Biology

Local Covid vaccines fill gap as UN Covax scheme misses target

India, Egypt and Cuba among first states to develop and make their own vaccines as Covax falls behind Developing countries are increasingly turning to homegrown Covid vaccinations as the UN-backed Covax programme falls behind. While western countries roll out booster jabs to their own populations, Covax, which was set up by UN agencies, governments and …

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UK approves rollout of ‘first of its kind’ Covid antibody treatment

Ronapreve can be used to treat symptoms of acute infection after successful clinical trials Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The medicines regulator has approved use of the first treatment in the UK using artificial antibodies to prevent and fight Covid-19. The health secretary, Sajid Javid, said approval of the first drug …

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More research funding needed to avoid drug-resistant pandemic, warns report

Smaller firms are developing most antibiotics targeting superbugs but often at risk of bankruptcy Small drugmakers and biotech firms that are developing the bulk of new antibiotics need far more financial support, according to a new report, which warned that without these life-saving medicines there could be a pandemic of drug-resistant infections, worse than Covid-19. …

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Investors flock to life sciences as UK sector breaks funding record

Covid crisis spurs growing interest in drugmakers, diagnostics and medical equipment firms UK drugmakers, diagnostics, medical equipment and other life sciences companies have raised £10.6bn from private funding rounds and stock market flotations in the first three months of the year, more than half of last year’s record total, according to a report. Last year, …

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Will Covid vaccines protect us against new variants? | Julian Tang

New strains such as the South African variant that’s emerged in south London will require constant vigilance as lockdown eases All viruses mutate. They do this to adapt and survive better in their specific host. The virus that causes Covid-19 is no different: it has moved from the animal realm, where it most likely originated …

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Global Covid vaccine rollout threatened by shortage of vital components

Pharmaceutical firms warn of delays to items such as the large bags in which vaccine cells are grown Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Vaccine-makers around the world face shortages of vital components including large plastic growbags, according to the head of the firm that is manufacturing a quarter of the UK’s …

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What price a child’s life? India’s quest to make rare disease drugs affordable

Parents whose only hope was finding foreign sponsorship or a clinical trial are now looking for homegrown breakthroughs For three years, Vidya tried to find the cause of her son’s recurrent fevers and low cognitive development. When she found out, she was devastated. Vineeth, 10, has an incurable illness – mucopolysaccharidosis type 2 – that …

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Ireland suspends AstraZeneca Covid vaccine over blood clot concerns

Deployment of Oxford vaccine temporarily deferred after latest reports from Norway Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Ireland is suspending use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid as a precautionary measure following further reports of blood clots in people who have received it, this time from Norway. The deputy chief medical officer, …

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Covid: Germany and France under pressure to shift Oxford vaccine

Both countries urged to take action to avoid pile-up of unused AstraZeneca vaccine doses Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Authorities in Germany and France are under pressure to come up with creative solutions to shift the AstraZeneca vaccine at higher speed in order to avoid a pile-up of unused doses over …

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German politicians counter AstraZeneca vaccine scepticism with show of support

Oxford Covid vaccine described in German media as ‘shelf warmer’ with only 17% of doses administered so far Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Politicians in Germany are stepping out in support of the AstraZeneca vaccine as public scepticism around the Oxford-developed product is threatening to hamper Europe’s Covid-19 immunisation programme. The …

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GSK and CureVac sign £132m deal to develop multi-variant Covid vaccine

Companies hope to have next generation of vaccines against emerging variants by next year GlaxoSmithKline and Germany’s CureVac have reached a €150m (£132m) agreement to develop a next generation of Covid-19 vaccines targeting new emerging variants in the pandemic. The two companies said they they plan to work jointly to develop a vaccine that can …

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AstraZeneca denies pulling out of talks as EU Covid vaccine row deepens

Latest round of crunch talks to discuss breakdown in supplies still happening, says spokesman Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage A row over coronavirus vaccine shortages in the EU has descended into farce as AstraZeneca denied claims by the European commission that it had pulled out of a crunch meeting over a …

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German government challenges AstraZeneca Covid vaccine efficacy reports

Newspaper had reported that government was expecting European regulator’s assessment to show that vaccine was only 8% effective among over-65 The German government has challenged reports of a lower-than-expected efficacy rate of the AstraZeneca vaccine for older people, while reiterating concerns about the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant’s data reporting. An article in German business daily Handelsblatt …

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Germany to administer Covid drugs used to treat Donald Trump

Country will be first in EU to use antibody cocktails after government buys 200,000 doses Specialist clinics in Germany will this week become the first hospitals in the EU to treat Covid-19 patients with expensive and experimental antibody cocktails used to treat the former US president Donald Trump after he caught the virus last October. …

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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage I marked a grim anniversary in an unexpected manner last week. On 18 January last year, I wrote my first …

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British American Tobacco wins approval to test Covid vaccine on humans

Treatment grown on tobacco plants gets US backing for clinical study Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage British American Tobacco has moved a step closer to producing a vaccine for coronavirus using tobacco plants, as it won approval in the US to begin testing on humans. The company behind cigarette brands including …

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

Covid vaccine with an efficacy of almost 95% has been authorised by the UK medicines regulator Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine, which has an efficacy of almost 95%, has been authorised by the UK medicines regulator, making the UK the first western country to license a vaccine …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 Trump coronavirus treatment – live updates 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 …

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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage 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 …

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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? The AstraZeneca vaccine trial has been paused – should we be worried? Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage One of the volunteers in the UK has become ill and it is crucial that …

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‘Major’ breakthrough in Covid-19 drug makes UK professors millionaires

Synairgen’s share price rises 540% on morning of news of successful drugs trial Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Three professors at the University of Southampton school of medicine have this week made a “major breakthrough” in the treatment of coronavirus patients and become paper millionaires at the same time. Almost two …

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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 – …

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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage There is a school of thought that says now is not the time to criticise the government and its scientific …

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

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