A blow for vaccine touted as world’s greatest hope for defeating Covid-19

A blow for vaccine touted as world’s greatest hope for defeating Covid-19

The findings, which come every week after the primary million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in South Africa, are a harmful setback for the nation’s efforts to curtail the pandemic. Greater than 46,000 persons are identified to have died from Covid-19 there, and total instances, which have topped 1.4 million, at the moment are largely being pushed by the brand new variant.

It is also a giant blow for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been hailed for its low price and straightforward storage as one of many world’s greatest hopes for defeating the virus. And the examine is one more worrying signal of the dangers that new mutations pose to vaccine improvement and deployment, with herd immunity showing more and more much less achievable.

The B.1.351 variant has been recognized in at the very least 41 international locations, together with the US, in accordance with the World Well being Group (WHO). Different variants first noticed in the UK and Brazil have been detected in dozens extra. And so they’re spreading quickly.

It was not clear from the examine, which has not but been peer reviewed, whether or not the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine protected in opposition to extreme illness from the B.1.351 variant. The two,000 scientific trial members have been principally younger wholesome adults, unlikely to grow to be severely ailing. However primarily based on immune responses detected of their blood samples, scientists mentioned there was “nonetheless some hope” that the vaccine may defend in opposition to extra extreme instances.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson mentioned in an announcement that the corporate was working with Oxford College to adapt the vaccine in opposition to the B.1.351 variant so “it’s prepared for autumn supply ought to or not it’s wanted.” A number of different producers have mentioned they’re attempting to deal with the problem of variants by growing booster pictures.

WHO’s unbiased vaccine panel will meet Monday to debate the AstraZeneca vaccine and what the brand new examine means for vaccines going ahead.


Q: How do coronavirus variants come about?

A: Viruses change on a regular basis and many of the adjustments, or mutations, are innocent. However generally one of many items of the virus will purchase a change that offers it a bonus, and that one will come to dominate in a inhabitants. And, generally, that change may be dangerous to the individuals it infects. Different occasions, it makes it simpler for the virus to be transmitted.

Dr. Bruce Walker, an infectious ailments specialist, says coronavirus variants aren’t simply imported — they may also be house grown. He pointed to the case of a 45-year-old affected person in Massachusetts, who developed a mutation of the virus resembling variants first recognized in South Africa, the UK and Brazil after being sick for months, as proof.

“Calling these items the African variant, the Brazilian variant, will not be so correct,” Walker, director of the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts Basic Hospital, MIT and Harvard, mentioned. “I am unsure that any mutations that at the moment are being detected aren’t simply being generated in numerous international locations however alongside comparable paths.”

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Fears Tremendous Bowl will carry coronavirus surge

Covid-19 instances and hospitalizations are lowering throughout a lot of the US, however well being specialists and officers warned that might change if followers gathered Sunday to look at the Tremendous Bowl with individuals from outdoors their households.

“When individuals get collectively in non-public residences in shut proximity, that is among the single simplest methods to unfold this illness,” Kentucky Public Well being Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack mentioned. “We will not afford to have the illness unfold now, with these mutations and these variants.”

New variants circulating within the US are as soon as once more placing the nation within the “eye of the hurricane,” in accordance with Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the Nationwide College of Tropical Drugs at Baylor School of Drugs. Almost 700 instances of coronavirus variants first noticed within the UK, South Africa and Brazil have been reported within the US to date, in accordance with knowledge up to date by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The overwhelming majority of these instances are the B.1.1.7 pressure, which was first detected within the UK and has now been noticed in at the very least 33 states. Specialists say the extremely contagious variant will doubtless quickly grow to be dominant within the US, and a brand new examine discovered important group transmission might already be occurring.

Inside Malawi’s Covid-19 wards, the affect of vaccine nationalism is all too clear

A dramatic second wave of Covid-19 in Malawi, fueled by the brand new variant first found in neighboring South Africa, has inundated a lot of its well being infrastructure, leaving many households to make agonizing decisions and exposing the hazard of deep inequalities in vaccine distribution.

“I used to do common rounds at district hospitals. It was a approach for us to make sure the standard of care throughout the nation,” says Dr. Tamara Phiri, a specialist treating Covid-19 sufferers at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, the most important hospital in southern Malawi.

However like lots of Phiri’s different obligations, her district visits ended when Covid-19 struck in earnest in Blantyre and her house hospital’s coronavirus admissions hovered close to capability. Based on official authorities knowledge, the file for confirmed single-day Covid-19 instances was almost seven occasions greater on the very peak of this second wave in comparison with the primary. David McKenzie and Brent Swails report.

Heartbreak and anger as China discourages journey for Lunar New 12 months

Usually at the moment of yr, a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of Chinese language individuals could be packing highways, trains and planes on homebound journeys to rejoice the Lunar New 12 months with household.

However this yr, the most important annual human migration on Earth has been placed on maintain, following the Chinese language authorities’s name to keep away from “nonessential” journeys throughout the vacation interval to forestall a resurgence of the coronavirus. That could be a lot to ask. The Lunar New 12 months, also referred to as Spring Competition in China, is crucial vacation within the Chinese language calendar — the equal of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New 12 months’s Eve mixed.

To discourage individuals from touring, China’s Nationwide Well being Fee has imposed new guidelines that require individuals returning to rural areas to supply a destructive Covid-19 take a look at taken inside the earlier seven days, and to spend 14 days in “house remark” upon arrival. The brand new restrictions have provoked fury on social media, with some questioning the federal government’s coverage at a time when many individuals had hoped to go house. Nectar Gan, Lily Lee and David Culver report.
China recorded zero new locally-transmitted Covid-19 instances from Sunday. It is the primary time this has occurred since December.


  • Home Democratic leaders will unveil laws Monday that may give hundreds of thousands of households at the very least $3,000 per baby, advancing a key provision in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 aid package deal.
  • Austria lifted its round the clock stay-at-home order on Monday, with the nationwide curfew moved again to nighttime hours solely. Snowboarding and haircuts at the moment are a chance.
  • After weeks of drama and setbacks over participant quarantine, the Australian Open kicked off Monday. 1000’s of followers are there to absorb the motion.
  • The South Korean capital of Seoul will begin testing pet canines and cats for Covid-19 if their house owners are optimistic and the animals themselves are symptomatic.


Nobody would blame you for being in a depressed state in regards to the coronavirus. There’s, nonetheless, at the very least some trigger for optimism. Within the US, the variety of individuals getting the coronavirus is falling, and the variety of individuals getting vaccinated is rising. It can solely proceed to rise as increasingly vaccines are made out there.

There’s mild on the finish of the lengthy darkish tunnel. We cannot get there for some time, however there may be cause to imagine we are going to get there. Listed below are some extra causes to remain optimistic.


“I do have, you already know, family members who’ve expressed their concern to me about testing and being, quote unquote, lab rats as Black individuals for vaccines.” — Jamecka Britton, a Black nurse in Atlanta

Research have proven that Black Individuals have been extra hesitant than White Individuals to get a Covid-19 shot. CNN Correspondent Stephanie Elam enrolled in a vaccine trial within the hope that different Black individuals would see somebody like them going by the method. On in the present day’s episode, she speaks with a nurse who nonetheless is not able to get the vaccine. Pay attention now.

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