University of Oxford scientists expect to report results from the late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas, a key researcher said Thursday as he discussed the team’s latest findings.
Dr. Andrew Pollard, an expert in pediatric infection and immunity at Oxford, said research was slowed by low infection rates over the summer, but the Phase III trials are now accumulating the data needed to report results as a renewed surge of the pandemic hits countries around the world. Oxford is developing its vaccine in conjunction with the drugmaker AstraZeneca.
“I think we’re getting close, and it’s definitely going to be before Christmas based on the progress,” Pollard said in an interview with the BBC.
Pollard discussed progress in the late-stage trials as Oxford released a study based on earlier research that found the vaccine was well tolerated and produced a strong immune response in people over 70. This is important because vaccines often don’t work as well in older people, Pollard said.
“The reason that we’re so delighted is the we’re seeing the immune responses look exactly the same, even in those who are over 70 years of age,” Pollard said.
The findings were based on a so-called phase II trial of 560 people, including 240 over the age of 70. The results of the peer-reviewed study were published Thursday in the Lancet, an international medical journal.
Phase II vaccine trials provide important preliminary data but don’t prove whether they ultimately prevent people from getting sick. Oxford and AstraZeneca are waiting for the results of phase III trials on thousands of people around the world to show whether their vaccine is safe and effective.
Two other drugmakers, Pfizer and Moderna, this week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing that their COVID-19 vaccines were almost 95% effective.
Pollard said there is no competition between the various research teams, because several vaccines will be needed to bring the global pandemic under control and allow life to return to normal.
Despite recent progress, Pollard said the world is still in the early stages of the effort to protect people against COVID-19. Even after vaccines are approved by regulators, drugmakers and public health officials still face the task of producing billions of doses and administering them to people around the world, he said.
Pollard, an amateur mountaineer, compared the task to the work involved in climbing a mountain.
“I think we’re still at the bottom of that mountain in some ways,” he said. “We’ve done the route into the bottom of the mountain, the long trek to get to the start. Now we’ve got to get the data about the vaccines in front of regulators for them to scrutinize it and approve the first vaccines. And then we’ve got that huge effort to climb up to the top where we’ve got a vast majority of those who are at risk vaccinated.”
More COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba linked to hospital and care home outbreaks – CTV News Winnipeg
The province has reported 12 more Manitobans have died of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, many of which are linked to outbreaks at hospitals and care homes.
For more than a month straight, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, has listed off a growing list of Manitobans who have died of COVID-19 every single day.
Tuesday saw that grim trend continue, as Roussin reported the deaths of 12 more people.
These deaths include:
- A man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital, Unit E6;
- A man in his 60s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Health Science Centre unit A4;
- A woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at St. Norbert personal care home;
- A woman in her 60s from the Winnipeg health region;
- Two men in their 70s from Southern Heath–Santé Sud health region;
- A woman in her 70s from the Northern health region;
- A man in his 80s from the Southern Heath–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at the Villa Youville personal care home;
- A man in his 80s from the Southern Heath–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at Oakview Manor;
- A man in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region and linked to the outbreak at Parkview Place;
- A man in his 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region and linked to the outbreak at the Fairview Personal Care Home; and
- A woman in her 90s from the Southern Heath–Santé Sud health region and linked to the outbreak at the Rest Haven Nursing Home.
Roussin said the province defines COVID-19 deaths as someone who has died and has tested positive for COVID-19 unless health officials can clearly say it was not responsible for the death.
“If COVID-19 was at all related to it, then we would consider that a COVID-related death,” Roussin said.
He said, as an example, if someone died in a car crash and had tested positive for COVID-19 – it would not be counted as a COVID-19 death.
Since March, 248 people have died of COVID-19 in Manitoba.
ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 MAY BE LOWER THAN RECOVERIES, ROUSSIN SAYS
These cases bring Manitoba’s total number of cases to 14,558 since March, though the province removed five cases from the total on Tuesday due to a data correction.
The province also reported 280 more people have recovered from COVID-19 as of Tuesday, which brings Manitoba’s total recoveries to 5,633.
The province reported the number of active cases is 8,677, but Roussin said the actual number of active cases might be much lower.
He said if the number excludes those in hospital and accounts for unreported recoveries – which are considered 10 days after symptom onset – then the number of active cases would be 3,363 active cases.
There are now 292 people in hospital due to the virus, including 47 people in intensive care.
MANITOBANS NEED TO BRING THE NUMBERS DOWN, TOP DOCTOR SAYS
“We all know we need to bring these numbers down,” Roussin said, adding the caseloads are straining the health-care system.
“It does require us to limit a lot of things we love to do, but right the message is really clear – we need to stay home as much as possible.”
Roussin said the more people stay home, the fewer contacts each case will have, which will lead to a drop in Manitoba’s surging cases.
He reported 476 new cases of COVID-19, which have pushed Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate to the highest it has ever been, reaching 14.2 per cent on Tuesday.
The majority of the cases are in the Winnipeg health region, which reported 257 cases of COVID-19 and has a test-positivity rate of 13.9 per cent.
The other cases reported on Tuesday include:
- 37 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
- 38 cases in the Northern health region;
- 33 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region; and
- 111 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.
This is a developing story. More to come.
Manitoba reports 476 new cases of COVID-19, 12 more deaths – CBC.ca
There are 476 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths in Manitoba, the province says, bringing the death toll to 248.
“These are Manitobans who are missed and are loved,” said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin.
The number of patients in hospital due to the illness has declined slightly to 292, down from 296 yesterday. Active cases in intensive care are also down five to 47.
The five-day provincial test positivity rate ties the record of 14.2 per cent.
Five of the people who died were in the Southern Health region. One of the deaths is someone from the Northern Health Region, and another is from the Prairie Mountain Health region.
Five deaths were in the Winnipeg health region, including two linked to hospital outbreaks.
The province is bolstering its contact tracing capacity using an automated calling system that will expand current monitoring methods, Roussin said.
Previous positive cases will be asked about testing, isolation and other public health guidelines in a question-and-answer format that people can respond to using the phone keypad.
The initial rollout will be focused on checking in with people who tested positive and are at or near the end of their mandated isolation period. There are “a lot” of people that are beyond their incubation period but remain listed in the active case totals, he said, and this should help deal with that backlog.
Despite a slight decline in the number in hospital, Roussin said health-care workers remain overwhelmed by the consistent pressure from high case numbers and people in hospital.
“Our health-care system is being pushed to its capacity,” he said. “Our health-care system can’t sustain levels of cases like this much longer.”
More to come
Read a previous version of this story below:
Manitoba’s top doctor will share the latest update on COVID-19 numbers in the province today after records for daily cases and the number in hospital with the illness were set yesterday.
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin is expected to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. CT.
CBC News will live stream the briefing here and on CBC Gem, Facebook and Twitter.
At a morning news conference, Premier Brian Pallister said 95 tickets were issued last week to people violating current public health orders, as the province ramps up enforcement.
He also shared details about COVID-19 financial support programs for businesses forced to close during recent widespread restrictions.
Both Tuesday news conferences come after a record-breaking 546 cases were announced yesterday.
Manitoba also reached another grim milestone on Monday, surpassing 14,000 total cases to date, meaning one in 100 Manitobans have contracted the virus.
The number of people in hospital with the illness also surged to a new high of 296, with a record-tying 52 in intensive care. Health officials continue to warn the system is strained and cannot sustain the continued pressures it is facing as cases mount and health-care workers are taken out of rotation due to exposures in hospital settings.
All three records occurred on the same day Roussin shared the first hint that provincewide code red restrictions under Manitoba’s pandemic response system may be working. The number of close contacts of positive cases has declined from about seven a month ago to closer to two more recently, he said.
The code red, or critical, level on the provincial pandemic scale was put in place nearly two weeks ago, ushering in a partial lockdown that closed places of worship, theatres, salons, gyms and a range of other non-essential businesses.
More stringent restrictions came into effect on Friday, banning private indoor gatherings, with few exceptions, and restricting the sale of non-essential items at businesses permitted to remain open to in-store shopping.
As of yesterday, 236 people had died of COVID-19, with nearly half of those deaths reported this month.
Many of the deaths are linked to care home outbreaks — a quarter of all deaths are tied to two Winnipeg long-term care facilities.
BC health officials to provide COVID-19 update on Tuesday afternoon | News – Daily Hive
Health officials in British Columbia are scheduled to provide a written update on COVID-19 on Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement comes after 1,933 new test-positive cases were announced between Friday and Monday. During a press conference on Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were 713 cases reported from Friday to Saturday, 626 from Saturday to Sunday, and 594 from Sunday to Monday.
There are currently 7,360 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 10,200 people are under active public health monitoring due to identified exposure to known cases.
Additionally, 277 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 59 of whom are in intensive care.
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On Monday, Dr. Henry also clarified the kinds of events that would be suspended under the new COVID-19 health orders.
The new order includes gatherings at hotels, restaurants, bars, movie theatres, and cinemas. Henry added that popular seasonal holiday events are also included.
“I know this means delaying the opening of some very great and well-thought-out seasonal events like the Holiday Train in Stanley Park and the Bouchart Garden Light Display, among many others, that had previously been approved across the province,” she said.
The few exceptions to cancelled events include funerals, weddings, and ceremonies such as baptisms, although those will have “increased restrictions on them.”
Events like City Council meetings and support group meetings have also not been explicitly cancelled, although Henry strongly advised hosting them virtually, if possible.
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