Vaccine Breaking News

Vaccine breaking news brought to you by Precision Vaccinations.

Aug 11, 2020 • 7:30 pm CDT

$1.5 Billion Order For 100 Million Coronavirus Vaccines

Moderna, Inc. announced on August 11, 2020, that the U.S. government has secured 100 million doses of mRNA-1273, COVID-19 vaccines candidate. Today’s award of up to $1.525 billion is for the manufacturing and delivery of 100 million vaccine doses of mRNA-1273. Under the terms of the new agreement, the government will also have the option to purchase up to an additional 400 million doses of mRNA-1273.

Additionally, the U.S. government has announced that consistent with its commitment to free access to COVID-19 vaccines, Americans will receive mRNA-1273 at no cost for the vaccine itself. As is customary with government-purchased vaccines, healthcare professionals could charge for the cost of administering the vaccine.

Aug 11, 2020 • 4:33 pm CDT

Which Pharmacy Delivers Hydroxychloroquine?

The debate over the merits of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for preventing COVID-19 disease is raising questions about the responsibilities of pharmacists, who are trained to use good science to guide their recommendations.

'One of the most important roles of pharmacists is to provide education about medications, wrote Marie Rosenthal, in an August 8, 2020, Pharmacy Practice News article.

According to the largest pharmacists association in the USA, pharmacists overwhelmingly disagree with actions by some states to limit the dispensing of the well-established malaria drug (Plaquenil) as a possible treatment for COVID-19 disease.

A recent survey distributed on March 30, 2020, found about 84% of independent pharmacists say they should be able to dispense a limited supply of the malaria drug, as long the patient has tested positive for the coronavirus ..... and is under a doctor's care.

Aug 11, 2020 • 12:47 pm CDT

Not Getting a Flu Shot Equals Not Wearing a Face Mask

“Not getting a flu vaccine is like not wearing a mask,” said Dr. Randy Bergen, clinical lead for Kaiser Permanente Northern California flu vaccine program. “If you’re not going to walk into your grocery store without a face mask because you know it protects other people, you need to get a flu shot too," reported SFGate on August 11, 2020. “In terms of the impact on our overall healthcare system it’s so important we protect as many people as we can from influenza this year,” Dr. Bergen commented.

Influenza vaccine options for the 2020-2021 flu season, and discount coupons, are listed on this webpage.

Aug 11, 2020 • 11:57 am CDT

Compound Shows Promise as COVID-19 Antiviral - Anti-Inflammatory

Veru Inc. announced on August 4, 2020, that it has confirmed in an in vitro study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, that VERU-111 has anti-inflammatory action against the key cytokines involved in the cytokine storm triggered by the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

VERU-111 is an oral, first-in-class microtubule depolymerization agent that has potentially both antiviral and anti-inflammatory dual action to broadly treat the cytokine storm which is associated with high COVID-19 mortality rates.

For example, the effects of VERU-111 treatment on triple-negative breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-321) illustrates how the microtubules intracellular networks are disrupted from spindle shape and organized to globular and disorganized, states the company.

Aug 11, 2020 • 3:53 am CDT

Treating Gonorrhea: A Prospective Clinical Study

Experts in antibiotic resistance and sexually transmitted diseases are worried about the growing resistance to the antibiotics used to treat gonorrhea. The results of a prospective study published on August 7, 2020, in Clinical Infectious Diseases, suggests resistance-guided treatment of N. gonorrhoeae infections with single-dose oral ciprofloxacin was highly efficacious.

Of the 106 subjects possessing culture-positive infections with wild-type gyrA serine N. gonorrhoeae genotype, the efficacy of single-dose oral ciprofloxacin treatment in the per-protocol population was 100%.

And, the widespread introduction and scale-up of gyrA serine 91 genotyping in N. gonorrhoeae infections could have substantial medical and public health benefits in settings where the majority of gonococcal infections are ciprofloxacin susceptible.

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Aug 10, 2020 • 7:57 pm CDT

More Quest Tests Processed Faster

As of late on August 10, 2020, Quest Diagnostic announced their average turnaround time for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing is now down to 2-3 days for incoming specimens. This is good news, as Quest was confronted with processing delays of up to 5-days in July 2020.

Quest Diagnostics has reported over 11 million COVID-19 tests and is now able to process up to 150,000 COVID-19 tests per day, which represents an efficiency improvement of about 14% in just 1-month.

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Aug 10, 2020 • 11:21 am CDT

Pharmacists Leading Immunization Nation's Influenza Defense

As the 2020-2021 flu season, fast approaches from the Southern Hemisphere, retail pharmacies in the USA are not sitting on the sidelines when it comes to protecting people from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as influenza.

According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, about 78% of independent pharmacies offer various immunization services. Furthermore, 30% of influenza vaccines administered to adults each year are done by pharmacists.

However, the newest preventable disease is called 'vaccine misinformation', which threatens to set healthcare back decades.

'As healthcare providers, pharmacists need to take every opportunity to immunize our patients with facts. Vaccine fake-news has already caused irreparable harm in the form of human suffering," shared Crockett Tidwell, RPh, CDE, Clinical Services Manager, Vaccine Specialist with United Supermarkets Pharmacy.

Aug 10, 2020 • 8:26 am CDT

Avigan / Favipiravir Gain U.S. FDA Clearance for Expanded Phase 2 Study

Appili Therapeutics announced on August 10, 2020, that the U.S. FDA has granted the Company clearance to proceed after Appili’s filing of an investigational new drug application for broad-spectrum antiviral favipiravir, which is known as Avigan in the USA. Favipiravir is sold under various names around the world, such as FabiFlu, Avifavir, Ciplenza, FluGuard.

Appili is expanding its Phase 2 clinical trial into the USA to evaluate the safety and efficacy of favipiravir tablets in controlling outbreaks following exposure to COVID-19 disease in long-term care facilities.

Previously, Health Canada provided regulatory clearance on May 21, 2020, for Appili’s Phase 2 study evaluating FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical’s favipiravir as a preventative measure against COVID-19 outbreaks.

Aug 10, 2020 • 1:03 am CDT

BCG Vaccination Associated With 'Flatting of the Coronavirus Curve'

On August 5, 2020, a peer-reviewed study published in Science Advances, hypothesized that if Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccinations reduce the risk of a range of infectious diseases, it could also protect against COVID-19 disease. This study compared countries that mandated BCG vaccination until at least 2000, with countries that did not. They analyzed the rate of the day-by-day increase in both confirmed cases (134 countries) and fatalities (135 countries) in the first 30-day period of country-wise coronavirus outbreaks.

'Our analysis shows that mandatory BCG vaccination is associated with a flattening of the curve in the spread of COVID-19 disease and the positive effects demonstrated in this study are substantial,' stated these researchers.

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Aug 10, 2020 • 12:04 am CDT

California Universities Require Flu Shots By November 1st

To support the health and well-being of UC students, faculty, and staff and our communities, the University of California issued a systemwide executive order on August 7, 2020, requiring all members of the UC community to receive an influenza immunization before November 1, 2020. Influenza vaccines, known as flu shots, protect people against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the 2020-2021 flu season in the Northern Hemisphere.

And, since all UC medical plans that cover faculty, staff, and students include coverage for flu vaccinations, there are no-cost to those covered by the qualified plan. For anyone not covered, flu shot discounts are sponsored by GoodRx.

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Aug 9, 2020 • 2:52 pm CDT

Saudi Arabia Launches Phase 3 Coronavirus Vaccine Study

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on August 9, 2020, it will soon begin a late-stage, Phase 3 clinical trial of around 5,000 people for COVID-19 disease preventive vaccine known as Ad5-nCoV, reported Reuters. The Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate is a genetically engineered vaccine candidate with the replication-defective adenovirus type 5 as the vector to express SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

This CanSino’s vaccine, which was co-developed with China’s military research unit, was reported to be safe and induced immune responses in most participants in a limited study.

Aug 9, 2020 • 9:38 am CDT

Study: Intranasal Vaccinations May Reduce Vaccine Side Effects

A new study by researchers at the University of Chicago and Duke University published in Science Advances on August 7, 2020, demonstrates the potential for an intranasal vaccine platform, using self-assembling peptide nanofibers tagged with antigens to prime the immune system against a potential virus invasion.

This research showed that these nanofibers can induce an immune response and activate T cells without the use of additional adjuvants, which can induce inflammation and are associated with common vaccine side effects, like soreness at the injection site or low-grade fever.

'Thus, self-assembling peptide nanofiber vaccines may represent a novel, needle- and adjuvant-free means of eliciting protective immunity against fungal and bacterial infections at the skin and mucosal barrier surfaces,' concluded these researchers.

Aug 8, 2020 • 6:29 pm CDT

Additional Antibody Tests Now Authorized

The U.S. FDA has issued 207 coronavirus diagnostic tests authorizations, as of August 7, 2020, which include 168 molecular tests, 37 antibody tests, and 2 antigen tests.

COVID-19 Antibody (IgG), Immunoassay tests are sponsored by UltaLabs.

Aug 8, 2020 • 9:21 am CDT

COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Elicited 4-Fold Higher Immune Response

A study published online on August 6, 2020, found the NVX-CoV2373/Matrix-M1 vaccine candidate was well-tolerated and elicited robust immune responses 4-fold higher than the mean observed in COVID-19 convalescent serum from participants with clinical symptoms requiring medical care and induced CD4+ T-cell responses biased toward a Th1 phenotype.

'These findings suggest that the Novavax's NVX-CoV2373 vaccine may confer protection and support transition to efficacy evaluations to test this hypothesis.'

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Aug 8, 2020 • 8:06 am CDT

COVID-19 Infection Rate = 9%

The U.S. CDC's new data indicates there have been 65,756,307 completed tests to confirm if a person has a SARS-CoV-2 infection. As of August 7, 2020, the national infection rate was about 9%.

Aug 7, 2020 • 12:06 pm CDT

India's Serum Institute Coronavirus Vaccines Priced at $3 per Dose

August 7, 2020, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, Serum Institute of India (SII), Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced they will accelerate the manufacture and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC.

SII has set a ceiling price of US$ 3 per vaccine dose, which are being produced in conjunction with AstraZeneca and Novavax.

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Aug 7, 2020 • 11:01 am CDT

Pfizer Joins Remdesivir Production Network

Pfizer announced on August 7, 2020, an agreement with Gilead Sciences, Inc. to manufacture and supply Gilead’s investigational antiviral remdesivir at Pfizer’s McPherson, Kansas facility. Separately, Gilead said to CNBC it plans to produce more than 2 million treatment courses of remdesivir by the end of 2020 and anticipates being able to make “several million more” in 2021.

As of August 7th, the U.S. FDA has not formally authorized a COVID-19 disease treatment.

Aug 7, 2020 • 10:32 am CDT

187 Influenza-Associated Pediatric Fatalities Reported During the 2019-2020 Flu Season

As of August 7, 2020, the U.S. CDC reported 1 additional influenza-associated pediatric fatality was reported during Week #31 of the flu season. This child's death was associated with an influenza B virus and occurred around May 25, 2020. This news indicates a total of 187 influenza-associated pediatric fatalities occurring during the 2019-2020 flu season in the USA have been reported to CDC.

The CDC says the best way to prevent influenza infections is with a flu vaccine. Since 2010, the CDC has recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine each year, by the end of October.

Aug 7, 2020 • 5:51 am CDT

Takeda To Produce 250 Million Coronavirus Vaccine Doses in Japan

Novavax, Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical announced on August 7, 2020, a partnership for the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of Novavax’ COVID‑19 vaccine candidate NVX‑CoV2373, in Japan. Takeda stated it anticipates having the capacity to manufacture over 250 million doses of the NVX‑CoV2373 vaccine per year.

Aug 6, 2020 • 9:06 pm CDT

25 Million Flu Shots Shipped To Reduce Influenza in Seniors

"This past flu season (2019-2020) was a stark reminder of how unpredictable influenza can be," said David P. Greenberg, M.D., Associate Vice President, Sanofi Pasteur. "Vaccination saves many lives, helps prevent numerous hospitalizations, and helps protect individuals and the public at large from severe, life-threatening complications."

According to a Wall Street statement on July 29, 2020, Sanofi released a 40% growth in flu vaccine deliveries in the Southern Hemisphere during 2020.

Most importantly, influenza vaccines do not cause the seasonal flu since they are made with either killed or weakened viruses, says the U.S. CDC.

Aug 6, 2020 • 3:59 pm CDT

India Firm Licenses Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate For Various Countries

Novavax, Inc. announced a license agreement with Serum Institute of India Private Limited on August 6, 2020, for the development and commercialization of NVX‑CoV2373, Novavax’ COVID‑19 vaccine candidate, in low- and middle-income countries and India. This agreement excludes major upper-middle and high-income countries, for which Novavax continues to retain rights.

Aug 6, 2020 • 9:23 am CDT

COVID-19 Vaccine Development News as of August 6, 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development landscape includes innovative platforms such as nucleic acid (DNA and RNA), virus-like particle, peptide, viral vector (replicating and non-replicating), recombinant protein, live attenuated virus and inactivated virus approaches. Find the latest COVID-19 vaccine news at CoronavirusToday.

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Aug 6, 2020 • 5:30 am CDT

Will Obesity Reduce COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy

There is little reason to believe, obesity researchers say, that COVID-19 vaccines will be any different. “Will we have a COVID vaccine next year tailored to the obese? No way,” said Raz Shaikh, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, reported Kaiser News on August 6, 2020.

Will coronavirus vaccines work in the obese? "Our prediction is no.”

Aug 5, 2020 • 5:03 pm CDT

Quick Gonorrhea Test Receives $19 Million Award

A new gonorrhea diagnostic test from Visby Medical, Inc. will receive $19 million in funding after winning the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Diagnostic Challenge, which is sponsored by the U.S. NIH and BARDA.

Announced on August 5, 2020, this test is capable of accurately detecting the microorganism that causes gonorrhea. Furthermore, this test can determine in under 30 minutes if the microorganism is susceptible to a single-dose antibiotic. Known as Patient-side, Disposable, Molecular PCR Diagnostic Device for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Drug Resistance Markers, is a palm-size, single-use, disposable device for the detection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae), the microorganism that causes gonorrhea.

This is good news since there is not a gonorrhea-prevention vaccine available today.

Aug 5, 2020 • 1:56 pm CDT

High-Risk Melanoma Patients Benefited From Personalized Cancer Vaccine

Elios Therapeutics announced on August 5, 2020, ‘We now have long-term data demonstrating that use of the personalized tumor lysate, particle-loaded, dendritic cell (TLPLDC) vaccine for the adjuvant treatment of high-risk melanoma correlates with a 93% increase in patients alive at 3-years without their disease returning.’

Aug 5, 2020 • 9:27 am CDT

Rabies Vaccine Now Controled by Bavarian Nordic

Bavarian Nordic A/S announced on August 5, 2020, the initiation of full commercial operations in the USA of the manufacturing and global rights to Rabipur/RabAvert (Rabies Vaccine) and Encepur® (Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccine) from GSK.

Aug 5, 2020 • 4:17 am CDT

203 Coronavirus Tests Now Authorized

As of August 4, 2020, the U.S. FDA has authorized 203 coronavirus diagnostic tests, which include 166 molecular tests, 35 antibody tests, and 2 antigen tests. Recently, the Cleveland Clinic received authorization for its SARS-CoV-2 Assay on August 3rd.

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Aug 5, 2020 • 3:27 am CDT

India's FluGuard Launches For Treating Mild COVID-19 Patients

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world's 4th largest generic pharma company, announced via Twitter on August 4, 2020, that it will launch favipiravir (Avigan) under the brand ‘FluGuard’ at ₹35 per pill, making it the cheapest brand of the antiviral drug in India.

FluGuard (Favipiravir, Avigan) is the only oral anti-viral treatment approved in India for the potential treatment of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 disease.

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Aug 4, 2020 • 7:11 pm CDT

Children At-Risk For Acute Flaccid Myelitis in 2020

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. CDC issued a warning on August 4, 2020, that children will likely be at increased risk this year for Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a polio-like illness that seems to cause outbreaks in the USA every 2 years. Though rarely fatal, AFM can cause permanent paralysis in patients and requires prompt hospitalization.

A study published in Nature on October 21, 2019, offered evidence that AFM is caused by enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68) that invades and impairs the central nervous system.

Aug 4, 2020 • 6:45 pm CDT

The 2020-2021 Flu Season Starts Off Softly

The WHO reported on August 3, 2020, influenza activity was reported at lower levels than expected for this time of the year. As an example, in the temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere, the influenza season has not commenced. And in the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere, influenza activity remained at interseasonal levels.

Various flu vaccines have already been shipped to healthcare providers in the USA.

Aug 4, 2020 • 4:20 pm CDT

Novavax’s COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Found 'Generally Well-Tolerated With a Reassuring Safety Profile

Late on August 4, 2020, Novavax announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373 was found generally well-tolerated and had a reassuring safety profile, across 2 dose levels (5 and 25 µg) in 131 healthy adults ages 18-59 years. There were no severe (Grade 3) unsolicited adverse events, and the vast majority of adverse events were mild and deemed not related to vaccination.

Furthermore, this phase 1 study reported the NVX-CoV2373 vaccine did induce neutralization titers in 100% of participants.

Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President, Research and Development at Novavax, stated in a press release, “Using a stringent wild-type virus assay performed by investigators at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, NVX‑CoV2373 elicited neutralizing antibody titers greater than those observed in a pool of COVID‑19 patients with clinically significant disease.”

Aug 4, 2020 • 12:47 pm CDT

Pneumonia, Influenza, and COVID-19 Fatalities Decreasing

In the USA, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) were found below baseline but higher than typically seen at this time of year, announced the U.S. CDC on July 31, 2020. Indicators that track ILI and COVID-19-like illness (CLI) showed decreases nationally from Week #29 to Week #30.

And, weekly hospitalization rates and mortality attributed to COVID-19 disease declined during Week #30.

Furthermore, the CDC reported the percentage of deaths attributed to Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 (PIC) for Week #30 was (8.6%) and is currently lower than the percentage during Week #29 (12.0%).

These percentages will likely increase as more death certificates are processed, says the CDC.

Aug 4, 2020 • 7:34 am CDT

Type 2 Diabetes Medication Reduces Cardiovascular Disease Risks

Positive top-line results from the EMPEROR-Reduced phase III trial in adults with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, with and without diabetes, were announced on July 30, 2020, by Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company. EMPEROR-Reduced met its primary endpoint, demonstrating superiority with Jardiance® (empagliflozin) 10 mg compared to placebo, in reducing the risk for the composite of cardiovascular death or hospitalization due to heart failure, when added to standard of care.

Overall the safety profile was similar to the known safety profile of Jardiance, which is a prescription medicine used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Aug 4, 2020 • 5:46 am CDT

186 Influenza-Associated Pediatric Fatalities Reported During Flu Season

One additional influenza-associated pediatric fatality occurred during the 2019-2020 season, reported the U.S. CDC during Week #30, and published on July 31, 2020. This fatality was associated with an influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus and occurred during the week ending February 29, 2020.

A total of 186 influenza-associated pediatric fatalities have been reported to CDC during the 2019-2020 flu season.

Aug 4, 2020 • 4:32 am CDT

Vaccine Freezer Farms Preparing at UPS

United Parcel Service (UPS) is building giant freezer farms capable of super-cooling millions of vials of a COVID-19 disease vaccine, preparing for the day when it will need to deliver the medicine at high speed across the globe, reported Bloomberg on August 4, 2020.

The UPS facilities, under construction in Kentucky and the Netherlands will house a total of 600 deep-freezers that can each hold 48,000 vials of vaccine at temperatures as low as -80 Celsius, which is similar to temperatures in Antarctica.

“This truly will be a historic supply chain feat to distribute millions, if not billions, of life-saving COVID-19 vaccine vials to far-reaching global populations,” said Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare.

Aug 3, 2020 • 8:37 pm CDT

CDC: 1st Influenza A(H3N2)v Virus Infection Detected Since 2018

One human infection with a novel influenza A virus was reported in Hawaii, by the U.S. CDC during Week #30, published on July 31, 2020. This person was infected with an influenza A(H3N2) variant (A(H3N2)v) virus. The patient is a child < 18 years of age, was not hospitalized, and has recovered from their illness.

This is the first influenza A(H3N2)v virus infection detected in the United States since 2018.

Influenza viruses that circulate in swine are called swine influenza viruses when isolated from swine but are called variant viruses, when isolated from humans. Seasonal influenza viruses that circulate worldwide in the human population have important antigenic and genetic differences from influenza viruses that circulate in swine.

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Aug 3, 2020 • 7:06 pm CDT

Update: Coronavirus Vaccine Candidates

As of August 3, 2020, the U.S. FDA has not approved any preventive vaccines for use against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. However, various clinical studies are seeking participants to help evaluate vaccine candidates.

Aug 3, 2020 • 2:26 pm CDT

Japan Agrees to Buy 120 Million Coronavirus Vaccines From BioNTech and Pfizer

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced on July 31, 2020, an agreement with Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare to supply 120 million vaccine doses of the BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate against the SARS-CoV-2 betacoronavirus beginning in 2021, subject to clinical success and regulatory approval.

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Aug 3, 2020 • 1:50 pm CDT

Maine Drops Oral Rabies Vaccines

The Maine Department of Health announced on July 29, 2020, oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits will be distributed in northeastern Maine beginning August 3 through August 7, 2020, as part of ongoing, cooperative rabies control efforts aimed at reducing the spread of raccoon rabies in the state of Maine. Approximately 385,000 ORV baits will be distributed by mostly by air over a 2,650-square-mile area.

Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with these ORV baits.

As of July 15, 2020, there have been 40 animals that have tested positive for rabies this year in 14 of Maine's 16 counties, including bats, raccoons, striped skunks, grey foxes, red foxes, and a feral cat. And, about 5,000 animal rabies cases are reported annually to U.S. CDC, and more than 90% of those cases occur in wildlife. 

Aug 3, 2020 • 1:37 pm CDT

University of Wisconsin & Heat Biologics to Manufacture COVID-19 Vaccine

On August 3, 2020, Waisman Biomanufacturing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison announced it is partnering with Heat Biologics to produce a COVID-19 vaccine for phase 1 trial, which could begin in early 2021.

Previously, Durham NC based Heat Biologics announced on July 29, 2020, the successful pre-clinical testing of the Company's COVID-19 vaccine, which demonstrated in-vivo confirmation of vaccine immunogenicity in animal models, including an expansion of human-HLA-restricted T-cells against immunodominant epitopes of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. This testing demonstrated the expansion of antibody-supporting CD4+, and virus killing CD8+ T-cells in the lungs of the animals, a major site for COVID-19 disease infection.

Aug 3, 2020 • 11:12 am CDT

Influenza Increases Invasive Pneumococcal Disease Risk

According to a study involving approximately 20,000 individuals in 3 countries published by JAMA on July 13, 2020, a person's risk for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is increased when contracting influenza. Despite the availability of effective flu and pneumococcal vaccines, IPD remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality around the globe.

Aug 3, 2020 • 4:53 am CDT

J&J Vaccine Candidate Protects Against Infection With SARS-CoV-2

A study published in the journal Nature on July 30, 2020, shows J&J's investigational SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, Ad26.COV2-S, elicits a strong immune response that protects against subsequent infection.

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Aug 3, 2020 • 4:42 am CDT

FDA Authorizes Tests That Estimate Antibodies From Past SARS-CoV-2 Infection

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized on July 31, 2020, the first COVID-19 serology tests that estimated the number of antibodies present in the individual's blood. Both tests are from Siemens, the ADVIA Centaur COV2G, and the Attelica COV2G.

These tests are what are known as "semi-quantitative" tests, meaning that they do not display a precise measurement, but estimate the quantity of a patient's antibodies produced against infection with the SARS-CoV-2 betacoronavirus.

Aug 2, 2020 • 6:31 pm CDT

US Commits $2.1 Billion For The Sanofi / GSK Coronavirus Vaccine

The U.S. government stated on July 31, 2020, it will provide funding up to $2.1 billion to Sanofi and GSK for the development of a SARS-CoV-2 recombinant protein-based vaccine, including clinical trials and manufacturing scale-up, and delivery of an initial 100 million doses.

Sanofi is leading the clinical development and registration of the COVID-19 vaccine and expects a Phase 1/2 study to start in September 2020, followed by a Phase 3 study by the end of 2020. 

Aug 2, 2020 • 3:57 pm CDT

Obese Adults More Likely to Develop Swine Flu

Adults diagnosed as obese were found associated with an increased risk for influenza A (H1N1pdm) infection, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases on July 9, 2020. This study found that adults with obesity had 2x the odds of symptomatic H1N1 (Swine Flu) infection compared to those without obesity. But, this association was not seen with the H3N2 seasonal influenza strain.

These results could be relevant in understanding the mechanisms by which infectious diseases, such as influenza, or the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, might affect different segments of the population, the researchers say.

“This research is important because obesity around the whole world is increasing,” said first author Hannah Maier, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Influenza vaccines for the 2020-2021 flu season have begun shipping in the USA. 

Aug 2, 2020 • 3:38 pm CDT

Study: Flu Shots Protect Seniors From Serious Heart and Stroke Complications

According to preliminary research presented on July 27, 2020, at the virtual American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2020 Scientific Session, of more than 7 million high-risk patients hospitalized, only 168,325 received a flu vaccination in 2014.

However, adults age 50+ who did get a flu shot, had better outcomes in the year following vaccination, with a 28% lower risk of heart attack, a 73% lower risk of death, and an 85% lower risk of cardiac arrest.

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Aug 2, 2020 • 8:44 am CDT

Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate Protects Monkeys

The New York Times reported on July 30, 2020, the experimental coronavirus vaccine, Ad26.COV2-S, developed by Johnson & Johnson protected monkeys from infection in a new study. And, J&N recently began a clinical trial in Europe and the USA to test its vaccine in people.

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Aug 1, 2020 • 10:22 am CDT

Coronavirus Vaccines Are Not Approved in the USA

As of August 1, 2020, the U.S. FDA has not approved any preventive or therapeutic vaccines targeting the SARS-CoV-2 betacoronavirus.

Aug 1, 2020 • 10:13 am CDT

Semi-Quantitative Coronavirus Serology Tests Approved

The U.S. FDA authorized two COVID-19 serology tests on July 31, 2020, that display an estimated quantity of antibodies present in the individual’s blood. Both tests from Siemens, the ADVIA Centaur COV2G and Attelica COV2G, are what are known as “semi-quantitative” tests.

This means that they do not display a precise measurement, but estimate the quantity of a patient’s antibodies produced against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

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Aug 1, 2020 • 8:03 am CDT

Europe Approves Treatment of Community-Acquired Pneumonia

The European Commission approved lefamulin on July 28, 2020, for the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia following a review by the European Medicines Agency. The approval of lefamulin, which is sold under the brand name Xenleta, was based on efficacy data from two Phase 3 clinical trials.

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Aug 1, 2020 • 7:25 am CDT

Cancer Screening Guideline Calls For 'Less and More'

The American Cancer Society's updated cervical cancer screening guidelines reflect the rapidly changing cervical cancer prevention landscape in the USA. Published on July 30, 2020, the new guideline calls for 'less and more simplified screening.'

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Aug 1, 2020 • 7:14 am CDT

High-Dose Lyme Disease Vaccine Reported Effective

On July 22, 2020, the Lyme disease vaccine candidate VLA15 was found immunogenic across all dose groups tested, said Valneva SE. The higher doses used in this phase 2 study elicited higher antibody responses across all serotypes. Seroconversion rates in the highest dose ranged from 81.5% to 95.8%.

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Jul 31, 2020 • 1:36 pm CDT

Cancer Vaccine Candidate Produced Promising Results in Early-Stage-Study

On July 30, 2020, BioNTech SE announced interim Phase 1 study data for the FixVac cancer vaccine program BNT111. The interim data published in the journal Nature shows that BNT111 alone and in combination with PD-1 checkpoint blockade while being well-tolerated mediates durable objective responses in melanoma patients that had progressed after prior checkpoint blockade.

And, vaccine-induced antigen-specific memory T cells persisted for more than 1-year under continuous monthly vaccination.

Jul 31, 2020 • 1:26 pm CDT

RSV Infection Leads To Pneumonia in Seniors

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) was found associated with high rates of pneumonia, ventilatory support, and both short- and long-term mortality among hospitalized older adult patients, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases on June 27, 2020.

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Jul 31, 2020 • 1:12 pm CDT

RNA Vaccine Drives Immunity in Checkpoint-Inhibitor-Treated Melanoma

Treating patients who have cancer with vaccines that stimulate a targeted immune response is conceptually appealing, but cancer vaccine trials have not been successful in late-stage patients with treatment-refractory tumors. A new study published on July 29, 2020, indicates RNA-LPX vaccination delivers potent immunotherapy in patients with CPI-experienced melanoma, and suggest the general utility of non-mutant shared tumor antigens as targets for cancer vaccination.

Jul 31, 2020 • 5:55 am CDT

Hepatitis B Vaccinations Rates Rapidly Increased in Asia

On July 31, 2020, the U.S. CDC reported most Southeast Asia countries have made a lot of progress immunizing against hepatitis B. Coverage rates for the 1st dose of the vaccine administered at birth increased from 34% to 54% between 2016 - 2019. Furthermore, coverage rates for the 3rd vaccination increased from 89% to 91%.

Unfortunately, the CDC says the countries of Burma, India, Indonesia, and Timor-Leste are unlikely to achieve hepatitis B control by the end of 2020.

Jul 31, 2020 • 4:41 am CDT

Harvard Study: Birthdays and Flu Shot Correlational

A study by Harvard researchers published in the NEJM on July 9, 2020, highlighted an unusual correlation between birthdays and flu shots. This analysis of insurance claims data showed that children 2 to 5 years old with birthdays between September through December... were more likely to receive a flu shot and less likely to have a case of influenza ... than those with birthdays earlier in the year, and before flu vaccines become available.

Jul 31, 2020 • 4:04 am CDT

CDC: 185 Pediatric Fatalities Related to the Flu During 2019-2020

A total of 185 influenza-associated pediatric fatalities occurring during the 2019-2020 season have been reported to CDC in its Week #29 report, published on July 18, 2020.

Jul 31, 2020 • 3:45 am CDT

Parents Are Hesitancy to Protect Children Against HPV

A new study published in The Lancet on July 21, 2020, found more than half of the parents of unvaccinated adolescents had no intention to initiate the HPV vaccine series. And in Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah, more than 65 percent of parents of unvaccinated adolescents had no intention to initiate the HPV vaccine series.

Jul 31, 2020 • 3:39 am CDT

Breast Cancer Vaccine Technology Prepares For Clinical Trial

Anixa Biosciences and The Cleveland Clinic announced on July 28, 2020, they intend to file the Investigational New Drug (IND) Application with the U.U. FDA soon. This innovative technology takes advantage of self-proteins that have a function at certain times in life, but then become "retired" and disappear from the body. 

Jul 30, 2020 • 5:51 pm CDT

Students Must Self-Quarantine Prior to Campus Arrival

UT-Austin is asking students to self-quarantine for 2-weeks before returning to campus for the Fall 2020 semester, stated the university's president on July 29, 2020. 'To effectively self-quarantine, please stay in your home and limit in-person interactions as much as possible throughout the 2-week period.'

'We continue to make progress on the development of the Protect Texas Together app for students, faculty, and staff that will help individuals track their symptoms each day and — based on those symptoms — indicate whether they are ..... cleared to come to campus.'

Jul 30, 2020 • 5:34 pm CDT

What About COVID-19’s Effects on Children?

'There’s been a lot of focus, and rightly so, on why seniors and those with a chronic disease appear to be at increased risk for COVID-19 disease. But, not nearly as much seems to be known about children and COVID-19,' said the 16th director of the U.S. NIH, on July 30, 2020.

The researchers recently found children younger than age 10 spread the virus to others much less often than adults do, though the risk is not zero. But children age 10 to 19 were found to be just as infectious as adults. That obviously has consequences for the current debate about opening the schools, said Dr. Francis S. Collins, in his weekly NIH blog. 

Jul 30, 2020 • 11:49 am CDT

Ohio Governor Overrules Pharmacy Board

Ohio Governor @GovMikeDeWine issued a Tweet on July 30, 2020, saying 'I agree with Dr. Steven Hahn, Commissioner of the U.S. FDA, that prescribing of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 disease should be between a doctor and a patient.'

'Therefore, I am asking the @OhioRxBoard to halt their new rule prohibiting the selling or dispensing of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.'

In response, the Ohio Board published the following statement around noon on July 30th: 'As a result of the feedback received by the medical and patient community and at the request of Governor DeWine, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has withdrawn proposed rule 4729:5-5-21 of the Administrative Code. Therefore, prohibitions on the prescribing of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in Ohio for the treatment of COVID-19 will not take effect ... at this time.'

Jul 30, 2020 • 10:23 am CDT

60 Million Flu Shots Now Shipping to the US

Seqirus announced on July 30, 2020, it has begun shipping its portfolio of seasonal influenza vaccines, up to 60 vaccine doses, to customers in the USA for the Northern Hemisphere's 2020-2021 influenza season.

For this flu season, Seqirus will provide FLUAD, the first-and-only adjuvanted seasonal influenza vaccine approved for adults 65 and older, in addition to FLUAD Quadrivalent.

The Seqirus 2020 - 2021 influenza vaccine portfolio also includes FLUCELVAX QUADRIVALENT, a cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine approved for use in persons 4-years of age and older, and AFLURIA QUADRIVALENT, an egg-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine approved for use in those 6-months of age and older.

Jul 30, 2020 • 10:11 am CDT

NEJM Study: Nirsevimab for Prevention of RSV in Preterm Infants

Detailed results from a Phase 2b trial for Nirsevimab published by Sanofi on July 30, 2020, showed a significant reduction in medically attended lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI), mainly bronchiolitis and pneumonia, and hospitalizations caused by the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in healthy preterm infants.

Published in the NEJM, these positive study results demonstrate for the first time that a single dose monoclonal antibody can significantly reduce medically attended RSV LRTI in infants through the full RSV season.

Jul 30, 2020 • 9:18 am CDT

Vaccine Found Effective Against Coronavirus Mutant Variant D614G

On July 30, 2020, Inovio announced INO-4800 vaccinations generated antibodies neutralizing both the earlier strain of the SARS-CoV-2 betacoronavirus, as well as the mutant variant D614G, that has emerged with greater infectivity in the USA, and now accounts for about 80% of newly circulating coronavirus infections.

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Jul 30, 2020 • 8:26 am CDT

Facts About J&J’s COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

Data published in Nature by J&J on July 30, 2020, showed that Janssen's investigational vaccine elicited an immune response against SARS-CoV-2 in a preclinical, nonhuman study. Based on the positive data from this preclinical study, the first-in-human Phase 1/2a clinical trial is now underway in USA and Belgium, with a Phase 3 study expected to commence in September 2020.

Jul 30, 2020 • 8:08 am CDT

GEN-009 Vaccine Found Effective in Advanced Solid Tumors

Genocea Biosciences announced on July 30, 2020, it will present initial clinical data today on the first 5 patients from Part B of the ongoing Phase 1/2a study, which explores the combination of Genocea’s neoantigen vaccine, GEN-009, and checkpoint inhibitor-based regimens, in advanced solid tumors.

Jul 30, 2020 • 8:02 am CDT

Global Phase 2/3 Study Announced For Opaganib (Yeliva)

RedHill Biopharma Ltd. announced on July 30, 2020, that it has initiated a global Phase 2/3 clinical study across 40 clinical sites evaluating Opaganib (Yeliva®, ABC294640) in patients hospitalized with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection and pneumonia, requiring treatment with supplemental oxygen. The study has been approved in the UK and Russia and is under review in Italy, Brazil, and Mexico.

Enrollment in a parallel U.S. Phase 2 study in patients with severe COVID-19 is expected to be completed in August 2020.

Opaganib, a new chemical entity, is a proprietary, first-in-class, orally-administered, sphingosine kinase-2 (SK2) selective inhibitor with anticancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral activities, targeting multiple oncology, viral, inflammatory and gastrointestinal indications. By inhibiting SK2, Opaganib impacts multiple cellular pathways that are associated with cancer growth, viral replication, and pathological inflammation.

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Jul 30, 2020 • 5:52 am CDT

Study: Protective Effect of Pneumococcal Vaccination on Cardiovascular Disease

A new meta-analysis published on July 28, 2020, found seniors vaccinated with a PPV23 vaccine would be protection against invasive pneumococcal disease and community-acquired pneumonia due to S.pneumoniae, but also help prevent cardiovascular events, myocardial infarction, and related mortality.

This protection was seen in individuals of all age groups, but particularly in those 65 years of age and older.

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Jul 29, 2020 • 1:32 pm CDT

Hydroxychloroquine Administered Without Pennsylvania's Approval

On July 28, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) issued a report that stated the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center provided 205 patients with hydroxychloroquine, without receiving prior approval. Known as Plaquenil in the USA, hydroxychloroquine is FDA-approved to treat certain types of malaria and autoimmune conditions such as chronic discoid lupus erythematosus, systemic lupus erythematosus in adults, and rheumatoid arthritis.

But, Plaquenil is not U.S. FDA approved for treating COVID-19 disease patients.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania DOH reported on July 29th, that Allegheny County (125) and Philadelphia County (111) reported new COVID-19 cases. Furthermore, there have been about 7,200 coronavirus related fatalities reported in PA, with 4,883 reported in residents from nursing or personal care facilities.

Jul 29, 2020 • 10:49 am CDT

Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Could Launch in August 2020

Russian officials said on July 29, 2020, they are working toward a date of August 10th or earlier for approval of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This Russian vaccine was developed by the Gamalei National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.

The Russian COVID-19 vaccine candidate uses a weakened virus to deliver small parts of a pathogen and stimulate an immune response. And, is a vector vaccine based on adenovirus DNA, in which the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus gene is integrated. 

According to TASS reporting, Russia’s Direct Investment Fund's CEO Kirill Dmitriyev said that the 2nd phase of the study 'would be over on August 3, 2020.'

Jul 29, 2020 • 10:29 am CDT

Stanford Medicine Updates Coronavirus Antiviral Phase 2 Study

On July 27, 2020, Stanford Medicine updated its phase 2 clinical study testing favipiravir (Avigan) for treating COVID-19 outpatients. These researchers want to determine whether favipiravir, an oral antiviral medication, is effective in reducing the severity of symptoms and shortening the duration of COVID-19 disease.

According to Reuters, Stanford professor Yvonne Maldonado stated, “We’re moving as fast as we can." If the drug can be shown to reduce symptoms and the viral load among patients, “that would be a big deal”.

Jul 29, 2020 • 9:46 am CDT

Sanofi Pasteur and Translate Bio to Develop mRNA Vaccines

Translate Bio announced on July 20, 2020, the closing of a previously announced expansion of the collaboration and licensing agreement with Sanofi Pasteur to develop mRNA vaccines for all infectious disease pathogens.

Sanofi stated on July 29th, it expects a Phase 1 study to start by the end of 2020, and, and if the data are positive, seek approval at the earliest in the second half of 2021​. Translate Bio has established mRNA manufacturing capacity and Sanofi expects to be able to supply an annual capacity of 90 to 360 million coronavirus prevention vaccine doses.

Jul 29, 2020 • 6:57 am CDT

Study: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Induced SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Activity in Pre-Clinical Study

On July 28, 2020, the NEJM published a study, Evaluation of the mRNA-1273 Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in Nonhuman Primates, which found vaccinations with the mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate induced robust SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing activity, rapid protection in the upper and lower airways, and no pathologic changes in the lung, in of nonhuman primates.

This is important news since the mRNA-1273 vaccine launched a late-stage clinical study known as COVE, which was last updated on July 29, 2020.

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Jul 29, 2020 • 6:38 am CDT

World Hepatitis Day Seeks 290 Million People

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on July 28, 2020, focused on bringing the world together to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to empower disease prevention. Worldwide, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost during 2020.

As an example, Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, which is very contagious. It is spread when someone unknowingly ingests the virus — even in microscopic amounts — through close personal contact with an infected person or through eating contaminated food or drink, says the U.S. CDC.

Hepatitis A vaccine news can be found at PrecisionVaccinations.

Jul 28, 2020 • 9:01 pm CDT

50 Million Quadrivalent Flu Shots Begin Shipping

GSK announced on July 28, 2020, it started shipping more than 50 million quadrivalent influenza vaccine doses to US healthcare providers and pharmacies for the 2020-21 flu season. This data indicates about a 9% increase from the last flu season.

Both FLULAVAL QUADRIVALENT and FLUARIX QUADRIVALENT will be available in a 0.5mL, single-dose, pre-filled syringe, and indicated for patients 6 months and older in line with CDC recommendations.

Jul 28, 2020 • 4:03 pm CDT

1 Million COVID-19 Molecular Diagnostic Tests Shipped Each Day

The Advanced Medical Technology Association announced on July 28, 2020, that shipments of COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests reached 1 million per day for the week ending July 24th, based on the latest data from the association's National Testing Registry. Overall, about 80 million tests have been shipped in the USA during 2020.

Jul 28, 2020 • 1:48 pm CDT

Alzheimer's Vaccine Candidate Advanced to Phase Ib/II Study

AC Immune SA announced on July 16, 2020, the initiation of the 2nd-highest dosing group in the Company’s Phase 1b/2a clinical trial evaluating ACI-35.030 for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The decision to advance to the higher dosing group follows encouraging interim safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity results from the initial dosing group.

The ACI-35.030 vaccine candidate is being developed in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and is the first AD vaccine candidate designed to generate a specific antibody response against pathologic phospho-Tau (pTau) proteins in the brain.

Immunization with anti-Tau vaccines has become an important strategy for the treatment of AD characterized by Tau pathology, said the company.

Jul 28, 2020 • 1:25 pm CDT

Coronavirus Mutations Enables the Virus to Elude Antibodies

A non-peer-reviewed study published on July 22, 2020, stated the degree to which SARS-CoV-2 will adapt and evade neutralizing antibodies is unclear. These researchers showed that 'functional SARS-CoV-2 S protein variants with mutations in the receptor-binding domain and N-terminal domain that confer resistance to monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma can be readily selected.'

This means SARS-CoV-2 S variants that resist commonly elicited neutralizing antibodies are now present at low frequencies in circulating SARS-CoV-2 populations.

They suggest that COVID-19 treatment ‘cocktails’ of multiple neutralizing antibodies, each recognizing a different part of the spike protein, could stop the virus from evolving resistance.

Jul 28, 2020 • 11:38 am CDT

Dry Powder Inhalation Could Be a Potent Tool in COVID-19 Antiviral Treatment

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin announced on July 28, 2020, they are hoping to use their novel thin-film-freezing technology to deliver remdesivir through dry powder inhalation, potentially making treatment more potent, easier to administer and more broadly available.

One way to overcome the poor absorption rates of remdesivir is to deliver it directly to the infection site.

The UT Austin research team has developed inhaled forms of remdesivir for protecting and treating the respiratory mode of infection, including an amorphous brittle matrix powder made by thin-film freezing.

Not only would this delivery method allow for wider distribution of an essential antiviral in the fight against COVID-19 disease, it could also make remdesivir more effective.

Jul 28, 2020 • 8:58 am CDT

Pfizer and BioNTech Launch Late-Stage Coronavirus Vaccine Study

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced on July 27, 2020, the launching of a Phase 2/3 safety and efficacy clinical study to evaluate a single nucleoside-modified messenger RNA candidate from their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine program against SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The BNT162b2 vaccine candidate encodes an optimized SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike glycoprotein, at a 30µg dose level, in a 2-dose regimen for this Phase 2/3 study.

BNT162b2 remains under clinical study and is not currently approved for distribution anywhere in the world. However, assuming clinical success, Pfizer and BioNTech may seek regulatory review as early as October 2020, and, if approved, plan to supply up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and approximately 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021, said these companies in a press statement.

Jul 27, 2020 • 10:34 pm CDT

Study: Vaccines Found to be Remarkably Safe

Over a 20-year period, 57 FDA-approved vaccines were found to be remarkably safe, reported a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on July 28, 2020. The most common safety issue triggering label modifications was the expansion of population restrictions (36%), followed by allergies (22%).

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Jul 27, 2020 • 10:08 pm CDT

Remdesivir Linked to Significantly Greater Recovery and Lower Fatality Rate

In an analysis published in Clinical Infectious Diseases on July 24, 2020, the antiviral drug remdesivir was linked to significantly greater recovery and a 62% lower death rate by day 14 versus standard treatment in hospitalized adults with severe COVID-19 disease.

Jul 27, 2020 • 10:00 pm CDT

Status: COVID-19 Disease Prevention Vaccines Remain in Clinical Studies

As of July 27, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved any COVID-19 disease prevention vaccines. The SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development landscape includes innovative platforms such as nucleic acid (DNA and RNA), virus-like particle, peptide, viral vector (replicating and non-replicating), recombinant protein, live attenuated virus and inactivated virus approaches.

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Jul 27, 2020 • 7:10 pm CDT

$265 Million Vaccine Services Order Issued to Texas A&M University

The US government has issued a new federal task order reserving production capacity at one of Texas A&M University System College Station's facilities to mass manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine candidate of Novavax, Inc., NVX-CoV2373, through the end of 2021.

This task order is valued at about $265 million, announced the university on July 27, 2020.

Jul 27, 2020 • 2:28 pm CDT

Study: It's Time for a 3rd Generation Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine

In The Lancet Infectious Diseases on July 2020, researchers describe the effect of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines on the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease in France over a 17-year period. This study's finding suggests that efforts to reduce invasive pneumococcal disease continue to be compromised by serotype replacement.

Jul 27, 2020 • 7:37 am CDT

AstraZeneca Signs $174 Million Coronavirus Vaccine Services Agreement

Emergent BioSolutions announced on July 27, 2020, that it has signed an agreement to provide contract development and manufacturing services for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, valued at approximately $174 million through 2021. This agreement follows an $87 million contract signed in June 2020.

Jul 27, 2020 • 7:27 am CDT

New Test Differentiates SARS-CoV-2 From Other Coronaviruses

The FluoroType® SARS-CoV-2 plus next-generation 6-plex PCR assay for the highly specific detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus ... showed 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity, reported Bruker on July 27, 2020. This test differentiates SARS-CoV-2 from 4 other endemic human coronaviruses for specificity.

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Jul 27, 2020 • 7:12 am CDT

Phase II Study Launches of LAM-002A for COVID-19 Treatment

AI Therapeutics announced on July 27, 2020, the start of a Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients in collaboration with Yale University. LAM-002A is a first in class, highly selective, PIKfyve kinase inhibitor that has demonstrated potent in vitro antiviral activity against several isolates of SARS-CoV-2.

A previous study independently identified LAM-002A as the best out of 13,000 compounds tested for inhibiting the SARS-CoV-2 betacoronavirus.

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Jul 27, 2020 • 6:53 am CDT

Seniors Reduce Alzheimer's Risk With Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations

Flu shots and pneumonia vaccinations are associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on July 27, 2020.

This new research reported at least 1 flu shot was associated with a 17% reduction in Alzheimer’s incidence. And, more frequent influenza vaccination was associated with another 13% reduction in Alzheimer’s incidence.

The researchers found the protective association between the flu vaccine and the risk of Alzheimer’s was strongest for those who received their first vaccine at a younger age — for example, the people who received a flu shot at age 60 benefitted more than those who received one at age 70.

And, seniors (65 to 75 yrs old) who received a pneumococcal vaccination had about 40% less risk of Alzheimer's disease depending on their genetic profile. These researchers took into account a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s — the rs2075650 G allele in the TOMM40 gene.

Jul 26, 2020 • 2:06 pm CDT

Smallpox Plagued Eurasia a Long, Long Time Ago

After killing more than 300 million people in the 12th century, smallpox's last victim was confirmed in 1978, said an article published in Nature on July 23, 2020. However, new genetic evidence is starting to uncover when smallpox first started attacking people.

The new analysis implies that the smallpox virus was circulating in humans at least 1,700 years back when many peoples were migrating across Eurasia.

This news indicates genetic research is rewriting the history of diseases.

Jul 26, 2020 • 9:45 am CDT

LabCorp Processing Coronavirus Tests Within 3 Days

LabCorp announced on July 26, 2020, it is processing 180,000 coronavirus related tests per day and has reduced the average time to deliver test results to about 3 days, from specimen pickup. Furthermore, for COVID-19 disease hospitalized patients, the average time for results is faster.

Jul 26, 2020 • 8:24 am CDT

Millions More Britons To Receive Free Flu Shots

The UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on July 24, 2020, 'he wants everyone to have a flu jab in the run-up to this winter,' reported the BBC. The most comprehensive flu vaccination program in the UK’s history was announced by the UK's NHS.

'A significant new group of people will be eligible for the free flu vaccine as people aged 50 to 64 will be invited for influenza vaccination.'

The NHS's expanded influenza vaccination program is part of plans to reduce the risk of further coronavirus cases in the UK.

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Jul 26, 2020 • 7:27 am CDT

Certain States Don't Embrace Cancer Prevention

Based on survey data from the National Immunization Study published on July 21, 2020, found HPV vaccine hesitancy was more than 65% in the US states of Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah.

"The hesitancy of parents to protect their child against HPV is troubling because improving HPV vaccination coverage is our only option to curb the rising burden of cancers caused by this virus," said Kalyani Sonawane, Ph.D., an assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health.

More than 90% of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV, a contagious sexually transmitted infection, says the U.S. CDC.

Jul 25, 2020 • 1:52 pm CDT

Update: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates

SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates include nucleic acid (DNA and RNA), virus-like particle, peptide, viral vector (replicating and non-replicating), recombinant protein, live attenuated virus, and inactivated virus approaches. The vaccine updated listing is as of July 25, 2020.

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Jul 25, 2020 • 1:48 pm CDT

CDC Says: “It is Critically Important for Public Health to Open Schools"

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers when schools open for the Fall 2020 academic term.

“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield, on July 23, 2020.

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Jul 25, 2020 • 1:32 pm CDT

80 Million Polio Vaccinations Missed During 2020

 Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Chad have reported new polio cases in early July 2020, according to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Afghanistan reported 5 more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases, with Pakistan reporting 2 new WPV1 cases. And, Chad reported 3 more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases.

“Our early-stage analysis suggests that almost 80 million polio vaccination opportunities have been missed by children in our Region due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Hamid Jafari, Director for GPEI in the Eastern Mediterranean Region on July 20, 2020.

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Jul 25, 2020 • 11:08 am CDT

Study: Flu Shots Associated With Reduced Fatality Risks

An influenza study based on registry data from Demark found flu shots were associated with reduced risks for all-cause death, including cardiovascular and stroke among adults with diabetes.

'We have also shown that vaccination is significantly associated with a reduced incidence of acute diabetes complications,' said these researchers on July 24, 2020.

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Jul 25, 2020 • 10:55 am CDT

FDA Authorizes COVID-19 Testing For Unwary People

The U.S. FDA issued authorization for SARS-CoV-2 virus testing for people who do not have COVID-19 disease symptoms or who have no reason to suspect a coronavirus infection.

The FDA said on July 24, 2020, it recognizes that organizations may want to conduct virus testing of asymptomatic people to help ensure the safety of their employees, patients, students, and others.