British researchers testing an experimental vaccine against the new coronavirus are moving into advanced studies and aim to immunize more than 10,000 people to determine if the shot works. Last month, scientists at Oxford University began vaccinating more than 1,000 volunteers in a preliminary study designed to test the shot’s safety. Those results aren’t in yet but on Friday, the scientists announced they’re expanding to 10,260 people across Britain, including older people and children. If all goes smoothly, “it’s possible as early as the autumn or toward the end of the year, you could have results that allowed use of the vaccine on a wider scale,” predicted Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group.
Doubts over Moderna’s first Covid-19 vaccine
London: Early morning on May 18, Moderna, a biotechnology company, revealed the preliminary findings for the much anticipated phase I trial of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The information sent Moderna’s stock soaring by more than 20% and helped fuel a rally on Wall Street. Although there was an enthusiastic response to the news, the purpose of all phase I trials is primarily to demonstrate safety and tolerability. While the early results are tantalizingly positive, what Moderna has not revealed is raising some doubts.
B’desh produces 1st generic version of remdesivir
Dhaka: Bangladesh-based Beximco Pharmaceuticals has become the worlds first company to produce a generic version of the antiviral drug remdesivir, originally developed by US-based Gilead Sciences, it was reported on Friday.
Remdesivir was originally designed as an Ebola treatment, the BBC reported. It works by attacking an enzyme that a virus needs in order to replicate inside our cells. Beximco”s production of the generic version will ensure quick supply of the drug to many countries in the South Asia. A recent clinical trial in the US showed the drug helped shorten the recovery time for people who were seriously ill. However, it did not significantly improve survival rates. Experts have warned that the drug should not be seen as a “magic bullet” for coronavirus. But in the absence of any clear treatment for COVID-19, many countries are willing to try remdesivir, said the BBC report.
5% of UK residents have antibodies: Health secy
London: UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a government surveillance study has shown that 17 per cent of the people in London and around 5 per cent or more of the population in the rest of the country have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Antibody tests tell a person if they have had the virus and have subsequently developed antibodies in response, that might help them to fight COVID-19 in the future, reorts the Metro newspaper. Addressing a briefing on Thursday, Hancock said the government has signed contracts to supply 10 million antibody tests, with health and care staff, patients and residents prioritised to receive them from next week. He added that certification systems will be developed for people who test positive for antibodies, so they can be advised on what they can safely do. While it remains unclear what level of immunity people develop once they have had COVID-19, experts hope a degree of immunity lasts for at least a year or two. Speaking of the antibody surveillance study, Hancock said: “This was based on a sample but for the public at large to know whether or not they have had coronavirus, we need antibody tests are larger scale.