GENEVA — The World Health Organization has suspended testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
Hydroxycholoroquine has been touted by Donald Trump and others as a possible treatment for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The U.S. President has said he was taking the drug to help prevent infection.
“The executive group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity trial while the safety data is reviewed by the data safety monitoring board,” Tedros told an online briefing.
He said the other arms of the trial – a major international initiative to hold clinical tests of potential treatments for the virus – were continuing.
The WHO has previously recommended against using hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent coronavirus infections, except as part of clinical trials.
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program, said the decision to suspend trials of hydroxychloroquine had been taken out of “an abundance of caution.”
Quarantine order issued for South Okanagan farm after 2 COVID-19 cases confirmed – Globalnews.ca
Interior Health has ordered three dozen temporary foreign workers and another nine individuals working on a South Okanagan farm to quarantine.
The health authority said Monday there were two positive COVID-19 cases on Oliver’s Krazy Cherry Fruit Company farm.
One case involved a temporary foreign worker, who is now isolating in a location off the farm, according to Interior Health. The other individual is self-isolating at home in the community.
“The cause of illness in the two positive cases has not been determined but both individuals are presumed to have acquired it in B.C.,” Interior Health said in a news release.
“The temporary foreign worker went through the 14-day self-isolation program and tested negative for COVID-19 before starting to work at the farm.”
Those who have been placed under quarantine are restricted from leaving the farm, and access to the property is restricted with the exception of essential supply deliveries, according to the health authority.
The health authority said the risk of exposure to the general public from the farm is considered low.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
US COVID-19 vaccine program to start manufacturing by late summer, says US official – The Jakarta Post – Jakarta Post
Drugmakers partnered with the US government are on track to begin actively manufacturing a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the summer, a senior administration official said on Monday.
“If you say exactly when will literally the vaccine materials be in production and manufacturing, it is probably four to six weeks away, but we will be actively manufacturing by the end of summer,” the official, who declined to be identified by name, said.
He added that the administration is already working with companies to equip and outfit manufacturing facilities and acquire raw materials.
The Trump administration has helped finance the development of four COVID-19 vaccines so far though its Operation Warp Speed Program, which aims to produce 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021.
The US government has given grants ranging from several hundred million dollars to over $1 billion to Johnson & Johnson , Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Novovax Inc.
It also signed a $450 million contract earlier this month with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc to help it supply therapies for patients who are sick with the virus.
Clinical trials for therapeutics can produce results in a matter of weeks, making it possible to produce hundreds of thousands of doses by fall, the senior administration official said.
“While we think is fair to say that vaccine progress is occurring at warp speed pace, faster than any vaccines have been developed in history, therapeutics are even faster,” the official said.
The “slate is not closed” for additional funding agreements and the administration plans to announce more in the future, the official said.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 3 million people in the United States and killed more than 130,000.
Russia may start Phase III trial of COVID-19 vaccine in mid-August: RIA – The Jakarta Post – Jakarta Post
A Russian institute developing one of the country’s potential coronavirus vaccines hopes to start its final stage testing in a small section of the general public in mid-August, the RIA news agency cited the institute’s director as saying on Monday.
Globally, of 19 experimental COVID-19 vaccines in human trials, only two are in final Phase III trials – one by China’s Sinopharm and another by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. China’s Sinovac Biotech is set to become the third later this month.
Early results from the first small-scale human trial of the vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow has shown it to be safe for use, according to a separate RIA report on Sunday.
“Around 14-15 August, I hope, the small amount of vaccine that we should be able to produce will enter public circulation,” Alexander Ginsburg, the institute’s director, was quoted as saying.
This will be equivalent to a Phase III trial, since people getting the vaccine will remain under supervision, RIA reported, citing Ginsburg.
Phase I and Phase II trials typically test the safety of a drug before it enters Phase III trials that test its efficacy on a bigger group of volunteers.
Human trials of the Gamaleya Institute’s vaccine began on June 18, with nine volunteers receiving one dose, and another nine testing the prospective booster dose.
The group did not experience any significant side effects and is due to be released from hospital on Wednesday, RIA reported on Sunday, citing a director at the Sechenov University in Moscow where the trial took place.
“Data currently available… shows the volunteers to have developed an immune response to the coronavirus vaccine,” the defense ministry, involved in the trials, was cited by RIA as saying on Monday. Another 20 volunteers were administered the vaccine at a military hospital on June 23.
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