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COVID-19 needs a Manhattan Project

COVID-19 needs a Manhattan Project | Virology News | Scoop.it
There is an unprecedented race to develop a vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). With at least 44 vaccines in early-stage development, what outcome can we expect? Will the first vaccine to cross the finish line be the safest and most effective? Or will it be the most well-funded vaccines that first become available, or perhaps those using vaccine technologies with the fewest regulatory hurdles? The answer could be a vaccine that ticks all these boxes. If we want to maximize the chances for success, however, and have enough doses to end the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, current piecemeal efforts won’t be enough. If ever there was a case for a coordinated global vaccine development effort using a “big science” approach, it is now. There is a strong track record for publicly funded, large-scale scientific endeavors that bring together global expertise and resources toward a common goal. The Manhattan Project during World War II didn’t just bring about nuclear weapons quickly; it led to countless changes in how scientists from many countries work together. The Human Genome Project and CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) engaged scientists from around the world to drive basic research from their home labs through local and virtual teamwork. Taking this big, coordinated approach to developing a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will not only potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives, but will also help the world be better prepared for the next pandemic. An initiative of this scale won’t be easy. Extraordinary sharing of information and resources will be critical, including data on the virus, the various vaccine candidates, vaccine adjuvants, cell lines, and manufacturing advances. Allowing different efforts to follow their own leads during the early stages will take advantage of healthy competition that is vital to the scientific endeavor. We must then decide which vaccine candidates warrant further exploration purely on the basis of scientific merit. This will require drawing on work already supported by many government agencies, independent organizations like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies to ensure that no potentially important candidate vaccines are missed. Only then can we start to narrow in on those candidates to be advanced through all clinical trial phases. This shortlist also needs to be based on which candidates can be developed, approved, and manufactured most efficiently. Trials need to be carried out in parallel, not sequentially, using adaptive trial designs, optimized for speed and tested in different populations—rich and developing countries, from children to the elderly—so that we can ultimately protect everyone. Because the virus is spreading quickly, testing will be needed in communities where we can get answers fast—that means running trials anywhere in the world, not just in preset testing locations. Working with regulators early in the process will increase the likelihood of rapid approvals, and then once approved, a coordinated effort will ensure that sufficient quantities are available to all who need the vaccine, not just to the highest bidder. All of this will require substantial funding, which is the big ask of big science. Late-stage clinical trials are not cheap, nor is vaccine manufacturing. Although new modular manufacturing methods may speed up the process and cut costs, a single vaccine facility can cost half a billion dollars. Distribution comes at a cost, too. So, to guarantee sufficient production of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, incentives are needed to engage manufacturers for large-scale capacity. As for dissemination, those organizations with experience in global vaccine distribution, like Gavi, will be at the ready. Ideally, this effort would be led by a team with a scientific advisory mechanism of the highest quality that could operate under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), for example. But none of this will be possible without political will and a global commitment from leaders of the G7 and G20 countries and multilateral organizations, like the WHO and the World Bank. A pandemic of this magnitude, affecting so many lives, livelihoods, and economies, demands this. In many ways, COVID-19 is more like the Manhattan Project than other big science efforts, not just because it involves the application of science and not just in terms of scale, but because it is a global security issue. In the race to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, everyone must win. ↵* Hear more from the author about a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 at go.ted.com/sethberkley.
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Why the Covid-19 coronavirus is worse than the flu, in one chart

Why the Covid-19 coronavirus is worse than the flu, in one chart | Virology News | Scoop.it
It’s more contagious, more deadly (particularly for older people), and it has a greater potential to overwhelm our health care system.
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GREAT graphic!!
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Can We Really Develop a Safe, Effective Coronavirus Vaccine?

Can We Really Develop a Safe, Effective Coronavirus Vaccine? | Virology News | Scoop.it
We don’t know for sure, but if we can, it probably won’t be easy, cheap or fast...
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COVID-19 spreads much faster in big cities

COVID-19 spreads much faster in big cities | Virology News | Scoop.it
"If you are in larger cities, you definitely have to be more careful, you have to act faster, and you have to engage in more intense social distancing."...
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Before the Bronx Zoo Tiger Got the Coronavirus, Shamu Likely Caught the Flu

Before the Bronx Zoo Tiger Got the Coronavirus, Shamu Likely Caught the Flu | Virology News | Scoop.it
You've heard of the tiger who tested positive for COVID-19. In 1969, a flu pandemic might have infected three killer whales here.
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Hypothesis: Is COVID-19 severity tied to hair loss?

Hypothesis: Is COVID-19 severity tied to hair loss? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Why does COVID-19 affect men more than women? It could be related to the hormones that cause hair loss in men, a new hypothesis suggests.
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Sounds a bit wacky to me...B-)
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Avigan influenza antiviral to enter phase III trials in COVID-19 patients

Avigan influenza antiviral to enter phase III trials in COVID-19 patients | Virology News | Scoop.it
The developers of Avigan have increased production and announced a Phase III clinical trial testing its efficacy against COVID-19.
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Coronavirus vaccine patch shows promise in mice

Coronavirus vaccine patch shows promise in mice | Virology News | Scoop.it
Scientists have now published the first peer-reviewed study on a potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. They've tested the microneedle array on mice.
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Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (INO): A potential coronavirus vaccine funded by Bill Gates

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (INO): A potential coronavirus vaccine funded by Bill Gates | Virology News | Scoop.it
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.INO Stock Message Board: A potential coronavirus vaccine funded by Bill Gates...
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Oldest human genetic data may expand our 'family tree'

Oldest human genetic data may expand our 'family tree' | Virology News | Scoop.it
The oldest human genetic data ever recovered could shed light on the evolution of our ancestors and clarify the branches of the human family tree.
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Hey, It's not ALL about SARS2!
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At the frontlines of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response

At the frontlines of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ultra-low freezers hum and beep continuously in the biorespository room, supporting the non-stop diagnostic activities at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja, on a relatively quiet Friday afternoon.
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COVID-19's economic effects could last decades

COVID-19's economic effects could last decades | Virology News | Scoop.it
A look back at the economic effect of past pandemics shows that we could be facing COVID-19's impact for years and years to come.
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US flu activity drops sharply; death toll holds at 24K

US flu activity drops sharply; death toll holds at 24K | Virology News | Scoop.it
While the U.S. flu season is ebbing, it’s still not over.
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Anthony Fauci says it's likely coronavirus will become 'seasonal'

Anthony Fauci says it's likely coronavirus will become 'seasonal' | Virology News | Scoop.it
Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert on the White House task force, said Sunday it is likely that coronavirus will become a seasonal illness.
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In the 1918 flu pandemic, not wearing a mask was illegal in some parts of America. What changed?

In the 1918 flu pandemic, not wearing a mask was illegal in some parts of America. What changed? | Virology News | Scoop.it
In 1918, America adopted mask wearing with a greater vengeance than anywhere else in the world. But a century later, it is Asian countries which have remembered the lessons the US learned.
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Coronavirus Australia: COVID-19 blood test to predict which patients will need the most care

Coronavirus Australia: COVID-19 blood test to predict which patients will need the most care | Virology News | Scoop.it
Developing such a test would usually take more than five years. An Australian research team hopes to do it in five weeks.
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How America Brought the 1957 Influenza Pandemic to a Halt

How America Brought the 1957 Influenza Pandemic to a Halt | Virology News | Scoop.it
Microbiologist Maurice Hilleman saw it coming, so the country made 40 million doses of the vaccine within months.
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If only, eh?
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Anesthesia machines can become COVID-19 ventilators

Anesthesia machines can become COVID-19 ventilators | Virology News | Scoop.it
To compensate for a lack of ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals have started to convert anesthesia machines into breathing machines.
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WHO launches global megatrial of the four most promising coronavirus treatments

WHO launches global megatrial of the four most promising coronavirus treatments | Virology News | Scoop.it
Simple design aims to let even overwhelmed physicians and hospitals participate
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COVID-19's economic effects could last decades

COVID-19's economic effects could last decades | Virology News | Scoop.it
A look back at the economic effect of past pandemics shows that we could be facing COVID-19's impact for years and years to come.
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The influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 in Sri Lanka: its demographic cost, timing, and propagation

The influenza pandemic of 1918–1919 in Sri Lanka: its demographic cost, timing, and propagation | Virology News | Scoop.it
As an island and a former British colony, Sri Lanka is a case of special interest for the study of 1918–1919 influenza pandemic because of its potential for isolation from as well as integration into the world epidemiologic system.To estimate ...
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100 years on, still lessons to be learned
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Some people who recover from the coronavirus might be left with '20 to 30%' less lung function, and gasping for breath when they walk quickly, Hong Kong doctors said

Some people who recover from the coronavirus might be left with '20 to 30%' less lung function, and gasping for breath when they walk quickly, Hong Kong doctors said | Virology News | Scoop.it
The Hong Kong Hospital Authority made the discovery after observing the first wave of discharged patients in the city.
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Bill Lapschies, Survivor of Spanish Flu, Recovers From Coronavirus

Bill Lapschies, Survivor of Spanish Flu, Recovers From Coronavirus | Virology News | Scoop.it
World War II vet Bill Lapschies was feted on his 104th birthday Wednesday, also celebrating his recovery from the coronavirus.
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Coronavirus Australia: $230 million boost for CSIRO's COVID vaccine push

Coronavirus Australia: $230 million boost for CSIRO's COVID vaccine push | Virology News | Scoop.it
Government will spend $220m to upgrade the Geelong lab currently testing two vaccines for COVID-19, Science Minister Karen Andrews will announce Saturday.
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Ferrets, hamsters will soon reveal whether Canadian vaccine bid has a shot

Ferrets, hamsters will soon reveal whether Canadian vaccine bid has a shot | Virology News | Scoop.it
Saskatchewan lab finding ways to fast-track research amid COVID-19 pandemic...
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Coronavirus: Anti-Parasite Drug Ivermectin Kills Coronavirus Within 48 Hours In Lab Settings, Claims Report

Coronavirus: Anti-Parasite Drug Ivermectin Kills Coronavirus Within 48 Hours In Lab Settings, Claims Report | Virology News | Scoop.it
Amid a barrage of research on finding treatment for new coronavirus, Australian scientists have found that a common anti-parasitic drug killed SARS-CoV-2 virus, growing in cell culture, within 48 hours in lab settings. Ivermectin is an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug that has also been shown to be effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, dengue, influenza and zika virus. Published in the journal Antiviral Research, the study from Monash University showed that a single dose of Ivermectin could stop the coronavirus growing in cell culture -- effectively eradicating all genetic material of the virus within two days. "We found that even a single dose could essentially remove all viral RNA by 48 hours and that even at 24 hours there was a really significant reduction in it," said study lead author Dr Kylie Wagstaff. Dr Wagstaff, however, cautioned that the tests conducted in the study were in vitro and that trials needed to be carried out in people. "Ivermectin is very widely used and seen as a safe drug. We need to figure out now whether the dosage you can use it at in humans will be effective - that''s the next step," Wagstaff informed. In times when we're having a global pandemic and there isn't an approved treatment, "if we had a compound that was already available around the world then that might help people sooner". "Realistically it's going to be a while before a vaccine is broadly available," she said. Although the mechanism by which Ivermectin works on the virus is not known, it is likely, based on its action in other viruses, that it works to stop the virus ''dampening down'' the host cells' ability to clear it. Dr Wagstaff made a previous breakthrough finding on Ivermectin in 2012 when she identified the drug and its antiviral activity with Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute's Professor David Jans, also an author on this paper. Professor Jans and his team have been researching Ivermectin for more than 10 years with different viruses. Dr Wagstaff and Professor Jans started investigating whether it worked on the SARS-CoV-2 virus as soon as the pandemic was known to have started. The use of Ivermectin to combat COVID-19 depends on pre-clinical testing and clinical trials, with funding urgently required to progress the work, the researchers noted. (This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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Team tracks coronavirus in wastewater

Team tracks coronavirus in wastewater | Virology News | Scoop.it
Testing for the new coronavirus in wastewater to trace its prevalence in US communities could help public health officials better prepare for the future.
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