What to know about the latest setbacks in the hunt for COVID-19 vaccines and treatment

Robbie Cape 98point6

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Amid the busy news cycle, I hope you’re all having a chance to take in a few fall moments. My fall moments this week included baking my first pumpkin bread of the season, and making butternut squash soup for the first time (I had no idea how involved the process of cubing butternut squash could be!) 

This week, we’ve been watching coronavirus cases start to tick up in the US and in Europe in what could be the foretold second wave. 

While that’s happening, all eyes have been glued to the roller coaster ride that is coronavirus treatments and vaccines development. More on that below.

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The sprint to make effective COVID-19 treatments and vaccines has hit some road bumps — and that’s OK

We might know in the coming weeks whether some of the earliest COVID-19 vaccines work.

Getting to that point hasn’t been without its challenges. Back in September, AstraZeneca paused its trials after a volunteer had what might’ve been a serious reaction (the trial resumed in the UK but not in the US yet.)

And on Monday, Johnson & Johnson said it paused its vaccine trials after an unexplained illness in a participant.

The next day, Eli Lilly, which is making a coronavirus antibody treatment, paused its trial over safety concerns.

The scope of some trials is changing as well. Pfizer on Monday said it’s testing its vaccine in children as young as 12, which will be key to getting the shot in more people. 

Then on Friday, Pfizer revealed it plans to submit its vaccine for emergency approval in late November, should the shot show it works. That puts a coronavirus vaccine before the US election out of reach, but it’s still an incredibly fast timeline, when compared with the historically slow pace of vaccine development.

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We also got some disappointing news about a batch of coronavirus treatments.

The World Health Organization said Thursday that remdesivir doesn’t prevent people who are treated with it from dying. Remdesivir is the only antiviral drug authorized to treat COVID-19, and was one of two treatments that President Donald Trump received.

Other treatments evaluated as part of the WHO trial also faltered, with the organization finding that they had “little or no effect on hospitalized COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health is embarking on more studies to see how well remdesivir might work in combination with other drugs. This dispatch from Andrew Dunn comes complete with a vivid description of hunting for treatments that will help turn off the emergency sprinkler system activated in the body when it’s mounting an overactive immune response to COVID-19. 

A refrain I’ve been keeping in mind when hearing and reporting about these setbacks, delays, etc. is just how fascinating it is to watch this science happen in real time. It’s been less than a year since the novel coronavirus entered our lives, and it’s remarkable how much we’ve learned …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Science

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