Tag: vaccine

Indian Vaccine Variant To Steer Clear-Off Immunity Compromised Patients
Asia Pacific Focus

Indian Vaccine Variant To Steer Clear-Off Immunity Compromised Patients

Bharat Biotech has warned against severe side effects of their Covaxin, especially for those who are immuno compromised or are taking medication that can effect their immune system. 

Those being administered the vaccine should also disclose any underlying allergies and ailments to their officer in-charge, the pharmaceutical company has warned. 

As the vaccine received emergency approval after a battery of trials, it is now admitting that the vaccine actually might not be affective but prove fatal for some. 

As the corona virus develops ability to mutate and effect the human being, while its vaccine is effective on this new strain, it might not be able to stabilize side effects in certain kinds of patients. This will definitely include those with severe allergies or immune compromised medical conditions. 

Additionally, patients on blood thinners ,undergoing pregnancy or even running a mild fever due to other underlying infections should avoid taking the Covid-19 vaccine

The vaccine could create severe allergic reactions but this should be seen as a rare occurrence, according to an official statement issued by the Bharat Biotech spokesperson. 

Side effects could include difficulty in breathing, swelling on the face and throat, fastened heartbeat, body rashes, dizziness and weakness. While most inoculations do show certain level of side effects, doctors are not sure if the vaccine might react differently with certain individuals. 

It is a known fact that the development of a vaccine does take many hits and trials, before it can reach a balanced level where it can cover a huge population. The measles vaccine went through such a process of evolution. But what is also creating a problem is the various variants of the vaccine that is now starting to do rounds worldwide. 

India is depending on its home grown vaccine. Those administered the Covaxin are going to be monitored for a period of three months after being  administered the second dose, post which patients can seek medical help in case there are any adverse reactions  to the vaccination. This has been confirmed by Bharat Biotech. 

EU regulator authorises Moderna Covid-19 vaccine
Europe

EU regulator authorises Moderna Covid-19 vaccine

Moderna Covid-19 vaccine: On Wednesday, European Union regulator authorised the use of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for the bloc. It is the second vaccine approved by the 27-member Union. The decision came amidst the rising criticism regarding slow pace of vaccination, which was required to shield 450 million population of the region. The announcement was made after European Medicines Agency gave a go ahead to the Moderna vaccine with an aim to increase number of vaccination doses available for the bloc.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “We are providing more COVID-19 vaccines for Europeans. With the Moderna vaccine, the second one now authorized in the EU, we will have a further 160 million doses. And more vaccines will come.”

“This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency,” said EMA Executive Director Emer Cooke. “It is a testament to the efforts and commitment of all involved that we have this second positive vaccine recommendation just short of a year since the pandemic was declared by WHO.”

Last month, EU provided similar authorisation to US vaccine developer Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. In case of both the vaccines, people are required to take two shots at the gap of about two-three weeks. As per the existing deal with Pfizer-BioNTech, EU would be purchasing 300 million doses. But with the current approvals granted to Moderna, EU would avail 80 million more doses, with an option to further extend the order to 80 million extra doses. Besides, Moderna gained an upper hand over rest of the vaccines as it is easier to handle, transport and did require ultra-frozen temperatures for the storage.

Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have been labelled safe to use as they both employ mRNA vaccine technology, which imply that the vaccine doesn’t contain any coronavirus. Instead, the medicine uses a certain type of genetic code which signals the immune system when it contacts a spike protein on the surface of the virus, about to attack.

Welcoming the move, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said that the vaccine authorization “will ensure that 460 million doses will be rolled out with increasing speed in the EU, and more will come. Member States have to ensure that the pace of vaccinations follows suit.”

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also commended the decision and wrote on Twitter that approval of the Moderna vaccine “is another important step in the fight against the pandemic. This means we have more vaccine available in the EU and can fight the pandemic faster.”

Moderna said that it was working towards producing about 500 to 600 million doses in 2021 to meet the global demand. On Monday, the pharmaceutical company said it is “continuing to invest and add staff to build up to potentially 1 billion doses for 2021.”

EU Bloc Gets Flake Over Less Vaccine Procurement Numbers
Europe

EU Bloc Gets Flake Over Less Vaccine Procurement Numbers

EU Bloc Gets Flake: As well-oiled world economies comes in terms with failed administrative decisions, European Union is also facing similar music. The bloc is now being criticized for mismanagement of procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate, a part of which was developed in Germany itself. 

EU bloc is falling short of the approved Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine candidate that provides 97percent efficacy. However, there has been fresh scare over the newly mutating virus. The Covid-19 virus is mutating and new strains have started to enter some parts of Europe. UK claims it has been able to control the spread; but the virus has started to find its way into other countries outside Europe too. 

Attacking the European Commission for a slow vaccine procurement process is Markus Söder, the leader of Germany’s Christian Social Union. Making a public statement he said, “The time factor is crucial. If Israel, the U.S. or the U.K. are far ahead of us in vaccination, they will also benefit economically. The question of how we get through corona economically is closely related to how quickly we get through with vaccination.”

Söder’s statement could win him brownie points as he runs the race for the chancellor job in national elections scheduled for next September. But he has a valid point as he points out that “It is difficult to explain that a very good vaccine is developed in Germany but is vaccinated more quickly elsewhere.”

EU bloc took extensively long to give approvals to the vaccine candidate. This could have just been a step of caution misunderstood. Undeniably, the pandemic has the political and leadership capabilities of many nations to test. Many countries were not prepared to handle a pandemic like situation that devoured most of the year 2020. Many are still learning from their mistakes; EU is not going to be an exception to this process of evolution. 

But lack of vaccines and a new strain of mutation could mean lockdown in Europe again, that is going to hit non-essential businesses and extend till end of January 2021. 

Saudi Arabia Brushes Off Rumour Over Second Deadly Corona Virus Strain
Middle East & Africa

Saudi Arabia Brushes Off Rumour Over Second Deadly Corona Virus Strain

Second Deadly Corona Virus Strain: As the world is bracing for impact against the second huge attack from the Covid-19 virus strain, Saudi Arabia has denied any new cases of the new mutated virus in the Kingdom. 

According to the Ministry of Health, there has been no such evidence to prove that indeed there is the occurrence of a new mutated form of the Corona virus. Dr. Mohammed Al Abdul Ali, the ministry’s spokesperson has denied any such development to the media. 

Dr. Ali has requested people to seek the source for accurate information and not be misguided by rumours. While the world is again closing down borders to contain the spread of the second wave of a more portent mutated form of the virus, Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah, Minister of Health, has confirmed that the mutated strain of coronavirus is not worse than Covid-19, and the current vaccine is effective against it.

In the Emirates, UAE and Bahrain has approved of the Chinese made vaccines. Saudi Arabia 

Adding on to an official statement, Mr. Rabiah has added that, “If a person is infected with the mutated coronavirus, then it is similar to the known coronavirus, and the mutated strain is not worse than COVID-19, and the vaccine is effective to deal with it. This is one of the promising things,” he said while noting that the matter, whether the new variant spreads faster or not, is under study and evaluation.”

In the end of November, Saudi Arabian government had already committed more than $500 million to fund efforts to develop and produce a safe and effective vaccine against the coronavirus disease. Official statements confirm that the vaccine centers will be soon opening in western region and the Eastern Province. This is a part of the ongoing Covid-19 inoculation campaign from the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia

Additionally, more than 440,000 people have already signed up on the Sehaty app to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Ninety percent of those registered through the app are between the ages of 20-60 years old, according to an official statement from the ministry. 

Since the lockdowns, Saudi Arabia has reported a 97% recovery rate. It has maintained strict hygiene and monitoring protocols.

Moderna: second covid vaccine to gain US authorisation
Americas

Moderna: second covid vaccine to gain US authorisation

Second covid vaccine: On Friday, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided authorisation for the emergency use of the covid vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health. The pharmaceutical company said that the vaccine doses would be available for use by Monday. As soon as the drug company received approval, US President Donald Trump tweeted, “Congratulations, the Moderna vaccine is now available!”

Post the discussion over the vaccine, “Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Stephen Hahn said: “With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of Covid-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic.”

Immunologist James Hildreth, president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, during the panel discussion over the vaccine on Thursday said, “To go from having a sequence of a virus in January to having two vaccines available in December is a remarkable achievement.”

The US is the first nation to provide approval to Moderna, which is the second vaccine to be supplied in the country after the first, developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech.

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine has a success rate, in case of latter it is 94% and is relatively cheaper to transport to different locations as it doesn’t require ultra-freezing temperature for storage as Pfizer, which requires to be kept at −70 °C, where as former can be stored in a −20 °C freezer for 6 months, and in a refrigerator (at about 4 °C) for 30 days. 

Moderna can be taken by anyone 18 years old or above, where as Pfizer said that its dosage can be taken by even 16 year olds. Commending the quick development of both the vaccine, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said that two work “better than we almost dared to hope, science is working here, science has done something amazing.”

The two were developed in a record time of within a year. Collins assured people that the speed of the vaccine development should not be a point of concern for people as he stressed that the early outcome was  result of billions of dollars of investment doled into i

company along with government investments and years of earlier scientific research. Collins said,“The rigour of the analysis of these vaccines is unprecedented. We’re not done with this but hope is on the way, and the hope comes from this scientific brain trust that has pulled out all the stops.”

FDA has issued few directions for the vaccine shots including: both the vaccine require two dose shots with second to be taken after several weeks and from the same company as the first one.

Both the vaccines provide a slight ray of hope to the nation, a week before Christmas. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 312,000 lives in US alone and about 1.7 million lives worldwide. The current average of number of new cases in the US is over 216,000 per day.

Emirates along with DHL prepare to distribute coronavirus vaccine in Arab region
Middle East & Africa

Emirates along with DHL prepare to distribute coronavirus vaccine in Arab region

Emirates along with DHL: As the COVID-19 immunizations are clearing the advance tests and getting authorized for use, the Arab region’s challenge is to prepare for the vaccine distribution plan.

The Arab world’s most significant transport carrier Emirates has collaborated with DHL to launch big vaccine delivery efforts before the year ends, as per company authorities. 

According to Arab News, Nabil Sultan, divisional senior VP of Emirates SkyCargo expressed that a center has now been made at Al-Maktoum International Airport, otherwise called Dubai World Central, to receive, store and afterward distribute the jab to medical facilities across the locale. 

The latest preparations started in summer when drug firms first declared vaccine trials. “We can store nearly 1,000,000 vaccines in our office under the temperature needs set by the manufacturing companies,” Sultan stated. 

As per the latest instructions, some of the vaccines require to be stored in super cold temperatures in dry ice containers. Therefore, that could be very expensive and difficult for poorer nations.

For example, the vaccine manufactured by US drug company Pfizer in partnership with German firm BioNTech, authorized for immunization in the UK on Dec. 2 and for emergency treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 12, and stored in freezing – 70 C. 

Another US drugmaker called Moderna has made its own vaccine utilizing a similar progressive mRNA strategy as Pfizer/BioNTech, which requires to be stored in cold temperatures around – 20 C. 

While, both the UK-made Oxford/AstraZeneca immunization and the Chinese-made Sinopharm jab, permitted by the UAE on Dec. 9 could be stored in the fridge.

According to Sultan, perhaps the greatest challenge is that a ton of the neighboring nations like Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian Sub-continent lack the latest medical facilities and the infrastructure in terms of storage. “Hence, bringing the vaccine to Dubai and distributing it further is the ultimate solution.” 

Indeed, even developed nations are struggling for assets in preparation for the vaccine, especially for Pfizer/BioNTech shot, says Dr. Mais Absi, a researcher at King’s College London. 

“The quantity of refrigerating cabinets with a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius is restricted in European nations,” she told Arab News. “Along these lines, you can envision the circumstance in emerging nations.” 

However, with the emergence of new vaccine candidates, the authorities will in no time be able to shop around for the best vaccines as per their requirement. Furthermore, thanks to Emirates, Dubai will be a local hub for preparing for this endeavor.

Covid-19 vaccine, between geopolitics and science
Geopolitics

Covid-19 vaccine, between geopolitics and science

Geopolitics and Science: The disastrous 2020 is about to end. Among the wishes for the new year, also the anticipation for the vaccine to be received for all. December 8, 2020, will be remembered as the day 90-year-old Margaret Keenan was the first person in England to receive an mRNA vaccine outside of a clinical trial. But the historical moment we are about to live in is full of dark questions that have little to do with science. So, what story should we prepare to tell the new-born from next year? The story of the Covid-19 pandemic has unveiled issues never dormant in human history.

While the now ex-US President Donald Trump was trying to grab European companies at the forefront in the field of vaccines, other nations proceeded to vaccinate essential people in this war on the virus, like hospital staff, police, public transport drivers at home. We remember that Europe has always been and still is at the forefront in this sector worldwide. According to several reports, China had already started in spring 2019 with its self-sufficient vaccines. Also, Russia has already begun using its Sputnik V for some time and is now proceeding with mass vaccination. In the West, things follow different paths. There are precise rules agreed internationally in Europe and the USA that observe this way.

The European Commission still underlines that vaccines are the best opportunity we have to end the Covid-19 pandemic and officially proclaims that it is working to ensure that vaccines are safe, effective, and available for all following a rigorous procedure that includes: validation tests in the laboratory, studies in large clinical trials, evaluation by the European Medicines Agency, and authorization by the European Commission for the whole of Europe after consultation with all member countries. But even in democratic Europe, nationalism influences voters. So, Boris Johnson asked the British regulatory authorities to approve the Pfizer & BioNtech vaccine. Mass vaccination started from the first in the Western world. We read that Boris’s political situation a few days after Brexit is not the best. Therefore, one can imagine why he did it, as well as perhaps the risk of having to pay duties if everything had happened after the breakup.

Phase 3 studies must take place where the infection affects many people. For example, in China, the cases are practically eliminated except in people who come from other countries, so a study that follows the rules of a correct clinical trial it is not technically possible. Consequently, the vaccines are going tested in other nations where the virus is doing more victims like Brazil. In the United States, which has the largest number of cases in the world, Chinese vaccines are not tested, of course. But China, in its great power, has started collaborations with many other countries, poor and rich, like the United Arab Emirates to penetrate those markets, using the vaccine as a Trojan horse. The same for Russia with Turkey and perhaps in the future also with Hungary, feeling part of the European Union and a little not.

It is important to note that the largest vaccine experiment in history is starting. Thanks to modern technologies, it will be possible to evaluate and ascertain the safety of vaccines in an extremely superior way compared to when the two vaccines for polio were introduced in the 1950s. A few weeks ago, the World Health Organization declared Africa polio-free. This infection could be declared eradicated if pockets do not persist where there is fighting, where there are religious exploitation and where those who go to vaccinate children risk their lives. The combination of interests to keep the arms market profitable and religious fanaticism play on the ignorance of poor people and leave us insecure that we are not all defended. Then the bill is paid by the most vulnerable patients or the immunosuppressed.

Canada Plans To Share Vaccines With Poor Nations
Americas

Canada Plans To Share Vaccines With Poor Nations

Canada Plans To Share Vaccines: Despite its own challenges with acquiring doses for Covid-19 virus, Canada is reaching out to help donating doses to some lower income nations. Canada had a bad experience dealing with China that backed out at the last minute to deliver doses it had promised. 

It is one of the few countries that has been struggling to control the escalating number of infection cases. It is therefore probably forced to make deals to buy more doses per capita than any other nation, according to researchers at the Duke Global Health Innovation Center in North Carolina.

Post the experience with China, Canada is putting its wealth to good use. It has gone out of its way to reserve billions of doses between them before late-stage trial data came in, ensuring they would get access even if only one or two vaccines worked.

Canada will be planning to donate extra doses through the World Health Organization (WHO)-backed COVAX facility, which would distribute them among recipient countries, according to a trusted Canadian government source.

WHO organized COVAX is a facility created to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and will be extremely helpful for needy foreign countries. Undeniably, the demand is exceeding supply across the world. With only Pfizer and Moderna having released late-stage trial data, Canada already has deals in place to buy at least 20 million doses from each of the two companies.

But there is a feeling that the doses might not reach low income nations in the right form. Organized by GAVI vaccine group, the COVAX initiative was created to buy vaccines and share them among countries, not to distribute donated leftovers. Quality is of paramount importance here. 

Through the initiative, as many as 2 billion Covid vaccine doses will be made available by the end of 2021. GAVI has already raised more than $2 billion in funding, but needs $5 billion more to meet its goal.

Rich countries are being expected to close the funding gap. They are also expected to get their own residents vaccinated before sharing doses, where millions of frontline workers and vulnerable people in poorer countries could be serviced after that. To avoid this, funding is the best way to buy vaccines for such needy nations. 

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