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Chinese Covid-19 Vaccines Cleared for Final Testing in U.A.E. – Financial Post



(Bloomberg) — A Chinese state-owned vaccine developer secured regulatory approval to test its coronavirus shots in the United Arab Emirates, making it one of the first among a slew of global efforts to get the greenlight for the final stage of human trials.

Beijing-based China National Biotec Group Co. was awarded approval on Tuesday to conduct Phase III trials for its Covid-19 vaccines in the Middle Eastern country, the company said in a statement posted on its official WeChat account.

CNBG said it will partner with Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm G42 to carry out the trial and local production of the vaccine. It didn’t disclose details such as the timing or the number of people it plans to enroll for testing.

The world’s fast-developing vaccine programs are moving into the final stage of testing before they are approved for innoculation for the general public. Pharmaceutical companies across the globe are racing to be first to find an effective shot against the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 9.2 million people and killed over 476,000.

CNBG is the first Chinese vaccine developer to proceed toward a Phase III trial to test whether the two shots it developed are effective against the pathogen.

Chinese companies have had to look for places with active virus outbreaks to complete the final stage of human testing, which requires thousands of people. The low number of cases in China has made it unfeasible for them to conduct such trials at home. The U.A.E. is still adding hundreds of cases a day, with a total of more than 45,000 infections.

Chinese biotech CanSino Biologics Inc. was approved last month to conduct human testing for the vaccine it co-developed with the Chinese military in Canada, but will need to re-do early safety studies before going into the Phase III trial. Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd. has partnered with Instituto Butantan to roll out testing of its shot on 9,000 people in the hot spot of Brazil, but has not yet won approval to proceed.Vaccine candidates from companies outside of China are also headed for Phase III trials. A shot co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc will be tested among 2,000 people in Brazil starting as early as this month. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. is set to begin testing its shot next month in a 30,000-person trial in the U.S.The two shots developed by CNBG have already been tested among some 2,000 people in phase I and II trials conducted in China. One of the vaccines has been found to be generally safe, while data from the other one will be revealed on June 28. The shots were already administered on more than 1,000 employees, including senior executives of CNBG and its parent company.

Employees of Chinese state-run companies are said to have also been offered voluntary shots of the CNBG vaccines if they are traveling for work overseas or if they live in high-risk areas in Beijing, which has recently seen a fresh virus outbreak.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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No new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba for 4th straight day –



No new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Manitoba on Saturday, marking the fourth straight day since a case of the illness was identified in the province.

The total number of cases identified in Manitoba is still 325, the province said on Twitter.

Numbers on testing, recoveries and hospitalizations will be updated again on Monday.

As of Friday, 16 of the known cases in the province were still active and no one was in hospital with COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, seven people who contracted the illness caused by the new coronavirus in Manitoba have died and 302 have recovered.

As of Friday, the total number of COVID-19 tests done in the province was 64,968.

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Some experts are concerned about a coming influenza and COVID-19 collision – CTV News Montreal



Quebec’s public health authorities are preparing now to avoid a potential catastrophe later when flu season hits particularly if there is no COVID-19 vaccine available.

Quebec’s Health Ministry has ordered 400 thousand more influenza vaccines for this fall’s public vaccination program than it did last year to try and increase vaccination rates among people at risk of complications and hospitalizations, according to a ministry spokesperson.

A total of two million doses will be available for those who meet the Quebec Immunization Committee’s criteria (see below for complete list).

That’s still a far cry from the universal coverage some had hoped for- especially during a pandemic.

Montreal infectious diseases specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton says offering a free vaccine to all Quebecers who want one would could help prevent the worst in Quebec if influenza season collides with COVID-19 outbreaks.

“If we can do anything that we can to reduce influenza disease that helps put us in a better position to deal with a subsequent second wave of COVID-19 that may come around the same time and we don’t want to get swamped by two waves.”

All provinces and territories offer a universal influenza vaccine with the exception of British Columbia, New Brunswick and Quebec.

Healthy people who catch influenza are not at increased risk of serious illness requiring hospitalization. However, the chief of infectious diseases at the Jewish General Hospital points out that every time we have a major outbreak of influenza in Quebec, the emergency rooms become overcrowded.

“So, imagine if we have the regular influenza season and on top of it we have a wave of Covid-19. It’s going to be a nightmare,” says Dr. Karl Weiss.

“The flu vaccine is not a great vaccine and won’t protect you one hundred percent,” Weiss adds, “but if you have everybody with the flu vaccine then you will lower the impact of the flu and you probably have a better handle on Covid-19.

An added benefit of offering the flu vaccine to everyone according to Dr. Oughton, who also works at the Jewish General, is that it would “maximize the accessibility of that very important and cost effective means of preventing vaccine preventable diseases…rather than having to work your way through the list of all indications and exceptions.”

For the last few years flu vaccines are also available and administered at many pharmacies across the province, at a cost of between $20 and $40 per visit, depending on the store.

Last year interested Quebec pharmacies purchased 200,000 doses of flu vaccine to sell to customers ineligible for the public plan from the Quebec Association of Pharmacy Distributors, according to its spokesperson, Hughes Mousseau,

Mousseau doesn’t know yet if pharmacies ordered more vaccines for the upcoming flu season than last year because the orders were still coming in, but he says if any want to up their stock afterwards he may not be able to fulfill the order, with such a limited supply.

The distributors, just like the provinces, have to order the vaccine from the manufacturers a year in advance because producing the vaccine takes months.

“We did factor in an increase because we saw there was a 10 per cent to 40 per cent increased demand for the vaccine in Australia and New Zealand,” Mousseau explained.

The flu season in Australia is underway right now and is being closely monitored to get a sense of what’s to come in North America. 

On a positive note, Dr. Gaston De Serre from Quebec’s National Public Health Institute told CTV, the “current surveillance data show influenza and influenza-like illness indicators are all lower than usual. The speculation is that COVID-19 related distancing measures and mask wearing may be helping prevent influenza as well as the coronavirus.

De Serre said that’s a good incentive for Quebecers to stick with public health practices here, throughout fall and winter.

The following are covered for a flu vaccine in Quebec in 2020-2021:

  • children aged 6 months – 17 months with certain chronic illnesses
  • adults with certain chronic illnesses (including pregnant women at any stage of their pregnancy)
  • pregnant women in their 2nd and 3rd trimester
  • seniors aged 75 years and older
  • those who live with a baby under 6 months of age, or with a person who has an increased risk of hospitalization or death, or who are caregivers
  • health care workers

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Quebec public health officials maintain message to keep up coronavirus health measures –



People in Montreal are out in droves enjoying the good weather, but Quebec public health officials say they are seeing less and less people respecting the advice necessary to fight COVID-19.

On Friday, Quebec’s Public Health Director Horacio Arruda was trying to hammer down the message that the public must continue to keep distance and wear masks, even though things look normal.

“Yes, we have gradually de-confined, however, the virus is still present,” Arruda said.

“It is truly major. The biggest action you can take to help us is to maintain the two metres, practice hygiene please and wear your face cover.”

Read more:
Quebec reports 19 new coronavirus deaths, 89 new cases on Friday

The director of public health for the Montérégie region, Dr. Julie Loslier said they have noticed that the number of contacts a person who is infected with the virus had was becoming larger.

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“We’re seeing people are respecting the distancing measures less, we’re also seeing that the average age of people (getting infected) is getting lower.”

Loslier added that there have been cases of younger people spreading the virus to “a great number of contacts” because they were in social settings where there was no physical distancing.

Read more:
COMMENTARY: Ignoring social distancing? Get ready for a second coronavirus wave, CMA head warns

“The rise is not abnormal, it’s related to the fact that the virus is still circulating and as the youth have not been too exposed to the virus, there are some cases,” Arruda explained.

Arruda says the potential second wave will be as big or as small as our efforts in maintaining our physical distance and wearing a mask when we can’t keep that distance.

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Some, however, say there needs to be a balance.

“When we go to supermarkets, we wear a mask, we follow the guidelines,” said Theo Gaoois, who was having a beer out on a terrasse on Mont-Royal Avenue.

“But I think we need to be able to socialize, be outside, kind of feel like it’s normal.”

The co-owner of the Taverne Saint-Sacrement on Mont-Royal Avenue, Carlos Machado, said that balance was not always easy to achieve.

Some people, he says, act as if the pandemic is over.

“We’re trying to remind them as much as we can because we don’t want to close down again,” said Machado.

Officials also noted a rise in sexually transmitted diseases in the Monteregie area after confinement ended.

Health Matters: Study confirms masks, social distancing measures do help curb the spread of COVID-19

Health Matters: Study confirms masks, social distancing measures do help curb the spread of COVID-19

“We have seen a spike in people reporting sexually transmitted diseases,” said Loslier.

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“What we need to know is if people were testing themselves less during the pandemic.”

Loslier added it’s possible that people were getting closer after de-confinement and not respecting social distancing rules.

Officials are urging everyone to stay protected.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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