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Vaccine could be ready by the end of next month – BioNTech/Pfizer

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Vaccine could be ready by the end of next month – BioNTech/Pfizer | The Thaiger
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BioNTech has announced the candidate Covid-19 vaccine, the German company is developing with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, could be released for public distribution before the year, at least in the US and Europe.

BioNTech co-founder Ugur Sahin says that both companies plan to apply for “emergency use authorisation” of their candidate vaccine in the US today (US time), while European regulators are still in the latter part of the Phase 3 trials. He says he is “very confident” his vaccine is safe. The 2 companies announced the completion of their trials involving 43,000 volunteers, more than 21,000 of who received the vaccine without any serious side-effects or consequences.

“There is a chance that we can receive approval from the US or Europe or both regions this year still”.

“If all the players involved… governments, pharmaceutical companies and vaccine logistics firms… do a really good job, then we can succeed in vaccinating 60 to 70 percent of the population by the autumn of 2021.”

Responding to vaccine sceptics and the vocal “anti vaxxer” movement, Mr. Sahin says the only option was to keep providing “answers, information and transparency”. He hoped that once people were inoculated, “numbers would only grow when those people shared their positive experiences”.

But how long would the vaccine be effective?

“It could be at least a year, if not longer but more data was needed to reach a final conclusion.”

One of the key challenge with BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine candidate is the distribution. It will need to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit).

The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, plus another one being developed by US company Moderna, are now the leading candidates in the global chase for a successful Covid-19 vaccine. Date from the Phase 3 trials has indicated the vaccine to be 95% effective.

The announcements potentially provide a light at the end of the tunnel after nearly a year of Covid-19 lockdowns and economic destruction. Covid-19 has officially infected more than 56 million people and caused more than 1.3 million deaths around the world. The virus first emerged in China during late December 2019.

The US, the European Union and a slew of other nations have already placed orders for hundreds of millions of doses of the top vaccine candidates in development.

30 countries are negotiating with BioNTech/Pfizer to secure their vaccine for their citizens.

BioNTech has already been talking to the World Health Organisation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to find ways to reduce the cost of each injection and how to distribute it worldwide. They say they are aware that poorer nations could be left behind in the rush to control the Covid outbreak in the west.

The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine would cost around US$20 per dose (about 600 Thai baht). A booster shot needs to be taken 28 days after the first jab. Other vaccine contenders in Phase 3 testing, including the AstraZeneca/Oxford University partnership and Johnson & Johnson are both using the traditional approach of injecting people with modified versions of the virus to “trigger” an immune response.

SOURCE: Reuters | BBC

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    November 20, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    I’m anything but a “vaccine sceptic” or an ” “anti-vaxxer” ” but, as I’ve said elsewhere, there’s absolutely no way I’ll be joining the queue to get either of these vaccines any time soon even if they are in production and available.

    Both are obviously being rushed into production with greed and political expediency as the main drivers, and while obviously it’s impossible to know how long any vaccine will be effective they’ve both been far too eager to release the good news (95% effective, etc) early, but far too cagey about answering either of the key questions they should have had ready and easy answers to, particularly as both are using a completely new approach (mRNA) …

    1. Do the vaccines prevent transmission of the virus as well as infection / illness?

    Both have given very carefully worded responses along the lines that their vaccines “protect nearly 95% of people from falling ill” which suggests to me either that neither gives ANY protection against transmission at all, or that they simply have no idea because they apparently didn’t test those given the vaccine on a regular basis but ONLY tested those showing symptoms – something that to me, as a layman, simply beggars belief.

    If they don’t prevent transmission as well as infection / illness, then all the celebration and planning for a return to “normal” next year appears to be very premature as the vast majority of the population even in countries that have bought all the vaccine that can be made available won’t have been vaccinated.

    2. Do the vaccines protect those most at risk from the virus as well as the young, fit and healthy?

    Both have been very reluctant to give any details of their study group demographics other than Pfizer / BioNTech saying that “approximately 41 per cent were aged between 56 and 85” which is disingenuous as that could equally mean that ‘approximately 41 per cent were aged between 56 and 57’.

    In the Pfizer / BioNTech control group given a placebo, depending on which report you read only 90 or 160 out of 22,000 had Covid-19 symptoms and of those only nine were severe, and Moderna’s control group had similar results (eleven severe cases), both with no deaths (so 0.4 – 0.7% and 0.045%), which is considerably below the norm in Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina where most of the trial participants were. As a layman, that suggest to me that those in the trial could NOT have been a cross section of the population but were primarily younger, fitter and healthier. What other reason can there be for such good results from those only given a placebo?

    On the other hand, I’ve got FAR more confidence in the Oxford / Astrazeneca vaccine simply because of the approach they’re taking which seems very different – and not just because it’s a “traditional” vaccine, that can be stored in a fridge, rather than Moderna’s which has to be stored and transported at -20c or Pfizer / BioNTech’s which has to be stored and transported between -70 and -80c, but because of the way they’re doing their trials:

    ““We are not in a rush,” said Pollard [Prof Andrew Pollard, chair of the Oxford vaccine group]. The results – which first emerged last month – show the vaccine stimulates an immune response in older adults as good as that in younger people.

    That finding is very positive for a vaccine against a disease that takes its biggest toll on the elderly. Many vaccines are less effective in older people, whose immune systems weaken with age. The scientists are also pleased that there were fewer side-effects reported in older people than in younger age groups.

    “We were really delighted with these results,” said Pollard. “These first data are really encouraging by showing we are getting very good immune responses even in the over-70s, which look very similar to younger adults.”

    The analysis involved 560 adults given the vaccine and tested to see whether their immune system reacted. They mounted a good antibody response by 28 days and a good T-cell response by 14 days. Because the work was done in the first lockdown, none was among the people advised to shield because of frailty or underlying health conditions, but the scientists hope their response will be the same. Among the participants were 160 people aged 56 to 69 and 240 aged over 70. “It’s not a competition with the other developers. We’re trying to make sure we have very high quality data, working with other partners in other countries.

    “When it’s ready is when we will publish the interim results.”

    … Oxford’s vaccine is likely to be considerably cheaper, probably costing under £3 a dose, compared with potentially nearly £40 for Moderna’s and half that for Pfizer’s. It can be stored in ordinary fridges rather than freezers, which is a big advantage, especially for worldwide use. “

  2. Avatar

    Ameila Leary

    November 20, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    This is a welcoming news by the people after the growing infections; as the US and Germany and their medical teams and other facilities work together, efficient in making a 95 percent effective corona virus vaccine and the shots will be available by the end of this year.

  3. Avatar

    Don R

    November 20, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    They have to start distributing the vaccine before we reach herd immunity, so they can plausibly claim that their harebrained restrictions saved millions of lives (never mind the hundreds of millions of lives that were already destroyed–they just poor people, so no one cares about them). And from now on, anytime there’s a problem, the solution will be to surrender our civil liberties. Anyone who dares exercise their liberties will be ostracized as selfish and reckless.

    Media put on a great show in 2020, guys! Wait, I can still see a glimmer of life in the Western tradition. Stomp it out! It’s still twitching! Keep stomping the West till there’s no life left. There ya go! Now let’s all join hands and follow China. YAY!–oh wait, not safe to hold hands anymore. Just sit quietly at a safe distance of 1.5 meters…

    Media = disgrace

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 20, 2020 at 6:50 pm

      There’s no scientific evidence, after nearly a year, that any sort of “herd immunity” exists and plenty of indication that it doesn’t – even Sweden has realised that “civil liberties” have just meant the civil liberty to make other people suffer and die.

      I’m all for “civil liberties” and human rights, but if they’re at the expense of other people’s civil liberties and human rights, whether its over Covid-19 transmission or trans rights, then it’s about time some people learnt just how “selfish” they are.

      • Avatar

        Don R

        November 21, 2020 at 11:14 pm

        1) If there’s no immunity, how did HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people clear the virus from their bodies already?

        2) The virus is not spreading because people exercise their civil liberties. PUT DOWN THE MEDIA HORSE DUNG!

        COVID study on USMC recruits revealed precautions had no effect:

        There was no statistically significant difference between the control group and the group that adhered to strict infection control practices: quarantines, physical distancing, daily sanitation, and double face coverings. The authors note that adherence to these practices likely far exceeded what would be expected in a real world scenario. Also, more than 90% of cases were asymptomatic.

        3) You already proved in past posts that you don’t care about saving lives, so stop the charade. Hundreds of millions of lives have been destroyed. Tell me again, who’s being selfish here? The folks pushing policies that DO NOT WORK and that destroyed hundreds of millions of lives.

  4. Avatar

    AI

    November 20, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    Let those who advocate and promote the vaccines, run to the front of the queue! Please do and help yourselves!;)

    Yes Don, check out the Irish fella video – ‘Why We Will Win and They Will Lose’

  5. Avatar

    Tony Grace

    November 20, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    This has not been even approved yet it going before the US drug administration this week but they have said that even with approval it will be two to three months before it will be released for trails on people and not until end of 2021 before it is ready to be available for all and will be first triled in the US ,Tnhey haven’t even asked for approval in Europe or the UK yet.a month is not realism at this present time,

  6. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    November 20, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    This is a TOP priority in Europe and something that will allow us to restart growing from Q2 2021! Due to what is at stake (thousands of life’s – our economy), we should put 120% of our resources including our military (usually very good a supply chain management).
    In some small countries like Portugal or Belgium, several million people (a big chink of the population) will be vaccinated by the end of Q1.

  7. Avatar

    James

    November 21, 2020 at 1:56 am

    I hope Oxford University once it has finished testing its vaccine will give priority to its alumni, I would be there like a shot.

    But in any case, the UK government has already ordered 100 million of this type of vaccine as well as millions from the other two producers of their drug.

    Thailand here we come, maybe in six months’ time, we will be on the ‘allowed to enter Thailand list.’

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No vaccine, no entry – the world’s next travel challenge

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No vaccine, no entry – the world’s next travel challenge | The Thaiger

OPINION

UPDATE: Australia’s national airline has already said it will impose “proof of vaccine” on all inbound and outbound international flights, a situation that IATA says they are likely to follow. Read more HERE.

ORIGINAL POST: With the announcements this week about several vaccine candidate trials, either being completed or at the end of their Phase 3 testings, and the applications to government bodies for ‘emergency approval’, we now have to face the next question.

What restrictions will be imposed on those people who don’t have the vaccine, or even actively choose not to have the vaccine?

And more locally…

Will Thailand allow people to enter Thailand without first having the Covid-19 vaccine?

Given the Thai Government’s low-risk strategy, well almost zero-risk strategy, and reluctance to take any chances with a second wave of Covid 19, it is highly likely there will be a stipulation that anyone entering Thailand will need a vaccine certificate or stamp in their passports.

Couple this with the Thai population’s continued fear of allowing foreigners back into the country at this time, in poll after poll, and it’s a safe bet there will be a “no vaccine, no entry” restriction imposed.

On a positive note, the Thai government may drop the 14 day quarantine for people that have had the vaccine (but not in the early days).

At this stage we know that most of the vaccine trials have had a 95% efficacy. We also know that the leading BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine needs an original jab plus a booster and has to be transported at extremely low temperature.

To complicate matters, there is not yet sufficient evidence that having had a bout of Covid-19, whether asymptomatic or not, guarantees you immunity. Or, if it does, for how long?

All these factors will mean that some level of quarantine will probably be in force as the Thai government slowly re-opens its borders to a wider groups of vaccinated travellers. This would remain in force until the world has a better knowledge of both the proven efficacy of the vaccine, or vaccines, and the re-infection rates.

So, even if we start getting groups of the world’s populations vaccinated before the end of the year, and that’s still a very big IF, there’s a lot more water to pass under the bridge until a coherent, reliable vaccine strategy can be understood and implemented.

Then there will be a rump of people, either hard core anti-vaxxers, or others who are at least skeptical of a new vaccine, who will want to wait or not want the vaccine at all. Public education, some strong science and a successful roll out of the early vaccines will be a key to winning over a lot of the world’s population.

Somehow governments and health authorities are going to have to wind back much of the disinformation floating around the internet about vaccines that is so factually out of whack with reality, it’s going to be one of the greatest public health challenges of all time, to reassure people about the science of vaccines and vaccination.

All this, in the middle of a pandemic that, for now, is still on the ascendency as far as new cases and deaths are concerned.

But there is little doubt rejoining the world of international travel, even local travel, could become restricted to only those who are vaccinated. The rest will be stuck roaming around their own countries, or states, for… years with a raft of restrictions on their lives. Who knows.

Will shopping centres or public buildings also impose a “no vaccine, no entry” policy? Hotels? Public buildings? Job applications?

On top of the economic stress which has fallen on a lot of the world, with so many governments now facing the headwinds of deep recession, the vaccine ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ will add even more public disquiet.

At this stage nobody is sure how the vaccine will be rolled out in Thailand. The Thai government has already signed up for several of the leading vaccine candidates and will most likely provide the vaccine for free to citizens under its public health system.

What does that mean for foreigners living here? If you are covered, with a work permit, under the country’s public health, are you able to get the vaccine for free too? Will the thousands of foreigners on private health insurance be covered?

Surely the insurers will want its customers to be vaccinated. Sick customers cost them money. So, will insurance renewals be limited to only people who have been vaccinated? Will visas be renewed only if you have been vaccinated?

At this stage there are no firm answers to any of these questions.

And then there is the SARS Cov2 virus (Covid-19) itself, a living virus which has the ability to mutate and adapt. Will these new vaccines be effective against all mutations? Again, this is all ahead of us.

We’re certainly now entering a new phase of this pandemic. New challenges, new questions. The rising numbers of cases throughout 2020 is only the first chapter of a book that will be many more years in the making.

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Thailand

Thailand may have to wait for US vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna

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As news that US may acquire its first shipment of Covid vaccines in mid-December, Thailand may have to wait to share the vaccines as they will likely be made available to the US and Japan first, before the rest of the world. Pfizer and Moderna recently announced their vaccines were about 95% effective, with some countries starting to preorder the vaccines despite shipment challenges that include maintaining a low temperature during transport.

Already, the US and Japan have preordered 300 and 120 million doses respectively, according to Kiat Ruxrungtham, the director of Covid-19 vaccine research and development project of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University. But Thailand may have other options as Kiat said 11 other pharmaceutical companies are developing the vaccine that could be distributed on a large scale. Out of Thailand’s 7 potential Covid-19 vaccines, 2 have successfully completed the animal testing stage and will proceed to human testing starting in April 2021.

However, Kiat says BioNet-Asia Co’s vaccine may be lagging behind due to the short supply of vaccine precursors, as many have been bought by bigger companies. He adds that a team has been testing Cu-Cov19, an mRNA vaccine, on macaques at Chulalongkorn University’s National Primate Research Centre in Saraburi with BioNet-Asia being the centre’s partner.

He said the project does not had sufficient funding from the government, but the state is finding ways to preorder vaccines from Covax, a company working with the World Health Organization and cooperating with AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Today, Thailand’s CCSA reports 2 new imported cases of Covid, 1 of which is a 5 month old Indian baby girl, bringing the total number of cases to 3,922 with 0 new deaths. The Centre for Covid Situation Administration reported that the girl arrived on November 11 on the same flight as 2 previously confirmed cases. The baby tested positive 5 days later, while displaying symptoms such as a fever and vomitting.

 

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Pattaya

Pandemic has washed away Pattaya’s “soapy” massage parlours

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Pandemic has washed away Pattaya’s “soapy” massage parlours | The Thaiger

While the Covid pandemic has hit Thailand’s businesses hard, it has also washed away its not-so-legal soapy massage parlours after tourism has dried up its clientele. Such places, known as glorified brothels, have left many masseuses out of work as boards have barricaded the once booming establishments.

Soapy Massage (àap-òp-nûat, อาบอบนวด, literally bath, steam, massage)…
These are the bigger massage parlours where girls are presented in the fishbowl and you get the full program (including sex) for a fixed price, depending on the girl starting from 1,500 and up to 5,000 Baht.

Only a few of the soapy services have survived the pandemic in Pattaya, with Honey Massage Parlour being one of them, according to The Pattaya Mail. After adjusting to the new requirements for social distancing, the business has re-opened on November 19. However, its largest shop has closed, once known as Honey 1 on Soi Honey, or Soi 11, the windows are dark and barricaded. Honey Inn is also up for sale.

25 year old masseuse Maywadee, says she used to work in such parlours where she would get a cut of the 1,500 to 2,500 baht fee. She says she used to see up to 7 clients a day, but now that number has been cut in half as Chinese and Japanese tourists, who were her largest group of customers have dwindled. Now, she is thinking about heading back to her home city of Chiang Mai, to sell handicrafts, as her Pattaya income has dried up.

Such parlours feature masseuses that are usually not native to the area, as many come from lower socio-economic areas such as Thailands northeastern provinces, otherwise known as Isaan. Many make the trip to tourist-driven cities like Pattaya, Koh Samui, Bangkok and others, in an attempt to make a higher salary than they would if they were back in Isaan.

SOURCE: The Pattaya Mail

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