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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The leaders in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine

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The leaders in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine | The Thaiger
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With the coronavirus claiming more than 2.3 million lives, the biggest challenge across the world is developing and distributing a Covid-19 vaccine. Major pharmaceutical companies are now in a race to develop and distribute safe and effective vaccines.

The leaders of the Covid-19 vaccine race…

JOHNSON & JOHNSON

US Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has now applied with the US FDA for emergency use authorisation for the company’s new single-dose Covid-19 vaccine.

Preliminary results from a huge international study say that the J&J vaccine was safe and offered strong protection against moderate to severe cases of the coronavirus.

Early indications suggest it doesn’t appear quite as strong as the 2-dose competitors made by Pfizer/BionTech and Moderna, but some of these early assumptions haven’t really compared like-study with like-study.

The J&J vaccine is an adenovirus vector vaccine. It works by taking a piece of DNA from the Covid-19 spike protein and injecting it into an adenovirus, a type of virus typically involved in a common cold.

But in the J&J vaccine, the adenovirus has been genetically modified so that it cannot replicate, and can only act as a carrier, or vector.

The combination of vector virus and Covid-19 DNA is then injected into the body, where human cells read the COVID-19 DNA and begin replicating the spike proteins. The human immune system then recognises those spike proteins and destroys them.

MODERNA & PFIZER/BIONTECH

The Johnson & Johnson technology is slightly different from both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, which are called mRNA vaccines.

Those vaccines use RNA instead of DNA, a slightly different genetic code. The labs take RNA from the COVID-19 spike protein, mix it in lipid solution, and inject it into the human cells.

The body recognises the code (mRNA) and starts to replicate the spikes. Again, the human immune system recognises and destroys them.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine still has the transport challenges where it has to be transported and stored at extremely low temperatures.

OXFORD/ASTRAZENECA

The Oxford–AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, codenamed AZD1222, was developed by Oxford University and the British/Swedish multinational AstraZeneca and is given by intramuscular injection, using as its vector a modified chimpanzee adenovirus.

One dosing regimen showed 90% efficacy when a half-dose was followed by a full-dose after at least one month, based on mixed trials with no participants over 55 years old.

NONAVAX

Then there’s the Novavax vaccine, also from the US. It’s a different vaccine based on newer technology, in this case a protein based vaccine.

It involves the spike protein of the virus itself, which is produced and formulated as a nanoparticle type structure. It uses a synthetic coronavirus spike protein to teach the immune system to produce antibodies that can deactivate the coronavirus if a person were to be exposed.

Once injected, it stimulates the immune system to start producing antibody and also induces T-cell immune responses.

SINOPHARM

There are three vaccines in China. On is from Sinopharm who have developed the vaccine called Vero and is based on an inactivated virus. It’s been developed in collaboration with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Institute of Biological Products.

This type of vaccine has been tried and tested for decades and the technology successfully used against diphtheria, hepatitis B, polio, whooping cough and tetanus.

Phase III trials for Vero have been conducted in 10 countries worldwide, including the UAE, Bahrain, Peru, Morocco, Argentina, Jordan and Pakistan. One reason for the research outside the People’s Republic is that in China, case numbers dropped so sharply in the summer due to the strict lockdown that it was difficult to obtain any meaningful data at all.

So far, Vero is the only Chinese vaccine where the manufacturer has published official data. Sinopharm has reported a 79% efficacy in an interim evaluation, back in December 2020. The vaccine was licensed in China one day later.

Efficacy data from other countries is up and down, with the Emirates confirming even higher efficacy in their study at 86%.

SINOVAC BIOTECH

The Sinovac Biotech vaccine is called CoronaVac and is also based on inactivated viruses. It has been tested in various phase III trials since the summer, including in Brazil, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Turkey.

Evaluations by Brazilian collaborators suggest an efficacy of up to 78% whilst the Indonesian health authorities reported it around 65% effective.

To put these efficacy ratings into context, although these inactivated virus vaccines are not as effective as the mRNA vaccines approved for use in Europe and the US, the results do exceed measurements that are common for influenza vaccines. Some of those are only 30-60% effective.

Thailand plans to introduce this vaccine despite its moderate efficacy. Malaysia and Singapore are still deciding if they will buy doses for their populations.

Meanwhile, Sinovac is aiming to increase efficacy by prolonging the interval between the two doses, but scientists say prolonging the time between the original vaccination and the booster also increases the risk of possible mutations.

CANSINO BIOLOGICS

Another vaccine is called Ad5-nCoV or Convidecia, where CanSino Biologics worked with the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology. This vaccine is a vector virus vaccine based on an adenovirus type 5.

Here, a harmless transport virus brings non-replicable surface proteins of the Covid-19 pathogen to the human cells and triggers the immune reaction there.

In terms of the way it works, this vaccine is much like the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Phase III trials have started in Pakistan, Russia, Mexico and Chile.

A Canadian trial was cancelled because CanSino Biologics hadn’t delivered the vaccine doses as agreed to by its partner, the Canadian Center for Vaccinology. But in China, the vaccine has been administered to military personnel since June 2020 but no recent efficacy data has been released.

SPUTNIK 5

And finally to the Russian Sputnik V, which has been showing high efficacy results after several months of testing and real-life application.

Efficacy results over 90% have surpassed most of the world’s other vaccines at this stage. The Russian jab is another example of an adenovirus vector vaccine, similar to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The news about the vaccines is very fluid and we’re right in the middle of the biggest roll out of vaccines in human history. Despite a lot of misinformation about vaccines, generally… some of it outright nonsense, these Covid 19 vaccines provide the best possibility of slowing down the spread of the virus and keeping millions alive.

The biggest challenge now is for scientists to chase the Covid-19 virus as it mutates, and modify the vaccines to work with the new mutations.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Kanchan

    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    Covaxin also

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket holds vaccine administration rehearsal as it waits for green light

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Phuket holds vaccine administration rehearsal as it waits for green light | The Thaiger

Phuket is rehearsing procedures to ready themselves for the Covid‐19 vaccine administration green light. A rehearsal at Vachira Hospital’s Lan Muang Khao open area was held late yesterday to iron out any kinks in the administration process. Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong watched over the procedures along with other health officials.

Pichet says the first vaccine round of 4,000 doses should arrive early in March, with the 2nd and 3rd set of doses, 16,000 and 48,000 respectively, to arrive in April and May.

“The government recognises the importance of the affected areas of the economy where the epidemic situation of COVID-19 must be stopped and has allocated the COVID-19 vaccine to Phuket Province to build herd immunity, restore the economy, return a smile to Thailand.”

“We are preparing to COVID-19 mass vaccination to build confidence among the people that they will receive a quality, safe vaccine and to receive follow-up care after it has been administered.”

Pichet says Phuket’s first target groups to receive the vaccine include medical and public health personnel, with others on the frontlines to come next.

Then, workers aged 18-59 years old, people with underlying diseases including chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity will follow.

“People with severe neurological conditions and pregnant women should be wary of taking the vaccine, as well as women who are breastfeeding and people with immunodeficiency.”

The procedure to get vaccinated starts by recipients undergoing screening by having their temperatures taken, and then sanitising their hands before entering the administration area. Then, they will move their way through a series of steps, detailed below:

Step 1: Register

Step 2: Record weight and blood pressure

Step 3: Pass the screening process by have their medical history and risk assessment recorded and then signing a consent to receive the vaccine

Step 4: Wait for vaccination

Step 5: Vaccination

Step 6: Rest for 30 minutes, while being observed for symptoms. Then scan the official Line account “หมอพร้อม” (“Doctor Ready”)

Step 7: Pass a final check before receiving a document confirming vaccination

Pichet says health workers will follow up with vaccine recipients after 1,7, and 30 days from being vaccinated to monitor any adverse reactions.

Those who are set to receive their second jab will have appointments made for them. Those who receive the Sinovac vaccine will be scheduled to have their second doses 2 to 4 weeks after the first. AstraZeneca vaccine receivers will be scheduled for their second doses 10 to 12 weeks after the first.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday

Maya Taylor

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PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha will receive the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, while Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will receive the Chinese jab. According to a Bangkok Post report, Sopon Mekthon from the sub-committee on vaccine management says both politicians will receive their vaccines at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute. On Monday, the vaccination of priority groups in specific provinces will get underway.

Speaking about the arrival of the long-awaited vaccines yesterday, Anutin said the first batch would be distributed free of charge, with costs covered by the government.

“The vaccines are for Thais and those living in the country. Anyone who charges for the vaccine will face legal action.”

Thailand has taken delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab and 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The arrival of the AstraZeneca jab took many by surprise, with no mention of its imminent arrival, unlike the PR hoopla surrounding the arrival of its Chinese counterpart. Another 800,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine are expected next month, followed by a further 1 million in April. After that, the rest of Thailand’s vaccines will be from AstraZeneca, with 26 million locally-manufactured doses expected to be available from May to June and another 35 million after that.

Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute says the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived this week as a result of a commitment by the pharmaceutical giant to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“The AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in Thailand must receive a lot release certificate from the Department of Medical Sciences before distribution to priority groups designated by the Department of Disease Control.”

Meanwhile, Thares Karasnairaviwong from the Department of Health Service Support says over 1.5 million village health volunteers are educating local residents about the importance of vaccination and establishing how many people fall into the priority groups who will be first to be inoculated.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Foreign tourists must use Covid-19 tracking app when travelling to Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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Foreign tourists must use Covid-19 tracking app when travelling to Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Digital Government Development Agency

Foreign tourists travelling to Thailand will need to download the Covid-19 contact tracking mobile application “ThailandPlus” before arriving in Thailand and use it throughout their stay. The app will notify travellers if they have been in close contact with any confirmed cases.

Throughout their trip to Thailand, tourists will need to keep the app “on” and check in and out of various locations by scanning QR codes. The app requires access to the smartphone’s GPS , but the Tourism Authority of Thailand says the information collected will only be used for public health purposes and will not infringe on the tourists’ right to privacy.

Travellers will also need to upload a recent headshot as well as supply their Certificate of Entry number and reference ID from the Royal Thai Embassy.

The app is a spinoff to the “Thai Chana” and “Mor Chana” apps. All use GPS and Bluetooth as well as QR code scanning to detect the users’ locations. The apps sparked controversy and many Thais expressed concerns about their privacy, but the government has assured the public that information will be kept private.

The development of the app is a collaboration between the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Digital Government Development Agency.

Click HERE to download the ThailandPlus.

SOURCE: TAT

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