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Pfizer developing booster shot to combat COVID-19 Delta variant – Global News

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Pfizer and BioNTech said Thursday they are developing a COVID-19 booster shot to target the highly transmissible Delta variant.

In an email to Global News, the companies confirmed that they have seen “encouraging data in the ongoing booster trial” of the vaccine that suggests that a third shot of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has the capacity to offer the “highest levels” of protection against known COVID-19 variants, including the Delta.

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The updated version of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine targets “the full spike protein of the Delta variant,” according to their emailed statement and the drugmakers expect that a third dose will boost “antibody titers even higher, similar to how the third dose performs for the Beta variant (B.1.351).”

Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten said Thursday that the vaccine is “highly active against the Delta variant.”

But after six months, “there likely is the risk of reinfection as antibodies, as predicted, wane,” he added.

Pfizer’s own data from the United States showed an erosion of the vaccine efficacy to the mid-80s after six months, Dolsten said, against the variants that were circulating there in the spring.


Click to play video: 'Israel reports drop in Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing infection'



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Israel reports drop in Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing infection


Israel reports drop in Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing infection

However, he said that data from Israel and Britain suggests that even with waning antibody levels, the vaccine remains around 95 per cent effective against severe disease.

The vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech SE , showed 95 per cent efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in a clinical trial the companies ran last year.

Dolsten said that early data from the company’s own studies shows that a third booster dose generates antibody levels that are five to 10-fold higher than after the second dose, suggesting that a third dose will offer promising protection.

He said multiple countries in Europe and elsewhere have already approached Pfizer to discuss booster doses, and that some may begin administering them before a potential U.S. authorization.

Dolsten further said that he believes booster shots are particularly important in older age groups.

The companies are conducting pre-clinical and clinical tests to confirm this hypothesis and the “first batch of the mRNA for the trial has already been manufactured at BioNTech’s facility in Mainz, Germany,” the statement from Pfizer and BioNTech said.

Read more:
Israel reports drop in Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infection

Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California, said basing the decision on waning antibody protection ignores the role of important other parts of the immune response, including memory B cells, which can make antibodies on demand when challenged by the virus.

“You need better studies to be able to assert that. It isn’t just neutralizing antibodies,” Topol said.

The companies are also planning to ask U.S. regulators to authorize a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine within the next month, Dolsten confirmed Thursday.

However, according to Dr. William Schaffner, a vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University medical Center, even if Pfizer succeeds in getting its booster approved for use by the FDA, that is only the first step. The booster would still need to be reviewed and recommended by advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s not automatic by any means,” he said. Schaffner said realistically, most of the public health bandwidth in the United States is still focused on encouraging Americans to get their first and second doses of the vaccine.

— with files from Reuters


Click to play video: '‘We’re not there yet’: Prime Minister on reopening of Canada-U.S. border and foreign visitor guidelines'



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‘We’re not there yet’: Prime Minister on reopening of Canada-U.S. border and foreign visitor guidelines


‘We’re not there yet’: Prime Minister on reopening of Canada-U.S. border and foreign visitor guidelines

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

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Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.

According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.

The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.

Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.

To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.

Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.

While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.

The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.

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Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail

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More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.

WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

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Sudbury news: Northern agencies highlight national HIV testing day | CTV News – CTV News Northern Ontario

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Monday was national HIV testing day. Officials say this year’s theme surrounds how getting tested is an act of self-care.

From clinics to self-testing kits, groups in the north say there are many options to get tested and everyone should use whichever way works best for them.

Just more than a year ago, Reseau Access Network in Sudbury teamed with Ready to Know and Get a Kit, groups that provide HIV self-testing kits at a pickup location.

Officials said it has been a huge success.

“We get a consistent number throughout each month and I can’t really divulge those figures, unfortunately, but as part of the overall study I can tell you the pickup of self-tests is a fraction of the amount of tests being ordered,” said Angel Riess, of Reseau Access Network.

“There’s actually a lot of tests being shipped to homes directly but I can confirm that they have been active and there’s a significant number of people who have chosen to engage in both programs.”

Elsewhere, the Aids Committee of North Bay and Area held a point-of-care testing clinic to mark the day.

“It’s an opportunity for us to remind everyone that getting tested is essential. If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take the steps to try to mitigate the possibility of spread,” said executive director Stacey Mayhall.

In addition to stopping the spread, knowing whether you are positive sooner rather than later can allow for a better quality of life.

“HIV is not a death sentence that it used to be,” said Riess.

“There have been advances in testing and medication and people can live long, healthy lives living with HIV.”

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