Elderly could have virus vaccine boost - Shepparton News
New vaccine technology being used to fight cancer and influenza could be re-tooled to help protect the elderly against coronavirus.Researchers from Melbourne's Monash University and the National University of Singapore say their studies have triggered long-term immunity in animals."Given the enormous impact that COVID-19 has had on aged care facilities globally, there is an urgent need for a vaccine that can work in older people, who often have weakened immunity and do not respond as effectively to vaccines," said Monash's Associate Professor Mireille Lahoud. The two universities have spent 12 years developing the vaccine platform, which they say triggers immunity against cancer, influenza and other infectious diseases. Now they're using it to target what is known as the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2. Associate Professor Lahoud said the vaccine platform harnesses the dendritic cell within the immune system and this fast-tracks an immune response. Researchers have developed a protein, called Clec9A, that attaches to dendritic cells in animals and helps trigger an immune response to the spike protein in the virus. "Importantly the study found that this vaccine stimulated a strong immune response against COVID-19 in both young and old mice," the universities said in a statement. "The researchers have already developed a lead vaccine against COVID-19 which stimulates the dendritic cell pathway." The universities aim to to conduct more animal studies and then target clinical trials of the vaccine for older patients. They are also raising funds to develop the coronavirus vaccine platform.
No new COVID-19 cases in Greater Shepparton for second day - Shepparton News
Greater Shepparton recorded no new COVID-19 cases today as the number of active cases dropped to 16.This comes as all Shepparton Villages Maculata Place residents returned negative COVID-19 results in their third round of testing and Greater Shepparton Secondary College's Wanganui Campus was given the all-clear to reopen tomorrow.Of the recent new COVID-19 cases: One outbreak of 16 COVID-19 cases comprises two staff members and one resident from Shepparton Villages and 13 close contacts not connected with Shepparton Villages. The seven new cases from Friday are related to this outbreak. There is one community outbreak consisting of 10 people. There have been three other separate cases, and one of these is linked to a person that has tested positive for COVID-19 in the Campaspe region. Shepparton Villages chief executive Veronica Jamison said all 110 Maculata Place residents returned negative COVID-19 results, including the single resident who tested positive for COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Services has advised the original COVID-19 resident at Maculata Place the only resident case at Maculata Place - has been certified as clear, Ms Jamison said. Ms Jamison said there were now 110 residents living at Maculata Place compared with 116 two weeks ago, as some had moved to hospital or had taken social leave with families during the lockdown period. None of these are related in any way to COVID-19, Ms Jamison said. She said Maculata Place residents would stay in isolation until staff received further instructions from the Department of Health and Human Services about moving into "active surveillance". Staff testing is part of that process and Maculata Place staff were tested on Thursday last week, and we await the return of those results before we can begin the transitioning process, Ms Jamison said. In preparation for transitioning out of isolation, we are currently conducting a thorough clean of all communal areas, including carpets, chairs, and upholstery. Residents remain in isolation until we get the go ahead to move into active surveillance and we hope that will happen mid this week but it does depend on staff results. Ms Jamison thanked residents and families for the patience and understanding. Greater Shepparton Secondary College executive principal Genevieve Simson said Wanganui Campus was able to reopen from Monday, August 24, after it was closed for cleaning on Thursday in connection with a student who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)... has now completed its risk assessment, Ms Simson said. As part of its investigation, DHHS has identified people who have potentially come into close contact with the student who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). It provided direct and specific advice to these individuals and their families about quarantine and looking after themselves. If you were not contacted by DHHS directly, then you are not considered to be a close contact. Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said there were no inpatients at GV Health being treated for COVID-19. He said people who had tested positive for COVID-19 in the past few weeks were being released from self-isolation consistent with Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. GV Health is continuing to undertake contact tracing and monitoring of current active cases in Shepparton in consultation with the DHHS, Mr Sharp said. Anyone who is a known close contact and has been tested for COVID-19 must stay at home. Campaspe Shire has one active COVID-19 cases, and Benalla Rural City, Moira Shire and Strathbogie Shire remain on zero. Victoria recorded 208 new cases and 17 deaths today. Anyone who is unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild (such as fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of smell), should get tested immediately and stay at home. GV Health's Acute Respiratory Clinic at Graham St, Shepparton, is open seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm and does not require an appointment. For more information, phone the coronavirus hotline on 1800675398 or visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
Greater Shepparton records four active cases - Shepparton News
Greater Shepparton has four active cases of COVID-19, including three recorded in the 24 hours to Friday afternoon.A staff member at First Choice Liquor Shepparton and another at Shepparton Retirement Villages in addition to a contactor at Unilever Tatura have tested positive for COVID-19.Victoria has recorded 450 new cases of coronavirus since Thursday, with the total number of cases now at 13,867. Within Victoria, 42 of the new cases are linked to outbreaks or complex cases and 408 are under investigation. There have been 11 new deaths from COVID-19 reported since yesterday. They include a woman in her 50s, two men in their 70s, three men and three women in their 80s and two women in their 90s. Seven of the 11 new deaths are linked to known outbreaks in aged care facilities. To date, 181 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.
US astronauts pack up for rare splashdown - Shepparton News
Two US astronauts about to make the first splashdown return in 45 years said they'll have seasick bags ready to use if needed.SpaceX and NASA plan to bring Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken back Sunday afternoon in the company's Dragon capsule, aiming for the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida Panhandle.Flight controllers are keeping close watch on Hurricane Isaias, expected to stick to Florida's east coast. Hurley said if he and Behnken get sick while bobbing in the waves awaiting recovery, it won't be the first time for a crew. Astronauts returning in the early 1970s from Skylab, NASA's first space station, did not feel well following splashdown, Hurley noted. Feeling sick "is the way it is with a water landing," he said during the crew's final news conference from the International Space Station on Friday This will be SpaceX's first splashdown with astronauts on board, ending a two-month test flight that began May 30 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center - the first launch of a crew from the US in nearly a decade. capsule has been docked at the space station since May 31, allowing Hurley and Behnken to chip in with spacewalks and experiments. Hurley said the emergency and other equipment has checked out well aboard Dragon, dubbed Endeavour. Launch and rendezvous went flawlessly, "so we expect nothing different for the splashdown", he said. Their departure leaves three on board, one American and two Russians. After splashdown, it will take an hour or so before the capsule is hauled by crane onto a SpaceX recovery ship, where the hatch will be opened and the astronauts will get out. Flight surgeons will be among the dozens of the recovery team members. The plan is for the Dragon to undock from the space station on Saturday, a day before splashdown. The prime target is off the coast of Panama City, halfway between Tallahassee and Pensacola. "We won't leave the space station without some good landing opportunities in front of us, good splashdown weather," Behnken told reporters. "We could stay up here longer. There's more chow and I know the space station program's got more work that we can do." Like launch, the ride back will be essentially automated, with the crew and flight controllers intervening only if necessary. Behnken has an extra reason to bring this Dragon back in good shape. Following refurbishment, the capsule will fly again next spring with a crew of four - including his wife, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur. SpaceX's next astronaut flight is targeted for the end of September. Behnken said even before his launch, they had an inkling she would be assigned to a SpaceX flight. NASA announced the news this week. "And of course, I'll have a lot of tips for her," he said. Hurley is married to recently retired NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg. NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing for US-based crew transport after the space shuttles retired in 2011. Russian rockets were the only way for astronauts to get to the space station until SpaceX became the first private company to launch humans into orbit two months ago. Boeing's first crew flight isn't expected until next year.
NSW reports three new COVID-19 cases - Shepparton News
Three new COVID-19 cases have been recorded in NSW, including a 34-year-old man who was part of an overseas cargo airline crew who became unwell during transit.NSW Health's Dr Michael Douglas said on Sunday close contacts of the airline worker had been identified and further investigations were underway.The other two cases are returned travellers who are in hotel quarantine. Some 3360 symptomatic returned travellers have been tested in hotels since March 29, with 106 of those - about 3 per cent - testing positive to the virus. More than 830,000 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out in NSW with the state's total sitting at 3177. "NSW Health thanks the community for continuing to take COVID-19 seriously and for getting tested," Dr Douglas said in a statement. There are currently 49 COVID-19 cases being treated, with none in intensive care. NSW Health is discouraging travel to and from areas of Melbourne with COVID-19 outbreaks. "Anyone who returns from areas of concern in Melbourne hotspots should not attend aged care facilities, hospitals, or other settings where vulnerable people might be," Dr Douglas said. "They should avoid gatherings outside their immediate household for the next 14 days." Following increased cases in Victoria, where the number of new coronavirus diagnoses has grown by double-digits every day for the past week, NSW has announced it will turn away football fans from the southern state. NRL and AFL spectators trying to enter NSW stadiums from Wednesday are likely to be required to show their driver's licence to prove they're not from Victoria. Meanwhile, the state government said on Sunday visits to parklands and gardens around Sydney have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan in Sydney's southwest recorded its highest visitation ever this year, with more than half a million visitors. Centennial Park visits are estimated to be up by 20 per cent while use of the Western Sydney Parklands 60km of tracks and trails has doubled since the commencement of COVID-19 restrictions. The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden also had more than 10,000 visitors during the recent long weekend as regional travel bans lifted.
Light up the night in world record bid - Shepparton News
SCIENTISTS are asking all Australians to step outside on the longest night of the year to help them measure light pollution around the country.Were expecting thousands of people to join us on Australias longest night, Sunday June 21, to help researchers create a map of Australias darkest skies, and learn about light pollution and its effect on people, animals, and astronomy, Australasian Dark Sky Alliance chief executive Marnie Ogg said.Together, our observations will map how light pollution varies across Australias cities and regions, and make a Guinness World Record attempt for Most users to take an online environmental sustainability lesson in 24 hours. Astronomer Professor Lisa Kewley, added: The Australian night sky is amazing. Our galaxy, The Milky Way, is painted across the sky. Its a view that encourages us to wonder whats out there, amongst the billions of stars. Its a view that encourages kids to take up science and physics. But most Australians cant see it, their view of the sky is blinded by light pollution." Light pollution doesnt just disrupt our view of The Milky Way. It disturbs wildlife, disrupt peoples sleep, and represents wasted electricity, says Marnie. The project is supported by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, which has produced The National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife. The record attempt starts from 1pm AEST on Sunday and follows night fall around the world. All the submissions will be added to the international database of Globe at Night and participants from across the planet are welcome to take part. For more information and to register, visit https://worldrecordlight.thinkific.com/.