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B.C. adds 155 COVID-19 cases, 1 death in final update of the week – CTV Edmonton

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VICTORIA —
British Columbia has added 155 more COVID-19 cases and one more death to its total in the last 24 hours, health officials said Friday.

There are now 1,513 active cases of the coronavirus in the province, including 72 people who are hospitalized, 26 of whom are in intensive care.

The update marks the 15th consecutive day on which B.C.’s case total has grown by more than 100, and the first time the province’s active caseload has surpassed 1,500 since Sept. 21.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 11,189 cases of COVID-19 recorded in B.C. and 251 deaths.

Friday’s update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and deputy minister of health Stephen Brown came in the form of a written statement. The pair offered their condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones during the pandemic.

The health officials also announced a new community outbreak at the Tim Hortons in Merritt, but they didn’t provide any details on how many people had tested positive.

There have been no additional outbreaks in health-care facilities over the last day, and the outbreak at KinVillage in Delta has been declared over, Henry and Brown said. There are currently 15 long-term care and assisted-living facilities with ongoing outbreaks, as well as two outbreaks in acute-care facilities.

Nine of the 155 new cases announced Friday are considered epidemiologically linked, meaning the person who had the virus was never tested, but is a close contact of a known case and developed symptoms.

As of Friday, there are 3,713 people under “active public health monitoring” as a result of exposure to confirmed cases of COVID-19.

With the provincial election just over a week away, Henry and Brown used their statement to reassure voters that Elections BC has COVID-19 safety plans in place for all of its polling places.

“If you are planning on voting in person, remember to give others the space to stay safe when going to vote, wash your hands before and after voting, and consider using a mask if distancing is a challenge,” the pair said.

They added that voters who are feeling unwell or self-isolating because of COVID-19 can still cast their ballots without going to a voting place. Voters in those situations can call Elections BC at 800-661-8683 for information or assistance, Henry and Brown said. 

Most of B.C.’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been located in the Lower Mainland, with 5,884 recorded in the Fraser Health region and 4,036 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

Elsewhere in B.C., there have been 590 confirmed cases in Interior Health, 350 in Northern Health and 240 in Island Health. There have also been 89 cases of COVID-19 recorded in B.C. among people who reside outside Canada.

A total of 9,387 people who have had the coronavirus in B.C. are now considered recovered. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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Early COVID-19 vaccines 'likely to be imperfect': U.K. Vaccine Taskforce chair – Toronto Sun

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U.K. Vaccine Taskforce Chair Kate Bingham said on Tuesday that the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines “is likely to be imperfect” and that they “might not work for everyone.”

“However, we do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all. It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism,” Bingham wrote in a piece published in The Lancet medical journal.

“The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long,” she added.

Bingham wrote that the Vaccine Taskforce recognizes that “many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail,” adding the focus has been on vaccines that are expected to elicit immune responses in the population older than 65 years.

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She said that the global manufacturing capacity for vaccines is vastly inadequate for the billions of doses that are needed and that the United Kingdom’s manufacturing capability to date has been “equally scarce.”

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Coronavirus: First COVID vaccines 'likely to be imperfect' and 'might not prevent infection', says taskforce boss – Sky News

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The chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce has said the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines “is likely to be imperfect” and that they “might not work for everyone”.

Writing in The Lancet, Kate Bingham said no vaccine in the history of medicine “has been as eagerly anticipated” and that “vaccination is widely regarded as the only true exit strategy from the pandemic that is currently spreading globally”.

But she cautioned against over-optimism and that any vaccine might not work for everyone, or for very long.

“We do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all,” she wrote. “It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism.

“The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long.”

The Vaccine Taskforce was created by Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific advisor. It was set up under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in May 2020, and Ms Bingham reports directly to the prime minister.

In her Lancet article she said that the “strategy has been to build a diverse portfolio across different formats to give the UK the greatest chance of providing a safe and effective vaccine, recognising that many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail”.

More from Covid-19

Ms Bingham’s article came as a review of coronavirus vaccine research called for a standardised approach to assessing the effectiveness of all potential COVID-19 inoculations.

Publishing their conclusions in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, researchers from the University of Oxford said a meaningful comparison of different candidates is required to ensure only the most effective vaccines are deployed.

Dr Susanne Hodgson, of the University of Oxford, who is the lead author of the review, said: “It is unlikely that we will see a single vaccine winner in the race against Covid-19.

“Different technologies will bring distinct advantages that are relevant in different situations, and additionally, there will probably be challenges with manufacturing and supplying a single vaccine at the scale required, at least initially.

“Taking a standardised approach to measuring the success of vaccines in clinical trials will be important for making meaningful comparisons, so that the most effective candidates can be taken forward for wider use.”

There are more than 200 vaccine candidates in development around the world, with 44 in clinical trials.

Of the 44, nine are in the phase three stage of clinical evaluation and are being given to thousands of people to confirm safety and effectiveness.

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South Korea begins preliminary review of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate – The Guardian

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SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s food and drug ministry said on Tuesday it had begun a preliminary review of a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC for potential fast-track approval.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said in a statement that it had formed a screening team to review the vaccine candidate, with an application for formal approval expected in 90 days under its rapid approval programme for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

The team is reviewing the vaccine’s non-clinical test data, the ministry said.

The ministry added that it had given a green light to some 26 clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines as of Monday, by entities such as pharmaceutical companies Celltrion Inc and Genexine Inc, with seven completed and 19 ongoing.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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