Novavax starts clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate - CNBC
Novavax said on Monday it has started the Phase 1 clinical trial of a novel coronavirus vaccine candidate and has enrolled the trial's first participants, with preliminary results slated for July.
Novavax said on Monday it has started the Phase 1 clinical trial of a novel coronavirus vaccine candidate and has enrolled the trial's first participants, with preliminary results slated for July. The Maryland-based late-stage biotechnology company in April said it identified the candidate, NVX-CoV2373, with which it planned to use its Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance immune responses. Adjuvants are mainly used to make vaccines induce a strong immune response, including through the greater production of antibodies, and provide longer-lasting protection against viral and bacterial infection. Novavax said it expects preliminary immunogenicity and safety results from the trial in July. The announcement comes as drugmakers pause clinical trials for other ailments and race to find an antidote for Covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus which has infected more than 5.3 million people worldwide and killed over 343,000. Novavax said, upon successful completion of Phase 1, the Phase 2 portion of the trial will be conducted in several countries, including the United States. The Phase 2 trial will assess immunity, safety and Covid-19 disease reduction in a broader age range, Novavax said.
WHO warns it could take up to 5 years before the coronavirus pandemic is under control - CNBC
To date, more than 4.3 million people have contracted the Covid-19 infection, with 297,465 deaths worldwide, according to JHU.
World Health Organization (WHO) Chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan on January 12, 2020 in Geneva. The coronavirus pandemic may continue into the latter half of the decade, a senior global health official has warned, as the death toll of the virus approaches the grim milestone of 300,000. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization's chief scientist, told the Financial Times' Global Boardroom webinar on Wednesday: "I would say in a four to five-year timeframe, we could be looking at controlling this." Swaminathan said a vaccine appeared to be the "best way out" at present but warned there were lots of "ifs and buts" about its safety, production and equitable distribution. The development of an effective vaccine and successful confinement measures were both among the factors that would ultimately determine the pandemic's duration, she added, the FT reported. To date, more than 4.3 million people have contracted the Covid-19 infection, with 297,465 deaths worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. A global public health crisis has meant countries have effectively had to shut down, with many world leaders imposing stringent restrictions on the daily lives of billions of people. The lockdown measures, which vary in their application but broadly include school closures, bans on public gatherings and social distancing, are expected to result in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s. In recent weeks, some countries have sought to gradually relax restrictions, allowing some shops and factories to reopen. People wear a protective mask due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), this Thursday morning, on Avenida Paulista, in the central region of the city of Sao Paulo. However, the emergence of new Covid-19 cases in South Korea and China has exacerbated concerns about the potential for a second wave of infections. The International Energy Agency on Thursday estimated that the number of people living under some form of confinement measures at the end of May would drop to 2.8 billion people worldwide, down from a recent peak of 4 billion. At a separate media briefing, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's emergencies program, said at the organization's Geneva headquarters on Wednesday that the coronavirus "may never go away." When asked to address Swaminathan's comments earlier in the day, Ryan said no one would be able to accurately predict when the disease might disappear. He added that trying to control the virus would require a "massive effort," even if a vaccine is found.
Hydroxychloroquine fails to help hospitalized coronavirus patients in US funded study - CNBC
Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump, didn't appear to help hospitalized patients with Covid-19, according to a new observational study.
Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump, didn't appear to help hospitalized patients with Covid-19, according to a new observational study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, looked at 1,376 consecutive patients who showed up at the emergency room with symptoms of coronavirus. Nearly 60%, or 811 of the patients, received the drug within 48 hours and were found, on average, to be more severely ill than those who didn't receive the drug, the researchers said. They said the study's findings didn't find any potential benefit or harm from the drug, adding a rigorous, randomized clinical trial is needed. The new findings come two weeks after the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers against chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 outside a hospital or formal clinical trial setting. The agency said it became aware of reports of "serious heart rhythm problems" in patients with the virus who were treated with the malaria drugs, often in combination with antibiotic azithromycin, commonly known as a Z-Pak. Hydroxychloroquine, which is available as a generic drug and is also produced under the brand name Plaquenil by French drugmaker Sanofi, can have serious side effects, including muscle weakness and heart arrhythmia. A small study in Brazil was halted for safety reasons after coronavirus patients taking chloroquine, which hydroxychloroquine is derived from, developed arrhythmia, including some who died. Chloroquine was approved by FDA in 1949 to treat malaria. Hydroxychloroquine is often used by doctors to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The study published Thursday is one of several looking at the drug as a potential treatment for the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1.2 million people across the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The New York State Department of Health, in partnership with the University of Albany, is conducting an observational study that researchers hope can shed some insight into the drug's potential effectiveness. They are examining the medical records of Covid-19 patients who have been discharged from the hospital or have died to see what was prescribed and what may have been effective. David Holtgrave, dean at the University of Albany's School of Public Health and a researcher working with the state, told CNBC on Thursday that the study is not ready to be published but is nearing completion. Observational studies aren't considered as conclusive as randomized controlled trials because doctors can prescribe a variety of other drugs to treat an infection. The less formal process, however, can yield faster results and help with the approval process of some treatments. There are no FDA-approved treatments for Covid-19 and U.S. health officials say a vaccine will take 12 to 18 months at the earliest. Last week, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug remdesivir to treat Covid-19. The move came after the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released results from its study showing Covid-19 patients who took remdesivir usually recovered after 11 days, four days faster than those who didn't take the drug.
Coronavirus outbreak likely to go on for two years, scientists predict - CNBC
In a new report, researchers from the University of Minnesota stressed that Covid-19 was more contagious than the flu and was likely to continue circulating after a first wave this spring.
The coronavirus pandemic is likely to last between 18 and 24 months, scientists from the University of Minnesota have predicted. In a report published Thursday, researchers from the university's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) stressed that Covid-19 was more contagious than the flu and was likely to continue circulating after a first wave this spring. The new coronavirus has a longer incubation period than the flu, meaning it takes longer for symptoms to appear after a person has been infected, they said, noting that the coronavirus may be at its most contagious before symptoms appear. It was also pointed out that Covid-19 has displayed a higher rate of asymptomatic transmission, as well as a higher R0 rating than influenza. An R naught, or R0, rating of 1 means a person infected with the virus will, on average, spread it to one other person. An outbreak is expected to continue if a disease is given an R naught value higher than 1 during an event like the current pandemic. Covid-19's R0 has been estimated between 1.4 and 5.7 in various studies but CIDRAP noted a rating was difficult to establish due to variations in identifying and testing infected people between regions. "Some countries appear to have been able to drive their R0 for (Covid-19) below 1 with mitigation measures, although as the mitigation measures are lifted, the R0 in any given area may creep back above 1, leading to disease resurgence over time," the report's authors said. "A higher R0 means more people will need to get infected and become immune before the pandemic can end," they added. "It likely won't be halted until 60% to 70% of the population is immune." Based on the most recent flu pandemics, and the rate at which the coronavirus is able to spread, the report projected the Covid-19 outbreak would last between 18 months and two years. Scientists presented three possible ways the virus might continue to spread in the years to come. In the first scenario, the first wave of the coronavirus would last through spring 2020 to be followed by "a series of repetitive smaller waves" occurring throughout the summer and then consistently over a one to two-year period. The virus would then gradually diminish "sometime in 2021." "The occurrence of these waves may vary geographically and may depend on what mitigation measures are in place and how they are eased," analysts said. "Depending on the height of the wave peaks, this scenario could require periodic reinstitution and subsequent relaxation of mitigation measures over the next one to two years." The second scenario would see the first wave of the coronavirus in the spring followed by a larger wave in the fall or winter of 2020. One or more smaller waves would come afterward in 2021, the report said. This pattern, researchers noted, was similar to the one seen during the 1918 flu outbreak that killed up to 50 million people worldwide. Under the final scenario, the first wave would be followed by a "slow burn" of ongoing transmission but without a clear wave pattern. The pattern would vary geographically and may be influenced by the degree of mitigation measures in place in different regions. However, the report's authors said this situation would be unlikely to require the reinstatement of mitigation measures, although new cases and deaths would continue to occur. "Whichever scenario the pandemic follows assuming at least some level of ongoing mitigation measures we must be prepared for at least another 18 to 24 months of significant Covid-19 activity, with hot spots popping up periodically in diverse geographic areas," scientists said. They added that even as the pandemic wanes, it was likely the coronavirus would continue to circulate in the human population. The virus would "synchronize to a seasonal pattern" with less severity over time, the report predicted. Work to develop a vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 is well underway around the world. There are currently at least 102 vaccines in development globally, according to the WHO, but experts have predicted a vaccine will take 12 to 18 months to be rolled out to the market. Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences claims to have seen "positive data" from clinical trials of its drug remdesivir as a Covid-19 treatment. However, the drug has not been formally approved to treat the virus, and U.S. health officials caution the data is not yet peer-reviewed.
Apple reportedly delays new iPhone production, putting 'super cycle' of upgrades in doubt - CNBC
The report suggests that Apple will delay the launch of some or all new iPhones this year.
Apple is gearing up for its next iPhone launch this fall, but plans could shift as the company delays production, according to a new report. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that mass production for new iPhones has been pushed back "about a month." That means that even if Apple announces them in September, as it usually does, some or all of the models might not be available to buy in September. The report says Apple is planning four new iPhones, including one with a 5.4-inch screen, two with 6.1-inch screens and a big model with a 6.7-inch screen. It's unclear how many of those phones may be impacted by the delay the report just says "flagship iPhones" but some analysts have said Apple could push the launch of some or all of its new phones. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, many analysts expected Apple's next iPhone models to kick off a "super cycle" of upgrades thanks to an expected redesign of the phone and the addition of 5G. A significant portion of the iPhone installation base is still made up of models that launched as long ago as 2015, and the hope was the 2020 iPhone models would have enough new features to encourage those users to finally spring for an upgrade. In January, Susquehanna said Apple's decision to create its own antenna package modules would delay its fastest 5G iPhone into December or January. Bank of America said in March the 5G iPhone could be delayed due to the coronavirus. JPMorgan said Apple's new iPhone could be delayed one to two months. And Nikkei Asian Review said in March that Apple was considering delaying its iPhone launch by "months" because of issues related to consumer demand during and after the Covid-19 epidemic. Top Apple analyst TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expects the coronavirus to negatively impact iPhone shipments by 10% to 15%. It's not just production issues either. With so many jobs lost due to the pandemic, it could be hard for Apple to persuade people to upgrade to its newest phones, which can cost $1,000 or more. Last week, Apple launched the iPhone SE, a cheaper model that starts at $399. It has the same processor as the top-tier iPhone 11 and an improved camera but utilizes the same design with a home button that Apple has offered since 2014. Kuo said earlier this month that he believes Apple's 6.1-inch and 5.4-inch iPhones will enter mass production in September and that a larger 6.7-inch model wouldn't be mass produced until October "because this model's design is the most complicated." Apple has done this before. The iPhone X was announced at the same time as the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, in September 2017, but the top model didn't ship for two months. Apple was not immediately available to comment. Read more from The Wall Street Journal.
Harvard Researchers Warn Social-Distancing Measures May Need to Remain in Place Into 2022 - NBC Chicago
The researchers said they were aware prolonged distancing, even if intermittent, was likely to have "profoundly negative" consequences.
A man wearing a surgical mask works on his computer on Broadway Avenue as New Yorkers practice "Social Distancing" because of the COVID-19 pandemic on April 12, 2020 in New York City, United States. Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have warned that, in the absence of a vaccine or an effective treatment of the coronavirus, social-distancing measures may be required through to 2022. In a study published in the journal Science on Tuesday, a team of epidemiologists at Harvard assessed what is known about Covid-19 and other coronaviruses to anticipate possible scenarios for the current global health crisis. It said social-distancing measures, such as school closures, bans on public gatherings and stay-at-home orders, may have to remain in place for at least the next couple of years. "Absent other interventions, a key metric for the success of social distancing is whether critical care capacities are exceeded," they wrote in the report. "To avoid this, prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022." The researchers said it is critical to discover whether the coronavirus can be wiped out after this initial pandemic wave, like the SARS outbreak of 2003. If this is not the case, the Harvard team say it is likely that Covid-19 will re-emerge every winter like other, more common, coronaviruses. "Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024," they wrote in the report. The coronavirus pandemic has meant countries around the world have effectively had to shut down, with many governments imposing draconian measures on the lives of billions of people. Confinement measures have been implemented in 187 countries or territories in an effort to try to slow the spread of the global outbreak. As of Wednesday, nearly 2 million people had contracted Covid-19 worldwide, with 127,590 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Some European countries have cautiously moved to emerge from lockdown after enduring several weeks of stringent social and economic restrictions. The U.S., the global epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has signaled May 1 as a potential date for easing restrictive measures. Researchers at Harvard said they were aware that prolonged distancing, even if intermittent, was likely to have "profoundly negative economic, social, and educational consequences." They stressed that their goal in modeling such policies was not to endorse them but rather to spur innovative ideas and to expand the list of options to bring the pandemic under long-term control. The study went on to say that it is important to understand whether people can become immune to the coronavirus after they have been infected, noting that this is not yet known. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on March 11, 2020. The World Health Organization has said that evidence from several countries around the world was giving them a "clearer picture about this virus, how it behaves, how to stop it and how to treat it." The director general of the United Nations health agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a media briefing earlier this week that: "Our global connectedness means the risk of re-introduction and resurgence of the disease will continue." "Ultimately, the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine will be needed to fully interrupt transmission," he warned.