World Oxford Starts Child Vaccine Trials in Next Step to End Pandemic
Opinion: How Biden can fix the vaccine bottleneck
Isaac Larkin writes that given the need to save lives by speeding up the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, it's entirely reasonable -- and legal -- for the US government to step in and help alleviate some of the intellectual property bottlenecks slowing down production. "Biden has already committed to using the Defense Production Act to alleviate supply chain and distribution bottlenecks. He should go much further and leverage every available tool in his considerable arsenal toward expanding vaccine productive capacity, now. Only then can we end this pandemic, rebuild our economy and get Americans back to better lives. Let's mobilize.
The University of Oxford will begin testing the Covid-19 vaccine it developed with AstraZeneca Plc on children, a potentially key step in ending the global pandemic.
The Oxford trial plans to enroll 300 children aged 6 to 17, the university said in a statement Saturday. The first vaccinations will take place this month, with as many as 240 kids receiving the coronavirus vaccine and the remainder a meningitis shot, which should produce similar side effects. A larger trial involving thousands of children is expected to be conducted by Astra in the U.S. later.
Some good news from Britain on vaccines and transmission
The Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca not only prevents people from developing symptomatic coronavirus infections, but also appears to slow down transmission of the coronavirus, researchers reported on Tuesday. © Reuters CDC releases illustration of the Coronavirus. The findings, released in a preprint paper that has not yet been peer reviewed, are the first evidence that a Covid-19 vaccine can reduce the virus' spread, and underlines the importance of mass vaccination as a way out of the pandemic.
The phase II study will take place at three cities across the U.K. -- London, Southampton and Bristol -- and assess the safety and immune responses in children. Investigators will test the shot on kids aged 12 to 17 first before moving to the younger age group, with initial data expected by summer, Andrew Pollard, lead investigator on the trial, said in a Bloomberg interview.
The study will look at two dosing regimens one month and three months apart, Pollard said.
Video: Veru CEO discusses clinical results of prostate cancer drug being studied to treat Covid-19 (CNBC)
Child trialsat the end of last year after the safety and efficacy of the frontrunner vaccines had been established in adults. Pfizer Inc., which has an approved vaccine for people aged 16 and over, completed enrollment for its trial of 12-to-15-year-olds last month with more than 2,000 children tested. Moderna Inc. is also testing its shot on teenagers and Johnson & Johnson is expected to start child trials soon.
Pfizer spent months working to extract sixth dose from vials as vaccine production shortfalls loomed
Pfizer realized it could squeeze an extra dose out of its coronavirus vaccine vials last summer, but the bonus dose caught health systems by surprise months later, spawning frustration along with hope. Over the next few months, they tested dozens of different combinations of syringes and needles, drawing out vaccine and squirting it into a beaker resting on a digital scale, repeating the experiments 5 to 10 times for each.
We planned to conduct child trials from the beginning “to make sure that we had the greatest opportunity for access across all ages” to the vaccine, said Pollard. “I’m absolutely delighted that today we’re launching the pediatric trials after this long road that we’ve been on.”
While most children have limited or no symptoms from Covid-19 and rarely become seriously ill, little is known about how much they may transmit the virus. Vaccinating young people could be key to halting the spread of the virus, helping to keep schools open and stopping older relatives and people in the community from falling sick.
As of Feb. 4,in the U.S. had tested positive for the coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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Overnight Health Care: Biden visits Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant in Michigan | Snow delays 6 million doses | Israeli study provides new evidence in one-dose debate .
Welcome to Friday's Overnight Health Care. At the end of a long week, it was nice to have an (at least somewhat) hopeful take on what this summer might look like from The Atlantic. Follow us on Twitter: @NateWeixel, @jessiehellmann and @PeterSullivan4. Today we have President Biden visiting a Pfizer factory, snow storms delaying a lot of vaccine doses, and new evidence that maybe just one shot is needed (though Dr. Fauci pushed back). Let'sFollow us on Twitter: @NateWeixel, @jessiehellmann and @PeterSullivan4.