Moderna Inc said on Wednesday its experimental Covid-19 vaccine induced immune responses in older adults similar to those in younger participants, offering hope that it will be effective in people considered to be at high risk for severe complications from the coronavirus.
The company is one of the leading contenders in the race to develop a vaccine against the virus that has killed more than 820,000 people worldwide. Its candidate, mRNA-1273, is already in late-stage human trials testing its ability to safely prevent infection.
The latest data from an early Phase I study includes analysis from 20 additional people detailing how the vaccine performed in older adults.
The analysis looked at subjects given the 100-microgram dose being tested in the much larger Phase III trial. Moderna said the immune responses in those aged between ages 56 and 70, above age 70 and those 18 to 55-years-old were similar.
Health officials have been concerned about whether vaccine candidates would work in older people, whose immune systems typically do not respond as strongly to vaccines.
Moderna shares, which have more than tripled in value this year, rose about 6 per cent after the data’s release.
The company has so far enrolled over 13,000 participants in its late-stage study. About 18 per cent of the total participants are Black, Latino, Native American or Alaska Native, groups that have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, and are often under represented in clinical trials.
Dr. Jacqueline Miller, Moderna’s head of infectious disease development, told a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panel the company plans to post weekly updates on enrollment of Black and Latino trial subjects on its website.
Pfizer Inc told Reuters last week that 19 per cent of the 11,000 subjects already enrolled in its vaccine trial are Black or Latino.
Miller said the demographic makeup of Moderna’s trial is a frequent topic at meetings with U.S. officials heading the White House program aimed at accelerating development of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.
Companies and health officials also are working on ways to distribute Covid-19 vaccines, some of which must be shipped and stored at extremely cold temperatures.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, questioned Pfizer’s plans after the company said its vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures for up to 6 months or in specially designed shipping containers for up to 10 days.
Once removed from the containers, the vaccine can be kept for up to a day at a temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (36-46°F) – roughly the temperature of a normal refrigerator – or 2 hours at room temperature.
“The complexities of this plan for vaccine storage and handling will have major impact in our ability to efficiently deliver the vaccine,” Messonnier said.
Pfizer told the CDC panel it is working on making the vaccine stable at higher temperatures. Pfizer shares were down about 1.5 per cent.
Moderna’s vaccine has to be kept at minus 20 degrees Celsius for shipping and longer-term storage of up to six months, but it can be kept at regular refrigeration temperatures for up to 10 days. The vaccine will be distributed in 10-dose vials with no preservatives, the company said.
Moderna is also working to make the vaccine stable at higher temperatures, Miller said.
Moderna, which has never brought a vaccine to market, has received nearly $1 billion from the U.S. government under its Operation Warp Speed program. It has also struck a $1.5 billion supply agreement with the United States.
Follow COVID-19 isolation rules or face $5000 daily fine: Ottawa's top doctor – CTV Edmonton
Ottawa residents who have or may have COVID-19 and don’t properly self-isolate could face steep fines under a new order from the city’s top doctor.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches announced on Tuesday she is invoking an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act that requires people to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19, have signs of symptoms, are a close contact of a positive test, are awaiting a test result or have reasonable grounds to believe they may have COVID-19.
“Failure to comply with this order could result in a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues,” Etches said on Tuesday.
People under the order must remain in self-isolation for 14 days unless COVID-19 has been ruled out, and they must do everything they can to avoid exposing others.
“I don’t take these types of decisions and steps lightly,” Etches told a news conference on Tuesday. “However, I must do everything possible to reduce the transmission that’s currently happening in Ottawa.”
“We must again plank the curve.”
Etches reiterated the goals in resopnding ot the pandemic: to keep the level of COVID-19 transmission in the community from disrupting society in a detrimental way, and to limit hospitalizations and death.
“This level that we’re seeing … is too high for these purposes,” she said.
The order would be enforced by Ottawa Public Health taking people to court who don’t comply with officials who call them to get information about when their symptoms started, who they were in contact with, and other details necessary for contact tracing.
“If we start to run into some resistance, then we can point to the order that already exists and say you know, we have the authority to collect this information, there are some consequences for you if you don’t provide it to us,” Etches said. “if people still are having a reluctance to provide us with the information we need to do our public health work, then we could take the next step and go to court.”
Etches added that many people testing positive are between the ages of 20 and 39. Within that group, 40 per cent of the people who became ill in recent weeks acquired COVID-19 while in close contact with someone outside their household.
The number of cases in schools is also growing; Etches said 34 Ottawa schools have had someone test positive due to contact within a school setting.
Etches also said she doesn’t believe the provincially-mandated social circles have worked.
“I don’t think the social circle concept has worked out, when I look at what we’re seeing in people’s behaviour, where one circle of 10 becomes a different circle of 10 overlapping on different days of the week,” she said. “The concept was that you need to limit your contacts.
“The simple message I’m going back to: fewer is better.”
You can read the full Class Section 22 Order here.
Alberta confirms an additional 150 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, 2 deaths – Global News
Alberta Health released the updated numbers Tuesday afternoon.
The province also confirmed another two deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 258. On Tuesday, Alberta Health said a man in his 90s from the Edmonton zone and a man in his 80s from Calgary zone had both died.
The man from the Calgary zone was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at Wentworth Manor, Alberta Health said.
Alberta Health Services confirmed another death linked to the outbreak at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
The province has said there is usually a bit of a delay in reporting, but some facilities with outbreaks report their own numbers. The Foothills death should show up in Alberta Health’s numbers in the coming days.
Alberta has no plans to reduce gathering limits at this time: Hinshaw
As of Tuesday, the province was reporting 1,565 active cases across the province. There were 485 in the Calgary zone, 820 in the Edmonton zone, 24 in the Central zone, 41 in the South zone and 188 in the North zone. There were seven active cases not associated to a specific zone Tuesday.
Across the province, there were 51 people in hospital with nine of those people in the ICU.
To date, 1,229,939 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Alberta.
On Tuesday, Canada’s top doctor warned the country is at a crossroads when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Theresa Tam said because daily reporting numbers only catch transmission in the past, Tam warned that actions taken now are essential to keep the virus under control.
“The only way to achieve strong control of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from surging into an uncontrollable growth trajectory is for public health authorities and the public to work together,” Tam said.
Is Canada in a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic? A doctor answers our questions
New modelling presented by Tam said, if Canadians maintain their current rates of contacts, the epidemic is forecast to resurge to over 5,000 reported cases per day in October. But, if Canadians decrease the current contact rate, the pandemic could come under control in most locations.
– With files from Katie Dangerfield, Global News
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. plunge overnight as recoveries surge – Powell River Peak
The B.C. government released data September 22 that showed 6,589 people have now recovered from COVID-19, up 617 from yesterday. The BC Centre for Disease Control identified 96 new infections and no new deaths were reported. The only way that all those numbers add up is if one person who had been listed as actively infected has left the province. So far, there have been 23 such people, according to government statistics.
The plunge in the number of active infections is a remarkably positive development given that those active cases had been steadily rising, and yesterday’s count of 1,987 active cases was a record high.
The number of people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases has risen to a record 3,314 people.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in the province is now up to 8,304, and the breakdown by health region is:
• 2,984 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 39);
• 4,254 in Fraser Health (up 43);
• 203 in Island Health (no change);
• 511 in Interior Health (up three);
• 266 in Northern Health (up 11); and
• 86 people who reside outside Canada (no change).
One additional person has been admitted to hospital, resulting in 61 people being treated in hospitals, including 22 who are in intensive care units – one more than yesterday.
With no new deaths, the province’s death toll remains at 227.
“There has been an outbreak in one unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver,” B.C.’s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry, and Stephen Brown, deputy minister of health, said in a joint statement.
They added that there are 12 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and four acute-care facilities that have active outbreaks, but that included an outbreak at the Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility – a second outbreak for that facility. Henry said last week that this outbreak was declared over, and when
BIV asked the Ministry of Health, an official confirmed that this outbreak is indeed still over.
That leaves 11 assisted living, long-term care or seniors’ rental buildings with active COVID-19 outbreaks, They include:
• OPAL by Element assisted living facility in Vancouver;
• Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Yaletown House long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Bear Creek Villa independent living facility in Surrey;
• Cherington Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility in Surrey;
• KinVillage assisted living facility in Tsawwassen;
• Milieu Children and Family Services Society community-living facility in Courtenay;
• New Vista Care Home long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• Normanna long-term care facility in Burnaby; and
• Rideau Retirement Centre independent living facility in Burnaby.
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