aged between 5 and 15.
7th Jun 2021 - The Times

Holidaymakers returning from Portugal had a Covid test positivity rate of 1.5% - three times higher than England's

Three out of 200 travellers returning to the UK tested positive for coronavirus between May 6 and May 19. In England by May 30 the positivity rate of tests taken by members of the public was 0.5%, PHE figures show. Portugal has been demoted from the green list, leaving Brits without a foreign summer holiday destination
7th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail


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‘Mix and match’ Covid booster jabs may be offered in UK

Ministers are considering giving people a different type of Covid vaccine as an autumn booster, it has emerged, after early results from “mix and match” trials appeared to show promise for an enhanced immune response. Four different coronavirus jabs have been approved for use in the UK, with more under regulatory review. While people are currently offered two doses of the same jab, researchers have been exploring whether offering a second dose of a different Covid vaccine could generate a stronger immune response. It is also expected that people will be offered a third, “booster” injection, potentially in the autumn, in part to protect them against variants with some resistance to existing vaccines. One possibility being looked at is that this third jab could be of a different type to people’s initial two, a government source said.
6th Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Delta Covid variant first identified in India now dominant in the UK, Public Health England announces

The Indian variant has overtaken the Kent strain to be the most dominant type of coronavirus in the UK, experts believe. Public Health England said cases of the B1617.2 variant, now known as Delta, have risen by 5,472 in a week to 12,431. There is also early evidence that there may be an increased risk of hospitalisation from Delta compared to the Kent variant, which has been renamed Alpha.
5th Jun 2021 - iNews

CDC investigating heart inflammation following COVID-19 vaccination

An article raised awareness of heart inflammation following a COVID-19 vaccination in several cases. Only young males were affected. The CDC highlights that the risk is rare and vaccination to reduce COVID-19 transmission is still recommended.
5th Jun 2021 - The Hill

C.D.C. Says Child Covid Hospitalizations Are Rare, but More Frequent Than Flu

The number of hospitalizations related to Covid-19 among adolescents in the United States was about three times greater than hospitalizations linked to influenza over three recent flu seasons, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday. The findings run counter to claims that influenza is more threatening to children than Covid-19 is, an argument that has been used in the push to reopen schools, and to question the value of vaccinating adolescents against the coronavirus. “Much of this suffering can be prevented,” the C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said in a statement. “Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic.”
5th Jun 2021 - The New York Times

Black fungus: Is diabetes behind India's high number of cases?

About 12,000 cases of a condition known as "black fungus" have been reported in India, mostly in patients recovering from Covid-19. This severe infection is normally very rare and has a mortality rate of about 50%. Some medical experts have suggested India has seen cases growing because of the high prevalence of diabetes. But are other factors at work and what is happening in other countries?
5th Jun 2021 - BBC News

Double jab cuts risk of hospitalisation with Indian Covid by 93% to almost nothing but un-vaccinated are more at risk than in previous waves

Pfizer vaccine produces fewer antibody levels Indian variant than those against previously circulating strains. Joint study also suggests levels of antibodies are lower with increasing age, and that levels decline over time. Researchers say this provides extra evidence in support of plans to deliver a vaccine booster in the autumn. But it could also fuel concern that the Pfizer vaccine is less effective in preventing serious illness with Delta. It comes as PHE said the Indian variant appears more likely to put people in hospital than other strains
4th Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for MS Patients, Small Study...

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to be reasonably safe for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a small study of its use in the U.K. Vaccine side effects were in line with those experienced by the general population, its researchers said, such as flu-like symptoms and sore arms. The study, “Experience with the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in people with multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
4th Jun 2021 - Multiple Sclerosis News Today

COVID-19 still poses severe risk to unvaccinated teens: CDC

While most coronavirus hospitalizations occur in adults, the coronavirus still poses the threat of severe disease to teens, according to a new study issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly a third of teens ages 12-17 hospitalized with COVID-19 ended up in the intensive care unit, with 5% ultimately being placed on ventilators.
4th Jun 2021 - ABC News

Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine gains China nod for emergency use in kids, adolescents

China has approved emergency use of Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine in people aged between three and 17, its chairman Yin Weidong told state TV late on Friday. China's mass vaccination drive, which administered 723.5 million doses of vaccines as of June 3, is currently only open to those aged 18 and above. When Sinovac's vaccine will be offered to younger groups depends on health authorities formulating China's inoculation strategies, Yin told state TV in an live interview.
4th Jun 2021 - Reuters


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Covid-19: PPE guidance is upgraded as evidence of airborne transmission grows

More NHS staff caring for patients with suspected or confirmed covid-19 will have access to higher grade personal protective equipment (PPE), including FFP3 masks, under updated NHS guidance on covid-19 infection prevention and control. Issued this week, the updated guidance obliges NHS organisations to assess the risk that covid-19 poses to staff and to act to mitigate any risks, such as by providing higher grade PPE including FFP3 masks. These risk assessments should include evaluations of ventilation, operational capacity, and the prevalence of infections including new variants of concern in the local area. The guidance also provides updates on the use of valved respirators and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, advising that extended use of gowns must be minimised, with sessional use taking place only in areas where all patients have confirmed covid-19. The BMA, which has led calls for better PPE throughout the pandemic,2 described the updated guidance as “a step in the right direction.”
3rd Jun 2021 - The BMJ

Prior COVID-19 infection reduces infection risk for 10 months -study

Previous COVID-19 infection substantially reduces the risk of a new infection for up to 10 months afterwards, according to a study of care home residents and staff by University College London (UCL) scientists. The study, published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity on Thursday, found that care home residents who had been previously infected with COVID-19 were approximately 85% less likely to be infected between October and February than those who had not been infected. For staff, those with a past infection were around 60% less likely to become infected again.
3rd Jun 2021 - Reuters

More evidence of frequent antibiotic use noted in COVID patients

Research published yesterday in The Lancet Microbe shows that COVID-19 patients in the United Kingdom in the first wave of the pandemic rarely had bacterial co-infections or secondary infections, yet frequently received antibiotics. The study by a team of UK researchers looked at data from more than 48,000 COVID-19 patients treated at 260 hospitals in England, Scotland, and Wales from Feb 6 through Jun 8, 2020, and found that only 13% had bacterial co-infections or secondary infections. But 85% received one or more antibiotics during their hospital stay, with broad-spectrum antibiotics used frequently, and more than a third received antibiotics for their illness before being hospitalized. While several retrospective studies and reviews on antibiotic use in COVID-19 patients have been conducted over the course of the pandemic, and similar findings of low co-infection and high antibiotic use reported, this is the first prospective study of the issue. The authors describe it as the most comprehensive analysis of its kind to date, providing microbiologic details on laboratory-confirmed co-infections and secondary infections in COVID-19 patients.
3rd Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Dental workers found to be at increased COVID-19 risk

UK dental professionals were at heightened occupational risk for COVID-19 infection early in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an observational study yesterday in the Journal of Dental Research. A team led by University of Birmingham researchers obtained blood samples from 1,507 dentists, dental nurses, and dental hygienists in the Birmingham, England, region in June 2020. They found that 16.3% of participants had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, compared with an estimated 6% to 7% of the general population. Dental receptionists who don't have direct patient contact, however, were no more likely than community members to have coronavirus antibodies, at 6.3%.
3rd Jun 2021 - CIDRAP


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Russia's CoviVac more than 80% effective against COVID-19 -Ifax

Russia’s third vaccine against COVID-19, CoviVac, is more than 80% effective according to preliminary data, the Interfax news agency cited the vaccine’s developer as saying on Wednesday. The Chumakov Centre could produce six times more than the previously planned 10 million doses of the vaccine a year, Interfax added.
2nd Jun 2021 - Reuters

Study identifies COVID risks for kidney dialysis patients

Among patients with kidney failure who underwent dialysis at clinics several times a week, the risk of COVID-19 infection was highest in those who were older, had diabetes, lived in communities with high coronavirus prevalence, and received dialysis at clinics serving more patients, finds a study yesterday in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Led by British researchers, the study also showed that COVID-19 infection risks were lowest among patients who received dialysis in clinics with more isolation rooms and mask policies for all patients, including those with no coronavirus symptoms.
2nd Jun 2021 - CIDRAP

Israel reports link between rare cases of heart inflammation and COVID-19 vaccination in young men

The COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to put young men at elevated risk of developing a heart muscle inflammation called myocarditis, researchers in Israel say. In a report submitted today to the Israeli Ministry of Health, they conclude that between one in 3000 and one in 6000 men ages 16 to 24 who received the vaccine developed the rare condition. But most cases were mild and resolved within a few weeks, which is typical for myocarditis. “I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything that would cause medical people to say we shouldn’t vaccinate kids,” says Douglas Diekema, a pediatrician and bioethicist at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
1st Jun 2021 - Science Magazine


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Antibody from cold can neutralize COVID-19 and could lead to vaccine against all coronaviruses

A new study compared blood samples collected before the pandemic to those from people infected with COVID-19. Levels of an antibody generated by immune system cells called memory B cells were higher in the samples from the COVID-19 survivors. These antibodies circulate in the bloodstream for years and 'remember' diseases and are called back into action if the threat returns. Researchers say the findings could help scientists develop a vaccine or antibody treatment that protects against all coronaviruses
1st Jun 2021 - Daily Mail

Scientists call on UK to speed up second Covid jabs as India variant spreads

Scientists are urging the government to speed up second doses of Covid vaccines and delay a decision on easing lockdown restrictions in England on 21 June in an effort to tackle the creeping spread of new cases. Data has shown the coronavirus variant first detected in India, known as B.1.617.2, is continuing to spread across England, and is thought to be driving a rise in cases. It is believed to be both more transmissible than the variant first detected in Kent, which previously dominated, and somewhat more resistant to Covid vaccines, particularly after one dose. The situation has led some scientists to warn the country is in the early stages of a third wave of coronavirus which, despite the vaccination programme, modelling suggests could lead to a rise in hospitalisations and deaths, and that full easing of restrictions in England in three weeks’ time should be reconsidered.
1st Jun 2021 - The Guardian

Canada panel says COVID-19 shots can be mixed, move could hit AstraZeneca

An official Canadian panel on Tuesday said people who received a first shot of AstraZeneca PLC's (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine can choose to receive a different shot for their second dose, dealing another potential blow to the pharmaceutical giant. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said one reason for the recommendation by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) was concern about rare and potentially fatal blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. "If it weren't for that, then probably one would progress with giving the same (vaccine) as a second dose," she said.
1st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Israel sees probable link between Pfizer vaccine and small number of myocarditis cases

Israel’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday it found the small number of heart inflammation cases observed mainly in young men who received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Israel were likely linked to their vaccination. Pfizer has said it has not observed a higher rate of the condition, known as myocarditis, than would normally be expected in the general population. On Tuesday, it did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In Israel, 275 cases of myocarditis were reported between December 2020 and May 2021 among more than 5 million vaccinated people, the ministry said, in disclosing the findings of a study it commissioned to examine the matter
1st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Britain seeks extra AstraZeneca shots to combat 'beta' COVID-19 variant

Britain is in talks with Oxford and AstraZeneca (AZN.L) for additional doses of their COVID-19 vaccine that has been modified to better target the "beta" coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa, and it will fund trials of the shots. Britain has previously secured 100 million doses of the vaccine, developed at the University of Oxford and licenced to AstraZeneca, and the health ministry said the extra doses under discussion would be tailored to target the B.1.351 variant. South Africa put use of AstraZeneca's shot on hold in February after data showed it gave minimal protection against mild-to-moderate infection caused by the country's dominant variant, now known as "beta" under a new World Health Organization labelling system
1st Jun 2021 - Reuters

Sinovac Biotech vaccine effective in controlling Covid-19, new study shows

The vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech was effective in controlling Covid-19 in a mass-inoculation study in a small Brazilian town after 75 per cent of adults were covered with a second shot, preliminary numbers show. The study carried out by the Sao Paulo state government in the small town of Serrana - population 45,000 - may offer clues for other developing nations on how much of the public needs to be vaccinated in order to begin moving past the pandemic that continues to wreak havoc in Latin America and beyond. While infection rates improved after first doses were administered, Covid-19 wasn’t properly controlled in the town until after a second shot was given. A complete study will be published soon.
31st May 2021 - The Irish Times


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India COVID-19 variant exhibits resistance; antibody drug shows promise

Antibody drugs and COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against a coronavirus variant that was first detected in India, according to researchers. The variant, known as B.1.617.2, has mutations that make it more transmissible. It is now predominant in some parts of India and has spread to many other countries. A multicenter team of scientists in France studied a B.1.617.2 variant isolated from a traveler returning from India. Compared to the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in Britain, the India variant was more resistant to antibody drugs, although three currently approved drugs still remained effective against it, they found. Antibodies in blood from unvaccinated COVID-19 survivors and from people who received both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine were 3-fold to 6-fold less potent against the India variant than against the UK variant and a variant first identified in South Africa, according to a report posted on Thursday on the website bioRxiv ahead of peer review
29th May 2021 - Reuters

UK now a risk to rest of Europe due to spread of Indian variant, scientists warn

The growing prevalence of the Indian coronavirus variant means the UK is now a risk to the rest of Europe and beyond, scientists have warned. France has already tightened its restrictions on British tourists due to the spread of the variant, announcing that anyone arriving from the UK must quarantine for seven days. A similar policy has been adopted in Germany, where, since 23 May, travellers from Britain have been banned from entering the country after the UK was designated a “virus variant area of concern” by the German public health institute.
29th May 2021 - The Independent

Delhi declares Covid-linked black fungus an epidemic as 150 cases added in a day

Delhi has joined the growing list of states in India to declare an epidemic of the deadly and permanently disfiguring Covid-linked “black fungus”, as the speed with which cases are growing in the capital threatening a “dangerous outbreak” of the disease. With 153 cases of the rare fungal infection mucormycosis reported in a single day, the Delhi government said it was invoking the Epidemic Diseases Act making it mandatory for the next year for healthcare facilities to report each case of infection.
29th May 2021 - The Independent

German scientists claim they have figured out why some Covid vaccines cause blood clots

Germans scientists say they have figured out why the Covid vaccines from. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are linked to rare blood clots. In a new pre-print, the team says the problem is with the adenovirus vector, a common cold virus used to get the body to induce an immune response. They claim the vaccine is sent into the cell nucleus instead of surrounding fluid, where parts of it break off and create mutated versions of themselves. The mutated versions then enter the body and trigger the rare blood clots. Scientists say they can genetically adapt the vaccine to prevent the virus's spike proteins, which it uses to enter cells, from splitting apart
28th May 2021 - Daily Mail

Sanofi, GSK launch Phase III trial for their COVID-19 shot

France's Sanofi (SASY.PA) and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) on Thursday launched a late-stage human trial for their recombinant COVID-19 vaccine candidate that they hope to get approved by the end of this year.
28th May 2021 - Reuters on MSN.com

Vir, GSK win US nod for another COVID-19 antibody drug as rival falters

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday cleared a COVID-19 antibody treatment from Vir Biotechnology and partner GlaxoSmithKline for emergency use, making the drug, known as sotrovimab, the third of its kind available in the U.S. As with similar treatments from Eli Lilly and Regeneron, the agency authorized Vir and GSK's drug for people who have mild-to-moderate symptoms of COVID-19, but are at high risk of worse outcomes due to age or underlying medical conditions. The drug reduced the risk of hospitalization or death in such patients by 85% in a Phase 3 trial that produced results in March. Vir's approval comes as coronavirus infections have receded in the U.S. amid a mass vaccination campaign, which could curtail demand for the drug. But the antibody might still prove useful, as lab tests have indicated sotrovimab retains its potency against virus variants that appear to erode the strength of some vaccines and antibodies.
27th May 2021 - BioPharma Dive


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Covid-19: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is “likely” responsible for deaths of some elderly patients, Norwegian review finds

The Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine is “likely” to have been responsible for at least 10 deaths of frail elderly people in nursing homes in Norway, an expert review commissioned by the Norwegian Medicines Agency has concluded. The expert group was established at the end of February 2021 to look into the cause of the first 100 reported deaths of nursing home residents who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. At the time, around 30 000 elderly nursing home residents had been vaccinated. Although the mortality rate in nursing homes is generally very high and the deaths of some nursing home residents after vaccination was anticipated, the Norwegian Medicines Agency wanted to determine whether the vaccine had possibly hastened any deaths and to gain a clearer understanding of the risks and benefits of its use in frail elderly people.
27th May 2021 - The BMJ

Study: Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines appear safe, effective

Two vaccines made by China’s Sinopharm appear safe and effective against COVID-19, according to a study published in a medical journal. Scientists had been waiting for more details about the two vaccines, even though they already are being used in many countries, and one recently won the backing of the World Health Organization for emergency use. The report, published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded the two vaccines are about 73% and 78% effective, as Sinopharm has previously claimed.
27th May 2021 - The Independent

Tens of thousands of lives could have have been saved - top scientists back Dominic Cummings

Dominic Cummings’ central charge against the Government - that delays over imposing lockdowns led to tens of thousands of people dying from Covid-19 unnecessarily - was today backed up by two of Britain’s leading coronavirus experts. Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said a “very large number” of Covid-19 deaths could have been avoided in the second wave if the Government had taken more drastic action as being advised by scientists. In his damning evidence to a joint session of the Commons health and science committees, former No10 top adviser Mr Cummings said on Wednesday: “Tens of thousands of people died who did not need to die.”
27th May 2021 - Evening Standard

Germans 'solve' Covid vaccine blood clot puzzle: Scientists say rare side effect from AstraZeneca jabs is caused by cold virus used to deliver the jab into the body - and can be fixed

Germans scientists say they have figured out why the Covid vaccines from. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are linked to rare blood clots. In a new pre-print, the team says the problem is with the adenovirus vector, a common cold virus used to get the body to induce an immune response. They claim the vaccine is sent into the cell nucleus instead of surrounding fluid, where parts of it break off and create mutated versions of themselves. The mutated versions then enter the body and trigger the rare blood clots. Scientists say they can genetically adapt the vaccine to prevent the virus's spike proteins, which it uses to enter cells, from splitting apart
27th May 2021 - Daily Mail

GlaxoSmithKline, Vir snag FDA authorization for new COVID-19 antibody. But how will they sell it without a supply deal?

Following in the footsteps of Eli Lilly and Regeneron, a partnership between GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology has won an emergency FDA nod for a COVID-19 antibody drug. The difference? It doesn’t have a supply deal with the U.S. government. Wednesday, the FDA issued (PDF) an emergency use authorization to GSK and Vir’s sotrovimab for mild-to-moderate COVID-19. Same as the previous go-aheads for similar therapies from Lilly and Regeneron, the new nod is limited to patients who aren’t hospitalized but are at high risk of progressing to severe disease. The anti-coronavirus antibody proved its worth in a phase 3 trial. The Comet-Ice study stopped early after an interim analysis found sotrovimab reduced the number of patients who died or needed hospitalization by 85% over placebo.
27th May 2021 - FiercePharma


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German researchers tie cold viruses used to deliver COVID-19 vaccine to rare blood clot risk

German researchers on Wednesday said that based on laboratory research, they believed they have found the cause of the rare but serious blood clotting events among some people who received COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson. The researchers, in a study not yet reviewed by experts, said COVID-19 vaccines that employ adenovirus vectors - cold viruses used to deliver vaccine material - send some of their payload into the nucleus of cells, where some of the instructions for making coronavirus proteins can be misread. The resulting proteins could potentially trigger blood clot disorders in a small number of recipients, they suggest.
27th May 2021 - Reuters

Three-quarters of adults have Covid-19 antibodies, data suggests

More than three-quarters of adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are estimated to have Covid antibodies, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS data suggest 75.9 per cent of adults in England have antibodies as of the week beginning May 3. Coronavirus antibodies occur when someone has had the virus in the past, or has been vaccinated. In Wales, an estimated 76.6 per cent have antibodies and 75 per cent of adults in Northern Ireland are estimated to have antibodies.
26th May 2021 - Evening Standard

Covid-19: Variants are spreading in countries with low vaccination rates

With new daily covid-19 cases in steep decline across Europe and North America, and now falling in India, the curve of global daily mortality is trending downwards. But the virus continues to flare up, most recently in Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam—countries often cited as models of pandemic control. Taiwan’s covid-19 death toll has more than doubled in one week—to 23 deaths in all. Having recorded just 135 locally acquired infections in the entire pandemic up to 14 May, Taiwan has since detected over 4000 cases as the country’s atrophied testing system struggles to keep up with new suspected cases. Covid testing had largely been abandoned even in cases of fever, such was the disease’s rarity in Taiwan. Case numbers have also surged in parts of South America, where mortality has been on a different scale of magnitude. Argentina has the world’s highest per capita death rate, having seen 493 deaths a day on average over the past week, or 10.8 deaths per million people per day, compared with 9.4 in Colombia, 8.8 in Brazil, and 1.6 in the US. Argentina’s toll this week was proportionally higher than the worst week seen in Colombia, Peru, or the US, though less deadly than the worst weeks in Brazil, Hungary, or the UK.
26th May 2021 - The BMJ

Mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 cases may be as infectious as severe ones

Only 8% of more than 25,000 German COVID-19 patients had high viral loads, one-third of whom were presymptomatic, asymptomatic, or mildly symptomatic, according to a study published yesterday in Science. High viral loads suggest greater infectiousness. Led by researchers from the Charite-Universitatsmedizin Berlin, the study involved measuring SARS-CoV-2 viral loads and estimating probability of virus cell culture isolation in 25,381 coronavirus patients, 24% of whom were identified at testing facilities, 38% of whom were hospitalized, and 6% of whom were infected with the B117 variant first seen in the United Kingdom.
26th May 2021 - CIDRAP

U.S. FDA gives emergency use approval for GSK-Vir COVID-19 antibody drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave an emergency use authorization to the antibody treatment developed by Vir Biotechnology (VIR.O) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) for treating mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in people aged 12 years and older.
26th May 2021 - Reuters

Patients with mild cases of COVID-19 still have antibodies 11 months after infection and may even have lifelong protection, study suggests

A new study looked at blood samples from 77 patients who previously had mild cases of COVID-19. Antibody levels dropped within the first few months of infection, but could be found up to 11 months after some patients first tested positive. Of 18 patients who gave bone marrow samples, 15 had plasma cells secreting antibodies seven to eight months later and five did 11 months later. The researchers say the findings suggest that those with mild infections could have lifelong protection
25th May 2021 - Daily Mail


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Pfizer-funded vaccine research centre launches in Bristol

A centre of excellence for studying vaccine-preventable diseases has been launched in Bristol. The centre is funded by coronavirus vaccine manufacturer Pfizer and is the second of a global network of sites to launch, and the first outside the US. The Pfizer Centre of Excellence for Epidemiology of Vaccine-preventable Diseases, based at the University of Bristol, will undertake research to support the design, development and use of next-generation vaccines. The pharmaceutical company said it had invested an initial £4.6m into the centre to conduct surveillance studies in hospitals and the community to “identify and measure the burden of specific vaccine-preventable infectious diseases affecting adults, including the elderly, as well as children”. The centre will be led by Adam Finn, professor of paediatrics at the university as well as director of the Bristol Vaccine Centre and lead at Bristol UNCOVER (Bristol Covid Emergency Research Group). UK Government Health Secretary Matt Hancock visited the centre’s research laboratories on Tuesday to meet virologists Dr Andrew Davidson and Dr David Matthews.
25th May 2021 - Business Live

Pfizer begins testing use of pneumococcal vaccine along with COVID-19 booster shot

Pfizer Inc said on Monday it began testing fully vaccinated adults over 65 in a new study that uses the company's 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (20vPnC) candidate with a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot. The aim of the study is to understand if the combination of the vaccines is safe, and the immune response after adding the pneumonia vaccine to the existing COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer said.
25th May 2021 - Reuters

Moderna says its Covid-19 vaccine is safe and appears effective in adolescents

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine is safe and appears to be effective in adolescents, the company said Tuesday. In a Phase 2/3 trial of 3,732 children ages 12 to 17 in the United States, blood tests showed that the vaccine produced an immune response that was equivalent to earlier findings in adults. The trial wasn't designed to look specifically at efficacy. However, initial observations found that none of the children who received the vaccine got sick with Covid-19 starting 14 days after their second dose. Four of the children who received the placebo tested positive for Covid-19, which Moderna says is "consistent with a vaccine efficacy of 100%."
25th May 2021 - CNN

Explainer: What is 'black fungus' that is hitting India's COVID-19 patients?

A rapid rise in cases of mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, has added to the challenges faced by India's healthcare system as it deals with a massive second wave of COVID-19 infections. Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that causes blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood. The disease has a close link to diabetes, and conditions which compromise the immune system. Experts have said that an overuse during the COVID-19 pandemic of certain drugs which suppress the immune system could be causing the surge.
25th May 2021 - Reuters


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Coronavirus: so many variants, but vaccines are still effective

Viruses are constantly changing. This is because errors sometimes occur when they copy their genetic material. Some errors have no effect at all. Some might make the virus less viable. Some make it more benign, which means it can survive but doesn’t cause disease. The errors to watch for are those that might make the virus more infectious, or better able to avoid the immune system that is trying to counter them, either driven by natural infection or stimulated by a vaccine. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is no different. Each time it divides, it rolls the dice, which could give rise to a more malign virus. This can happen anywhere, anytime. So it’s important to track variants and to see if they are spreading more easily from person to person, causing more mild or more severe disease, might avoid detection with current tests, or might respond less well to current treatments. Perhaps the biggest concern is breakthrough infections, where a fully vaccinated person still gets COVID.
24th May 2021 - The Conversation

COVID-19 may increase the risk of other health conditions

A recent study concludes that people with COVID-19 have an increased risk of developing a new health problem after the initial phase of the underlying infection. The study reviewed data from more than 200,000 people who had diagnosed COVID-19. While older people are more likely to have poor COVID-19 outcomes, the study suggests that younger people have a higher risk of developing new health conditions.
24th May 2021 - Medical News Today

Singapore provisionally approves 60-second COVID-19 breathalyser test

Singapore authorities have provisionally approved a COVID-19 breathalyser test that aims to show whether someone is infected with the coronavirus in under a minute, according to the local startup that developed the product. Breathonix, a spin-off company from the National University of Singapore (NUS), said it is now working with the health ministry to run a deployment trial of the technology at one of the city-state's border points with Malaysia. The breath analysis will be carried out alongside the current compulsory COVID-19 antigen rapid test.
24th May 2021 - Reuters

India: Dirty oxygen cylinders, ventilators behind ‘black fungus’?

A rapid rise in cases of mucormycosis, also known as “black fungus”, has added to the challenges faced by India’s healthcare system as it deals with a massive second wave of COVID-19 infections. Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that causes blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood. Mucormycosis is caused by exposure to mucor mould, which is commonly found in soil, air and even in the nose and mucus of humans. It spreads through the respiratory tract and erodes facial structures. Sometimes, doctors will have to surgically remove an infected eye to stop the infection from reaching the brain
24th May 2021 - AlJazeera

World Health Assembly kicks off with pandemic issues at fore

The World Health Assembly (WHA) annual meeting began today, virtually for the second year in a row, with ending the pandemic and preparing for the next one as the main themes. In an address to the group today, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, warned the group that the world remains in a very dangerous situation and as of today, more COVID-19 deaths have been reported in 2021 than in all of 2020. "Since our Health Assembly started this morning, almost 1000 people have lost their lives to COVID-19. And in the time it takes me to make these remarks, a further 400 will die," he said. Though global cases have dropped for the past 3 weeks, the world remains in a fragile situation, Tedros said.
24th May 2021 - CIDRAP

Low oxygen levels, shallow breathing tied to COVID death

A blood oxygen level below 92% and fast, shallow breathing were associated with significantly elevated death rates in a study of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, suggesting that people who test positive for the virus should watch for these signs at home, according to a study led by University of Washington at Seattle researchers. The study, published today in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, involved a chart review of 1,095 adult coronavirus patients hospitalized at University of Washington hospitals or Rush University Medical Center in Chicago from Mar 1 to Jun 8, 2020. Almost all patients with low oxygen levels (99%) and rapid breathing (98%) were given supplemental oxygen and glucocorticoids to quell inflammation.
24th May 2021 - CIDRAP


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CDC Ramps Up Research on Highly Contagious Variant from India

Federal Health officials are ramping up their surveillance of the highly transmissible Covid-19 variant first identified in India as experts warn that under-vaccinated areas in the U.S. could become hot spots for the mutation. While U.S. cases attributed to the B.1.617 variant currently sit below 1%, the growth rate remains unclear due to the small sample size. Meanwhile, one science group said the strain could be as much as 50% more transmissible than B.1.1.7, the variant that emerged from the U.K. That mutation was first seen in the U.S. in late December, and is now dominant nationally.
23rd May 2021 - Bloomberg

Two COVID shots effective against India variant - English health body

A double dose of COVID-19 vaccines is almost as effective against the fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus first identified in India as it is against Britain’s dominant strain, English health officials said on Saturday. Britain's health minister said the data was groundbreaking and he was increasingly hopeful that the government would be able to lift more COVID restrictions next month. A study by Public Health England found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant two weeks after the second dose.
23rd May 2021 - Reuters

COVID-19: New study examines monoclonal antibodies

Antibodies fight infection, and the body produces them naturally, but it is possible to introduce antibodies into the body artificially. A new study suggests that the monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab may effectively reduce the chance of hospitalization and death in people with a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Use of bamlanivimab treatment was associated with a decrease in hospitalization and mortality, especially among adults over 65 years.
21st May 2021 - Medical News Today


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BioNTech says vaccine likely to be effective against India variant

BioNTech SE said on Thursday the COVID-19 vaccine it developed with Pfizer should be roughly as effective against the new coronavirus variant first detected in India as it has been shown to be against the South African variant. The company said in a statement Chief Executive Ugur Sahin felt encouraged by recent findings in a scientific paper based on blood analysis of vaccinated individuals, which showed that the antibodies elicited by the vaccine were able to neutralise the Indian variant.
21st May 2021 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Canada-wide study to investigate mix-and-matching vaccine doses

A new Canada-wide study will look at the effect of using different COVID-19 vaccine doses in Canadian adults to determine if mixing and matching vaccines yields a strong immune response and how long the response lasts. The study, announced Thursday, will investigate the use of different vaccines for first and second doses in 1,300 adult participants. The study will be conducted in conjunction with the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, Vaccine Surveillance Reference Group, Canadian Immunization Research Network and Dalhousie University. "As questions of vaccine interchangeability arise and alternative dosing intervals are being used in public health programs, our objective is to determine: what are the effects of different dosing intervals of the vaccines on immunity and safety?" said Dr. Joanne Langley, co-principal investigator of the study and professor at Dalhousie University, said in a press release.
20th May 2021 - CTV News

Pharm-Olam is now enrolling UK volunteers into a pivotal Phase III COVID-19 vaccine study

Pharm-Olam, a global, midsized CRO offering full-service clinical development solutions for infectious diseases, vaccines, rare diseases, and oncology, is now enrolling UK volunteers into a pivotal Phase III COVID-19 vaccine study. Visit ukcovid19study.com for more information about participation. The Phase III "Cov-Compare" trial (VLA2001-301) will compare Valneva's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, VLA2001, against AstraZeneca's conditionally approved vaccine, Vaxzevria, in a comparative immunogenicity trial. There will be roughly 4,000 participants.
20th May 2021 - Yahoo


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Coronavirus in Scotland: Three people out of 2.81 million have died of adverse side affects from the Covid vaccine

Three people died in Scotland from adverse side-effects of coronavirus vaccines, according to the latest official statistics. National Records of Scotland figures show the underlying cause of three deaths has been adverse effects of Covid-19 vaccines. This is in the context of 2.81 million people having been given at least one dose by April 30, according to statistics from Public Health Scotland. The records office also shows that over the course of the pandemic, people living in the most deprived areas are 2.4 times as likely to die with COVID-19 than those living in the least deprived areas.
19th May 2021 - The Scotsman

COVID-related inflammatory syndrome looks different in adults

The postinfectious COVID-19–related multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) first characterized in children has a different presentation in adults that may lead to underrecognition, according to a small, single-center study today in JAMA Network Open. Conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the retrospective study involved 15 patients 21 years and older who met the working definition for MIS in adults (MIS-A) from Mar 1 to Sep 30, 2020, and were hospitalized 14 to 84 days after testing positive for COVID-19 or 15 days before or after SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results identified them as at risk for the syndrome.
19th May 2021 - CIDRAP


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New vaccine technology could prevent future coronavirus outbreaks

Researchers are working on a vaccine that could protect against multiple coronaviruses. A new study found the shot to be highly protective against current coronavirus variants in monkeys. The technology could help avoid a future of seasonal booster shots.
18th May 2021 - Business Insider

Major new UK study shows overwhelming effectiveness of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines

A major new study of people who have received a coronavirus vaccine in the UK has found that a single dose of the AstraZeneca can lower the risk of death with coronavirus by 80%. The new report for Public Health England also shows protection against death from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine rises from approximately 80% after one dose to 97% after two doses.
18th May 2021 - Wales Online

COVID-19: Regulator increases time Pfizer jab can be stored in a fridge to one month

The length of time the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can be kept unopened in a fridge has been increased from five days to one month. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) previously advised that vials needed to be kept at an ultra-low temperature, between minus 70C and minus 80C, until a few days before use when it can be transferred to a standard medical fridge. But the EMA said in a statement it had extended the approved storage period for an unopened thawed vial when kept in a fridge between 2C and 8C from five days to one month.
18th May 2021 - Sky News

Covid-19: What should we do about B.1.617.2? A classic case of decision making under uncertainty

The new variant of concern has fundamentally changed the risk we face and therefore the government’s criteria for moving ahead with the road map have not been met, argue Stephen Reicher and colleagues. There are many things we know and many things we don’t know about the B.1.617.2 variant. We know that it is spreading fast (roughly doubling each week in the UK and nearly tripling last week from 520 to 1313 cases), that it is becoming established in a number of areas across the country, and that it is already the dominant variant in places such as Bedford, Bolton, and Blackburn.Compared to the dominant B.1.1.7 variant, we know that B.1.617.2 is very likely to be more transmissible and that it might be better able to transmit between people who are fully vaccinated
18th May 2021 - BMJ Blog

Long Covid symptoms ease after vaccination, survey finds

Covid-19 vaccines tend to alleviate the symptoms of long Covid, according to a large survey of more than 800 people that suggests mRNA vaccines, in particular, are beneficial. Though Covid-19 was initially understood to be a largely respiratory illness from which most would recover within a few weeks, as the pandemic wore on increasing numbers of people reported experiencing symptoms for months on end. There is no consensus definition of the condition of these people who have symptoms ranging from chronic fatigue to organ damage, let alone a standardised treatment plan. As vaccines hit the mainstream, concerns arose that vaccination could precipitate relapses or a worsening of symptoms. But conversely, anecdotal reports suggested that vaccines helped some people with long Covid.
18th May 2021 - The Guardian

Rare COVID-19 response in children explained

One of the enduring mysteries of the COVID-19 pandemic is why most children tend to experience fewer symptoms than adults after infection with the coronavirus. The immune system response that occurs in the rare cases in which children experience life-threatening reactions after infection may offer an important insight, a Yale-led study published in the journal Immunity suggests.
17th May 2021 - Medical Express


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Sanofi, GSK say revamped coronavirus vaccine is strong enough for final test

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline on Monday reported a coronavirus vaccine they developed together met the goal of a mid-stage clinical trial, boosting the companies' research efforts five months after an earlier version of the shot disappointed in a costly setback. Results from the trial, which enrolled 722 volunteers in the U.S. and Honduras, showed the revamped vaccine spurred immune responses that were comparable to what researchers have observed following naturally occurring cases of COVID-19. Importantly, the companies said responses were strong across age groups, including in older adults whose immune systems tend to be weaker. Sanofi and GSK now plan to launch a Phase 3 study of the vaccine in the "coming weeks" and expect to enroll some 35,000 adult volunteers from a "broad range of countries." Doing so will be harder than six months ago, however, after multiple other vaccines have been made available in many countries in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
17th May 2021 - BioPharma Dive

SK bioscience's COVID-19 vaccine plant in South Korea gets European nod

South Korea's SK bioscience said on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine facility had received European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification, paving the way for exports to the bloc. The certification approves the production and processing line and quality system of SK bioscience's Andong plant, which produces COVID-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca Plc and Novavax Inc. It will enable SK to export vaccines to the European markets. SK bioscience is also looking to obtain the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it said in a statement.
17th May 2021 - Yahoo Finance

Plasma from recovered patients found not helpful for COVID hospital patients

Convalescent plasma given to hospitalized COVID-19 patients did not improve survival or rates of release from the hospital within 28 days, need for invasive mechanical ventilation, or death, according to the most recent findings of the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial in the United Kingdom. The results, published late last week in The Lancet, add to evidence that SARS-CoV-2 antibody-rich plasma taken from COVID-19 survivors doesn't benefit severely ill coronavirus patients. The RECOVERY trial is evaluating several possible treatments for hospitalized COVID-19 patients at 177 National Health Services sites.
17th May 2021 - CIDRAP


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Italian study shows COVID-19 infections, deaths plummeting after jabs

COVID-19 infections in adults of all ages fell by 80% five weeks after a first dose of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccine, according to Italian research published on Saturday. The first such study by a European Union country on the real-world impact of its immunisation campaign was carried out by Italy's National Institute of Health and the Ministry of Health on 13.7 million people vaccinated nationwide. Scientists started studying data from the day Italy's vaccination campaign began, on Dec. 27 2020, until May 3 2021. The analysis showed that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalisation, and death decreased progressively after the first two weeks following the initial vaccination.
16th May 2021 - Reuters

‘Pan-coronavirus’ vaccine shows early promise in monkeys and mice, research finds

A universal vaccine that could offer protection against Covid variants, along with a variety of other coronavirus infections, including Sars and Mers, has been found to be effective in monkeys and mice, scientists say.
15th May 2021 - The Independent

Nearly 12,000 lives saved by vaccines so far in England - analysis

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in England has prevented nearly 12,000 deaths and more than 30,000 hospitalisations in older people, an analysis by government agency Public Health England (PHE) said on Friday. Britain has given two-thirds of its adult population at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine, helping Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his efforts to reopen the economy by the summer.
14th May 2021 - Reuters

Delayed second Pfizer COVID-19 shot produces more antibodies -study

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine generates antibody responses three-and-a-half times larger in older people when a second dose is delayed to 12 weeks after the first, a British study said. The study released on Friday is the first to directly compare immune responses of the Pfizer shot from the three-week dosing interval tested in clinical trials, and the extended 12-week interval that British officials recommend in order to give more vulnerable people at least some protection quickly.
14th May 2021 - Reuters

COVID mRNA vaccines induce immune response in pregnant, lactating women

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines trigger an immune response in pregnant and breastfeeding women, and maternal antibodies transfer into infant cord blood and breast milk, a small descriptive study yesterday in JAMA finds. A team led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers in Boston assessed immune response in a convenience sample of 103 pregnant, lactating, and nonpregnant women given either the Pfizer/BioNTech (54%) or the Moderna (46%) COVID-19 vaccine from December 2020 through March 2021. Seventeen percent of pregnant participants received their first vaccine dose in the first trimester, while 50% received it in their second trimester, and 33% got theirs in their final trimester.
14th May 2021 - CIDRAP


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COVID-19: Delaying second dose of coronavirus vaccine could cut deaths by up to 20%, study suggests

Delaying the second dose of a COVID vaccine so more people can get a first dose could cut deaths by up to 20%, a study suggests. The UK chose to use this strategy at the start of its rollout in December, with most people getting their second dose around 12 weeks after their first. That's despite a recommended interval of three weeks for the Pfizer jab and four to 12 weeks for the AstraZeneca vaccine. The peer-reviewed paper, published in the British Medical Journal, used a simulation model to test a daily rollout rate of 0.1%, 0.3% and 1% of the population. Researchers found estimated deaths per 100,000 people fell from 442 to 402, 241 to 204, and 86 to 50 respectively - comparing standard dosing with a delayed strategy.
13th May 2021 - Sky News

CureVac-GSK coronavirus variant vaccine generates good immune response in rats

A second-generation COVID-19 vaccine developed by CureVac and GlaxoSmithKline, designed to protect against coronavirus variants, produced a high level of immune response in a trial in rats, the companies said on Thursday. CureVac in February said it would team up with GlaxoSmithKline on a COVID-19 vaccine aimed at targeting several variants with one shot. The shot uses messenger RNA technology, similar to successful vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and clinical trials of the shot in humans are expected to start in the third quarter of this year. The mRNA "backbone" of the shot differs from CureVac's first COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and it is designed to work well at lower doses.
13th May 2021 - Yahoo Finance UK

Period changes could be a harmless side effect of the Covid vaccine

A survey has been launched to probe whether or not menstrual changes could be a side effect of the Covid-19 vaccine. The survey, started last month, came after Dr Kate Clancy, a medical anthropologist, shared on Twitter her experience of an unusually heavy period following the Moderna jab. Her post was met with dozens of similar accounts in response and one woman claimed she had not stopped bleeding since she got her second Pfizer vaccine back in January.
13th May 2021 - Evening Standard

Blood Expert Says He Found Why Some Covid-19 Vaccines Trigger Rare Clots

Scientists world-wide are racing to understand why Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are causing rare but potentially deadly blood clots. Determining the connection would help patients, doctors and health agencies better assess any risks posed by the vaccines and safely calibrate their use. In recent weeks, the U.S., the Canadian province of Ontario and several European countries including Norway and Denmark either paused or completely halted rollouts involving these vaccines. “Understanding the cause is of highest importance for the next-generation vaccines, because [the novel] coronavirus will stay with us and vaccination will likely become seasonal,” said Eric van Gorp, a professor at Erasmus University in the Netherlands who heads a group of scientists studying the condition.
13th May 2021 - Wall Street Journal

Covid-19: Fever, chills, and aches more common when AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are mixed, early data show

Mixing doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca and the Pfizer BioNTech covid-19 vaccine leads to more frequent mild to moderate reactions compared with standard dosing schedules, researchers have reported. Researchers running the University of Oxford led Com-COV study—which is investigating the reactogenicity and immunogenicity from mixing doses of the two vaccines—reported their preliminary results in a peer reviewed research letter in the Lancet. Matthew Snape, associate professor in paediatrics and vaccinology at the University of Oxford and chief investigator on the trial, said, “While this is a secondary part of what we are trying to explore through these studies, it is important that we inform people about these data, especially as these mixed doses schedules are being considered in several countries. “The results from this study suggest that mixed dose schedules could result in an increase in work absences the day after immunisation, and this is important to consider when planning immunisation of healthcare workers.”
13th May 2021 - The BMJ

COVID-19: 'Ultra rapid' 25-second coronavirus test hailed as a 'game-changer' in British Airways trial

An "ultra rapid" coronavirus test which can produce results within 25 seconds has been hailed as a "game-changer". British Airways (BA) is conducting trials of the "highly intelligent" saliva test which can detect variants of the virus. Flight and cabin crew members will be invited to take the Pelican COVID-19 antigen test in a trial with medical company Canary Global. The airline will then compare the results against those achieved by existing tests. British Airways has described the test as a "game-changer" amid hopes it could play a role in opening up travel.
13th May 2021 - Sky News

England's coronavirus infections halved since March, study finds

The prevalence of coronavirus infections in England has halved since March helped by the swift rollout of vaccines, but new variants remain a threat, according to the findings of a closely watched survey released on Thursday. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday gave the green light to hugging and the serving of pints inside pubs from next week after months of strict restrictions as he set out the next phase of easing the pandemic lockdown. The REACT study, run by scientists at Imperial College London, found that the number of infections has fallen again with an average of only one in 1,000 people infected. "Today's findings demonstrate the impact our incredible vaccination rollout is having on COVID-19 infection rates across the country," said Matt Hancock, the health minister. "We're going in the right direction but with variants present, we must continue to exercise caution."
13th May 2021 - Reuters UK

The ancestor of SARS-CoV-2’s Wuhan strain was circulating in late October 2019

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first reported in a case from Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and subsequently became the cause of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that is ravaging the world today. A new study in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution tracks its variants all over the world since the onset of the pandemic. Genomic sequencing has occurred using hundreds of thousands of viral genomic samples. The researchers used the best of these sequences to reveal how the virus has mutated and changed in different periods and regions of the pandemic.
13th May 2021 - News-Medical.Net

Physics - A Recipe for Universal Vaccines

Just over a year ago, physicists around the world shifted their research efforts to the field of infectious diseases to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In the US, soft-matter physicists trialed a technique for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; in Switzerland, high-energy physicists tested an inexpensive ventilator technology that could help sufferers breathe; and in the UK, condensed-matter physicists donated their personal and protective equipment to the country’s hospitals. Applying the tools of physics to infectious diseases is an old idea, however, as physicists have worked for decades on understanding how diseases spread and how viruses evolve. Arup Chakraborty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one such physicist. He and his postdoc Raman Ganti now present results of their recent project to use statistical-mechanics methods to predict the characteristics of the optimal antigens for “universal” vaccines for rapidly mutating viruses, such as influenza. Their insights should also be applicable to creating broad-coverage vaccines for a range of viruses from HIV to SARS-CoV-2. “Vaccinations have saved more lives than any other medical procedure,” Chakraborty says. “Nonetheless, effective vaccines do not exist for highly mutable pathogens—that’s why we need a seasonal flu shot. Now that COVID-19 is mutating, we could end up needing repeated vaccinations for that virus too.”
13th May 2021 - Physics


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CDC Advisers Back Use of Pfizer-BioNTech Shot in Adolescents

Children ages 12 to 15 years old can safely take the Covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, U.S. health officials said, opening an important new phase of the U.S. immunization effort. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 14 to 0, with one recusal, on Wednesday to support the two-dose vaccine’s emergency authorization after it was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration on Monday. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky adopted the recommendation after the vote, according to a statement from the agency.
12th May 2021 - Bloomberg

China Sinovac Shot Seen Highly Effective in Real World Study

Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine is wiping out Covid-19 among health workers in Indonesia, an encouraging sign for the dozens of developing countries reliant on the controversial Chinese shot, which performed far worse than western vaccines in clinical trials. Indonesia tracked 128,290 health workers in capital city Jakarta from January to March and found that the vaccine protected 98% of them from death and 96% from hospitalization as soon as seven days after the second dose, Pandji Dhewantara, a Health Ministry official who oversaw the study, said in a Wednesday press conference.
12th May 2021 - Bloomberg

COVID Variants and a Third Wave: Scientists Warn Government Is 'Sleepwalking into Disaster'

The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) has warned that, if the Government fails to contain new Coronavirus variants of concern, it could lead to a third wave of the pandemic three times as large as the second wave, documents released this week reveal. If this occurs, it could necessitate a third lockdown despite the success of the vaccine programme. Several top scientists have also warned that the new Indian variant could already have become the dominant form of COVID-19 in Britain, with the potential to cause infections in spite of vaccinations. According to Professor Ravindra Gupta, of the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease, the Indian variant “likely will cause infections despite vaccination and we don’t know how big that problem will be”. Despite these sober warnings, newspapers such as The Times and Daily Mail have obfuscated SAGE’s analysis by selectively reporting its new scientific findings and omitting to inform readers of the huge risks and uncertainties posed by new variants.
12th May 2021 - Byline Times

Late-stage trial of Chinese mRNA Covid-19 vaccine to begin in Mexico

Mexican foreign minister says 6,000 people will take part in phase 3 trial of experimental drug made by Walvax Biotechnology from May 30. It is the first shot developed in China using the same technology as the Pfizer and Moderna jabs
12th May 2021 - South China Morning Post

Scientists race to study variants in India as cases explode

A potentially worrisome variant of the coronavirus detected in India may spread more easily. But the country is behind in doing the kind of testing needed to track it and understand it better. On Monday, the World Health Organization designated the new version of the virus a “variant of concern” based on preliminary research, alongside those that were first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil but have spread to other countries. “We need much more information about this virus variant,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19. “We need more sequencing, targeted sequencing to be done and to be shared in India and elsewhere so that we know how much of this virus is circulating.”
12th May 2021 - The Associated Press

Study: 80% of hospital COVID patients have neurologic complications

Eight of 10 hospitalized COVID-19 patients developed neurologic complications and were six times more likely than their peers to die, according to early results from a global study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. Many of the conditions were mild to moderate, but half of the patients had altered brain function or structure, and almost one in five were in a coma. Led by University of Pittsburgh researchers for the Global Consortium Study of Neurologic Dysfunction in COVID-19, the study involved 3,744 hospitalized adult COVID-19 patients at 28 centers in 13 countries from March to October 2020.
12th May 2021 - CIDRAP


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Those with mild COVID-19 seek more primary care than uninfected peers

Although nonhospitalized COVID-19 patients are at low risk for delayed complications, they visit their general practitioner or clinic more often than their uninfected peers in the 6 months after testing positive, finds a population-based study published yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The study, led by researchers from the University of Southern Denmark, involved comparing 8,983 living, nonhospitalized COVID-19 patients with 80,894 Danish residents who tested negative for the virus from Feb 27 to May 31, 2020. Both groups were followed for 2 weeks to 6 months after testing.
11th May 2021 - CIDRAP

New vaccine shows potential to protect from a variety of coronavirus infections

A potential new vaccine developed by members of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute has proven effective in protecting monkeys and mice from a variety of coronavirus infections -- including SARS-CoV-2 as well as the original SARS-CoV-1 and related bat coronaviruses that could potentially cause the next pandemic. The new vaccine, called a pan-coronavirus vaccine, triggers neutralizing antibodies via a nanoparticle. The nanoparticle is composed of the coronavirus part that allows it to bind to the body's cell receptors and is formulated with a chemical booster called an adjuvant. Success in primates is highly relevant to humans.
11th May 2021 - News-Medical.Net

The Covid-19 Variant in India: What Scientists Know About the B.1.617 Strain

Scientists and public health officials are racing to understand the risk posed by a coronavirus variant known as B.1.617, which the World Health Organization on Monday designated a global “variant of concern.” The WHO says preliminary studies show the variant may spread more easily than other strains of the new coronavirus. Scientists and public-health experts are trying to better understand the role it is playing in the record-setting surge of Covid-19 cases that has overwhelmed India’s healthcare system in recent days—and what risk it poses to the rest of the world. India reported more than 366,000 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday. Here’s what we know so far about the B.1.617 variant.
11th May 2021 - Wall Street Journal

WHO reviewing Seychelles COVID-19 data after fully vaccinated people test positive

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it was reviewing coronavirus data from Seychelles after the health ministry said more than a third of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week had been fully vaccinated. Both the ministry and the WHO stressed that the majority of those who tested positive had not been vaccinated or had only received one dose, that no one who had died had been fully vaccinated and that nearly all of those needing treatment for severe or critical cases were unvaccinated. But the WHO said it was closely following the situation in the Indian Ocean nation, which has a population of less than 100,000 and daily cases numbers in the low hundreds.
11th May 2021 - Yahoo

Vietnam seeks mRNA tech transfer amid COVID-19 vaccine supply issues

Vietnam is seeking the transfer of mRNA technology to domestically manufacture COVID-19 vaccines, state media reported on Tuesday, as officials warned of supply issues until the end of the year. "Given the currently limited supply to Vietnam, especially as the COVID-19 situation is showing complicated developments, the health ministry has met with a World Health Organization representative to facilitate the negotiations on transferring of mRNA technology," the Vietnam News Agency reported.
11th May 2021 - Reuters


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U.S. authorizes Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine for children 12 to 15

U.S. regulators on Monday authorized Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, widening the country's inoculation program as vaccination rates have slowed significantly.
10th May 2021 - Reuters

Novavax combined influenza/COVID-19 vaccine shows promise in animal study

Novavax Inc said on Monday its combined flu and COVID-19 vaccine produced functional antibodies against influenza and the coronavirus in a preclinical study. The company said the NanoFlu/NVX-CoV2373 vaccine elicited robust responses to both influenza A and B and protected against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. “Seasonal influenza and COVID-19 combination vaccines will likely be critical to combating emerging COVID-19 variants,” said Russell Wilson, the executive vice president and NanoFlu general manager of Novavax. Hamsters that received the combined vaccine had heightened levels of COVID-19 antibodies two weeks after the first immunization, which increased significantly after a second dose, compared to animals that received the COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, alone, the company said.
10th May 2021 - Reuters

BioNTech: Covid-19 Vaccine Does Not Need Any Changes To Protect Against Variants

BioNTech, which co-developed its Covid-19 vaccine with Pfizer, said on Monday that its shots do not require any new adaptations to protect against new emerging variants of the coronavirus, echoing two recently concluded studies showing that the mRNA shot offered robust protection against the more infectious variants that first emerged in the U.K. and Brazil.
10th May 2021 - Forbes

How COVID-19 vaccines developed in China, Russia and elsewhere could impact the pandemic

Countries such as China, Russia, India and Cuba are developing and distributing their own COVID-19 vaccines, marking a biotechnology milestone for many of them. Here's a closer look at how they're doing it and what that means for the world, including Western countries such as Canada. The highest-profile members of this group include Russia and China. The Sputnik V viral-vector vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Russia, and the inactivated vaccines from China's Sinovac and Sinopharm have already been ordered, donated or used in dozens of countries around the world. On May 7, the World Health Organization approved one of Sinopharm's vaccines for emergency use, paving the way for distribution through UN programmes.
10th May 2021 - CBC.ca

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has mutated more than 6600 times

The Sars-CoV-2 virus that sparked the Covid-19 pandemic has undergone more than 6,600 unique spike protein mutations, said Dr Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, executive director of the Bioinformatics Institute at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star). Viruses mutate whenever there is a "mistake" in the replication process. This could result from an addition, a deletion or a change to its genetic code. If that mistake increases its survival prospects, more copies of that "wrong" replication will survive, and sometimes overwhelm the original version. For example, the D614G mutation which started to rise sharply in February last year is now found in all samples of the virus, no matter which variant they are. Because this variant became so pervasive, it was given a clade name - or family group - of its own, and is designated as G clade. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that while the G clade has increased infectivity and transmission, the illness it causes is not more severe, nor does it affect diagnostics, treatment or vaccines.
10th May 2021 - The Straits Times

Ibuprofen, other NSAIDs not tied to worse COVID illness, death

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen don't worsen illness or cause death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, a new study involving more than 72,000 people in the United Kingdom suggests. In the observational study, published late last week in The Lancet Rheumatology, a team led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh enrolled 72,179 COVID-19 patients from 255 UK healthcare centers who had death data available from Jan 17 to Aug 10, 2020. Of those patients, 4,211 (5.8%) had a record of taking NSAIDs in the 14 days before hospitalization. The authors called it the largest ongoing prospective study of its kind and did not consider aspirin an NSAID for their analysis.
10th May 2021 - Scientific Viewpoint

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine scores FDA nod in adolescents, enabling a wider rollout

In a first for the U.S., the FDA has authorized the use of Pfizer's BioNTech-partnered COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15—months ahead of the upcoming school year in the fall. The FDA will amend the existing emergency authorization for the vaccine, which was first issued in December, the agency said. Pfizer’s vaccine is currently the only shot allowed in the U.S. for Americans as young as the age 16. The vaccine's two-dose regimen will be the same for adolescents as it is for adults, the agency said. “Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D., said in a statement.
10th May 2021 - FiercePharma

BioNTech, Fosun Pharma eye 1B doses of COVID-19 vaccine capacity with new China JV

As BioNTech makes inroads with its COVID-19 vaccine in Western countries under a partnership with Pfizer, the German biotech is bringing its work in China to the next level as the shot nears a local approval. BioNTech and Fosun Pharma is setting up a 50-50 joint venture to make and sell the COVID mRNA shot in China, with manufacturing capacity to produce up to 1 billion doses a year, Fosun said in a filing (PDF) to the Hong Kong Exchange on Sunday. The news came as the pair expects a Chinese approval for the vaccine, known as BNT162b2 or Comirnaty, by July the latest, according to BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin’s comment a few days ago and as reported by Reuters.
10th May 2021 - FiercePharma

Non-hospitalised COVID patients have low risk of serious long-term effects -study

Non-hospitalised COVID-19 patients have a low risk of serious long-term effects, but they report more visits to general practitioners following infection, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
10th May 2021 - Reuters


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Why mixing vaccines could help boost immunity

A handful of trials are now under way to test the power of vaccine combinations, with the first results due in later this month. If these mixed regimens prove safe and effective, countries will be able to keep the vaccine rollout moving even if supplies of one vaccine dwindle because of manufacturing delays, unforeseen shortages, or safety concerns. But there’s another, more exciting prospect that could be a vital part of our strategy in the future: mixing vaccines might lead to broader immunity and hamper the virus’s attempts to evade our immune systems.
10th May 2021 - MIT Technology Review

Indian Covid variant is ‘of concern’, says Public Health England

A coronavirus variant first detected in India has been designated a “variant of concern” by England’s public health body, as consternation about its spread within communities grows. The variant, called B.1.617.2 is one of three closely related variants that were first detected in India and have since been found in the UK, with the others known as B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.3. These variants have worried scientists as they have mutations in their spike protein that it is thought may help the virus to evade the body’s immune responses and be more transmissible. The variant B.1.617.2, also known as VOC-21APR-02, has caused particular consternation as its numbers have risen rapidly in the UK.
9th May 2021 - The Guardian

Preparations are underway for potential Covid-19 vaccine boosters, CDC director says

As experts grow concerned about a possible Covid-19 surge in the winter, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged it's still possible seasonal vaccine boosters will be necessary. "We want to hope for the best, and prepare for the worst," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told actress Jennifer Garner in an interview streamed on Instagram. More than a third of the US is fully vaccinated against coronavirus, but it's still short of the benchmark of 70% to 85% of the total population that needs to be immune -- through vaccination or previous infection -- to control its spread. And many yet to receive the vaccine are those who have not decided whether they want it or have decided against it.
9th May 2021 - CBS58.com

EU regulator begins real-time review of GSK-Vir COVID-19 antibody drug

Europe's medicines regulator said on Friday it has begun a real-time review of the COVID-19 antibody treatment developed by GSK (GSK.L) and Vir Biotechnology (VIR.O), formally kicking off the process for a potential European Union (EU) approval. The so-called rolling review comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last month began another review of early data to provide recommendations for national authorities in the trading bloc who may decide on early use of the medicine.
8th May 2021 - Reuters

New Covid-19 vaccine trial launched in York

A trial to test the efficacy of a new Covid-19 vaccine is taking place in York. It is the first time the city has participated in vaccine testing and will involve 150 people. The plant-derived vaccine has been developed by Medicago and GlaxoSmithKline. The trial is being delivered by the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of York. Globally 30,000 volunteers are being recruited for the phase three trial, including 1,500 across the UK. The trial is the sixth one in the UK to be supported by the National Institute for Health Excellence.
8th May 2021 - BBC News

Where are we with drug treatments for covid-19?

Dozens of large trials and hundreds of smaller studies are investigating potential covid-19 treatments around the world. The largest is the Recovery trial, which began in March 2020 and has paved the way for the UK to become a leader in covid-19 treatment trials, running more of them than anywhere else in the world. Nevertheless, experts warn of the continuing need for funding and support for ongoing robust treatment studies amid the more intense spotlight on vaccines, along with concern over the World Health Organization’s flagship Solidarity trial having completed its initial assessment of four drugs but having yet to add or begin any others since it last reported in October 2020.
8th May 2021 - The BMJ

Real-world studies detail high Pfizer COVID vaccine protection

Two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine were highly effective in preventing coronavirus-related infections and severe outcomes, according to two new studies from Israel and one from the United States.
7th May 2021 - CIDRAP


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Moderna vaccine booster 'effective against Covid variants in trials'

Moderna's tweaked coronavirus vaccine has been found to neutralise both the Brazil and South Africa variants in laboratory trials. The company behind the jab announced that a single dose of one of its vaccines given as a booster to previously vaccinated people increased neutralising antibody titer responses against SARS-CoV-2 and both the South Africa and Brazil variants. The currently authorised Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is mRNA-1273 which was developed to protect against the ancestral strain of the virus first identified in Wuhan, China, while mRNA-1273.351 was developed to protect against the B.1.351 virus first identified in South Africa. Moderna said a booster dose of mRNA-1273.351 achieved higher neutralising antibody titers against the South Africa variant than a booster dose of mRNA-1273. The initial data is from a study involving 40 people.
6th May 2021 - ITV News

New study shows importance of second dose of coronavirus vaccine

The second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine can reduce the risk of both hospitalisation and death by more than 95% from seven days after vaccination, a nationwide study by Israel’s Ministry of Health and the pharmaceutical giant found. The real-world research found a significant increase in effectiveness from the first dose, which offers 58% protection against infection, 76% against hospitalisation and is 77% effective at preventing death as a result of the virus. “Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are highly effective across all age groups in preventing symptomatic and asymptomatic coronavirus infection and coronavirus-related hospitalisations, severe disease, and death, including those caused by the British variant,” the report, published in The Lancet journal, stated.
6th May 2021 - The Brussels Times

Early data shows Moderna coronavirus vaccine 96% effective in teens

The efficacy rate of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years proved to be 96%, according to early data from the trial on this age group. The follow-up after 35 days found the vaccine was generally well-tolerated in teens, and no serious safety concerns were identified, a press release from Moderna on Thursday stated. “An initial analysis of 3,235 participants showed a vaccine efficacy rate of 96% in participants who received at least one injection. The analysis included 12 cases starting 14 days after the first dose and based on the United States’ Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of the coronavirus,” the statement read. It added that, because the incidence rate of Covid-19 is lower in adolescents, the case definition is less strict than that for the trials of adults, resulting in vaccine efficacy against milder cases of the virus.
6th May 2021 - The Brussels Times

Novavax's COVID-19 Vaccine Was Shown to be 51% Efficacious in South Africa, Where More Infectious Variants Are Spreading

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the Maryland-based biotech firm Novavax report that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine is 51% efficacious in protecting people from disease.
6th May 2021 - Yahoo

Covid-19 herd immunity is a difficult target, experts warn, but vaccinating teens could be key to protecting us this fall

The United States is offering up freebies, expanding the pool of those eligible and shifting access to local pharmacies in its attempts to encourage vaccine holdouts to get inoculated against Covid-19. In the last six months, nearly 150 million people in the US have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in what is the fastest and largest mass vaccination effort in world history. Still, the US vaccination rate has declined from its peak last month, pushing officials to offer new incentives, known as carrots, to further encourage the wary, hesitant and inaccessible to get vaccinated. Some of those carrots are access to cultural events.
6th May 2021 - CNN

Giving 2 Doses Of Different COVID-19 Vaccines Could Boost Immune Response

Typically, if you get a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses, you should get two of the same vaccine. Two Pfizer shots, or two Moderna shots. Not one and then the other. But in the future, that could change, either by necessity or by design. This idea of using two types of vaccines isn't a new concept. It's known as heterologous vaccination, although there's a more colloquial term. "In the U.K. at the moment, we're sort of calling it 'mix and match,' " says Helen Fletcher, a professor of immunology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She says shortages of a vaccine or concerns about side effects may induce health officials to adopt a mix-and-match strategy.
6th May 2021 - NPR

COVID-19: First nationwide data from Israel shows 95% protection from infection after two doses of Pfizer jab

Two doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine can provide more than 95% protection against infection, severe illness, and death, according to the first nationwide data from Israel. A single dose of the jab, meanwhile, is associated with 58% protection against infection, 76% against hospital admission, and 77% against death, research published in The Lancet suggests.
6th May 2021 - Sky News

WHO says Sinovac COVID vaccine effective but some data lacking

The COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech is efficacious in preventing COVID-19 in adults under 60 but some quality data on the risk of serious adverse effects is lacking, World Health Organization experts have found. The independent experts on the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) reviewed Sinovac’s CoronaVac jab from phase 3 clinical trials in China, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Chile.
6th May 2021 - AlJazeera

Three vaccines show promise against COVID variants

Data from three trials posted yesterday show efficacy of the Novavax and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines and good immune response of the Moderna vaccine against different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Novavax versus B1351 Two of the studies appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the first of which describes a phase 2a-b clinical trial at 16 sites in South Africa from Aug 17 to Nov 25, 2020, on the efficacy of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine against the B1351 variant first identified in South Africa, where virus transmission is ongoing. Led by scientists from Novavax, the study involved randomly assigning HIV-negative participants aged 18 to 84 years and medically stable HIV-positive participants aged 18 to 64 years in a 1:1 ratio to receive two doses of either the Novavax vaccine or a placebo 21 days apart.
6th May 2021 - CIDRAP


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th May 2021

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WHO experts voice "very low confidence" in some Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine data

WHO experts have voiced "very low confidence" in data provided by Chinese state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm on its COVID-19 vaccine regarding the risk of serious side-effects in some patients, but overall confidence in its ability to prevent the disease, a document seen by Reuters shows. A World Health Organization spokesman said that the document on Sinopharm vaccine BBIBP-CorV was "one of many resources" on which recommendations are made, tentatively scheduled to be issued later this week. In Beijing, Sinopharm was not immediately reachable for comment outside working hours
5th May 2021 - Reuters

India approves Roche/Regeneron antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19

India has given emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 antibody drug cocktail developed by Roche (ROG.S) and Regeneron (REGN.O), expanding its arsenal of drugs to battle a massive second wave of infections. The decision was taken based on data filed with the U.S. regulators and the scientific opinion of a European regulatory panel, Roche's India distribution partner for the drug, Cipla (CIPL.NS), said on Wednesday. The therapy is a cocktail of two antibodies Casirivimab and Imdevimab, which are synthetically manufactured copies of antibodies that the body produces after an infection.
5th May 2021 - Reuters India

S.Korea says AstraZeneca, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines 87% effective after first shot

Data by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) showed the Pfizer vaccine, jointly developed by BioNTech , was 89.7% effective in preventing infection at least two weeks after a first dose was given, while the AstraZeneca shot was 86.0% effective. Its analysis is based on more than 3.5 million people in South Korea aged 60 and older for two months from Feb. 26 and included 521,133 people who received a first dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca shot.
5th May 2021 - Reuters

Tweaked Moderna vaccine ‘neutralises Covid variants in trials’

The first “tweaked” vaccine against the worrying coronavirus variants that emerged in South Africa and Brazil has successfully neutralised them in laboratory trials, the US company Moderna has said. The results of the small trial suggest that boosters against the variants will be feasible and could be rolled out this year to counter the threat from variants that have appeared around the world and are feared in some cases to be more transmissible or partially vaccine-resistant. Leading companies have been racing to produce adapted versions of their Covid vaccines. Pfizer/BioNTech, which has a similar mRNA vaccine to Moderna’s, and Oxford/AstraZeneca are also in the process of developing tweaked vaccines against the South African variant, B1351, and the Brazilian variant, P1, which appear to be the major threat to current immunisation programmes.
5th May 2021 - The Guardian

Booster shots rev up immune response to coronavirus variants, Moderna says

A booster shot of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine revs up the immune response against two worrying coronavirus variants, the company reported Wednesday. And a booster dose formulated specifically to match the B.1.351 variant first seen in South Africa was even more effective, Moderna said in a statement. Vaccine makers are trying to get out ahead of the new variants and the design of the new mRNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer make this easier than it would have been in the past. The genetic material used as the basis of the vaccines is made in a lab and the sequence is easily tweaked.
5th May 2021 - CNN

Novavax vaccine shows 51% efficacy against South African variant, study finds

Novavax Inc's COVID-19 vaccine had efficacy of 51% against infections caused by the South African variant among people who were HIV negative, and 43% in a group that included people who were HIV positive, according to a new analysis published on Wednesday. The variant, known as B.1.351, carries mutations that threaten the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, several studies have shown. Most vaccine makers, including Novavax, are testing versions of their vaccines to protect against emerging variants.
5th May 2021 - Reuters


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Antibody drug neutralizes virus variants in lab study; COVID-19 antibodies detectable 12 months after infection

An experimental monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 being developed by Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N) and AbCellera Biologics Inc (ABCL.O) can "potently" neutralize numerous coronavirus variants, including those first identified in the UK, Brazil, South Africa, California and New York, scientists have found in test tube experiments. The antibody - known as LY-CoV1404 or LY3853113 - works by attaching itself to a place on the virus that has shown few signs of mutating, which means the drug is likely to retain its effectiveness over time, the researchers said in a report posted on Friday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review.
4th May 2021 - Reuters

Do people who have had COVID-19 need a second vaccine shot?

A new study suggests that there is a strong boost to the immunity of everyone who receives the first dose of an mRNA vaccine, including those who have previously had a SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, only people who have never had a SARS-CoV-2 infection appeared to benefit from the second dose. The scientists tracked not only antibody responses to vaccination but also the creation of memory B cells, which provide longer lasting immunity against infection. People who experienced particularly negative side effects from the vaccine — such as fever, headache, and muscle pain — had stronger immune responses.
4th May 2021 - Medical News Today

People aged over 50 in Britain to be offered 3rd COVID vaccine shot in autumn -The Times

Everyone aged over 50 in Britain will be offered a third COVID-19 vaccination jab in the autumn in an attempt to eradicate the threat from the infection entirely by Christmas, The Times newspaper reported. Trials of two options are under way, supervised by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, the newspaper said. The first involves vaccines specifically modified to tackle new variants. The second is for a third shot of one of the three versions already in use: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Moderna, the newspaper reported.
4th May 2021 - Reuters UK


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Access to mental health services dwindled as pandemic need strained providers: GAO report | TheHill

Access to mental health services dwindled as providers were strained and under the demand for care during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report made public on Friday. The GAO concluded that the number of people experiencing anxiety, depression and drug overdoses heightened during the pandemic, while mental health professionals dealt with layoffs, decreased hours and having to turn away patients. Respondents to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys determined that about 38 percent reported symptoms of anxiety or depression between April 2020 and February 2021. Eleven percent said the same in 2019. Similarly, emergency departments saw 36 percent more visits for overdoses and 26 percent more visits for suicide attempts from mid-March to mid-October of last year, compared to the previous year.
30th Apr 2021 - The Hill

One vaccine shot leaves many vulnerable to Covid variants, UK study finds

Individuals who receive one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine and have never been infected by the virus could be very vulnerable to new variants, according to a new UK study. Researchers from Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London and University College London looked at immune responses in healthcare workers who had received one shot of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. The scientists found that people who had not previously been infected by Covid-19 showed very low levels of neutralising antibodies against the original strain from Wuhan, the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in Kent and B.1.351 from South Africa. By contrast, those who had previously had mild or asymptomatic infection and then received a single dose appeared to have greatly enhanced protection against both B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, demonstrating high neutralising antibodies and a strong response by T cells, which remember past infection.
30th Apr 2021 - Financial Times

Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection boosts response to variants after first vaccine dose

A single dose of vaccine boosts protection against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variants, but only in those with previous COVID-19, a study has found. In those who have not previously been infected and have so far only received one dose of vaccine the immune response to variants of concern may be insufficient. The findings, published today in the journal Science and led by researchers at Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London and University College London, looked at immune responses in UK healthcare workers at Barts and Royal Free hospitals following their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.* They found that people who had previously had mild or asymptomatic infection had significantly enhanced protection against the Kent and South Africa variants, after a single dose of the mRNA vaccine. In those without prior COVID-19, the immune response was less strong after a first dose, potentially leaving them at risk from variants.
30th Apr 2021 - Imperial College London

Vaccine protects COVID-19 survivors against variants; virus' spike protein damages blood vessels

The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Vaccine protects COVID-19 survivors against variants In COVID-19 survivors, the Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), mRNA vaccine protects not only against the original virus strain but also against worrisome variants, two studies show. UK researchers analyzed immune responses after a single dose of the vaccine in 51 people, including 25 people previously infected with an early version of the novel coronavirus. Survivors showed enhanced antibody responses against the newer, more infectious variants first seen in the UK and South Africa, whereas people who had not previously been infected did not produce antibodies that could neutralize the variants, according to a report on Friday in Science.
30th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Covid UK: Number of people hospitalised after first vaccine dose is 'tiny', says SAGE

File presented to SAGE shows only 526 people admitted 3+ weeks after a jab This was out of a study of 52,000 sent to hospital in the second wave. Number of admissions tumbles with time after the vaccine. Most patients are in frail and elderly groups known to benefit less from jabs. No data yet for impact of second doses, which could reduce 'vaccine failure'
30th Apr 2021 - Daily Mail

Tackling the rise of concerning COVID-19 variants in the UK

Variants that are considered to have concerning epidemiological, immunological or pathogenic properties, as well as evidence of community transmission in the UK or abroad, are first designated as a VUI. After being risk assessed by the relevant expert committee, a VUI may be upgraded to VOC. The first VOC — B.1.1.7 — was detected in Kent in September 2020 and is now the dominant lineage in the UK. It has also been detected in more than 100 countries around the world. A similar variant with an additional mutation — B.1.1.7 + E484K — was detected in Bristol in December 2020 and is also circulating in the UK but at very low levels, with no new cases reported since 1 March 2021. Two further VOCs have been identified in the UK — one first detected in South Africa and one first detected in Japan (in a traveller from Brazil). To date, there are relatively small numbers of cases in the UK with only isolated pockets of community transmission. Identified cases are being tackled aggressively through surge testing — increased testing and enhanced contact tracing in specific locations — and genomic sequencing.
29th Apr 2021 - The Pharmaceutical Journal

Moderna Is Testing a New Version of Its COVID-19 Vaccine That Wouldn’t Require Ultra-Cold Storage

As safety concerns over COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson–Janssen have led to disruptions in the inoculation efforts of numerous countries relying on those shots, companies like Moderna are attempting to fill the resulting gaps. The Massachusetts-based biotech company announced on April 29 that it is investing billions to boost manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, Spain and the U.S., building enough capacity to produce up to 3 billion doses of its mRNA-based vaccine through 2022. Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, says that some of the wealthier, developed countries are eager to up their orders of the mRNA vaccines (which include both the Moderna shot and one produced by Pfizer/BioNTech).
29th Apr 2021 - The Times

COVID-19 variants spread faster but grew milder over time in Ohio

Cleveland Clinic researchers identified 484 unique mutations among six strains of SARS-CoV-2 isolates early in the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that the first variants were more deadly than subsequent strains and suggesting that monitoring circulating strains may help predict patient outcomes. Their study, published yesterday in JAMA Network Open, involved sequencing the viral genomes from specimens obtained from 302 COVID-19 patients at Cleveland Clinic from Mar 11 to Apr 22, 2020, and comparing them with those of the original SARS-CoV-2 strain from Wuhan, China. Infection with early virus subgroups, or clades, was associated with higher death rates than later strains (21.4% vs 5.6%). "These findings help explain persistent hospitalization yet decreasing mortality as the pandemic progresses," the authors wrote. "SARS-CoV-2 clade assignment is an important factor that may aid in estimating patient outcomes."
27th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP


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

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Covid-19: One dose of vaccine cuts risk of passing on infection by as much as 50%, research shows

Adults infected with covid-19 three weeks after receiving one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were 38-49% less likely to pass the virus on to their household contacts than people who were unvaccinated, a preprint released by Public Health England has shown.The research looked at the proportion of household contacts who tested positive 2-14 days after vaccinated index cases, comparing this with households where the index case was unvaccinated. The team said that protection was seen from around 14 days after vaccination, and similar levels were observed regardless of the age of cases or contacts. Public Health England said that this protection was on top of the reduced risk of a vaccinated person developing symptomatic infection in the first place, which was around 60-65% four weeks after one dose of either vaccine. “This is very promising,” said Deborah Dunn-Walters, the British Society for Immunology’s covid-19 taskforce chair and professor of immunology at the University of Surrey. “While this study brings welcome news, we must not be complacent . . . It is still very important for us all to get two doses of the covid-19 vaccine to ensure we receive the optimal and longest lasting protection, both for ourselves and our communities.”
29th Apr 2021 - The BMJ

BioNTech expects vaccine trial results for babies by September

BioNTech expects results by September from trials testing the COVID vaccine it developed with Pfizer on babies as young as six months old, German magazine Spiegel cited the company’s CEO as saying. “In July, the first results could be available for the five-to-12-year-olds, in September for the younger children,” BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Spiegel. He added it takes about four to six weeks to evaluate the data. “If all goes well, as soon as the data is evaluated, we will be able to submit the application for approval of the vaccine for all children in the respective age group in different countries,” he said. BioNTech and Pfizer asked US regulators this month to approve the emergency use of their vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 15. Sahin was quoted by Spiegel as saying the company was “in the final stages before submission” to European regulators for children aged 12 and older. A trial published at the end of March found the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine was safe, effective and produces robust antibody responses in adolescents.
29th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

Obesity studies highlight severe COVID outcomes, even in young adults

Two new, large studies from England and Mexico provide new details on obesity as a risk factor for poor COVID-19–related outcomes, including death, with the UK study noting the highest hospitalization rate in young adults. In the first study, published yesterday in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, University of Oxford researchers extracted data from the QResearch database for nearly 7 million English patients 20 years and older with available body mass index (BMI) values registered at an eligible general practice from Jan 24 to Apr 30, 2020. It is the largest study to date assessing body weight and COVID outcomes.
29th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP


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

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Vaccine cuts the risk of passing on coronavirus by half

Vaccinated people are nearly 50 per cent less likely to pass on the virus even if they are unlucky enough to become infected, a study has found. The findings are the most convincing demonstration so far that, on top of blocking most infections in the recipient, vaccines also have a strong effect on transmission — raising hopes that a severe summer wave can be avoided as the country opens up. “This is terrific news — we already know vaccines save lives, and this study is the most comprehensive real-world data showing they also cut transmission of this deadly virus,” Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said.
28th Apr 2021 - The Times

COVID-19: Single dose of coronavirus vaccine 'can cut transmission by up to half' - and most common side effects revealed

A single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can cut transmission of the virus by up to half, according to a Public Health England (PHE) study. The research looked at people who have had a single dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines - the first two authorised for use in the UK.
28th Apr 2021 - Sky News

Why The COVID-19 Variants Spreading in India Are a Global Concern

As the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in India continue to mount, public health officials are carefully watching yet another looming threat: the appearance of mutations that could be making the virus circulating there more infectious or more capable of causing severe disease. Scientists believe that the variants of SARS-CoV-2 responsible for this second wave of cases in India already include at least two mutations that make them more dangerous. These mutations are already familiar to COVID-19 experts. One is found in a variant first identified in South Africa, while the other is part of a variant believed to have emerged from California. Researchers believe that these two mutations may, respectively, make it easier for the virus to infect human cells, and to evade the protection provided by immune cells like antibodies. According to the latest data from the public genome database GISAID, 38% of genetically sequenced samples from India collected in March contain the two mutations—scientists have labelled this the B.1.617 variant.
28th Apr 2021 - Time

Data reveal fewer real-world COVID vaccine side effects

A new real-world study finds fewer side effects after vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech and the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines than reported in phase 3 clinical trials, while another paper notes some instances of facial paralysis after receipt of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine but no increased risk. In the first study, King's College London and other UK and US researchers mined data from the 627,383 users of the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app, who self-reported systemic and local side effects within 8 days of the receipt of one or two doses of the Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Dec 8, 2020, to Mar 10, 2021. The study was published yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. After the first Pfizer dose, 13.5% of recipients reported side effects, compared with 22.0% after the second Pfizer dose and 33.7% after the first AstraZeneca dose.
28th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Apr 2021

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Call for Scottish volunteers to trial first plant-based Covid-19 vaccine

Canada-based pharmaceutical company Medicago has launched phase three trials of its vaccine candidate, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NHS Research Scotland (NRS) and Health and Care Research Wales. In the next month the company will recruit 1,500 volunteers across the UK, with a branch of the study based in Aberdeen. Volunteers between the age of 18 and 39 will be given two doses of the plant-based vaccine, 21 days apart, as well as two doses of a placebo in a separate phase of the programme. Responses will be studied for 12 months after their last vaccination. The study is also taking place in Canada, the US and Latin America, as well as other sites across Europe.
27th Apr 2021 - The Scotsman on MSN.com

Calls for 4,000 UK volunteers for latest coronavirus vaccine study

Researchers are recruiting 4,000 volunteers to take part in a study trialling a new coronavirus vaccine. Developed by Valneva, the jab is being manufactured at the company’s site in Livingston, West Lothian. It is the only inactivated, adjuvanted (an ingredient to create a stronger immune response) Covid-19 vaccine in clinical development in Europe. Inactivated vaccines have been used over the last 100 years to vaccinate billions of people – including for seasonal flu, hepatitis A, polio and rabies. After positive safety and immunogenicity study results from the first two phases of the trial, which showed the study vaccine dose was “well tolerated with no safety concerns identified”, recruitment to the final phase two/three stage of the study will start in the final week of April. The study will run across 22 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) sites in England, and two devolved administration sites in Scotland. It is open to healthy adults who have not had a previous Covid-19 vaccine.
27th Apr 2021 - ITV News

Research suggests shift workers are three time more likely to test positive for Covid 19 in Hospital

Scientists from Manchester University have discovered that patients are up to three times more likely to test positive for Covid 19 in hospital if they were shift workers during their career. Researchers used data from UK Biobank - the world’s largest biomedical database. It showed that shift work increased the likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19 in hospitalised patients 2-3 fold, depending on the nature of shift work. Though there are several known risk factors for COVID-19, they do not always explain why COVID-19 outbreaks happen in factories or healthcare settings which is why they investigated the role of shift work.
27th Apr 2021 - ITV News


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Is a Cheap 'Universal' Coronavirus Vaccine on the Way?

An experimental COVID-19 vaccine could potentially provide universal protection against future COVID variants as well as other coronaviruses — maybe even the ones responsible for the common cold. And it's dirt cheap — less than $1 a dose, researchers say. The vaccine targets a part of the COVID virus' spike protein that appears to be highly resistant to mutation and is common across nearly all coronaviruses, said senior researcher Dr. Steven Zeichner. He is a professor of pediatric infectious disease with the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. In animal studies, the COVID vaccine protected pigs against two separate diseases caused by two types of coronavirus, COVID-19 and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), according to results published online recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
26th Apr 2021 - HealthDay News

Study of COVID-19 in Ireland shows links between underlying conditions and poorer outcomes

A national study of 20,000 patients conducted by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has identified the underlying conditions that are associated with more severe outcomes from COVID-19 in an Irish setting.
26th Apr 2021 - EurekAlert!

Real-world studies find COVID vaccines cut infection, hospitalization

Three new real-world UK studies highlight the effectiveness of one or two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines in preventing both symptomatic and asymptomatic infections and related hospitalizations, with one study showing an effectiveness above 90% for only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
26th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP


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

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With OK from experts, some states resume use of J&J vaccine

With a green light from federal health officials, many states resumed use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Saturday. Among the venues where it was being deployed: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Among the other states ordering or recommending a resumption, along with Indiana, were Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Those moves came swiftly after U.S. health officials said Friday evening that they were lifting an 11-day pause on vaccinations using the J&J vaccine. During the pause, scientific advisers decided the vaccine’s benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clot. “The state of New York will resume administration of this vaccine at all of our state-run sites effective immediately,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Saturday morning.
24th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

‘AstraZeneca jab gives significant benefit against hospital admission’

The AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine provides a “significant benefit” in avoiding hospital admission across all age groups, the European Medicines Regulator (EMA) has said. Overall, the benefits of the jab continue to outweigh the risks of rare blood clots, and benefits increase in older age groups and in areas with higher levels of coronavirus infection, the regulator said. The EMA said its human medicines committee (CHMP) had analysed available data on the vaccine to put the risk of rare blood clots into context of benefits for different age groups and different rates of infection.
23rd Apr 2021 - Evening Standard

Studies: COVID linked to poor maternal, neonatal outcomes

COVID-19 during pregnancy is tied to dramatically higher rates of maternal death, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and infection and severe outcomes in newborns, according to two new studies. In the first study, published yesterday in JAMA Pediatrics, a team led by University of Oxford researchers studied 2,130 pregnant women age 18 and older and their newborns at 43 institutions in 18 countries from March to October 2020, as part of the observational INTERCOVID Multinational Cohort Study. For each woman who tested positive for COVID-19 before delivery, two unmatched, uninfected women were enrolled at any stage of pregnancy or delivery.
23rd Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

Vaccines Are Effective Against the New York Variant, Studies Find

For weeks, New Yorkers have witnessed the alarming rise of a homegrown variant of the coronavirus that has kept the number of cases in the city stubbornly high. City officials have repeatedly warned that the variant may be more contagious and may dodge the immune response. On that second point, at least, they can now breathe easier: Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will effectively prevent serious illness and death from the variant, two independent studies suggest. Antibodies stimulated by those vaccines are only slightly less potent at controlling the variant than the original form of the virus, both studies found.
22nd Apr 2021 - The New York Times


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

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Oxford, Prenetics to take their COVID-19 rapid testing tech to other infectious diseases

While most of the world can’t wait to leave the COVID-19 pandemic and its many disastrous accouterments behind, researchers are hoping at least one aspect of the outbreak sticks around: the prevalence of rapid molecular testing. To that end, the University of Oxford, its Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR) in China and Prenetics, a Hong Kong-based test maker, have partnered to further develop the technology behind Oxford’s rapid COVID test so that it can be used to diagnose other infectious diseases around the world. The OxLAMP COVID-19 test has shown promising results: It can detect the presence of the virus with 96% sensitivity in just 20 minutes and can be processed outside of a traditional lab setting.
22nd Apr 2021 - FierceBiotech

Government launches Antivirals Taskforce to identify at-home COVID-19 treatments

A new Antivirals Taskforce has been launched by the government to identify treatments for UK patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 to stop the infection spreading and speed up recovery time. The taskforce will search for the most promising novel antiviral medicines that can be taken at home and support their development through clinical trials to ensure they can be rapidly rolled out to patients as early as the autumn. The aim is to have at least 2 effective treatments this year, either in a tablet or capsule form, that the public can take at home following a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to someone with the virus. The taskforce will also look at opportunities to onshore the manufacture of antiviral treatments.
22nd Apr 2021 - Pharmafield

Effectiveness of rapid Covid-19 tests to be tested in 200 schools

Scientists have begun trialling rapid lateral flow tests across 200 schools in England in an effort to prove the accuracy and effectiveness of the controversial technology. Students and staff will be offered weekly tests using lateral flow devices (LFDs). Half the participating schools will then offer daily tests to students who have come into close contact with known Covid-19 sufferers, to enable them to avoid quarantine, while the rest — the control group — will make such students quarantine for 10 days. Researchers involved in the study hope the research will prove that the tests can effectively pick up cases of infectious disease, providing evidence to counter the pervasive scepticism surrounding the value of LFDs, which have been rolled out in large numbers since late last year.
22nd Apr 2021 - Financial Times

COVID-19 vaccines: building and maintaining confidence

As COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out globally, the AstraZeneca vaccine (Vaxzevria) continues to be marred in controversy, from its slow and still awaited approval by the US Food and Drug Administration amid concerns about paucity of large-scale trial data from the USA, to safety alerts around the development of rare blood clotting events coupled with thrombocytopenia, particularly cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and splanchnic vein thrombosis (SVT). As of April 4, 2021, 169 cases of CVST and 53 cases of SVT have been reported in the European Economic Area and the UK after the administration of 34 million vaccines.
22nd Apr 2021 - The Lancet

Yes, vaccines block most transmission of COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines have provided an opportunity to slow the spread of the virus and end the pandemic. Now scientists are trying to learn just how much the vaccines can prevent transmission from occurring at all. New data from the CDC shows that COVID-19 infections do occur in vaccinated people, but they appear exceptionally rare. More than 10 million people in the United Kingdom have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In the United States, that figure is 85 million people. As of April 14, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had received reports that 5,814 fully vaccinated people had developed COVID-19 infections in the U.S. Nearly half of these infections (45 percent) were in people at least 60 years old. Seven percent of people with breakthrough infections—infections that occur after complete vaccination—were hospitalised and one percent died.
22nd Apr 2021 - National Geographic UK

How long does protection from COVID-19 vaccines last?

How long does protection from COVID-19 vaccines last? Experts don’t know yet because they’re still studying vaccinated people to see when protection might wear off. How well the vaccines work against emerging variants will also determine if, when and how often additional shots might be needed. So far, Pfizer’s ongoing trial indicates the company’s two-dose vaccine remains highly effective for at least six months, and likely longer. People who got Moderna’s vaccine also still had notable levels of virus-fighting antibodies six months after the second required shot.
22nd Apr 2021 - Associated Press

Double masking amid COVID-19 not backed by research, experts say

A study concluding that wearing a disposable medical procedure mask under a reusable cloth face covering protects the wearer against COVID-19 infection better than a mask alone has some scientists worried that it could inadvertently lead to a false sense of security, risky behaviors, and infections. The study, one of a series on pandemic face coverings funded partially by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was published on Apr 16 in JAMA Internal Medicine. The CDC used the studies as a basis for its Apr 6 updated face covering guidelines, which call for the use of a multilayered cloth mask or a disposable mask under a cloth mask to press the edges of the disposable mask against the face.
22nd Apr 2021 - CIDRAP


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

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Roche looking for new place to test COVID-19 pill after cases plummet in UK

Roche (ROG.S)is looking for another location to carry out trials of its pill to fight COVID-19, after plummeting case numbers in Britain made it difficult to find enough patients for its study there, the Swiss drugmaker said on Wednesday. Roche and Boston-based partner Atea Pharmaceuticals (AVIR.O) are hoping their AT-527 pill could offer an anti-viral therapy to treat COVID-19 patients that would be easier to administer and cheaper than other prospective treatments, such as antibody cocktails or Gilead Science's (GILD.O) remdesivir. In an interview in Swiss media in early March, Roche Chairman Christoph Franz had offered the tantalizing prospect of data on AT-527 "within the next weeks", saying he dreamed of being able to fight the pandemic with a pill by year's end.
21st Apr 2021 - Reuters

Link between cardiac arrests and COVID may help map the pandemic

A new study, published this month, collected data from 50 US cities as well as from major cities in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, New Zealand and Australia. The study showed that rises in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests were linked to rising COVID cases. The study was based on data provided by the Metropolitan EMS Medical Directors Global Alliance, a surveillance network of emergency medical services (EMS) staff who voluntarily share data. Dr Paul Pepe is global coordinator of the alliance and also a co-author of the study. He told Al Jazeera that normally a 10 percent increase in cardiac arrests would be a cause for concern. But during last spring in the US, two-thirds of US cities in the study saw increases between 20 and 50 percent. In cities particularly hit hard, the rate doubled
21st Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

Racial minorities at higher risk for COVID-19 hospitalization, ICU care

Racial minority COVID-19 patients are at much higher risk for needing hospitalization and intensive care than their White counterparts, a new Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) study finds. The retrospective study, published yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, involved comparing the electronic health records of 47,974 adult Hispanic, Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, and White COVID-19 patients from Mar 1 to Jul 31, 2020. The researchers saw disparities by race for all outcomes, even after adjustment for age, sex, underlying medical conditions, and body mass index (BMI). Racial minorities had a slightly higher chance than White patients of being tested for or diagnosed as having COVID-19 but were also at substantially higher risk for hospitalization and ICU care
21st Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

‘No one was listening’: Long Covid patients struggle to get care for their symptoms

Thousands of people with long Covid have struggled to receive medical care for their symptoms. Many have found that even if they’re able to see a doctor, it can be difficult to be heard, and the best treatments remain unclear. Medical centers across the country are opening clinics specifically for people with lingering Covid symptoms, aiming to harness the expertise of specialists ranging from pulmonologists to physical therapists to neurologists. But many long Covid sufferers are located far from such a clinic, and the waitlist to be seen often is long. For example, the Cleveland Clinic’s post-Covid recovery center, reCOVer clinic, welcomed 113 patients in its first month, and as of mid-March, the clinic’s next available appointments were at the end of July. Penn Medicine’s Post-Covid Assessment and Recovery Clinic in Philadelphia has enrolled 458, with a three-month waitlist for new patients.
21st Apr 2021 - STAT News

India's Covaxin shot 78% effective against coronavirus, say developers

India's only domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, has been found to be 78% effective in a second analysis of clinical trials done around the country, its makers said on Wednesday. "I am very pleased to state that Covaxin ... has shown the efficacy of 78% in the second interim analysis," said Balram Bhargava, the chief of the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research that has created the vaccine with Bharat Biotech. The first analysis released in March had shown an efficacy rate of 81%.
21st Apr 2021 - Reuters India

Blood Clotting Risk Higher for COVID-19, Than From Vaccines

Researchers at the University of Oxford in England reported that the risk of the rare blood clotting known as cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following COVID-19 infection is around 100 times greater than normal. And several times higher than it is post-vaccination or following influenza. The study authors, led by Professor Paul Harrison and Dr. Maxime Taquet, counted the number of CVT cases diagnosed in the two weeks following diagnosis of COVID-19 or after the first dose of a vaccine. They then compared these to calculated incidences of CVT following influenza infection and the background level in the general population. These researchers report that CVT is more common after COVID-19 than in any comparison groups, with 30% of these cases occurring in the under 40 population.
20th Apr 2021 - Precision Vaccinations

First study into prevalence of COVID-19 symptoms amongst high-risk children

Children with weakened immune systems have not shown a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection despite commonly displaying symptoms, a new study suggests. During a 16-week period which covered the first wave of the pandemic, researchers from the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton carried out an observational study of nearly 1500 immunocompromised children – defined as requiring annual influenza vaccinations due to underlying conditions or medication. The results, published in BMJ Open, showed that symptoms of COVID-19 infection were common in many of the children – with over two thirds of participants reporting at least one symptom and one third experiencing three or more symptoms simultaneously. One hundred and ten patients with symptoms undertook viral PCR tests, none of whom tested positive.
20th Apr 2021 - Mirage News

Oral drug Molnupiravir effective against COVID-19 in hamsters: study

An orally administered antiviral drug initially developed to treat influenza can significantly decrease novel coronavirus levels in hamsters, holding out promise of a pill to combat COVID-19, say researchers. Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. and the University of Plymouth in the U.K. found that MK-4482, also called Molnupiravir, was effective when provided up to 12 hours before or 12 hours after infection with SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The drug can also decrease damage it causes to lungs, states the study conducted on hamsters.
20th Apr 2021 - The Hindu


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Apr 2021

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J&J to resume rollout of COVID-19 vaccine in Europe with safety warning

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) said on Tuesday it will resume rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe after the region’s medical regulator said the benefits of the shot outweigh the risk of very rare, potentially lethal blood clots. Europe’s health regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), on Tuesday recommended adding a warning about rare blood clots with low blood platelet count to the vaccine’s product label and said the benefits of the one-dose shot outweigh its risks.
21st Apr 2021 - Reuters

J&J to cooperate in study of rare clots linked to COVID-19 vaccine, German scientist says

A German scientist studying extremely rare blood clots linked to AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine said on Tuesday Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) has agreed to work with him on the research after similar serious side effects emerged in recipients of its shot. Andreas Greinacher, a transfusion medicine expert at Greifswald University, announced the collaboration after the European Medicines Agency said it would add a label to J&J’s vaccine warning of unusual blood clots with low platelet counts. AstraZeneca’s shot has a similar warning.
21st Apr 2021 - Reuters

First Covid-19 vaccination protects blood cancer patients, study suggests

A single dose of a coronavirus vaccine triggers an immune response in around 70% of patients with the blood and bone marrow cancer, myeloma, according to a new study. Researchers say the findings suggest the jab could provide protection against the virus. Experts tested for Covid-19 coronavirus antibodies in 93 people with myeloma. A recent report with a smaller number of patients with the cancer suggested that blood cancer patients might receive limited protection after vaccination. Myeloma is a cancer of the immune cells produced in the bone marrow, and puts patients at greater risk of severe Covid-19 infection.
20th Apr 2021 - Wales Online

European Medicines Agency: More than 300 cases of rare blood clot events worldwide

The European Union’s drug regulator said on Tuesday there had been more than 300 cases worldwide of rare blood clotting incidents combined with low platelet counts after use of COVID-19 vaccines. There were 287 occurrences with the AstraZeneca vaccine, eight with Johnson & Johnson’s shot, 25 for Pfizer and five for Moderna, said Peter Arlett, Head of Data Analytics at the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
20th Apr 2021 - Reuters


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Apr 2021

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Volunteers to be reinfected with Covid-19 to help improve vaccines

Volunteers who have recovered from a coronavirus infection will be deliberately infected with the virus for a second time, in a new study which could help develop new treatments and vaccines against the disease. The study, led by a team from the University of Oxford, will investigate how a previous infection affects a second exposure to the virus and what kind of immune response is needed to protect people. It is known that some Covid-19 survivors have gone on to become reinfected at a later stage, and as variants of the virus emerge with new mutations the risk to the success of vaccines and natural protection could be significant.
19th Apr 2021 - The Independent

COVID-19: Young people who have had coronavirus will get £5,000 for being deliberately re-exposed to the virus

Young people who have previously had COVID-19 are going to be deliberately exposed to the virus for a second time - in a new study that aims to see how their immune systems react. The University of Oxford's "human challenge" trial also hopes to discover what dose of coronavirus is needed to cause a reinfection, and what this may mean for developing protective immunity against the disease.
19th Apr 2021 - Sky News

There's a new COVID-19 variant in India. How worried should we be?

"This is a variant of interest we are following," Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization's technical lead on COVID-19 told reporters. "Having two of these mutations, which have been seen in other variants around the world, is concerning," she added, going on to say that 'there was a similarlity with mutations that increase transmission as well as reduce neutralization, 'possibly' stunting the ability of vaccines to curb them.'
19th Apr 2021 - The Japan Times

Ireland registers three cases of Indian COVID-19 variant

Ireland has registered its first three cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, a senior health official said on Monday. Cillian De Gascun, the head of Ireland's national virus laboratory, told journalists at least two of the cases were related to travel. He said the variant was still classified as a "variant of interest" rather than a "variant of concern."
19th Apr 2021 - Reuters


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

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New UK challenge trial studies if people can catch coronavirus again

British scientists on Monday launched a trial which will deliberately expose participants who have already had COVID-19 to the coronavirus again to examine immune responses and see if people get reinfected. In February, Britain became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead for so-called "challenge trials" in humans, in which volunteers are deliberately exposed to COVID-19 to advance research into the disease caused by the coronavirus. The study launched on Monday differs from the one announced in February as it seeks to reinfect people who have previously had COVID-19 in an effort to deepen understanding about immunity, rather than infecting people for the first time.
19th Apr 2021 - Reuters UK

South African variant may 'break through' Pfizer vaccine protection, but vaccine highly effective, Israeli study says

The coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa can break through the protection provided by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found. However, the variant's prevalence in Israel is very low and the vaccine remains highly effective. The study was released on the medRxiv pre-print site on April 9 and has not been peer reviewed. It compared almost 400 people who had tested positive for COVID-19, after they received one or two doses of the vaccine, against the same number of unvaccinated patients with the disease. It matched age and gender, among other characteristics.
18th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Doctors hone in on cause of blood clots potentially linked with Covid-19 vaccines

Doctors say they are honing in on the cause of blood clots that may be linked with certain coronavirus vaccines, and add their findings have important implications for how to treat the condition, regardless of whether vaccines cause it.
17th Apr 2021 - CNN

The Covid-19 Plasma Boom Is Over. What Did We Learn From It?

Scott Cohen was on a ventilator struggling for his life with Covid-19 last April when his brothers pleaded with Plainview Hospital on Long Island to infuse him with the blood plasma of a recovered patient. The experimental treatment was hard to get but was gaining attention at a time when doctors had little else. After an online petition drew 18,000 signatures, the hospital gave Mr. Cohen, a retired Nassau County medic, an infusion of the pale yellow stuff that some called “liquid gold.” In those terrifying early months of the pandemic, the idea that antibody-rich plasma could save lives took on a life of its own before there was evidence that it worked.
17th Apr 2021 - New York Times

COVID-19: Indian variant could 'scupper' easing of UK coronavirus lockdown rules, warns expert

The Indian coronavirus mutation could "scupper" the UK's march to freedom, a leading scientist has warned. It comes despite the lockdown and vaccine programme leading to cases falling to a seven-month low. COVID-19 infections across the UK dropped to the lowest level since the autumn, according to the latest figures.
17th Apr 2021 - Sky News

China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine 67% effective in preventing symptomatic infection - Chile govt report

China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine was 67% effective in preventing symptomatic infection, data from a huge real-world study inChile has shown, a potential boost for the jab which has come under scrutiny over its level of protection against the virus. The CoronaVac vaccine was 85% effective in preventing hospitalizations and 80% effective in preventing deaths, the Chilean government said in a report, adding that the data should prove a "game changer" from the vaccine more widely. Rodrigo Yanez, Chile's vice trade minister who forged a deal with Sinovac to host the drug's clinical trial and buy 60 million doses of the drug over three years, said the results showed Chile had made "the right bet".
17th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Pregnant women should be offered Covid-19 vaccine in their age group

Pregnant women should be offered vaccination against Covid-19 at the same time as everyone else, government scientists said this afternoon in a shift from their earlier stance.Expectant mothers should
16th Apr 2021 - The Times


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Apr 2021

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Mixing Covid vaccines could mean booster jab is not needed, says professor

Mixing vaccines may give such strong protection against Covid-19 — including variants — that a booster jab is not needed in the autumn, a leading medical expert said today. Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and a member of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, stressed that research being led by his colleague Professor Matthew Snape may deliver another breakthrough in the battle against coronavirus. “The work that Matthew Snape and others are doing in this study to look at comparisons may give us a mix that actually gives us some better immune response that means we are better able to deal with the South Africa variant, the Brazilian variant, and dozens of other variants that are now popping up all over the world,” he told Sky News.
15th Apr 2021 - Evening Standard

EMA starts review of GSK's monoclonal antibody to treat COVID-19 patients

The European Medicines Agency said on Thursday it is reviewing available data on the use of GlaxoSmithKline's monoclonal antibody to treat COVID-19 patients. The agency said its review of VIR-7831, which GSK is developing with Vir Biotechnology Inc, will include data from a study comparing its effect with that of a placebo in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who were at high risk of progressing to a more severe condition. While a more comprehensive rolling review is expected to start at a later time, the agency said the current review will provide European Union-wide recommendations for national authorities who may take decisions on early use of the medicine. The companies reported in March that VIR-7831 reduced the risk of hospitalisation and deaths among patients by 85%, based on interim data from a study.
15th Apr 2021 - YAHOO!News

Severe Covid-19 risk with asthma and COPD lower than previously thought

The risk for people with asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases of severe Covid-19 is not as high as had been feared at the start of the pandemic, say researchers from the University of Oxford. Analysis of records from 8 million patients at 1,205 general practices in England found people with active asthma and severe asthma had 26% and 29% higher relative risks of hospital admission with Covid-19 and around 30% higher relative risk of admission to intensive care compared with matched patients with no underlying respiratory disease. However, this is lower than suggested by data collected between January and April 2020, which showed that COPD was associated with a 50% increased risk of hospitalisation and 54% increased risk of death from Covid-19. Furthermore, there was no evidence that asthma was associated with an increased absolute risk of death from Covid-19, and the risks appeared similar for all ethnicities, the researchers reported in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
15th Apr 2021 - Pulse

Covid-19: Single dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine produces strong antibody response in over 80s

A single dose of the Pfizer or Oxford-AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine produces equivalent antibody responses five weeks after vaccination, a small study looking at people over 80 has found. The study, led by University of Birmingham researchers and made available through a preprint, found that antibodies specific to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were present in most people in both groups—93% after the Pfizer vaccine and 87% after the AstraZeneca vaccine. Researchers have said that these findings are “reassuring” for countries that decided to delay second doses in favour of vaccinating more people with a first dose. In the UK, people over 80 were in the first priority group for vaccination and received either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine. At the end of December 2020, the UK chief medical officers announced that the second doses of the covid vaccines should be given towards the end of 12 weeks rather than after the previously recommended 3-4 weeks. The research team collected blood samples from 165 people aged 80 to 99 years and living independently 5-6 weeks after their first vaccine dose. Of these, 76 received the Pfizer vaccine and 89 received the AstraZeneca vaccine. They then used a range of assays to measure the immune response generated. A small number of people (eight) had signs of previous natural covid-19 infection. Compared with those without previous infection, their antibody and T cell responses after the first vaccine dose were significantly higher (691-fold and fourfold, respectively). The study also found stronger T cell responses in people who had received the AstraZeneca vaccine, with 31% of this group producing detectable T cell responses compared with 12% of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine group.
15th Apr 2021 - The BMJ

UK scientists find higher risk of brain clots from COVID-19 compared with vaccines

There is a much higher risk of brain blood clots from COVID-19 infection than there is from vaccines against the disease, British researchers said on Thursday, after the rollout of inoculations was disrupted by reports of rare clots. AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) have both seen very rare reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) linked to their vaccines. On Wednesday, the United States paused vaccinations using J&J’s shot while a link with clots was investigated, with Denmark ditching AstraZeneca’s shot over the issue. British and European regulators have stressed that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks. A study of 500,000 COVID-19 patients found CVST had occurred at a rate of 39 people out of a million following infection, researchers said. That compares with European Medicines Agency (EMA) figures showing that 5 in a million people reported CVST after getting AstraZeneca's shot.
15th Apr 2021 - Reuters UK


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COVID-19: Mix and match vaccine study extended to include Moderna and Novavax jabs

A study assessing the benefits of mixing and matching coronavirus vaccines has been extended to include the Moderna and Novavax jabs. The Com-Cov study, led by the University of Oxford, has been investigating the immune responses of volunteers given a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the Pfizer jab - and vice versa.
14th Apr 2021 - Sky News

Long-acting injectable medicine as potential route to COVID-19 therapy

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have shown the potential of repurposing an existing and cheap drug into a long-acting injectable therapy that could be used to treat COVID-19. In a paper published in the journal Nanoscale, researchers from the University's Center of Excellence for Long-acting Therapeutics (CELT) demonstrate the nanoparticle formulation of niclosamide, a highly insoluble drug compound, as a scalable long-acting injectable antiviral candidate.
14th Apr 2021 - Phys.org

Filter that is able to remove Covid-19 from blood given emergency approval in US

A Pentagon-funded agency has developed a filter that is able to remove the Coronavirus from blood cells when linked to a dialysis machine. After around 300 critically ill Covid-19 patients made a full recovery following treatment with the filter, the FDA has approved the method for emergency use, according to multiple media reports. Moreover, scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) have also developed a microchip that can detect Covid-19 when inserted under the skin.
14th Apr 2021 - City A.M.

Exercise may strongly protect against poor COVID-19 outcomes

Regular physical activity may substantially reduce the risk of COVID-19–related hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and death, suggests an observational study of nearly 50,000 people published yesterday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Kaiser Permanente Southern California researchers led the retrospective study, which involved linking the self-reported physical activity levels of 48,440 adult patients who had at least three exercise vital sign measurements in the 2 years preceding the pandemic to their risk of severe coronavirus outcomes. Used at every outpatient visit at Kaiser Permanente since 2009, exercise vital sign measurements include average number of days a week of moderate to strenuous exercise and duration of that exercise. The patients, who were diagnosed as having COVID-19 from Jan 1 to Oct 21, 2020, reported their physical activity as consistently inactive (0 to 10 minutes a week), some activity (11 to 149 minutes), or consistently meeting guidelines (more than 150 minutes).
14th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

Israeli mask which ‘gives 99 percent virus safety’ gets European lab approval

An Israeli start-up behind an anti-viral mask shown to neutralise 99 percent of coronavirus has received European verification. Special coating on Sonovia’s state-of-the-art technology has been verified by VisMederi Textyle in Italy, a pharmaceutical company based in Tuscany, with the same testing showing it is equally effective at neutralising flu, as well as Covid-19.
13th Apr 2021 - Times of Israel

Sinovac vaccine effective against virus variants in Brazil; efficacy rises if injection interval is more than 21 days

China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine has 50.7 percent efficacy and has proved to be effective against the variants known as P1 and P2 that are prevalent in Brazil, latest data showed. Moreover, the Sinovac vaccine's efficacy rate can climb to 62.3 percent with an interval of more than 21 days between doses rather than 14 days. The findings appear in the latest report released on Sunday by Sao Paulo's state-owned Butantan Institute, which tested and produced Sinovac's COVID-19 inactivated vaccine named CoronaVac. The report released specific and comprehensive data on late-stage trials in Brazil. This is the most detailed statistical report on a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine.
12th Apr 2021 - Global Times

Astrazeneca vaccine risk prompts Australian government to recommend Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for under 50

The Australian government is recommending that Australians under 50 take the Pfizer Inc. COVID-19 vaccine due to the risk of rare blood clots associated with Astrazeneca plc’s COVID-19 vaccine (ChAdOx1-S). The move jeopardizes Australia’s vaccine rollout as it had planned for the majority of Australians to receive the Astrazeneca vaccine, which is being locally manufactured by CSL Ltd. During a press conference announcing the local manufacture of the vaccine in March, officials were gloating about what a fabulous job the country had done in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it looks as if it is falling behind on vaccinating its citizens, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that essentially “all bets are off” on whether Australians will be vaccinated by the end of the year. Previously, he had said that all Australians would be vaccinated by October.
12th Apr 2021 - Bioworld


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Apr 2021

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UK trial on switching COVID-19 vaccines adds Moderna and Novavax shots

A UK study into using different COVID-19 vaccines in two-dose inoculations is being expanded to include shots made by Moderna and Novavax, researchers said on Wednesday. The trial, known as the Com-Cov study, was first launched in February to look at whether giving a first dose of one type of COVID-19 shot, and a second dose of another, elicits an immune response that is as good as using two doses of the same vaccine. The idea, said Matthew Snape, the Oxford University professor leading the trial, “is to explore whether the multiple COVID-19 vaccines that are available can be used more flexibly”.
14th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Half of kids with inflammatory syndrome after COVID-19 have neurologic symptoms

Half of the children who developed the serious condition associated with COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) had neurologic symptoms or signs when they entered the hospital, according to preliminary research released today, April 13, 2021, that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 73rd Annual Meeting being held virtually April 17 to 22, 2021. Those symptoms included headaches, encephalopathy and hallucinations.
14th Apr 2021 - Medical Xpress

Vaccine made for South African Covid variant promising, says Moderna

An experimental vaccine targeted at the South African strain of Covid-19 has produced antibodies in laboratory mice, its maker said last night, offering an early sign that it could protect humans against the variant. Moderna is developing a vaccine to target the B.1.351 variant, which was discovered in South Africa, as well as a multivalent vaccine that combines its original vaccination with the South Africa-specific jab. The company is the first to produce a vaccine designed for the variant detected in South Africa and said its pre-clinical trials in mice for both jabs “improved neutralising titers”, meaning that antibodies detected in the blood increased. The multivalent vaccine would provide the broadest level of immunity, according to Moderna.
14th Apr 2021 - The Times

An Israeli study says a COVID-19 variant can still infect vaccinated people — here's what Fauci says the research means

A small Israeli study indicates that some of the new coronavirus variants may put people who have been vaccinated at higher risk of breakthrough infections, though U.S. health officials questioned some of the wording used in the preliminary research. These types of cases are called “breakthrough infections,” which occur when someone who has completed their COVID-19 vaccination later gets sick from the virus. The preprint, which was published Friday and has not been peer reviewed, gained attention over the weekend after it said that the B.1.351 variant was more likely to infect people in Israel who had been vaccinated with Pfizer Inc.’s PFE, +0.51% COVID-19 vaccine, compared with other strains of the virus.
13th Apr 2021 - MarketWatch

Newborns of COVID-vaccinated moms may be protected from infection

Two new Israeli studies find that COVID-19 antibodies pass robustly from mothers to their infants in breast milk for 6 weeks after vaccination and that no infants breastfed by their coronavirus-positive mothers had evidence of infection. The first study, led by researchers from Shamir Medical Center in Zerifin, Israel, and published as a research letter yesterday in JAMA, involved 504 breast milk samples from a convenience sample of 84 healthcare workers who chose to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because of their occupational risk for COVID-19 infection. All participants received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine 21 days apart and were recruited through ads and social media from throughout Israel from Dec 23, 2020, to Jan 15, 2021. The women provided breast milk samples before they received the vaccine and then once a week for 6 weeks starting 2 weeks after the first dose, and completed weekly questionnaires.
13th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

Gilead nixes Veklury COVID-19 trial as vaccines roll out, more convenient drugs emerge for outpatients

Gilead Sciences has been exploring its antiviral remdesivir for COVID-19 in the outpatient setting, hoping to replicate the success seen in hospitalized patients. But as new treatments emerge, the company now thinks the drug, in its current form, simply doesn’t have a role to play outside hospitals. Gilead has decided to stop a phase 3 trial of remdesivir as an intravenous infusion in high-risk nonhospitalized patients with COVID-19, the company said Monday. The decision wasn’t about efficacy or safety but the “evolution of the COVID-19 landscape,” it said. In other words, Gilead no longer believes there’s a market for IV remdesivir, or Veklury, that requires administration in a healthcare facility for nonhospitalized patients. As vaccine rollouts ramp up, the overall need for COVID-19 treatments will further decline. The shrinking patient pool has likely also made it hard for Gilead to enroll patients in the new study. Veklury, in its current FDA-approved use for hospitalized patients, brought in sales of $1.94 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone. But for 2021, Gilead’s projecting a total haul between $2 billion and $3 billion, depending on how the pandemic evolves.
13th Apr 2021 - FiercePharma

Why would a Covid vaccine cause rare blood clots? Researchers have found clues

A week after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, a 37-year-old woman in Norway went to the emergency department with fever and persistent headaches. A CAT scan of her head showed a blood clot in blood vessels involved in draining the brain, but her levels of platelets, involved in clotting, were low. She was treated with platelet infusions and a blood thinner, but had a bleed in her brain the next day. She underwent surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain but died two days later. This is the side effect, known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, that has caused a week of worries around the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca. On Tuesday, the U.S. government said that it had seen the same effect six times among the 6.8 million people given a dose of a similar vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, and that it recommended a pause on use of that vaccine “out of an abundance of caution,” while researchers investigated.
13th Apr 2021 - STAT News

Corticosteroid shortens recovery time in COVID-19 patients treated in the community, early trial results show

Budesonide has been found to shorten recovery time in COVID-19 patients aged over 50 years who are being treated in the community, according to interim findings from the Platform Randomised Trial of Interventions Against COVID-19 in Older People (PRINCIPLE). According to the findings, early treatment with the inhaled corticosteroid shortened recovery time by a median of three days in patients with COVID-19 who were at higher risk of more severe illness, and were being treated at home and in other community settings. Inhaled budesonide was added to the PRINCIPLE trial on 28 November 2020, but recruitment stopped on 31 March 2021 after the trial steering committee decided that enough patients had been enrolled to be able to establish if the drug had a meaningful benefit on time to recovery.
12th Apr 2021 - The Pharmaceutical Journal


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

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China's Sinovac vaccine is 50.7% effective against COVID-19, just reaching the threshold to be a vaccine worth using, a major trial showed

In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease-control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost. Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
12th Apr 2021 - Yahoo

Common asthma medicine can speed up Covid-19 recovery by three days – study

A cheap and widely available asthma medicine can speed up the recovery of people with coronavirus who have not been admitted to hospital, new research suggests. Budesonide – an inhaler drug sold under the brand name Pulmicort – is used around the world to treat asthma and COPD, but an Oxford University trial found it can also be used at home to reduce Covid-19 recovery time by an average of three days in those with a heightened risk from the disease. The corticosteroid is safe and is effective during the early stages of coronavirus infection, according to the study.
12th Apr 2021 - WalesOnline

Previous COVID-19 may cut risk of reinfection 84%

People who had COVID-19 had an 84% lower risk of becoming reinfected and a 93% lower risk of symptomatic infection during 7 months of follow-up, according to findings from a large, multicenter study published late last week in The Lancet. The prospective cohort SARS-CoV-2 Immunity and Reinfection Evaluation (SIREN) study, by Public Health England Colindale researchers, involved 25,661 workers at public hospitals throughout England who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 every 2 to 4 weeks and antibodies at enrollment and every 4 weeks. Volunteers also completed questionnaires on symptoms and exposures every 2 weeks. Of the 25,661 participants, 32.3% were assigned to the baseline positive (possibly or probably previously infected) group, and 67.7% were assigned to the negative group. Of the 8,278 positive participants, 91.2% had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at study enrollment, while 7.0% were negative for antibodies but had a previously positive antibody and/or coronavirus test, and 1.8% had tested positive for COVID-19 but didn't have linked antibody data
12th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

Regeneron eyes prevention nod for COVID-19 antibody cocktail with simpler injection

Regeneron’s Roche-partnered COVID-19 antibody cocktail, already authorized to thwart disease progression in sick patients, has come up with new data showing it can prevent the disease altogether at a lower dose in healthy people.
12th Apr 2021 - FiercePharma

Regeneron says antibody cocktail prevented Covid when given as simple injection, not an IV

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said Monday that a single administration of its monoclonal antibody cocktail reduced the risk that volunteers exposed to Covid-19 would develop the disease by 81%. The study enrolled 1,500 healthy volunteers, each of whom shared a home with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and randomized them to receive a single dose of its antibody treatment, given subcutaneously as four shots, or placebo. After 29 days, 11 patients in the treatment group developed Covid-19 compared to 59 on placebo. And for the subjects who got Covid-19 despite treatment, their symptoms resolved after one week, compared to three weeks for those on placebo. In 204 patients who had already tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the study’s outset, the injection reduced their chances of progressing to symptomatic Covid-19 by 31%.
12th Apr 2021 - STAT News


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Apr 2021

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Women report more side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than men. Health experts explain why.

Reports of COVID-19 vaccine side effects support what many have anecdotally observed: women shoulder the bigger burden. Among nearly 7,000 reports processed through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) from Dec. 14 to Jan. 13, more than 79% of them came from women. The most frequently reported side effects were headache, fatigue and dizziness. Women also are more likely than men to experience some of the vaccine’s more unusual side effects, such as an itchy red rash that appears at the injection site commonly known as COVID arm or Moderna arm, as about 95% of the reactions occur with the Moderna vaccine. Overall, women account for 77% of the Moderna vaccine’s reported side effects.
10th Apr 2021 - USA TODAY on MSN.com

Sinovac data show no major side effects on elderly —DOST exec

A Department of Science and Technology (DOST) official said Thursday that the use of Chinese pharmaceutical firm's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine on senior citizens showed no significant side effects in the age group. Montoya, DOST Philippine Council for Health Research Development executive director, also told "Dobol B TV" that if there are any side effects, these are well-tolerated by the senior citizens. However, he said the usual side effects exhibited by senior citizens after inoculation with Sinovac include slight fever, swelling on the injection site, and flu, among others.
10th Apr 2021 - GMA News Online

Blood clots linked to AstraZeneca vaccine stem from rare antibody reaction

Two reports published Friday in a leading medical journal help to explain how AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine can, in rare cases, cause serious and sometimes fatal blood clots. Scientific teams from Germany and Norway found that people who developed the clots after vaccination had produced antibodies that activated their platelets, a blood component involved in clotting. The new reports add extensive details to what the researchers have already stated publicly about the blood disorder. Why the rare reaction occurred is not known. Younger people appear more susceptible than older ones, but researchers say no preexisting health conditions are known to predispose people to the problem, so there is no way to tell if an individual is at high risk. Reports of the clots have already led a number of countries to limit AstraZeneca’s vaccine to older people, or to stop using it entirely. The cases have dealt a crushing blow to global efforts to halt the pandemic, because the AstraZeneca shot — easy to store and relatively cheap — has been a mainstay of vaccination programs in more than 100 countries.
9th Apr 2021 - bdnews24.com

Studies suggest link between blood clots, AstraZeneca COVID vaccine

Two studies today in the New England Journal of Medicine describe 11 patients in Austria and Germany and 5 in Norway who developed an unusual blood clotting disorder after receiving their first dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. The first study, led by researchers at the Institute for Immunology and Transfusion Medicine in Greifswald, Germany, involved 11 patients who had abnormal blood clots or thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts) 5 to 16 days after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. One patient had a fatal intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain), while nine had cerebral venous thrombosis (blood clots in the brain), three had splanchnic vein thrombosis (blood clots in abdominal veins), three had a pulmonary embolism (blockage in a lung artery caused by blood clots), and four had other types of blood clots. Six patients, in addition to the patient with fatal intracranial hemorrhage, died.
9th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

Reports detail high COVID-19 burden in Native Americans

During the pandemic, Native Americans have had 2.2 times greater COVID-19 case incidence and almost quadruple the death rate of White people in Montana, according to a study today in Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). A separate MMWR report looked at COVID-19 cases and response on a 10,000-member tribal reservation in Montana, while a third detailed control efforts taken on a North Dakota reservation. All three research teams suggest that Native American populations are disproportionately vulnerable during the pandemic and benefit from COVID-19 mitigations.
9th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

COVID-19: Study finds link with brain, mental health conditions

A study suggests that in the United States in 2020, around a third of COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with a neurological or mental health condition within 6 months of their COVID-19 diagnoses. Anxiety and mood disorders were the most common diagnoses. Neurological conditions, such as stroke and dementia, occurred less often but were more common among people with severe COVID-19. The overall effect of these disorders, many of which are chronic, may be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic.
9th Apr 2021 - Medical News Today

Brazil finds new virus variant combining 18 mutations

Scientists in Brazil have discovered a new variant of coronavirus that combines 18 mutations, rubbing salt in the wound of the South American epicenter. The new strain from Belo Horizonte city "has characteristics in common with the variants that were already circulating in Brazil but it also has new characteristics," Virologist Renato Santana from the Federal University of Minas Gerais told local daily G1 on Wednesday. "It is as if these variants were evolving," Santana said, adding the new variant includes the same genes modified by Brazil's Manaus, known as P1, British and South African variant. Noting that it is early to assess whether the new strain more transmissible or deadly, he said that it has mutations in common with variants that are already associated with a higher risk of death. The new super variant made headlines at a critical time when Brazil registered record-high single-day COVID-19 deaths with more than 4,000.
8th Apr 2021 - Anadolu Agency | English

Sunlight linked with lower Covid-19 deaths, study suggests

Increased exposure to sunlight has been linked to a lower risk of dying from Covid-19, an observational study has suggested. People living in sunnier areas, with the highest level of exposure to UVA rays, are associated with fewer deaths from coronavirus compared with those with lower levels, experts from the University of Edinburgh said. The study compared all recorded deaths from Covid-19 in the continental US from January to April 2020 with UV levels for 2,474 US counties for the same time period.
7th Apr 2021 - The Independent

How dangerous is India’s ‘double mutant’ COVID-19 variant?

In late March, India’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), a division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, announced that a new variant – dubbed a “double mutant” – had been identified in samples of saliva taken from people in Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab. This comes on the back of a month that has seen a surge in cases of COVID-19 across India, with many states re-imposing curfews, restrictions and lockdown measures. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says this new “double mutant” variant has not been found in sufficient numbers to account for the increase in COVID-19 cases across the country. That, rather, is thought to be due to large public gatherings such as weddings, the opening of cinema halls and gyms, as well as large political rallies in West Bengal where elections are due to be held soon. Nevertheless, it is a “variant of concern” (VOC) and is being closely monitored. The genome sequencing carried out by a consortium of 10 labs in India, called the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), has identified two important mutations in the new variant, giving it the unfortunate title of “double mutant”.
5th Apr 2021 - Al Jazeera English


Healthcare Innovations - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Apr 2021

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Britain reassures on AstraZeneca after advising under-30s take other vaccines

British officials and ministers sought to shore up confidence in AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, saying advice that most people under 30 should be offered alternative shots was not unusual and would not impact the pace of rollout. A pharmacist whose brother died from a brain blood clot linked to the AstraZeneca shot was among those calling for people to keep getting it, saying the doses would save lives. Officials said the suggestion that under-30s should be offered an alternative did not reflect any serious safety concerns, just a “vanishingly” rare possible side effect.
8th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Health workers report 'long COVID' after just mild illness

Fifteen percent of healthcare workers at a Swedish hospital who recovered from mild COVID-19 at least 8 months before report at least one moderate to severe symptom disrupting their work, home, or social life, according to a research letter published yesterday in JAMA. A team led by scientists at Danderyd Hospital, part of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, conducted the study from April 2020 to January 2021. The research involved obtaining blood samples and administering questionnaires to healthcare workers participating in the ongoing COVID-19 Biomarker and Immunity (COMMUNITY) study.
8th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP


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In the race to stay ahead of COVID-19 variants, the US lags globally

The vaccines going in our arms could become less effective as the coronavirus mutates, a problem that demands scientists meticulously track variants to protect us. The United States lags many other countries in employing the essential tool for keeping abreast of variants – gene sequencing – increasing the risk that a variant could spread undetected. This year, the United States ranks 33rd in the world for its rate of sequencing, falling between Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe, according to COVID CoV Genomic, led by researchers at Harvard and MIT. The top three nations – Iceland, Australia and New Zealand – sequenced at a rate 55 to 95 times greater.
7th Apr 2021 - USA Today

EU agency: Rare clots possibly linked to AstraZeneca shot

British authorities recommended Wednesday that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine not be given to adults under 30 where possible because of strengthening evidence that the shot may be linked to rare blood clots. The recommendation came as regulators in the United Kingdom and the European Union emphasized that the benefits of receiving the vaccine continue to outweigh the risks for most people — even though the European Medicines Agency said it had found a “possible link” between the shot and the rare clots. British authorities recommended that people under 30 be offered alternatives to AstraZeneca. But the EMA advised no such age restrictions, leaving it up to its member-countries to decide whether to limit its use.
7th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press

COVID-19 tied to spikes in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests

An international study that identified a dramatic increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) preceding and paralleling the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that OHCA is yet another example of the virus's myriad multisystemic effects and a signal of upcoming community surges. In the observational study, published today in the Lancet's EClinicalMedicine, emergency services medical directors in 50 large cities in the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and New Zealand reported tallies of monthly OCHAs among adults in their respective jurisdictions from January to June 2020 and compared them with numbers from the same periods in 2018 and 2019.
7th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

New findings in COVID-related kids' syndrome, Kawasaki disease

Two studies today describe new findings in the COVID-19–associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and the distinct but similar Kawasaki disease (KD). In the first study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, a team led by researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used lab data to compare geographic and temporal distribution of MIS-C from March 2020 to January 2021 with that of COVID-19 over the same period. In the largest known cohort of MIS-C patients and their distributions across the United States, the cumulative incidence was 2.1 per 100,000 people 21 and younger and varied by state, from 0.2 to 6.3 per 100,000. The death rate was 1.4%.
7th Apr 2021 - CIDRAP

AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot tagged with new warning in EU, highlighting rare blood clot risk

Europe’s drug regulator has been probing cases of rare blood clots in AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine recipients since mid-March—and now it has confirmed a possible link. The agency stressed that the benefits of the shot still outweigh the risks. Unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as a “very rare” side effect of the vaccine, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Wednesday. Incidents have mostly been reported within two weeks of vaccination in women below the age of 60. With cases piling up over the past month, several countries have stopped using the shot altogether. The EMA's safety arm, the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC), specifically noted clots in the brain, abdomen and arteries associated with thrombocytopenia, or low levels of blood platelets.
7th Apr 2021 - FiercePharma

Akili’s therapeutic video game will be tested as a treatment for Covid ‘brain fog’

Akili, which made history last summer by earning regulatory clearance for the first video-game based therapy, now plans to test if its software can help adults suffering from Covid “brain fog.” Two randomized remote studies, one conducted by Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the other by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will assess whether AKL-T01, the treatment that Akili commercially markets for ADHD as EndeavorRx, can help improve cognition symptoms in Covid survivors. The new studies come at a pivotal moment for Akili. EndeavorRx is being prescribed by more doctors, but the company is still hoping for widespread acceptance. As Akili labors to show EndeavorRx works, it’s also looking for new pathways to commercialization.
7th Apr 2021 - STAT News

Covid-19 reinfections are rare — but without better data, we don’t how rare

Reinfections from Covid-19 continue to seem rare, and are not responsible for the current, stubbornly high case counts in the United States, according to scientists and the latest findings. At least, that’s what researchers are left to conclude. Experts say the country and individual states don’t have strong systems to determine how frequently people are getting reinfected — another consequence of the nation’s limited surveillance network. They’re calling for better data collection and analysis around second cases of Covid-19. The main factors driving coronavirus transmission in the United States are a mix of the old — easing restrictions, people coming into close contact with others — and the new, like the more transmissible variants, experts say. And Caitlin Rivers, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said she thought that reinfections are still uncommon.
7th Apr 2021 - STAT News

Antibody Persistence through 6 Months after the Second Dose of mRNA-1273 Vaccine for Covid-19 | NEJM

Interim results from a phase 3 trial of the Moderna mRNA-1273 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine indicated 94% efficacy in preventing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).1 The durability of protection is currently unknown. We describe mRNA1273-elicited binding and neutralizing antibodies in 33 healthy adult participants in an ongoing phase 1 trial,2-4 stratified according to age, at 180 days after the second dose of 100 μg (day 209).
6th Apr 2021 - nejm.org

What do we know about the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine?

With over 30million jabs handed out across the UK and concerns over the AstraZeneca vaccine it is welcome news that the Moderna coronavirus vaccine is the third jab to be rolled out in the UK. The jabs, which form part of the 17 million-dose order by the Government, were authorised for temporary use by the UK’s medicines regulator on January 8. It will be administered to people in Wales from Wednesday. It follows the rollout of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, which began in December and January respectively.
6th Apr 2021 - Evening Standard


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COVID-19: Oxford-AstraZeneca jab benefits outweigh 'rare incidents of risk', says vaccines minister - as regulator reviews clot cases

The benefits of taking the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab "far outweigh" any "rare incidents of risk", the vaccines minister has said, as the UK's drugs regulator investigates reports of blood clots. Speaking to Sky News, Nadhim Zahawi reinforced the government's message for people to get a COVID jab as experts at the UK's independent drugs regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), continue to investigate reports of a very rare and specific blood clot in the brain after taking the Oxford jab. They are also considering other very rare blood clotting cases alongside low platelet levels.
6th Apr 2021 - Sky News

Oxford pauses AstraZeneca vaccine study on children

Oxford university has called a pause to a small clinical trial in children of the Covid-19 vaccine developed with AstraZeneca, ahead of new risk assessments this week by regulators investigating possible links between the jab and rare but potentially fatal blood disorders in adults. The suspension of the trial, which was running tests in 300 volunteers aged 6 to 17, is the latest setback for a product seen as a mainstay of vaccination programmes in the UK and around the world. The university said it had decided to suspend the trial ahead of the release of “additional information” from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the UK regulator, following its review of cases of thrombosis (blood clotting) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) in some adults. It said there were “no safety concerns in the paediatric study”
6th Apr 2021 - Financial Times

In Serbia, COVID vaccine supply outweighs demand amid mistrust

With the third-highest rate of inoculations in Europe, Serbia is viewed as something of a Balkan success. But the country has been struggling to find people to vaccinate. Under Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia has procured enough vaccines to inoculate its population of seven million, but supply is outpacing demand amid vaccine hesitancy. Vucic announced in early March that Serbia had nearly 15 million vaccines, but by March 25, Serbian authorities told reporters that just 1.3 million people had been vaccinated. Last weekend, thousands of foreigners from the region crossed borders to get free jabs in Serbia. In three days more than 22,000 foreigners were inoculated. It was a pragmatic move.
6th Apr 2021 - AlJazeera

Brain disorders affect 1 in 3 Covid survivors, large UK study shows

One in three people who have suffered from Covid-19 was diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of infection, according to scientists who have carried out the largest study of the mental health effects of coronavirus. They found that Covid-19 was 44 per cent more likely to cause neurological and mental problems than a case of influenza of comparable severity. “Although the individual risks for most disorders are small, the effect across the whole population may be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic and the fact that many of these conditions are chronic,” said Paul Harrison, professor of psychiatry at Oxford university and project leader.
6th Apr 2021 - The Financial Times

Official: EU agency to confirm AstraZeneca blood clot link

A top official at the European Medicines Agency says there is a causal link between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots, but that it’s unclear what the connection is and the benefits of taking the shot still outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19. Marco Cavaleri, head of health threats and vaccine strategy at the Amsterdam-based agency, told Rome’s Il Messaggero newspaper on Tuesday that the European Union’s medicines regulator is preparing to make a more definitive statement on the topic this week. Asked about Cavaleri’s comments, the EMA press office said its evaluation “has not yet reached a conclusion and the review is currently ongoing.” It said it planned a press conference as soon as the review is finalized, possibly Wednesday or Thursday.
6th Apr 2021 - The Associated Press


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UK regulator finds total of 30 blood clots from 18 million people given the AstraZeneca vaccine

Seven people in Britain died of a blood clot on the brain after having an AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines out of 18.1million does, the MHRA has revealed as it insists there is no evidence of a link between the two. It has also emerged that young people are up to 35 times more likely to die of Covid than to develop the type of brain blood clot that European officials fear could be caused by AstraZeneca's jab, figures suggest. German medics have seen one case of CVST - a type of rare brain blood clot that can cause strokes - in every 90,000 people to receive the vaccine, and say that is higher than expected. It is equal to a rate of 0.0012 per cent.
3rd Apr 2021 - Daily Mail

Doctors put ‘on alert’ for blood-clotting syndrome after seven UK deaths following AstraZeneca vaccine

Doctors have been issued with new advice to help them spot a rare blood-clotting disorder that may be linked to the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, as the UK’s medicines regulator confirms seven deaths. The British Society for Haematology decided to act after some experts became concerned at the number of cases of blood clotting linked to a rare syndrome known as thrombocytopenia. It said doctors needed to be “on alert” for the condition and what to look for, how to treat it and how to report cases so the data can be properly collated. Thrombocytopenia involves patients having abnormally low numbers of platelet cells in their blood. Platelets help blood to clot after an injury.
3rd Apr 2021 - The Independent

Coronavirus live news: Pfizer vaccine has 100% efficacy against South African variant in small trial

Two shots of the Pfizer vaccine produce high levels of protective antibodies in people 80 and over, according to the largest independent study yet into older people’s immune responses to the jab. Blood tests on 100 people aged 80- to 96-years-old found that 98% produced strong antibody responses after two doses of the vaccine given three weeks apart. After the second shot, antibody levels more than tripled. The findings, released in a preprint that has yet to be peer-reviewed, will boost confidence that the Pfizer vaccine can be highly effective against Covid even in older people who tend to generate far weaker immune responses to both vaccines and natural infections. But it is unclear what the findings mean for the UK where second shots of vaccine are given up to three months after the first.
1st Apr 2021 - The Guardian

Antibody responses to the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2

In a cohort of BNT162b2 (Pfizer–BioNTech) mRNA vaccine recipients (n = 1,090), we observed that spike-specific IgG antibody levels and ACE2 antibody binding inhibition responses elicited by a single vaccine dose in individuals with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 35) were similar to those seen after two doses of vaccine in individuals without prior infection (n = 228). Post-vaccine symptoms were more prominent for those with prior infection after the first dose, but symptomology was similar between groups after the second dose.
1st Apr 2021 - Nature

Finnish coronavirus vaccine study shows sharp drop in hospitalisations

Coronavirus vaccinations in Finland reduced the number of severe Covid-19 cases requiring hospitalisation by an average of 74 percent in people aged over 70 and by an average of 84 percent in at-risk groups, according to the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), which published preliminary results of a study on the matter on Wednesday. The study compared the likelihood of hospitalisation for coronavirus in vaccinated and non-vaccinated patients. The results largely reflect the efficacy of a single dose of the vaccine, as only 10 percent of the study's participants had received a second dose during the study period. "Estimates of vaccine efficacy are in line with results internationally. Four weeks after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, efficacy was 78 percent in Israel, 81 percent in Scotland and 71-80 percent in England," said Tuija Leino, head of the immunisation programme at THL.
31st Mar 2021 - YLE News


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University scientists deconstruct Covid-19 vaccines and publish 'recipe' on open web

Scientists have determined the “recipes” for two Covid-19 vaccines using leftovers in vials bound for the trash and published the mRNA sequences on Github, the online repository for software code. The group of scientists from Stanford University were able to determine the sequences of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and included the mRNA sequences in a post they published on Github last week, tech news site Motherboard first reported. Experts say the publication will help researchers around the world better identify when testing samples whether they are looking at sequences from the Covid-19 virus or vaccines to treat the virus, because they can give false positives.
31st Mar 2021 - The Guardian

Pfizer, BioNTech: COVID vaccine effective in teens

Pfizer and BioNTech today announced that their COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective and triggered a robust antibody response in a phase 3 US trial involving 2,260 adolescents 12 to 15 years old. The immune responses in that age-group, the companies said, exceeded those recorded previously among 16- to 25-year-olds. The companies say they plan to submit the data to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of the vaccine in this age-group. "The initial results we have seen in the adolescent studies suggest that children are particularly well protected by vaccination, which is very encouraging given the trends we have seen in recent weeks regarding the spread of the B.1.1.7 UK variant," BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in the companies' press release.
31st Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

AstraZeneca COVID vaccine 70% effective vs B117 variant

Data from a UK phase 2/3 clinical trial suggest the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-vaccine is 70.4% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 caused by the B117 variant, which was identified in the United Kingdom in late 2020. The data, published in The Lancet yesterday, also showed it was 28.9% effective at preventing asymptomatic infections or cases with unknown symptoms. Overall efficacy was 61.7% against the B117 variant and 77.3% against other variants, according to the study. The vaccine was 81.5% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 caused by non-B117 strains.
31st Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

Fewer than 5% of COVID-19 infections are acquired in schools, Canadian simulation study finds

Several simulations were run in which schools were reopened but different measures in the community were in place. In each scenario, the schools had measures in place such as capping class sizes, students staying in one classroom during the day and universal masking. School-acquired coronavirus infections made up 3.15% of all cases in the first scenario, 4.19% in the second and 2.37% in the third. Researchers say this shows that other mitigation measures should be taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 before schools are closed
31st Mar 2021 - Daily Mail


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No rare blood clots in first 440,000 people vaccinated for coronavirus in Wales

No cases of a blood clotting disorder have been found in the first 440,000 people vaccinated against Covid-19 in Wales. Scientists in Swansea University looked at anonymised patient data between January 1, 2019 and January 31, 2021 to determine whether there had been a rise in cases of venous sinus thromboembolism. The extremely rare condition was found in a small number of patients in Norway and Germany and was one of the reasons why several European countries decided to temporarily halt the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. However the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there has been no confirmation the reports of blood clots were caused by the vaccine.
30th Mar 2021 - Wales Online

Covid: Half of UK has antibodies from vaccination or infection

Roughly half of people in the UK now have antibodies against Covid, either through infection or vaccination, tests conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. Most of this will be through vaccination - with 30 million people having received at least one dose. Antibodies are proteins in the blood which recognise specific infections and fight them off. Among the oldest who are most at risk, levels are even higher. But there has been a small decline in detectable antibodies in that group since the peak of infections in January.
30th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Covid jab probably does protect those around you

The Covid-19 vaccine blocks pretty much all cases of serious illness - but the government has been much more cautious about saying whether it stops people carrying the virus and infecting others. Until evidence had built up from lots of people being vaccinated, scientists could not say for sure if the jab would stop transmission - and there was concern those vaccinated might stop taking precautions, potentially leading to a rise in infections. But with some now refusing the vaccine in the belief it will not stop them passing on the virus, is this caution becoming counterproductive? A number of people have contacted the BBC, saying they believe the jab could stop them becoming severely ill only.
30th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Many hospitalized Covid-19 patients are given antibiotics. That’s a problem

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues into its second year, public health experts are increasingly concerned that the response to this global crisis may be accelerating another one: the development and persistence of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs. Why? All antibiotic use hastens the emergence of resistance. And although antibiotics aren’t used to treat Covid-19, which is a viral illness, they’re often prescribed to Covid-19 patients who are at risk for bacterial infection. New research from our organization, the Pew Charitable Trusts, sheds additional light on the extent to which antibiotics are being prescribed unnecessarily in the midst of the pandemic. In a study of nearly 6,000 hospital admissions between February and July 2020 among patients with Covid-19, at least one course of antibiotics was given to more than half (52%) during their hospital stays.
30th Mar 2021 - STAT News

T cells induced by COVID-19 infection respond to new virus variants: U.S. study

A critical component of the immune system known as T cells that respond to fight infection from the original version of the novel coronavirus appear to also protect against three of the most concerning new virus variants, according to a U.S. laboratory study released on Tuesday. Several recent studies have shown that certain variants of the novel coronavirus can undermine immune protection from antibodies and vaccines. But antibodies - which block the coronavirus from attaching to human cells - may not tell the whole story, according to the study by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). T cells appear to play an important additionally protective role. “Our data, as well as the results from other groups, shows that the T cell response to COVID-19 in individuals infected with the initial viral variants appears to fully recognize the major new variants identified in the UK, South Africa and Brazil,” said Andrew Redd of the NIAID and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the study.
30th Mar 2021 - Reuters


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Risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from newly-infected individuals with documented previous infection or vaccination

Direct evidence of the impact of vaccination on the risk of transmission is only available from one study, a large register-based household transmission study from Scotland. This study suggests that vaccination of a household member reduces the risk of infection in susceptible household members by at least 30%. There is evidence that vaccination significantly reduces viral load and symptomatic/asymptomatic infections in vaccinated individuals, which could translate into reduced transmission, although the vaccine efficacy varies by vaccine product and target group. In light of this fact, the total number of infections is expected to decrease significantly as vaccination coverage increases, provided that there is a match between the vaccine strains and the circulating virus strains. This will lead to decreased transmission overall. Follow-up periods for vaccinated persons are not yet sufficiently long enough to draw conclusions on the duration of protection against infection long-term. Antibody titres in vaccinated individuals peak at 3−4 weeks following vaccination. Many of the vaccine efficacy studies were carried out before the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs. In studies that address the variants, there is limited preliminary evidence of reduced vaccine efficacy, in particular for B.1.351 and possibly also for P.1.
29th Mar 2021 - EU News

COVID-19 vaccines found to be highly effective in real-world CDC study

The U.S. government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies. The two vaccines available since December — Pfizer and Moderna — were highly effective at 90% after two doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. In testing, the vaccines were about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19. “This is very reassuring news,” said the CDC’s Mark Thompson, the study’s lead author. “We have a vaccine that’s working very well.”
29th Mar 2021 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

WHO draft report says animals likely source of COVID-19

A joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press. The findings offer little new insight into how the virus first emerged and leave many questions unanswered. But the report does provide more detail on the reasoning behind the researchers’ conclusions. The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis — a speculative theory that was promoted by former U.S. President Donald Trump among others. It also said the role played by a seafood market where human cases were first identified was uncertain.
29th Mar 2021 - The Associated Press

COVID-19 antibodies appear to ward off B117 better than B1351

COVID-19 survivors and those vaccinated against coronavirus appear able to fight off infection with the B117 SARS-CoV-2 variant but may not have the same level of protection against the B1351 variant, according to two new studies. In the first study, published late last week in Nature Medicine, researchers at Institut Pasteur in Paris isolated infectious B117, the variant first identified in the United Kingdom, and B1351, first discovered in South Africa, from the nasal swabs of symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Like some other emerging variants, B117 and B1351 are more infectious than previously dominant varieties, leading to fears that they could evade natural and vaccine-induced immunity.
29th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP


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Pregnant women 'didn't have the data' – until now: COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, even for babies, study shows

COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at protecting pregnant women and likely provide protection for their babies as well, according to a new study. The research, published Thursday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, examined 131 vaccine recipients, including 84 who were pregnant, 31 who were breastfeeding and 16 who weren't pregnant as a control group. Earlier studies suggested the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna would be safe and effective. But this is the largest study to date looking at the immune responses of pregnant and lactating women to vaccination
28th Mar 2021 - Yahoo

Covid: How this Indian firm is vaccinating the world

As pharmaceutical giants ramp up production in the race to vaccinate the world, one firm has shot into the lead. The Serum Institute of India (SII) isn't a household name, but it's the world's largest vaccine maker. The firm churns out 1.5 billion doses every year from the company's vast manufacturing plant in Pune, Western India. It is currently making Covid vaccines under license for pharmaceutical firms such as AstraZeneca. "We took a huge calculated risk", by betting on several vaccines in 2020 before regulators had even approved of them, SII's chief executive Adar Poonawalla told the BBC. "It wasn't a blind risk, because we knew the Oxford scientists from our earlier collaboration with the malaria vaccine."
28th Mar 2021 - BBC News

Joint jab for Covid-19 and flu could be ready next year, says top vaccine developer

Scientists at Imperial College London have demonstrated ‘proof of principle’ and hope to begin developing the joint vaccine later this year. A joint jab for Covid-19 and flu could be ready for use by the end of next year, according to one of Britain’s leading vaccine developers. Professor Robin Shattock, of Imperial College London, said the combination jab “is in our sights” after successfully combining three existing vaccines into one shot using the RNA technology he is developing. Tests of the three-in-one vaccine shot he created for Ebola, Marburg and Lassa fever produced the “same type of immune response” in mice as if they had been administered separately, he said.
28th Mar 2021 - iNews

Do COVID-19 vaccines stop transmission? Top scientists are now recruiting thousands of college students to find out.

A study began on Thursday to see how well Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine stops the spread of the virus. Scientists plan to recruit 12,000 college students across 21 campuses for the clinical trial. They hope it will tell us how well vaccines prevent asymptomatic infections and stop transmission.
26th Mar 2021 - Yahoo News UK

Shots in little arms: COVID-19 vaccine testing turns to kids

The 9-year-old twins didn’t flinch as each received test doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine -- and then a sparkly bandage to cover the spot. “Sparkles make everything better,” declared Marisol Gerardo as she hopped off an exam table at Duke University to make way for her sister Alejandra. Researchers in the U.S. and abroad are beginning to test younger and younger kids to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe and work for each age. The first shots are going to adults who are most at risk from the coronavirus, but ending the pandemic will require vaccinating children too.
26th Mar 2021 - The Independent

Can one vaccine ward off all coronavirus? Researchers are about to find out

Variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are emerging and becoming dominant around the world. So some vaccines are being updated to allow our immune system to learn how to deal with them. But this process of identifying and characterising variants that can escape our immune system, then tweaking a vaccine to deal with them, can take time. So researchers are designing a universal coronavirus vaccine. This could mean one vaccine to protect against different variants of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Alternatively, a universal vaccine would target many different coronaviruses, perhaps one waiting in the wings to cause the next pandemic. Here's where the science is up to and the challenges ahead.
26th Mar 2021 - ABC News

Britain gives go-ahead to 20-second COVID-19 test, distributor says

A 20-second COVID-19 test will launch in Britain after regulators accepted its registration, the product’s distributor said on Friday, heralding a testing system it said could be used in airports, sports venues and businesses. Rapid tests are seen as a key plank of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, but concerns have been expressed about the accuracy of existing lateral flow devices. The Virolens test, which is made by British start-up iAbra and TT Electronics, has been piloted at Heathrow Airport, and uses swabs of saliva. Histate, which is distributing the test, said it would launch with immediate effect after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) accepted the registration of the product, and the company said it was hoping for a wider rollout in coming months.
26th Mar 2021 - Reuters

UK’s HEAL-COVID trial will test existing drugs for the treatment of long Covid

In an effort to reduce the number of deaths and readmissions of patients who have previously been hospitalised with Covid-19, the UK is gearing up to launch national drug trial HEAL-COVID.
26th Mar 2021 - Clinical Trials Arena

Covid: Past infection increases vaccine response six-fold

Health workers with previous Covid-19 infections had six times the immune response to one dose of the Pfizer jab than those who hadn't had the virus. The researchers said this emphasised the importance of people having their second dose to provide the same "booster" effect. Those who have had Covid should still have a second jab, though, to ensure "longer-lasting" protection. Giving the previously-infected one dose would not be efficient, experts say. Having two jabs gives the best chance of activating all parts of the immune system and potentially protecting against new variants. The study, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, was an extension of Public Health England's Siren study of healthcare workers.
26th Mar 2021 - BBC News


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Study says COVID-19 vaccines provide protection for pregnant and lactating women -- and their newborns

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are effective in pregnant and lactating women, who can pass protective antibodies to newborns, according to research published Thursday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard looked at 131 women who received either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Among the participants, 84 were pregnant, 31 were lactating and 16 were not pregnant. Samples were collected between December 17, 2020 and March 2, 2021.
25th Mar 2021 - CTV News

Regeneron Antibody Cocktail May Reduce COVID-19 Hospitalization by 70%

Results from a phase 3 clinical trial show that Regeneron’s antibody cocktail has the ability to cut the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and death by 70 percent. The treatment also shortened the duration of COVID-19 symptoms by 4 days. The two antibodies work similarly to the antibodies the immune system naturally produces to fight the coronavirus.
25th Mar 2021 - Healthline

U.S. COVID response could have avoided hundreds of thousands of deaths - research

The United States squandered both money and lives in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, and it could have avoided nearly 400,000 deaths with a more effective health strategy and trimmed federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars while still supporting those who needed it. That is the conclusion of a group of research papers released at a Brookings Institution conference this week, offering an early and broad start to what will likely be an intense effort in coming years to assess the response to the worst pandemic in a century. U.S. COVID-19 fatalities could have stayed under 300,000, versus a death toll of 540,000 and rising, if by last May the country had adopted widespread mask, social distancing, and testing protocols while awaiting a vaccine, estimated Andrew Atkeson, economics professor at University of California, Los Angeles.
25th Mar 2021 - Reuters

AstraZeneca COVID vaccine 76% effective in new US trial analysis

AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine was 76 percent effective at preventing symptomatic illness in a new analysis of its key trial in the United States – slightly lower than the level announced earlier this week in a report that was criticised for using outdated information. US health officials had publicly rebuked the drugmaker for not using the most up-to-date information when it published an interim analysis on Monday that said the vaccine was 79 percent effective.
25th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

Study: Remdesivir speeds recovery in hospitalized COVID patients

The antiviral drug remdesivir (Veklury) was associated with faster clinical improvement in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in a multicenter comparative-effectiveness study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. The retrospective study, conducted by Johns Hopkins University researchers, involved 2,299 COVID-19 patients receiving care in a 5-hospital health system in the Baltimore and Washington, DC, area from Mar 4 to Aug 29, 2020. About 15% percent received remdesivir (342) as part of their treatment, of which 285 were matched with controls for primary statistical analysis.
25th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

Pfizer and BioNTech to begin testing Covid-19 vaccine in children

Pfizer and BioNTech said Thursday they are beginning a study aimed at showing their Covid-19 vaccine can be used in children as young as 6 months. The study follows the launch of a separate and ongoing trial in children ages 12 to 15, which was fully enrolled in January. That study could lead to results by the end of the first half of the year, depending on the data, and then to an emergency use authorization. That will depend on the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccine already has an EUA for people 16 and older.
25th Mar 2021 - Stat News

Africa experienced 30% rise in COVID cases during 2nd wave: Study

Africa experienced a 30 percent rise in infections in its second wave of coronavirus last year but implemented fewer public health measures than in the first, research showed on Thursday. Writing in The Lancet medical journal, researchers said the loosening of public health measures such as distancing and intermittent lockdowns probably contributed to higher death tolls during the second wave. The study looked at COVID-19 case, death, recovery and test data carried out across all 55 African Union member states between February 14 and December 31 2020. Using publicly available data, it also analysed health control measures such as school closures and travel restrictions.
25th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera


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BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Effectiveness among Health Care Workers

Since the introduction of Covid-19 vaccines, prioritizing vaccination of health care workers has been advocated, and data on vaccine effectiveness among health care workers in real-world settings is beginning to emerge. In our study that was conducted in an active hospital setting in a community with a high incidence of Covid-19, vaccination of health care workers with the BNT162b2 vaccine resulted in a major reduction of new cases of Covid-19 among those who received two doses of the vaccine, even when a surge of the B.1.1.7 variant was noted in up to 80% of cases.5 These findings suggest that widespread and effective vaccination among health care workers provides a safe environment, even in the presence of a high rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the community.
24th Mar 2021 - nejm.org

School return has been major factor in plateau of Covid-19 cases, data suggests

The reopening of schools has been a major factor in the recent plateau in Covid-19 cases, new data suggests. Daily case numbers fell rapidly throughout January and February but have remained stagnant at about 500-600 a day over the past month. The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) and the government have repeatedly said that the staged reopening of schools, which began on February 23, is not responsible for the plateau, instead blaming an increase in people meeting up and socialising. However, data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid-19 cases in children have increased by almost 20 per cent in the past month while cases among the adult population have decreased by more than 10 per cent.
24th Mar 2021 - The Times

Covid cases among healthcare workers declined 31% after staff get their first shot - and infection rate falls below 1% after they are fully vaccinated, two studies find

Coronavirus cases among healthcare workers declined dramatically after staff got their first vaccine dose, two new studies have found. In one study of employees at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 2.6 percent of all workers who were unvaccinated tested positive for COVID-19 compared to 1.82 percent of those given their first shot, a drop of 31 percent. That same study also found that just 0.05 percent of those who received both doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Modena vaccine were later infected.
24th Mar 2021 - Daily Mail

Pfizer launches first clinical trial of a pill to treat COVID-19 that prevents the virus from making copies of itself inside human cells

Pfizer Inc has launched early-stage human trials of an experimental oral drug that could be prescribed to patients at the first sign of infection with COVID-19. The drugmaker, which developed the first authorized COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. with Germany's BioNTech SE, said the antiviral candidate showed 'potent' activity against the virus in lab studies. Pfizer's candidate, which is called PF-07321332, belongs to a class of drugs known as protease inhibitors.
24th Mar 2021 - Daily Mail


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AstraZeneca to reissue Covid-19 vaccine trial data after monitors raise alarm

AstraZeneca said it would reissue key data on its American clinical trial “within 48 hours” after the independent monitoring board that oversaw the study warned US authorities that results released by the company on Monday were misleading.
23rd Mar 2021 - The Financial Times

COVID-19: Dexamethasone may have saved lives of 1 million COVID sufferers, says NHS

An easily available drug may have saved the lives of a million COVID sufferers around the world since its discovery in June, NHS England has said. Dexamethasone, an inexpensive and widely available steroid, was found to reduce deaths from COVID-19 following a clinical trial. It cut the risk of death by a third for COVID patients on ventilators, while fatalities for those on oxygen fell by almost a fifth, scientists from the University of Oxford found as part of a clinical trial known as Recovery.
23rd Mar 2021 - Sky News

Why Insomnia And Burnout May Increase Your Covid Risk

If there’s one thing that’s become clear as the pandemic has stretched on, it’s that there’s a lot to be explored in the relationship between Covid-19 and poor sleep. We already knew the two were linked. An analysis of sleep studies found sleep problems affected approximately 40% of people in the pandemic – and those who caught Covid-19 appeared to have a higher prevalence of sleep problems. Now, a study suggests if you had sleep problems prior to getting coronavirus, or suffered daily burnout, you have a heightened risk of not only becoming infected with the virus, but also having more severe disease. Every one-hour increase in the amount of time spent asleep at night was associated with 12% lower odds of becoming infected with Covid-19, according to the study published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.
23rd Mar 2021 - Huffington Post

COVID-19 'long haulers' need dedicated clinics, experts say

The United States should create multispecialty COVID-19 clinics dedicated to treating patients still experiencing serious multiorgan effects of infection well after recovery from acute illness, say the authors of a comprehensive review of literature on so-called coronavirus "long-haulers" published yesterday in Nature Medicine. The exact number of US long-haul COVID-19 cases is unknown, but the researchers said that many patients struggle in silence or become frustrated when their doctors don't consider that their symptoms could be related to their previous infection. The review, led by researchers at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, found that the cell damage, inflammatory immune response, abnormal blood clotting, and other complications of acute COVID-19 infection can leave in their wake long-term symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, "brain fog," fatigue, joint pain, and posttraumatic stress disorder, all of which can compromise quality of life. The researchers detailed literature from the United States, Europe, and China on high percentages of long-haulers, or those with chronic or post–COVID-19 syndrome, who often have debilitating symptoms for more than 3 months. COVID-19 has been associated with diabetes, strokes, heart rhythm abnormalities, blood clots in the lungs, and other complications.
23rd Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

Regeneron, Roche COVID-19 antibody cocktail slashes hospitalizations and tackles variants in phase 3

Even as COVID-19 vaccines roll out across the globe, promising to eventually spark herd immunity to the virus, Regeneron’s executives have been preaching the value of having a powerful antibody cocktail on hand to treat those who do get sick—and to protect those who aren’t vaccinated. Now Regeneron and its partner Roche have fresh phase 3 data to back up the theory. And if regulators agree with them, they could have a blockbuster on their hands, analysts have estimated. The treatment, a combination of casirivimab with imdevimab, lowered the risk of hospitalization or death in high-risk, non-hospitalized patients by 70% compared with placebo, the companies said. The drug combo also retained its potency against five major variants, including those originating in South Africa, the U.K. and New York City. It was effective at three different doses, as well.
23rd Mar 2021 - FiercePharma

What we know and don’t know about long Covid

Whether you call it long Covid or post-acute Covid-19 or just identify yourself as a long-hauler, the constellation of prolonged symptoms after Covid-19 infection has become all too familiar. About one-third of people who were sick enough to need hospitalization — including supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation to breathe — still struggle with problems affecting their bodies and their minds four weeks or more after the first onset of symptoms. About 1 in 10 people who had Covid but were never admitted to a hospital report they experience bewildering brain fog, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, or crushing fatigue in the months after the first signs of their initial illness. Some see no end in sight; others seem to recover. To help understand how to recognize and treat this mysterious condition, researchers from Harvard and Columbia culled the scientific literature to guide treatment for nine organ systems where the SARS-CoV-2 virus does its damage.
23rd Mar 2021 - STAT News

Hormone drugs may disarm COVID-19 spike protein and stop disease progression

Hormone drugs that reduce androgen levels may help disarm the coronavirus spike protein used to infect cells and stop the progression of severe COVID-19 disease, suggests a new preclinical study from researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania and published online in Cell Press's iScience. Researchers show how two receptors—known as ACE2 and TMPRSS2—are regulated by the androgen hormone and used by SARS-CoV-2 to gain entry into host cells. Blocking the receptors with the clinically proven inhibitor Camostat and other anti-androgen therapies prevented viral entry and replication
22nd Mar 2021 - Phys.Org


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The world’s first oral Covid-19 vaccine is being prepared for clinical trials - here's how it works

The world’s first oral Covid-19 vaccine is being prepared to enter Phase 1 clinical trials by an Israeli-American pharmaceutical company. Based on technology developed by Hadassah-University Medical Center, the joint venture between Premas Biotech and Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc will see the development of a novel oral Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is based on ‘POD’ oral delivery technology developed by Oramed. This will allow the vaccine to orally administer a number of protein-based therapies, which would otherwise be delivered by injection.
22nd Mar 2021 - The Scotsman

COVID-19: Hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo may be associated with coronavirus, research suggests

Hearing loss and other auditory problems may be strongly linked to coronavirus, new research suggests. Scientists estimate 7.6% of people infected with COVID-19 experience hearing loss, while 14.8% suffer tinnitus. They also found the prevalence of vertigo was 7.2%. The researchers, from The University of Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, compiled data from 24 studies that identified an association between coronavirus and auditory and vestibular problems. The vestibular system includes parts of the inner ear and brain that process the information involved with controlling balance and eye movements.
22nd Mar 2021 - Sky News

Vitamin D may prevent COVID, especially in Black patients

Higher levels of vitamin D than traditionally considered sufficient may help prevent COVID-19 infection—particularly in Black patients—or lead to less severe outcomes, two new US studies suggest.
22nd Mar 2021 - CIDRAP


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A rapid COVID-19 vaccine rollout backfired in some US states

A surprising new analysis found that states such as South Carolina, Florida and Missouri that raced ahead of others to offer the vaccine to ever-larger groups of people have vaccinated smaller shares of their population than those that moved more slowly and methodically, such as Hawaii and Connecticut. The explanation, as experts see it, is that the rapid expansion of eligibility caused a surge in demand too big for some states to handle and led to serious disarray. Vaccine supplies proved insufficient or unpredictable, websites crashed and phone lines became jammed, spreading confusion, frustration and resignation among many people. “The infrastructure just wasn’t ready. It kind of backfired,” said Dr. Rebecca Wurtz, an infectious disease physician and health data specialist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. She added: “In the rush to satisfy everyone, governors satisfied few and frustrated many.”
21st Mar 2021 - Yahoo News

Skin swabs could be the next COVID-19 test

Researchers have developed a new method for testing COVID-19 that uses a skin swab. The new test is less invasive compared to current testing methods. The skin swab test analyzes sebum, which is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands. Researchers from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom led the study.
20th Mar 2021 - Medical News Today

Covid vaccine priority list should include heart failure patients, experts say

Experts are calling for an urgent review of the vaccine priority list to include heart failure patients, as studies show more than half of this group who contract Covid-19 subsequently die. Younger people living with severe heart failure are not deemed at very high risk under the national immunisation programme. The data, from the Irish Heart Foundation and the Health Service Executive, has prompted the HSE’s national heart programme to call for under-70s, along with inpatients awaiting cardiac surgery, to be moved from level seven to level four of the priority list.
19th Mar 2021 - The Times

COVID-19 deaths: CDC may underestimate risk for people of color

The way in which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report COVID-19 deaths may lead to an underestimation of racial and ethnic disparities, according to a new study. The authors say that the CDC use a statistical method called “weighting” that discounts the impact of the uneven geographical distribution of COVID-19 deaths in the United States among various racial and ethnic groups. They argue that this approach fails to take into account the range of factors that influence where people live and work. This is important because these factors may also influence the risk of COVID-19.
19th Mar 2021 - Medical News Today


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GPs ‘at least 30% less likely’ to pass Covid-19 on to others after one vaccine dose

Chances of healthcare workers passing Covid onto others reduced by at least 30% after one vaccine dose, according to the first UK study into the transmission of coronavirus following vaccination. Quoting the research in yesterday’s coronavirus briefing, health secretary Matt Hancock said ‘it shows that the vaccines are saving lives’. The study, which included 300,000 people, saw researchers assess the health records of people who lived with vaccinated and unvaccinated healthcare workers between 8 December and 3 March to find how many tested positive for Covid-19 or were hospitalised. The yet-to-be-peer-reviewed study, carried out by Public Health Scotland and the University of Glasgow, suggested that after one vaccine dose healthcare workers are at least 30% less likely to pass Covid onto others, with this rising to 54% less likely after a second dose. The researchers said this is a low estimate of the ‘true’ impact of the vaccines, given that household members of healthcare workers could also be infected through people they do not live with.
18th Mar 2021 - Pulse

Skin swabbing could be useful in detecting Covid-19, research suggests

Simple skin swabbing could be useful in helping to help detect Covid-19, new research suggests. Chemists at the University of Surrey found that people infected with the virus appear to have lower lipid levels in the natural oils that coat the surface of their skin.
18th Mar 2021 - The Independent on MSN.com

Covid-19 reinfections are rare, unless you are over 65

Coronavirus reinfections are rare, but it's more common for people 65 and older to get infected more than once, according to a study published Wednesday in the Lancet medical journal. The study, which looked at reinfection rates among 4 million people in Denmark, found that most people who have had Covid-19 seemed to have protection from reinfection for more than six months. In a follow-up after six months, the study found no evidence that protection was waning. But a check of the demographics of who was getting infected again showed it was mostly people 65 and older, Jen Christensen reports.
18th Mar 2021 - CNN on MSN.com

J&J developing several next-generation COVID-19 vaccines, says CEO

Johnson & Johnson is developing several next generation COVID-19 vaccines against the emerging variants of the coronavirus, Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky said on Thursday. The drugmaker, which won the U.S. emergency use authorization of a one-shot vaccine last month, had previously said it was developing a second-generation vaccine that would target the variant first identified in South Africa. J&J is also working on a two-dose version of its vaccine. "We could be in a situation where you could either need a booster to maintain the durability (of protection against the virus) or you might need to have a next derivative of the current vaccine to address these variants as they develop", Gorsky said at a webinar by the Economic Club of New York.
18th Mar 2021 - Yahoo

Half of hospital COVID survivors note symptoms 4 months on

Half of French COVID-19 survivors who were hospitalized (51.0%) had at least one COVID-related symptom at least 4 months later, according to a study published yesterday in JAMA. The most commonly noted symptoms were fatigue (31.1%), cognitive conditions (20.7%), and shortness of breath (16.3%). Further clinical tests in a subset of 177 patients showed that 63.2% had abnormalities on lung computed tomography (CT) scan, but the researchers note that severe pulmonary after-effects were not common. "Along with funding for research to better understand and treat long COVID, simultaneous investment in clinical infrastructure will be needed to support patients as they recover from this challenging disease," writes Hallie Prescott, MD, MSc, of the University of Michigan, in an invited editorial.
18th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

Trending Clinical Topic: PASC

At a recent White House briefing, Anthony Fauci, MD, introduced a new acronym for what had been called "long COVID." PASC is the new term used to describe long-lingering effects of COVID-19 (see Infographic below) and is this week's top trending clinical topic. At the briefing, Fauci stressed that even patients with moderate cases of COVID-19 can develop PASC. "New symptoms sometimes arise well after the time of infection, or they evolve over time and persist for months," he explained. "They can range from mild or annoying to actually quite incapacitating." Fauci noted that the National Institutes of Health recently launched an initiative to further study the phenomenon.
18th Mar 2021 - Medscape

Existing COVID vaccines may protect against Brazil strain: Study

Existing vaccines may protect against the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus, according to a University of Oxford study which also highlighted how a variant first found in South Africa poses the biggest headache for vaccine makers. Coronavirus variants with specific mutations to the spike protein are of concern because scientists worry they will reduce the efficacy of vaccines, as well as immunity gained from prior infection.
18th Mar 2021 - Al Jazeera English


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AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine Has No Efficacy Against South African Virus Strain, Study Shows

According to a Phase 1b-2 trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University / AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) was ineffective against mild-to-moderate infections caused due to mutated virus strain in South Africa,
17th Mar 2021 - Yahoo News UK

US refuses to delay time between coronavirus vaccine doses

The UK's controversial decision to increase the time between covid-19 vaccine doses has been thrust back under the spotlight after the US hasn’t followed suit, amid warnings that the strategy may backfire. However, the UK is no longer alone in its decision, with Canada and Germany both choosing to follow a similar plan. In December, the UK made the surprise decision to lengthen the interval between doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines from the recommended three or four weeks to 12 weeks.
17th Mar 2021 - New Scientist

Actual Covid-19 infection rate in the US may be more than double official CDC figures, study says

The actual number of coronavirus infections throughout the United States could be twice as high as the daily tracking figures reported ahead of the deadly holiday surge late last year, according to a new study published on Tuesday. Researchers at the Clinical Reference Laboratory in Kansas surveyed blood samples from nearly 62,000 life insurance applicants, finding higher rates of Covid-19 antibodies in the pool of applicants compared to nationally reported estimates. According to the study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, nearly 16 million Covid-19 cases went undiagnosed or patients were otherwise asymptomatic ahead of the holiday season, when the country saw an unprecedented surge in the rate of infections and deaths nationwide, compared to CDC figures were estimated a total of nearly 7.2 million cases.
17th Mar 2021 - The Independent

Scots university's pioneering Covid-19 antibody test is 'more accurate' than those currently available

A new Covid-19 antibody test that’s better than those currently available has been developed by researchers at a Scots university. Serology tests detect if a person has previously had the virus and are important tools in tracing its spread. However, some existing antibody tests are not suited to rapid mass deployment as they can be inaccurate and also detect other coronaviruses including some versions of the common cold. In response to the Chief Scientist Office’s rapid research funding, Aberdeen University, in collaboration with Vertebrate Antibodies and NHS Grampian, has developed a test that has shown high levels of ­accuracy in smaller trials. The next step is to start a trial on a larger cohort.
17th Mar 2021 - Daily Record

CDC IDs new COVID-19 variants of concern, as hot spots reemerge

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said two coronavirus variants first detected in California, B.1427 and B.1429, are now considered as variants of concern. The CDC said the variants may be 20% more transmissible. In comparison, the variant B117, first identified in the United Kingdom, is considered 50% more transmissible than the original wild type COVID-19 virus. Neither of the new variants of concern are thought to escape the effectiveness of currently approved vaccines, but therapeutics, including monoclonal antibody treatments, may be slightly less effective. Currently, the CDC's variant tracker shows 4,686 B117 cases in 50 states, 142 B1351 cases in 25 states, and 27 P1 cases in 12 states.
17th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

UK nursing homes saw spikes in B117 COVID variant in early winter

The proportion of COVID-19 cases caused by the SARS-CoV-2 B117 variant in UK nursing homes rose from 12.0% on Nov 16 to 60.4% on Dec 13, mirroring the variant’s spread in the community, according to a research letter published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from University College London examined a sample of 4,442 positive COVID-19 tests from nursing home residents and staff from Oct 5 to Dec 17 to determine the proportion of cases caused by B117, the variant first discovered in the United Kingdom. UK nursing home staff are tested weekly, and residents are tested monthly. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increased rapidly in southeast England in November and December, despite lockdowns. More than half of the cases were attributed to B117, which studies have suggested is more deadly and spreads 40% to 70% more easily than previous strains, and was behind the rise of infections in England in early winter.
17th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP


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AstraZeneca vaccine doesn't prevent B1351 COVID in early trial

Two doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine were ineffective against mild-to-moderate infections with the B1351 variant first identified in South Africa, according to a phase 1b-2 clinical trial published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. The double-blind multicenter study, led by scientists at the South African Medical Research Council Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit, studied the safety and the efficacy of the AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine in HIV-negative adults aged 18 to 64 who received either two standard doses of the vaccine or a placebo in a 1:1 ratio 21 to 35 days apart from Jun 24 to Nov 9, 2020. Median follow-up after the second dose was 121 days.
16th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

GlaxoSmithKline starts phase III coronavirus vaccine trial with Medicago

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON:GSK) has started Phase 3 clinical testing of a plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Canadian partner Medicago. Takashi Nagao, Medicago’s chief executive, said: "This brings us one step closer to delivering an important new COVID-19 vaccine and contributing to the global fight against the pandemic along with our partner GSK.” Canada-based Medicago said its candidate uses Coronavirus-Like-Particle (CoVLP) technology co-administered with GSK's pandemic adjuvant. Two doses of 3.75μg of CoVLP are administered 21 days apart.
16th Mar 2021 - Proactive Investors UK

AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine’s Benefits Outweigh Risks, Says EU

The European Union’s top drug regulator said it is still firmly convinced that the benefits of AstraZeneca PLC’s Covid-19 vaccine outweigh the risks, after a string of nations in the bloc temporarily halted use of the shot over blood-clot concerns. The European Medicines Agency so far sees no indication that the vaccine caused a small number of blood-clotting incidents reported across the region, Executive Director Emer Cooke said in a briefing Tuesday. The regulator is currently reviewing those incidents to determine whether they represent a broader risk. Ms. Cooke said the results of the review would be presented Thursday.
16th Mar 2021 - Wall Street Journal

mRNA vaccines spur lymph nodes for longer-term protection; COVID-19 test accuracy may vary by time of day

Along with inducing antibodies for immediate defense, mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 also stimulate the lymph nodes to generate immune cells that provide protection over the long term, a new study confirms. The early wave of antibodies are generated by B cells called plasmablasts. In healthy volunteers, blood tests showed that two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine induced "a strong plasmablast response," said coauthor Ali Ellebedy of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The immune cells that will produce antibodies upon exposure to the virus in years to come - called memory B cells - are generated by germinal center B cells found only in lymph nodes near vaccine injection sites, his team explained in a paper currently undergoing peer review for possible publication in a Nature journal.
16th Mar 2021 - Reuters

North-east researchers develop 'highly accurate' Covid-19 antibody test

Scientists at the university collaborated with NHS Grampian and the firm Vertebrate Antibodies Ltd to develop the prototype. They describe the new test as “highly accurate, affordable, suitable for mass rollout” – while it also does not require specialised laboratories. Covid-19 antibody – sometimes called serology – tests confirm whether a person has previously had coronavirus. They can be used to manage the pandemic by monitoring how many people have had the virus and how it is spreading. The tests can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of vaccines, population immunity and the impact of new strains of the disease.
16th Mar 2021 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Moderna Starts Covid-19 Vaccine Trial In Kids Younger Than 12 Years Old

Biotech company Moderna announced today that it has given the first doses of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine to young children as part of a new study to test how effective the vaccine is in kids.
16th Mar 2021 - Forbes

FDA orders COVID antibody makers Regeneron, Eli Lilly to track virus variants

Emerging coronavirus variants could pose threats to existing monoclonal antibodies and vaccines, and the FDA’s taken note, revising its emergency use authorizations to Eli Lilly’s and Regeneron’s drugs. In edited letters of authorization re-issued in late February and early March, the FDA’s asking the two companies to monitor new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus behind COVID-19 and potentially conduct additional tests of their authorized antibody drugs against variants. The update came as evidence points to increased resistance of emerging coronavirus variants, especially the B.1.351 version first identified in South Africa, to antibody therapies. The letters, first reported by Endpoints, were for existing EUAs for Lilly’s bamlanivimab (PDF) and its combo (PDF) with etesevimab, and Regeneron’s cocktail (PDF) of casirivimab and imdevimab, in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients with high risk of disease progression in the outpatient setting.
16th Mar 2021 - FiercePharma

Long Covid more common in women and children and lasts for months, warns latest review

Lasting effects of infection from coronavirus are more common in women and children than expected, with at least 10 per cent of people infected suffering persistent symptoms for months, a new review has found. Experts at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) examined more than 300 separate scientific studies for the analysis. It found many patients reported struggling to access testing and help from the NHS to treat their symptoms, which varied between patients, suggesting long Covid is a group of four possible syndromes affecting patients differently. The report said: “Long Covid appears to be more frequent in women and in young people (including children) than might have been expected,” adding other sufferers could be experiencing an active disease, impacting on their organs and causing debilitating symptoms that would need ongoing treatment. In some patients, the effects included neurological changes in their brains while others showed signs of blood clotting and inflammation. Other patients reported anxiety, fatigue and damage to their lungs and heart.
16th Mar 2021 - The Independent


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Covid-19: Evidence does not suggest AstraZeneca jab linked to clots, MHRA says

People should still get their Covid vaccine despite several EU countries pausing use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab amid concern about blood clots, the UK medicines regulator has said. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said evidence "does not suggest" the jab causes clots. The Netherlands has become the latest country to suspend use of the jab following reports of serious clotting. But the World Health Organization says there is no reason to stop using it. Dutch officials said the move was precautionary following reports from Denmark and Norway about side effects including blood clots. Manufacturer AstraZeneca has said there is no evidence of a link between the two.
15th Mar 2021 - BBC News

B117 deadlier than other COVID-19 strains, more data affirm

The B117 COVID-19 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom in October 2020, may pose a 61% higher risk of 28-day mortality, according to a study published today in Nature. The finding is in line with last week's BMJ study that reported B117 had a 64% higher 28-day risk of death among people older than 30, although both studies note absolute 28-day mortality risk remains low for most populations. "Crucially, our study is limited to individuals tested in the community," the researchers write. "However, this restricted focus allows us to capture the combined effect of an altered risk of hospitalisation given a positive test and an altered risk of death given hospitalisation, while only the latter would be measurable in a study of hospitalised patients only."
15th Mar 2021 - STAT News

Moderna begins testing next-generation coronavirus vaccine

Moderna Inc said on Monday it had dosed the first participant in an early-stage study of a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate that could potentially be stored and shipped in refrigerators instead of freezers. The company said its new candidate could make it easier for distribution, especially in developing countries where supply chain issues could hamper vaccination drives.
15th Mar 2021 - Reuters


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UAE Trials Show Russian Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine Has 91.6% Efficacy

Trials of Russia’s adenovirus-based vaccine in the United Arab Emirates have completed the inoculation phase, the Abu Dhabi government said. Testing will move into the scientific data collection phase after 1,000 volunteers in the UAE received a second dose and the next step involves monitoring volunteers’ immune response over 180 days. UAE results will be combined with existing findings elsewhere. Interim results will be released in April.
14th Mar 2021 - Bloomberg

AstraZeneca finds no evidence showing increased risk of blood clots with COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca Plc on Sunday said it had conducted a review of people vaccinated with its COVID-19 vaccine which has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots. The review covered more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and United Kingdom. "A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country," the statement said.
14th Mar 2021 - MSN

COVID-19: Ireland suspends AstraZeneca vaccine over clotting concerns

Ireland has temporarily halted its use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after some reports of blood clots. The move came after a review from the Norwegian Medicines Agency showed four new cases of "serious blood clotting in adults" had occurred after the jab, despite the World Health Organisation having sought to downplay concerns and urge countries to keep using it. The vaccine will continue to be administered in Northern Ireland, however, after the country's health body sought advice from the UK's medicine regulator.
14th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Risk of allergic reaction to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines 'extremely low'

Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are a new technology at the forefront of the vaccine response to COVID-19. Anxiety about possible allergic reactions may lead to vaccine hesitancy. Researchers behind a study that included more than 50,000 people who had received this type of vaccine found allergic reaction rates to be “extremely low.” In a new study, researchers have found that the incidence of allergic reactions in people who had received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is “extremely low.” The study, published as a research letter in the journal JAMA, provides further evidence of the overall safety of mRNA vaccines.
13th Mar 2021 - Medical News Today

R rate drops as low as 0.6 days after lockdown starts to lift

The R Rate in the UK has fallen to as low as 0.6 days after lockdown restrictions were eased by the Government. New figures from Government scientists Sage show the crucial number is now between 0.6 and 0.
13th Mar 2021 - Metro

Philippines reports first Brazil COVID variant as new cases surge

The Philippines has detected its first case of the highly contagious coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil, the health department said, as the number of infections surges to the highest level in six months. A Filipino returning from Brazil tested positive for the P.1 variant after 752 samples were sequenced at the genome centre, the department said in a statement on Saturday.
13th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

COVID-19: Two doses of Pfizer or Oxford vaccine reduce risk of transmission by more than half, study shows

Two doses of the Pfizer or Oxford vaccine reduces the risk of passing on COVID by more than half, a new study shows. Researchers in Scotland found that people living with health workers who had been given one dose of a coronavirus vaccine were 30% less likely to get it themselves. The same study found that households of health workers who had received both doses were 54% less likely to contract the virus. The findings are the first in the UK to provide direct evidence that COVID-19 vaccines not only prevent severe disease and death - but also transmission.
12th Mar 2021 - Sky News

Sanofi starts human trials on second coronavirus vaccine

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has started human trials for a second coronavirus vaccine, it announced on Friday. Sanofi and US company Translate Bio announced “the start of the Phase 1/2 clinical trial for MRT5500, an mRNA vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19,” adding that “the companies expect interim results from this trial in the third quarter of 2021.”
12th Mar 2021 - The Brussels Times


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Canada says AstraZeneca vaccine is safe after Norway and Denmark suspend use

Canada on Thursday said the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe after Denmark and Norway temporarily suspended its use amid reports that blood clots had formed in some who had received the shot. “Health Canada is aware of reports of adverse events in Europe following immunization with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and would like to reassure Canadians that the benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh its risks,” the health department said in a statement. “At this time, there is no indication that the vaccine caused these events,” it said. Canada received 500,000 AstraZeneca doses made at the Serum Institute of India last week, and expects to get 1.5 million more in by May.
12th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Single Covid vaccine dose less effective for cancer patients, study finds

Cancer patients given a single coronavirus vaccine develop significantly inferior protection against the illness than those who receive a booster shot, according to a UK study that called for a reassessment of the gap between jabs for vulnerable individuals. Three weeks after receiving a first dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, sufficient antibody levels to combat the virus were detected in 39 per cent of patients with organ cancer and 13 per cent of those with blood cancer, found researchers at King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute. This compared with 97 per cent of those who were cancer free. When a second shot was given, however, the effectiveness of the vaccine jumped to about 95 per cent after two weeks in organ cancers patients, the study found. There was insufficient data to reach a conclusion on blood cancer patients. The researchers did not test the effectiveness of any other coronavirus vaccine.
11th Mar 2021 - Financial Times

New antibody drug ‘reduces hospital admission or death from Covid-19 by 85%’

A monoclonal antibody drug reduces hospital admission or death from Covid-19 by 85 per cent, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced. The drug, called VIR-7831, is a new treatment for people with mild to moderate illness, and the study has been so successful that it has been stopped early. GSK and its partner, Vir Biotechnology, plan to immediately seek an emergency use authorisation in the United States and approval in other countries, including potentially in the UK.
11th Mar 2021 - Evening Standard

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine 97% effective against asymptomatic infection

Data suggest Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine prevents asymptomatic Covid-19 infection. Lower COVID-19 disease incidence rates observed in individuals fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said on Wednesday that real-world data from Israel suggests that their COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic infections, meaning the vaccine could significantly reduce transmission. According to the analysis, unvaccinated individuals were 44 times more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who had received the vaccine.
11th Mar 2021 - Mint

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses have better efficacy when given 12 weeks apart, study finds

Waiting three months between the first and second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine results in high efficacy, backing current recommendations from Australian authorities, new research shows. The study, which involved more than 17,000 participants and was published recently in The Lancet, found the vaccine — which most people in Australia will receive — had an 81 per cent efficacy rate when a second dose was given three months after the first.
11th Mar 2021 - ABC.Net.au

COVID-19 survivors may be able to skip 2nd vaccine dose

COVID-19 survivors may not need a second dose of mRNA-based vaccine to prevent subsequent symptomatic infections, which could stretch limited vaccine supplies, reports a research letter published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai used a convenience sample from an ongoing study of 110 participants in the longitudinal Protection Associated with Rapid Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 (PARIS) study. All received one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine in 2020, although 39.0% were seropositive for COVID-19 antibodies prior to vaccination. Eighty-eight participants received the Pfizer vaccine, and 22 had the Moderna vaccine. Mean patient age was 40 years.
11th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

Novavax vaccine 96% effective against original coronavirus, 86% vs British variant in UK trial

Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine was 96% effective in preventing cases caused by the original version of the coronavirus in a late-stage trial conducted in the United Kingdom, the company said on Thursday, moving it a step closer to regulatory approval. There were no cases of severe illness or deaths among those who got the vaccine, the company said, in a sign that it could stop the worse effects of new variants that have cropped up. The vaccine was 86% effective in protecting against the more contagious virus variant first discovered and now prevalent in the United Kingdom, for a combined 90% effectiveness rate overall based on data from infections of both versions of the coronavirus.
11th Mar 2021 - Reuters


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Valo, ImmunoScape identify peptides for coronavirus vaccine development

Valo Therapeutics (Valo TX) has partnered with ImmunoScape to identify immunogenic peptides for pan-coronavirus vaccine development. The detected conserved peptide sequences will be applied to adenoviruses to address efficacy problems with existing vaccines against novel Covid-19 variants. Valo Therapeutics’ PeptiVAX platform offers a flexible and quick approach to address variants by coating the adenovirus with the associated clinical-grade target peptides instead of re-engineering and producing an entirely new viral vector. Applying these peptides to adenovectors using PeptiVAX can generate robust T-cell responses against the selected antigens.
10th Mar 2021 - Pharmaceutical Technology

Vaccine economics: how Covid-19 will disrupt the vaccine market

The FT explains the business models behind vaccines and asks if the Covid-19 pandemic will fundamentally change the vaccine market. This short documentary features global experts including Bill Gates, the CEOs of Moderna and Gavi, and the lead scientist behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
10th Mar 2021 - The Financial Times

Eli Lilly's combo therapy for COVID-19 cuts serious illness and death in large study

Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday that its combination antibody therapy to fight COVID-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 87% in a study of more than 750 high-risk COVID-19 patients. It is the second large, late-stage study to show that combination therapy of two antibodies, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, is effective at treating mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. The previous study, which published data in January, used a higher dose of the drugs and reduced risk of hospitalization by 70%.
10th Mar 2021 - Reuters

Death rate 64% higher with B117 COVID variant, study finds

The 28-day risk of death for the B117 COVID-19 variant was 64% higher than for previously circulating strains in people older than 30 years, a UK study finds. The study, led by University of Exeter researchers and published today in BMJ, involved community-based testing and death data from 54,906 matched pairs of participants who tested positive for COVID-19 from Oct 1, 2020, to Jan 29, 2021. Of the 109,812 total participants, 367 (0.3%) died. Of the 54,906 participants infected with B117, 227 (0.4%) died, compared with 141 (0.3%) infected with other strains.
10th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

Eli Lilly COVID-19 antibody combo aces study, cutting hospitalizations and deaths by a whopping 87%

Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody combo already boasts an FDA authorization for patients at a high risk of developing severe disease, but now the company has even stronger data backing the duo. In trial data released Wednesday, the company said its bamlanivimab-etesevimab duo slashed the risk of hospitalization and death by a whopping 87% versus placebo. Investigators tested a combination of 700 mg of bamlanivimab and 1400 mg of etesevimab in a trial comprising 769 patients total. It's the starkest reduction in hospitalizations and deaths for a COVID-19 therapeutic seen so far, and in a “fairly sizable” sample size, Lilly’s COVID-19 therapeutics platform leader Janelle Sabo said in an interview.
10th Mar 2021 - FiercePharma


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Everything you need to know about China’s coronavirus vaccines

Move over, Sputnik. The next coronavirus vaccines really causing a stir in Europe are from China. Polish President Andrzej Duda jumped on the phone to ask his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for doses; the Czech Republic just placed an order; and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave China’s vaccines the biggest EU endorsement by getting one himself. European capitals, stuck in sluggish vaccination campaigns, are increasingly looking outside the EU for doses — and Beijing is happy to fill the void.
9th Mar 2021 - POLITICO.eu

FDA Issues EUA for COVID-19 Diagnostic Test to Confirm Recent or Prior COVID-19 Infection

“People who have been unsure about a prior infection will now have another way to know if they had the virus,” said Chad Robins, chief executive officer of Adaptive Biotechnologies, in a press release. “The authorization of T-Detect COVID represents a true breakthrough for patients and a pivotal milestone for the diagnostic testing paradigm. We have proven that it is possible to read how T cells detect disease in the blood, and this is just the beginning of a pipeline of tests for many other indications.”
9th Mar 2021 - Pharmacy Times

COVID-19: Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine shows promise against Brazil coronavirus variant in laboratory testing

The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was able to combat the Brazil variant of COVID-19, it has been revealed. Scientists tested the blood of people who had received the jab and found it fared well against a laboratory made version of the virus similar to the one first discovered in Brazil. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, could calm fears about the P.1 variant, which has been found to spread more quickly than other types of the coronavirus since it emerged in South America.
9th Mar 2021 - Sky News


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Intellectual disability, obesity tied to COVID-19 hospitalization, death

The first study, led by researchers from Jefferson Health in Philadelphia and published late last week as a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst, involved analyzing the medical records of 558,672 US COVID-19 patients from January 2019 to November 2020. Patients with intellectual disabilities had higher rates of coronavirus infection than those without those limitations (3.1% vs 0.9%). In unadjusted analysis, compared with the 431,669 patients without intellectual disabilities, the 127,003 patients with intellectual disabilities were more susceptible to hospitalization (63.1% vs. 29.1%), intensive care unit (ICU) admission (14.5% vs. 6.3%), and death (8.2% vs. 3.8%).
8th Mar 2021 - CIDRAP

Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine neutralizes Brazil variant in lab study

The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE was able to neutralize a new variant of the coronavirus spreading rapidly in Brazil, according to a laboratory study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Monday. Blood taken from people who had been given the vaccine neutralized an engineered version of the virus that contained the same mutations carried on the spike portion of the highly contagious P.1 variant first identified in Brazil, the study conducted by scientists from the companies and the University of Texas Medical Branch found
8th Mar 2021 - Reuters


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You've been vaccinated — the CDC is finalizing guidance on what's safe for you to do

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is finalizing guidance aimed at clarifying what Americans who have received COVID-19 vaccines should and shouldn't do, according to two sources at the agency familiar with its drafting. The upcoming guidance, first reported by Politico, is expected to include that fully vaccinated individuals should be able to gather in small groups with other people who have also been vaccinated. The CDC currently does not recommend in-person gatherings with the general public, saying "gathering virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice."
6th Mar 2021 - CBS News

Exclusive: Oxford study indicates AstraZeneca effective against Brazil variant, source says

Preliminary data from a study conducted at the University of Oxford indicates that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC is effective against the P1, or Brazilian, variant, a source with knowledge of the study told Reuters on Friday. The data indicates that the vaccine will not need to be modified in order to protect against the variant, which is believed to have originated in the Amazonian city of Manaus, said the source, who requested anonymity as the results have not yet been made public. The source did not provide the exact efficacy of the vaccine against the variant. They said the full results of the study should be released soon, possibly in March.
5th Mar 2021 - Reuters

FDA authorizes new test, built with machine learning, to detect past Covid-19 infections

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued an emergency authorization for a new test to detect Covid-19 infections — one that stands apart from the hundreds already authorized. Unlike tests that detect bits of SARS-CoV-2 or antibodies to it, the new test, called T-Detect COVID, looks for signals of past infections in the body’s adaptive immune system — in particular, the T cells that help the body remember what its viral enemies look like. Developed by Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies, it is the first test of its kind. Adaptive’s approach involves mapping antigens to their matching receptors on the surface of T cells. They and other researchers had already shown that the cast of T cells floating around in an individual’s blood reflects the diseases they’ve encountered, in many cases years later. The next step is trying to unlock that information to help diagnose those past infections.
5th Mar 2021 - Stat News

Coronavirus: will immunity rapidly fade or last a lifetime?

The COVID vaccines are working. Data from Israel and Scotland shows that they are protecting people and may also be decreasing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. If it all holds up, people will be protected from severe disease, the amount of virus will progressively decrease, and we can truly plan for a way out of the pandemic. Evidence is also growing that once you’ve been infected, there is a pretty good chance that you will be protected from further infections, or at the very least, have less severe disease. This makes sense, as it’s why your immune system evolved in the first place. However, an important question in immunology, when it comes to infectious diseases and vaccines, is: how long protection might last? There are several variables here, from the type of pathogen infecting you, to how bad the initial disease is, to your overall health, and your age. All of this makes predicting what might happen with COVID challenging.
5th Mar 2021 - theconversation.com

Understanding the spectrum of vaccine efficacy measures

Phase III covid-19 vaccine efficacy trials have returned encouraging results, exceeding the 50% efficacy threshold specified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Multiple vaccines are now available for use. These phase III trials address the central question of a vaccine’s effect on a meaningful clinical outcome. In nearly all of the trials, the primary aim is to measure efficacy against laboratory confirmed symptomatic disease, including mild symptoms. But this is not the only endpoint that policy makers and individuals care about when making decisions. In fact, we can think about it as one measure of vaccine efficacy that lies alongside others on a spectrum.
5th Mar 2021 - British Medical Journal

Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between COVID doses

A national panel of vaccine experts in Canada recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to four months to quickly inoculate more people amid a shortage of doses in Canada. A number of provinces said they would do just that. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed optimism that vaccination timelines could be sped up. And Health Canada, the country’s regulator, said emerging evidence suggests high effectiveness for several weeks after the first dose and noted the panel’s recommendation in a tweet. But two top health officials called it an experiment.
4th Mar 2021 - Associated Press


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Emergent BioSolutions Capable Of Manufacturing 1B COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Annually, CEO Says

Emergent BioSolutions Inc has built the capacity to produce vaccines from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson around the clock, said CEO Bob Kramer on CNBC. “We are operating at a level where our capacity is well in excess of 1 billion doses annually for those products.” said the CEO. The company bagged a five-year deal with JNJ to produce its COVID-19 vaccine, valued at about $480 million for the first two years. It also entered into a multi-year contract production pact for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. T