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COVID-19 UPDATE / Immunity and Vaccine Development

In this edition, Dr Doug from International SOS shares today's latest insights on the development of COVID immunity and vaccine development:

In this edition, Dr Doug from International SOS shares the very latest insights on the development of COVID immunity and vaccine development:


1.     EU regulator approves Moderna vaccine

2.     Israel to vaccinate all over-16s by April

3.     WHO recommends two doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within 21-28 days

4.     Major US Airlines Back “Global” COVID-19 Testing Requirements

5.     Stanford single-dose nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine candidate

6.     Canadian care home residents challenge delay of second COVID-19 vaccine shot


1.    EU regulator approves Moderna vaccine

Reuters reports: “EU countries could begin rolling out Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine as soon as next week after authorities approved the region’s second shot on 6 January.”

“’With the Moderna vaccine, the second one now authorised in the EU, we will have a further 160 million doses. And more vaccines will come,’ European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said.”


2.    Israel to vaccinate all over-16s by April

Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said supply agreements with Pfizer meant that all Israelis over the age of 16 would be able to be vaccinated by the end of March, or perhaps even earlier,” reports The Guardian.

Meanwhile, Israel is in the grip of its fourth COVID-19 wave, with cases rising rapidly.

At the same time, Israel is leading the world in vaccination its population, with over 17.14% vaccinated by 5 January 2020.

International SOS Comment 

The combination of rapidly rising case numbers AND a rapid vaccination program makes Israel a case study to monitor the effect of the vaccines and, by implication, if the vaccines are reducing or stopping viral transmission.

As Israel is at the moment only using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with an effectiveness of around 95%, herd immunity should be reached when about 60-70% of the population has been vaccinated.  We are hoping to see a rapid drop in new cases after that – indicating that herd immunity has actually been achieved.

In addition, as Israel has centrally-stored medical records, further analysis of this medical data will be invaluable.


3.    WHO recommends two doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine within 21-28 days

“COVID-19 patients should take two doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine within a period of 21-28 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on 5 January,” Reuters reports.

However, WHO also said that a delayed second dose may be considered for countries with exceptional supply constraints.


4.    Major US Airlines Back “Global” COVID-19 Testing Requirements

Nasdaq.com reports: “A group representing major US airlines on 4 January backed a proposal by public health officials to implement a global testing program requiring negative tests before most international air passengers return to the United States.”


5.    Stanford single-dose nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Stanford University has developed a vaccine candidate using ferritin nanoparticles studded with SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins. 

The goal is to make a low-cost, single-dose vaccine that does not require a cold-chain for storage or transport. The vaccine would be suitable for low- and middle-income countries.

Initial animal testing (mice) has shown mean neutralizing antibody titers at least two-fold greater than those in convalescent plasma from COVID-19 patients.

The vaccine is detailed in a paper published 5 January in ACS Central Science.


6.    Canadian care home residents challenge delay of second COVID-19 vaccine shot

Reuters reports that: “Residents of a Canadian long-term care home who received some of the first COVID-19 vaccine shots administered in the country have threatened to seek a court injunction if they do not get the second recommended shot in the coming days.

“If the second doses are not administered within three days…the residents will seek a court injunction to force health officials to deliver it.”


FOR INTERNATIONAL SOS MEMBERS (First login at http://www.internationalsos.com)

·       To view a digest of articles on COVID Immunity and Vaccine development: CLICK HERE

·       To view a digest of articles on COVID Testing: CLICK HERE