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Moderna’s Vaccine 94.5% Effective and States Rush to Buy Ultra-Cold Freezers for Pfizer’s Vaccine

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

Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Is Potentially 94.5% Effective

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Moderna Inc. announced on Monday that the preliminary data from their coronavirus vaccine’s late-stage trials show the vaccine is 94.% effective in preventing COVID-19. This vaccine can be stored in normal fridges at normal vaccine temperatures, unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which requires specialized fridges that can reach very low temperatures. 

Both companies expect to be able to file for emergency use authorization in the United States in December. 

States Buy Up Ultra-Cold Freezers for Vaccine Against CDC Recommendations

In the wake of Pfizer’s announcement of its vaccine’s 90% efficacy, numerous states, cities, and medical facilities in the United States have rushed to buy the ultra-cold freezers that would meet the requirements to store the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control had issued recommendations for states to hold off on purchasing the freezers, citing its attempts to work with Pfizer on a distribution strategy. However, makers of these specialty freezers now indicate that there now may be months-long waits for freezers to be made and delivered.

Asians and Blacks Have Increased Risk of Getting COVID-19

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A recent analysis that looked at the cases of 18.7 million patients in 50 studies from the United States and the United Kingdom found that Asian and Black patients are at a much higher risk of getting COVID-19 and having negative outcomes.

Asians are at a higher risk of needing intensive therapy and at a higher risk of dying, and Black people were twice as likely to get the infection compared to white people.

The analysis found that people in these ethnic groups were more likely to work in essential jobs and be in lower socioeconomic classes that would lead to more people living together and thus increasing the potential spread of infection.

President-Elect Biden’s Coronavirus Board Advises Against National Lockdown

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The coronavirus advisory board for President-elect Joe Biden recommended against a national lockdown and instead favored a targeted approach to address the spread of the virus in specific areas and regions that are being particularly hard hit. 

The board has talked about focusing on nursing homes and prisons to reduce the spread of the virus, increasing testing capacity, and offering financial aid to companies and local governments to initiate regional lockdowns.

Novavax Releases its Operation Warp Speed Contract

Despite the Department of Health and Human Services saying that it has no records of a Novavax contract in August, Novavax released its contract as part of Operation Warp Speed along with its quarterly financial filings. 

Analysts who have reviewed the newly-released contract said that this contract is more favorable towards taxpayers who are funding Novavax’s vaccine development compared to other contracts with companies in Operation Warp Speed, but that it is still weaker than standard federal contracts. 

CDC Updates Mask Recommendations, Says Masks Protect Wearer

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In a new update to its coronavirus guidelines, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clarified that although the primary motivation for wearing a mask is to prevent the wearer from potentially infecting others, growing scientific evidence supports the guideline that masks also protect the wearer

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.

  • Scientists discover through multiple studies that many patients with severe COVID-19 have autoantibodies, or antibodies that attack their own immune system, whereas those patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 don’t. 
  • A Mayo Clinic study found that children who were given antibiotics when they were two years old or younger were more likely to have asthma, eczema, hay fever, food allergies, celiac disease, weight and obesity problems, and ADHD as older children. 
  • A study conducted in Spain found that, of those people analyzed in the study, people who lived with dogs and bought products via grocery store home delivery were more likely to get COVID-19
  • Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that 27 prison staff, 14 people in jail, and 190 people in prison have died from COVID-19. 
  • A German study found that the medical costs of COVID-19 patients in Germany increased an average of 50% after they were discharged from the hospitals compared to before they were admitted. 

Race for the Vaccine: Coronavirus Vaccine Updates

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

Covid-19 vaccine status tracker stages
Covid-19 vaccine tracker - phase 1

India-based Biological E. begins Phase I and Phase II trials of its vaccine candidate. 

Covid-19 vaccine tracker - manufacturing stage

Swiss-based drug manufacturer Lonza announced on Monday its plans to make 400 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine annually. The company began production of the vaccine in September. 

Covid-19 vaccine tracker - phase 2

Inovio granted clearance to begin mid-stage trials of its vaccine candidate after being put on hold since September. Its Phase III trials are still on partial hold as the FDA awaits the company to provide final clarification for its concerns. 

Covid-19 vaccine tracker - phase 3

Johnson & Johnson begins a Phase III trial to test out a two-dose system for its vaccine.