Johnson & Johnson announces positive Covid booster data

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine is more effective when given as a two-dose regime, according to new data released by the company on Tuesday. A second shot given 56 days after the first provided 75 percent protection against symptomatic Covid in a global clinical trial, with that level rising to 94 percent in the United States. The reason behind this difference was not clear from the company’s press release, […]

Pfizer says its Covid jab safe for children aged 5-11

by Michelle FITZPATRICK FRANKFURT, Germany (AFP) — Pfizer and BioNTech on Monday said trial results showed their coronavirus vaccine is safe and produces a robust immune response in children aged five to 11, adding that they would seek regulatory approval shortly. The vaccine would be administered at a lower dosage than for people over 12, they said. “In participants five to 11 years of age, the vaccine was safe, well tolerated and showed robust neutralising […]

US panel recommends Covid boosters for people 65 and older

  by Issam AHMED Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — A panel of leading US medical experts advising the government voted in favor of authorizing boosters of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for everyone aged 65 and up, as well as people at high risk of developing severe Covid. The same committee however rejected an initial proposal, submitted by Pfizer and backed by President Joe Biden’s administration, to fully approve boosters to everyone aged 16 […]

Surprise may be key to ‘Mozart effect’ on epilepsy: study

by Natalie HANDEL PARIS, France (AFP) — A Mozart sonata that can calm epileptic brain activity may get its theraputic power thanks to melodies that create a sense of surprise, according to a study published Thursday. The research on 16 patients hospitalized with epilepsy that did not respond to medication has bolstered hopes that music could be used for new non-invasive treatments. “Our ultimate dream is to define an ‘anti-epileptic’ music genre and use music […]

Ebola virus in survivors can trigger outbreaks years after infection

by Sara HUSSEIN TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Ebola survivors can relapse and trigger outbreaks at least five years after infection, and long-term follow-up of former patients is needed to prevent devastating flare-ups, according to new research. Scientists already knew Ebola could lie dormant in survivors, who test negative because the virus is in tissue rather than circulating in the blood. But analysis of an outbreak this year in Guinea, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, […]

No need for a vaccine third jab booster: study

by Kelly MACNAMARA PARIS, France (AFP) — Vaccines are effective enough at preventing severe cases of Covid-19 that there is no current need for the general population to be given third doses, according to a report in The Lancet published Monday. Some countries have started offering extra doses over fears about the much more contagious Delta variant, causing the World Health Organization to call for a moratorium on third jabs amid concerns about vaccine supplies […]

Covid vaccines hold up against severe Delta: US data

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Fully vaccinated people were 11 times less likely to die of Covid and 10 times less likely to be hospitalized compared to the unvaccinated since highly contagious Delta became the most common variant, US health authorities said Friday. The data came from one of three new papers published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all of which underscored Covid vaccines’ ongoing effectiveness against severe outcomes. For reasons […]

Mu’ Covid variant potentially of concern: EU agency

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AFP) — The European Medicines Agency said yesterday a coronavirus variant known as “Mu” could be cause for concern, although there is no data yet to show it will overtake the dominant Delta strain. Mu, which was first identified in Colombia in January and is known scientifically as B.1.621, was classified earlier this month as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization. The EMA, while mainly focused on the highly […]

Co-inventor of mRNA shots sets sights on pan-coronavirus vaccine

  by Issam AHMED Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Drew Weissman’s decades of research helped pave the way for mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, but the scientist isn’t resting on his laurels. The University of Pennsylvania immunologist, who on Thursday shared the $3 million 2022 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences with his longtime collaborator Katalin Kariko, is now spearheading efforts to design a new vaccine against all coronaviruses. The Silicon Valley-backed award honors major […]

Covax eyes vaccines for just 20% of people in poor nations in 2021

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The vaccine-sharing facility Covax said Wednesday it should be able to provide Covid jabs to no more than 20 percent of people in poorer countries this year, far fewer than anticipated. Covax acknowledged that it now expects to access just 1.425 billion vaccine doses this year — far short of its goal of delivering two billion doses by year-end. That milestone was now expected to be reached only in the first […]

Enough Covid vaccines to cover global population: industry

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — There will be enough Covid-19 vaccine doses produced by the end of this year to cover the global population, industry heavyweights said Tuesday. There is a yawning gap in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries, but the threshold of 7.5 billion vaccine doses will be reached in September, Thomas Cueni, the head of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) told a news conference in Geneva. Up to […]

Study suggests Delta does not cause more severe childhood Covid

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US pediatric Covid hospitalizations have surged since Delta became predominant, but a new study that offers a first look at the relevant data suggests that fears the variant causes more severe disease are unfounded. The paper by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that between June 20 and July 31, 2021, unvaccinated adolescents were more than 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who […]