January 16, 2021

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COVID-19 UPDATE / Immunity and Vaccine Development

5 min read
Dr Doug from International SOS shares the very 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.     Global vaccination status

2.     Comparison of population, percentage vaccinated and number of people vaccinated

3.     Sleeves up NLOA! Fabulous public health messaging from New Orleans

4.     Cases rising rapidly in the UK

5.     South Africa testing vaccines on variant; results within 2 weeks

6.     EU COVID-19 vaccine purchases

7.     CDC update on COVID-19 vaccine-related anaphylaxis in MMWR

8.     BioNTech increases target output for 2021 to 2 billion doses

9.     India about to begin ambitious COVID-19 vaccination drive

10.  Expert warns UK’s coronavirus vaccine schedule puts “whole world at risk”

11.  Reports of new US COVID-19 variant are inaccurate, says CDC


1.     Global vaccination status

The statistics relating to percentage of population vaccinated can be misleading unless the total population size is also considered.

Chart 1: Our World in Data: Percentage of population vaccinated


2.     Comparison of population, percentage vaccinated and number of people vaccinated

While Israel is the leader with regard to the percentage of its population vaccinated, the US has administered the most vaccine doses; nine million.

IsraelUAEBahrainUKUSDenmarkIcelandItalySloveniaSpainCanada
population8.6M9.9M1.7M68M331M5.8M0.34M60.5M2M47M38M
% vaccinated21.38%11.80%5.44%3.94%2.72%2%1.43%1.16%0.99%0.87%0.85%
number
vaccinated
1.83M1.17M92K2.7M9M116K4.9K702K20K409K323K

Table: International SOS


3.     Sleeves up NOLA! Fabulous public health messaging from New Orleans

NOLA = New Orleans, Lousianna

Sleeves Up, NOLA! - Mardi Gras

TO PLAY IN FULL SCREENhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/wSeiZCVclxQ

Please send other examples of COVID-19 vaccination-related public health messaging to me at:

doug.quarry@internationalsos.com


4.     Cases rising rapidly in the UK and Ireland

Chart: Our World in Data

Related Tweet by Dr Tom Frieden**

·       I’ve never seen an epi curve like this. The B.1.1.7 variant is spreading like wildfire in the UK and Ireland. If it spreads here (US), it will make an already-bad situation even worse.

Related Tweet by Dr Eric Topol***

·       It will spread here (in the US). It’s just a matter of weeks now. If you review the UK, Ireland trajectory it’ll take 6-8 weeks to become dominant here.

Tom Frieden**: Director of CDC, 2009-2017

Eric Topol***: Professor of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute, Editor of Medscape


5.     South Africa testing vaccines on variant; results within 2 weeks

Reuters reports that South African scientists are testing whether antibody responses are reduced against the local 501Y.V2 variant.

Professor Penny Moore told Reuters the National Institute of Communicable Diseases had received samples from several local vaccine trials, including the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccines. Results are expected within two weeks.


6.     EU COVID-19 vaccine purchases

Reuters reports that Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands have, over the last several months, independently reached deals with AstraZeneca for the supply of up to 400 million doses of vaccine.

EU countries not involved in the deal said that that these deals could have triggered a race for vaccines among EU governments. The bloc then began negotiations with Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi, Pfizer CureVac and Moderna.

Deals table: data from Reuters article and International SOS records

BlocVaccineDosesPrice (USD)DateComment
EUPfizer600 million?January 2020 
EUSanofi300 million$400 millionSeptember 2020No ready till end 2021
EUAstraZenca $414 million  
EUJ&J400 million$432 millionOctober 2020 
EUCurevac405 million?November 2020 
EUModerna160 million?November 2020 
EUNovavax200 million? In discussion

7.     CDC update on COVID-19 vaccine-related anaphylaxis in MMWR

On 6 January, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), provided an update on vaccination-related anaphylaxis in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Between 14 and 23 December, monitoring by the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Most reactions – 71% – occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination.

The anaphylaxis rate is 11.1 cases per million doses OR about 1 case per 90,000 doses.

Vaccination with the Moderna vaccine had not started when the figures were released.


8.     BioNTech increases target output for 2021 to 2 billion doses

Reuters reports that BioNTech (vaccine development partner of Pfizer) has increased their delivery target for 2021 to two billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, up from 1.3 billion   The increased volume relates to new production lines and the ability to extract six doses from each vial, instead of the originally planned five.


9.     India about to begin ambitious COVID-19 vaccination drive

India will launch an ambitious coronavirus vaccination drive on 16 December, aiming to reach 300 million people by July, reports CTV News. The vaccine is to be free for the country’s population of 1.3 billion.

The first phase will target about 30 million health and other frontline workers, including security forces, and 270 million people over 50 and those at the highest risk from COVID-19.

About 150,000 staff in 700 districts have been trained and roughly 290,000 temperature-controlled supply points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-line refrigerators are ready for use.

The government has approved two vaccines: 1) AstraZeneca’s Covishield, and 2) Covaxin, produced by Indian pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech.


10.  Expert warns UK’s coronavirus vaccine schedule puts “whole world at risk”

Leading virologist, Professor Nigel McMillan, **** says a UK decision to extend the coronavirus vaccine dosing schedule (password protected site) could lead to partial immunity, jeopardising global vaccination efforts. The decision, taken late last year, was designed to prioritise giving first doses to more Britons as quickly as possible.

Although SARS-CoV-2 mutated at a steady rate, unlike HIV or influenza, extending the time between doses still led to an increased chance of a vaccine-resistant strain.

“If they allow this to happen, they are increasing the chances of the virus being exposed to partially vaccinated people and therefore escaping (vaccine-induced immunity),” Professor McMillan said. “I can only assume the UK are doing this because they are in such a desperate situation that they are taking the decision, but it’s a risk they are taking for all of us.

“No other countries have indicated they were preparing to follow the UK’s lead,” he said.

**** Professor Nigel McMillan, Program Director at Griffith University’s Menzies Health Institute.

Read also:

Are We Creating Immune Resistant Variants Of SARS-CoV-2? Forbes 11 January 2020

Author: William Haseltine: Former Professor at Harvard Medical School


11.  Reports of new US COVID-19 variant are inaccurate, says CDC

“Reports of a highly contagious new coronavirus variant in the United States, published on Friday by multiple news outlets, are based on speculative statements made by Dr. Deborah Birx and are inaccurate, according to several government officials,” reports the New York Times.

“The erroneous report originated at a recent meeting where Dr. Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, presented graphs of the escalating cases in the country. She suggested to other members of the task force that a new, more transmissible variant originating in the United States might explain the surge, as another variant did in Britain.

“Her hypothesis made it into a weekly report sent to state governors.”


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

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