Clipboard Health Nursing News

Pfizer Vaccine Shows 90% Efficacy and FDA Grants Emergency Use to COVID-19 Antibody Treatment

This week in Clipboard Health’s Nursing News round-up … 

Pfizer and BioNTech Coronavirus Vaccine Shows 90% Efficacy 

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The joint team of Pfizer and BioNTech reported that the first set of results from their Phase III trials of their coronavirus vaccine candidate showed that their vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.

This data comes from the first formal review of the Phase III trial data by experts not part of the company. Pfizer states that it currently plants to request emergency use authorization of its vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before the end of November.

Once in distribution, the vaccine will need to be stored in temperatures of -94 F (minus 70 C) or below. However, many health care facilities, including many hospitals, don’t have the ability to store the vaccine at temperatures that low. Pfizer is working with federal and state agencies to determine the best method of transporting and storing vaccine doses.

Biden-Harris Transition Team Announces COVID-19 Advisory Board

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced the thirteen members of their transition COVID-19 advisory board. The three co-chairs for the board are:

  • Dr. David Kessler, a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1990 to 1997
  • Dr. Vivek Murthy, a doctor of internal medicine and a former surgeon general from 2014 to 2017
  • Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the associate dean for health equity research and an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine. 

FDA Grants Emergency Authorization for COVID-19 Antibody Treatment

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On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 antibody therapy developed by Eli Lilly. The therapy uses monoclonal antibodies to help a patient’s body fight off the infection. 

The EUA is specifically for treating adult and pediatric patients over the age of 12 who have a mild or moderate case of COVID-19 and are not hospitalized or using supplemental oxygen. 

20% of COVID-19 Patients Diagnosed with Mental Illness Within 90 Days

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A new study found that 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients are diagnosed with a mental health issue within 90 days of a positive COVID-19 test. The most common mental health diagnoses were anxiety, depression, and insomnia and also included an increased risk of dementia. 

Facilities Using Epic Now Have Access to COVID-19 Risk Prediction Model

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The Cleveland Clinic has been working on designing a COVID-19 risk prediction model that uses a patient’s health records to predict their risk for testing positive for COVID-19. As of Monday, this risk model is now available to any health care system that uses Epic. 

The prediction model is meant as a tool to help health care providers make decisions on care and help patients make decisions on whether or not to get tested. 

HHS Releases Operation Warp Speed Contracts

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Over the weekend, the Department of Health and Human Services released many of the contracts between the United States government and vaccine manufacturers as part of Operation Warp Speed.

The contracts were drafted and issued through a third-party firm, and advocacy groups as well as members of Congress expressed concern that the contracts lacked protections against price gouging in the future. 

Medical Studies Round-Up

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Here’s a brief round-up of recent medical studies and their findings for you to stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving field of medical research.

  • Researchers are finding evidence that COVID-19 attacks the endothelium, or the thin layer of cells that lines the inside of blood vessels and prevents blood from clotting, regulates blood pressure, and keeps infections out of the bloodstream. 
  • Some COVID-19 patients have reported that their senses of taste and smell remain altered even after recovering from the infection. 
  • A study of 570,000 participants finds that eating chili peppers can decrease the chance of heart-related deaths by 26%, cancer-related deaths by 23%, and all deaths by 25%.
  • A small-scale study indicates that 1 in 6 COVID-19 patients might only have gastrointestinal symptoms, like diarrhea or vomiting. 
  • Researchers continue to explore the ways that COVID-19 affects the body, most recently finding that myocarditis (the inflammation of the heart muscle) is much less common than initially thought, but can still affect hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. 
  • A new study found that more than 20% of New York City’s inhabitants have had COVID-19 and that the virus was already in the city long before its first confirmed case in New York City on March 1. 
  • A recent Mayo Clinic study found that about 1 of every 8 patients with cancer had an inherited genetic mutation that affected the development of their cancer. 

Race for the Vaccine: Coronavirus Vaccine Updates

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Here are the most recent updates from the past week on COVID-19 vaccine development. 

Covid-19 vaccine tracker - manufacturing stage

In response to Pfizer’s announcements about their vaccine’s efficacy, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the United States may be able to begin distributing vaccines before the end of 2020.

Covid-19 vaccine tracker - phase 2

Inovio’s Phase II/Phase III trials in the United States have been on hold since September, but the company said it expects a decision on whether or not it can continue trials by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sometime this month.

Covid-19 vaccine tracker - phase 3

Novavax anticipates that it will be able to begin its delayed Phase III trials of its vaccine candidate in the United States later this month. 

Covid-19 vaccine tracker - phase 1

AstraZeneca prepares to begin Phase I/Phase II trials in China before the end of the year.