domains, hosting, seo, apps & news

Vaccine Breakthrough Raises Hopes of Rapid Global Rollout

A coronavirus vaccine developed by Britain’s University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has shown successful results in early trials. If it is approved by regulators, the vaccine appears suitable for a fast rollout around the globe. Early analysis of trials involving 20,000 volunteers in Britain and Brazil show the vaccine is at least 62% effective after two doses. In volunteers given a different dosing regimen — a half dose, followed by a full dose — that figure rose to 90%. The average efficacy of the two dosing methods is 70%. None of those given the vaccine developed severe COVID-19 illness. Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the recent successful trials of three different vaccines by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, represent a scientific breakthrough. “It really feels like a great moment that we’ve got now multiple vaccines. If we can get them rolled out as soon as possible, we’re going to have a big impact,” Pollard said. Differences from other vaccinesAstraZeneca plans to begin supplying hundreds of millions of doses by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval. Several properties of the vaccine make it suitable for global rollout, according to Peter Drobac, a global health expert at the University of Oxford, who did not work on the development of the AstraZeneca vaccine. “The first is cost,” Drobac said. “So, this vaccine has been priced at about one-fifth to one-tenth of the cost reportedly being sought by Pfizer and Moderna, some of the other leading vaccine candidates.” AstraZeneca has pledged it will not make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic.  Secondly, “in 10 countries, it’s already being manufactured, including a very large manufacturing partner in India. So, we hope to see very large numbers of doses become available very quickly. And then thirdly, this vaccine only required kind of fridge-temperature storage,” Drobac told VOA. By contrast, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires storage at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Many health systems in developing nations lack refrigeration facilities to store medicines at such ultra-cold temperatures. COVAXSo far, 188 countries have signed up to an initiative called COVAX, where richer countries invest in the development of several vaccines and the infrastructure required for rolling them out across the globe.  “The goal in a perfect world would be that each of the countries that signs up for COVAX would receive enough vaccine for 20% of their populations by the end of 2021,” Drobac said. “Now, that’s an aspiration of course, not a guarantee. But that would allow every country to at least begin to cover the most vulnerable, front-line workers, etc.” The human rights organization Amnesty International praised Oxford University. “However, much more needs to be done to ensure that everyone, everywhere can benefit from these life-saving products, and without further action, vaccine supply for lower-income countries will remain perilously low,” Amnesty said in a statement Monday.  It is possible the leading vaccine candidates will be given emergency approval by regulators in the coming weeks, raising hopes that the world is on the brink of a major breakthrough in the fight against the pandemic.
In the meantime, doctors say it is vital that people follow measures to suppress the transmission of the virus.
 

your ad here


China Set to Launch Lunar Probe

China is scheduled to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon Monday to land, gather soil and rock samples, and return them to Earth.  
 
If successful, it will be the first mission by any nation to retrieve samples from the lunar surface since the 1970s, and the third nation, after the United States and Russia, to retrieve such samples.
 
The Chang’e 5 probe, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon, will seek to collect material that can help scientists understand more about the moon’s origins and formation.  
 
 U.S. space agency NASA, says the mission’s goal is to land in a previously unvisited area of the moon known as Oceanus Procellarum and operate for one lunar day, which lasts 14 earth days, and return a 2-kilogram sample of lunar soil, possibly from as deep as 2 meters.  
 
The sample will travel to Earth in the return capsule and land in the Siziwang Banner grassland of the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in China.
 
During a brief government-organized visit to the launch center, reporters were taken to a place where they could see, in the distance, the Long March 5 rocket that carries the Chang’e 5 probe. The launch is expected to take place between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. (2000-2100 GMT) on November 24.
 
The Reuters news service reports China made its first lunar landing in 2013. In January 2019, the Chang’e 4 probe touched down on the far side of the moon, the first by any space probe. Within the next decade, China plans to establish a robotic base station to conduct unmanned exploration in the south polar region.
 

your ad here


British PM Lays Out Post-Lockdown Restrictions   

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled an updated plan for handling Britain’s COVID-19 infection after the country’s partial national lockdown is lifted December 2.In video message to Parliament Monday, Johnson said the lockdown will be lifted next Wednesday as promised. He said although Britain will return to the regional system that was in place prior to the lockdown, he has received scientific advice indicating the tiers need to be tougher to adequately reduce the infection rate.In the new tier 1, people will be required to work from home if they can. In tier 2, pubs will only be able to serve drinks with a “substantial meal.” And in tier 3, indoor entertainment and hotels will close, and restaurants and pubs will only be allowed to open for take-out.As before, Johnson said the tiers will be determined based on the rate of COVID-19 infections in each area, with the toughest measures implemented where the disease is most prevalent. The government will announce which areas will be under which tier later this week.A woman walks through the Burlington Arcade adorned with Christmas decorations, amid the coronavirus disease outbreak, in London, Nov. 23, 2020.Johnson said more regions will fall, at least temporarily, into higher levels than before. But, he said, with tougher restrictions and more rapid coronavirus testing, it should be possible for areas to move to lower levels of restrictions fairly quickly.The prime minister said people should not expect a normal Christmas holiday this year, saying, “This virus is obviously not going to grant a Christmas truce, it doesn’t know it’s Christmas.” He did say his government was working to develop “a special time-limited Christmas dispensation” plan that would allow families to come together, while minimizing the risk.Britain has recorded 18,662 new cases and 398 deaths in the last 24 hours. Of these, 16,668 are in England, 844 in Scotland, 808 in Wales and 342 in Northern Ireland. There are now more than 1.5 million cases recorded in total, and deaths have crossed 55,000.
 

your ad here


AstraZeneca Announces ‘Highly Effective’ COVID-19 Vaccine

AstraZeneca said early Monday that clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in Britain and Brazil have shown it is “highly effective in preventing COVID-19″ without  “hospitalizations or severe cases of the disease” in any of the trial’s volunteers.  AstraZeneca tested two dosing regimens.  One regimen had a vaccine efficacy of 90%.  The second regimen has an average efficacy of 70%.  “More data will continue to accumulate, and additional analysis will be conducted, refining the efficacy reading and establishing the duration of protection,” Astra Zeneca said in a statement Monday.  “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives.” Professor Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford, said in a statement.” AstraZeneca said it “will seek an Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization for an accelerated pathway to vaccine availability in low-income countries. In parallel, the full analysis of the interim results is being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.”An AstraZeneca sign is seen at the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, Nov. 6, 2020.On Sunday, countries begin laying out plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, with Germany and the United States preparing to vaccinate some populations as early as next month. German Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters Sunday that there “is reason to be optimistic” that a vaccine would be approved in Europe before the end of the year, and that after approval, vaccinations could begin “right away.” The United States has set preliminary plans to begin vaccinating some groups as early as December 12, two days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to review the Pfizer vaccine. At the G-20 summit this weekend, 20 of the world’s richest nations’ leaders vowed to work together to ensure that vaccines against COVID-19 will be made available to the most poor and vulnerable populations.FILE – A booth displaying a coronavirus vaccine candidate from China National Biotech Group is seen at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services, following the COVID-19 outbreak, in Beijing, China, Sept. 5, 2020.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Saturday authorized the emergency use of a COVID-19 antibody therapy that President Donald Trump said helped cure him of the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. therapy approved by the FDA is made up of the monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab. They are to be administered together to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults, including those 65 and older with some chronic medical conditions, and children who are at high risk of a more severe case.  The company expects to have enough of the treatment ready for about 200,000 patients by the first week of January. 

your ad here


Co-Founder of Viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Dies at 37

YONKERS, NEW YORK — A co-founder of the social media ALS ice bucket challenge, which has raised more than $200 million worldwide for Lou Gehrig’s disease research, died Sunday at the age of 37, according to the ALS Association.Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013, a month after his 30th birthday, the organization said in a statement announcing his death.  “Pat fought ALS with positivity and bravery and inspired all around him,” the association said. “Those of us who knew him are devastated but grateful for all he did to advance the fight against ALS. … Our thoughts are with the Quinn family and all of his friends and supporters. Pat was loved by many of us within the ALS community and around the world.”In 2014, Quinn saw the ice bucket challenge on the social media feed of professional golfer Chris Kennedy, who first dared his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia to take a bucket of ice water, dump it over her head, post a video on social media and ask others to do the same or to make a donation to charity. Senerchia’s husband had ALS.Quinn and co-founder Pete Frates, along with their teams of supporters, helped popularize the challenge. The ALS Association said Quinn “knew it was the key to raising ALS awareness,” calling it “the greatest social media campaign in history.” Frates, a former Boston College baseball player, died in December 2019 at the age of 34.When the two picked it up, the phenomenon exploded, the organization said. Thousands of people participated in the viral trend, including celebrities, sports stars and politicians — even Donald Trump before his election and cartoon character Homer Simpson. Online videos were viewed millions of times.”It dramatically accelerated the fight against ALS, leading to new research discoveries, expanded care for people living with ALS, and significant investment from the government in ALS research,” the organization’s statement said.Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the New York Yankees great who suffered from it — is also known as ALS or motor neuron disease. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to paralysis due to the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. There is no known cure.  The organization added that Quinn continued to raise awareness and funds after popularizing the challenge. In 2015, the association honored him, among others, as “ALS Heroes” — an award given to people living with the disease who have had a significant, positive impact on the fight against it. 

your ad here


Ancient Madrid Market Reopens Amid Debate Over Virus Rules 

Madrid’s ancient and emblematic Rastro flea market reopened Sunday after a contentious eight-month closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has walloped the Spanish capital. With many major European flea markets still shut down, the Rastro’s return seems to be another example of Madrid’s bid to show that heavy coronavirus restrictions may not be necessary even among the latest surge of the virus and some sort of normality can resume with precautions.  That stance has been both criticized and lauded. After lengthy negotiations, city authorities agreed the Rastro could open at 50% capacity, with half its 1,000 stalls alternating each Sunday for a maximum crowd of 2,700 people.  Police with backup drones will monitor the market to avoid overcrowding. Dating back to the 1700s, the Rastro sells the usual flea market mix of antiques, clothes, furniture, bric-a-brac and curios in stalls that snake down through a warren-like district next to Madrid’s majestic Plaza Mayor square.  Long a traditional meeting and drinking place, the bustling Sunday morning market used to attract thousands of tourists and locals alike. If you arrived after 11 a.m., it was almost impossible to move. Spain has been one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries in the pandemic, recording more than 1.5 million coronavirus cases and over 42,500 deaths. 

your ad here


COVID Nurse: ‘Many of us Have PTSD’ 

Almost 1,400 frontline healthcare workers in the U.S. have apparently died of COVID-19, according to a joint investigation by British newspaper, The Guardian, and Kaiser Health News.  One-third of the dead health care workers were nurses, the study said.Many of the health care workers, the report said, “are struggling with illness, trauma and exhaustion.” FILE – An NHS worker is pictured outside the Aintree University Hospital before the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Liverpool, Britain, April 23, 2020.A surgical nurse told The Guardian that in the first two months of the coronavirus pandemic, he wrapped more people in body bags than he had in the previous 25 years of his career. Jim Gentile said, “Many of us have PTSD.” More than 58 million people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus, the Johns Hopkins Resource Center reported early Sunday.  The U.S. continues to lead the world in infections with more than 12 million cases, followed by India with 9 million infections and Brazil with 6 million. FILE – Ventilator tubes are attached to a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Nov. 19, 2020.The virus has claimed more than 1.3 million lives.  More than a quarter million of those deaths were in the U.S.  Even though the coronavirus disease is surging, not everyone is eager to be vaccinated against it, according to a recent Ipsos poll. While 73% of those polled worldwide said they would be vaccinated, that number was four points higher this summer.   The study found that “vaccination intent” declined in 10 of the 15 countries included in the poll. Intent went down the most in China, Australia, Spain and Brazil.  FILE – Trial kits for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccination study are seen at the Research Centers of America, in Hollywood, Florida, Sept. 24, 2020.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Saturday authorized the emergency use of a COVID-19 antibody therapy that President Donald Trump said helped cure him of the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. therapy approved by the FDA is made up of the monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab. They are to be administered together to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults, including those 65 and older with some chronic medical conditions, and children who are at high risk of a more severe case.  The company expects to have enough of the treatment ready for about 200,000 patients by the first week of January. Friday, U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, said they have filed for emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use their COVID-19 vaccine, saying they are poised to begin distribution within hours of receiving approval.  The application comes after the companies said testing shows the vaccine has an effectiveness rate of 95%, with no serious safety concerns observed to date.  U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday that the FDA could decide about emergency use for the vaccine candidate within weeks.    

your ad here


FDA Approves Antibody Therapy as US Passes 12 Million Cases

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday authorized the emergency use of a COVID-19 antibody therapy that President Donald Trump said helped cure him of the disease caused by the coronavirus.On the same day, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported that the U.S. had passed 12 million COVID-19 cases.“It’s really a moment that we want to call on every American to increase their vigilance,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said this week.The Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. therapy approved by the FDA is made up of the monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab. They are to be administered together to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults, including those 65 and older with some chronic medical conditions, and children who are at high risk of a more severe case.The company expects to have enough of the treatment ready for about 200,000 patients by the first week of January.Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said Friday she expects the number of new daily cases to reach 20,000 per day, up from just under 5,000 per day currently, if Canadians maintain their current number of personal contacts.However, she warned that number could spike to 60,000 a day by the end of December if Canadians increase their level of contact with other people, a possible scenario with the Christmas holiday season looming.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on Canadians to stay home and follow public health rules to help slow the spread of COVID-19.Friday, U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, said they have filed for emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use their COVID-19 vaccine, saying they are poised to begin distribution within hours of receiving approval.The application comes after the companies said testing shows the vaccine has an effectiveness rate of 95%, with no serious safety concerns observed to date.U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday that the FDA could decide about emergency use for the vaccine candidate within weeks.

your ad here