The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved of an Ebola vaccine for the first time in history. This announcement was made just weeks after a similar approval by the World Health Organization. The vaccine goes by the name of Ervebo, and it’s already been “assessed in approximately 15,000 individuals in Africa, Europe and North America.” This vaccine’s approval process, though rigorous, was done in relatively short order thanks to the efforts of the FDA and associated medical and scientific groups due to the urgent need for this vaccine as outbreaks continue to occur.
Several major tests have been done with this Ebola vaccine called Ervebo over the course of the past several years. The largest individual test was conducted in Guinea during the 2014-2016 outbreak in individuals 18 years of age and older. During this test, Ervebo was administered to 3,537 contacts and contacts of contacts of individuals with laboratory-confirmed EVD.
In the Guinea test, two different sorts of vaccine, either an “immediate” vaccination with Ervebo or a 21-day “delayed” vaccination with Ervebo. EVD has an incubation period that ranges from 2 to 21 days.
Of 2,108 individuals in the “immediate” test, “Ervebo was determined to be 100% effective in preventing Ebola cases with symptom onset greater than 10 days after vaccination.” Just 10 cases of EVD out of 1,429 individuals in the “delayed” (21-day) test showed positive for EVD.
Per the release from the FDA this week, most commonly reported side effects of the vaccine included “pain, swelling and redness at the injection site, as well as headache, fever, joint and muscle aches and fatigue.”
Best to be prepared
There is no evidence and no reason to suspect that the FDA’s approval of an Ebola vaccine means any sort of significant risk of contracting Ebola exists in the USA at this time. “While the risk of Ebola virus disease in the U.S. remains low, the U.S. government remains deeply committed to fighting devastating Ebola outbreaks in Africa, including the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Anna Abram, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Legislation, and International Affairs. Fighting Ebola anywhere in the world is important, as Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, says, Ebola “knows no borders.”
“The FDA’s approval of Ervebo is a major advance in helping to protect against the Zaire ebola virus as well as advancing U.S. government preparedness efforts,” said Marks. “The research approach used to study the effectiveness and safety of this vaccine was precedent-setting during a public health emergency and may help create a model for future studies under similar circumstances.”
You can learn more about the path this vaccine has taken in our earlier release from November 13, Ebola vaccine approved by WHO for first time ever.
Ottawa reports 82 new coronavirus cases: provincial data – Global News
The latest daily increase is Ottawa’s second-largest spike in cases so far in the pandemic, surpassed only by the 93 cases reported on Tuesday.
No new deaths related to the novel coronavirus were reported in Ottawa on Thursday, according to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) latest weekly epidemiology report shows the second wave of the virus in the nation’s capital was already setting grim records before this week’s spiking case figures.
The local public health unit’s report shows the week of Sept. 14 to 20 had the highest number of new cases reported since the pandemic began, with 385 people testing positive for the virus.
That’s up from 244 cases the week previous and surpasses the previous high of 331 cases set in the week of April 20.
OPH will release its more fulsome daily report on the novel coronavirus later Thursday afternoon.
The OPH report will sometimes revise case numbers provided earlier in the day via the provincial database due to lags in reporting.
Ottawa mayor: We are losing $1 million a day as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
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Sampling-site bottlenecks continue to impede Manitoba COVID-19 testing efforts – CBC.ca
When Bronagh Nazarko took one of her kids to get a COVID-19 test in Winnipeg, she ended up waiting four hours in line and missing a day of work.
When her husband took their other two kids to get tested several days later, he too waited four hours and also missed a day in the home office.
The experience left her wondering how other parents are supposed to juggle child-care and work responsibilities while they wait for a COVID-19 swab, which Manitoba’s government has spent six months promoting as a central facet of its pandemic response.
“We’re very lucky that we have fairly flexible office jobs and that we can work from home, but for a lot of people, I just can’t see that this is sustainable to do this,” Nazarko said Wednesday in an interview.
“I can see that this would deter people from getting tested, and I’m concerned that that means cases will get missed because people don’t want to wait.”
Winnipeg still undergoing surge in demand for swabs
For weeks, there have been long lines outside Winnipeg’s sole drive-through COVID-19 sampling site in the North End on Main Street and heavy traffic at its three other sampling sites.
Winnipeg is now the epicentre of the province’s COVID-19 outbreak, with the city possessing 335 of Manitoba’s 418 active cases.
The province has responded by warning more restrictions could be placed on the Winnipeg health region if residents and visitors don’t become more diligent about gathering in small groups, washing their hands, keeping a safe distance away from each other and wearing masks when they cannot.
On Tuesday, the province also pledged to open another sampling site by Sept. 28 under the management of private health-care company Dynacare. It is supposed to collect up to 1,400 samples a day, at first, with the eventual potential to administer 2,600 swabs.
“The new specimen-collection sites announced [Tuesday] will help address waits for sample collection that are due to increased volumes,” Manitoba Public Health said in a statement.
Manitoba’s Official Opposition contends this promise is not good enough for Manitobans right now.
“I think people are upset today, waiting hours in line,” NDP Leader Wab Kinew said.
“This is something that the government has seen coming for six months or more. And again, we all made tremendous sacrifices, whether on a personal or social level to try and flatten the curve, to buy the government more time.”
Testing inspires confidences, premier suggested
At the height of Manitoba’s economically stifling lockdown, the premier suggested widespread testing and contact tracing would be the key to allowing the province to get back to business.
“We know that through increased testing there is an increased possibility that we’ll be able to build confidence — not only in the general public, but in the health officials whose guidance we must listen to — that we are not opening the door to a resurgence in COVID infections in our province,” Premier Brian Pallister said on April 16.
Twelve days later, he pledged to increase lab-testing capacity to 3,000 tests per day with the help of a new Dynacare lab in Winnipeg. That lab was completed by the end of July and Manitoba can now complete as many as 2,800 tests per day, between the work conducted at the Dynacare lab and Cadham Provincial Lab.
In recent weeks, the province has been completing fewer than 1,500 tests per day, on average, and Winnipeggers began to complain about long lines.
Unlike in April, when health-care workers left idle due to restrictions on hospital and clinic operations presented an easily accessible pool of skilled labour, health administrators found themselves unable to find the staff to extend hours at sampling sites, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said last week.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen’s office said the province is facing unprecedented challenges.
“We empathize with Manitobans’ frustrations surrounding COVID-19, and work to alleviate these stressors as we have done throughout the entire pandemic,” Friesen’s office said in a statement.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is recruiting volunteers to help direct traffic at sampling sites, spokesperson Paul Turenne said.
The Dynacare site will also help, Friesen’s office said. The precise date it will open has not been determined, said Mark Bernhardt, Dynacare’s communications manager based in Brampton, Ont.
Kinew accused the province of relying too heavily on the private firm.
“It seems as though the government is just abdicating [its] responsibility to provide what I think is the most important public health measure right now: figuring out whether or not you have COVID during the COVID pandemic,” he said.
“The government’s declared a state of emergency, and yet they basically created a vacuum of leadership and just said, ‘OK, Dynacare … you go handle everything for us.'”
Workplace testing available for private clients
Kinew also expressed concern that Dynacare provides workplace COVID-19 testing for companies willing to pay extra to test their workers.
“If someone has more money and they have a registered business, all of a sudden they can skip the line. To me, that’s not fair and it violates the public health interest that we all have in fighting the pandemic,” he said.
Bernhardt confirmed Dynacare provides mobile workplace testing for COVID-19 as well as blood tests for other illnesses. All samples collected from private clients are processed at a lab in Brampton, he said, and do not compete for lab time with public samples in Winnipeg.
Nazarko, who spent hours in the testing queue with her kids, said she is concerned about will happen in Winnipeg during the winter, when waiting for hours outside won’t be possible.
“I would personally really like to see them switch to an appointment-based system where we could wait at home and my husband and I could work until our appointment time comes,” she said.
Roussin said earlier this month the province is pondering what to do with sampling sites during the winter.
'I can take it:' Ottawa top doctor receiving 'ugly emails' – OttawaMatters.com
Ottawa’s top doctor says she has received some “ugly emails” during the COVID-19 pandemic but isn’t letting them distract her from her job.
“I take in that information and I think about how we can better support people with our social services, with economic recovery,” said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health. “I’m focused on trying to make sure we manage through this pandemic so people can get back on their feet.”
Dr. Etches says she hasn’t received any death threats and doesn’t think she is in any danger.
“Of course people are frustrated. People have been harmed by losing their jobs, losing their businesses. Those are not small impacts, it’s very serious.”
The doctor says she recognizes that everyone is suffering from the pandemic.
“I know that this is a stressful time and people are angry, and I appreciate that,” explains Dr. Etches. “They’re looking for someone to blame or to express that anger and I think it’s important to hear from people who are negatively impacted.”
Dr. Etches’ comments come after British Columbia’s top doctor said she’s been receiving death threats and abusive letters in her role as a public figure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Bonnie Henry told a panel discussion at the annual convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities that she’s had to have security in her home and has been targeted by people who don’t agree with her.
– With files from the Canadian Press
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