Microbiology

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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AstraZeneca sales of Covid vaccine triple to $1.2bn in first half of 2021

Not-for-profit pledge sees British firm’s sales revenue fall significantly short of US rival Pfizer Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine has brought in $1.2bn (£900m) in the first half of this year, with sales tripling in the second quarter from the first – but its earnings remained significantly below …

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Oxford drugs firm gains $1.5m Gates grant for Covid-19 therapy

Exclusive: Exscientia to use AI in proposed fast-track development of ‘low-cost’ pill for Sars viruses Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Exscientia, an Oxford-based firm that uses artificial intelligence to develop medicines, has won a $1.5m grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a Covid-19 treatment that also works …

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Moderna, Pfizer or AstraZeneca? The ridiculous, diverting rise of vaccine envy

Casual vaccine chat is today’s only form of small talk, so it’s not surprising it would take a lightheartedly tribal turn. Ultimately, of course, gratitude is at the heart of the conversation Last week, I had cause to go searching for images of men getting vaccinated (it’s not a fetish – it was for work) …

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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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Delay in giving second jabs of Pfizer vaccine improves immunity

Study finds antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 three-and-a-half times higher in people vaccinated again after 12 weeks rather than three Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK’s decision to delay second doses of coronavirus vaccines has received fresh support from research on the over-80s which found that giving the Pfizer/BioNTech booster after 12 …

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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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Two new vaccines on the way – with more to follow this year

Half of UK adults have had a first jab, and future supplies of millions of doses look assured Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Two very different jabs have been responsible for inoculating Britain’s strikingly high number of vaccine recipients – with more than half of the country’s adult population having now …

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Patrick Vallance: the adviser who spoke scientific truth to power

The UK’s chief scientific adviser loves good food, enjoys a Scandi drama – and has been called ‘the richest civil servant in history’ Sir Patrick Vallance spent his 60th birthday at a podium in Downing Street, flanking Boris Johnson. Whatever plans he had were scrapped. Continue reading…

Patrick Vallance: the adviser who spoke scientific truth to power

The UK’s chief scientific adviser loves good food, enjoys a Scandi drama – and has been called ‘the richest civil servant in history’ Sir Patrick Vallance spent his 60th birthday at a podium in Downing Street, flanking Boris Johnson. Whatever plans he had were scrapped. Continue reading…

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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From Pfizer to Moderna: who’s making billions from Covid vaccines?

The companies in line for the biggest gains – and the shareholders who have already made fortunes Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The arrival of Covid-19 vaccines promises a return to more normal life – and has created a global market worth tens of billions of dollars in annual sales for …

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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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Life savers: the amazing story of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine

A year ago, two scientists began work on the response to a new virus. Now, as their vaccine is being given to millions, they tell of their incredible 12 months Exactly a year ago, Oxford University scientists launched a joint enterprise that is set to have a profound impact on the health of our planet. …

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One Pfizer/BioNTech jab gives ‘90% immunity’ from Covid after 21 days

New analysis runs counter to earlier study which suggested one dose may not give adequate protection Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage One dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine gives people about 90% protection from Covid by 21 days, according to an analysis of Israel’s mass vaccination programme. The data analysis, carried out …

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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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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage 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 …

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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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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage 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 …

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NHS told not to give Pfizer vaccine to extreme allergy sufferers after two people have reaction

Anyone scheduled to receive vaccine will be asked about history of allergic reactions Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Regulators have issued a warning that people who have a history of “significant” allergic reactions should not currently receive the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine after two people who had the jab on Tuesday had …

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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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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage 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 …

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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage 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 …

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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage 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 …

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

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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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 …

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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 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage 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 …

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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 world needs a ‘people’s vaccine’ for coronavirus, not a big-pharma monopoly | Helen Clark and Winnie Byanyima

AstraZeneca and others should not own a lucrative patent on a medicine that is needed by poor as well as rich nations • See all our coronavirus coverage • Helen Clark is a former prime minister of New Zealand and Winnie Byanyima is UN undersecretary general To bring an end to the pandemic, the world …

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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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