Medicine

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US health agencies recommend pausing Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after blood clots
US health agencies recommend pausing Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine after blood clots
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler.

After six women developed a rare disorder involving blood clots after being administered the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, US health agencies have called for an immediate pause of the vaccine.

“Today FDA and @CDCgov issued a statement regarding the Johnson & Johnson #COVID19 vaccine. We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the Food and Drug Administration wrote on Twitter.

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BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to offer protection against Covid-19 for at least 6 months
BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine to offer protection against Covid-19 for at least 6 months
Credit: Logo via Pfizer & BioNTech

According to a published research by Pfizer, the BionTech-Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine offers protection against Covid-19 for at least 6 months.

"Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE today announced updated topline results from analysis of 927 confirmed symptomatic cases of COVID-19 observed in their pivotal Phase 3 study through March 13, 2021, showing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2, was 91.3% effective against COVID-19, measured seven days through up to six months after the second dose," so the statement.

Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer said that the data confirmed "the favorable efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine", adding that the "high vaccine efficacy observed through up to six months following a second dose and against the variant prevalent in South Africa provides further confidence in our vaccine’s overall effectiveness."

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EMA reviewing possible link between Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and blood clots
EMA reviewing possible link between Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and blood clots
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Medicines Agency announced Friday that it is reviewing a possible connection between the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine and blood clots, Reuters reports.

"Four serious cases of rare blood clots with low platelets, one of which was fatal, have been reported after inoculation with J&J’s vaccine from its Janssen unit, the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) said," Reuters wrote.

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EMA official says there's a clear link between AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA denies having found link
EMA official says there's a clear link between AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA denies having found link
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

There's a clear link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA's Head of Anti-infectives and Vaccines Marco Cavaleri told the Italian daily newspaper Il Messagero on Thursday.

“In my opinion, we can now say it, it is clear that there is an association with the vaccine. However, we still do not know what causes this reaction,” so Cavaleri.

The European Medicines Agency issued a statement hours later, denying that a connection has been already established, saying it had “not yet reached a conclusion and the review is currently ongoing”, but expects to announce findings later this week.

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BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines 90% effective at preventing infections study shows
BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines 90% effective at preventing infections study shows
Credit: unsplash.com/Marisol Benitez

A study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown that both BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 90% effective at preventing infections, including asymptomatic infections, with the first dose showing 80% efficacy.

“Reducing the risk for transmissible infection, which can occur among persons with asymptomatic infection or among persons several days before symptoms onset, is especially important among health care personnel, first responders, and other essential and frontline workers given their potential to transmit the virus through frequent close contact with patients and the public,” the report concluded.

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BioNTech-Pfizer to start pediatric Covid-19 vaccine trial
BioNTech-Pfizer to start pediatric Covid-19 vaccine trial
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

BioNTech and Pfizer announced Thursday that they are launching pediatric trials of their Covid-19 vaccine on children 12 years and under.

"Together with our partner BioNTech, we have announced a global study to further evaluate our #COVID19 vaccine in healthy children ages 6 months to 11 years. We are proud to start this much needed study for children and families eagerly awaiting a possible vaccine option," Albert Bourla,

Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, announced on Twitter. "As a father and a scientist, I would like to thank our participants and their parents and caregivers for enrolling in the study. We need to continue gathering evidence on the safety and efficacy of #COVID19 vaccines for important populations, including children."

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Independent US board "concerned" AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from its Covid-19 vaccine trial
Independent US board "concerned" AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from its Covid-19 vaccine trial
Credit: Gencat, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has released a statement, saying that the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), an independent group of experts that advises US National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, was concerned "that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data."

"Late Monday, the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) notified NIAID, BARDA, and AstraZeneca that it was concerned by information released by AstraZeneca on initial data from its COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial,” the statement says. “The DSMB expressed concern that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data. We urge the company to work with the DSMB to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible.”

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AstraZeneca: US trial confirms vaccine safety
AstraZeneca: US trial confirms vaccine safety
Credit: Gencat, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

A US trial with over 32,000 participants has shown that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is both safe and effective, preventing symptomatic infections with a 79% efficacy and severe infections and hospitalizations with a 100% efficacy. The trial has also shown no safety concerns associated with blood clots.

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More European countries to resume AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccinations after it was deemed "safe and effective" by the EMA
More European countries to resume AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccinations after it was deemed "safe and effective" by the EMA
Credit: gencat cat, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Several European countries, inclduing France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania will resume administering AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine in the following days after European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced the vaccine was "safe and effective".

Emer Cooke, head of the EMA, said that while "a small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious clotting disorders" were uncovered, the agency did not find that the vaccine caused an increase in the risk of blood clots.

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AstraZeneca finds "no evidence" of increased risk of blood clots
AstraZeneca finds "no evidence" of increased risk of blood clots
Credit: gencat cat, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

AstraZeneca has released a statement, saying its Covid-19 vaccine has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.

"Following a recent concern raised around thrombotic events, AstraZeneca would like to offer its reassurance on the safety of its COVID-19 vaccine based on clear scientific evidence. Safety is of paramount importance and the Company is continually monitoring the safety of its vaccine," the report said. "A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union (EU) and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country."

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Novavax vaccine up to 96% effective in UK trial
Novavax vaccine up to 96% effective in UK trial
Credit: Novavax

American vaccine development company Novavax said its Covid-19 vaccine has shown a 96% efficacy against the original Coronavirus strain and a 86% efficacy against the more potent UK strain B117 in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United Kingdom. The vaccine has also shown to be 100% effective against severe Covid-19 infections.

Trials are still running in the United States, and the company will apply for US emergency use authorization as soon as those trials are complete.

Stanley Erck, Novavax's president and CEO, said that the company was "very encouraged by the data".

“We are very encouraged by the data showing that NVX-CoV2373 not only provided complete protection against the most severe forms of disease, but also dramatically reduced mild and moderate disease across both trials. Importantly, both studies confirmed efficacy against the variant strains,” so Erck. “Today marks one year since the WHO officially declared the COVID-19 pandemic, and with this data in hand, we are even more motivated to advance our vaccine as a potential weapon in the fight to end the suffering caused by COVID-19.”

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First long-acting injectable HIV drug combo approved by US FDA
Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. This image has been colored to highlight important features; see PHIL 1197 for original black and white view of this image.
Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. This image has been colored to highlight important features; see PHIL 1197 for original black and white view of this image. Credit: Photo Credit: C. GoldsmithContent Providers: CDC/ C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved cabotegravir and rilpivirine injection – called Cabenuva – as a long-acting treatment for HIV-1 infections in adults. The new treatment is the first injectable treatment that has to be administered on a monthly basis, replacing daily pill medications to control the infection of the AIDS virus.

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BioNTech records first successes in the development of a vaccine against multiple sclerosis

Mainz-based BioNTech is working on an mRNA-based vaccine against multiple sclerosis. The first preclinical studies are promising; the vaccine approach was able to prevent MS disease in mice, and in mice that were already mildly ill, it was able to prevent the disease from progressing and motor functions could even be restored. The study on the mice is so promising that the start of clinical trials on humans is now the next goal, although these cannot begin for at least two years, as the approach must first be tested on human cells in the laboratory.

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Argentina starts distribution of hyperimmune equine serum to treat COVID-19
Argentina starts distribution of hyperimmune equine serum to treat COVID-19

The serum is obtained by injecting horses with SARS-CoV-2 protein, which causes the animal to generate a large amount of neutralizing antibodies. On trials it reduced mortality by 45%, internment by 24% and respiratory assistance by 36%.

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Blue illuminated ventilation tube reduces risk of infection
Blue illuminated ventilation tube reduces risk of infection
Credit: Copyright Technische Hochschule Ulm

In intensive care units, artificial respiration causes most infections with antibiotic-resistant hospital germs. In his bachelor's thesis, medical technology student Ben Sicks researched the killing of germs and pathogens by irradiation with blue LEDs and found that the blue illumination of a tube caused a 99.9% reduction in the concentration of bacteria. For this discovery he was awarded the Applied Photonics Award by the Frauenhofer Institute Jena.

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Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to three virologists
Michael Houghton, one of the three winners
Michael Houghton, one of the three winners Credit: Julio.frasneli.silva / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The virologists Harvey J. Alter (USA), Michael Houghton (Großbritannien) and Charles M. Rice (USA) have received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their work discovering the hepatitis C virus.

The Nobel Committee stated that "prior to their work, the discovery of the Hepatitis A and B viruses had been critical steps forward, but the majority of blood-borne hepatitis cases remained unexplained. The discovery of Hepatitis C virus revealed the cause of the remaining cases of chronic hepatitis and made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives".

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Germany: More than 1,000 police officers fell ill due to Corona
Germany: More than 1,000 police officers fell ill due to Corona
Credit: Leon Seibert

Police units are apparently exposed to a higher corona risk than other professional groups. According to a query by the "Rheinische Post" at the state interior ministries and the federal police, more than 1,000 officials have probably contracted Corona since March. The state of Bavaria leads the list with 274 registered cases.

The police union suspects the reasons is the lack of precautions.

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Berlin: 470 fines against mask grouches
Berlin: 470 fines against mask grouches
Credit: BVG

Between the beginning of July and the beginning of September, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) imposed only 470 contractual penalties for violating the mouth and nose covering. This emerges from a request to the Berlin Senate from an AfD MP. If the acceptance was 70% at peak times, according to the BVG, around 95% of passengers would now adhere to the Corona regulations.

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Munich public transport company states 90% of passengers wear mask
Munich public transport company states 90% of passengers wear mask
Credit: unsplash.com / Dominik Martin

The head of corporate security at the Munich Transport Company (MVG) commented in an interview with "Die Zeit" about mouth and nose covering and passenger acceptance. Around 90% of these would adhere to the regulations and the MVG would have achieved the desired effect. The effort to achieve 100% acceptance would be too high, especially with possible limited success.

He sees the imposition of fines and fines critically and as a state task.

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Berlin: 30,000 passengers without face mask in public transportation
Berlin: 30,000 passengers without face mask in public transportation
Credit: unsplash.com/Soroush Karimi

After about a month into the enforcement of the mandated mask requirement, the Berlin Transport Authority (BVG) has counted 30,000 passengers who were travelling without a mask. In just 200 cases, contractual penalties of €50 were imposed and in 80 cases there were violent attacks on security personnel.

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Pfizer and US reach $1.95 billion deal for Covid-19 vaccine
Pfizer and US reach $1.95 billion deal for Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Rhoda Baer (Photographer) / Public domain

The US government has agreed to pay $1.95 billion for 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotechnology company. The vaccine called BNT162 is currently still in development and early clinical trials. The agreement further states that the US could buy another 500 million doses, provided that the vaccine is both safe and effective as well as approved b the US Food and Drug Administration.

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UK, US & Canada warn of Russian spies trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine research
UK, US & Canada warn of Russian spies trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine research
Credit: unsplash.com/Louis Reed

American, British and Canadian governments have warned of Russian hackers trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine research by exploiting software flaws to access computer systems. While the UK's National Cyber Security Centre is "almost certain" that the attack came from a "part of Russian intelligence services", Russia has denied these claims.

"We do not have information about who may have hacked into pharmaceutical companies and research centres in Great Britain. We can say one thing - Russia has nothing at all to do with these attempts," so Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson of President Putin.

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Study: Brain inflamation, psychoses and stroke linked to Covid-19 also with mild symptoms
Brain images from patients on the study
Brain images from patients on the study Credit: Reproduction

Scientist from UCL (University College London) published that mild Covid-19 disease can have serious consequences. Also for young patients who can hope for a milder course of the disease. A Covid-19 disease can cause consequential damages like nerve damage, brain infections, delirium, psychoses and strokes. Damage was also found in those who had already been cured. The study is published in the medical journal "Brain".

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Gilead announces start of clinical testing for an inhaled solution of Remdesivir
Gilead announces start of clinical testing for an inhaled solution of Remdesivir
Credit: unsplash.com/CDC

Biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc. announced that trials for its inhaled solution of Remdesivir have begun. The randomised, placebo-controlled trial will be tested on 60 healthy patients between the ages of 18-45 to determine the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of the drug.

"With promising data emerging from the randomized, clinical trials of intravenous remdesivir administered to hospitalized patients, it became clear that efforts were needed to investigate the drug’s potential in the outpatient setting. Significant research efforts have been undertaken to deliver remdesivir in an inhaled, nebulized format," so Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merdad Parsey.

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Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG): Private security forces will check if people wear masks
Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG): Private security forces will check if people wear masks
Credit: BVG

Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe will be one of the first transport operators to relieve the police and monitor compliance with the mask requirement. Two hundred security forces will also punish a refusal ith a € 50 contractual penalty. The decision is intended primarily to relieve the state police, which, in addition to the subways and buses, must also check compliance in other public places.

There will be no controls at Deutsche Bahn AG and thus within the area of responsibility of the Federal Police.

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Stuttgart: Criminologist sees Corona as factor for the riots
Stuttgart: Criminologist sees Corona as factor for the riots
Credit: NTV (Reproduction)

Christian Pfeiffer, the criminologist and former SPD Minister of Justice of Lower Saxony, sees the corona restrictions as a possible cause for the riots in Stuttgart. Pent-up anger from the contact restrictions and frustration are apparently the cause of the events, but not political motives.

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German corona emergency clinic: Guarding costs more than € 200,000

Guarding the German Ludwigshafen Covid-19 emergency clinic costs around € 200,000. The provisional clinic with 200 beds in an event hall is available as emergency quarters for the relief of the local hospitals and has so far caused costs of half a million euros.

However, the security service has not been in use since May 20, as the security-worthy materials are stored outside the hall.

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German Red Cross: More violence against medical personnel

Since March 2020, more than 200 cases in the Middle East have been documented - e.g. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, but also Venezuela. Basically, however, more cases have to be assumed, since the documentation in such crisis areas is difficult.

However, it can be said that the behavior of people in conflict areas does not change due to a pandemic.

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France stops the use of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 treatment

France has revoked a decree that authorised the usage of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 treatments. The move comes after the World Health Organization suspended a global drug trial due to safety concerns. Furthermore, a study by the British medical journal The Lancet found the drug to increase mortality rates and frequency of irregular heartbeats in patients.

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World Medical Association warns of attacks against hospital staff

With clinic and health personnel needed more than ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Medical Association warns of increasing attacks against medical personnel.

According to the association inappropriate anger, fear and misinformation could be the greatest drivers of violence during the pandemic.