Updates

January 26, 2021

COVID-19 Variant Brings New Dimension To Europe’s Pandemic-The Associated Press

The pandemic’s spread across Europe is increasingly being powered by an especially contagious virus mutation first detected last year in southeast England, health experts say. The threat is prompting governments to introduce harsh new lockdowns and curfews. Viggo Andreasen, an assistant professor in mathematical epidemiology at Roskilde University, west of Copenhagen, said the new variant is a game-changer. “On the surface, things may look good but underneath, the (new) variant is looming,” he … Continue Reading


January 26, 2021

Proud Of Vaccine Success, Warp Speed’s Ex–Science Head Talks Politics, Presidents, And Future Pandemics-Science Magazine

When President Joe Biden took office last week, his administration swiftly announced it would be renaming Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s crash program to develop COVID-19 vaccines. The decision puzzled immunologist Moncef Slaoui, scientific head of Warp Speed, but he attributes it to a word he says with disdain: politics. Slaoui recently resigned from his post, but has agreed to help the Biden transition team into February. In a lengthy chat with Science from his home in … Continue Reading


January 26, 2021

States Taking Back Covid Shots Unused By Nursing Homes-Politico

Some states trying to stretch their limited supply of coronavirus vaccines are planning to reroute doses earmarked for nursing homes, as they face mounting pressure to get shots into arms more quickly. The states say tens of thousands of coronavirus shots designated for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities through a federal program are going unused, while health officials are speeding through the weekly supply of vaccines for the broader public after vastly expanding eligibility … Continue Reading


January 26, 2021

WHO Issues New Clinical Advice On Treating COVID-19 Patients-Reuters

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued fresh clinical advice on Tuesday for treating COVID-19 patients, including those displaying persistent symptoms after recovery, and also said it advised using low-dose anti-coagulants to prevent blood clots. “The other things in the guidance that are new are that COVID-19 patients at home should have the use of pulse oximetry, that’s measuring the oxygen levels, so you can identify whether somewhat at home is deteriorating and would be better off … Continue Reading


January 26, 2021

'Everything Broke': Global Health Leaders On What Went Wrong In The Pandemic-NPR

The pandemic's toll of more than 2 million reported deaths and worldwide economic and social dislocation was not inevitable, said many speakers. It was the direct result of, as Clark put it, "a failure to prepare adequately for a pandemic threat despite years of warnings that better preparation was necessary." The hopeful side of this, at least, is that it suggests there are concrete steps that can be taken to prevent a repeat if another deadly virus emerges. But over and over again, the … Continue Reading


January 25, 2021

Moderna Finds COVID-19 Vaccine Less Effective Against Variant Found In South Africa-NPR

Moderna says tests show its COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against new variants of the coronavirus, but that the vaccine is more effective against the variant first identified in the U.K. than one found in South Africa. As a result, Moderna will test booster doses of its vaccine - including one that would be tailored to fight strains that have recently emerged. NPR, … Continue Reading


January 25, 2021

In A Major Setback, Merck To Stop Developing Its Two Covid-19 Vaccines And Focus On Therapies-STAT

Merck said Monday it will stop developing both of the current formulations of the Covid-19 vaccines the company was working on, citing inadequate immune responses to the shots. Work will continue on at least one of the vaccines, which is being developed in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), to see if using a different route of administration would improve how effective it is. STAT, … Continue Reading


January 25, 2021

China Pushes Conspiracy Theories On COVID Origin, Vaccines-The Associated Press

Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials indicating it is safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China’s vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say … Continue Reading


January 25, 2021

Humanitarians Plan For COVID-19 Vaccinations In Conflict Zones-Devex

Mass COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in fragile and conflict settings remain months away, at the earliest, and an estimated 9 out of 10 people in low-income countries are unlikely to receive a vaccine this year, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance. But some international humanitarian and medical aid organizations are already bracing and preparing for the practical considerations of such a large undertaking, complicated by issues of ensuring access, combating misinformation, and … Continue Reading


January 25, 2021

Biden To Impose South Africa Travel Ban To Combat New COVID-19 Variant-Reuters

President Joe Biden will impose a ban on most non-U.S. citizens entering the country who have recently been in South Africa starting Saturday in a bid to contain the spread of a new variant of COVID-19, a senior U.S. public health official told Reuters. Biden on Monday is also reimposing an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. travelers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders. Reuters, … Continue Reading


January 22, 2021

Are COVID Vaccination Programmes Working? Scientists Seek First Clues-Nature

As countries worldwide roll out COVID-19 vaccines, researchers are eagerly watching for early signs that they are having an impact on the pandemic. Last week, researchers in Israel reported preliminary figures suggesting that people vaccinated there were about one-third less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 than people who had not received a shot. But scientists say that population-wide effects of immunization will take time to become clear. Many factors will determine how soon … Continue Reading


January 22, 2021

Biden Orders Review Of Domestic Extremism Threat In US-The Associated Press

Alabama is getting roughly half has much COVID-19 vaccine as it was expecting based on federal plans announced last year, officials said Friday, meaning it would take more than two years to vaccinate the state’s adult population without improvement. The state has 800 approved vaccination sites and is trying to deliver shots as quickly as it can, but supply issues have been the biggest hinderance to state vaccination efforts, said Dr. Scott Harris, the head of the Alabama Department of Public … Continue Reading


January 22, 2021

New Brazil Coronavirus Variant Found In Nearly Half Of Amazon City Cases-Reuters

A variant of the novel coronavirus already accounts for about half of new infections in the Brazilian Amazonian city of Manaus, raising concerns about a greater risk of spread, a researcher warned on Friday. A team led by immunologist Ester Sabino collected genomic data from COVID-19 tests in Manaus that indicated 42% of the confirmed cases were infected by the new variant, which has mutations similar to the British and South African variants. Reuters, … Continue Reading


January 22, 2021

CDC Reports Rare Allergic Reactions To Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine-STAT

The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, like the one made by Pfizer and BioNTech, appears to induce rare anaphylactic reactions in a small number of people who receive the vaccine, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest. As of Jan. 19, there have been 15 confirmed cases of anaphylaxis after receipt of Moderna’s vaccine and 45 confirmed cases of anaphylaxis after receipt of the Pfizer vaccine, the CDC said in a statement to STAT. STAT, … Continue Reading


January 22, 2021

'Until Everyone Is Safe, No One Is Safe': Africa Awaits The COVID-19 Vaccine-NPR

As slow as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been in the United States, some estimates say billions of people around the world won't be vaccinated for COVID-19 until 2022 or 2023. Bloomberg has been publishing a map which shows the level of vaccine distribution in different countries and virtually the entire continent of Africa — more than 50 different nations — is blank. NPR, … Continue Reading


January 21, 2021

U.S. Jobless Claims Decline To A Still-High 900,000-Politico

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, lowering claims to 900,000, still a historically high level that points to further job cuts in a raging pandemic. The Labor Department’s report Thursday underscored that President Joe Biden has inherited an economy that faltered this winter as virus cases spiked, cold weather restricted dining and federal rescue aid expired. Politico, … Continue Reading


January 21, 2021

India To Begin Commercial Vaccine Exports With Shipments To Brazil, Morocco-Reuters

India’s government has cleared commercial exports of COVID-19 vaccines, with the first consignments to be shipped to Brazil and Morocco on Friday, the Indian foreign secretary told Reuters. The shots developed by UK-based drugmaker AstraZeneca and Oxford University are being manufactured at the Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest producer of vaccines, which has received orders from countries across the world. Reuters, … Continue Reading


January 21, 2021

On His First Day In Office, Biden Retracts US Withdrawal From WHO-Devex

On his first day in office, U.S. President Joseph Biden overturned a Donald Trump-era decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization, a move welcomed by WHO’s leadership. Biden wrote to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres retracting the letter sent by his predecessor on July 6, 2020, that notified the U.N. Secretariat of the U.S. government’s intention to withdraw its membership from WHO. The letter was supposed to take effect on July 6, a full year’s notice as per protocol. … Continue Reading


January 21, 2021

Eli Lilly Says Its Monoclonal Antibody Prevented Covid-19 Infections In Clinical Trial-STAT

Eli Lilly said Thursday that its monoclonal antibody prevented Covid-19 infections in nursing home residents and staff in a clinical trial, the first time such a treatment has been shown to prevent infection. Lilly released the results in a press release, although it said that it would publish the data in a research paper as quickly as possible. STAT, … Continue Reading


January 21, 2021

On Day 2, Biden To Focus On COVID-19 Strategy With 10 Executive Actions-NPR

President Biden plans to sign a series of orders and directives on his second day in office to take charge of stopping the spread of the coronavirus, steps that his advisers say will start to boost testing, vaccinations, supplies and treatments. Accelerating the sluggish federal response to COVID-19 is Biden's top priority, and he has promised 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days. He is also pushing Congress for another $1.9 trillion in relief, a package that would include direct … Continue Reading

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