Coronavirus: how do Italy and the UK compare? – The Guardian

Coronavirus: how do Italy and the UK compare? – The Guardian

Coronavirus: how do Italy and the UK compare? – The Guardian

Coronavirus: how do Italy and the UK compare? – The Guardian

March 25, 2020

The coronavirus established itself early on in Italy where reported deaths are now in excess of those recorded in China.

But is the crisis witnessed in Italy about to play out in the UK? And when are lockdowns and other interventions likely to start to make a difference?

Though there are some similarities the picture is complex

The death toll in Britain is roughly two weeks behind that of Italy, according to researchers who have analysed the data.

In week 10 of this year, ending 6 March, Italy announced 176 new Covid-19 deaths, comparable to the 166 deaths the UK reported in week 12.

If the spread of the pandemic in the UK tracks Italys closely, the domestic death toll could soon rise sharply.

Italian authorities recorded 1,066 new Covid-19 deaths in week 11, the equivalent of this week in the UKs outbreak.

It looks as though we are two weeks behind Italy in number of Covid-19 deaths, said Prof Sheila Bird, formerly of the MRCs Biostatistics Unit at Cambridge University.

But all this means is that we have comparable population sizes and had a comparable number of deaths in week 12 as Italy had in week 10. We may be on a less steep trajectory than Italy, but its too early to know yet.

On Monday, a new analysis of data from both countries showed that deaths may indeed be rising marginally more slowly in Britain than they did in Italy. Prof David Spiegelhalter, at Cambridge Universitys Statistical Laboratory, looked at the numbers of deaths reported in the 14 days since the fifth fatality in each country. The figures suggest that UK Covid-19 deaths have risen on average about 30% per day, versus 37% during the equivalent period of Italys epidemic.

Spiegelhalter stressed that the outlook was all very uncertain at the moment not least because the two populations and their nations responses to the outbreak differ so much. There was some reason for hope, he said of the UK situation, although we will must be ready for having hundreds of deaths a day.

The same analysis hints that Italy may be approaching a peak in its epidemic, but the answer will only be clear if the country continues to report falling numbers of new deaths over the coming days and weeks.

The UKs peak may not be so severe if the UKs response to the outbreak has been effective, Spiegelhalter said, but the answer to that is not yet clear.

Compared with Britain, Italy had less time to prepare, the virus may have been circulating more widely before it was detected, and the country has more older people who are more tightly connected to family and friends.

However, comparisons present problems, as its not possible to truly compare like-with-like.

One factor that will have a substantial impact on deaths is the capacity for hospitals to care for the most seriously ill patients, and this differs markedly from country to country. When you hit the capacity of intensive care beds then you might get an additional shift up which could reset the rate of increase thereafter, said Bird.

One reason for Italys high death rate could be the countrys demographics 23% of its population are aged 65 and over. The UK is younger on average with 18% of its population in this age category. Covid-19 is more dangerous for older people.

Testing and the number of confirmed cases is also an issue.

Differences in testing policy, for example, will account for some of the variations in mortality rates as testing more patients will increase the number of confirmed cases, and is likely to reduce the overall mortality rate. Data on patient characteristics such as age and underlying health conditions is another factor we dont know about.

Germany, where 21% of the population are over 65, appears to have one of the worlds lowest death rates. The country has reported just 94 deaths from 24,873 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The reasons for this are not yet clear, but they could include differences in data gathering or its high testing rate.

As Adam Kucharski, who is modelling the outbreak at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, points out, deaths reported today do not reflect the state of the epidemic at the moment.

Those who die are typically infected about four weeks earlier. Strictly speaking we should say something like: transmission in the UK four weeks ago was where Italy was about six weeks ago, he said.

For the same reason, the impact of the cascade of lockdowns across Italy, and ever more stringent restrictions on movement brought in across the UK, will take time to show up in the daily death tolls. A wave of Italians fled to the countrys south when news leaked on 8 March that the government intended to quarantine 16 million people in the high-risk north. If those people carried the infection with them, the deaths that result are not likely to show up until at least the start of next week.

In the UK, where pubs, clubs, restaurants and theatres shuttered only days ago, and school closures began this week, any resulting impact on deaths will not be apparent until mid-April soonest. Its quite likely to be at least three weeks before we see a slow down in the deaths. And they will potentially still be increasing. It depends how much social distancing weve managed to achieve, said Bird.

Original post:
Coronavirus: how do Italy and the UK compare? - The Guardian
How to update the country on coronavirus: Thank Trump first – POLITICO

How to update the country on coronavirus: Thank Trump first – POLITICO

March 25, 2020

Its a dynamic, the president warned during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, governors must be aware of.

Its a two-way street, Trump said during a Tuesday interview on Fox News. They have to treat us well, also. They cant say, Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.

Unable to hear the roaring cheers at his campaign rallies due to coronavirus cancellations, the president has turned to his daily press briefings to get national attention and hear congratulatory remarks, sometimes at the expense of delivering accurate statements about the disease. The president is hyper aware of TV ratings, which are compiled weekly for him in the White House, and viewership of the briefings during the daytime hours have seen a notable spike as Americans anxiously watch from home.

Administration officials say its an opportunity for experts from the task force to answer questions, but it also gives the president a national platform to assure the public and offer himself a pat on the back.

Many doctors, Ive read many, many doctors, cant believe the great job that Ive done, Trump said, without offering specifics, even as health professionals have publicly warned of severe equipment shortages.

Europe was just designated as the hotspot right now, and we closed that border a while ago. So that was lucky or through talent or through luck. Call it whatever you want, Trump said, referring to his decision to cut off most travel from Europe and China to the United States.

See the article here:
How to update the country on coronavirus: Thank Trump first - POLITICO
‘The Young and the Restless’ star Greg Rikaart says he has coronavirus – CNN

‘The Young and the Restless’ star Greg Rikaart says he has coronavirus – CNN

March 25, 2020

In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Rikaart said his symptoms started a few weeks ago with a slight cough and gradually got worse. He was then misdiagnosed with pneumonia.

"I just tested positive for coronavirus," he wrote, adding, "I am a pretty healthy 43-year-old who doesn't smoke, doesn't drink much, eats well and exercises regularly and this has been the hardest experience of my life."

He said while everyone in his house had a slight cough, they got better and he grew sicker.

"Two+ weeks ago, everyone in my house had a bit of a cough and my son came home from school with a high fever. Everyone recovered, but I deteriorated. I isolated from my family and have been in solo quarantine since Saturday the 14th. I had a fever for 11 days, difficulty breathing and was diagnosed with pneumonia."

He said he is finally starting to feel better.

"I'm confident that I have finally turned the proverbial corner and am fever free today for the first time since this all started. I was told to stay isolated for another 72 hours before I acclimate back into my family. So, nice try coronavirus, but I have another 4-5 decades worth of experiences to have with these guys. Furthermore, I want to thank you all for the well wishes and I hope you heed the warnings. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay inside."

Rikaart has appeared on the soap opera since 2003.

Read the original: 'The Young and the Restless' star Greg Rikaart says he has coronavirus - CNN
Britain Locks Down to Stem the Coronavirus. More or Less. – The New York Times

Britain Locks Down to Stem the Coronavirus. More or Less. – The New York Times

March 25, 2020

LONDON A day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a virtual lockdown on Britain, Londons subways teemed with rush-hour passengers while a tugboat plied its way up the Thames, a speaker serenading the handful of pedestrians ashore with the Monty Python song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

It was a day of confusion and contradictory images in Britain, as people struggled to adapt to a national shutdown that, while unprecedented in the post-World War II era, still fell short of those in force in France, Spain or Italy.

Much of London was deserted, as Britons responded with stoicism and greater acceptance than they had shown to previous efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But the new restrictions raised vexing questions, particularly about what kind of jobs were vital enough to warrant leaving home.

On Monday evening, Mr. Johnson asked Britons to stay in their houses for the next 21 days, except for occasional trips out for food, medicine, or exercise. He carved out an additional exception for people commuting to work where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home, but left it to employers to decide whether to tell their staff to work from home.

Commuters swarmed into Underground stations on Tuesday, where the sharply reduced service meant that trains were as packed as on an ordinary workday, and the government showed no inclination to reduce those numbers. Instead, it urged Transport for London, which is run by the citys mayor, Sadiq Khan, to restore normal service.

In work, in many, many instances, the two-meter rule can be observed, said Britains health secretary, Matt Hancock, referring to the social distancing that the government is promoting. Those who cannot work from home should go to work, he said, to keep the country running.

Part of the problem, analysts said, is that the government has not yet rolled out fiscal measures to cushion the blow to self-employed workers who lose their jobs. Britains chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said that the Treasury was scrambling to put together a package, but that it was incredibly complicated.

Britains determination to keep parts of the economy operating, even as it tries to isolate much of society, carried echoes of the debate in Washington, where President Trump has argued that shutting down the economy for several months could be more damaging than the epidemic itself.

There were signs of a split within the United Kingdom over how the new rules should be applied. The Johnson government said construction on commercial and residential sites could continue, since those workers were able to practice proper distancing. But the authorities in Scotland closed down construction of everything but hospitals.

In London, Mr. Hancock said the government would build a temporary hospital, with capacity for 4,000 patients, in the ExCel Center, a cavernous conference center in the docklands. The hospital, one of at least four planned for the country, will start treating virus patients within days, he said.

The number of reported coronavirus cases in Britain rose to 8,077 on Tuesday, an increase of 1,427 from Monday, while the death toll increased by 88, to 422, the largest single-day jump since the contagion began.

As hospitals filled up, Mr. Hancock announced a campaign to recruit 250,000 volunteers to help the overburdened National Health Service. The volunteers will also help the 1.5 million elderly people that the government has asked to quarantine themselves for 12 weeks. About 12,000 retired doctors and nurses have agreed to return to work.

Public-health experts said Britains lockdown had finally put the country on the right track after two weeks in which Mr. Johnson resisted taking stronger measures. But some still expressed anxiety that the government was not moving fast enough to expand testing and contact tracing to curb the spread of the virus.

Weve definitely bought time, said Professor Devi Sridhar, director of the global health governance program at Edinburgh University. My fear is that people will think the lockdown solves the problem. We need to do much more testing, tracing, and isolating to use the next three weeks properly.

Even members of Mr. Johnsons Conservative Party criticized the government for the sluggish pace in testing.

We appear to be testing on a daily basis virtually no more people than we were over a week ago, when the commitment was to increase the daily number of tests from 5,000 to 25,000, Jeremy Hunt, a former health secretary, said in Parliament.

Testing, Mr. Hunt noted, was a vital part of the success of the suppression strategies in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

A dispute over the crowded subways suggested that politics was starting to bleed into Britains response to the crisis.

In a televised briefing from 10 Downing Street, Mr. Hancock took a swipe at Mayor Khan, a Labour Party politician.

There is no good reason in the information that Ive seen that the current levels of tube provision should be as low as they are, Mr. Hancock said. We should have more tube trains running.

Minutes later, a spokesman for the mayor fired back, saying that nearly one-third of the Undergrounds staff was unavailable, either because of illness or the need to self-isolate. He criticized the government for refusing to close construction sites or provide proper financial support to the self-employed.

There were also questions about how strictly the government plans to crack down on people who flout the restrictions.

While Mr. Johnson said the police would enforce the lockdown, and there were photos of police shutting down stores, the British police force is stretched thin. And the fine for those who violate the rules is only 30 about $35 though officials said it might increase.

The government even struggled to explain how the new rules apply to people in relationships who do not live with their partners. Asked for guidance, the deputy chief medical officer, Jenny Harries, said the government did not want people switching from one household to another.

Perhaps, said Dr. Harries with a rare flash of humor in grim times, they should test the strength of their relationship by moving in together.

Andrew Testa contributed reporting.

See original here: Britain Locks Down to Stem the Coronavirus. More or Less. - The New York Times
For those struggling to stay sober, coronavirus shutdowns offer hope as well as temptation – CNN

For those struggling to stay sober, coronavirus shutdowns offer hope as well as temptation – CNN

March 25, 2020

Back when I was trying and failing to quit, I'd reach for any excuse to bail on my better self. A bad day. A text from my ex, or no text.

One day, a snowstorm walloped the city, shuttering my office, and I pulled on my rubber boots with a sigh as if to say, "I guess I'm drinking now."

I didn't want to be this person, passing out on the futon with the television flickering on her face, waking up to green empties mashed with cigarette butts, but I didn't know another way.

"Who cares?" I thought, as I trudged to the liquor store on sidewalks shoveled by strangers. "Why bother trying to change?" It felt that day, like many days, that the universe was conspiring to keep me good and drunk. I can't even imagine what I'd make of a shelter-in-place edict and booze on delivery.

"Who cares? Why bother?" is not just a drunk's dilemma, of course. As the planet throbs with uncertainty, as we disappear behind deadbolts with our curtains pulled shut, many of us will be called by the voice of romantic doom. Why bother getting out of bed? Who cares if I eat all the cupcakes? Why not watch Netflix all day?

Some of this is human and necessary, but too much is unhealthy and numbing -- and how we find that balance will be one of the many challenges of this moment.

We live in a culture that gives us so few tools to find peace in our minds and so many ways to escape it. Beer, wine, vodka it was the most reliable comfort I knew for a long time. But the more I reached for that fix, the more of a mess I became.

If you are trying and failing to quit drinking, I actually think this might be the perfect moment to get sober. The circumstances that force us to stare down our worst habits could also be the excuse we need to change.

I quit drinking nearly ten years ago, and the first months that followed were a bit like a self-quarantine. I bailed on social engagements and rarely went to bars or restaurants, where the free-flowing wine made my mouth water. I holed up inside my apartment listening to podcasts and reading books and occupying my hands with dorky crafting projects like latch-hooking a picture of a tabby. It's a bit eerie how much a society in lockdown resembles people in early sobriety -- without the devastating global consequences, of course.

I don't mean to make light of our dire moment; I only mean to point out these are the impossible circumstances under which I once wished I could give up booze. I wanted the rest of the world to disappear, to stop shoving easy happiness in my face. I could find temptation in any billboard or passing stranger. I got such a heart sink seeing a smiling couple sipping Chardonnay on the patio, or a glamorous friend hoisting her martini glass on Instagram.

For months, I felt like a woman living on the loneliest island.

The AA lifeline moves online

Recovery meetings can be a bridge back to human connection, but I struggled there too. I was allergic to Alcoholics Anonymous at first, with its corny slogans and awkward human blinking, and I used to fantasize that 12-step meetings would get canceled so I could stop feeling guilty for skipping them.

In time I came to see that a 12-step program gave me what I badly needed not only community and accountability but a way to address the problems underneath my chronic drinking. AA doesn't work for everyone, but it worked for me, and over the years I've been grateful for wisdom I never saw out there in the endless scroll of quick fixes and entertainment on demand. "One day at a time" is a corny slogan, it's true. It will also save you a world of pain.

I didn't understand when I first quit how few coping strategies I had, how much I had outsourced to the stress management system of "one more round." I had an overthinker's disdain for prayer and meditation and exercise, until I started seeing how useful they could be for lowering stress and anxiety, focusing the mind, finding calm in my own body -- so many of the things I was drinking for in the first place.

AA taught me that status, riches, intelligence and beauty are not barriers against the random lashes of fate. Alcoholism, like a virus, can strike anyone at any level of society. I consider it one of the profound gifts of my life that I've been able to sit in those hard metal chairs and discover how much of my heart might be shared with a total stranger.

Honestly, this is how I would have preferred my meetings in the beginning. I wanted to participate, but I wanted to stay safe in my home at the same time. And for better or worse, technology lets us do that.

I haven't been surprised to find other kinds of support groups popping up online, too. Happy hours, of course, but also meditation groups, parenting groups, single-person groups, writing groups and reading groups -- people linked by common interests and seeking new ways to connect. One aspect of AA meetings I've always appreciated is that you have to stay quiet when someone else is sharing, no matter how much you disagree or want to interrupt. You'd be amazed what you can learn when you're forced to listen to another human. So much better than the "everyone yell at once" rules of engagement on social media.

Each day at 5 p.m., I log on to Zoom to find 20 faces staring back at me. I'm becoming familiar with the rattle of their ceiling fans, the buttons of the couch where they sit, the titles on their bookshelves. It's a new way to have recovery meetings, but it's not that different. People talk about the pain of having a family but also having no family. They talk about the stress of their job but also having no job. The world is in crisis and the same as it ever was. People are struggling. We need each other.

Combating loneliness, together

Alcoholism is an affliction of loneliness. Whatever else chronic drinking might be a disease, a rut, a genetic inheritance, a behavioral disorder, a deficiency of dopamine or some neurotransmitter (and we can argue about this over Zoom some other time) it feeds on solitude and despair, and we have plenty on tap these days.

But as many have pointed out, this could also be a moment when we return to humble pleasures and simpler connections. I love hearing the stories of families playing board games, of old-fashioned telephone conversations, of neighbors greeting each other from 6 feet away, sometimes for the first time.

And in the end, that's the answer to the questions, "Who cares? Why bother?" Because we need each other in this battle. Nobody could blame a person for cratering to self-pity and fear, but others might be inspired by your example if you rose up instead.

In those long and agonized months when I was trying and failing to quit drinking, I was haunted by a sense that I was not who I wanted to be. I wasn't really thinking about anyone else, and I wouldn't for a while. I could rationalize continuing to drink. I could keep making excuses. But in the deepest part of me I knew it was time, and that was a feeling I never could outrun.

Yes, a global catastrophe is the perfect excuse to stay good and drunk. It is also the perfect chance to finally become the person you want to be.

Sarah Hepola is the bestselling author of "Blackout" and currently working on her second memoir.

Read the original: For those struggling to stay sober, coronavirus shutdowns offer hope as well as temptation - CNN
WHO: US could be the next epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic – The Hill

WHO: US could be the next epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic – The Hill

March 25, 2020

America is changing fast! Don't miss the most important news. Sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay informed and engaged.

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WHO: US could be the next epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic - The Hill
Hoth Surges on Collaboration With Voltron for COVID-19 Vaccine – Yahoo Finance

Hoth Surges on Collaboration With Voltron for COVID-19 Vaccine – Yahoo Finance

March 25, 2020

Shares of clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. HOTH, surged 35.26% after it announced that it has reached an agreement with Voltron Therapeutics, Inc. to form a joint venture for a Self-Assembling Vaccine (SAV) for the potential prevention of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The joint entity will be called HaloVax. Based on VaxCelerate, this SAV platform was exclusively licensed by Voltron from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The VaxCelerate vaccine platform enables the rapid generation and pre-clinical testing of a new vaccine against specific pathogen targets.

The technology has obtained funding from the Department of Defense (DoD) and demonstrated proof of concept in Lassa Fever, which is an emerging infectious disease.

Both companies will jointly explore and develop this SAV technology as a means to help patients at risk of being infected with COVID-19. The vaccine focuses on both DNA and internal/external mutated proteins providing the immune system with more potential targets to attack.

Per the agreement, Hoth shall be granted the right to receive single-digit royalties from the sale of any products developed. It shall also have the right to acquire up to a 30% equity interest in HaloVax.

Hoths shares have lost 39.6% in the year so far compared with the industrys 16.6% decline.

Given the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, many pharma/biotech companies are joining the race to develop treatments for the same. In particular, efforts to develop a vaccine to combat this deadly virus have accelerated in the last couple of weeks and Hoth is the latest company to join this bandwagon. Earlier, Moderna, Inc., MRNA dosed the first participant in the phase I study of mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273) against SARS-CoV-2. A few others like Novavax, Inc. NVAX and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. INO are developing vaccines to address this disease. Big pharmas like Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline are making efforts as well to develop a vaccine.

Hoth currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of todays Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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A select few stocks could skyrocket the most as rollout accelerates for this new tech. Early investors could see gains similar to buying Microsoft in the 1990s. Zacks just-released special report reveals 8 stocks to watch. The report is only available for a limited time.

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Hoth Surges on Collaboration With Voltron for COVID-19 Vaccine - Yahoo Finance
New coronavirus research suggests vaccines developed to treat it could be long-lasting – TechCrunch

New coronavirus research suggests vaccines developed to treat it could be long-lasting – TechCrunch

March 25, 2020

A new study from Italian researchers suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which is the cause of the COVID-19 disease currently causing a global health crisis, is relatively slow to mutate meaning that any effective vaccine that is developed to prevent people from getting infected should be broadly effective across geographically separated populations over a relatively long period of time.

The research, conducted by two independent teams working separate from one another, including scientists at the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases (IRCCS) in Rome and the Forensic Division of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Public Health (DSBSP) at Ancona University Hospital, performed genetic sequencing tests using tech developed by Thermo Fisher Scientific on samples of the virus taken from Italian patients. They then compared these samples to a reference genome that was sequenced from a sample of the virus taken from the original Wuhan outbreak some two months prior.

The differences between the two virus samples was very small, speaking in terms of genetic variation only five new variants appeared in the later Italian samples, which is an early indication that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus remains fairly stable even over the course of a long train of transmission across multiple individuals and populations.

This is heartening news, especially given that other viruses can be quick to mutate. Consider the standard seasonal flu, which is much less severe but still a consistent challenge for health professionals; it essentially constantly mutates, which is why each year a new flu vaccine is developed, with researchers essentially racing the clock to anticipate which newly mutated strains will pose the greatest threat in each flu season, adapting the inoculation and urging the public to get their updated shot.

Other viruses either mutate very slowly or dont mutate at all, and the coronavirus that leads to COVID-19 appears to be among the former. In addition to this Italian study, work done by John Hopkins University and other health science researchers around the world have supported this view. An endeavor by a U.K. consortium to more comprehensively track mutations over time should provide an even clearer view.

As far as the COVID-19 pandemic goes, this new support for the theory that the virus behind it is a slow-moving one in terms of its genetic makeup is very good news indeed. Any vaccine is still likely at least a year way, but this research at least suggests that when it does arrive, itll be effective broadly and for at least a few years at a time.

Read more: New coronavirus research suggests vaccines developed to treat it could be long-lasting - TechCrunch
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Gets Help From Ology Bioservices and the Defense Department with Its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate – The Motley Fool

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Gets Help From Ology Bioservices and the Defense Department with Its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate – The Motley Fool

March 25, 2020

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) has received quite a bit of help in its quest to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

For instance, on Jan. 23, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations awarded a grant of up to $9 million to Inovio to fund pre-clinical and clinical development of its vaccine candidate,INO-4800. Also, on March 12, the company received a grant of $5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to test and scale up the manufacture of the Cellectra 3PSP, a smart device for the intradermal delivery of INO-4800.

Now, Inovio is teaming up with Ology Bioservices, a privately held company that focuses on the development and manufacturing of vaccines and biologics. The two biotech companies received a grant of $11.9 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to manufacture INO-4800. Given the urgency of the situation, Inovio and OlogyBioservices are expected to expedite the manufacture of INO-4800 and deliver some to the Defense Department for clinical trials as soon as possible.

Image Source: Getty Images.

Inovio famously claimed that it created INO-4800 in just three hours after the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 was made public by Chinese researchers on Jan. 10. The company expects to start its own clinical trials for the vaccine next month.

Meanwhile, other companies are pushing ahead in their attempts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Most notably, the U.S. National Institutes of Health is currently leading a phase 1 clinical trial for a potentialSARS-CoV-2 vaccine that was developed by Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA). The trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers who will each receive two doses of the vaccine. The goals of the trial are to test the safety of the vaccine, its ability to trigger the body's immune response, and the dosage that causes expected side effects.

Originally posted here:
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Gets Help From Ology Bioservices and the Defense Department with Its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate - The Motley Fool
Soligenix Inc. Heat-Stabilization Platform Evaluating Use With COVID-19 Vaccine; Zacks Small-Cap Research Increases Valuation To $12.00 Per Share -…

Soligenix Inc. Heat-Stabilization Platform Evaluating Use With COVID-19 Vaccine; Zacks Small-Cap Research Increases Valuation To $12.00 Per Share -…

March 25, 2020

New York, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - March 24, 2020) - Soligenix Inc. (NasdaqGS: SNGX), through its Public Health Solutions business segment, announced on Monday that the company is expanding its ongoing collaboration with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa to assess potential coronavirus vaccines, including COVID-19. More specifically, the study is evaluating the application of the company's heat-stabilization technology that has the potential to substantially alleviate the strains of cold-storage and distribution challenges associated with vaccines that need to progress quickly through supply channels.

The heat-stabilization technology has demonstrated the feasibility of developing heat-stable subunit filovirus vaccines, including the Ebola virus disease caused by either Zaire or Sudan ebolavirus variants, as well as Marburg virus disease, with both monovalent and bivalent vaccine combinations.

Investors sent shares higher by more than 17% at the market open. Zacks Small-Cap Research updated its coverage on Soligenix as well and raised its valuation of the stock to $12.00 per share. The increase is based on its adjusted DCF model that takes into account potential future revenues from SGX301 and SGX942.

Vaccine Heat-Stabilization Can Be A Substantial Franchise

According to Soligenix, formulation conditions have been identified to enable heat stabilization of each antigen, alone or in combination, for at least 12 weeks at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Soligenix and its collaborators are expanding the technology platform to assess compatibility with coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

The funding for the expanded program is expected to be financed by non-dilutive funding sources, such as the US government.

Most certainly, heat-stabilization technology can be a lucrative franchise. It would enable the distribution of vital vaccine products to get distributed almost seamlessly through distribution channels that are not favorable to cold-storage. The technology has proven an ability to maintain therapeutic potency at holding temperatures as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soligenix highlighted three essential components of the heat-stabilization platform:

1) a protein antigen, specifically a viral surface glycoprotein, which mediates entry and fusion of the virus with host cells and is manufactured with a proprietary insect cell expression system coupled with protein-specific affinity purification;

2) an adjuvant which has been shown to enhance both cell-mediated and humoral immunity; and

3) a formulation which enables thermostabilization of the resulting mixture, avoiding the need for cold chain storage and shipping

Combined, the resulting vaccine is broadly applicable, including individuals often excluded from common viral vector vaccine approaches such as children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. These same components can now be applied to coronavirus vaccine, using well-defined surface glycoprotein(s) from one or more coronaviruses, which will include critical antigens expected to be protective for COVID-19. The protection of elderly and immunocompromised populations is particularly important in the context of COVID-19.

Data Supports Heat-Stabilization Compatibility For Coronavirus

The platform has already produced encouraging results. Dr. Lehrer, Assistant Professor, Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology at the JABSOM, stated, "Our work to date has demonstrated not only the feasibility of rapid and efficient manufacturing, but also the potential for a broadly applicable and easily distributed vaccine. We are delighted with our successes on development of filovirus and flavivirus vaccines using our platform and look forward to accelerated studies with the coronaviruses.

Also, JABSOM Dean Jerris R. Hedges, MD, MS, MMM, said, "It is rewarding to see ongoing work by JABSOM investigators and collaborators expanding on successful research on filovirus vaccines (protecting against viruses such as Ebola and Marburg virus) that may help us make unique life-saving contributions during this difficult time in healthcare. The prospect of a science lab in Hawaii helping develop a vaccine amid the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the importance of local research in Hawaii."

Soligenix Well-Positioned To Contribute To COVID-19 Platform

Through its Public Health Solutions business segment, Soligenix is well-positioned to create a subunit vaccine with enhanced stability at elevated temperatures. Undoubtedly, the result can prevent the costs and logistical burdens associated with cold chain storage and distribution, and has the potential to provide a distinct advantage over other vaccines currently in development and simplifies worldwide delivery.

Because of the pace of advancement of the filovirus vaccine platform, Soligenix added in its release that the program is optimally poised to look at other viruses and infections, including COVID-19.

The news on Monday followed the company's release last Thursday that reported positive statistically significant topline data for its pivotal Phase 3 SGX301 FLASH trial. That Phase 3 study is evaluating SGX301 to treat patients with CTCL. A report of those findings can be found here.

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Soligenix Inc. Heat-Stabilization Platform Evaluating Use With COVID-19 Vaccine; Zacks Small-Cap Research Increases Valuation To $12.00 Per Share -...