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Vaccine trials show early promising results — but major challenges are ahead – NBCNews.com

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Vaccine trials show early promising results — but major challenges are ahead – NBCNews.com


Two potential coronavirus vaccines have shown promising results in early trials, and while experts say it’s encouraging news, they warn that some of the biggest hurdles still lie ahead.

The early trial results for the two vaccine candidates — one developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca and the other by the Chinese company CanSino Biologics — showed that both were safe and could induce immune responses in participants. But the next phase will be critical to demonstrate that the potential vaccines can protect against infections.

“If we’re making a plane, right now we’re at the production level,” said Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “We can say it looks like this can at least get off the ground and do so safely. But can it get me from here to Paris? That’s the question now.”

So far, vaccine development efforts have proceeded at an exceptional pace. Typically, it takes roughly a decade for a new vaccine to go through the various stages of development and testing. But the urgency of the pandemic, which has killed more than 600,000 people worldwide, means that there are already two dozen vaccine candidates in clinical trials around the world.

July 20, 202002:42

For the Oxford-AstraZeneca and CanSino vaccine candidates, the next step in testing is known as phase three of human clinical trials. It’s in this stage that scientists will be able to see whether a potential vaccine truly works to prevent coronavirus infections. While it’s not common for vaccine candidates that have delivered good results in early stages to fail in subsequent phases, it can happen, del Rio said.

“I can tell you that in the world of HIV, we’ve seen a ton of vaccines be immunogenic — they produce immune responses — and then you take them to phase three and they don’t protect you,” he said.

Still, the results have been positive so far, del Rio said.

The newly released clinical trial results showed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate triggered the production of both antibodies and T cells, which can recognize and attack virus cells. The multipronged immune response may be key, because researchers are still trying to figure out whether one is more important than the other in providing long-term protection.

“The immune system has different weapons, and normally we would spend maybe several years figuring out if the vaccine needs to be very good at inducing antibodies or if it needs to be good at inducing T cells or if you need a combination,” said Paula Cannon, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. “But right now, we don’t have the luxury of time.”

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate has already progressed to phase three clinical trials in Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Additional trials are expected to begin in other parts of the world, including the United States. The CanSino vaccine is expected to begin similar efficacy trials in Brazil.

In addition to evaluating whether the vaccines can prevent coronavirus infections, this stage of testing is designed to assess how the potential vaccine performs across more diverse populations.

The early Oxford-AstraZeneca trials included 1,077 participants, but the vaccine candidate wasn’t tested in anyone over age 55. The CanSino vaccine candidate was tested in 508 people and did include participants ages 55 and older, but more research is needed before any vaccine is deemed safe to be widely administered.

During phase three clinical trials, it’s crucial to expand and diversify the people being studied, which means including people from demographics that have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, del Rio said.

“Here in the U.S., I want to see the people most heavily affected enrolled in the studies,” he said. “We need African Americans, Hispanic and older populations enrolled. There’s no benefit if we enroll a bunch of middle-class white people who have a lower incidence of the disease.”

Scientists will also be on the lookout for dangerous side effects. In early trials, both vaccine candidates produced only minor side effects, such as fever and headaches.

Pin Wang, a professor of materials sciences and biomedical and chemical engineering at the University of Southern California, said it’s reassuring that the side effects seen so far have been manageable. And although it’s not unheard of to identify other issues later, both studies were large enough that any major side effects would likely have been seen already.

“If there are other side effects, they’re probably related to genetic background,” Wang said. “I think it’s rare with the number of people that have been tested that we’re missing something big.”

But he didn’t rule out that other surprises could be in store as the vaccine candidates undergo more detailed evaluations. Part of the problem is that while vaccine development has proceeded at a breakneck pace, researchers are still making discoveries about the coronavirus every day.

“This virus is new, and that is challenging for vaccine development,” Wang said. “We don’t have all kinds of data to give us clues. We can only learn the answer to these questions by doing more studies.”

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Colon Cancer Rates Have Increased: How Can You Improve Your Gut Health?

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Colon Cancer Rates Have Increased: How Can You Improve Your Gut Health?

The majority of colon cancer cases are more common among older citizens. However, research has found that colorectal cancer rates have been rising in healthy people under 50. The rate has increased over the ten years. Medical professionals recommend screening from age 45. A colorectal screening test is done to ensure that the individual does not have any signs of cancer.

A study found that there has been a surge in colorectal cancer in younger generations and could become the dominant cause of cancer-related deaths by 2030. Since the risk is alarming, everyone needs to take their gut health seriously. Here are some things that people can do to improve their well-being.

Consider Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a type of colon cleanse that treats digestive issues such as constipation and bloating. Chronic constipation can lead to colon cancer, so it is vital to deal with the issue before it worsens. Colon hydrotherapy is offered at a few places, including a wellness colonic clinic in Toronto where the staff is committed to providing solutions for their clients’ digestive health.

Cleansing your colon can help improve digestion, relieve constipation, reduce gas, rejuvenate skin, and increase energy. The process involves flushing the colon with a large volume of water. It can be beneficial to speak to the professionals at the clinic and discuss your concerns with them. They will educate you about the process and answer any concerns you may have. The treatment can seem overwhelming but can also be helpful for your gut health.

Colon Cancer Rates Have Increased: How Can You Improve Your Gut Health?

 

Consume Sensibly

Your food intake plays a significant role in your gut health. If you have gut problems, it may be worthwhile to speak to a doctor and change your diet. You should also consider finding out if you have any food intolerance. There may be trigger foods such as oil or dairy that could be causing discomfort.

Even if you do not have any problems with your food consumption, it is never wrong to watch what you eat. Foods with probiotics or high fibre content can be good for you. Eating the right foods can improve your overall health too.

Stay Hydrated

Water almost seems like a magical drink sometimes. From skin problems to digestive issues, it can improve many situations. Consuming a good amount of water every day can balance good bacteria in the gut and promote your health. Hydration can also help your organs function properly and improve cognitive function.

Colon Cancer Rates Have Increased: How Can You Improve Your Gut Health?

Say Goodbye to Extreme Stress

It can be challenging to bid farewell to stress forever. However, chronic high levels of stress can impact your abdomen and your overall health. There is a connection between the brain and gut, and stress can cause your stomach to become anxious.

Long-term stress can trigger several gut problems such as indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea. Look for ways to reduce stress levels so that your gut can remain healthy.

Some health problems are inevitable with age, but you can do your best to stay healthy and deal with any issues you face. Prepare yourself to fight any disease beforehand, and your body will thank you.

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Biden’s vaccine pledge ups pressure on rich countries to give more

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Biden to send 20 million doses of U.S.-authorized vaccines abroad for first time

The United States on Thursday raised the pressure on other Group of Seven leaders to share their vaccine hoards to bring an end to the pandemic by pledging to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the world’s poorest countries.

The largest ever vaccine donation by a single country will cost the United States $3.5 billion but Washington expects no quid pro quo or favours for the gift, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

U.S. President Joe Biden‘s move, on the eve of a summit of the world’s richest democracies, is likely to prompt other leaders to stump up more vaccines, though even vast numbers of vaccines would still not be enough to inoculate all of the world’s poor.

G7 leaders want to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 to try to halt the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people and devastated the global economy.

A senior Biden administration official described the gesture as a “major step forward that will supercharge the global effort” with the aim of “bringing hope to every corner of the world.” “We really want to underscore that this is fundamentally about a singular objective of saving lives,” the official said, adding that Washington was not seeking favours in exchange for the doses.

Vaccination efforts so far are heavily correlated with wealth: the United States, Europe, Israel and Bahrain are far ahead of other countries. A total of 2.2 billion people have been vaccinated so far out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, based on Johns Hopkins University data.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have agreed to supply the U.S. with the vaccines, delivering 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.

The shots, which will be produced at Pfizer’s U.S. sites, will be supplied at a not-for-profit price.

“Our partnership with the U.S. government will help bring hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the poorest countries around the world as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla.

‘DROP IN THE BUCKET’

Anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam called for more to be done to increase global production of vaccines.

“Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead.

“We need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints,” he said in a statement.

Another issue, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting the vaccines which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Biden has also backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is no international consensus yet on how to proceed.

The new vaccine donations come on top of 80 million doses Washington has already pledged to donate by the end of June. There is also $2 billion in funding earmarked for the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the White House said.

GAVI and the WHO welcomed the initiative.

Washington is also taking steps to support local production of COVID-19 vaccines in other countries, including through its Quad initiative with Japan, India and Australia.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in St. Ives, England, Andrea Shalal in Washington and Caroline Copley in Berlin; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Keith Weir;Editing by Leslie Adler, David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Giles Elgood and Jane Merriman)

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Vaccines donated by the United States and China

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Vaccine trials show early promising results — but major challenges are ahead – NBCNews.com

Both the United States and China have pledged large donations of COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world. Washington has promised 80 million doses, three-quarters of which will be delivered via the international vaccine initiative COVAX, in what has been seen as an effort to counter China’s widening vaccine diplomacy. It began deliveries last week.

China had shipped vaccines to 66 countries in the form of aid, according to state news agency Xinhua. Beijing has not disclosed an overall figure for its donations but Reuters calculations based on publicly available data show at least 16.57 million doses have been delivered. China has also pledged to supply 10 million doses to COVAX.

VACCINES DONATED BY U.S. (plan for the first 25 mln):

Regional partners and priority recipients

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Including Canada, Mexico, 1 mln to S.Korea in June

South Korea, West Bank and

Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo,

Haiti, Georgia, Egypt,

Jordan, India, Iraq, Yemen,

United Nations

TOTAL 6 mln 1 mln

Allocations through COVAX

South and Central America

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Brazil, Argentina, Colombia,

Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador,

Paraguay, Bolivia,

Guatemala, El Salvador,

Honduras, Panama, Haiti,

Dominican Republic and other

Caribbean Community

(CARICOM) countries

TOTAL 6 mln

Asia

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

India, Nepal, Bangladesh,

Pakistan, Sri Lanka,

Afghanistan, Maldives,

Malaysia, Philippines,

Vietnam, Indonesia,

Thailand, Laos, Papua New

Guinea, Taiwan, and the

Pacific Islands

TOTAL 7 mln

Africa

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

To be selected in

coordination with the

African Union

TOTAL 5 mln

VACCINES DONATED BY CHINA (source – Reuters calculations and official data):

Asia Pacific

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Afghanistan 400,000

Bangladesh Second batch of First batch of 500,000 delivered

600,000 on May 12

Brunei 52,000 in Feb

Cambodia 1.7 mln as of April 28

Kyrgyzstan 150,000 in March

Laos 300,000 in Feb

800,000 in late March

300,000 in late April

Maldives 200,000 in early March

Mongolia 300,000 in late February

Myanmar 500,000 in early May

Nepal 800,000 in late March

1 mln in early June

Pakistan 500,000 in early Feb

250,000 in Feb

500,000 in March

Philippines 600,000 in late Feb

400,000 in late March

Sri Lanka 600,000 at end March

500,000 in late May

Thailand 500,000 in May

500,000 in June

Timor-Leste 100,000 100,000 in early June

TOTAL 11.052 million

Africa

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Angola 200,000 in late March

Algeria 200,000 200,000 in Feb

Botswana 200,000 in April

Cameroon 200,000 in April

Congo 100,000 100,000 in March

Egypt 600,000 in March

Ethiopia 300,000 in late March

Equatorial Guinea 100,000 in Feb

Guinea 200,000 in early March

Mozambique 200,000 in late Feb

Namibia 100,000 by early April

Niger 400,000 in late March

Sierra Leone 240,000 by late May

Togo 200,000 in April

Uganda 300,000

Zimbabwe 200,000 in Feb

200,000 in March

100,000 in May

TOTAL 3.74 million

South America

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Bolivia 100,000 in late Feb

100,000 in late March

Venezuela 500,000 in early March

TOTAL 700,000

Europe & Middle East

COUNTRY/TERRITORY PLEDGED DELIVERED

Belarus 100,000 in Feb

300,000 in May

Georgia 100,000 at end April

Iran 250,000 at end February

Iraq 50,000 in early March

Montenegro 30,000 in early March

North Macedonia 100,000 in May

Syria 150,000 in late April

TOTAL 1.08 million

 

(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo in Beijing and Cooper Inveen in Dakar; Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe in Harare, Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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