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8 people test positive for COVID-19 in 12 day period in B.C. city – Vancouver Is Awesome

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“This is a wake up call.”

That was the reaction of Kelowna city councillor Ryan Donn upon hearing news at least eight people have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending private gatherings and visiting downtown restaurants and bars over a 12-day period.

“We are still in the middle of a pandemic,” said Donn.

“There’s still social distancing needed. We still need to wash our hands.”

According to Interior Health, those infected may have attended gatherings in downtown Kelowna and along the waterfront from June 25 to July 6.

Interior Health is advising anyone in the area during those days may have been exposed.

“We have all these guidelines in place in Phase 3. We don’t want to go back to Phase 2,” said Donn.

“And, there were six people from outside our boundaries, and now they’re going back to where they came from.”

The identities of the restaurants and pubs visited by the eight people infected are not being identified by Interior Health at this time.

Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema said the health authority doesn’t yet have a complete list, and don’t want to create a false sense of security.

“We don’t have evidence that the cases got the disease at these businesses, only that they were there while sick,” she said in a release to Castanet News.

Donn says if you look at a map of Canada then the United States, there’s some pride in the fact we have done as well as we have in Canada.

“That comes from taking action and listening to the professionals, and we don’t have politicians disagreeing. They’re all agreeing,” he said.

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Quebec-made COVID-19 vaccine candidate begins human clinical trials – CityNews Montreal

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Canadian trials have just begun for a prospective COVID-19 vaccine but its Quebec-based manufacturer is already downplaying its potential impact.

Dr. Bruce Clark, president and CEO of the biopharmaceutical company Medicago, cautions observers against holding unrealistic expectations that his product — or any of the numerous vaccines in development globally — will bring the pandemic to a screeching halt.

“Whatever vaccine we get in this first round — unless it’s a miracle — it’s not going to be perfect,” says Clark, whose company began trials for its proposed vaccine Monday in Quebec City.

“It’s going to have to undergo development, it’s going to take probably years to come up with an understanding of the right vaccine, the right approach. It’s not the panacea.

“To assume that we can have, in 18 months, the solution to a pandemic that comes around once in a generation, is naive.”

So much is still unknown about COVID-19, notes Clark, including how it may manifest during the flu season later this year.

He suspects a more likely scenario is that a vaccine will offer only part of the solution, along with new therapeutics and ongoing public health interventions.

Medicago’s first phase of clinical trials will test a plant-based product on 180 healthy men and women, aged 18 to 55

The randomized, partially blinded study uses technology that does not involve animal products or live viruses like traditional methods.

Clark notes that vaccine developers typically use chicken eggs to propagate a virus, but Medicago uses recombinant technology involving the genetic sequence of a virus, with living plants as the host.

The resulting virus-like particles mimic the shape and dimensions of a virus, which allows the body to recognize them and spark an immune response.

Clark says the plant-based approach is significantly faster and offers more consistent results than egg-based or cell-based methods.

While it takes five to six months to propagate a virus in eggs, the plant-based technique requires just five to six weeks, he says.

“In a pandemic, something like COVID, if you’re able to cut that much time off development, you have a substantial impact on public health.”

Meanwhile, Clark says viruses are prone to mutations as they adapt and grow in an egg, which could result in a vaccine that doesn’t exactly match the circulating virus. In contrast, “a plant is a plant,” and that makes production easily scalable.

“One plant behaves like 100,000 plants,” he says.

The trial will evaluate three different dosages alone, or with one of two adjuvants provided by GlaxoSmithKline and Dynavax. An adjuvant can boost the effectiveness of a vaccine for a better immunological response, thereby reducing the required dose, Clark adds.

He hopes to know the effectiveness of the adjuvants and dosing by October, and then kick off a second, more targeted trial phase involving about 1,000 participants.

Clark says the third phase would involve about 15,000 to 20,000 subjects, and may be a global study, depending on circumstances of the pandemic.

If the vaccine is successful, Clark points to another uncertainty.

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1st Canadian human trial for coronavirus vaccine is underway. Here's what that means – thepeakfm.com

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Canadian trials have just begun for a prospective COVID-19 vaccine but its Quebec-based manufacturer is already tempering expectations.

Bruce Clark, president and CEO of the biopharmaceutical company Medicago, cautions observers against holding unrealistic assumptions that his product — or any of the numerous vaccine hopefuls in development globally — can bring the pandemic to a screeching halt if proven viable.

Clark notes more than 120 companies are trying to come up with a COVID-19 vaccine, many of which have never been in the vaccine space before.

He doesn’t doubt that “something’s going to come out of this,” but he questions how effective it may be.

Read more:
With over 70 coronavirus vaccines in development, how close are we to a successful one?

“Whatever vaccine we get in this first round — unless it’s a miracle — it’s not going to be perfect,” says Clark, whose company began trials for its proposed vaccine Monday in Quebec City.

“It’s going to have to undergo development, it’s going to take probably years to come up with an understanding of the right vaccine, the right approach. It’s not the panacea.

“To assume that we can have, in 18 months, the solution to a pandemic that comes around once in a generation, is naive.”

Canada’s deputy public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo expressed similar cautions Tuesday, while acknowledging the need to develop viable vaccines and therapies.

“Lots of different steps are still ahead of us before we might even anticipate that there might be a safe, effective vaccine that would be available for use in the general population,” said Njoo.

So much is still unknown about COVID-19, notes Clark, including how it may manifest during the flu season later this year.

He suspects a more likely scenario is that a vaccine will offer only part of the solution, along with new therapeutics and ongoing public health interventions.

Plant-based product to be tested on 180 people

Medicago’s first phase of clinical trials will test the safety of a plant-based product on 180 healthy men and women, aged 18 to 55.

The randomized, partially blinded study uses technology that does not involve animal products or live viruses like traditional methods.

Clark notes that vaccine developers typically use chicken eggs to propagate a virus, but Medicago uses recombinant technology involving the genetic sequence of a virus, with living plants as the host.

Read more:
Canadian company announces COVID-19 vaccine candidate

The resulting virus-like particles mimic the shape and dimensions of a virus, which allows the body to recognize them and spark an immune response.

Clark says the plant-based approach is significantly faster and offers more consistent results than egg-based or cell-based methods.

It’s the same method Medicago has used for a proposed seasonal flu vaccine that Clark says is currently being reviewed by Health Canada. If approved, Clark says it would be the first plant-based vaccine in the world.

While it takes five to six months to propagate a virus in eggs, the plant-based technique requires just five to six weeks, he says.

“In a pandemic, something like COVID, if you’re able to cut that much time off development, you have a substantial impact on public health.”

Meanwhile, Clark says viruses are prone to mutations as they adapt and grow in an egg, which could result in a vaccine that doesn’t exactly match the circulating virus. In contrast, “a plant is a plant,” and that makes production easily scalable.

“One plant behaves like 100,000 plants,” he says.

The trial will evaluate three different dosages alone, or with one of two adjuvants provided by GlaxoSmithKline and Dynavax. An adjuvant can boost the effectiveness of a vaccine for a better immunological response, thereby reducing the required dose, Clark adds.

Read more:
Activists warn coronavirus vaccine could be hoarded by rich countries

He hopes to know the safety of the product, as well as effectiveness of the adjuvants and dosing by October. Based on that, researchers would kick off a second, more targeted trial phase involving about 1,000 participants.

If that’s successful, Clark says a third phase would involve about 15,000 to 20,000 subjects, include older cohorts, and may be a global study, depending on circumstances of the pandemic by then.

Border issues complicate supply chains

If the vaccine proves effective, Clark points to another uncertainty.

Because the company’s commercial plant is across the border in Durham, N.C., he says there’s no guarantee of a Canadian supply.

“‘Guarantee’ is a strong word,” says Clark. “Strange things happen to borders in the context of a pandemic.”

Such border complications were made clear to Canadians in April when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau complained about problems with incomplete or non-existent deliveries of critical COVID-19 supplies. At the time, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered U.S. producers to prioritize the domestic market.

Clark suggests similar hurdles could impact vaccine distribution, putting immediate pressure on Medicago to complete construction of a large-scale manufacturing facility in its home base of Quebec City.

“Certainly, we need a facility in Canada,” Clark says.

“There’s no guarantee on the easy flow of materials back and forth across the border should we have a successful vaccine. We have to keep the focus on completing the Canadian facility so that we have domestic capacity. I think this is what most countries are concerned about.”

By the end of 2023, the Quebec City plant is expected to be able to produce up to one billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine annually.

Until then, Medicago says it expects to be able to make approximately 100 million doses by the end of 2021, assuming its trials are successful.

Clark says countries must temper any nationalist agendas that might emerge with a viable vaccine and acknowledge that the fight against COVID-19 is global.

Commentary:
‘Vaccine nationalism’ could threaten Canada’s access to a COVID-19 vaccine

Meeting that demand would require multiple manufacturers, multiple distribution routes, and lots of co-operation, he says, possibly through the World Health Organization.

“There has to be some ability to share those around and distribute, whether that’s through an entity like the WHO, or something equivalent.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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India reimposes lockdowns as Covid-19 cases near a million – latest updates – TRT World

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Coronavirus has infected more than 13.4 million people, of whom over 7.8 million have recovered and some 580,000 have died. Here are the updates for July 15:

A woman holds a small bottle labelled “Vaccine Covid-19” and a syringe in this illustration.
(Reuters)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 

Russian military says virus vaccine is tested and safe

The Russian Defence Ministry said it has developed a “safe” vaccine following clinical trials on a group of volunteers.

The ministry said 18 people had participated in the research and were discharged without “serious adverse events, health complaints, complications or side effects.”

The results of the trials “allow us to speak with confidence about the safety and good tolerability of the vaccine,” it said in a statement.

The Defence Ministry did not say whether the vaccine was in fact effective but a doctor working on the trials said the volunteers were now protected against the pandemic.

Maldives reopens for tourists

The Maldives reopened its tourist resorts and welcomed its first international flight in more than three months even as the Indian Ocean holiday hot spot records a steady rise in infections.

Tourism is a major earner for the Maldives, a tropical island paradise popular with honeymooners and celebrities.

Disneyland Paris reopens, but no hugs for Donald

Disneyland Paris, Europe’s biggest private tourist attraction, reopened its gates after four months of lockdown, albeit with limited access and a ban on hugging the famous characters.

As festive music played, Mickey, Pluto and other Disney characters greeted the first visitors –– all sporting face masks and some the trademark Mickey Mouse ears –– while keeping a safe distance from the guests.

Despite the merry mood, things at Disneyland are not quite back to normal as the pandemic was again showing a slight uptick in the country where it has claimed more than 30,000 lives.

Philippines confirms 11 more deaths

Philippines Health Ministry reported 11 deaths and 1,392 additional infections.

The ministry said total deaths had risen to 1,614, while confirmed infections reached 58,850.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is due to decide whether or not to maintain partial restrictions in the capital, set to expire on Wednesday, to slow the spread of the virus as some hospitals reach critical care capacity. 

Indonesia sees biggest single-day jump in deaths

Indonesia reported 87 deaths, its biggest daily jump, bringing the total number of fatalities to 3,797, its Health Ministry said.

Indonesia also reported 1,522 infections, taking the overall tally to 80,094 cases, ministry official Achmad Yurianto told a televised news briefing.

Russia registers 6,422 cases, pushing the total into 746,369

Russia reported 6,422 cases, pushing its confirmed national tally to 746,369, the fourth highest in the world.

Officials said 156 people had died of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 11,770. 

India reimposes lockdown as cases near 1 million

India’s caseload is approaching 1 million with a surge of 29,429 new confirmed infections during the past 24 hours, prompting authorities to reimpose lockdowns in high-risk areas in nearly a dozen states.

The new confirmed cases took the national total to 936,181. The Health Ministry also reported another 582 deaths for a total to 24,309.

A two-week lockdown was imposed in eastern Bihar state, where nearly 2.5 million migrant workers have returned home after losing jobs in other parts of the country and further spread the virus.

Australia’s death toll rises to 111

Australia’s most populous states will impose harsher restrictions on movement if a Covid-19 outbreak is not quickly brought under control, state premiers said.

Victoria state reported another 238 cases in the past 24 hours, even after reimposing a lockdown last week on about five million people in Melbourne, Australia’s second-biggest city.

Nationally, Australia has now recorded about 10,500 cases, while the death toll rose to 111 after a woman in her 90s died from the virus.

Tokyo on top alert level after new cases

Tokyo is on its highest coronavirus alert level after a spike in new cases, the city’s governor warned, as experts said the rising infections were a clear “red flag.”

Daily coronavirus cases exceeded 200 in four of the last six days, touching an all-time high of 243 cases last Friday as testing among workers in the metropolis’s red-light districts turned up infections among young people in their 20s and 30s.

As of Wednesday, there were only seven people requiring intensive care for coronavirus and authorities have insisted that the medical system is in better shape than at the height of the previous wave in April.

And despite the latest outbreak, the situation in Japan remains considerably less serious than in many other comparable countries in terms of population.

Japan has had just over 22,500 cases and close to 1,000 deaths since the disease was first detected in the country. No one has died of coronavirus in Tokyo for three weeks.

Germany’s cases rise by 351 to 199,726

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 351 to 199,726, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by three to 9,071, the tally showed. 

Moderna vaccine enters final stage trial this month

An experimental Covid-19 vaccine that is being developed by US biotech firm Moderna induced antibody responses against the coronavirus in all 45 participants of a human trial, according to a new paper.

Moderna had previously published “interim results” from its Phase 1 in the form of a press release on its website in May, which revealed the vaccine had generated immune responses in eight patients.

Though these were called “encouraging” by Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases official, the full study had been eagerly awaited by the scientific community.

The company has since moved to the next stage of its trial, involving 600 people.

The new paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Moderna said the phase 3 trial on July 27 will recruit 30,000 participants in the US, with half to receive the vaccine at 100 microgram dose levels, and the other half to receive a placebo.

Thousands in Bolivia anti-government protest

Thousands of demonstrators have defied quarantine restrictions and marched on the Bolivian capital La Paz to protest against the government of interim President Jeanine Anez.

“The people are expressing their needs, they are expressing their voice in protest,” said Juan Carlos Huarachi, leader of the country’s biggest trade union, Central Obrera Boliviana, on Tuesday.

The demonstration, held over worker grievances about health and education policies and massive layoffs, was the biggest since the coronavirus pandemic reached the South American country in March.  

“There are many layoffs,” said Huarachi, “because of the fall in the economy.”

South Korea unemployment rate inches down

South Korea’s unemployment rate fell marginally in June but remained high in historical terms as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on businesses and labour markets.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slid to 4.3 percent in June, notches below a decade-high of 4.5 percent in May, data from Statistics Korea showed on Wednesday.

Data also showed the number of employed was around 27.1 million in June, 352,000 fewer than a year earlier. This marked the fourth month of year-on-year decline, the longest losing streak in more than 10 years. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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