"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 14th Sep 2020

Isolation Tips
Warwickshire GP addresses depression surge caused by Coronavirus
A leading Warwickshire GP practice has issued urgent advice and guidance in the wake of an alarming rise in cases of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sydney woman has been in coronavirus lockdown since March
Jazzy Regan, who is in her 20s, has been in coronavirus lockdown for 183 days Ms Regan is severely asthmatic and lives with her 84-year-old grandma. The pandemic has probably been the 'best time ever' for the young woman. She has learnt to cook, exercises in her loungeroom and works from home
Hygiene Helpers
Face masks could be giving people Covid-19 immunity, researchers suggest
Face masks may be inadvertently giving people Covid-19 immunity and making them get less sick from the virus, academics have suggested in one of the most respected medical journals in the world. The commentary, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, advances the unproven but promising theory that universal face mask wearing might be helping to reduce the severity of the virus and ensuring that a greater proportion of new infections are asymptomatic. If this hypothesis is borne out, the academics argue, then universal mask-wearing could become a form of variolation (inoculation) that would generate immunity and “thereby slow the spread of the virus in the United States and elsewhere” as the world awaits a vaccine. It comes as increasing evidence suggests that the amount of virus someone is exposed to at the start of infection - the “infectious dose” - may determine the severity of their illness. Indeed, a large study published in the Lancet last month found that “viral load at diagnosis” was an “independent predictor of mortality” in hospital patients. Wearing masks could therefore reduce the infectious dose that the wearer is exposed to and, subsequently, the impact of the disease, as masks filter out some virus-containing droplets.
Welsh Government urges people to keep working from home even after pandemic
Plans have been unveiled to allow a third of all Welsh workers to continue to work from home long-term, contradicting Boris Johnson’s ‘back to the office’ message. The Welsh Government is encouraging people to carry on doing their jobs remotely, even after the coronavirus crisis ends. It’s set a target of 30% of the country’s entire workforce to work from or near home in future because it will help to reduce pollution and congestion. The UK Government has been pushing for people to go back into the office, in part, because businesses in city centres are struggling.
Close case contact, dining out tied to COVID-19 spread
Studies today led by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigators highlight US transmission patterns of COVID-19 and show that close contact with confirmed cases and eating out at restaurants were linked to an increased likelihood of contracting the novel virus, while children in three Utah daycare centers were more likely to spread the virus to household members than among each other.
CDC confirms asymptomatic children CAN spread COVID-19 to adults
The CDC observed 184 Utah students, teachers and family members over a three-month period. Testing and tracing revealed that 12 of the 110 students become infected with COVID-19. They spread the virus to at least 12 family members outside the facilities, even if they themselves were not showing symptoms. The study has raised alarm bells as schools and daycare centers reopen for fall. At least four teachers in three states died from COVID-19 complications since the start of the school year began less than two months ago. Among them was South Carolina third-grade teacher Demetria Bannister, 28, who died Monday just three days after she was diagnosed with the virus
Coronavirus: Around 30% of workers in Wales could regularly work from home
Around 30% of workers in Wales could regularly work from home even after the coronavirus pandemic, the Welsh government has said. During the worst of the crisis, people from across the UK were told to work at home if possible, a move that resulted in less road congestion and pollution as well as limiting the spread of the coronavirus. Ministers in Wales have said working remotely can also improve the work-life balance and potentially drive regeneration and economic activity in communities.
Belgium still at risk of coronavirus flare-up, ULB epidemiologist warns
Belgian leaders should remain wary as the country is still at risk of facing a resurgence of the new coronavirus similar to that gripping France and Spain, a Belgian epidemiologist warned. An alarming surge of new coronavirus infections could hit Belgium as early as within ten days, Yves Coppieters, an epidemiologist and professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) said in a TV interview on Thursday.
Fauci assures trials will find a safe coronavirus vaccine
Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the trials currently underway to find a coronavirus vaccine assured that only a safe vaccine would be distributed to the public.
Ethiopia opens facility to make coronavirus test kits
With increasing cases of COVID-19, Ethiopia has opened a facility to produce kits to test for the coronavirus and says its researchers are working to develop and test a vaccine. The company producing the testing kits is a joint venture with a Chinese company, called BGI Health Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen to nearly 64,000 causing almost 1,000 deaths, according to government figures. On Sunday, Ethiopia also opened a field hospital to hold up to 200 severely affected Covid-19 patients, which will start admitting patients immediately
'An Open Window's Not Gonna Cut It': Ventilation Expert Warns Teachers About Classroom COVID Risks
A ventilation expert enlisted by a group of worried NYC school teachers believes the DOE is not doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in school buildings when students return on September 21st. Monona Rossol, an industrial hygienist and chemist who assesses workplace safety, held a virtual training session on Tuesday with roughly 100 members of the MORE-UFT caucus, a group that's been largely opposed the reopening of schools, arguing they’re simply not safe to reopen during the pandemic.
What if We Have to Wait Years for a Coronavirus Vaccine?
“With all the challenges regarding developing, testing, manufacturing and distributing a safe and effective vaccine — no matter how much effort so many scientists and companies put on the problem — it could still take years or even longer,” Dr. George Yancopoulos, the chief scientific officer of the biotechnology company Regeneron, told Dr. Mukherjee.
Community Activities
Edmonton museums expand digital programming to reach out during COVID-19
Renée Williams, vice-president of customer experience at Fort Edmonton Park, said when the pandemic hit they put content online so people could still experience the park. They put out videos and released resources on social media, including how to dance the Charleston, made popular in the 1920s. And, they plan to do more. “As this started to progress, the thoughts for us were: this actually makes longer-term sense,” said Williams, adding that accessibility is top-of-mind for Fort Edmonton Park and across the sector.
£2 million eco fund to help Scottish islands recover from coronavirus
Scotland's islands will benefit from a £2 million programme of locally-led green projects designed to help support their economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Government has confirmed. The Islands Green Recovery Programme was announced in the Programme for Government and is now open for applications. It aims to deliver investment in low carbon transport, food sustainability and zero waste projects.
How to Make the Most of Covid Winter
Don’t write off the darkest season just yet. Even with colder weather and shorter days, it’s still possible to plan for pandemic-safe outdoor fun.
Kirklees charity trebles community response efforts following onset of COVID-19
Yorkshire Children’s Centre – has ramped up the level of support given to Kirklees residents, as demand reaches record levels. The organisation’s services helped almost 6,000 people in the initial 12 weeks of lockdown – three times more than in the whole of the 2019 calendar year. And demand has remained high as Kirklees’ battle with the pandemic has continued. The roll-out of a community anchor service for Batley and Birstall – soft-launched by Yorkshire Children’s Centre in January – has therefore been accelerated, as a result. Initially set up to assist the Primary Care Networks with social prescribing – as part of the NHS’s 10-year plan to provide health-related help to the community – the service aimed to facilitate the integration of the voluntary and community sector within the social prescribing provision.
Working Remotely
After Covid: Working from home is long-term ambition
Ministers said its ambition is to see about 30% of the workforce in Wales staying at or near home in the long term. They said it was a chance to adopt culture that "supports remote working". The move could reduce congestion and pollution, and improve work-life balance, they argue. "The UK government instruction for everyone to go back to the office is not one we are repeating in Wales," said Deputy Minister for Transport and Economy, Lee Waters. "We believe many people will want to continue to work remotely in the longer term and this could be a step-change in the way we work in Wales."
Employers were coming around to staff working from home before Covid
Figures mined from the Central Statistics Office labour force survey by Ibec chief economic Gerard Brady show that more than 700,000 people were working from home at the end of March this year. High as that may seem it only represents about a 187,000-person increase from the first quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of this year. Since 2017, the trend toward remote working has been growing at a remarkable pace, with more than 500,000 workers at the start of this year saying they worked “usually” or “sometimes” at home. The fact that most of us were forced to work remotely earlier this year has led many to suggest that the day of the office is over.
San Francisco exodus as tech giants lean in to remote work in Covid-19 era
A work-from-home trend kicked into overdrive by the pandemic is disrupting a city long a mecca for tech talent. “People are leaving San Francisco, and they're taking their jobs with them," Stenkamp said. "There used to be cranes in the landscape, now it's U-Haul trucks." Tech workers who flocked to San Francisco to be near Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and other internet firms are moving to parts of the US where life is slower and the cost of living cheaper.
'My company has gone fully remote and I'm despairing': who wins in the new world of working from home?
As we move away from the traditional 9 to 5, the boundaries between office and home are increasingly blurred. Meet the bosses trying to get it right
Virtual Classrooms
Emotions run high as schools return fully on Monday for the first time in six months
Kicking a ball about with friends at breaktime was something Blyddwyn Hurford took for granted. Back at school again after months of Covid-19 disruption the 15 year-old says he appreciates it more than ever - the friends, face to face lessons and footy in the yard. “People are just in a really happy mood to be back. It’s great. I was quite bored at home. I couldn’t meet my friends, there was no face to face learning. I play prop for the school team. I missed rugby and football and everything really. “It is different now. A lot of work has gone into making it safe and I feel safe. "We are in a bubble of 160 in our year group in one part of the school but we can kick a ball about at lunchtime. That’s great.”
LISTEN: Covid classroom - distance learning
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette education reporter Dave Perozek chats with two K-12 school administrators who specialize in distance learning: Shay Hopper, coordinator of the Springdale School District’s Virtual Innovation Academy, and Amy Johnson, head of school at the Arkansas Virtual Academy.
Peel school board delays online school launch after thousands switch to virtual learning
Peel District School Board is delaying the start of its online school after thousands of students switched from in-person classes to virtual learning. In a letter sent to families on Saturday, the school board said over 64,000 students are now enrolled in its online school, an increase of 10,000 in the last week. “Due to this recent increase in online enrolment, we require additional time to staff online classes and reconfigure timetables to ensure an equitable and successful start for all staff and students online,” the letter reads.
Summer parties, teacher shortages push suburban schools to scrap COVID-19 reopening plans
Colleges aren't the only schools that have had to close their doors soon after reopening. And in some cases, school officials are laying the blame for their changing plans on families in their communities, where graduation and end-of-summer parties prompted spikes in positive COVID-19 cases. That's what happened in the Carle Place School District in Long Island, New York, where Superintendent Christine A. Finn announced school would start with remote learning last Wednesday rather than in person. "We have no choice but to put the safety of our staff and students first," she said in a letter that connected many of the new positive COVID-19 cases in the community to attendance at parties where some who tested positive had close contact with students.
'It's exhausting': American families stumble through first weeks of virtual school
Meredith Kablick sat next to her five-year-old son Peter at home in Cheverly, Maryland, as he logged on to a Zoom video call for his first week of kindergarten at a French immersion school. Like thousands of parents in the United States this week, the registrar assistant was supervising her child’s virtual schooling while working full-time. As with many schools from coast to coast, classes in the Washington, D.C., suburb reopened online to avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection. Chaos marked the first days, said Kablick, a mother of two. Her son and 17 classmates, many unaware of how to mute themselves on the video call, fought to concentrate on their teacher speaking a foreign language with the sound of barking dogs and bickering parents in the background.
Public Policies
Leaked figures reveal scale of coronavirus test shortage
A huge backlog has forced Britain to send swabs abroad, casting doubt on its capacity to test as many people as it claimed. The government’s “world-beating” testing programme has a backlog of 185,000 swabs and is so overstretched that it is sending tests to laboratories in Italy and Germany, according to leaked documents. A Department of Health and Social Care report marked “Official: sensitive” also confirms that most British laboratories are clearing fewer tests than their stated capacity, as they are hit by “chaos” in supply chains. The government claims that it has capacity for 375,000 tests a day. However, the actual number of people being tested for the coronavirus stalled to just 437,000 people a week at the start of the month — equivalent to just 62,000 a day.
Rohingya refugees struggle with fear, stigma amid coronavirus
Some refugees living in cramped camps are afraid to seek medical help due to misconceptions about Covid-19. Experts worry the spread of the virus among this community may be more serious than figures reveal, and warn that a spike could have devastating consequences.
India considers emergency authorisation of vaccine as COVID-19 cases surge
India said on Sunday (Sep 13) it was considering granting an emergency authorisation for a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces, as the country's number of reported infections passed 4.75 million. India, which has consistently reported over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths daily this month, has now recorded 78,586 fatalities from the disease. It lags only the United States globally in overall number of infections, but it has been adding more daily cases than the United States since mid-August. "India is considering emergency authorisation of a COVID-19 vaccination," said Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. "If there is a consensus we may go ahead with it, especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings." Vardhan said the timeline on Phase III trials could be shortened by giving emergency authorisation, but stressed no corners would be cut in clinical trials and that a vaccine would only be made available when the government could ensure its safety and efficacy.
Could there be a second lockdown? If restrictions in England could tighten again as coronavirus cases continue to rise
As rules on social gatherings in the UK are tightened, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned about the need to act now in order to avoid a second lockdown. Rules limiting gatherings to just six people were introduced this week and mark the first significant reverse step in the Westminster Government’s move out of lockdown since restrictions began easing in May. The rules came as cases across the country began to rise steeply, with the UK recording close to 3,000 new positive cases on September 10.
Israel to impose a three-week nationwide lockdown - media reports
Israel will enter a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a second- wave surge of new cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. During the lockdown, which comes during the Jewish high-holiday season, Israelis will have to stay within 500 metres of their houses, but can travel to workplaces that will be allowed to operate on a limited basis. Schools and shopping malls will be closed but supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. The public sector will operate with fewer staff, but non-governmental offices and businesses will not have to close, as long as they do not accept customers.
Austria experiencing second virus wave, says chancellor
Austria is experiencing the start of a second wave of coronavirus infections, its chancellor said, as cases spike upwards in line with other EU countries. From Friday to Saturday, the Alpine nation of nearly nine million people reported 869 new cases - more than half of those in the capital Vienna. "What we are experiencing is the beginning of the second wave," Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a statement, appealing to the population to stick to anti-virus measures and reduce social contacts. He warned that the mark of 1,000 cases per day would be reached soon.
Countries brace for coronavirus resurgence
Amid fears of a second wave, countries around the world are implementing new restrictions aimed at curtailing a global resurgence of COVID-19 cases. This has caused concern for many as schools and businesses beginning to open their doors again for the first time in months, as previous restrictions began to ease. But experts warn that even with new restrictions, the novel coronavirus is here to stay. “Even countries throughout Europe that have done a really great job of reducing spread haven't eliminated the virus entirely,” Christine Blackburn, Deputy Director, Pandemic & Biosecurity Policy Program at Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, told Al Arabiya English.
Indonesia Adds 3800 Covid-19 Cases as Sumatra Provinces See Resurgence
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Indonesia reached the second-highest rise on Saturday with more provinces on Sumatra Island reporting a three-digit daily total and new transmissions in Jakarta spiraling beyond control. Indonesia has recorded 3,806 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours to take the country’s total to 214,746. The highest one-day rise was 3,861 cases only two days ago. It also reported 106 more deaths from the disease, bringing the total death toll to 8,650 or 4 percent of total cases.
Coronavirus: France reports highest number of daily COVID cases since pandemic began
More than 10,000 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in France in a single day - the country's highest daily number since the pandemic began. A total of 10,561 new COVID-19 infections were recorded on Saturday, the first time they have topped 10,000 over 24 hours in France. The total surpasses the previous record of 9,843 new cases reported on Thursday.
French PM: no new lockdown over COVID-19 resurgence
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday his government was not planning a new, nationwide lockdown to contain a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, but would instead implement a raft of less radical measures. France has the world’s seventh highest COVID death toll, and President Emmanuel Macron’s government is trying to curb the virus while ensuring that economic and social activities, such as schoolchildren’s education, can continue as much as possible. Castex said new measures would include fast-tracked testing for priority cases to reduce time spent waiting for results, and targeted restrictions in areas hit especially hard. “The virus is with us for several more months and we must manage to live with it without letting ourselves get drawn once again into a narrative of nationwide lockdown,” Castex said in a televised address.
The Brazilian state of Bahia signs deal for Russia's vaccine against Covid-19
The Brazilian state of Bahia has signed an agreement to conduct Phase III clinical trials of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 and plans to buy 50 million doses to market in Brazil, officials have said. The Russian vaccine is being developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Research Institute and marketed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which last month also entered an agreement with the Brazilian state of Paraná to test and produce the vaccine. Russia will sell up to 50 million doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine to Bahia state, RDIF said in a statement.
DCGI orders suspension of Serum's India trials of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine - ANI
India's drug regulator has asked Serum Institute of India to suspend recruitment in its clinical trials of AstraZeneca Plc's potential COVID-19 vaccine in the country until further orders, Reuters partner ANI reported on Friday. V.G. Somani, the drugs controller general of India, has also asked for increased safety monitoring of those already vaccinated with the experimental vaccine, ANI reported, citing an order issued by the regulator. The move places further restrictions on the trials, which have already been put on hold by Serum on Thursday after the DCGI had asked the vaccine maker for details on the suspension of trials overseas, in a show-cause notice that was reviewed by Reuters. Friday's order has been issued after Serum responded to the show-cause notice, according to ANI.
$4bn to produce coronavirus vaccine in Africa
The Egyptian government has said it is necessary to unite African efforts to confront the coronavirus and limit its health, social and economic effects on the continent’s people. Mohamed Maait, the Egyptian Minister of Finance and chairman of the General Assembly of the African Export-Import Bank, backed the bank’s view on the need for African countries to cooperate in financing a coronavirus vaccine — at an estimated cost of $4 billion in Egypt and South Africa. During his meeting with Benedict Oramah, chairman of the board of directors of the African Export-Import Bank, and his accompanying delegation, the minister affirmed the Egyptian government’s keenness to enhance economic cooperation with African countries. This included African integration as the main pillar for maximizing capabilities and supporting development efforts to meet the aspirations of the African people and revitalize intra-African trade.
Egypt to test coronavirus vaccine
Zayed warned that Egypt remains in the first wave of the outbreak, but can adapt to the virus through successful vaccine trials. The minister said that from Saturday volunteers will be invited for testing: Egypt will test two vaccines
China's coronavirus vaccine shows military's growing role in research
The largest armed force in the world, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is not known for its cutting edge medical research. But since 2015, it has ramped up recruitment of scientists, and investment in the field as part of its strategy to modernize its military. Now, the coronavirus pandemic is showcasing the PLA's growing expertise in medical research, including a major role in developing the coronavirus vaccine that was the first in the world to be approved for restricted use.
Coronavirus: 'UK at a turning point' as sharp COVID rise sees eight million Britons facing tougher lockdown
Nearly eight million people in Britain will be living under stricter lockdown rules, including a large part of the West Midlands, ahead of a widespread ban on gatherings of more than six people. From Monday, social gatherings of more than six people will be banned across England, Wales and Scotland. Households will be banned from meeting each other in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull from Tuesday after a rise in coronavirus cases
'It’s world-leadingly bad, is what it is': the week Covid surged again in UK
The warning lights had been flashing in Downing Street, too, triggering an abrupt reversal of policy that coincided with a Brexit crisis of the government’s own making, leaving ministers fighting Conservative rebellions on two fronts. All talk of the country tentatively heading towards some kind of normality began to evaporate last weekend as the reality of a Covid resurgence began to bite. With the UK recording nearly 3,000 Covid cases on Sunday, the highest daily total since May, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, concluded that he had to act.
Maintaining Services
Coronavirus: Students return to socially-distanced university campuses
This isn't what I expected when I went to university'," said the 21-year-old who is starting a degree in social work this term. Originally from the north of England, Gordon will be moving into student accommodation next week.
Coronavirus: Britons more divided over face masks and lockdown rules than Brexit, poll suggests
Coronavirus is causing deeper social divides than Brexit, with more than half of mask wearers in the UK having strong negative attitudes to those who refuse to wear one, new research suggests. The poll of over 10,000 people, conducted by think tank Demos, found that people have contrasting opinions of the COVID-19 pandemic based on their experiences, social class and occupations. The findings show that the social divide on the key questions associated with the pandemic - such as mask wearing or lockdown rules - is now deeper than the divide over Brexit.
Coughed on, spat at: UK shop workers fear asking customers to wear masks
Despite the public show of support and gratitude for key workers in recent months, the abuse of retail and transport workers has remained persistent and acute. Over 75% of shop workers surveyed by the shopworkers union Usdaw last month reported being abused by customers when asking them to socially distance; almost half had experienced abuse triggered by reminding shoppers to wear face masks. The preliminary findings of the union’s annual Freedom from Fear report, shared exclusively with the Observer, reveal the toll taken on the wellbeing of those working in essential services.
Coronavirus doctor's diary: Will universities be able to avoid spreading the virus?
A great migration is under way. Children have returned to school and students are beginning to leave for university. Will the UK be able to avoid the outbreaks experienced at some US universities, asks Dr John Wright of Bradford Royal Infirmary. In the hospital we continue to see small numbers of patients with Covid-19. We walk a tightrope of preparing for the autumn surge while trying to get all our normal clinical care waiting lists back to pre-pandemic levels. The lull in acute cases provides a tense truce. In the empty visitors' car parks discarded facemasks are the new tumbleweed. Meanwhile in the city the fever is rising. Every day the coronavirus needle flickers upwards; it's tempting to tap the dial in the hope that is just a malfunction. By Friday the incidence rate has crept up towards 80 per 100,000 and the case positivity rate towards 8%, from less than 50 per 100,000 and 5% just two weeks ago.
Marseille's hospitals back on crisis footing as coronavirus spreads again in France
Each day this week, Professor Dominique Rossi has convened a coronavirus crisis group as intensive care wards in hospitals in Marseille fill up after a summer lull, deciding on how best to distribute beds and find extra staff. With 95% of the southern Bouche du Rhone region’s 80 intensive care beds set aside for COVID-19 patients now occupied, Rossi has dusted off his peak-pandemic playbook to deal with a jump in patients at the epicentre of the coronavirus’ resurgence in France. “We’re back to the working routine we adopted in April,” Rossi, a urologist who heads the Marseille Hospitals’ Medical Commission, told Reuters.
Coronavirus: Birmingham lockdown restrictions increased
Households in Birmingham have been banned from mixing in new lockdown measures announced following a spike in coronavirus cases. The rate of infection has more than doubled in the city in a week to 90.3 cases per 100,000. The measures also cover neighbouring Sandwell and Solihull, affecting more than 1.6 million people in total. The restrictions will begin on Tuesday, it was announced at a regional meeting of council leaders. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We never take these decisions lightly but social gatherings can spread the virus quickly and we need residents to abide by the new rules to break the chains of transmission."
Army medics to help NHS deliver biggest vaccination push in British history
The Army is to be drafted in for the biggest vaccination programme in UK history to protect the population against coronavirus, i can reveal. Public health and civil contingency planners believe they will need military assistance to help administer tens of millions of jabs when the Covid-19 vaccine is ready. Nightingale hospitals – currently mothballed after the first wave of the pandemic – and public buildings could be commandeered as mass vaccination sites.
Lockdown for a second time: 'It can't get any worse'
After just two months of "heaven", being open after the national lockdown, he had to shut his doors as all hospitality venues in the Bolton area were closed this week. He has re-furloughed his staff, keeping just himself and the head chef Robert Nelson in their small kitchen. He's hoping the new takeaway menu and this two-man band can keep the pub ticking over. "It can't get any worse can it?" he laughs ruefully. He believes this pub will probably survive, but its sister pub round the corner will not.
Pfizer may win the COVID vaccine race. But distributing it could be another matter.
Pfizer, the multinational pharmaceutical company, may be the first in the United States to seek regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, but even if its vaccine is authorized, the company may face additional challenges in distributing it. That's because Pfizer's vaccine can't be stored in the refrigeration systems found at the typical doctor's office. Instead, it requires special ultra-low-temperature freezers that can store medicine at approximately 94 degrees below zero. The delivery system is complex, requiring the use of a custom-built "cool box" that can store 1,000 to 5,000 vaccines for up to 10 days at minus 94 degrees.
Covid vaccine: 8,000 jumbo jets needed to deliver doses globally, says IATA
Shipping a coronavirus vaccine around the world will be the "largest transport challenge ever" according to the airline industry. The equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747s will be needed, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said. There is no Covid-19 vaccine yet, but IATA is already working with airlines, airports, global health bodies and drug firms on a global airlift plan. The distribution programme assumes only one dose per person is needed. "Safely delivering Covid-19 vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry. But it won't happen without careful advance planning. And the time for that is now," said IATA's chief executive Alexandre de Juniac.
Scarcity of key material squeezes medical mask manufacturing
“N95s are still in a shortage,” said Mike Schiller, the American Hospital Association’s senior director for supply chains. “It’s certainly not anywhere near pre-COVID levels.” Early in the pandemic the White House failed to heed stark warnings, specifically about N95s, from high-level administration officials. The Associated Press has found the administration took months to sign contracts with companies that make the crucial component inside these masks: meltblown textile. Meltblowing is the manufacturing process that turns plastic into the dense mesh that makes N95 masks effective at blocking vanishingly small particles, including viruses. Even today, manufacturers say the Trump administration hasn’t made the long-term investments they need in order to ramp up to full capacity. Meanwhile, the administration allowed meltblown exports to slip out of the country as the pandemic, and the demand for masks, soared.
European Parliament cancels Strasbourg session due to coronavirus resurgence
The European Parliament on Tuesday canceled plans to return to Strasbourg next week, after the city and its surrounding area were designated as a coronavirus red zone by French authorities. Announcing the decision, European Parliament President David Sassoli noted that holding the session in Strasbourg would have meant Parliament staff having to quarantine on their return to Brussels.
Healthcare Innovations
Coronavirus vaccines: main contenders in the global race and when they could be available
The Oxford vaccine - STATUS - Doses are being manufactured to supply the NHS but there are no guarantees they will work. In July an early-stage trial involving about 1,100 healthy volunteers showed that the jab stimulated the kind of “robust immune responses” the researchers had hoped for. No side effects deemed to be dangerous were reported. Trials in Britain, South Africa and Brazil have recruited about 17,000 people. Another trial in the US, which aims to recruit a further 30,000, started injecting volunteers about a week ago and has now been paused.
Safety first: how to run a Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial | News | Wellcome
The world is waiting eagerly for Covid-19 vaccines to be developed as quickly as possible. But to make sure they are safe and effective, the clinical trials that test them have to be robust. So how do trials achieve this?
Covid-19 antibodies 'decline sharply' after one month, study suggests
The antibody response in patients who have recovered from coronavirus is not typically strong, and declines sharply one month after hospital discharge, a new study suggests. A better understanding of antibody responses against Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, will provide fundamental information for developing effective treatments and a preventive vaccine , experts say. In the study researchers monitored Sars-CoV-2-specific antibody responses in 19 non-severe and seven severe Covid-19 patients for seven weeks from disease onset.
AstraZeneca resumes UK trials of COVID-19 vaccine halted by patient illness
AstraZeneca has resumed British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine, one of the most advanced in development, after getting the green light from safety watchdogs, the company said on Saturday.
Pfizer, BioNTech propose expanding COVID-19 vaccine trial to 44,000 volunteers
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE on Saturday proposed to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand their Phase 3 pivotal COVID-19 vaccine trial to about 44,000 participants while increasing the diversity of the trial population. The initial target figure for the trial was up to 30,000 participants, which the companies said they expect to reach by next week. The proposed expansion would also allow the companies to enroll people as young as 16 and people with chronic, stable HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B, they added.
Oxford University resumes Covid-19 vaccine trials
The closely watched trial of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine that was halted after a participant fell ill is to resume in the UK. The University of Oxford, which has partnered with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to pilot the study, said that the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had recommended that its trials resume after an independent committee review of safety data triggered a pause last week. In a statement, the university said: “Globally some 18,000 individuals have received study vaccines as part of the trial. In large trials such as this, it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety.”
Bharat Biotech’s Covid vaccine generated 'robust immune response' on animals
Hyderabad-based vaccine major Bharat Biotech has announced that its Covid-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin, during its testing on animal rhesus macaques, has develop a “robust immune response” to the highly infectious coronavirus, “preventing infection and disease in the primates upon high amounts of exposure to live SARS-CoV-2 virus."
The underdog coronavirus vaccines the world will need if front runners stumble
As leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies fast-track COVID-19 vaccines through clinical trials, smaller developers face a battle to get their candidates noticed.
Oxford’s Sir John Bell: ‘We’re not going to beat the second wave’
At lunchtime on Tuesday, Sir John Bell received a call telling him that the groundbreaking Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial would, regretfully, be paused. Hours later, news of an urgent investigation into an “unexplained illness” in one of the trial volunteers began spreading across the world. It was, as White House adviser Anthony Fauci described it, “unfortunate”- Bell thought it unsurprising and the system was workinhg well
The Covid-19 vaccine gamble: where bets have been placed and why
The UK has ordered a total of 340m doses of potential coronavirus vaccines from six manufacturers. The EU has done a deal said to be worth €2.4bn (£2.2bn) with one developer, while the US has orders with six companies for 800m doses under Operation Warp Speed, with options on a further 1.6bn. Wealthy countries are paying upfront for something that has not yet been proven to work, willing to spend whatever it takes to get their economies running again. And yet they could have backed the wrong horse. It is a lottery on an unprecedented scale. They have rolled the dice and cannot know whether the gamble will pay off. Earlier this week, the frontrunner the UK and EU have ordered, the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, was paused after a volunteer became ill. It may not be vaccine-related, but such things can happen.
China coronavirus vaccine: Over 100,000 people receive experimental Covid-19 vaccine
China has taken a shortcut in the global sprint to develop and deliver vaccines for the novel coronavirus. Sinopharm, the state-owned company developing two of China’s leading vaccine candidates, told China National Radio on Monday that it has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens — even though the company’s phase 3 clinical trials have not yet concluded. Individuals received one of two Sinopharm vaccines in development in an emergency use program launched by the Chinese government in late July, which also authorized a third vaccine, CoronaVac, developed by the privately owned drugmaker Sinovac Biotech. Under Chinese vaccine law, such authorization is allowed within a certain scope and time frame during a health emergency. China’s top vaccine official mentioned front-line medical workers and customs officials when he first announced the program, implying these high-risk groups had been prioritized to receive the still-experimental vaccines.
Transmission Dynamics of COVID-19 Outbreaks Associated with Child Care Facilities — Salt Lake City, Utah, April–July 2020
Children aged ≥10 years have been shown to transmit SARS-CoV-2 in school settings. Twelve children acquired COVID-19 in child care facilities. Transmission was documented from these children to at least 12 (26%) of 46 nonfacility contacts (confirmed or probable cases). One parent was hospitalized. Transmission was observed from two of three children with confirmed, asymptomatic COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 Infections among young children acquired in child care settings were transmitted to their household members. Testing of contacts of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in child care settings, including children who might not have symptoms, could improve control of transmission from child care attendees to family members.