Vaccine trials ‘can’t detect’ virus risk reduction: expert

by Patrick GALEY PARIS, France (AFP) — None of the trials of Covid-19 candidate vaccines can detect a reduction in serious outcomes such as hospitalization or death, a leading public health expert said Thursday. Writing in the BMJ medical journal, associate editor Peter Doshi warned that not even phase 3 trials under way in the race for a vaccine can prove their product will prevent people contracting Covid-19. In a sobering essay, Doshi said those […]

Bottle-fed babies ingest ‘millions’ of microplastics: study

by Amélie BOTTOLLIER-DEPOIS PARIS, France (AFP) — Bottle-fed babies may ingest more than a million pieces of microplastics each day, new research showed Monday highlighting the abundance of plastics in our food products. There is growing evidence that humans consume huge numbers of the tiny particles, formed when larger pieces of plastic break down, but very little is known about the knock-on health consequences. Researchers in Ireland looked at the rate of microplastic release in […]

UK researchers aim to infect volunteers to study Covid exposure

  LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — British researchers on Tuesday said they hope to expose healthy volunteers to the virus that causes Covid-19 in a groundbreaking study to discover the amount needed for people to become infected. The Human Challenge Programme — a partnership that includes Imperial College London — hopes the work will ultimately help to “reduce the spread of the coronavirus, mitigate its impact and reduce deaths”. In what researchers called a world […]

Coronavirus survives on skin five times longer than flu: study

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found, in a discovery they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours by comparison, said the study published this month in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal. “The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes Covid-19) on […]

Pfizer plans to seek authorization for Covid-19 vaccine in November: company

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer expects to file for emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in late November, around two weeks after the November 3 US presidential election, it said Friday. The company said it hopes to move ahead with the vaccine after safety data is available in the third week of November, immediately lifting the company’s shares two percent in the US. “So let me be clear, assuming […]

Facebook bans ads discouraging vaccines

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Facebook on Tuesday announced a ban on ads that discourage people from getting vaccinated, in light of the coronavirus pandemic which the social media giant said has “highlighted the importance of preventive health behaviors.” “While public health experts agree that we won’t have an approved and widely available Covid-19 vaccine for some time, there are steps that people can take to stay healthy and safe,” the company said in […]

World Bank approves $12 bln for Covid-19 vaccines

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The World Bank said Tuesday that it approved $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatment. The financing “aims to support vaccination of up to a billion people,” the bank said in a statement. The money is part of an overall World Bank Group (WBG) package of up to $160 billion through June 2021 designed to help developing countries battle […]

Covid-19 reinfection casts doubt on virus immunity: study

by Patrick GALEY PARIS, France (AFP) — Covid-19 patients may experience more severe symptoms the second time they are infected, according to research released Tuesday confirming it is possible to catch the potentially deadly disease more than once. A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal charts the first confirmed case of Covid-19 reinfection in the United States — the country worst hit by the pandemic — and indicates that exposure to the virus […]

Coronavirus ‘can survive for 28 days on surfaces’: study

by Holly ROBERTSON Agence France-Presse BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) — The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can survive on items such as banknotes and phones for up to 28 days in cool, dark conditions, according to a study by Australia’s national science agency. Researchers at CSIRO’s disease preparedness centre tested the longevity of SARS-CoV-2 in the dark at three temperatures, showing survival rates decreased as conditions became hotter, the agency said Monday. The scientists found that at 20 […]

Mental health toll of pandemic ‘devastating’: WHO

by Robin MILLARD Agence France Presse GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The Covid-19 pandemic is having a “devastating impact” on mental health services globally, the World Health Organization said Monday, ahead of a large fundraising push. It warned that mental health had been overlooked in the crisis, pointing to a survey conducted between June and August that revealed severe disruptions to services in 93 countries. While 83 percent of the 130 countries surveyed had included mental […]

US-British trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for Hepatitis C discovery

by Pia OHLIN STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AFP) — Americans Harvey Alter and Charles Rice together with Briton Michael Houghton won the Nobel Medicine Prize on Monday for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus, the Nobel jury said. The three were honored for their “decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world,” the jury said. Thanks to their discovery, highly […]

Second Russian virus vaccine passes early trials: report

  MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Early clinical trials of a second Russian coronavirus vaccine have proved successful, its developer said Thursday after Russia boasted of approving the world’s first vaccine. Russia’s Vektor — a top-secret state virology research centre in Siberia — said that early-stage trials were successful for its own experimental vaccine, named EpiVacCorona. “The first two phases of clinical trials demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of the EpiVacCorona vaccine,” Vektor’s press department told […]