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Namibia suspends use of Russian COVID vaccine after S.Africa flags HIV concerns

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Namibia will suspend the rollout of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, its health ministry said on Saturday, days after the drugs regulator in neighbouring South Africa flagged concerns about its safety for people at risk of HIV.

Regulator SAHPRA decided not to approve an emergency use application for Sputnik V for now because some studies suggested that administration of vaccines using the Adenovirus Type 5 vector – which Sputnik V does – can lead to higher susceptibility to HIV in men.

South Africa and Namibia have high HIV prevalence rates.

Namibia’s health ministry said in a statement that the decision to discontinue use of the Russian vaccine was “out of (an) abundance of caution that men (who) received Sputnik V may be at higher risk of contracting HIV,” adding it had taken SAHPRA’s decision into account.

The Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed Sputnik V, said Namibia’s decision was not based on any scientific evidence or research.

“Sputnik V remains one of the safest and most efficient vaccines against COVID-19 in use globally,” the institute told Reuters, adding over 250 clinical trials and 75 international publications confirmed the safety of vaccines and medicines based on human adenovirus vectors.

Namibia said the suspension would take effect immediately and last until Sputnik V receives a World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing. But it will offer people who received a first dose of Sputnik V a second to complete their immunisation course.

Namibia received 30,000 doses of Sputnik V as a donation from the Serbian government, but only 115 had been administered as of Oct. 20.

Namibia has also been using COVID-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinopharm, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, acquired through a mix of procurement deals and donations.

So far it has only fully vaccinated around 240,000 of its 2.5 million people, reflecting African nations’ difficulties securing enough vaccines amid a global scramble for shots.

 

(Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa in Windhoek and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by Alexander Winning and Ros Russell)

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COVID-19 virus found in 3 Quebec deer, Canadian officials say – Globalnews.ca

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Three deer in Quebec have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, meaning that the disease isn’t just affecting humans, but also Canadian wildlife.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed the first detections of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on Nov. 29, according to a federal government press release.

The three white-tailed deer were found in Quebec’s Estrie region and represent the first time the disease has been detected in wild animals in Canada.

“Similar to findings in the United States, the deer showed no evidence of clinical signs of disease, and were all apparently healthy,” according to the press release.

Read more:

U.S. deer are catching COVID-19. What that means for our fight against the virus

Previous research found that deer in several states in the northern U.S. were testing positive for the virus. Studies indicated human-to-deer and deer-to-deer transmission.

One study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 40 per cent of the 385 wild deer they sampled in 2021 from four states: New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois. These antibodies suggest that the deer were exposed to COVID-19 at some point, the researchers wrote.

However, according to Canada’s Environment Ministry, “there has been no known transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from deer to humans at this time.”


Click to play video: 'Answering your COVID-19 questions – Nov. 4, 2021'



5:36
Answering your COVID-19 questions – Nov. 4, 2021


Answering your COVID-19 questions – Nov. 4, 2021 – Nov 4, 2021

Still, the department urges hunters – who might come into contact with deer – to take precautions.

“It is recommended that you wear a well-fitting mask when exposed to respiratory tissues and fluids from deer, practice good hand hygiene, and avoid splashing/spraying fluids from these tissues as much as possible,” the department wrote.

SARS-CoV-2 has been found to infect many animals, the department noted, “including farmed mink, companion animals (e.g., cats, dogs, ferrets), and zoo animals (e.g., tigers, lions, gorillas, cougars, otters, and others).”

Read more:

Nova Scotia pays for COVID-19 vaccines for mink, B.C. says no before closing industry

In previous interviews with Global News about the American research, Canadian scientists expressed concern about the possibility that deer were becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Any disease that gets into multiple species, we can’t eradicate,” said Scott Weese, a veterinary infectious disease specialist with the Ontario Veterinary College and director of the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses.

Jeff Bowman, a wildlife research scientist with Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, told Global News that Canadians were looking for the possibility that wildlife species, including deer, could become a “reservoir” for SARS-CoV-2.

“If the virus circulates in the wildlife population, then it can become sustained within that population and become a source to reinfect humans,” he said.


Click to play video: 'B.C. Government ending mink farming'



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B.C. Government ending mink farming


B.C. Government ending mink farming – Nov 5, 2021

Weese noted that it was also possible that a virus circulating in animals could lead to new variants – though he said it was unlikely this would result in more harmful disease in humans.

“The more they transmit, the more they mutate because the more they replicate, it’s more random error that can happen,” he said. “And when they move into a different species, maybe it’s more likely to happen because they’re adapting to that species a little bit.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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How HIV research paved the way for the Covid mRNA vaccines – CNBC

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Every Dec. 1, the world commemorates those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Known as World AIDS Day, it serves as a reminder that there has been an ongoing pandemic for the past 40 years, pre-dating Covid.

The Covid vaccines were sequenced, developed and approved in the U.S. in record time, but that would not have been possible without decades of work by HIV researchers.

“Almost everybody working on Covid vaccines comes from the HIV world,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a global advocacy group for HIV prevention. “Moderna had been working on mRNA-based HIV vaccine before SARS-CoV-2 was even known to exist.”

An HIV vaccine has eluded scientists for decades. The traditional thinking around vaccines is to mimic the body’s natural immune response to a virus. The problem with HIV is the body’s natural immune response isn’t strong enough to fight the virus. This means a vaccine has to come at the problem in a different way. Scientists are hopeful that mRNA technology — the same technology used in the Covid vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech — could be a turning point.

Government funding is a crucial component of all vaccine research and development. Within a few months, Operation Warp Speed allocated $10 billion to Covid vaccine research and development. By contrast, between 2000 and 2020, the U.S. government contributed $12 billion toward HIV vaccine research and development. This funding frequently goes to private companies.

“Just about every vaccine that we get today was developed by some private company, even though the actual research and development may have been a shared enterprise,” said Dr. Jeffrey Harris, co-founder of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

Public-private partnerships can have serious implications for who turns a profit and who ultimately gets access to the vaccine. Moderna and the National Institutes of Health are currently locked in a legal battle over a key patent for the Moderna Covid vaccine.

Watch the video above to learn what the success of the Covid mRNA vaccines means for HIV and who would profit from an HIV vaccine.

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Here's which Ottawa schools are hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics for kids this week – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Efforts to vaccinate children aged five to 11 are ramping up this week in Ottawa.

Appointments for vaccines opened on the provincial portal last week, and more than 8,400 children between the ages of five and 11 were vaccinated this past weekend.

In addition to community clinics, booked through the provincial portal, Ottawa Public Health is holding rotating pop-up clinics after school hours at 73 different schools between Dec. 2 and Dec. 23.

Clinics on school days will be held in the afternoon, but there are also clinics that begin in the morning on weekends at some schools.

OPH says after-hours school vaccinations clinics are open to anyone born in 2016 or earlier who lives in a neighbourhood near the school. They do not need to be students at that school.

Drop-in appointments are available on a first come first served basis during clinic hours. If the clinic is very busy, appointment cards may be given with a return time. A parent or guardian’s consent is required for children ages five to 11.

Here are the after school clinics that will be available in Ottawa this week:

December 2, 2021

Dr. F.J. McDonald Catholic School, 2860 Ahearn Ave.

  • 3:30 p.m. to 7:25 p.m.

École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau, 1345 Notting Hill Ave.

  • 3 p.m. to 7:25 p.m.

 

December 3, 2021

École élémentaire catholique Montfort, 350 Den Haag Dr.

  • 3:15 p.m.to 7:25 p.m.

W. E. Gowling Public School, 250 Anna Ave.

  • 3 p.m.to 7:25 p.m.

 

December 4, 2021

Charles H Hulse Public School, 2605 Alta Vista Dr.

  • 10 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.

École élémentaire publique Mauril-Belanger, 307 Montgomery St.

  • 10 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.

 

December 5, 2021

Regina St. Alternative School, 2599 Regina St.

  • 10 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.

Queen Elizabeth Public School, 689 St Laurent Blvd.

  • 10 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.

 

December 6, 2021

Carleton Heights, 1660 Prince of Wales Dr.

  • 4 p.m.to 7:25 p.m.

Heritage Public School, 1375 Colonial Rd.

  • 3 p.m.to 7:25p.m.

 

December 7, 2021

Connaught Public School. 1149 Gladstone Ave.

  • 3:30 p.m.to 7:25p.m.

Kars on the Rideau Public School, 6680 Dorack Dr., Kars

  • 3 p.m.to 7:25 p.m.

Robert Bateman Public School, 1250 Blohm Dr.

  • 3:30 p.m.to 7:25 p.m.

St Luke Catholic Elementary School, 2485 Dwight Cres.

  • 3:30 p.m.to 7:25 p.m.

Centre éducatif Séraphin-Marion, 2147 Loyola Ave.

  • 3 p.m.to 7:25 p.m.

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