BEIJING, CHINA —
China has put its homegrown coronavirus vaccines on display for the first time, as the country where the contagion was discovered looks to shape the narrative surrounding the pandemic.
High hopes hang on the small vials of liquid on show at a Beijing trade fair this week — vaccine candidates produced by Chinese companies Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm.
Neither has hit the market yet but the makers hope they will be approved after all-important phase 3 trials as early as year-end.
A Sinovac representative told AFP his firm has already “completed the construction of a vaccine factory” able to produce 300 million doses a year.
On Monday, people at the trade fair crowded around booths showing the potential game-changing vaccines.
China, which is facing a storm of foreign criticism over its early handling of the pandemic, has been trying to repurpose the story of COVID-19.
State media and officials are now emphasising the revival of Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the deadly pathogen surfaced, as a success story in the fight against the virus.
They are also touting progress on domestic vaccines as a sign of Chinese leadership and resilience in the face of an unprecedented health threat that has pummelled the global economy.
In May, President Xi Jinping pledged to make any potential vaccine developed by China a “global public good”.
The potential vaccines on display are among nearly 10 worldwide to enter phase 3 trials, typically the last step ahead of regulatory approval, as countries race to stub out the virus and reboot battered economies.
Sinopharm said it anticipates the antibodies from its jab to last between one and three years — although the final result will only be known after the trials.
China’s nationalistic tabloid Global Times reported last month that “the price of the vaccines will not be high.”
Every two doses should cost below 1,000 yuan (US$146), the report said, citing Sinopharm’s chairman, who told media he has already been injected with one of the candidate vaccines.
China’s official Xinhua news agency reported Monday that another vaccine candidate, developed by Chinese military scientists, can deal with mutations in the coronavirus.
As of last month, at least 5.7 billion doses of the vaccines under development around the world had been pre-ordered.
But the World Health Organization has warned that widespread immunisation against COVID-19 may not be on the cards until the middle of next year.
Drugmaker Novavax begins late-stage vaccine trial in U.K. – CTV News
U.S.-based Novavax has begun a late stage trial of its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the United Kingdom because the high-level of the coronavirus circulating in the country is likely to produce quick results, the pharmaceutical company said.
Novavax plans to test the effectiveness of its vaccine in a trial involving 10,000 people between the ages of 18 and 84, according to a statement issued late Thursday. At least 25% of the subjects will be over the age of 65, and 400 participants will also receive a licensed flu vaccine.
The trial is being conducted in partnership with the U.K. government’s Vaccine Taskforce, which was created in April to help speed the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“With a high level of SARS-CoV-2 transmission observed and expected to continue in the U.K., we are optimistic that this pivotal phase 3 clinical trial will enrol quickly and provide a near-term view of (the vaccine’s) efficacy,” Dr. Gregory M. Glenn, head of research and development for Novavax, said in the statement.
The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the U.K. The government reported 6,634 new positive test results on Thursday — the U.K.’s highest daily number since the pandemic began. Britain has the deadliest outbreak in Europe, with nearly 42,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
Drugmakers are rushing to develop COVID-19 vaccines with the backing of governments desperate to find a way of easing restrictions that have hammered the world economy.
The U.K. has already agreed to buy 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine to ensure it can be distributed as quickly as possible if it is approved by regulators.
The government said Friday that participants in the Novavax trial will be drawn from the 250,000 people who have volunteered to take part in COVID-19 vaccine testing through the National Health Service’s Vaccine Registry.
“Finding a safe and effective vaccine that works for the majority of the U.K. population is the best way to tackle this devastating disease,” said Kate Bingham, chair of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce. “Whilst social distancing, testing and other measures can help reduce the impact of coronavirus, the only long-term solution to beating it will be finding a vaccine.”
Novavax also pledged to publish details of its vaccine testing protocol “to enhance information-sharing during the worldwide pandemic.”
Drugmakers are under pressure to release more information about the progress of their vaccine trials — information they normally wouldn’t release until the trials are complete — to increase public confidence in their work.
Several other big pharmaceutical firms, including AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer, have already released the protocols for their trials.
Demand for sports equipment and home gyms booms as Canadians prepare for pandemic winter – CBC.ca
Canadians in need of sports equipment and fitness gear to stay healthy and have fun during a pandemic winter have learned a valuable lesson: Shop early to avoid disappointment.
“People saw what happened with kiddie pools and fitness equipment in the spring,” said Gillian Montgomery, who co-owns Skiis and Biikes, a sporting goods chain with three locations in southern Ontario. Her stores are already unusually busy.
“Normally we don’t have interest in winter products until we see the snow and even until Christmas, but this year we’ve had maybe 30 calls just since September about getting cross-country skiing equipment.”
At Calgary’s Abom Ski & Board, owner Randy Ahl already has a “big, long” waiting list for entry-level cross-country ski packages that haven’t even arrived at the store yet.
Wait lists already growing
“Whether it’s a couple or a family, they’re saying, ‘We want a phone call when those things come in,'” said Ahl, who has already outfitted entire families with boots, poles and skis that he does have in stock. “I consider over $2,000 to be a fairly big purchase, and that’s happened already more than a dozen times.”
People who plan to exercise indoors are prepping as well.
Drew Berner has installed a home gym in his Toronto garage.
I fully intend to be out there all winter long,” said the father of three-year-old twins. “My garage is detached, but it is insulated, and I’m going to get a little space heater.”
Early in the pandemic with gyms locked down, health-conscious Canadians made alternate arrangements, following along with exercise instructors on YouTube, joining classes held in parks, or buying exercise gear to use at home.
But many retailers were unable to satisfy demand for sporting goods and fitness equipment. Canadian Tire experienced triple-digit growth in the category.
“Consumer demand far exceeded both historical demand and available inventory,” the company said in a statement to CBC News.
A sense of urgency
When Berner tried to find a set of weights, an exercise bike and a rowing machine for his garage gym, he found most were already sold out. Only by persisting was he able to get what he needed. He spent $3,000 on a mix of new and second-hand equipment.
“That involved everything from having alerts set on Kijiji … to having email alerts from stores so I would be notified as soon as they had things I wanted in stock,” said Berner, noting that he had to act fast before another buyer scooped them up.
Now, as cases of COVID-19 surge across Canada, national fitness chains such as GoodLife Fitness and F45 Training remain open — with limited capacity. Even so, some gym members are unwilling to return to an environment where people breathe heavily and sweat. And the market for used goods is again red hot.
The most popular search terms on online seller Kijiji are still dumbbells, ellipticals and exercise bikes, said company’s manager of community relations, Kent Sikstrom.
Second-hand Peloton Bikes have more than doubled since this time last year, while inquiries about elliptical machines are up 39 per cent and treadmills inquiries are up 15 per cent.
“Probably in the next couple of weeks we may see snow shoes, cross-country skis, sleds, and snowboard begin to create a new trend for the season,” said Sikstrom.
eBay Canada, which sells both new and used goods, is also reporting significant increases. Stair machines are up 230 per cent from this time last year, while treadmills sales are up 280 per cent, according to the head of the Canadian operation, Rob Bigler.
Gear not essential
“We’ve been super busy,” said Bigler. “It’s a great time to sell that treadmill that’s been sitting in your basement, maybe being used to hang up laundry.”
But Samantha Monpetit-Huynh, a fitness coach and trainer in Toronto, pointed out that a lot of gear isn’t essential to stay active and healthy.
“People forget your body is probably the best piece of equipment you’ve got,” she said. “You don’t need all this stuff — you just need to move and you need to do it regularly. More than once a week.”
Monpetit-Huynh said it’s possible to use laundry detergent bottles or soup cans as weights, and go for walks or runs. However, she recently invested $3,000 in a brand-new Peloton exercise bicycle that allows her to join spinning classes remotely.
“I love going to the gym, but I thought, ‘You know what? I should get something because if we get a second wave I want to be prepared.'”
Berner said for him, there’s more to it than fitness.
“Exercise is crucial for my mental health,” he said. “I notice even if I go for a couple of days without exercise my mood starts to drop.”
Other Canadians who feel the same and haven’t yet made a plan would be well advised to start considering their options — or risk getting left out in the cold during a long pandemic winter.
Did you return from Teck mine in B.C.? Get tested and stay isolated, says N.L. government – CBC.ca
The Teck coal mine in Elkford, B.C., has suffered an outbreak of COVID-19 and any workers who returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in the last 14 days are told to stay home and get tested.
That means every worker who came back on or after Sept. 14 must isolate away from their families, and stay at home for the full 14 days regardless of their test results.
The Department of Health and Community Services is also asking anyone who came back from the mine after Aug. 31 to get tested for COVID-19 out of an abundance of caution.
This is the fourth work site identified by the Newfoundland and Labrador government that has suffered an outbreak. Outbreaks at the Canadian Natural Albian oil sands site, the Syncrude Mildred Lake oil sands site, and the Suncor base plant site — all in Alberta — are still active.
The rules for rotational workers from Newfoundland and Labrador who travel outside the Atlantic Provinces do not apply to work sites that have active outbreaks. While others can leave isolation after a negative test result, workers from outbreak sites must remain isolated during their time at home.
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