South Africa will mobilize a workforce of 6,300 people, including medical and nursing school students, to vaccinate people for COVID-19 at mass vaccination centers and local community sites when the first million doses arrive this month. Vaccination progress and reasons for vaccine refusal will be tracked on a dashboard, and patients who do not show up for their second dose will be sent reminders.
Brazilian pharmaceutical producer Butantan, which is partnering with China's Sinovac Biotech to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, applied to Anvisa for emergency use authorization. Brazil has committed to buying the entire supply of the vaccine, CoronaVac, produced by Butantan this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the global medical supply chain, and vaccine components are subject to the same weaknesses, including security issues, personnel and supply shortages, misinformation and mistrust, and inadequate planning, say supply chain experts Robert Handfield and Daniel Finkenstadt, both of whom have worked with the COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force. "One of the important things in any supply chain plan is awareness -- awareness of all the possible things that could go wrong," Handfield said.
The Indonesian Ulema Council deemed Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine halal, clearing the way for Muslims in Indonesia to get the vaccine if the nation's drug regulator authorizes its use. Total reported cases stood at 808,340 as of Friday in Indonesia, with 23,753 reported deaths, and a vaccination campaign is slated to begin Wednesday if authorization is granted then as expected.
Laboratorians could improve their approach to drug testing by learning from the unique tactics used by police worldwide. In Germany, police perform unaffected observation on detained individuals to determine if they are under the influence of drugs or if there is a need to perform a drug test. This tactic takes advantage of knowledge about drug actions and complements on-site testing, but comprehensive screening and quantitative confirmation methods are needed to cover as many psychoactive substances as possible for accuracy and labs should enable a forensic toxicologist to examine each case.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel touted the potential durability of protection their company's COVID-19 vaccine could offer while speaking at an event last week. "The nightmare scenario that was described in the media in the spring with a vaccine only working a month or two is, I think, out of the window. We believe there will be protection potentially for a couple of years," Bancel said.
Researchers from the University of Denver's Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging, working with two other research groups, have developed a highly sensitive COVID-19 antibody test that can predict if a patient will have mild or more severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Shanghai Pharmaceuticals' $1.18 billion industrial park in Shanghai will include an incubation hub designed to expedite drug research, a company official said. The 3.2 million-square-foot complex will include operations focused on cell and gene therapies, as well as therapeutic antibodies.
Comments made by Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed in the US, suggesting doses of COVID-19 vaccine could be reduced to stretch supply sparked concern among other federal officials. Changing dosing without studying the effects carries a "significant risk of placing public health at risk," said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Peter Marks, who directs the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
The European Medicines Agency is in discussions with Pfizer and BioNtech about extracting a potential sixth dose from its COVID-19 vaccine vials in order to increase the number of shots available and manage a potential shortage in vaccine supplies. The change would result in an amendment to the authorization for vaccines previously purchased under the EU's deals with Pfizer, a source says.