Vaccines

Science • Medicine
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.

Health
AstraZeneca applies for approval of Covid-19 in European Union
AstraZeneca applies for approval of Covid-19 in European Union
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has announced that AstraZeneca has applied for approval of their Covid-19 which has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

According to the EMA "the assessment of the vaccine, known as COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, will proceed under an accelerated timeline" and added that "an opinion on the marketing authorisation could be issued by 29 January during the meeting of EMA’s scientific committee for human medicines (CHMP), provided that the data submitted on the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine are sufficiently robust and complete and that any additional information required to complete the assessment is promptly submitted."

Business • Health Care
Chinese Covid-19 vaccine shows efficacy of 79 per cent
Chinese Covid-19 vaccine shows efficacy of 79 per cent
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

Pharmaceutical company Sinopharm is the first manufacturer in China to announce details of the efficacy of its Corona vaccine. The company said that the vaccine is expected to provide more than 79 percent protection against Covid-19 (79.34 percent).

The release of the data is an important step toward final approval of the vaccine, doses of which have already been secured by countries outside China.

Business • Health Care
Biontech applies for change in approval to get more doses from vials
Biontech applies for change in approval to get more doses from vials
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

One ampoule of Biontech vaccine can often be used to produce six rations instead of five. The Mainz-based manufacturer Biontech has now submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency Ema for a change in the conditions of approval. The Ema had told the German newspaper SPIEGEL on Tuesday that if Biontech submitted an application to change the terms of its marketing authorisation, it would be "rapidly" reviewed by its human medicines committee.

Biontech is lobbying for doctors to be allowed to draw six full vaccine doses of 0.3 ml each from the provided vials containing a total of 2.25 ml of finished vaccine in the future - provided they can draw up six full doses.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
European Medicines Agency issues "positive scientific opinion" on BioNTech Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
European Medicines Agency issues "positive scientific opinion" on BioNTech Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has announced via Twitter that the European Medicines Agency has "just issued a positive scientific opinion on the #BioNTech / @pfizer vaccine". She now expects that the European Commission will decide "by this evening" if the vaccine will be permitted.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Covid-19: Germany hopeful of earlier EU vaccine decision
Jens Spahn
Jens Spahn Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

After the European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced it would issue its decision on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 21, German Health Minister Jens Spahn, speaking at a joint press conference with the Robert Koch Institute, the government agency responsible for disease control and prevention, said the report was "good news."

A fortnight ago, BioNTech and Pfizer submitted an application to the EMA for conditional marketing authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine. President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she welcomed the EMA's decision to bring the meeting forward.

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USA approves Pfizer BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine
USA approves Pfizer BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval Friday evening to the vaccine made by Mainz-based biotech company Biontech and its partner Pfizer.

The Washington Post reported that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Hahn on Friday to resign if the vaccine, made by Mainz-based Biontech and its U.S. partner Pfizer, is not approved before the end of the day (local time).

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Scotland announces that first Covid-19 vaccinations will be administered on Tuesday
Scotland announces that first Covid-19 vaccinations will be administered on Tuesday
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Nicola Sturgeon, the first First Minister of Scotland, has announced that "initial supplies of the Covid vaccine have now arrived safely in Scotland and are being stored securely" adding that "the first vaccinations are on track to be administered on Tuesday".

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
The UK approves the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use next week
The UK approves the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use next week
Credit: unsplash.com / Daniel Schludi

The UK will be the first country in the West to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to the public after the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the vaccine in record time. The vaccine is expected to be rolled out from next week.

"The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the Independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use," the government said.

The UK has already ordered 40m doses - enough to vaccinate 20m people, and 10m doses should be available soon, with the first 800,000 arriving in the UK in the coming days.

Health
Putin does not want to be vaccinated with Russia's "safe" Covid-19 vaccine
Putin does not want to be vaccinated with Russia's "safe" Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Kremlin.ru / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

According to his spokesperson, Russian President Vladimir Putin does not want to be vaccinated with the Russian "Sputnik V" vaccine. Even though Putin recently appraised the world's vaccine at the G20 summit as safe and effective, his spokesperson said that as head of state he could not participate in a vaccination campaign as a "volunteer". Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that tThe president cannot take an uncertified vaccine".

Health
AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine averages 70% efficacy
AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine averages 70% efficacy
Credit: D Wells / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced Monday that its Covid-19 vaccine has shown an average efficacy of 70% in large-scale trials. When given as a half dose followed by a full dose a month later, it showed 90% efficacy and with two full doses given a month apart, it showed 62% efficacy.

"What we've always tried to do with a vaccine is fool the immune system into thinking that there's a dangerous infection there that it needs to respond to -- but doing it in a very safe way. So we get the immune response and we get the immune memory ... waiting and ready if the pathogen itself is then encountered," so Professor Andrew Pollard, the trial's lead investigator at Oxford.

Health
Germany, US and UK could start Covid-19 vaccinations in December
Germany, US and UK could start Covid-19 vaccinations in December
Credit: unsplash.com / Daniel Schludi

The US and Europe may grant emergency authorisation for Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine in early December after final trial results showed a 95% success rate and no serious side effects. Moderna's vaccine has also shown a 94.5% effectiveness.

Spain has announced to begin a comprehensive vaccination programme in January and hope to cover a substantial part of the population within three months, so prime minister, Pedro Sanchez.

Health
Nearly 95% protection shown in Moderna Covid-19 vaccine
Covid-19 Vaccine Bottle Mockup
Covid-19 Vaccine Bottle Mockup Credit: Daniel Schludi

A new Covid-19 vaccine, from the US company Moderna, is nearly 95% effective, early data show. The trial involved 30,000 people in the US, with half being given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart.

"These effects are what we would expect with a vaccine that is working and inducing a good immune response," said Prof Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London.

Health
WHO: Measles cases and deaths are soaring worldwide

The World Health Organization has reported that measles cases and deaths have soared globally since 2016, with the global death tally of 2019 reaching 207,500 - 50 percent higher than just three years earlier.

Ethiopia set up a vaccination campaign in June which reached 14.5 million children. Alarmingly, the numbers of "zero-dose" children - those who had received no vaccines whatsoever - are beginning to rise again, with middle-income countries, including Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines, accounting for 9.5 million, or 69 percent.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU to buy 300 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
EU to buy 300 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: unsplash.com / GR Stocks

The European Union will sign a fourth contract with the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and their German lab partner BioNTech to procure up to 300 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, if proven to be safe and effective against the virus.

"As a company founded in the heart of Europe, we are looking forward to supplying millions of people upon regulatory approval," so BioNTech's CEO Ugur Sahin in a statement Wednesday. On Tuesday, Sahin said on a call with reporters that said BioNTech's goal is to ramp up production of their vaccine candidate in the hopes of manufacture up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU finalizes contract for Covid-19 vaccine
EU finalizes contract for Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: unsplash.com / Guillaume Périgois

The EU Commission has ended talks with the pharmaceutical companies Biontech and Pfizer on the supply of a corona vaccine. The vaccine developed by them prevents in more than 90 percent of cases a disease caused by the corona virus Covid-19, the pharmaceutical companies had announced.

According to the German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn, the EU has also already concluded agreements with the pharmaceutical companies Astra Zeneca and Sanofi, which are also working on corona vaccines.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU's von der Leyen predicts Covid-19 vaccine for April 2021
EU's von der Leyen predicts Covid-19 vaccine for April 2021
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has stated that a Covid-19 vaccine could be available in April 2021.

"The big numbers of supplies are due to start in April," so von der Leyen, adding that up to 50 million doses could be delivered monthly.

Regional News • Americas • Mexico
Mexico makes vaccines for minors mandatory
Mexico makes vaccines for minors mandatory
Credit: Screenshot vie Twitter

The Mexican Senate approved the ruling that the person who exercises the parental authority, guardianship or custody will be obliged to ensure that the minors receive the referred vaccines unless there is a certified medical justification to the contrary.

In case of failure to comply without medical justification, the procurator's offices for the protection of minors may intervene to make use of the powers conferred by law in this area to carry out actions aimed at making the vaccination effective.

Health
World's biggest vaccine producer states that enough Covid-19 vaccine will only be available in 2024
World's biggest vaccine producer states that enough Covid-19 vaccine will only be available in 2024
Credit: Serum Institute

Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the world's biggest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute, has stated that the production capacity for vaccines is not increasing quickly enough.

He said that "it’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet" estimating that with a two-dose vaccine 15 billion doses will be needed.

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.