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CORONA VIRUS

German Virologist Warns Against New Covid-19 Situation

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Germany is doing better than Spain or France – yes, but only for the moment, warns virologist Christian Drosten. Some details are different in this country than in the southern countries, but this does not result in permanent corona protection.

Looking at the aggravated covid-19 situation in some other European countries, the virologist Christian Drosten has warned of a similar development in this country.

In view of the new infections currently reported in Germany, one has to be clear that “if we superimpose the curves, we are a little behind Spain and France and England,” said the head of Charité Virology of the German Press Agency (dpa) in Berlin.

He emphasized “that we shouldn’t pretend that things are developing very differently for us. We don’t do a lot of things very differently now ”. “There are a few details that may be different here than in southern Europe. Our households are often smaller, we have more one-person households, ”said Drosten.

The number of new corona infections had recently cracked the 10,000 mark in France. As the authorities announced on Thursday evening, 10,593 new infections were counted within one day – the previous high on September 12 was slightly lower (10,561).

Infection numbers are skyrocketing again in much of the UK. In many places there is also a lack of tests, so the actual infection process can hardly be depicted at the moment. Each part of the country can decide on its own corona measures.

Spain is the country hardest hit by the corona pandemic in Western Europe. The marks of 600,000 infections and 30,000 fatalities had only been exceeded the day before. The situation in Madrid is of greatest concern, however. The autonomous region around the capital with its 6.6 million inhabitants accounted for almost 40 percent of all new cases on Tuesday with 1207 positive test results within 24 hours.

There are fewer multi-generation families in which the virus is spread very easily beyond the age limits, said Drosten. “There are certainly differences. But otherwise Germany is not much different from these neighboring European countries. That is why we have to be very careful and watch very closely what happens now. ”

The test frequency is extremely high in Germany – but only since the decision to test returning travelers, said Drosten. “This is a test frequency that we in Germany cannot hold out for much longer.” The basic test activity that was previously carried out in Germany and will soon be done again is not much higher than in other neighboring European countries. The core of infection monitoring is only slightly more pronounced in us than in other countries. “That’s why we have to take the numbers seriously.”

As Drosten explained, the number of cases in Germany over the summer was largely due to returnees from vacation who would not necessarily have passed the virus on to a large extent in this country. These infected people would rather give clues about the corona situation in the country of origin. “What we are seeing at the moment is a reflection of what is going on in Germany in the form of virus cases.”

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin put the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Germany on Friday at 267,773 – an increase from 1916 since the previous day. The Johns Hopkins University (JHU), based in the US city of Baltimore, reported 269,048 infected people. The RKI, which only takes into account the electronically transmitted figures from the federal states and updates its list once a day, registered 9378 deaths, seven more than the previous day. The JHU counted 9,376 dead. According to the RKI, the number of people recovered was around 238,700.

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CORONA VIRUS

‘Most People Don’t Need Covid Vaccine Booster’, Scientists Say

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Covid-19 vaccines work so well that most people don’t yet need a booster, an all-star panel of scientists from around the world said in a review that’s likely to fuel debate over whether to use them.

Governments would be better served to focus on immunizing the unvaccinated and to wait for more data on which boosters would be most effective and at what doses, the authors, who included two prominent U.S. Food and Drug Administration experts, argued in the medical journal The Lancet.

They based their assessment on a wide range of real-world observational studies as well as data from clinical trials.

“None of the studies has provided credible evidence of substantially declining protection against severe disease,” the authors wrote. There could also be additional side-effect risks if boosters are introduced too soon or too broadly, they said.

Most countries with ample vaccine supplies are debating whether to allocate doses for booster shots to prop up immunity and potentially help stop the spread of the more infectious delta variant.

The U.S. plans to roll out booster shots starting Sept. 20, though the proposal still needs sign-off from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists are by no means unanimous on the topic of boosters. Even a small reduction in efficacy against the spread of Covid can strain a health-care system, and “there is therefore no ‘one size fits all’ approach,” said Azra Ghani, chair in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London, who wasn’t involved with the review.

Shares of vaccine makers fell after the review was published. BioNTech SE’s American depositary receipts fell as much as 7.7%, the biggest intraday decline in almost a month, while partner Pfizer Inc. dropped as much as 2.5%. Moderna Inc. also lost as much as 7.7% as of 11:12 a.m. in New York, and AstraZeneca Plc. slipped as much as 1.2% in London.

The analysis is a blow to President Joe Biden, who announced his booster program in August after an extraordinary joint statement from his top medical advisers, including CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock.

Biden’s advisers said then that the data supported the need for boosters and that they would begin preparing for them, noting that regulators would still need to sign off on the plan.

Some experts have questioned the need for the extra shots, while the World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on them until more people outside of rich countries can get protection.

A U.K. government advisory panel is set to soon recommend whether to move forward with broad use of a third vaccine dose.

Britain is already offering boosters to those with severely weakened immune systems, as are many European Union countries. The European Medicines Agency is also reviewing booster data from Pfizer and BioNTech, and from Moderna Inc.

Among the scientists behind the Lancet article were Marion Gruber, who leads the FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review, and her deputy Philip Krause. Both have said they would step down later this year.

Gruber and Krause were two of a group of FDA staff who last year pushed back against pressure by the Trump administration to speed up the authorization of the Covid vaccines, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The WHO’s Soumya Swaminathan, Ana-Maria Henao-Restrepo and Mike Ryan also worked on the review.

The WHO said it would make better public-health sense to focus on immunizing those who haven’t gotten any shots yet — whether because of anti-vaccine sentiment in countries with ample reserves, or because they live in places with little access to shots.

“Even if boosting were eventually shown to decrease the medium-term risk of serious disease, current vaccine supplies could save more lives if used in previously unvaccinated populations,” the authors wrote.

Across the observational studies done so far, vaccination has shown an average of 95% effectiveness against severe disease, including against more infectious variants such as delta, and more than 80% effective at preventing any infection, the review found.

Even in countries with high vaccination rates, it’s unvaccinated people who are driving transmission of the virus — and who are at highest risk of becoming very ill, the study found.

 

Bloomberg

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CORONA VIRUS

President Tshisekedi Finally Takes Covid-19 Vaccine Jab

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Until DRC lost 1,068 citizens and 56,096 recorded cases to the deadly Covid-19 since its emergence in the country last year, President Félix Tshisekedi had not taken a vaccine jab.

On Sunday, Tshisekedi rolled up his sleeve on his left hand to allow a physician sink into his flesh a syringe containing the covid-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, on the same occassion on Sunday, the DRC First Lady Denise Nyakeru also took her first Covid-19 vaccine before cameras.

However, the name of the vaccine was not released, but the Presidential Press noted that immediately after being vaccinated, Tshisekedi reiterated his support for the vaccination.

“The vaccine remains the best-indicated solution for the time being in the face of COVID-19,” President Tshisekedi said after taking his first dose at the UA city presidential clinic in Kinshasa.

The presidential couple thus launched the second phase of the national anti-Covid19 vaccination campaign.

Dr Roger Kamba, Special Advisor of the PR in charge of universal health coverage, confirmed the presence in the DRC of more than 250,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine as well as the imminent arrival of several thousand doses of the Johnson & Johnson, Astra vaccines. zeneca and Pfizer.

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CORONA VIRUS

Study Shows Moderna Creates Twice as Many Antibodies as Pfizer

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Moderna Inc.’s Covid vaccine generated more than double the antibodies of a similar shot made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE in research directly comparing immune responses to the inoculations.

A study of almost 2,500 workers at a major Belgium hospital system found antibody levels among individuals who hadn’t been infected with the coronavirus before getting two doses of the Moderna vaccine averaged 2,881 units per milliliter, compared with 1,108 units/mL in an equivalent group who got two jabs of the Pfizer shot.

The results, published Monday in a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggested the differences might be explained by the:

higher amount of active ingredient in the Moderna vaccine — 100 micrograms, versus 30 micrograms in Pfizer-BioNTech

longer interval between doses of the Moderna vaccine — four weeks, versus three weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech

Moderna’s vaccine was associated with a two-fold risk reduction against breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections compared to Pfizer’s in a review of people in the Mayo Clinic Health System in the U.S. from January to July.

The results were reported in a separate study released ahead of publication and peer review on Aug. 9.

 

Bloomberg

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