By Health In Five Writer
There is finally some good news coming in these turbulent times of coronavirus pandemic. The Covid-19 toll has already crossed 5.82 million in India with the addition of 86,508 cases on Friday (September 25) with over 92,290 deaths in India so far.
However, there is some positive news about the Covid-19 vaccine over the horizon. US biotech firm Novavax said it is initiating its final Phase 3 clinical trial for its experimental Covid-19 vaccine.
The trial will be carried out in the United Kingdom and aims to enroll 10,000 volunteers, aged 18-84, with and without underlying conditions, over the next four to six weeks.
“With a high level of SARS-CoV-2 transmission observed and expected to continue in the UK, we are optimistic that this pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial will enroll quickly and provide a near-term view of NVX-CoV2373’s efficacy,” said Gregory Glenn, the company’s president of research and development, using the technical name for the formulation, was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
It is the 11th Covid-19 vaccine candidate to reach the Phase 3 stage globally. The company has been awarded $1.6 billion by the US government to develop and fund the drug, which is administered by two intramuscular injections.
The Maryland-based company uses insect cells to grow synthesized pieces of the spike protein of the virus, which it hopes will evoke a robust human immune response. It also uses an “adjuvant,” a compound that boosts the production of neutralizing antibodies.
The company says the drug, which is a liquid formulation, can be stored at 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius, refrigerator temperature. In the spring, the company said it had proven the efficacy of a seasonal flu vaccine it had developed using the same technology.
Meanwhile, health authorities in China’s eastern city of Qingdao have found coronavirus contamination on some packages stored by a seafood importer after two of its handlers tested positive for the virus but displayed no symptoms.
China has stepped up checks on frozen food imports and banned those from some foreign meat processing plants amid the global pandemic.
Thursday’s results came during a routine test of the company’s staff, although none of the two affected men’s 147 close contacts tested positive, the Qingdao Municipal Health Commission said in a statement as reported by Reuters.
The importer’s products and facilities generated 51 positive test results, but no tainted products made it to market, the commission said, without identifying the items or their origins.
Chinese customs have threatened a week’s suspension of imports from companies whose frozen food products test positive for the virus, with third-time offenders subject to four weeks. Heavy traces of the virus were found in the meat and seafood sections of a market in the capital Beijing that was the site of an outbreak in June.