Vaccine experts call for clarity on UK’s 12-week Covid jab interval

British Society for Immunology calls for a robust programme monitoring the body’s immune response

Experts have called for greater clarity on the monitoring in place to assess the 12-week dosing interval for Covid-19 vaccines, as the row over delayed second doses continues.

The UK’s coronavirus vaccination programme was shifted late last year to prioritise administering the first dose of jabs to as many at-risk people as possible. As a result, the interval between the two doses of the jab was increased to up to 12 weeks.

Related: Doctors call for shorter gap between Pfizer Covid vaccine doses in UK

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Vaccine experts call for clarity on UK’s 12-week Covid jab interval

British Society for Immunology calls for a robust programme monitoring the body’s immune response

Experts have called for greater clarity on the monitoring in place to assess the 12-week dosing interval for Covid-19 vaccines, as the row over delayed second doses continues.

The UK’s coronavirus vaccination programme was shifted late last year to prioritise administering the first dose of jabs to as many at-risk people as possible. As a result, the interval between the two doses of the jab was increased to up to 12 weeks.

Related: Doctors call for shorter gap between Pfizer Covid vaccine doses in UK

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I’ve had my first vaccine jab. It gives me hope of liberation… but not yet

Exactly a year after his first story about coronavirus, our science editor received the Pfizer injection last week. Here he reflects on a remarkable scientific achievement

I marked a grim anniversary in an unexpected manner last week. On 18 January last year, I wrote my first story about a mysterious disease that had struck Wuhan, in China, and which was now spreading around the world. More than two million individuals have since died of Covid-19, almost 100,000 of them in the UK.

Remarkably, 12 months to the day that the Observer published my story, I was given my first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, allowing me to follow nearly six million other newly immunised UK residents who are set to gain protection against a disease that has brought the planet to a standstill. It was a rare, comforting experience after a year of unremitting sadness and gloom.

Related: World’s poor need action, not Covid ‘vaccine nationalism’, say experts

Related: The pandemic one year on: 100,000 dead in the UK from coronavirus

Related: UK bosses set up IT systems to track Covid vaccine status of staff

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Vaccine experts defend UK decision to delay second Pfizer Covid jab

Medics told they risk undermining public confidence by querying policy of three-month gap between doses

Leading vaccine experts have backed the government’s decision to delay the second dose for up to three months, after doctors warned that the strategy was proving “ever-more difficult to justify”.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents doctors, has suggested that the UK has become “increasingly isolated internationally” by deciding that the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine can be delayed, and called for a maximum delay of six weeks. However, several prominent scientists backed the government’s plan to maximise the number of people receiving their first dose.

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World’s poor need action, not Covid ‘vaccine nationalism’, say experts

Nations outbidding each other creates an ‘immoral race towards the abyss’

Pharmaceutical companies should do more to transfer vaccine technology to prevent the poorest countries falling behind in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, according to an expert.

The warning came from Dag-Inge Ulstein, the co-chair of the global council trying to speed up access to Covid vaccines for the world’s poor, known as the Act (Access to Covid-19 Tools) Accelerator. Ulstein, Norway’s international development minister, oversees the drive to ensure vaccines reach the poor – the Covax programme.

Increased transparency on the vaccine deals, including the number of vaccines, the delivery date and price.

Full value for money on the collective funds that the world has given to purchase these vaccines for the world’s poorest so they are purchased at cost price, and not to make a profit.

Increased production of vaccines can be boosted internationally by technology transfer and sharing by pharma companies to local and regional manufacturing firms.

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MHRA and vaccine makers in talks over new Covid variants

Scientists start work on steps needed for potential rapid development of a modified vaccine, AstraZeneca says

The UK medicines regulator is in discussions with coronavirus vaccine manufacturers about “potential modifications” that may be needed to ensure their jabs protect against new variants of the virus.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there was no evidence that vaccines failed to work against the new variants that emerged in recent months, but said it had made the issue a priority.

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WHO platform for pharmaceutical firms unused since pandemic began

Exclusive: ‘pool’ to share Covid-19 information has received no contributions since May 2020

A World Health Organization program for pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily share Covid-19 related knowledge, treatments and technology so they can be more widely distributed has attracted zero contributions in the eight months since it was established, the Guardian has learned.

The Covid-19 technology access pool (C-Tap) was launched in May last year to facilitate the sharing of patent-protected information to fight the virus, including diagnostics, therapeutics and trial data. The “pooling” of treatments and data would allow qualified manufacturers from around the world to produce critical equipment, drugs or vaccines without fear of prosecution for breaching patents.

Related: Global immunisation: low-income countries rush to access Covid vaccine supply

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Single Covid vaccine dose in Israel ‘less effective than we hoped’

Surge in infections dampens optimism over country’s advanced immunisation programme

Israel’s coronavirus tsar has warned that a single dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine may be providing less protection than originally hoped, as the country reported a record 10,000 new Covid infections on Monday.

In remarks reported by Army Radio, Nachman Ash said a single dose appeared “less effective than we had thought”, and also lower than Pfizer had suggested.

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Second shots of Covid vaccine could be delayed further in England

Evidence growing that spacing doses of Pfizer vaccine improves effectiveness

Second shots of coronavirus vaccine could be delayed even further amid growing evidence that spacing out the doses improves their effectiveness.

The NHS vaccination programme aims to immunise about 14 million people at greatest risk of Covid by mid-February with second doses due to be given up to 12 weeks later.

Related: Vaccine supply is holding back jabs programme, says Matt Hancock

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Australia’s chief medical officer defends AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine amid efficacy concerns

Australia has secured 54m doses of the vaccine some experts say is inferior to Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, which Australia has bought just 10m doses of

  • Covid hotspots Victoria; NSW hotspots; Queensland hotspots
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  • Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly and infectious diseases experts have defended securing 54m doses of a Covid-19 vaccine made by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, amid concerns the vaccine will not be effective enough to achieve herd immunity.

    The president of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology, Prof Stephen Turner, told Nine media that Australia should halt the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout because it has “lower efficacy”.

    Related: Australia’s Covid vaccines: everything you need to know

    The choice we have is not whether to use one or the other, it is whether to use what we have

    Related: ‘How dare you leave’: confusion remains for some Victorians stranded interstate

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    EU plans video summit after doubling supply of Pfizer Covid vaccine

    Bloc agrees deal for a further 300m doses as hopes are raised for speedier rate of inoculations

    EU leaders are to hold a pandemic video summit on 21 January after the bloc said it had reached a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech for 300m more doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, giving the EU nearly half the firms’ global output for 2021.

    The move raised hopes for speedier inoculation across the continent as the European regulator, which this week approved the Moderna shot, said it would authorise six doses from each vial of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, increasing available jabs by 20%.

    The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid jab is an mRNA vaccine. Essentially, mRNA is a molecule used by living cells to turn the gene sequences in DNA into the proteins that are the building blocks of all their fundamental structures. A segment of DNA gets copied (“transcribed”) into a piece of mRNA, which in turn gets “read” by the cell’s tools for synthesising proteins.

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    Moderna Covid vaccine approved for use by UK medicines regulator

    Britain’s third jab to receive clearance for public use will not be available until the spring

    The Moderna coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK.

    The jab is the third to be given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), along with the Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca. But unlike the previous jabs, the Moderna vaccine will not be available for use straight away, with the first doses not expected to arrive until the spring.

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    Third Covid vaccine set for UK approval next week but arrival delayed by Brexit

    Moderna jab won’t be available in Britain until April but fourth vaccine may soon come online

    A third Covid vaccine is likely to be approved for use in Britain next week but it will not be available until April because the UK is no longer part of the EU.

    Britain has ordered 7m doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has been approved by regulators in the EU and US. But UK authorisation will not help the government towards its goal of vaccinating the most vulnerable by mid-February.

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    Britain could be mass-producing its Covid shot. Shame we junked our industrial base | Aditya Chakrabortty

    The dire state of UK manufacturing has left us dependent on other nations. We may soon find out why some call this a ‘national security risk’

    Everything now hinges on a vaccine: how many more Britons die, whether the NHS finally breaks, how long the UK stays locked down. All depends on how fast the country can get vaccinated against this plague. Yet we’re in this position in large part because of government failure. When the prime minister imposes lockdowns late and with a sulky grumble; when we haven’t fixed our £22bn test-and-trace system (which, by the way, now bankrolls more outside consultants and contractors than the Treasury has actual civil servants); and when the Dominics and Stanleys are allowed to carry on as if rules are for the little people. If Boris Johnson blunts every political instrument he can lay his pale and meaty hands on, pretty soon a syringe is the only resort.

    Vaccines were always going to be how the world limped out of this pandemic; but as Taiwan and New Zealand show, even without inoculation it is possible to drive the number of Covid cases significantly down. Compare their record with the UK – which is on course to hit 100,000 Covid-related deaths before January is out, and where a staggering one in 30 Londoners is today infected. The lecterns from which Johnson and his top advisers gave their press conference this week read “Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives” – exactly as they did at the start of all this last March, as if to confirm how little progress they have made in almost a year.

    Related: For mRNA vaccines, we should stick to the schedule | Angela Rasmussen and Ilan Schwartz

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    UK vaccine minister vows ‘massive uplift’ in number of jabs this week

    Nadhim Zahawi says ‘absolute focus’ is to get 13.9 million people inoculated by mid-February

    The UK vaccine minister, Nadhim Zahawi, has pledged a “massive uplift” in the number of coronavirus vaccinations carried out this week as he said reaching the government’s target of 13.9m jabs offered by February would be “challenging”.

    Zahawi, the minister responsible for the vaccine rollout, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My absolute focus is to get to 13.9 million … offered a vaccine by the middle of February, that is my target and I’m confident the NHS has a plan and we will meet that target.”

    The government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has published a list of groups of people who will be prioritised to receive a vaccine for Covid-19 in the UK. The list is:

    Related: What obstacles stand in the way of UK’s Covid vaccine rollout?

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    Centene to bolster behavioral health services with $2.2B Magellan Health acquisition

    The insurer will pay $95 per share in cash to acquire Magellan Health, a company providing an array of services, including pharmacy benefit management and behavioral health and employee assistance program services. The companies aim to develop a behavioral health platform.

    No data to support UK delay of vaccines’ second dose, says WHO

    Move to postpone second jab by up to 12 weeks is not supported by scientific evidence, experts find

    There is no scientific evidence for a delay of more than six weeks in administering the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid, say experts from the World Health Organization.

    The UK is planning to postpone giving the second dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines by up to 12 weeks – twice the length of time for which there is data, according to the WHO.

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    Medical Writing Landscape Advancement Summit | Virtual

    The Lincoln Health Network is excited to announce our 2nd Medical Writing Landscape Advancement Summit, March 3-4, 2021. Join us virtually, on the LHN virtual event platform to improve your medical writing strategies by understanding evolving regulatory protocols and submission guidelines, and learn how to improve quality and content optimizations. Visit our website for our frequently updated conference agenda, list of speakers, and pricing details. The earlier you register, the more money you save!

    We look forward to seeing you online!

    Interested in Speaking? Please contact Scott Grossman at [email protected]

    Interested in Sponsoring? Please contact Kelly Hara at [email protected]

    For any registration related inquiries or for more info on group discounts, please contact Jessica Vargas at [email protected]

    TOPICS TO BE ADDRESSED:

    • Project Management Best Practices for Compliant and Timely project completion
    • Scientific Publications best practices
    • Implementation of AI into automation writing
    • Quality improvement by developing SOPs
    • Ensuring high-quality medical publications through study design
    • Hurdles and Benefits of cross-functional applications
    • Impact of lay summaries
    • Develop a road map for navigating protected data
    • Impact of redefining medical writing processes
    • Utilize plain language processes to stakeholder communications

    The post Medical Writing Landscape Advancement Summit | Virtual appeared first on .

    Analysis: is it wise for England to mix and match Covid vaccines?

    US experts warn against plan to give different second jab if supplies run low

    The UK is setting the pace around the world in the approval and use of Covid vaccines but, while other countries watch intently, not all are yet prepared to embrace what looks like public health pragmatism rather than strict adherence to evidence.

    Britain is the first country in the world to approve and use the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, just as it was first with Pfizer/BioNTech’s. In a further trailblazing decision, it is giving everyone a first shot of either of those vaccines, with the second shot delayed to 12 weeks afterwards instead of the three- or four-week interval in the trials.

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    How is the Oxford Covid vaccine being deployed in England?

    With jab to be administered to public for first time, we look at key questions about its rollout

    The biggest vaccination programme in the UK’s history will receive a major boost on Monday, with the first use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. We answer some key questions around how it will be deployed in England.

    Related: UK hospitals receive Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for Monday rollout

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    The Oxford Covid jab is delivered this week. But when will vaccines bring results?

    Fall or rise in coronavirus cases will not initially be a good measure of efficacy, say scientists devising ways to audit progress

    People in Britain are set to get their first shots of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, with millions of doses being given over the next few months. The mass vaccination of the UK’s population should bring an end to the country’s Covid-19 misery, but how long will it take for this immunisation programme to make a difference to our lives – and what will be the first signs that salvation is on the way?

    These key issues will be anxiously pursued as the battle against Covid proceeds and daily cases involving the new virus variant continue to spread. However, scientists have warned that simply waiting for a reduction in new cases it not the way to tell whether the vaccine is starting to have an impact.

    Related: Symptomless cases in schools could be key driver in spread of Covid-19

    Related: Why is Britain delaying second doses of Covid vaccines?

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    What difference will Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine make in UK?

    We look at how the introduction of a new vaccine in the fight against Covid will work

    The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is central to the government’s plans for ending social distancing in the UK and returning to some sort of normality. It has invested in seven different vaccines, but the biggest order is for 100m doses of the AstraZeneca jab, most of which will be manufactured in the UK. While the prime minister was jubilant that the UK was first in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, he is now able to claim a British triumph. More to the point is the ease of use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Unlike Pfizer’s, it does not have to be kept in the long term at -70C. Pfizer’s vaccine can be stored in a fridge for five days, but AstraZeneca’s can be kept for months at fridge temperature, which is 2-8C and will be easy to take to care homes to administer to residents, the first priority group for vaccination.

    Related: BioNTech criticises EU failure to order enough Covid vaccine

    Related: World leaders urged to make Covid vaccine available to millions of refugees

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    Change in vaccine policy is a high-stakes gamble | Letters

    The effectiveness of delaying the second dose of Covid vaccines must be carefully monitored, argues Dr Grizelda George, while Jan Mortimer and Jenny van Tinteren fear the move will increase distrust and uncertainty

    The manufacturer of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has said its efficacy has only been assessed for two doses given three weeks apart. Therefore the idea that a single dose will be protective beyond three weeks is speculative (Covid vaccine: chief medical officers defend rescheduling of second doses, 31 December). It would be truly tragic to vaccinate millions of recipients with the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine (at considerable effort and financial cost) with a twelve-week gap between doses if this doesn’t give them protection.

    It is worth noting that there is likely to be a correlation between the antibody response and protection from infection. Therefore volunteers who have already completed two doses could be asked to give a small sample of blood to check the level of neutralising antibodies present four weeks from the first dose. Recipients whose second dose has been postponed after 4 January could give a similar sample from 11 January onwards to check their levels at the four-week point. A relatively small number of volunteers (perhaps 20 or 30 in each group) might settle this.

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    Questions hang over UK’s rollout of Oxford/AstraZeneca jab

    Analysis: regulator surprises by approving 12-week gap between first and second shots of vaccine as well as Pfizer/BioNTech shot

    It’s a pragmatic solution to an incredibly urgent problem – how to immunise very large numbers of people at risk from a rampaging variant of Covid-19 in the shortest possible time. The answer that government advisers have come up with is to give them all – more than 20 million of them – a single shot of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine so that they have some protection and postpone the second dose to three months afterwards, when hopefully there will be plenty of vaccine available for boosters.

    Related: How well does the Oxford vaccine work? What we know so far

    Related: The vaccine miracle: how scientists waged the battle against Covid-19

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    Myovant Signs Agreement with Pfizer to Develop and Commercialize Relugolix in Oncology and Women’s Health

    Shots:

    • Myovant & Pfizer will jointly develop & commercialize ORGOVYX (relugolix) in advanced prostate cancer & if approved, relugolix combination tablet in women’s health in the US & Canada. Myovant will receive ~$4.2B including $650M upfront, $200M in regulatory milestones for FDA approvals for relugolix combination tablet in women’s health, and tiered sales milestones upon reaching certain thresholds up to $2.5 billion in net sales for prostate cancer and women’s health indications
    • Additionally, Pfizer will receive an exclusive option to commercialize relugolix in oncology outside the US and Canada, excluding certain Asian countries and if Pfizer exercises the option to commercialize relugolix in oncology, Myovant will receive $50M and is eligible to receive double-digit royalties.
    • Relugolix is a GnRH receptor antagonist that reduces testicular testosterone, a hormone known to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer, and ovarian estradiol. Relugolix (120mg) is FDA approved as ORGOVYX for adult patients with advanced prostate cancer

    Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: GlobeNewswire | Image: Myovant

    The post Myovant Signs Agreement with Pfizer to Develop and Commercialize Relugolix in Oncology and Women’s Health first appeared on PharmaShots.

    NHS doctors ‘scrabbling’ to get vaccine amid alarm at Covid variant

    Many medics ‘frustrated’ about low priority given to frontline staff at high risk of infection

    Frontline NHS staff have been denied the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, leaving doctors alarmed and “scrabbling” to get immunised.

    A new survey reveals that almost two-thirds of medics who responded to it have still not had the vaccine, half believe its delivery to the NHS frontline has been “ad hoc” and a third have no idea when they will be offered it. They fear the government’s decision to prioritise over-80s and care home staff above health workers has left them at risk of catching the disease, especially given the emergence of the coronavirus variant, which is 70% more transmissable.

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    UK scientists trial drug to prevent coronavirus infection leading to disease

    Exclusive: antibody therapy could confer instant immunity against Covid-19 to at-risk groups

    British scientists are trialling a new drug that could prevent someone who has been exposed to coronavirus from going on to develop the disease Covid-19, which experts say could save many lives.

    The antibody therapy would confer instant immunity against the disease and could be given as an emergency treatment to hospital inpatients and care home residents to help contain outbreaks.

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    Government ‘operated illegal buy British policy’ over Covid contracts

    Other firms better placed to supply antibody tests, argues case against health secretary Matt Hancock

    The government was operating an illegal “buy British” policy when it signed contracts with a small UK firm to supply Covid antibody tests, claim lawyers who have filed a case against the health secretary.

    The Good Law Project said there were a number of other companies in a better position to supply antibody tests in June and August, when the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) agreed deals worth up to £80m with Abingdon Health without going out to tender.

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    Belgian minister tweets EU’s Covid vaccine price list to anger of manufacturers

    Pharmaceutical companies complain of breach of confidentiality after amount EU has agreed to pay for leading vaccines goes public

    A Belgian minister has inadvertently blown the lid off a sensitive and commercial secret – the price that the EU has agreed to pay for the leading Covid vaccines.

    Belgium’s budget state ecretary, Eva De Bleeker, posted the price list on Twitter, with the amounts of each vaccine that her country intends to buy from the EU. The tweet was quickly deleted, but not soon enough to prevent interested parties taking screenshots, which have now made it public knowledge.

    Oxford/AstraZeneca: €1.78

    Johnson & Johnson: $8.50

    Sanofi/GSK: €7.56

    Pfizer/BioNTech: €12

    CureVac: €10

    Moderna: $18

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    Sandoz to Launch Hyrimoz (biosimilar, adalimumab) in Canada

    Shots:

    • Health Canada has authorized Hyrimoz on Nov 4, 2020 for marketing in Canada. Hyrimoz has been approved for use in all same indications as reference Humira, including rheumatology, gastroenterology and dermatology
    • A patient support program will be available to patients treated with Hyrimoz providing guidance with reimbursement navigation, financial assistance, administrative support & education for patients
    • Hyrimoz is a fully human TNF blocker. The notice of compliance has been issued for 3 SC dosage forms: 40 mg/0.8 mL & 20 mg/0.4mL in prefilled syringe, 40 mg/0.8 mL in autoinjector

    Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: GlobeNewswire | Image: PRNewswire

    The post Sandoz to Launch Hyrimoz (biosimilar, adalimumab) in Canada first appeared on PharmaShots.

    GSK/Sanofi Covid vaccine delayed until end of next year

    Trials reveal vaccine failed to produce a strong immune response in older people

    A coronavirus vaccine being developed by GlaxoSmithKline and its French partner, Sanofi, will be delayed until the end of next year after trials revealed it failed to produce a strong immune response in older people.

    The drug companies hoped to have regulatory approval for the candidate vaccine in the first half of 2021, but interim results from a phase 1/2 trial showed an “insufficient” response in the over-50s, the age group most vulnerable to severe Covid-19.

    Now that the UK has authorised the first Covid vaccine, who will get it first?

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    Can the UK deliver on the Covid vaccine rollout? | Stephen Buranyi

    The challenge of delivering vaccines on this scale are hard, but are firmly within the world of logistics, engineering, and politics

    The UK has become the first country to approve one of the coronavirus vaccines that the entire world has been desperately waiting for. And on Tuesday it delivered the first dose, to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan in Coventry. We should be very pleased about this. But, as with every other stage of the pandemic, the final stretch brings a new set of unprecedented challenges. The world is watching as the UK becomes the first test case of our collective ability to manufacture, ship, and deliver an entirely new class of vaccines, on a scale and speed that no previous vaccination drive in history has ever approached.

    The thing everyone knows about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is that it needs to be extremely cold. The mRNA that makes up the vaccine payload is the same stuff your cells use to send short-lived genetic instructions. It’s a messenger that isn’t supposed to stick around, as temporally fragile as a Snap on Snapchat. The vaccine is happiest at -70C, and after thawing can be kept at between 4C and -8C – the temperature of a regular fridge – for just five days before it degrades. Most logistics providers aren’t set up to ship at -70C, and while university labs and large hospitals generally have some -70C freezers, GP surgeries and smaller centres do not. The temperature for shipping and storage has been identified as one of the biggest challenges in getting this vaccine out.

    The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid jab is an mRNA vaccine. Essentially, mRNA is a molecule used by living cells to turn the gene sequences in DNA into the proteins that are the building blocks of all their fundamental structures. A segment of DNA gets copied (“transcribed”) into a piece of mRNA, which in turn gets “read” by the cell’s tools for synthesising proteins.

    Stephen Buranyi is a writer specialising in science and the environment

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    Hackers accessed vaccine documents in cyber-attack on EMA

    Papers relating to Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reportedly targeted in attack on European Medicines Agency

    German biotech firm BioNTech said on Wednesday that regulation documents related to the Covid-19 vaccine it has developed with Pfizer were “unlawfully accessed” after a cyber-attack on Europe’s medicines regulator.

    Earlier, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – which is responsible for assessing and approving vaccines for the European Union – said it had been targeted in a cyber-attack. It gave no further details.

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    Covid vaccine arrives in UK hospitals ready for first jabs

    Medical director warns of great hurdles in largest vaccination campaign in UK history

    Batches of the Covid vaccine have begun to arrive in hospitals around the UK, ready for the first jabs on Tuesday in what NHS England’s medical director warned would be the largest and most complex vaccination campaign in the country’s history.

    The UK’s record-breaking approval of the vaccine and the rapid start of immunisation against Covid-19 did not mean the end of the pandemic was in sight, said Prof Stephen Powis. It would be a marathon and not a sprint, he said.

    Related: How does the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine work and who will get it?

    Related: How vaccine approval compares between the UK, Europe and the US

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    Covid-19 vaccine ‘very safe and highly effective’, UK health chief says

    Vaccine safety message ‘vitally important’, head of medicines regulator tells Andrew Marr Show

    Public health messaging that people can have faith in the safety of coronavirus vaccines is “vitally important”, the leader of the body that has approved the Pfizer jab has said.

    Dr June Raine, the chief executive of the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said of the Pfizer treatment that there “should be no doubt whatever that this is a very safe and highly effective vaccine”.

    Related: The vaccine miracle: how scientists waged the battle against Covid-19

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    The vaccine miracle: how scientists waged the battle against Covid-19

    We trace the extraordinary research effort, from the discovery of the virus’s structure to the start of inoculations this week

    In the early afternoon of 3 January this year, a small metal box was delivered to the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre addressed to virus expert Prof Zhang Yongzhen. Inside, packed in dry ice, were swabs from a patient who was suffering from a novel, occasionally fatal respiratory illness that was sweeping the city of Wuhan. Exactly what was causing terrifying rises in case numbers, medical authorities wanted to know? And how was the disease being spread?

    Related: ‘I worked so hard in the lab. I cried when the news came’

    What Zhang did was critical … Without the information he provided no one could have started working on vaccines

    Related: Team behind Oxford Covid jab start final stage of malaria vaccine trials

    Related: NHS staff no longer at front of queue for Covid vaccine after rethink

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    Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 2 Receives Health Canada’s Approval for Adults and Children with Diabetes

    Shots:

    • Abbott’s next-generation, sensor-based glucose monitoring technology, FreeStyle Libre 2, received Health Canada’s approval for adults & children with diabetes
    • The system continuously measures glucose data every minute with customizable, optional real-time alarms to alert users when their glucose is high/low without scanning
    • The technology sustains performance for ~14days, providing trends, insights & actionable data on a reader or with the FreeStyle LibreLink mobile app. FreeStyle Libre 2 will be available for people with diabetes aged ≥4yrs. in Canada in the coming months

    Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: PRNewswire | Image: BioSpace

    The post Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 2 Receives Health Canada’s Approval for Adults and Children with Diabetes first appeared on PharmaShots.

    Zoloft enters list of 10 most commonly prescribed drugs in Australia

    Increase in women being diagnosed with depression partly behind rise in use

    An increase in women being diagnosed with depression is partly behind a significant rise in prescriptions of the antidepressant sertraline – sold under the brand name Zoloft – which is in the list of Australia’s most commonly prescribed drugs for the first time.

    On Tuesday Australian Prescriber published its annual list of the 10 most commonly taken drugs – based on standard daily doses for every 1,000 people in the population each day – along with a list of the 10 most costly drugs to government, and the 10 most common drugs by prescription counts.

    Related: Why mental health is the legacy-defining fight Scott Morrison can’t afford to lose | Katharine Murphy

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    Oxford controversy is the first shot in international battle over vaccine efficiency

    Trials will not reveal all the facts on prevention for each new drug – that process could last for years

    In a few days, researchers plan to solve a medical mystery that threatens to erupt into a major transatlantic battle. Scientists at Oxford University say they intend to publish full, peer-reviewed data, in the journal Lancet, about trials they have completed on their Covid-19 vaccine.

    The information, they say, should end mounting controversy about the vaccine’s effectiveness and explain apparent inconsistencies in trial results. Opponents, most of them American, say this is unlikely, and insist new phase 3 trials now need to be restarted from scratch to restore confidence in the vaccine.

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    Different age groups may get different Covid vaccines, experts say

    Oxford/AstraZeneca planning new trial of lower-dose jab to see how well it works in older people

    Concerns around the efficacy of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca coronavirus jab in older people could lead to different age groups being given different vaccines, experts have said.

    The partners announced last week that the vaccine had a 70% efficacy overall. For most trial participants – given two full doses, spaced a month apart – the efficacy was 62%, but for 3,000 participants mistakenly given half a dose for their first jab, the efficacy was 90%. No participants, regardless of dosing, developed severe Covid or were hospitalised with the disease.

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    BioNTech’s Covid vaccine is a triumph of innovation and immigration | Hans-Werner Sinn

    Pioneered by a Turkish-German couple, its significance exceeds its practical value

    The world took note when the German startup BioNTech announced its breakthrough in the development of a new type of vaccine to combat Covid-19. After testing tens of thousands of people, BioNTech’s vaccine has been shown to be 95% effective in providing protection for those who would otherwise have been infected. The company was the first to apply for emergency use authorisation for a coronavirus vaccine in the US and it has announced it will soon take similar steps in Europe.

    Antiviral vaccines are usually made with devitalised viral materials fabricated outside the body but BioNTech has pursued a new method of injecting genetically modified RNA into the patient. This prompts the patient’s cells to produce a characteristic protein of the relevant Sars-CoV-2 virus themselves, enabling the body’s immune system to build up an effective response before it encounters the real virus.

    Related: Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci: German ‘dream team’ behind vaccine

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    Will everyone in the world have access to a Covid vaccine? – video explainer

    The hunt for a coronavirus vaccine is showing promise but it is premature to say the end of the pandemic is nigh. Several rich countries have signed a ‘frenzy of deals’ that could prevent many poor nations from getting access to immunisation until at least 2024. Also, many drug firms are potentially refusing to waive patents and other intellectual property rights in order to secure exclusive rights to any cure.

    Michael Safi, the Guardian’s international correspondent, explains why ‘vaccine nationalisation’ could scupper global efforts to kill the virus and examines what is being done to tackle the issue

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    Here’s how to tackle the Covid-19 anti-vaxxers | Will Hanmer-Lloyd

    Do not demonise. To optimise the vaccine rollout, all of us must show respect to those who are unsure about inoculations

    • Will Hanmer-Lloyd is a behavioural strategist

    The Covid-19 vaccines, which are up to 95% effective, have the potential to save millions of lives in the UK and many more around the world.

    Yet creating the vaccines is just the first step. We now need to produce them as quickly as possible, work out the logistics of distribution and administration and – most importantly – ensure as many people as possible take them. And as the history of vaccines shows, that is not as easy as some might assume. You only have to look at the fall in uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine after it was falsely linked with autism.

    Related: Vaccine results bring us a step closer to ending Covid, says Oxford scientist

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

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    A vaccine revolution | podcast

    Results from clinical trials have shown that the world has three apparently highly effective vaccines for Covid-19. With the race now on for regulatory approval, production and distribution, is the end of the pandemic within reach?

    After a gruelling year of successive waves of Covid-19 infections and national lockdowns there has been a burst of good news this month, with three separate vaccine candidates performing extremely well in clinical trials.

    First, Pfizer and Moderna announced that their vaccines were testing at an efficacy of around 95%. Then came the news that the AstraZeneca vaccine (the one pre-ordered in bulk by the UK government) was hitting 90%. It marks not just a new phase in the Covid-19 pandemic but potentially a revolution in vaccine technology itself.

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    Vaccine results bring us a step closer to ending Covid, says Oxford scientist

    Latest breakthrough comes as PM says he hopes most at-risk could be immunised by Easter

    The world is moving a step closer to ending the coronavirus pandemic, the scientist behind Britain’s first vaccine has declared, as Boris Johnson said he hoped the majority of those most at-risk could be immunised by Easter.

    Successful trial results for the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, suggesting it could protect up to 90% of people, are the third set of promising findings in as many weeks. Before this year, there had never been a vaccine for a coronavirus.

    The UK government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has published a list of groups of people who will be prioritised to receive a vaccine for Covid-19. The list is:

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    Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine ‘likely first to be widely used in UK’

    Experts say Pfizer/BioNTech product faces more logistical challenges and obstacles

    The Oxford vaccine is likely to be the first Covid jab that large numbers of Britons receive, despite Pfizer’s candidate already being analysed by the medicines regulators, experts say.

    The fact that the Oxford vaccine can be kept in normal fridges, whereas Pfizer’s product has to be stored at -75C , may see it enter widespread usage ahead of the latter.

    The UK government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has published a list of groups of people who will be prioritised to receive a vaccine for Covid-19. The list is:

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    ‘It’s a great day’: Oxford coronavirus vaccine volunteers on trial data

    Trial participants react to news that Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has up to 90% efficacy

    Dan McAteer describes his reaction more as a sense of relief than elation when his phone pinged on Monday morning with a push alert reporting that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has up to 90% efficacy.

    Several months on from becoming one of thousands of volunteers in trials of the Covid-19 vaccine, the 23-year-old student is trying to comprehend the news that people could be vaccinated as early as next month

    Related: Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine: everything we know so far

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    Oxford AstraZeneca results open up Covid vaccine to developing countries

    Jab can be kept in fridge and is part of global initiative to distribute doses at limited cost

    The efficacy of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine opens the way for a cheap and more easily transportable vaccine to be made available to some of the world’s poorest countries.

    Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine is already a part of Covax, the global initiative which hopes to distribute some 2bn doses to 92 low- and middle-income countries at a maximum cost of $3 a dose.

    Related: Latest vaccine success is good news but high price may restrict access

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    Lilly’s Bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) Receives Health Canada’s Interim Authorization as a Treatment for COVID-19

    Shots:

    • The authorization is based on P-II BLAZE-1 study assessing the efficacy and safety of bamlanivimab (700/2800/7000 mg) alone or in combination with a second Ab vs PBO for the treatment of symptomatic COVID-19 in the outpatient setting
    • Results: reduction in viral load & rates of symptoms & hospitalization, frequency & types of AEs are similar
    • Health Canada authorized the therapy for the use of bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) as a treatment for adults & pediatric patients aged≥12yrs. with mild to mod. COVID-19 who weigh at least 40 kg & are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 illness or hospitalization

    Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: PRNewswire | Image: Microbioz India

    The post Lilly’s Bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) Receives Health Canada’s Interim Authorization as a Treatment for COVID-19 first appeared on PharmaShots.

    The Guardian view on coronavirus and vaccine scepticism: time to act | Editorial

    Plans for mass immunisation against Covid-19 are developing fast, but concerns must be addressed

    In the 1960s, academics studying rumours drew inspiration from epidemiology. They noted how such stories spread through communities, “infecting” some individuals while others seemed immune, and how more resistant populations could stop their spread.

    Their insights have in turn been taken up by health professionals. Hearsay can be useful, helping to catch disease outbreaks. It can also be deadly. Though vaccine hesitancy is as old as vaccines themselves, it has risen sharply in many countries in recent years. Unfounded scare stories about the safety of immunisation programmes have contributed to growing scepticism and outright refusal, with fatal consequences. In her new book Stuck: How Vaccine Rumours Start – and Why They Don’t Go Away, Prof Heidi Larson notes the paradox: we have better vaccine science, more safety regulations and processes than ever before, yet a doubting public.

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    Do mRNA vaccines for Covid signal a new era in disease prevention? | Adam Finn

    No one knew whether mRNA technology would work against this virus – but it does. It’s an extraordinary moment for science

    The past few months have brought a number of scientific terms to public attention. We’ve had to digest R (a virus’s reproduction number) and PCR (the polymerase chain reaction method of testing). And now there’s mRNA. This last one has featured heavily in recent news reports because of the spectacular results of two new mRNA vaccines against coronavirus. It stands for “messenger ribonucleic acid”, a label familiar enough if you studied biology at O-level or GCSE, but otherwise hardly a household name. Even in the field of vaccine research, if you had said as recently as 10 years ago that you could protect people from infections by injecting them with mRNA, you would have provoked some puzzled looks.

    Essentially, mRNA is a molecule used by living cells to turn the gene sequences in DNA into the proteins that are the building blocks of all their fundamental structures. A segment of DNA gets copied (“transcribed”) into a piece of mRNA, which in turn gets “read” by the cell’s tools for synthesising proteins. In the case of an mRNA vaccine, the virus’s mRNA is injected into the muscle, and our own cells then read it and synthesise the viral protein. The immune system reacts to these proteins – which can’t by themselves cause disease – just as if they’d been carried in on the whole virus. This generates a protective response that, we hope, lasts for some time. It’s so beautifully simple it almost seems like science fiction. But last week we learned that it was true.

    Related: What has to happen before a Covid vaccine can be used?

    Adam Finn is professor of paediatrics at the Bristol Children’s Vaccine Centre, University of Bristol

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    Trials to begin in UK for Covid antibody cocktail drug treatment

    Scientists say jab could be used to protect those who cannot be given vaccines

    Major trials will begin this weekend of an antibody cocktail that scientists hope will protect people against Covid-19 and could be swiftly used in care homes or on cruise ships in the event of an outbreak.

    A UK volunteer will be given the first dose of a drug that is expected to give vulnerable people immediate protection. The jab into the muscle of the arm takes effect straight away and could last for six months to a year. If it works as well as scientists predict, it could be used to protect those who cannot be given vaccines because of their state of health.

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    UK faces calls to drop opposition to patent-free Covid vaccines

    Request will be made at WTO meeting in order to allow mass production of treatments

    The UK will be asked to reconsider its opposition to waiving intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments at a World Trade Organization meeting on Friday, a move that would allow mass production of treatments and inoculations against the disease and could significantly shorten the length of the pandemic, campaigners say.

    India and South Africa have proposed that WTO member states be allowed to waive patents and other intellectual property (IP) rights on any treatments and tools related to Covid-19 until the end of the pandemic, including for the Moderna and Pfizer/BionNTech vaccines that are expected to be approved for use in the coming weeks.

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

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    Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine has 95% efficacy and is safe, further analysis shows

    Among first 170 Covid cases in trial, eight had received vaccine and 162 were in placebo group

    The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 performs even better than previously thought, with 95% efficacy, equalling the early results from Moderna on Monday, according to an analysis of the final data from their trials, which paves the way for regulators to grant an emergency licence and vaccination campaigns to begin.

    The news will excite scientists, public health experts and politicians. Pfizer/BioNTech say they also have the necessary safety data that regulatory bodies require, and will submit the vaccine for emergency approval within days to the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulators around the world.

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    Moderna vaccine’s effectiveness bodes well for Oxford/AstraZeneca jab

    Phase 3 success rate of 95% for US firm’s treatment is promising for UK vaccine trial

    Hopes are rising for the Covid jab being developed by Oxford University, after Moderna became the second company to reveal impressive results from its vaccine trials.

    Interim results from phase 3 clinical trials of the Covid vaccine from US company Moderna has revealed it to be almost 95% effective at preventing the disease. The news followed an announcement last week from Germany-based Pfizer and BioNTech that their vaccine was more than 90% effective.

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    UK in ‘advanced discussions’ to buy Moderna Covid vaccine

    Britain decided not to buy US vaccine and earliest it could be supplied to UK is spring 2021

    The UK has not acquired the Moderna vaccine but is in “advanced discussions” to ensure British access, officials have said, while cautioning that no one in the UK would be able to be given it until spring next year.

    A government spokesman said the company was scaling up its European supply chain but that it would be around four to six months before the vaccine might be available in the UK, a far longer timeframe than the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine, which the chief scientific officer has said could be available by Christmas.

    100m doses of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

    40m doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, reported last week to have 90% effectiveness

    60m doses of Novavax vaccine

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    It’s the ‘vaccine hesitant’, not anti-vaxxers, who are troubling public health experts | Gaby Hinsliff

    To make vaccination work, we must reach out to the naturally cautious – a bigger proportion than you might assume

    Lydia Guthrie is not very daring by nature. A psychotherapist and mother of two from Oxford, she couldn’t be persuaded into bungee jumping for all the money in the world, and even shudders at skiing. “I’m very risk averse and a bit of a coward. I can’t even watch horror films.” Yet nonetheless, earlier this year she volunteered to be injected with an experimental Covid-19 vaccine as part of a clinical trial in the city, a partnership between the university, the NHS and drug company AstraZeneca.

    Like all the guinea pigs, she doesn’t yet know if she got the real thing or the meningitis vaccine used as a dummy. She had a headache afterwards and felt exhausted for a couple of days, but has never regretted taking part. She trusts the university’s ethics panel, having encountered it through her own degree research, and was also swayed by gratitude towards the city’s John Radcliffe hospital, where she had her own children. “If it hadn’t been for the NHS we might all have died. I feel I owe them.”

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    BioNTech vaccine scientist says jab could halve Covid transmission

    Uğur Şahin ‘very confident’ vaccine candidate developed with Pfizer will cause big reduction in cases

    The scientist behind the first potential Covid-19 vaccine to clear interim clinical trials says he is “very confident” the jab will reduce transmission of the disease, perhaps by 50%, resulting in a “dramatic” reduction in cases.

    The German company BioNTech and the American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer announced to worldwide acclaim last week that their jointly developed vaccine candidate had proved 90% effective in stopping people from falling ill.

    The UK government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has published a list of groups of people who will be prioritised to receive a vaccine for Covid-19. The list is:

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    Vaccination hesitancy is about lack of trust. Compulsion is not the answer | Kenan Malik

    Better to build social solidarity than to dismiss reluctance to be immunised as ignorance

    “If a strain as deadly as the 1918 influenza emerges and people’s hesitancy to get vaccinated remains at the level it is today, a debilitating and fatal disease will spread.” So wrote Heidi Larson in 2018. Larson is director of the London-based Vaccine Confidence Project and probably the most knowledgeable person on the question of “vaccine hesitancy” – the unwillingness of some to get vaccinated.

    Two years after Larson wrote those words, we do have a pandemic that so far has taken more than a million lives, including at least 50,000 in the UK. We also have the possibility of a vaccine, the first of a number that could transform the Covid-19 landscape. Whether they do depends not just on how effective they are, but also on the willingness of people to be vaccinated. In the US, just half the population seems so inclined. In Britain, the figure is higher – about 70% – but still probably insufficient to generate herd immunity.

    The UK government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has published a list of groups of people who will be prioritised to receive a vaccine for Covid-19. The list is:

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    Scientist behind BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine says it can end pandemic

    Exclusive: BioNTech’s CEO Uğur Şahin says he is confident vaccine can ‘bash the virus over the head’

    The scientist behind the first Covid-19 vaccine to clear interim clinical trials says he is confident his product can “bash the virus over the head” and put an end to the pandemic that has held the world hostage in 2020.

    The German company BioNTech and the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced via a press release on Monday that their jointly developed vaccine candidate had outperformed expectations in the crucial phase 3 trials, proving 90% effective in stopping people from falling ill.

    Related: 6 key questions about the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

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    The Covid vaccine will benefit humanity – we should all own the patent | Owen Jones

    The pharmaceutical industry has long made exorbitant profits by free-riding on research carried out by the public sector

    Hooray for Pfizer! As news of a vaccine potentially offering 90% protection against Covid-19 offers a life raft for lockdown-weary humanity, perhaps those home-drawn posters on people’s windows thanking the NHS will soon be applauding big pharma instead.

    The hope of a successful vaccine to liberate us from protracted economic misery should be embraced – but we should be sparing with the bunting for the pharmaceutical industry. If you want a particularly egregious case study of “socialism for the rich”, or of private businesses dependent on public sector research and innovation to make colossal profits, look no further than big pharma.

    Related: The race to find a coronavirus treatment has one major obstacle: big pharma | Ara Darzi

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    Why a Covid vaccine doesn’t mean the end of face masks yet | David Salisbury

    Despite the Pfizer breakthrough, social distancing and remote working won’t disappear overnight

    The news this week that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine protected more than 90% of recipients is of huge importance. The vaccine efficacy is higher than we had hoped for.

    There appear to be no safety concerns, although the final safety data along with other data on manufacturing and the full efficacy results will need to be submitted to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to review whether it’s safe enough to grant temporary authorisation. This would allow the vaccine to be rolled out before a full product licence is issued.

    Related: Speed trumps efficacy in UK’s Covid vaccine rollouts, says adviser

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    The Guardian view on the Covid vaccine breakthrough: making it work | Editorial

    At last, there is hope of an end to this pandemic. Scientists appear to have performed an amazing feat, the rest of us must do our best too

    Medicine is only partly a matter of science; it is, very much, the business of people. The inspiring news that a Covid vaccine appears within reach, with interim results showing the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate has 90% efficacy in protecting people from illness, reflects the extraordinary efforts of scientists this year. The speed with which this one has been developed – with others close behind – is remarkable. Detailed data has yet to be published, and much remains unknown, including how long individuals may be protected, whether it prevents infection and how effective it will be for older people, who are most vulnerable to Covid-19. There are still no guarantees it will be used, though manufacturing has begun. Nonetheless, this is a potentially transformative moment.

    Now it is up to the rest of us to do our part. If this vaccine becomes available from the end of the year, as now looks likely, and others soon follow, the deployment will matter as much as its discovery. As one scientist has noted: “Vaccines don’t save lives. Vaccinations save lives.” Pfizer and BioNTech hope to make 50m doses available this year, but each patient requires two doses, and with the US, EU, UK and others all having placed advance orders, each country will get a tiny fraction of those it ultimately needs. Even if production of this vaccine is scaled up as planned, others will still be needed. The UK has a clear plan for who will be protected first, beginning with the oldest in society and those who care for them and thus might transmit the virus to them. Professor John Bell told MPs that there is a 70%-80% chance of having the most vulnerable covered by Easter if authorities “don’t screw up the distribution”. Mass inoculation will be a challenge; NHS England is planning seven-day services.

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    Cautious optimism over Covid-19 vaccine trials | Letters

    Readers respond to news that an interim analysis has shown Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine candidate was 90% effective in protecting people from transmission of the virus in global trials

    The media have been awash with stories about the apparent success of the Pfizer Covid vaccine following the publication of preliminary trial outcomes (Hopes rise for end of pandemic as Pfizer says vaccine is 90% effective, 10 November). I am not surprised that the public has latched on to these, as hope and positivity have been in short supply this past year. I have even had patients contacting me about when the vaccine will be available, stating that it will allow “normal” life to resume.

    While the public can be forgiven for overoptimism, it is important that the medical profession, the media and the government keep expectations grounded and do not encourage the notion that we now have a panacea that will take us out of the pandemic.

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    6 key questions about the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

    There are grounds for optimism but also several unknowns around this coronavirus vaccine

    Hopes that the end of the coronavirus pandemic has become nearer have soared after the news that a coronavirus vaccine was found to be 90% effective in global trials.

    Although there is definite reason to be optimistic, experts have cautioned that the data from the trials conducted by Pfizer and BioNTech are not final, and there remain plenty of unknowns.

    Related: Covid vaccine could be ready for rollout next month, says Hancock

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    What does the Pfizer Covid vaccine breakthrough mean for Australia?

    Interim results show vaccine to be 90% effective, but findings have not been peer-reviewed, Australia has only secured enough for five million people, and there are concerns around its storage temperature

    • Pfizer says vaccine is 90% effective
    What has Pfizer’s vaccine trial found?
    Vaccine announcement is cause for cautious celebration

    News that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and partner company BioNTech have developed a vaccine that proved 90% effective in protecting people from Covid-19 in global trials has been heralded a “breakthrough”. Pfizer chief executive, Dr Albert Bourla, described the results as “a great day for science and humanity”.

    But what do the findings mean for Australia, and for the other Covid-19 vaccines being researched?

    Related: Hopes rise for end of pandemic as Pfizer says vaccine is 90% effective

    Related: The race for a Covid vaccine: inside the Australian lab working round the clock to produce 100m doses

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    Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine announcement is cause for cautious celebration

    Interim trial results are encouraging as scientists welcome news

    It is not yet the end of the pandemic, but the announcement by Pfizer/BioNTech that their vaccine has been 90% successful in the vital large-scale trials has got even the soberest of scientists excited.

    These are interim results and the trial will continue into December to collect more data. The two companies – a tiny German biotech with the big idea and the giant pharma company Pfizer with the means to develop it – have not yet published their detailed data, so it is all on trust. And yet, nobody is suggesting the results have been over-egged. It looks as though the vaccine not only works, but works better than anyone hoped.

    Related: Covid-19 vaccine candidate is 90% effective, says Pfizer

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    What has Pfizer’s Covid vaccine trial found and is this a breakthrough?

    Early results from phase 3 trial look promising but there are still many questions to be answered

    Pfizer and the German biotech company Biontech said on Monday that they had had encouraging early results from a phase 3 clinical trial of their coronavirus vaccine. The trial is assessing how well the vaccine works in preventing humans from becoming infected. Although details are scant, the news is positive.

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

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    Oxford Covid vaccine works in all ages, trials suggest

    Vaccine being trialled by Oxford University and AstraZeneca offers hope for all age groups

    One of the world’s leading Covid-19 experimental vaccines produces an immune response in both older and young adults, raising hopes of a path out of the gloom and economic destruction wrought by the novel coronavirus.

    The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, also triggers lower adverse responses among elderly people, said the British drug maker AstraZeneca, which is helping to manufacture the vaccine, on Monday.

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

    Related: At 75, I’ve volunteered for a Covid vaccine trial. It could set people free

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    Novartis’s Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec) Receives Health Canada Approval as the First Gene Replacement Therapy for Inherited Retinal Disease

    Shots:

    • Health Canada has approved Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec) as a one-time gene therapy for the treatment of adult & pediatric patients with vision loss due to inherited retinal dystrophy caused by confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutations and who have sufficient viable retinal cells
    • Luxturna is designed to provide functioning copies of the RPE65 gene to act in place of mutated RPE65 genes. The functioning genes work to restore vision and improve sight, giving patients the potential for greater independence
    • Novartis has entered a partnership with Blueprint Genetics to facilitate the genetic testing where appropriate to validate the diagnosis

    Click here ­to­ read full press release/ article | Ref: Newswire Canada | Image: Technologies

    The post Novartis’s Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec) Receives Health Canada Approval as the First Gene Replacement Therapy for Inherited Retinal Disease first appeared on PharmaShots.

    NHS coronavirus tests threatened by Roche supply chain glitch

    Pharmaceutical firm reports ‘significant drop in processing capacity’ of reagents, kits and swabs

    Concerns have been raised over the supply of vital testing materials for a range of conditions, including Covid-19, following a supply chain problem with the pharmaceutical company Roche.

    On Tuesday, Roche said it had experienced a “very significant drop” in its processing capacity due to a problem with its Sussex distribution centre, the only one in the UK. It has been reported that the shortage includes vital reagents, screening kits and swabs.

    Related: UK government ‘thwarting independent labs’ efforts to step up Covid-19 testing’

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    Trump’s steroid Covid treatment adds to confusion over health

    Dexamethasone ‘normally reserved for people going into respiratory failure’, says expert

    The latest intervention from Donald Trump’s medical team has been to put the president on dexamethasone, a steroid that is proven, thanks to the UK’s Recovery trial, to benefit Covid-19 patients who are having breathing difficulties.

    But the decision to administer the steroid now has only added to the confusion surrounding the president’s state of health. Normally, dexamethasone is reserved for patients who have been ill for at least a week and whose oxygen levels are low.

    Related: Trump doctors say he had two oxygen dips but is ‘improving’ and may return to White House tomorrow – live

    Related: Trump and Covid: what we now know about the week he caught the virus

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    UK doing more than most to help poor get Covid vaccine, study finds

    Campaign scoring countries for global access efforts calls for more British transparency

    The UK is doing more than most countries to support access to Covid vaccines for the poorest populations in the world, but it is not transparent enough about the deals it is doing at home, according to an international aid organisation launching a tracker.

    The One campaign has given countries and pharmaceutical companies scores for the efforts they have made to ensure the poorest get vaccines. In the vaccine access test no country or company scores green, the top rating, classed as aiding global access to vaccines.

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    Thalidomide survivors mourn Harold Evans, their hero and friend

    Former Sunday Times editor’s genius and empathy will be missed, say campaigners

    At 5.39am on Thursday morning Guy Tweedy, a thalidomide survivor, campaigner and friend of Harold Evans, received an email from Tina Brown and Georgie and Izzy, the couple’s two children.

    Related: Sir Harold Evans – a life in pictures

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    Pharmacies in England pause online flu jab bookings as demand soars

    Boots, LloydsPharmacy and Well Pharmacy report unprecedented take-up and many chemists run out of stock

    Pharmacies across England are struggling to keep up with the demand for the flu vaccine, pausing online bookings and limiting it to those most in need.

    The country’s three largest pharmacy chains – Boots, LloydsPharmacy and Well Pharmacy – have all reported unprecedented demand after a government vaccination campaign to reduce the pressure on the NHS during a second wave of Covid-19.

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    Australia’s drug regulator TGA approves Covid tests that deliver results in 15 minutes

    Healthcare workers and health departments will be among the first to use the rapid antigen tests

    Australia’s drugs regulator has approved four rapid antigen Covid-19 tests for distribution throughout the country with health workers and departments among the first to use the tests than can deliver results in 15 minutes.

    The Australian pathology and pharmaceutical companies approved to import and distribute the tests are required to provide the Therapeutic Goods Administration with data about the efficacy of the tests over time. Supply of the tests will be limited to accredited laboratories, medical practitioners, healthcare professionals in residential or aged care facilities, and to government health departments.

    Related: NSW lifts more Covid restrictions as border reopens with South Australia

    Related: Covid map Australia: tracking new cases, coronavirus stats and live data by state

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    From the archives: How Boots went rogue – podcast

    We are raiding the Audio Long Reads archives and bringing you some classic pieces from years past, with new introductions from the authors.

    This week’s article: Britain’s biggest pharmacy used to be a family business, dedicated to serving society. Now, many of the company’s own staff believe that its relentless drive for profit is putting the public at risk. By Aditya Chakrabortty

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    Medical cannabis companies cleared for London stock market

    Regulator agrees to float of UK firms but recreational suppliers still banned

    Medicinal cannabis companies have been cleared by the UK’s financial regulator to float on the London Stock Exchange but firms that sell marijuana to recreational users will still be banned.

    The Financial Conduct Authority said businesses that grow and sell recreational cannabis, even in countries such as Canada where it is legal, cannot list in London because of the Proceeds of Crime Act. Income from the sale of cannabis and cannabis oil outside the UK could constitute “criminal property” under the act, because it covers conduct abroad that would constitute a crime if it happened in the UK.

    Related: Cannabis capitalism: who is making money in the marijuana industry?

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    Beware of big pharma in rush for Covid-19 vaccine | Letter

    Heidi Chow on why the pharmaceutical industry must not be left in the driving seat to supply an effective Covid-19 vaccine

    The biggest gamble that governments are taking is not on specific vaccine candidates, but on the pharmaceutical industry itself (The Covid-19 vaccine gamble: where bets have been placed and why, 11 September). The pharmaceutical industry has long been criticised for defending intellectual property rights and profiteering. For decades, countless patients the world over have been denied access to life-saving treatments and vaccines because of high prices propped up by patent monopolies.

    Once an effective vaccine is discovered, we will need open sharing of the technological process so that as many suppliers as possible can make it, to ensure an adequate supply across the world. This is not a time for monopolies. While governments leave big pharma in the driving seat, there will be vaccine scarcity and the global race to hoard vaccines will deplete global stocks, leaving very little – if any – for the WHO to supply to poorer countries. This is not just morally wrong, it is also counterproductive, because we will only be safe if everyone is safe.
    Heidi Chow
    Global Justice Now

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    Oxford University resumes Covid-19 vaccine trials

    Trials of vaccine being developed with AstraZeneca had been paused after participant fell ill

    The closely watched trial of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine that was halted after a participant fell ill is to resume in the UK.

    The University of Oxford, which has partnered with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to pilot the study, said that the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had recommended that its trials resume after an independent committee review of safety data triggered a pause last week.

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

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    Show more empathy to boost confidence in vaccines, scientists told

    Expert behind vaccine confidence report points to halting of Oxford Covid trial as example

    Doctors and scientists need to show more empathy towards volunteers in coronavirus vaccine trials who fall ill if the public is to have full confidence in the safety of the vaccines being developed, say experts.

    The temporary halting of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca trial after one volunteer in the UK was admitted to hospital was good news, not bad, said Heidi Larson, who leads the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as it showed that scientists and the company were putting safety first.

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    Oxford Covid-19 vaccine is still possible this year, says AstraZeneca chief

    Pharmaceutical firm’s boss says 2020 deadline possible if regulators move fast

    AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine could still be available by the end of the year, or early next year, according to the company’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, despite clinical trials being paused after a volunteer fell ill.

    AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which are jointly developing the vaccine and testing it on 50,000 to 60,000 people around the world, halted trials on Wednesday to investigate the “potentially unexpected illness” of one participant.

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

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    Oxford Covid vaccine trial suspension: what happens next?

    Tests have been paused after a UK volunteer became ill. How will it affect the search for a cure?

    One of the volunteers in the UK has become ill and it is crucial that the researchers find out whether this could be related to the vaccine. This is not uncommon in vaccine trials – and in fact it is said to be the second time it has happened with this vaccine . Very large trials are essential to pick up any rare side-effects. Something that affects one in 10,000 people, for instance, will probably not be detected in the early trials of just a few thousand.

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    The Oxford University AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine trial has been paused – should we be worried?

    Is this the end for hopes of an early breakthrough in the race to find a coronavirus drug?

    The halt in development of the University of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine due to a possible adverse reaction in a trial participant has triggered fears of a delay in finding a solution to coronavirus restrictions.

    A spokesman for AstraZeneca, the company working with the academic team to produce the vaccine, said the voluntary pause is “routine”.

    Related: Oxford University Covid vaccine trial put on hold due to adverse reaction in participant

    Related: Why are Australian church leaders opposing the Oxford coronavirus vaccine?

    Related: Covid-19: ‘possible’ Oxford vaccine data will be put before regulators this year

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    Oxford University Covid vaccine trial put on hold due to possible adverse reaction in participant

    A spokesman for AstraZeneca, the company working on the coronavirus vaccine, said pausing trials was common during vaccine development

    The development of a promising Covid-19 vaccine has been put on hold due to a possible adverse reaction in a trial participant.

    A spokesman for AstraZeneca, the company working with a team from Oxford University, told the Guardian the trial has been stopped to review the “potentially unexplained illness” in one of the participants.

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

    Related: Let’s get real. No vaccine will work as if by magic, returning us to ‘normal’ | Jeremy Farrar

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    GSK and Sanofi to start human trials of potential Covid-19 vaccine

    World’s largest vaccine makers to begin testing on people in US with eye on rollout in early 2021

    GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi are to start testing their protein-based Covid-19 vaccine on humans for the first time, following promising results in earlier studies.

    GSK, the world’s largest vaccine maker, and the French drugmaker Sanofi joined forces in April to work on an effective treatment to halt the devastating pandemic.

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    Social Detriments of Health Goes Beyond Just Healthcare

    Health care or medical care is very important for health, but it can’t be the only criteria for determining health. In 1948, the WHO defined Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The definition is relevant however it didn’t address various factors that affect the health outcomes. 

    The WHO further clarifies the definition of health as “A resource for everyday life, not the objective of living. Health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities.”

    Today the health of a community or a country is accessed by considering many factors, these factors can be grouped into five categories called as determinants of health, which includes genetics, behavior, environmental and physical influences, medical care and social factors. All these factors have a direct impact on the health of individuals. The impact of these factors can be evaluated on health by comparing various health indicators.

    The social factor also called as the social determinants of health comprises a wide range of economic and social conditions prevailing in the society and country that affects the health of people and the communities. The factors considered under Social determinants of health (SDOH) include education, employment, economic policies, status and opportunities, physical environment, social status, social support policies, political systems, and many others. SDOH are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. 

    SDOH accesses the living conditions that help in preventing morbidity and mortality, improving health, reducing the inequalities in health outcomes, and providing better health services. Overall it focuses on  the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the community or country. 

    Some of the social and physical factors associated with the health outcomes includes: 

    • Education
    • Health care services 
    • Healthy transport systems
    • Food security
    • Public Safety
    • Access to technologies and other means of communication
    • Employment opportunity and fair working conditions
    • Social status and support policies
    • Environmental Conditions such as good air quality, fresh water etc.
    • And many others.

    Why is SDOH important?

    Social determinants of health is one of the important factors in health as it aims at achieving health equity.  “Health equity” (equity in health)‘ provides fair opportunity to attain full health potential and avoids any unfair, or remediable differences among groups of people based on their social, economical, and geographical differences. Social determinants rule out the chance of health disparities. 

    If the people are provided with access to essential socioeconomic opportunities such as food security, toxin-free environments, better employment & education opportunity etc, it automatically improves their health conditions and reduces the chance of getting expensive medical services in future. The SDOH acts as an improved health equity as it focuses on all levels of governance from local to national level. SDOH builds the foundation for a social, emotional and cultural wellbeing society.

    Global Plan of Action on Social Determinants of Health

    At the global level WHO along with local governments, civil society, academia, donors and the private sector is working to address the Social Determinants of Health. In 2012, Canada and other United Nations (UN) Member States endorsed the “Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health” (called as Rio Declaration). 

    The Rio Declaration is a non-binding pledge which calls on World Health Organization (WHO) Member States to improve/influence the working and living conditions that affect health and well-being. The Declaration focuses on five priority areas which aims to address the health inequities, the priority in the Declaration includes:

    • Adopt improved governance for health and development
    • Promote participation in policy-making and implementation
    • Further reorient the health sector towards promoting health and reducing health inequities
    • Strengthen global governance and collaboration
    • Monitor progress and increase accountability

    The SDOH addresses the social and economic conditions and it has the potential to further provide better health for all. However there is a need for research in the SDOH as the considered factors vary from one country to another. A country-specific conditions and design are needed in order to reduce the health disparities. Today governments worldwide, healthcare leaders, and organisations are focusing on the social determinants of health to reduce health inequality. Similarly, in the coming years technology is expected to play a key role in accessing and delivering essential services to a large population in the developing world.

    The post Social Detriments of Health Goes Beyond Just Healthcare appeared first on DelveInsight Business Research.

    Six of the most promising treatments for Covid-19 so far

    While a cure-all drug or therapy is a long way off, there have been some breakthroughs

    Many different drugs and therapies are being trialled and used on patients with Covid-19. There are some positive results, which may be beginning to bring the hospital death toll down, but there is still a long way to go towards something that will cure all comers. These are some of the most promising.

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    Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine firm denies Trump talks

    AstraZeneca says it has not discussed ‘emergency use authorisation’ with the US

    The company manufacturing the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine has denied it is in talks with the Trump administration about fast-tracking its vaccine for emergency use ahead of November’s presidential elections.

    With both Russia and China pressing ahead with inoculations involving experimental vaccines yet to pass final efficacy and safety trials, the Trump administration has become increasingly frustrated with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which the president has tried to suggest is slowing approval of a vaccine for “political reasons”.

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will we have a coronavirus vaccine?

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    Here’s everything you need to know about the potential Oxford University Covid vaccine

    The vaccine is designed to mimic the coronavirus and train the immune system to react if a person is later infected

    The vaccine developed and tested by a team at Oxford University is one of the most promising of the many candidates being developed around the world to protect against Covid-19. Australia has now signed a letter of intent with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to supply Australians with the vaccine if it clears safety and effectiveness trials, with the prime minister now saying it won’t be compulsory but will be encouraged.

    Here’s what you need to know about the vaccine.

    Related: Covid vaccine tracker: when will we have a coronavirus vaccine?

    Related: Global report: WHO warns against dangers of ‘vaccine nationalism’

    A Phase II/III trial aims to enrol up to 10,560 adults and children across the UK.

    A Phase III trial in the US is looking for 30,000 participants.

    Brazil started a Phase III trial of the vaccine in June, which will enrol 5,000 volunteers.

    A team in South Africa is looking to enrol 2,000 people to trial the vaccine.

    Related: Will a vaccine or recovery from the virus give us long-term immunity to Covid-19?

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    Honey better treatment for coughs and colds than antibiotics, study claims

    Research suggests honey also more effective than many over-the-counter medicines

    Honey may be better than conventional treatments for coughs, blocked noses and sore throats, researchers have said. The substance is cheap, readily available, and has virtually no side-effects.

    Doctors can recommend it as a suitable alternative to antibiotics, which are often prescribed for such infections, even though they are not effective, scientists from the University of Oxford said.

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    ‘Vaccine nationalism’ stands in the way of an end to the Covid-19 crisis | Stephen Buranyi

    Russia is not the only country pursuing domestic politics over global cooperation in the fight against coronavirus

    We’re all waiting for a coronavirus vaccine, but when Russia announced earlier this week that it would be the first country to approve one, nobody rejoiced. Scientists pointed out clinical testing wasn’t complete, the vaccine had been tested on fewer than 100 people. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he had “serious doubts” it would work. It was a transparent and potentially dangerous PR stunt. “It’s ridiculous,” the head of Russia’s Association of Clinical Research Organizations told the magazine Science, “I feel only shame for our country”.

    The mysterious vaccine may turn out not to be dangerous. The technology is similar to several approved vaccines, and Russia has said its release will be limited to healthcare workers and other at-risk populations until further trials are completed. China similarly approved an in-trial vaccine for military use with essentially no fanfare. But it’s unlikely to work – most vaccines don’t. The point for Russia appears to be to pass off a limited-release in-trial vaccine as completed in order to score a little nationalistic dopamine hit. (The project is even named Sputnik V, suggesting it is a successor to the Soviet rockets that bested the US in the space race.)

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    UK agrees deals for 90m doses of two potential coronavirus vaccines

    Government secures early access to those being developed by Novavax and Janssen

    The UK government has reached agreements it says will give British citizens early access to 90m doses of two more potential Covid-19 vaccines.

    The vaccines are being developed by the US biotech company Novavax and the pharmaceutical business Janssen, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson and has its headquarters in Belgium.

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    Australia experiencing critical shortage of antidepressants, contraceptives and HRT

    Reasons for shortages are often unclear and substitutes, which are not subsidised by PBS, are prohibitively expensive

    Australia is experiencing a critical shortage of key drugs including antidepressants, contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies, a situation that experts say highlights systemic problems with medicine supply in the country.

    Most of the shortages appear unrelated to coronavirus disruptions, although in the case of the popular antidepressant Prozac, the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, cites “unexpected increase in demand” during the crisis. Other manufacturers refuse to detail reasons for the supply problems.

    Related: Australian drugmakers hit by critical shortages at height of pandemic, inquiry hears

    Related: Many doctors have colleagues they wouldn’t want to treat their own family | Ranjana Srivastava

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    UK warns drug firms to stockpile in case of Brexit disruption

    Companies should ensure six weeks’ worth of drugs for end of transition period, DHSC says

    Pharmaceutical companies should stockpile six weeks’ worth of drugs to guard against disruption at the end of the Brexit transition period, the government has said.

    The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has written to medicine suppliers advising them to make boosting their reserves a priority.

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    UK government orders halt to Randox Covid-19 tests over safety issues

    Care homes and members of public told to immediately stop using firm’s kits

    The UK government has instructed care homes and members of the public to immediately stop using coronavirus testing kits produced by a healthcare firm after safety problems were discovered.

    Randox was awarded a £133m contract in March to produce the testing kits for England, Wales and Northern Ireland without any other firms being given the opportunity to bid for the work.

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    The Guardian view on a women’s health scandal: under the skin | Editorial

    An official review of vaginal mesh and medicines in pregnancy reveals systemic weaknesses, and sexism too

    Greater openness about women’s bodies was one of the big themes of postwar feminism. Access to contraception and the right to terminate a pregnancy were crucial stepping stones on a path to liberation from a social order that for centuries constrained women. The right to choose whether to have children is now well established, along with access to education, employment and equal pay (although gender pay and pension gaps remain). But sexism has not gone away. Among the findings of the Independent Medical Devices and Medicines Safety Review set up to investigate vaginal mesh implants is that the UK’s health system has a habit of ignoring women.

    One patient likened the search for a doctor who would take seriously her concerns about the implants, which were widely used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence until 2018, to “traipsing through treacle”. A former doctor referred to an “unconscious negative bias” towards middle-aged women in chronic pain. The report described a culture in which “anything and everything” women said about their discomfort was put down to the menopause.

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    Pelvic mesh scandal is what happens when men with power ignore women | Richard Vize

    Cumberlege report is a damning reminder of how arrogant, intimidating doctors have suppressed their patients’ views

    Julia Cumberlege’s report into avoidable harm inflicted by the healthcare system exposes an institutional inability to listen to patients in general and women in particular.

    Her investigation into decades of failure batters the reputation of the NHS, professional bodies, regulators, manufacturers, private providers and policymakers.

    Related: ‘It took years to get diagnosed’: the women who were not listened to

    Related: The pelvic mesh scandal makes it clear: doctors must declare any funding | Margaret McCartney

    Related: Sign up for Society Weekly: our newsletter for public service professionals

    In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email [email protected] or [email protected]. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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    The pelvic mesh scandal makes it clear: doctors must declare any funding | Margaret McCartney

    We need a public register to show if healthcare professionals are in the pay of industry – or more patients will suffer

    It was never “just women’s problems”. After decades of having their suffering dismissed, many patients will have been relieved about the publication of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review yesterday. Led by Julia Cumberlege, the review has spent two years investigating three medical interventions: pelvic mesh, used in prolapse surgery, which resulted in chronic, life-changing pain for many women; Primodos, a hormonal pregnancy test, used up until 1978; and sodium valproate, an epilepsy treatment. The latter two have both been linked with birth defects.

    Related: Denial of women’s concerns contributed to decades of medical scandals, says inquiry

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    Thanks to a new drug for cystic fibrosis, I can plan a future I thought I’d never have | Isabelle Jani-Friend

    With the NHS deal on Kaftrio, I’m likely to live longer. This is why swift access to novel treatments is so important

    It’s been 15 weeks since I went into isolation to shield from Covid-19 – having cystic fibrosis (CF) put me in the high-risk category. I had expected this year to be a write-off but, after a devastating four months, 2020 may finally be looking up.

    While the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures has provided relief for many, there has been more specific, and life-changing, recent news for CF patients: soon we will be able to get our hands on the drug Kaftrio under the NHS. Now for the first time in my life, I can plan a future I never expected to have. Regular hospital admissions and hours of unbearable pain may no longer be my reality, and growing old is something I may actually get to experience.

    I always thought I would have to suffer from disease for the rest of my life, feeling it take over and destroy my body

    Related: The Tories must learn from the Orkambi victory and keep drug-pricing off the table | Diarmaid McDonald

    Isabelle Jani-Friend is a journalist

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    WHO says trials show malaria and HIV drugs don’t cut Covid-19 hospital deaths

    Hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir not found to help patients in hospital

    The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir for patients in hospital with Covid-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.

    The setback came as WHO also reported more than 200,000 new cases globally of the disease for the first time in a single day. The US accounted for 53,213 of the total 212,326 new cases recorded on Friday, the WHO said.

    Hydroxychloroquine, also known by its brand name, Plaquenil, is a drug used to treat malaria. It is a less toxic version of chloroquine, another malaria drug, which itself is related to quinine, an ingredient in tonic water.

    Related: Oxford offers best hope for Covid-19 vaccine this year, MPs told

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    US secures world stock of key Covid-19 drug remdesivir

    No other country will be able to buy remdesivir, which can help recovery from Covid-19, for next three months at least

    The US has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world.

    Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmanoeuvre all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the US.

    Related: Remdesivir: US allows emergency use of experimental drug for coronavirus

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    I believe Roundup gave me cancer. The Monsanto settlement is a slap in the face | Christine Sheppard

    I have to inject myself with needles just to stay alive. Still, Bayer will continue to sell Roundup, and refused to label it as carcinogenic

    Last Wednesday was my 71st birthday, a low-key celebration in these Covid-19 times. Then I heard the news that the pharmaceutical conglomerate Bayer has offered a settlement to resolve several massive class-action lawsuits alleging that the company’s herbicide, Roundup, is dangerous and causes cancer.

    I’m one of the thousands of people who filed suit. The news of the settlement ruined my birthday.

    Bayer admitted no guilt, will continue to sell Roundup, and refused to label it as carcinogenic. People will continue to get cancer from it

    Christine Sheppard was born in Hertfordshire, England, and immigrated to the US in 1980. She is now a retired grandmother living in southern California

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    Australian drugmakers hit by critical shortages at height of pandemic, inquiry hears

    Evidence given to parliamentary committee sparks new calls to develop national capability to manufacture medicines and key supplies

    Australian companies were “shocked” to experience price-gouging and had trouble accessing critical supplies to make medicines and personal protective equipment at the height of the pandemic, a parliamentary committee has been told.

    It has prompted fresh calls for Australia to build up its ability to manufacture critical drugs “without reliance on opaque and fragile offshore supply chains”.

    Related: Paracetamol and Ventolin limited to one per customer as Australia combats coronavirus hoarding

    Related: Australia needs a national centre for disease control, peak doctors’ group says

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    How will the world’s poorest people get a coronavirus vaccine? | Achal Prabhala and Kate Elder

    Rich countries’ governments are putting all their trust in a marriage of markets and philanthropy called Gavi

    Vaccines for Covid-19 are coming. Billions of dollars are flowing in, over 100 efforts are under way, and at least 13 leading candidates are already being tested on humans. But how will these vaccines reach the poorest people on the planet? This question haunts the fate of more than half the world’s population. It is the central question of our time. The failure to address this question in the past has resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths – and yet, some believe there is a simple answer. Ask pharmaceutical corporations about how they will ensure access to Covid-19 vaccines, and they say “Gavi”. Ask the wealthiest governments in the world what they are doing to ensure global equity, and they too say “Gavi”.

    Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance, is a 20-year old public-private partnership that believes the marriage of markets and philanthropy will bring vaccines to everyone in the world. The numbers are impressive: every year, Gavi sends out 500 million vaccine doses against 17 different diseases. The sums of money pumped into Gavi are equally impressive. At the Global Vaccine Summit held earlier this month, Gavi raised a record-breaking $8.8bn. With £330m committed annually for the next five years, the British government is their single largest donor, alongside other wealthy countries and the Gates Foundation. At the summit, Gavi launched its newest initiative, a fund for future Covid-19 vaccines – the Covax Facility – which invites countries to invest in a wide portfolio of potential vaccines, pool their risk, and gain dedicated access to eventual products.

    Related: UK plans £38m centre to start production of coronavirus vaccine

    Related: Covid-19 vaccine may not work for at-risk older people, say scientists

    Achal Prabhala is the coordinator of the AccessIBSA project, which campaigns for access to medicines in India, Brazil and South Africa. Kate Elder is the senior vaccines policy adviser at the Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign

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    ‘The wondrous map’: how unlocking human DNA changed the course of science

    Thanks to the success of the Human Genome Project, 20 years ago this week, scientists can track biology and disease at a molecular level

    Twenty years ago this week, an international group of scientists announced it had put together the first genetic blueprint of a human being. After 10 years of effort, the team – made up of thousands of scientists working on both sides of the Atlantic – revealed it had pinpointed all 3bn units of DNA that make up the human genome.

    The result was “the most wondrous map ever created by humankind”, US President Bill Clinton told a special White House ceremony to mark the event. A parallel event, hosted by Tony Blair in Downing Street, also featured glittering praise for the effort.

    DNA studies have helped to develop new drugs for conditions ranging from cystic fibrosis to asthma

    We are sequencing samples of Sars-Cov-2 from different sources to see if the virus is mutating significantly

    Related: Human code fully cracked

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    Demand for flu vaccine soars as countries plan for second Covid-19 wave

    Manufacturers warn they will struggle to meet demand as governments seek to ease pressure on health services

    Fears of a second wave of coronavirus have sparked a global scramble for influenza shots from countries that hope to vaccinate great swathes of the population to reduce pressure on their health services.

    Health officials in the UK are considering whether to offer flu shots to everyone as part of planning for a resurgence of coronavirus in the autumn, but with other countries hitting on the same strategy, demand for flu vaccines has soared.

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    The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK’s response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’

    Richard Horton does not hold back in his criticism of the UK’s response to the pandemic and the medical establishment’s part in backing fatal government decisions

    There is a school of thought that says now is not the time to criticise the government and its scientific advisers about the way they have handled the Covid-19 pandemic. Wait until all the facts are known and the crisis has subsided, goes this thinking, and then we can analyse the performance of those involved. It’s safe to say that Richard Horton, the editor of the influential medical journal the Lancet, is not part of this school.

    An outspoken critic of what he sees as the medical science establishment’s acquiescence to government, he has written a book that he calls a “reckoning” for the “missed opportunities and appalling misjudgments” here and abroad that have led to “the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of citizens”. 

    In being shielded, he has learned the true significance of key workers… ‘they are making society work’

    Related: UK failures over Covid-19 will increase death toll, says leading doctor

    Whitty is in the middle of viral storm… it’s debatable whether he’d increase public confidence by acknowledging he got it wrong

    Continue reading…

    TEDMED 2020 Meetups

    TEDMED Meetups, uniquely designed conversations, engage the entire TEDMED community to share their individual perspectives and voices to help improve humanity’s health. Read on to view some of the details of these captivating conversations taking place at TEDMED 2020.

    Meetup 1
    Tuesday, March 3rd, 8:00 am- 8:45 am

    Climate and Culture, A Health Equity Conversation
    Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Malik Yakini, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
    Speakers: Cheryl Holder, Jyoti Sharma, and Thijs Biersteker
    Description: When we consider human health, we must consider climate health. Whether it is the impact the climate has on the social determinants of our health, the depletion of essential resources like water caused by a changing climate, or how we can harness art to better connect ourselves to our environment, each Speaker in this Meetup has a unique understanding of our connection to climate and its impact on our health. Facilitated by Malik Yakinin, a leader of the movement to bring great equity to the global food system, this Meetup will explore how climate shapes our culture and impacts our health.

    The Good Life
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Lucy Kalanithi, TEDMED EAB Member and TEDMED 2016 Speaker
    Speakers: Kevin Toolis and Louise Aronson
    Description: It’s one of the oldest philosophical questions: What is the good life? As we confront aging bodies and our own mortality, how do we embrace the beauty and dynamism of our lives in ways that enhance and expand our health and wellbeing? Hosted by former TEDMED Speaker and Stanford Medicine internist, Lucy Kalanithi, this Meetup will explore how reframing the stages of elderhood and embracing death as part of life can help us cultivate the good life.

    The Future of Health
    Hosted by Deloitte and facilitated by Jennifer Radin, Life Sciences & Health Care Principal at Deloitte
    Speakers: Anupam B. Jena, Michel Maharbiz, and Suchi Saria
    Description: Data is all around us and within us. With progressive innovation comes new insights to advance health and medicine. This Meetup will explore how natural experiments can reveal important phenomena in our everyday lives, how tiny ultrasound activated implants can provide real-time information about our physiology, and how machine learning is saving lives in our medical system. Led by Deloitte, this Meetup allows us to wonder what the future of health will look like.

    Compassionate Care
    Hosted by Astellas Oncology and facilitated by Shontelle Dodson, Senior Vice President for Health Systems at Astellas
    Speakers: Lisa Sanders and Shekinah Elmore
    Description: When faced with a difficult diagnosis or living with a serious illness, we must often manage a great deal of uncertainty. Whether it is helping to find a diagnosis or guiding us through the uncertainty of an unexpected health concern, health care providers and caregivers play an integral role in ensuring that patients can find fulfillment even in their most uncertain moments. Shontelle Dodson, a health systems leader at Astellas, will guide this discussion about the importance of infusing more compassion into care.

    Meetup 2
    Tuesday, March 3rd, 11:15 am- 12:00 pm

    A Culture of Health, A Health Equity Conversation
    Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Aletha Maybank, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
    Speakers: Joseph Shin, Sandro Galea, and Wanda Irving
    Description: How do we create a culture of health in asylum settings and within systems teeming with racism? How do we create a culture that breeds love and not hate? How do we cultivate a culture of inclusivity and equity in healthcare? Aletha Maybank, the American Medical Association’s first Chief Health Equity Officer, will lead this conversation about bringing to light the darkest parts of our society in order to ensure that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

    Personalizing Digital Health
    Hosted by Abbott and facilitated by Toni Nosbush, DVP of Global Product Development at Abbott
    Hive Innovators: Claire Novorol of Ada Health; Leah Sparks of Wildflower Health; and, Jon Bloom of Podimetrics
    Description: Today’s technology allows healthcare to be personalized like never before. In this Innovator Meetup, conversation will center around the trend in digital health that creates space for tailored health experiences. While these Innovators’ have varied focuses – ranging from family planning, to patient centered care coordination, and diabetic foot ulcers – the common thread is their focus on effective, reliable, and personalized care experiences. Guided by Toni Nosbush, a leader in global product development at Abbott, this Meetup will explore how better communication between doctor and patient, facilitated by personalized health tools, patients can receive tailored care to become and stay healthy.

    New Age Diagnostics
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Laura Indolfi, TEDMED 2016 Hive Innovator
    Hive Innovators: Andy Beck of PathAI; Gabe Kwong of Glympse Bio; Niamh O’Hara of Biotia; William Dunbar of Ontera
    Description: In this Hive Innovator Meetup, you will have the chance to learn about cutting edge life science innovation. With today’s scientific advancements, new diagnostic models have emerged to detect and intercept disease faster than ever. With AI-powered pathology and diagnostics, a closer look at the epigenome, and miniaturized biological sensors, these Innovators are reimagining disease diagnostics. Their technology will shape a future in which illness can be identified accurately, quickly, and reliably every time. TEDMED 2016 Hive Innovator Laura Indolfi will lead this conversation about the possibilities of new age diagnostics.

    New Models of Mental Health Care
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated Pat Salber, TEDMED Community Member
    Hive Innovators: April Koh of Spring Health; Peter Hames of Big Health; Paula Searcy of Sana Health
    Description: Understanding mental health care has become an important theme of our time. With a steady rise in the prevalence of mental health conditions, we must leverage new tools and approaches to keep people healthy. In this Meetup, Innovators will discuss varying models of care that work to improve mental health. You will learn about medical devices, digital health products, and systems level tools that leverage new technology to improve mental health conditions like PTSD, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and more. Pat Salber, Editor-in-Chief of The Doctor Weighs In, will facilitate this Meetup about the potential of new models of mental health care to lead to personalized, tailored, and effective care we have not seen before.

    Meetup 3
    Tuesday, March 3rd, 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

    A Just World
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Pam Belluck, TEDMED EAB Member
    Speakers: Homer Venters, Laurie Hallmark, and Yasmin Hurd
    Description: From combating the opioid epidemic with nontraditional solutions, to transforming legal representation and advocacy for people with serious mental illness, to restoring health justice for incarcerated individuals, the Speakers in this Meetup are improving health for some of society’s most vulnerable populations. Pam Belluck, Pulitzer Prize winning science writer for The New York Times, will facilitate this discussion about what it means to create a fair and just world.

    Health Techquity, A Health Equity Conversation
    Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Margaret Laws, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
    Hive Innovators: Kevin Quennesson of Braid.Health; Mercy Asiedu of Calla Health; Taylor Justice of Unite Us
    Description: “Techquity” describes the use of technology to create a more equitable world. In this Meetup, Innovators will share how they are making healthcare more accessible and equitable by leveraging new-age technology. From a medical device that empowers women to understand their cervical health, to a platform connecting vulnerable populations to social service providers, and an AI-powered tool that makes radiology accessible to all people, these Innovators are using technology to fill major gaps in today’s healthcare system. Margaret Laws, an RWJF TEDMED 2020 Health Equity Expert and head of HopeLab, will facilitate this conversation about how ‘techquity’ can help health become more equitable, faster.

    The Power of Medical Knowledge
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Jeff Karp, TEDMED EAB Member; TEDMED 2014 Speaker
    Hive Innovators: Andrew Le of Buoy; Jane van Dis of Maven; Sunny Williams of Tiny Docs
    Description: Should medical knowledge be reserved for trained professionals, or can it lie with patients and communities? The Innovators in this Meetup will speak to the importance of empowering patients with medical knowledge that is accurate, reliable, and tailored to their unique needs. TEDMED 2014 Speaker Jeff Karp will lead this conversation examining how medical knowledge can be delivered in various forms–telemedicine, virtual communities, AI-powered assistants, or even “caretoons” — all while serving the tailored needs women, children, underserved populations, or your average health consumer.

    Mapping Human Health
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Zen Chu, TEDMED Community Member
    Hive Innovators: Andy Blackwell of Eight Billion Minds; Katharine Grabek of Fauna Bio; Nancy Yu of RDMD; Ted Schenkelberg of Human Vaccines Project
    Description: With the rise of technology, we have the opportunity to capture health data like never before. In this Meetup, Innovators will demonstrate the ways in which data can be mapped, across conditions, to better understand, analyze, and reimagine human health. Zen Chu of MIT’s Hacking Medicine Initiative will lead this Meetups about mapping trends around mental health, immunity, rare diseases, or even animal genomics, and what it means for the future of data and human health.

    Meetup 4
    Tuesday, March 3rd, 4:15 pm – 5:00 pm

    Youth and Truth, A Health Equity Conversation
    Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Kellan Baker, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
    Speakers: Anne Marie Albanno, Cheryl King, Francis X. Shen
    Description: Dealing with anxiety, mood disorders, developing brains, sexuality, and social pressures is just one aspect of the challenges that come with the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. How can we better understand the developing brain in order to ensure that all individuals receive access to the treatment and care they require? Facilitated by Kellan Baker, a leading researcher of how reshaping socioeconomic and political determinants of health can create greater health equity for transgender populations and other marginalized groups, this Meetup will focus on how we as a society can best support our young adults.

    Meaning Making and Memory
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Kafui Dzirasa, TEDMED EAB Member and TEDMED 2017 Speaker
    Speakers: Anne Basting, Beatie Wolfe, Frederick Streeter Barrett
    Description: French philosopher, Rene Descartes’ famous words “I think, therefore I am” is a powerful statement about a sense of awareness within ourselves. In this Meetup, we explore our brain as a dynamic and complex organ by evaluating creative stimuli that lead to surprising reactions in patients with cognitive impairments and by understanding mind altering experiences that allow us to grow and to heal. Led by former TEDMED Speaker, Kafui Dzirasa, this Meetup challenges us to consider the meaning of life when memories fade.

    The Social Side of Health
    Hosted by Humana and facilitated by William Shrank, Chief Medical and Corporate Affairs Officer at Humana
    Speakers: Cheryl Holder and Jonathan Gruber
    Description: Health, as we know, is more than just medical. Our health is impacted by economics, the healthcare system, the environment, and our social surroundings. Whether it’s understanding the impact of a changing climate on population health or structuring our health systems to make healthcare better and more accessible, how we think about the social side of healthcare matters. Humana’s Chief Medical and Corporate Affairs Officer, William Shrank, will guide this discussion.

    Trust in Medicine
    Hosted by the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) and facilitated by USP’s CEO Ron Piervincenzi
    Speakers: Heidi Larson, Katherine Eban, and Ralph Nader
    Description: We all deserve medicines that we can trust, but globally, many lack access to high-quality medicines and the health impacts can be detrimental. In this Meetup, hear from TEDMED Speakers who are examining the conditions in which low-cost generic medicine are made, are advocating for consumer rights to help ensure we have access to safe medicines, and are working to restore the public’s trust in the vaccines that help keep us safe. Facilitated by Ron Piervincenzi, the CEO of the U.S. Pharmacopeia, this conversation will dive into how leading thinkers and doers are working to build and maintain trust in medicine.

    Meetup 5
    Wednesday, March 4th, 8:00 am – 8:45 am

    Infectious Disease and Innovation
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Celine Gounder, TEDMED EAB Member
    Speakers: Heidi Larson, Leor Weinberger, and Matt Hepburn
    Description: What does it take to fight disease and are we prepared for the next pandemic? Infectious disease specialist and TEDMED Editorial Advisory Board member Celine Gounder will lead this Meetup conversation examining the systems necessary to address pandemic threats – from global vaccine uptake to the development of novel therapies to deprive infectious disease.

    Novel Approaches to Big Problems, A Health Equity Conversation
    Hosted by RWJF and facilitated by Aletha Maybank, an RWJF Health Equity Expert
    Speakers: Cheryl King, Francis X. Shen, and Thomas Abt
    Description: Big problems require big solutions. The speakers in this Meetup are developing and implementing big, novel solutions to some of society’s most serious issues. From curbing the rising rates of teen suicide, to fighting for justice in the legal system, to reducing urban violence, these individuals are committed to saving the lives of some of our most vulnerable populations. Aletha Maybank, the AMA’s Chief Health Equity Office, will guide the conversation and help us to understand how equity plays a key role in finding solutions to these issues.

    A Vision for a Healthier Future
    Hosted by Geisinger and facilitated by Geisinger Leadership
    Speakers: Fred Moll, Gokul Upadhyayula, and Suchi Saria
    Description: We live in a world where robotics, bioimaging, and machine learning are becoming increasingly common terms. This Meetup will explore the possibilities of constantly emerging technologies with capabilities to transform healthcare tools as we currently know them. Geisinger will lead this Meetup discussion about the role of technology in creating a healthier future.

    Science and Storytelling
    Hosted by the TEDMED Community and facilitated by Nadja Oertelt, TEDMED EAB Member and TEDMED 2017 Hive Innovator
    Speakers: Amit Choudhary, Michel Maharbiz, Zuberoa Marcos
    Description: Whether it’s conveying the nuances and implications of a tool as powerful as CRISPR, understanding molecular and physiological states, or harnessing the power of storytelling in presenting scientific advances to keep the world moving forward, how we tell the story of science is integral to reaching and inspiring a broad audience and making the impact needed to shape a healthier humanity. Nadja Oertelt, TEDMED 2017 Hive Innovator and Co-Founder of Massive Science, facilitates this conversation about science and storytelling.

    The post TEDMED 2020 Meetups appeared first on TEDMED Blog.

    These insects carry enough bacteria to the cause

    Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion.

    The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

    Black farmers in the US’s South— faced with continued failure their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism” is to blame for their inability to the produce crop yields and on equivalent to that switched seeds.

    I’m thinking I’m back you want a war or you want to just give me a gun everything’s got a price rusty, I guess. You stabbed price rusty, the Devil in the back how good to see you again.

    Steve Jobs

    Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion. The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 illion. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

    Lopez has reportedly added to her real home in California

    Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater, dance studio and recording studio. China’s youngest female billionaire has unloaded her triplex penthouse in Sydney.

    The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, includin. master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing .

    Following years of white-hot growth, luxury home prices in Sydney declined for the first time in years, slipping 1% between the second quarter and third quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from brokerage Knight Frank.The nearly 6,500-square-foot apartment has sweeping views.

    The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amp
    hitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach

    She is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater

    Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus

    • Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market
    • Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre
    • The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphit
    • Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires

    The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater.

    Black farmers in the US’s South—faced with continued failure in their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism”

    Morning people may have the lower breast cancer risk

    Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion.

    The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

    Black farmers in the US’s South— faced with continued failure their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism” is to blame for their inability to the produce crop yields and on equivalent to that switched seeds.

    I’m thinking I’m back you want a war or you want to just give me a gun everything’s got a price rusty, I guess. You stabbed price rusty, the Devil in the back how good to see you again.

    Steve Jobs

    Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion. The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 illion. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

    Lopez has reportedly added to her real home in California

    Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater, dance studio and recording studio. China’s youngest female billionaire has unloaded her triplex penthouse in Sydney.

    The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, includin. master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing .

    Following years of white-hot growth, luxury home prices in Sydney declined for the first time in years, slipping 1% between the second quarter and third quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from brokerage Knight Frank.The nearly 6,500-square-foot apartment has sweeping views.

    The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amp
    hitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach

    She is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater

    Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus

    • Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market
    • Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre
    • The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphit
    • Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires

    The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater.

    Black farmers in the US’s South—faced with continued failure in their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism”

    She bought the Home the full same year she married

    Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion.

    The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

    Black farmers in the US’s South— faced with continued failure their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism” is to blame for their inability to the produce crop yields and on equivalent to that switched seeds.

    I’m thinking I’m back you want a war or you want to just give me a gun everything’s got a price rusty, I guess. You stabbed price rusty, the Devil in the back how good to see you again.

    Steve Jobs

    Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion. The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 illion. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

    Lopez has reportedly added to her real home in California

    Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater, dance studio and recording studio. China’s youngest female billionaire has unloaded her triplex penthouse in Sydney.

    The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, includin. master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing .

    Following years of white-hot growth, luxury home prices in Sydney declined for the first time in years, slipping 1% between the second quarter and third quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from brokerage Knight Frank.The nearly 6,500-square-foot apartment has sweeping views.

    The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amp
    hitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach

    She is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater

    Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus

    • Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market
    • Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre
    • The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphit
    • Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires

    The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater.

    Black farmers in the US’s South—faced with continued failure in their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism”

    How childhood viral infections may later drive multiple

    Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion.

    The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

    Black farmers in the US’s South— faced with continued failure their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism” is to blame for their inability to the produce crop yields and on equivalent to that switched seeds.

    I’m thinking I’m back you want a war or you want to just give me a gun everything’s got a price rusty, I guess. You stabbed price rusty, the Devil in the back how good to see you again.

    Steve Jobs

    Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market won’t stop actress and singer Jennifer Lopez from expanding her property collection. Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre estate in Bel-Air anchored by a multi-level mansion. The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach and outdoor shower, was asking about $40 million, but J. Lo managed to make it hers for $28 illion. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound.

    Lopez has reportedly added to her real home in California

    Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires a new home in California, she is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater, dance studio and recording studio. China’s youngest female billionaire has unloaded her triplex penthouse in Sydney.

    The 17,000 square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain views boasts nine bedrooms, includin. master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing .

    Following years of white-hot growth, luxury home prices in Sydney declined for the first time in years, slipping 1% between the second quarter and third quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from brokerage Knight Frank.The nearly 6,500-square-foot apartment has sweeping views.

    The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amp
    hitheater and a swimming pond with sandy beach

    She is trying to sell a gated compound in the Golden State. The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater

    Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus

    • Struggling to sell one multi-million dollar home currently on the market
    • Lopez has reportedly added to her real estate holdings an eight-plus acre
    • The property, complete with a 30-seat screening room, a 100-seat amphit
    • Lo managed to make it hers for $28 million. As the Bronx native acquires

    The 17,000-square-foot Hidden Hills property with mountain and city views boasts nine bedrooms, including a master suite with private terrace and an entertainment wing, which includes a 20-seat theater.

    Black farmers in the US’s South—faced with continued failure in their efforts to run successful farms their launched a lawsuit claiming that “white racism”

    Green Supreme Layered Smoothie

    Serves 3
     
    Ingredients:
     
    270 g (6 cups) frozen baby spinach leaves
    3 frozen bananas
    945 g (3 cups) frozen mango pieces
    750 ml (3 cups)  unsweetened vanilla almond milk, plus 250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened vanilla almond milk extra
     
    Place the spinach, banana, mango and 3 cups of almond milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide the
    mixture into three portions.
     
    Divide portion 1 across three jars and freeze for 2 hours. While portion 1 freezes, take portion 2 and add ¼ cup
    vanilla almond milk. Pour portion 2 on top of portion 1 in each jar and return it to the freezer.
     
    Take portion 3 and add the remaining ¾ cup of vanilla almond milk. Pour portion 3 on top of portion 2 in each jar and freeze until firm.
     
    TIP
     
    Top as desired. We’ve used:
    • paleo granola
    • blackberries
    • pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
    • star fruit
    • honey
    • goji berries
     
     
    Images and recipes from Super Green, Simple and Lean by Sally Obermeder and Maha Koraiem, published by Allen & Unwin, with photography by Ben Dearnley. RRP $24.99, available in all good book stores now.

    10 tips for cultivating wellbeing

    What is wellbeing?

    I would describe wellbeing as the holistic experience of feeling energised, comfortable, connected and inspired. Our personal wellbeing is cultivated by all the unconditionally kind, wise and compassionate choices we make to nurture our health and happiness. These choices encompass our thoughts and our actions, our self-talk and our speech, the foods we eat, the ways we care for our bodies, and the support we provide for ourselves and each other.
     
    What we choose to do with our time sculpts our wellness and matters greatly. When we invite the simple and relaxing practices of gratitude and mindfulness into our daily lives, we begin to sense the willingness of our minds and bodies to collaborate fully with us in the most positive, transformative ways.
     
    By living intentionally, actively choosing love, peace and joy for ourselves and each other in every moment, we come to know a deep sense of wellbeing that creates a simple, unfailing foundation for truly joyous living.
     
    Our thoughts create our worlds by inspiring our attitudes and our moods, our daily choices, self-talk and actions. It is truly empowering to realise that our thoughts are inherently flexible. Even if we have learnt patterns in the past that no longer serve us, it is completely within our power to let them go.
     
    When we live as part of nature, our wellbeing blossoms. Cultivating wellbeing in daily life is a truly joyous and fulfilling commitment. When we nourish our inner gardens each day, we are able to embody and experience the limitless comfort, joy and inspiration we seek.
     
     
     
    10 tips for cultivating wellbeing
     
    #1 Choose Joy
     
    Each one of us can actively choose to think thoughts that uplift us, speak words that spread joy, and explore ideas that help us grow. We can choose joy when we do work we love, and do it lovingly. We can choose exercise we enjoy doing, relax in ways that revitalise us, and choose people in our lives whose love and support empower us. When we build our daily lives around choosing joy, we may truly experience radiant wellbeing. We simply make consistently positive, life-affirming choices that light us up from the inside out.
     
    When we choose joy, we see that life is not about sacrifice and deprivation, it is about celebration. When we forgo gruelling exercise regimes, unnecessarily hectic agendas and punishing diets, we may love our way to wellness. Wellbeing is not maintained by punishment or suffering, it is supported by unconditional self-love, passion and positive thinking.
     
    Choosing joy also serves us exceptionally well during any challenging experience. We all have the power to
    learn and change for the better, growing our compassion, wisdom and gratitude through our personal life experiences. Not only does joy strengthen us to handle stress and adversity as our best selves, it always illuminates the swiftest path back to perspective and composure.
     
    #2 Love the Earth
     
    Our wellbeing is also shaped by the health of our natural environment: the air we breathe, the soil in which our foods are grown, the quality of our water, the health of our oceans, rivers and forests, and the countless magnificent species with whom we share this earth.
     
    In order to connect to the earth, we need to spend more time in nature. Go outside. Put your feet in the sand, the soil, the grass. We live amongst the most varied and magnificent flora and fauna, spectacular mountain ranges, coral reefs, vivid fields of flowers, constellations of stars, creatures great and small. It is a privilege to be here experiencing life on our planet.
     
    Connecting with our Earth is essential. We are part of nature, and her seasons, moods, beauty, uniqueness and splendour mirror our very own. The Sufi poet Rumi reminds us that the entire universe is inside us – how profound this is.
     
    Also, it’s important for us to respect Earth. Recycle, upcycle, compost, walk or ride a bike, take short showers, enjoy candlelight, share tools and helping hands with neighbours, friends and family, grow your own herbs, fruits and vegetables, and mend and make do where possible.
     
    #3 Eat real food
     
    Each day, we also have the chance to tune into the immense power of our food choices. Food is sacred, energetic and vibrational. The food we eat has a story, a source and an impact. It also plays a determining role in shaping our health, our energy levels and our moods. Eating mindfully is beneficial and healing for ourselves and our planet. When we eat mindfully we optimise our vitality, contribute to the prevention and reversal of disease, live in harmony with our Earth, and celebrate life.
     
    The magnificent rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables we have to choose from exemplify the beauty and generosity of Mother Nature’s pantry. Aim for a plant-strong diet that is full of colour and rich in natural vitamins and minerals. Choose organic, seasonal and, ideally, local or homegrown produce wherever possible, and you’ll never have to squint again reading fine print.
     
    Develop a positively loving relationship with food as nourishment. Food is your primary form of medicine, an essential way of healing. It is also an extremely fun, joyous and colourful part of a natural, healthy lifestyle.
     
    Benefits of eating real food include increased energy, sustained vitality, a healthy glow, improved concentration, healthy weight maintenance, stress reduction, decreased inflammation, real satiety, stable blood sugar levels, and balanced hormones and mood.
     
    #4 Simplify
     
    We need a lot less than we realise to be happy. Oftentimes when we accumulate more, we are simply on the search for the feeling of newness, worthiness or happiness that our purchases bring. By taking the time to know ourselves and love ourselves more deeply, we fill the voids we seek to fill in a much less fleeting way and on a far deeper level. Happiness is an inside job.
     
    Living with less allows us to appreciate and value those things we mindfully choose to possess, and focus on the parts of our lives that matter most – our relationships, our experiences, and our natural environment. Opting for minimalism in every respect, we free up precious time, space and energy to use in creative and fulfilling ways each day.
     
    #5 Prioritise self-care 
     
    Self-care is about attending lovingly to our own various needs on a daily basis. In caring for ourselves, we are much better equipped to care for and support others. Self-care includes all the daily ground covered in these 10 tips, including eating regular, nutritious meals each day, drinking plenty of clean water, and creating a routine for the best sleep possible. Exercising, practising relaxation, and taking time to rest and be gentle with ourselves is also essential to daily self-care. When we look after our thoughts, making sure they are supportive, peaceful and uplifting assets for us, we practise the ultimate form of, self-care.
     
    If you are looking for kindness, be kind to yourself as well as others. If you are looking for understanding from others, be compassionate and open minded towards yourself first. If you are looking for peace, be peaceful and bring peace to others. We invite  the relationships, environments and circumstances into our worlds that grow and fulfill us soulfully, and we transform our entire lives for the better.

    #6 Rest
     
    Rest and relaxation are essential to our wellbeing. Ensure you experience the best sleep possible by creating a calm and nurturing space in which to rest. Reserve your sleeping space as a tranquil, restful sanctuary. Keep a sleeping routine, aiming to tuck in and rise at the same times each day. We all have unique needs, but eight hours of sleep per night is a healthy, recommended quota for energised living.
     
    Some people find it particularly hard to switch off at the end of the day. Keep electronic devices out of your bedroom and ensure you have as quiet and dark an atmosphere in which to sleep as possible. If you are unable to fall asleep, you might like to follow your breathing or enjoy listening to some quiet and relaxing music. You may also find comfort in a light-hearted audiobook or meditation tape. When restless, write in your journal. Jot down your worries and hurries, and support yourself without fear or impatience to gently and fully switch off.
     
    Quality sleep recharges our batteries for life, healing, protecting and supporting our minds and bodies. If daytime naps or siestas are required, take these lovingly as part of your self-care routine and reap the refreshing benefits. We live in a fast-paced world that too often favours productivity at the expense of rest. Yet when we are rested, we experience greater productivity, mental clarity and performance on every level.
     
    #7 Relax
     
    The study of epigenetics demonstrates how the causes of disease are not solely genetic, and that disease can manifest due to the dietary and lifestyle choices we make. When it comes to the insidious effects of stress on our health, there is an antidote: relaxation. Relaxation is not only a practice but a choice we can all make in any moment. This may sound very simplistic, but it is true. Our lives are composed of a series of choices we make that shape our worlds and experiences. By choosing relaxation, we bring ease and flow to our lives.
     
    Relaxation may be something we need to learn or relearn. Thankfully, there are so many pleasurable and fulfilling ways to walk this path. Practising visualisation and meditations creates a wonderful, simple practice for relaxation in daily life.
     
    Other great ways to embrace relaxation include practising yoga or tai chi, going on gentle walks in nature, lighting candles, enjoying a bath or a massage, listening to relaxing music or enjoying light films, music or books. Creating a relaxing atmosphere around you at home and at work in which you are as comfortable as possible is also key. Our outer worlds should reflect the inner world we seek to create.
     
    #8 Move your body
     
    Love your body into health and fitness by stretching and moving each day. Find a balance of physical activity that suits you while challenging you and keeping you fit, vital and strong.
     
    Exercise provides energy, is essential for our mental health, develops our coordination and fitness, shapes and tones our bodies, detoxifies our systems, improves the quality of our sleep, can be fun and sociable, is a natural antidepressant, and feels really great. Our bodies were designed to move in different ways each day, and it is essential that we honour our bodies’ needs for physical activity. Mixing up your exercise routine circumvents boredom and ensures that your whole body is strengthened and acknowledged.
     
    #9 Hydrate
     
    Many health issues people experience can be traced back to chronic dehydration and remedied simply by drinking ample water. More than half of your body is made of water, and you need to keep replenishing yourself to remain vital. Wake to a tall glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon, or a dash of apple cider vinegar. Your liver and digestive system love this, and you’ll be hydrating yourself necessarily following your overnight fast. Hydrate steadily throughout the day with good, clean water. Add slices of citrus fruit or cucumber for a little excitement. Intersperse with herbal teas and coldpressed fresh juices if desired. Water your inner garden and blossom!
     
    #10 Connect
     
    While some of us are more extroverted and outgoing than others, we are naturally social beings with a need for connection and relationships. Relationships are the web of our lives, and healthy relationships are necessary for our overall wellbeing. These include bonds between friends, family, colleagues, and lovers, teachers, children, grandchildren and beyond.
     
    Relationships teach us so much by providing spaces in which we can love and be loved, give and receive support, learn and grow. Making a concerted effort to connect with others in our community and world with kindness, compassion and joy contributes to our feelings of belonging and greatly enhances our wellbeing. Our world would be a dramatically different place if we all chose to exercise loving kindness in our relationships and connections with others. Change starts with us. Let us be here for one another to build up, not put down.
     
    Let us take joy in each others’ successes and comfort one another through our hardships. Let us focus on our togetherness rather than our differences. Let us find peace in our connections with one another so that we may all experience love and wellbeing and this life. 
     
    This article is an edited extract from The Art Of Wellbeing by Meredith Gaston, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $29.99 and is available in stores nationally.

    Natural remedies to soothe sun-damaged skin

    Vitamin E

    The topical application of vitamin E has been used clinically to treat sunburn and scar tissue and is commonly used to assist in wound healing of abrasions, burns and stretch marks. Pierce a capsule containing pure vitamin E and use the oil directly on the skin.
     
    Potatoes
     
    With its starch-based compounds, potatoes are thought to help soothe sunburn. Simply chop an uncooked potato into slices and pat down on sore, sunburned spots.
     
    Honey
     
    With its anti-infective properties, honey is soothing when applied topically to the skin.
     
    Aloe Vera
     
    Mother Nature’s antidote to sunburn is found in the humble aloe vera plant, which is well known for treating burns. Better yet, its cheap and easy to grow in your garden, meaning it will be readily accessible in its purest form. To apply topically, simply cut a leaf off and cut lengthways through the leaf.
     
    Apple cider vinegar
     
    Add a cup of cider vinegar to your bath water and soak in it, or dab a bit of white vinegar onto your sunburn for 20 minutes for instant pain relief.
     
    Strawberries
     
    Strawberries contain tannin, which helps alleviate the sting of sunburn. Use them as a topical balm by mashing a cup of ripened strawberries and applying them to sunburnt areas. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing with fresh, tepid water.
     
    Cucumber
     
    Simply cut a few slices and place on tender areas. Cucumber’s texture and cooling properties work to instantly soothe and calm sore skin.

    The path of self-discovery using psychotherapy requires intense introspection

    Embarking on a journey of self-discovery and growth begins with an intense period of introspection.

    It was a crisp autumn night when I pulled up outside a niche art gallery in the heart of Collingwood in Melbourne. I sat in my car for a few moments, inspecting the space where I’d spend the weekend partaking in the Awakening of Love retreat – an introduction to Path of Love, a sevenday retreat that’s held in 14 countries around the world. As I walked towards the door, a mixture of apprehension and uncertainty washed over me. As I stepped inside the gallery, my fear immediately subsided as I was greeted with a warm welcome from Gina Bloom, a psychotherapist, counsellor and somatic experience practitioner (kindcounselling.com.au).

    Bloom invited me to make a cup of herbal tea, pull up a chair and sit with the rest of the group. I joined the small circle and quickly scanned the other participants’ faces. I was met with a few smiles, some quick glances and polite small talk. I could feel the nervous energy and uncertainty in the air, so I turned my attention inwards and focused on my breath.

    We were soon joined by Samved Dass, a psychotherapist with training in bioenergetics, counselling and Osho’s transformational therapies (samveddass.com). Dass has worked as a Path of Love leader for more than 14 years, and he passionately advocates the course’s ability to effect profound change in peoples’ lives. “Path of Love is one of the most significant and effective pieces of enquiry work that you can do,” says Dass. “It’s not a new-age, fluffy piece of work; it’s a very substantial enquiry in a group setting that has profound results in your life.”

    After a brief introduction, Bloom and Dass encouraged each participant to embrace the process with an open heart. We were then invited to share what we hoped to get out of the experience. Everyone expressed a unique objective, but it was clear that we had one unifying trait: the human longing to understand the self, work through past traumas and experience joy in the present moment.

    DAY 1

    Many of the exercises implemented in the retreat are designed to get us out of our minds and connecting with the body. “We use current psychology approaches to bring together East and West,” says Bloom. “There are a lot of meditations and spiritual teachings about being in presence, rather than trying to ‘solve problems’ and figuring them out with the mind.

    “Path of Love is very structured; it’s designed in a way that really opens people up and builds trust and safety, to be able to explore very deep issues,” says Bloom.

    For our first exercise, we were instructed to walk around the room, without talking, and exchange eye contact with the other participants. I found this exercise both amusing and uncomfortable, but I remembered what Dass said about releasing into the process, and let myself settle into the uncertainty.

    For the next exercise, we were instructed to sit in a long line against the wall, and one by one, in no particular order, we were asked to stand up in front of everyone and maintain eye contact, without speaking, for one full minute. I didn’t anticipate the effect this would have on my body. Instantly, I was flooded with nerves and the realisation that I was truly being seen by these people. For once, there was nowhere to hide. There was nothing to do other than stand and gaze into the eyes of the perfect strangers I’d just met.

    For some, this exercise was profoundly challenging, which resulted in tears and the inability to maintain eye contact, while others channelled their vulnerability and decided to face it headon. We had only been in the studio for two hours, and already I had witnessed many emotional releases. I left the evening session feeling relieved to be back in my comfort zone. As I lay in bed that night, I considered – OK, I dreaded – what might await me in the morning.

    DAY 2

    The second day commenced with a chat about our experiences and impressions of the night before. Bloom and Dass encouraged us to be honest, and reassured us that our opinions weren’t being judged. After, we entered into a Kundalini meditation. We stood in the room as the lights dimmed and the loud, drumming music started to echo through the speakers. Dass instructed us to slowly move the body and begin to shake. As time went on, the shake went deeper into the muscles, tissues and the bones.

    Dass says that many issues that we hold from past hurts and traumas are manifested in the body, where they cause tension and tightness. Many of these can be opened and unlocked through movement, he says. “When we shake the body, we start to loosen up some of those places where we hold our tensions. When we loosen up in the body, we can more easily see the psychological aspects of where we’re holding the tension.”

    For the next exercise, we gathered in groups of two, where one person was prompted to speak on a topic for five minutes and the other was instructed to listen – without speaking. This act enables us to express ourselves and be heard without judgement, which I learnt is a pertinent factor of self-enquiry.

    “By being able to start to talk, and having people listen and realise they’re not judging you, it enables the effects of the trauma to lessen – and sometimes completely disappear,” says Dass. “Then [your trauma] becomes something that happened in your past, and if you don’t judge it, the trauma of it disappears.”

    After a one-hour lunch break, we gathered in groups of four, where childhood traumas, past regrets and memories were brought to light. “The main thing about reconciling hurts and pains – which we refer to as traumas – is being able to bring them out of the subconscious mind, which is where they’re often put when we’re children,” he says. “Unfortunately, because they’re in the subconscious/unconscious mind, it doesn’t mean they’re not acting on our psychology, on our psyche.” This particular exercise incited emotional shifts in all of the participants – myself included.

    The day ended with a much-needed meditation in savasana, also known as corpse pose, or the pose you take at the end of a yoga class. While it’s thought to be one of the easiest asanas, it’s a fully conscious pose that aims to keep you awake, yet relaxed. It’s believed to calm the nervous system and eliminate tension from the body – something that’s deeply required after a long day of self-enquiry. With so much purging of raw emotion that happened throughout the day, the energy in the room felt heavy. As I headed home, I was struck with a thumping headache and an unexpected lack of energy. I felt emotionally and physically depleted, which Bloom and Dass later informed me can be part of the cleansing process.

    DAY 3

    I woke up the next morning feeling slightly tired but surprisingly refreshed. As I arrived at the art gallery, I joined the participants, who were once again sitting in a circle. We shared sentiments of the previous day, along with how we felt throughout the night. Interestingly, there were some profound shifts from the activities of the previous day. The sceptic in me was surprised, as I started to feel an opening and willingness to share my vulnerabilities with the group. According to Dass, this isn’t unsual, but rather a regular occurrence that results from this type of work.

    “We call it an awakening because it awakens you to your inner process, to what’s actually going on,” he says. “Rather than just taking it [life] all for granted, we start to face the truth. When we face the truth, we really can take steps.”

    The first exercise we undertook was the Kundalini shaking meditation, which led into our one-on-one enquiry exercises, where more realisations about the ego, suffering and judgement were brought to light. With the help of our facilitators, we learnt why we judge ourselves so harshly, and how it can stump our ability for growth.

    “We apply judgement to our adult behaviour, which is not necessary, because we’re [now] grown up and intelligent and educated,” says Dass. “It makes it difficult to do any progressive work because we’re constantly making ourselves wrong. You can’t progress if you’re putting yourself down all the time.”

    We concluded the retreat with a dancing meditation, a long savasana and a personal exchange with one of the facilitators, sharing our final thoughts and insights.

    While I entered the retreat with a fair deal of trepidation and scepticism, I had experienced an undeniable shift in my awareness. With the guidance of both Bloom and Dass, I learnt how to witness my vulnerabilities, without attaching judgement to them. I was able to recognise the way past events informed my present-day thinking and actions, and I was able to deepen my practice of staying in presence. I carried that with me for several weeks after the retreat.

    Looking back, I can see that awakening does not happen overnight, and that consistent growth requires sustained dedication to our inner work and enquiry. The Awakening of Love is just the beginning in my long journey towards self-realisation.

    No names, information or stories expressed by the retreat participants were disclosed in this article. Danae Dimitropoulou was a guest of the Awakening of Love retreat. 

    The next Australia Path of Love seven-day retreat will be held from 1–8 March, 2018, in the Hunter Valley, NSW. For more information, head to pathretreats.com