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UAE company nears end of Chinese Covid-19 vaccine trial – ZAWYA

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ABU DHABI- A United Arab Emirates company is nearing the end of Phase III clinical trials of a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine and hopes to manufacture it next year, a representative said.

The trial, which began in mid-July, is a partnership between Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 (G42). 

The vaccine uses an inactivated virus; a well-known technology which has been used against diseases such as influenza and measles. Two doses are given.

It has been administered to more than 31,000 people in the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Jordan, G42 Healthcare CEO Ashish Koshy said. 

Results analysis and publication will happen in around two months, Koshy said.

He said G42 has distribution and manufacturing agreements with Sinopharm and hopes to provide the UAE and other regional states with the vaccine, especially those that participated in the trial.

The target is to produce between 75 and 100 million doses next year in the UAE, he said.

“Early results are showing it is safe, there is a general rise in antibodies for all the volunteers,” Koshy said. “In terms of being effective it is on the journey, but only time will tell in terms of the whole picture.”

Emirati volunteer Wo’oud al-Motawaa was vaccinated around two months ago and returned to the facility in the emirate of Abu Dhabi for one of her follow-up checks.

“I work in a hospital so it was something that we want to help with,” she said. “We trust our country.”

G42 has said the UAE population’s diversity was an asset, offering around 200 different nationalities. Koshy said around 125 nationalities had participated so far.

The UAE, whose tally stands at more than 101,000 infections and 435 deaths, has seen the number of daily new coronavirus cases surge over the past two months from 164 on Aug. 3 to a high of 1,231 cases last week.

The UAE has a high per capita rate of COVID-19 tests, having carried out more than 10 million tests in a population of around 9.9 million, the government statistics authority says.

(Reporting by Jacob Greaves Writing by Lisa Barrington Editing by Alexandra Hudson) ((lisa.barrington@thomsonreuters.com;))

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At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health – Goldstream News Gazette

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Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.

The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.

He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.

“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”

He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.

The Canadian Press

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Calgary COVID outbreak of at least 49 active cases linked to recent wedding: officials – The Province

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Article content

CALGARY — Alberta Health says 49 active COVID-19 cases have been linked to a wedding in Calgary earlier this month.

The health agency says the wedding had a large number of Albertans from different households.

Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan says aggressive contact tracing is underway to identify anyone who may have been exposed to make sure they are isolating and getting tested.

He did not say how many people attended the wedding and says specifics about individual cases cannot be disclosed because of patient confidentiality.

COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the province say a maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor and indoor seated events, such as wedding ceremonies, funeral services, movie theatres, indoor arts and culture performances.

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings.

“This is a reminder to all Albertans that this virus is still here and any social gathering carries a risk of exposure,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“It is important that nobody attend if they are feeling ill with even mild symptoms, or if they are awaiting test results.”

He says it is also important that organizers do everything possible to comply with the public health guidance in place, including having enough space for physical distancing between cohorts, following gathering size restrictions and avoiding sharing food and utensils.

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Public health urging flu shots amid pandemic – The Sudbury Star

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File photo/Postmedia Network

It’s more important than ever to get a flu shot this year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, say public health officials.

“We definitely want people to get the flu shot this year,” said Lambton medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade. “There are early indications that it may offer additional protection against COVID-19.”

The degree of that protection isn’t clear, he said, “but even if it’s a little bit, it’s probably worth taking this year.”

There’s “very preliminary research” in countries that have already had COVID-19 outbreaks during their winter flu seasons that shows flu shots had an effect on the severity of COVID-19 and disease mortality, he said.

Why also isn’t clear, he said.

“It’s possible it just revs up your immune system a little bit and prepares it to handle all kinds of respiratory diseases, but that’s just speculation.”

Bookings for flu shot clinic appointments via the health unit in Lambton began Oct. 20. People are asked to visit lambtonpublichealth.ca/flu-shot or call 519-383-8331.

Flu shots are also given at pharmacies and via primary-care providers.

The shot, recommended for anyone six months or older, is also helpful to reduce the prevalence of sickness in the community and to keep people from crowding hospital emergency rooms, Ranade said.

Bluewater Health generally plans for a “surge” of patients in winter months.

“The flu vaccine is proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu,” said health unit supervisor Crystal Palleschi in a statement.

“During a pandemic, it’s important to reduce the strain on the health-care system from other infections, so we have the capacity to respond to COVID-19.”

COVID-19 and influenza spread similarly – through coughing, sneezing or touching infected surfaces, health officials said.

People 65 years and older, under five years old, with chronic health conditions, pregnant and living in care facilities are more vulnerable to flu and COVID-related complications, health officials said, urging anyone in close contact with people in those groups to get a flu shot.

Proper handwashing, covering coughs with tissues or sleeves, keeping surfaces clean, and staying home if sick are also important measures to help stop the spread of both viruses, officials said.

“This is one of those years where flu shots are kind of like toilet paper and hair dye – everybody is going to want one,” said Ranade, cautioning people they may have to wait.

“So it’s important to stay patient and recognize that getting your flu shot this year is important, but whether you get it this week, next week, or the week after is not materially different to your risk.”

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