Another COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna, records 94.5% success – Newstrends
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Another COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna, records 94.5% success

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The quest for effective vaccines to combat the ravaging coronavirus has recorded another breakthrough with a United States-based biotech firm, Moderna Inc, saying on Monday that its experimental vaccine was 94.5 per cent effective in preventing the disease, according to an analysis of its clinical trial.

The report from multiple sources including BBC, Reuters and The Guardian comes a week after Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective.

The results for both vaccines were from interim analyses of large clinical studies.

An interim analysis of the Moderna released on Monday, and based on 95 patients with confirmed COVID-19 infections found the candidate vaccine has an efficacy of 94.5 per cent.

 

 

In the result from the Moderna study, there were 30,000 volunteers; half got two doses of the vaccine 28 days apart; half got two shots of a placebo on the same schedule.

There were 95 instances of COVID-19 illness among the study participants — only five of those cases were in the vaccinated group. Ninety were in the group receiving the placebo.

Of these, there were said to be 11 cases of severe disease. The results indicate the vaccine was inducing the kind of immune response that protects people if they were exposed to the coronavirus.

Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, was quoted as saying in a statement, “This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease.”

Moderna said it had improved the shelf life and stability of its own vaccine, meaning that it can be stored at standard refrigeration temperatures of 2C to 8C for 30 days.

 

 

 

The company said it planned to apply to the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, for emergency-use authorisation in the coming weeks.

The results are the latest encouraging news to emerge from the breakneck effort to develop a vaccine against coronavirus and follow a similar interim analysis earlier this month from a collaboration between Pfizer and the German firm BioNTech, which suggest its vaccine is 90 per cent effective at preventing illness.

The Moderna vaccine is however not expected to be available outside the US until next year.

The biotech company said it would have 20m doses ready to ship in the US before the end of 2020 and hoped to manufacture 500 million to one billion doses globally next year.

So far, the UK does not stand to benefit from the vaccine. Moderna has agreed to provide the US with 100 million doses, with an option to buy 400m more. Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Qatar and Israel have also signed agreements, and the European commission has a “potential purchase agreement” for 80m-160m doses. The UK chose not to participate in the EU vaccine purchase scheme, with the health secretary, Matt Hancock, arguing in July that the government could source vaccine faster on its own. However, a Whitehall source said the UK government was in “advanced discussions” to procure doses of the Moderna vaccine.

The Moderna vaccine, which is based on similar mRNA technology as BioNTech’s, is expected to be assessed by the FDA on a final analysis of 151 COVID cases among trial participants who will be followed on average for more than two months.

If the results remain as impressive as the trial goes on, the Moderna vaccine could potentially provide a major advantage over the Pfizer vaccine.

While Pfizer’s vaccine requires ultracold freezing between -70C and -80C from production facility to patient, Moderna said it had improved the shelf life and stability of its own vaccine, meaning that it can be stored at standard refrigeration temperatures of 2C to 8C for 30 days.

It could be stored for six months at -20C for shipping and long-term storage, the company said.

 

 

Cost and side effects

At £38 to £45 for a course of two shots, Moderna’s vaccine is more expensive than the other frontrunners. AstraZeneca and Oxford University are aiming to sell their vaccine at about £3 a dose, while vaccines in trial with Johnson and Johnson and collaboration between Sanofi and GSK are both expected to cost about £8 a dose.

Pfizer is charging the US about £30 for a two-shot course. The UK has ordered 40 million Pfizer shots but none of the Moderna vaccine.

Moderna’s two-shot vaccine injects genetic material called mRNA into the body, which cells then use to churn out the spike protein the virus uses to invade cells.

The spike protein covers the surface of the virus and is one of the main targets of the body’s immune response to wipe out the infection.

A question mark that remains over the Pfizer vaccine is whether it prevents serious illness.

The Moderna results, released by an independent data safety monitoring board, are encouraging on this point. Of 11 participants who developed severe COVID while on the trial, all were in the placebo group. The results also suggest the vaccine is effective in older people and those from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Moderna’s interim analysis includes a safety review of data available so far.

The company said it had found no significant safety concerns, with most reactions being mild to moderate and short-lived.

Among the side effects reported is the injection site pain in 2.7 per cent of trial volunteers after the first jab.

After the second, the most significant side effects include fatigue in 9.7 per cent, muscle pain in nine per cent and joint pain in five per cent. Others had headaches; others pains, or redness at the injection site.

Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College, London, said the Moderna results were “tremendously exciting” and boosted optimism that a choice of good COVID vaccines would be available in the next few months.

 

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Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

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Doyin Okupe

Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

Director-General of the Labour Party’s presidential campaign in the 2023 election, Dr Doyin Okupe, has denied betraying the candidate of the party, Peter Obi.

Rather, he said it was Obi who betrayed the Peoples Democracy Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to contest the election.

According to Okupe, Obi’s presidential interest forced him to go against Atiku, who brought him into national politics.

Okupe maintained that he decided to withdraw his support for the LP presidential candidate because he was no longer interested in working with him.

The politician spoke in a viral video circulated on social media on Friday.

He said, “They said I betrayed Obi. No. How can I betray him? I started politics in 1978. Obi was nowhere else. My life and political destiny cannot be tied to Obi’s ambition. I wish Obi well, but I am done with him. We wanted to achieve something, but we couldn’t achieve it.

“Obi was the vice-presidential candidate of Atiku Abubakar in 2019. He brought him to the national limelight. Because of his own ambition, which was correct and due, Obi left the party and contested against Atiku. If people said I betrayed Obi, what did Obi do to Atiku? It is not fair.

“It is Obi’s interest in 2023 that made him go on a collision course against his former master. Obi was not my master; I was his supporter. If I supported him up to a point and decided to go back and be myself, how can that be an offence?”

Okupe disclosed that Pa Ayo Adebanjo, a leader of pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, persuaded him to support Obi.

According to him, he (Adebanjo) objected to the idea of a northerner succeeding former president Muhammadu Buhari, adding that he supported the move for the South to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.

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Okupe further stated that the collective decision to support Obi from the South-East was based on fairness.

The politician said, “Baba Adebanjo called me and said he heard that I wanted to contest for the presidential election, and I said yes. Baba said I was a troublemaker. I told Baba that he didn’t know what was happening in our party.

“PDP wanted a northerner to replace Buhari; that didn’t make sense to me. It made a mockery of our federalism and unity as a nation. It undermined my essence as a human being.

“Baba asked which section of the South should be considered if the presidency was zoned to the region. I told Baba that it was only the South-East that has not produced a president.

“Baba said we should support the South-East for the presidency and I agreed. We reviewed the presidential candidates from that region and we concluded on supporting Obi. That was what happened.”

Speaking further, Okupe said, “I went to the Press Centre in Abeokuta to declare that I was withdrawing from the race, and that I would support Peter Obi. By that time, I hadn’t met Obi. I haven’t discussed or seen him. I only knew he wanted to be president.

“Five days later, Obi called me on the phone and requested to see me. We met and discussed and he made me the Director-General of his campaign. That was how the journey with Obi started. When it was clear to us that we couldn’t get the ticket from PDP, we decided to leave the party.”

On why Obi lost the election, Okupe disclosed that the party was grossly and inadequately arranged to cover a national election, saying LP didn’t have what it took to win the presidential poll.

He said, “We ran a fantastic campaign; we did a lot of mobilisation, but we had our flaws and shortcomings. The party was grossly and inadequately arranged to cover a national election. We didn’t have what it took. The structure that covered the entire country wasn’t there.”

Reacting to Okupe’s statement, the Chairman of the Labour Party in Osun State, Bello Adebayo, said, “Obi didn’t betray anybody; it is not correct to say he betrayed Atiku because he didn’t contest the PDP presidential ticket with him in PDP.”

Why I won’t go back to Peter Obi – Okupe

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Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

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Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police (CP), Benneth Igweh, yesterday night refuted claims by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that the police prevented union members from protesting.

Reacting to the development, Igweh dismissed allegations  by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) that the operatives of the FCT police command restricted members of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, from leaving the protest ground and also deployed armoured vehicles, assault dogs, and police personnel to break up the peaceful protest using excessive force at Unity Fountain in Abuja on Thursday.

A statement issued by the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, SP Josephine Adeh said: “The command wishes to state that it clearly recognises and understands the rights of the citizens to freedom of association and expression and wouldn’t prevent citizens from exercising such rights. Hence, it didn’t deploy armoured vehicles, assault dogs, or personnel to use excessive force to prevent protesters from exercising their rights.

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“The command wishes to state that there was an understanding and agreement between the associations and itself that the protest should be held within the unity fountain, where representatives of each association will address the press and subsequently take their complaints on behalf of others to the appropriate authorities without entering the streets. The agreement was reached to prevent potential hijacking of the protest by some unscrupulous elements, hence the restriction.

“The commissioner of police FCT, CP Benneth C. Igweh, psc, mni, wishes to reaffirm that the command is committed to upholding the right to peaceful assembly while prioritising the safety of the general public. He also noted that the command appreciates the cooperation of the community and will continue to work diligently to maintain a safe environment for all.”

Police didn’t stop NASU, SSANU Abuja protest – CP

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Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

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Reinstated dep gov of Edo State Philip Shaibu and Governor Godwin Obaseki

Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

The reinstated deputy governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, says the State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has vowed to destroy him.

Shaibu alleged that Obaseki was behind the attack on him and Monday Okpebholo, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state on Thursday.

A clutch of armed men opened fire on Shaibu and Okpebholo on Thursday at the exit gate of the Benin Airport upon their return from Abuja after the judgment reinstating the former as the deputy governor of the state.

Okpebholo’s police aide was killed during the shootout.

Speaking during an interview on Channels TV on Friday evening, Shaibu said he got an intelligence report that Obaseki ordered his men not to allow him into the state.

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He, however, said no one can stop him from entering the state even if he was an ordinary let alone as a deputy governor.

He said: “Yesterday I got intel that the governor told his men not to allow me into town. I’m a free-born citizen of Edo State, nobody can allow me into the state.

“The Constitution does not allow anybody to bar me from entering the state, not even when I’m a deputy governor, even if I’m an ordinary citizen; nobody has that right.

“But I didn’t know he would arm them that much, reviewing it further; I remembered the governor threatening to destroy me, he used the word ‘I will destroy you’

“It’s obvious that it was an attempt to actualize the statement that he was going to destroy me. I have decided that only God can destroy a man and that’s why I have decided that I will fight till the end of this campaign, even when I was impeached; I decided to fight for the sanity and sanctity of the office of the deputy governor.”

Philip Shaibu accuses Gov Obaseki of masterminding Edo airport shooting

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