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AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial in US remains on hold – Aljazeera.com

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AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial remains on hold in the United States pending a US investigation into a serious side effect in the United Kingdom, even as other trials of the vaccine resume, sources familiar with the details told Reuters News Agency.

AstraZeneca on Saturday said it had restarted its trial in the UK after regulators completed their review of a serious side effect in one trial participant there.

This was the first indication that the US trial will remain on hold until the US Food and Drug Administration and a safety panel investigate the case.

Enrollment in the company’s global trials of the vaccine, which it is developing with researchers at Oxford University, was put on pause on September 6. Sources told Reuters that enrollment of new patients and other trial procedures for the pivotal US trial were being rescheduled until at least midweek and that it was not clear how long it would take for the FDA to complete its probe.

Governments around the world are desperate for a vaccine to help end the pandemic, which has caused more than 900,000 deaths and global economic turmoil. The World Health Organization (WHO) had flagged AstraZeneca’s as the most promising. A prolonged delay in the US trial could slow access to the vaccine in the US.

The British adverse event involved a study patient thought to be suffering a rare spinal inflammatory disorder called transverse myelitis.

An AstraZeneca spokeswoman declined to comment on when the US trial would resume. She said in an email the company “will continue to work with health authorities across the world, including the FDA, and be guided as to when other clinical trials can resume.”

The status of the South African and Indian trials remains unknown, but the trial in Brazil has also restarted. The company has not commented on the timing of resumption in other parts of the world besides the UK.

FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SOURCE:
Reuters news agency

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COVID-19 pandemic taking toll on mental health, Alberta survey says – CBC.ca

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An online survey of Albertans who reached out for help over COVID-19 suggests the pandemic is taking a toll on mental health, with increased signs of obsessive behaviour, stress and depression.

Vincent Agyapong, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta, has just published results of a survey he took of people who subscribed to Text-4-Hope, a government service that provides a daily reassuring text message.

He found abut 60 per cent of respondents had become worried about dirt, germs and viruses since the COVID outbreak.

About 54 per cent had begun washing their hands “very often or in a special way,” which could be considered a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Nearly 50 per cent were considered likely candidates for anxiety disorders, and more than 40 per cent were likely clinically depressed.

And almost 85 per cent of respondents reported moderate to high stress.

Agyapong cautions the sample isn’t representative and that some level of stress and unusual behaviour is understandable in the current situation.

But he says his findings suggest the pandemic is affecting the public’s mental health.

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WATCH: 'Virtual' Rotaryfest 2020 at 7 pm – SooToday

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Despite an unprecedented year of obstacles, one of Sault Ste. Marie’s longest-running traditions returns in a brand new format. The Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie is present Virtual Rotaryfest, streaming on SooToday.

“Our Rotary Club has been celebrating Rotaryfest for almost 100 years – so when it became clear it couldn’t happen in the way it always has, we knew we had to find a creative way to still bring some of the fun of the festival to Sault Ste. Marie,” shared Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie President, Megan Wigmore. “With the virtual format this year, not only do we get to see some of our favourite local bands and performers that have become festival fixtures; we get to bring in some former Saultites to join the party as well!”

One of those former Saultites is Crystal Shawanda. The JUNO Award winning Canadian songstress will headline the virtual event with a Rotaryfest-exclusive performance. The online celebration of music will also include performances from crowd favourites Jay Case and Frank Deresti, Jackson Reed, Mustang Heart, Kelly MacGillivray, Kt Antler & Kyle McKey, Bone Yard, and Tyson Hanes.

This year’s Virtual Rotaryfest has been made possible through the generous support of OLG, SooToday, and Canadian Heritage.

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Fourth patient dies as Foothills hospital outbreaks continue to grow – Calgary Herald

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A fourth patient has died as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks in three units of Foothills Medical Centre.

Alberta Health Services confirmed the death of the patient at the northwest Calgary hospital Saturday, the latest development in Alberta’s largest active outbreak.

The outbreaks continued to grow Saturday, as two more patients and one more health-care worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In total, 20 patients and 18 hospital staff have been infected amid the outbreaks.

COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at three units of Foothills: one in the general medicine ward as well as two cardiac units.

As well, AHS confirmed to Postmedia Friday three additional units had been placed on “outbreak watch,” meaning they were being monitored for potential COVID-19 cases. Those units on watch include one cardiac unit and two in the general medicine ward.

AHS did not provide an update Saturday on the number of staff members forced to isolate as a result of the outbreaks. On Friday, they said 136 staff members had been asked to quarantine.

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