Medical Research

Business • Health Care
Nine biopharmaceutical companies sign safety pledge for Covid-19 vaccine
Nine biopharmaceutical companies sign safety pledge for Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: unsplash.com/CDC

Nine biopharmaceutical companies have signed a safety pledge, committing to "developing and testing potential vaccines for COVID-19 in accordance with high ethical standards and sound scientific principles."

AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Merck have signed the pledge just a week after the CDC's vaccine distribution plans surfaced, suggesting a vaccine would be available by as early as late October.

Business • Health Care
Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine gets approved for second trial

Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine BNT162b2 has been approved for its Phase II/III clinical trial by German Paul-Ehrlich-Institut. If the trials prove successful, Pfizer and BioNTech will try to seek regulatory approval as early as October.

"A large, controlled Phase III study is a crucial prerequisite to prove the safety and efficacy of a vaccine. The integration of sites in Europe, and now especially in Germany, is aimed at supporting an approval in Europe," so BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin.

Health
French professor faces ethics complaint over controversial Covid-19 statements
French professor faces ethics complaint over controversial Covid-19 statements
Credit: Via Twitter

The controversial French professor who repeatedly defended the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to help beat the coronavirus has been targeted by an ethics complaint that could see him face sanctions or barred from practicing, a medical association said Thursday.

The Marseille-based Didier Raoult is accused in the complaint by medical peers of spreading false information about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine.

Health
Tesla and Curevac have developed a vaccine printer
Tesla and Curevac have developed a vaccine printer
Credit: Screenshot via Twitter

Already in June 2019 the German biotech company Curevac and Tesla subsidiary Grohmann have applied for a patent for a newly developed vaccination printer.

A newly developed mobile "RNA Printer" is able to produce over a hundred thousand vaccination dosages in a few weeks. Originally developed to combat diseases like rabies and yellow fever it could potentially be used to produce a future Covid-19 vaccine given the approval for medical use of the printer and a vaccine.

Health
Researchers invent technology to purify water with sunlight in less than 30 minutes
Researchers invent technology to purify water with sunlight in less than 30 minutes
Credit: unsplash.com / Clint McKoy

With the help of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and sunlight, a global team of researchers has been able to purify brackish water and seawater into clean drinking water that meets the suggested quality of the World Health Organization.

According to the announcement, the new technology is more energy-efficient than current desalination processes and only uses one kilogram of MOF per day to generate 139,5 liters of clean water.

Lead author Professor Huanting Wang from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University in Australia has stated that "desalination has been used to address escalating water shortages globally. Due to the availability of brackish water and seawater, and because desalination processes are reliable, treated water can be integrated within existing aquatic systems with minimal health risks".

Health
Scientists have developed a new technique to detect microplastic in human organs
Scientists have developed a new technique to detect microplastic in human organs
Credit: unsplash.com / Marc Newberry

Rolf Halden at Arizona State University has stated that "we are now providing a research platform that will allow us and others to look for what is invisible – these particles too small for the naked eye to see" as the health risk "really resides in the small particles".

The impact of microplastics in organs on human health is not yet known, but the researches expect to find it in future patients. They now developed a technique to detect chemical traces and tested it on samples of organs such as the lung, liver and kidney. The researchers were able to detect the microplastics in all 47 samples.

Future studies on the health effects of "these non-biodegradable materials" will be conducted according to Varun Kelkar of Arizona State University.

Health
Report: Masks recommended for students in schools by Swedish researchers
Report: Masks recommended for students in schools by Swedish researchers
Credit: unsplash.com / Rusty Watson

Based on data from South Korea, the United States and Israel analyzing the infections and spread of the coronavirus through children, researchers now believe that children can contract Covid-19 and easily spread it.

A group of 26 researchers from Sweden wrote that "Because children are contagious, can become seriously ill, and it is unclear today how a mild infection affects their future health, we should already at the start of school take measures to keep the infection down".

They recommend sport only outdoors, eating meals seperated in classes, avoiding group tasks and that masks should be worn at all times.

Health
United States FDA authorize saliva-based Covid-19 test funded by NBA and NBPA
United States FDA authorize saliva-based Covid-19 test funded by NBA and NBPA
Credit: unsplash.com / NeONBRAND

A saliva-based Covid-19 test developed by the Yale University and funded by the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association has gotten emergency authorization by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The new salvia test from Yale University only costs around $4, compared to $60 in the best cased for the competing salvia test that has been developed at Rutgers University lap. Both tests have been granted the same permission by the Food and Drug Administration.

Politics • European • Germany
Russian Covid-19 vaccine possibly "dangerous" according to German Health Minister
Jens Spahn
Jens Spahn Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

In a radio interview with Deutschlandfunk, the German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has stated: "it is not about being first somehow, but about having an effective, a tested and therefore safe vaccine, which - and this is the important part - will vaccinate 100 million, if not billions of people".

According to his judgment, Russia has not been transparent enough about the studies, trials and science behind the Covid-19 vaccine that has already been approved.

He stated that "at least we now know that there have been no phase 3 studies" adding that it could be "dangerous to start vaccinating millions". Possible negative effects could "be quite fatal to the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong" as the approved Vaccine "has not been sufficiently tested here".

Health
Russia approves Covid-19 vaccine without completing phase three clinical trials
Russia approves Covid-19 vaccine without completing phase three clinical trials
Credit: Screenshot of the website for the Russian Covid-19 vaccine

According to an announcement from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the country has registered and approved the world's first Covid-19 vaccine.

Multiple experts have stated that it is still unclear if the vaccine is safe, as phase three clinical trials are still underway. These phase three trials have the goal of determining if the vaccine is safe and works in the general population.

Multiple experts from around the world have voice their concerns and criticism of this rushed approval process including the executive director of the Russian nonprofit Association of Clinical Trials Organizations, Svetlana Zavidova. She has asked "why are all corporations following the rules, but Russian ones aren’t? The rules for conducting clinical trials are written in blood. They can’t be violated" and added that "this is a Pandora’s Box and we don’t know what will happen to people injected with an unproven vaccine".

Health
World's largest vaccine manufacturer sets $3 ceiling price per dose of Covid-19 vaccine
World's largest vaccine manufacturer sets $3 ceiling price per dose of Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Serum Institute

The Indian company Serum Institute has announced that its Covid-19 vaccine once developed and approved will have a ceiling price of $3 per dose for India and low-and-middle-income countries. Serum is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume and has now received at-risk funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. The money will be used to produce possible candidates for vaccines.

Health
Scientists have developed a synthetic blood-thinner without bleeding side-effects
Bleeding wound on finger
Bleeding wound on finger Credit: Crystal (Crystl) from Bloomington, USA (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne have developed the first synthetic blood-thinner. Together with three other laboratories, the Laboratory of Therapeutic Proteins and Peptides of Professor Christian Heinis has developed an inhibitor that stays in the blood plasma for over 120 hours and shows high potency, stability and selectivity.

Together with the University Hospital of Bern (Inselspital) and the University of Bern they've shown that the new blood-thinner can efficiently block coagulation in a thrombosis model without the increased risk of bleeding side effects present in currently used blood-thinners.

Professor Christian Heinis has stated that "our collaboration found that it is possible to achieve bleeding-free anti-coagulation with a synthetic inhibitor". According to him, the "inhibitor is a promising candidate for safe thromboprotection in artificial lungs" and will undergo further studies and optimizations.

Health
Scientists have developed a blood test to diagnose prostate cancer
Scientists have developed a blood test to diagnose prostate cancer
Credit: Dotodot (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Scientists from the Monash University School of Clinical Science, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse and Predicine, a biotech company from California have developed a blood test for the diagnosis of prostate cancer in men.

The test is able to profile circulating DNA and RNA shed by cancer cells out of 10ml of blood. This procedure gives insight if cancer has developed and how it is composed, enabling conclusions on which treatment could possibly be the best.

Health
Modified cannabis could potentially kill cancer cells according to research at University of Newcastle
Modified cannabis could potentially kill cancer cells according to research at University of Newcastle
Credit: unsplash.com / Christina Winter

The University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Insitute in Australia have tested a modified strain of cannabis for its abilities to kill or inhibit cancer cells.

Dr Matt Dun researched for three years on the potential treatment of cancer with cannabis containing high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of the plant. The research was in collaboration with the Australian biotech company ANTG (Australian Natural Therapeutics Group).

Dr Dun has states that they "initially used leukaemia cells and were surprised by how sensitive they were" while the substance speared normal bone marrow cells and healthy white blood cells.

Comparing THC and CBD strains Dr Dun stated that "the CBD variety looks to have greater efficacy, low toxicity and fewer side-effects, which potentially makes it an ideal complementary therapy to combine with other anti-cancer compounds".

Health
First German Covid-19 patient states he has no antibodies anymore since three months after infection

The officially as first considered German Covid-19 patient stated that he does not carry protecting antibodies in his blood anymore since three months after his infection.

The to this day unnamed man stated in an interview published by his employer Webasto that "Since April I have had no more neutralizing antibodies" but added that he has no long-term effects from the virus and is now at full health again. He had previously spent 19 days in the hospital.

Health
21 existing drugs identified that could possibly treat Covid-19, study
21 existing drugs identified that could possibly treat Covid-19, study
Credit: unsplash.com/ThisisEngineering RAEng

A global team of scientists has researched through one of the largest databases for existing drugs and identified 21 potential substances that could potentially safely induce an antiviral reaction in patients against SARS-CoV-2.

Out of these four substances work synergistically with the already for Covid-19 approved remdesivir drug. Further studies and research are still underway.

Health
Study: Oxford Covid-19 vaccine triggers immune response

Researchers from Oxford have published new results from their ongoing trails of a possible Covid-19 vaccine. During the last trial that involved 1,077 people, it showed that the experimental vaccine not only leads the patients to develop antibodies but also T-cells that are able to fight the virus.

The United Kingdom has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine. Further trials are still underway to determine if patients develop a long term immunitiy.

Health
Studies: 57% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in Spain have developed neurological problems

The Spanish Neurology Association (SEN) has evaluated multiple studies conducted on Covid-19 patients in Spain. Following the results of the research registry Albacovid out of 841 patients that had been hospitalized due to Covid-19, 57% have developed one ore multiple neurological symptoms. The most common were myalgia, headaches and dizziness. Almost 20% and mostly elderly people also developed some form of consciousness disorder.

Of all patients 20% developed problems such as psychosis, anxiety and insomnia. Other and more severe symptoms were also developed in a number of patients, such as dysautonomia a dysfunction that affects the autonomic nervous system. According to the studies this research indicates that Covid-19 not only affects the respiratory, but also the nervous system.

Health
Second Ebola vaccine receives approval by European Commission
Second Ebola vaccine receives approval by European Commission
Credit: Government of Prince Edward Island (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The medical and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has received approval for their Ebola vaccine by the European Commission.

Both components of the two-dose vaccine for the prevention of the virus have been approved and the company hopes that this will lead to "accelerated registration" in African countries. J&J is the second company to receive approval for an Ebola vaccine after Merck.

Health
Immune response induced by Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in first phase
Immune response induced by Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in first phase
Credit: Moderna

In a first phase study, a possible Covid-19 vaccine developed by the biotech company Moderna together with the National Institutes of Health has induced immune responses in all of the patients. While the vaccine had mild side effects such as chills, headache or muscle pain, it is the first vaccine candidate from the United States to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

A large phase three trial will be started this month after which, depending on the results, regulators will decide of it'll made available to the public.