Tuesday, March 02, 2021

COVID vaccine: ‘Extremely good news’ about Oxford/AstraZeneca jab

The AstraZeneca jab offers even stronger protection than first known, new data shows

Just one shot of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can cut hospital admissions of older people by 80 per cent, new data shows.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the finding and also revealed the jab may offer better protection against COVID-19 than first thought.

The Public Health England figures compared people who received the first dose of the vaccine with others of a similar age who were yet to receive protection.

Mr Hancock said the data was “extremely good news”.

“A single shot of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine or of the Pfizer vaccine works against severe infection among the over-70s with a more than 80 per cent reduction in hospitalisations," he said in a public address to the nation.

“In fact, the detailed data show that the protection that you get from catching COVID 35 days after a first jab is even slightly better for the Oxford jab than for Pfizer, albeit both results are clearly very strong.”


Game-changing COVID-19 vaccine pill pursued by small British firm

In the global scramble to discover a COVID-19 vaccine, did governments overlook an option almost too good to be true? Wayne Channon thinks so, and is out to prove it.

“If we can make vaccines which are thermally stable and taken orally, that could be transformational,” Channon says. “It will require a mindset change. And the benefits are not trivial.”

IosBio, the British biotechnology firm Channon chairs, has for years tried to convince pharmaceutical giants of the benefits of turning temperature-sensitive liquid vaccines into much more stable pills.

“We thought it would be a walk in the park to persuade them to reformulate their vaccines but it turned out to be very naive,” he says.

“For big pharma, getting something into the cold chain [a temperature-controlled supply chain] is considered a success for them. They don’t own the cold chain so there’s no economic imperative to change.”

However the coronavirus pandemic may finally herald the arrival of oral vaccines; iosBio’s technology was given to humans for the first time during trials in California on Monday and the team behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab has also started exploring whether it could eventually be taken as a pill.

Tablets or nasal sprays could provide a more targeted immune response, overcome the need for storage and transportation at freezing temperatures, be handed out much faster, help people who are afraid of needles and, according to Channon, even be sent in the post as a booster shot.

“For the next pandemic, the world is going to be a different place,” he says. “We will have some new technology and I think oral vaccines are going to be at the forefront of that.”

IosBio gave up on trying to convince pharmaceutical companies and in 2016 started developing vaccines itself. However the firm was overlooked for funding by the UK’s vaccine taskforce during last year’s race to find candidates.

Several months later a phone call from billionaire doctor, businessman and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong opened the door to a potential breakthrough. Soon-Shiong - the world’s richest doctor who Forbes estimates is worth $10 billion - had woken up at 3am with a realisation that inoculating the world would be easier through an oral vaccine and tracked down iosBio.

The pills are engineered to withstand temperatures of up to 50 degrees, allowing them to pass through the stomach without loss of efficacy before they are released in the intestines where immune cells are concentrated.

The British outfit licensed its thermal stabilisation technology to ImmunityBio in exchange for royalties on worldwide sales of an approved oral vaccine. The deal opened up the tens of millions of dollars in funding needed to launch clinical trials.

Sixty-five people in California will take part in the phase one trial launched on Monday. Phase two and three trials will be expanded to thousands more. Oral vaccines have already proven highly effective on monkeys under trials funded by the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Channon added.

“We want to be the universal booster, just because of the simplicity of giving it, simplicity of distributing it and the fact it’s going to have probably a more profound impact,” Channon says. “Even if it’s not this year, it could be next year.”

Channon says distributing the pill via post was an option but agreed governments might want more oversight on the actual uptake by public.

“That’s the debate we’ve got to have with the regulator. I think there is a good argument that if you are sent a vaccine there is at least as much chance of you taking it is as you having a needle in the arm. so I think you’d say lets be pragmatic about this.

“If the worst thing is you have to go to your doctor and pick it up and put it in your mouth and say I’ve taken it, it’s still going to be a lot more efficient [than traditional vaccines].”

The phase one trial will end in two months.


NY Bars and Restaurants Win Court Victory Against Cuomo's COVID Curfew

Late last year, blue state governors began enforcing an utterly nonsensical policy ostensibly to fight COVID-19. Govs. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) and Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) insisted on curfews for bars and restaurants, preventing them from staying open for lucrative late-shifts without explaining how this business-throttling move would fight the pandemic.

On Saturday, a New York State Supreme Court justice granted a preliminary injunction allowing 90 bars and restaurants to remain open until their regular closing time of 4 a.m. Cuomo had ordered a 10 p.m. curfew in November. Last month, he extended the curfew to 11 p.m. The bars and restaurants sued, demanding the scientific data upon which Cuomo based the curfew.

Steve Cohen, the HoganWilling PLLC attorney representing the bars and restaurants, argued that science did not support the curfew. Cohen said his firm has 13 lawsuits already and is welcoming more industries to come on board.

Donald Swartz, owner of Veneto Wood Fired Pizza and Pasta in Rochester, N.Y., told Fox & Friends that the legal effort began with 10 different restaurants, mostly in the Buffalo area, but grew to nearly 100 different small business owners.

“Months ago we were being redlined where the city of Rochester could not serve indoor dining, but you can go over to the suburbs and you can sit down so it was quite difficult to operate under those conditions,” Swartz recalled. “The law office went to battle for us and got that removed.”

The business owner said he is “really hoping that everybody can get back to — as close as we can — to full dining and we can get our employees — get our staff — back to work. That’s really what we want to do.”

“Let us do what we do best, get back to work, provide a service, provide jobs and provide some taxes back to the state, which [has] got to be much needed at this point,” Swartz added.

While the legacy media long celebrated Cuomo as a heroic warrior against COVID-19, a long train of recent scandals involving the governor’s nursing home orders and sexual assault allegations have eviscerated his political future.

The very idea of a curfew to fight COVID-19 never made much sense. The virus does not suddenly become more likely to spread after 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., but limiting the hours of restaurants and bars does severely cut into their revenues. Cuomo, in particular, appeared to target small businesses that dared to mock his lockdown restrictions with satirical menus. While this petty vindictiveness should be beneath the dignity of a governor, fellow Democrats and alleged victims of sexual assault have come forward with claims that Cuomo personally threatened them, suggesting that this vindictiveness is not outside of the governor’s character.

Yes, this is the same Andrew Cuomo who won an Emmy and who penned a book about his exploits in fighting COVID-19.


Britain's "national Health Service at work

A bureaucracy that kills

A university student has died from sepsis after trying 25 times to get through to a GP surgery only to be refused an appointment, an inquest heard.

Toby Hudson, 19, was unable to speak to anyone at the practice, in Weymouth, Dorset, because of a faulty phone system, so gave up and tried again the next day.

When he did get through to a member of staff he was told he could not have an appointment for at least 48 hours.

The teenager was told that due to him being registered at another surgery in his university town of Southampton, Hants, he could either wait two days to re-register or go to an urgent care walk-in centre.

He attended the centre and was seen by nurse practitioner Briony Jefferis, who wrongly diagnosed him with tonsillitis and gave him antibiotics.

Over the next 24 hours Mr Hudson‘s condition deteriorated in front of his parents who called 999 when he slipped into unconsciousness.

He went into cardiac arrest but was delayed in getting to hospital because an ambulance went to the wrong location.

Toby died on the night of July 4, 2019, two days after he had first sought help at the Wyke Regis & Lanehouse Medical Practice in Weymouth, Dorset.

A post mortem examination showed he died from multiple organ failure due to sepsis, due to infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever).

An inquest into his death in Bournemouth heard Mr Hudson had previously been a patient at the Weymouth practice.

However, when he moved to Southampton to study chemistry at university he registered at a new clinic closer to campus.

He had been suffering from a cough for around two months before he returned to his family home in Weymouth in the summer of 2019.

It was heard that Toby was suffering from swollen glands and ‘puffy’ tonsils and a sore throat when his parents told him to speak to a GP.

Giving evidence, Dr Matthew Brook, a partner at the Wake Regis & Lanehouse Medical Practice, admitted issues with the phone system due to a high patient load. Dr Brook said: “We were having tremendous problems with our phone system which could not handle a much higher number of calls. “We had updated the system but it was not working correctly.

“There was a queuing system but in a lot of cases people were waiting a long time and then hanging up.

“We have had a review since then and nobody recalled taking the call from Toby.”

Dr Brook insisted that the correct procedures had been followed. According to national guidelines, temporary residents should only be seen by a GP if they do not require urgent care.

He said: “With temporary residents, receptionists are told to ask whether a patient needs an urgent appointment, within 48 hours.

“If they do require one within 48 hours we refer them to the urgent care unit. “If not, the patient is re-registered and we are then able to make an appointment.”

Mrs Jefferis said she was “not remotely worried” about Toby‘s symptoms when she examined him at the urgent care centre in Weymouth Community Hospital.

She added that he “did not show any signs of sepsis” and that his symptoms were “consistent with those of tonsillitis.”

Mr Hudson‘s father, Peter, returned home on July 4 to find him looking pale and when he helped his son to the wet room of the house he briefly lost consciousness, so he called 999.

The teenager was then taken from his home address in Weymouth to the Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, but died later that evening.

Mr Hudson said: “I felt there was no urgency. I had to press for action to be taken and for our concerns to be heard.” He added: “We have a lot of concerns about his care.”


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE-TIED)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://awesternheart.blogspot.com.au/ (THE PSYCHOLOGIST)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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