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Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine data shows positive response for old people – Canada.com

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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 an 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% after the data’s release.

The company has so far enrolled over 13,000 participants in its late-stage study. About 18% 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% 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.

DEEP FREEZE

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%.

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.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Michael Erman; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Peter Henderson and Bill Berkrot)

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City offering more municipal facilities as COVID-19 testing sites, Mayor Watson says – Ottawa Citizen

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Article content continued

Watson said he’s been told by health officials that between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of people in the lines have no symptoms.

“That is putting a strain on the system,” Watson said, and he told Ford that the messaging needs to change so that people without symptoms aren’t going to testing sites.

A few hours later, however, Ford continued to encourage people who don’t have symptoms to get tested if they want to.

“We have the asymptomatic folks that may be anxious, or they want to get tested, and God bless them, get tested, but we’re going to be prepared and we’re ramping up,” Ford said during a press conference.

Much of the anger generated by the long testing lines and overrun assessment sites is rooted in confusion about how this could possibly happen when officials knew when students would be returning to classes.

Watson said Ottawa Public Health has stepped up to help, but the primary responsibility for testing is with the hospital network. The Ottawa Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital, Montfort Hospital and CHEO all have roles in the local testing program.

“I think they are now realizing that a lot of the testing capacity should have been dealt with a month ago with the anticipation of school,” Watson said. “To their credit now, and I’ve talked to all four hospital presidents, they understand the urgency and frustration and they have to get this problem fixed.”

The city continues to be in a state of emergency because of the pandemic, but Watson said he hasn’t asked Ford to request military assistance to help with logistical support in testing. There’s no sense bringing in military help if there are no additional sites yet to set up testing facilities, Watson said.

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Nine deaths linked to COVID-19 at Ottawa long-term care home – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)

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Nine residents of an Ottawa long-term care home have died due to COVID-19 in the most serious outbreak of novel coronavirus in Ottawa in months.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, West End Villa confirms that nine residents have passed away from complications related to COVID-19.

“As of (Friday), there have been 52 cases of COVID-19 among residents, and 26 cases among staff, including one agency employee,” said Kelly Keeler, Administrator at West End Villa.

“All employee who have testing positive are isolating at home. Three residents are being treated in hospital and four resident cases have been resolved.”

Keeler says West End Villa is working with Ottawa Public Health and will remain in “close contact” with family members.

Earlier this week, West End Villa said a second round of COVID-19 surveillance testing had been conducted to help ensure cohorting efforts are as effective as possible.

Ottawa Public Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak at West End Villa on Aug. 30. 

The first novel coronavirus outbreak at West End Villa in May saw one staff member test positive for novel coronavirus. 

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Second COVID-19 case in a Simcoe County school confirmed in Barrie – BarrieToday

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Simcoe County’s second case of COVID-19 in a school has been confirmed – this time at St. John Vianney Catholic School in Barrie.

The case marks the first for a school in the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board.

“There is an individual at that school who has tested positive,” said Donna Lorenz, communications specialist with the SMCDSB.

The school board declined to comment on whether the infected person was a student, teacher or staff member, citing privacy concerns.

“We’re taking direction completely from the health unit. So, today the whole student body was notified by a letter. A separate letter was also sent to all the kids’ (parents) who were in that class, and the (Simcoe Muskoka District) Health Unit was to reach out to the parents and guardians of those students by phone this afternoon,” said Lorenz.

Lorenz said that as of Friday, this is the only case of COVID-19 in any schools in the Catholic board of which they have been made aware.

“Because it’s our first case, we’ve been super careful to work hand-in-hand with the health unit to make sure we handle this in the way they’ve identified is the most appropriate,” said Lorenz.

People in the affected class have been asked by the Catholic board to stay home and quarantine for 14 days, and the classroom has been closed. The school itself will remain open for all other classes.

“It’s under an abundance of caution. The risk is minimal but the safety of our students is always our top priority,” she said.

The county’s first case of COVID-19 in a school was reported earlier this week, in a teacher at Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia.

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