Press review

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Quarter of UK population may refuse Covid-19 vaccine

Country : Africa, Belgium, Brazil, China, Europe, France, Germany, Russia, U.S., UK

Keywords :
LONDON, 24 July (APM) - More than a quarter of people in the UK might refuse to have a Covid-19 vaccine even if one is approved, The Times reported on Tuesday.
It said 14% of people in a poll said they would not want to be vaccinated if a "high quality vaccine were available", with a further 13% "unsure" if they would have a jab.
The poll was carried out by ORB International and surveyed 2,065 people across the UK last week.

Positive vaccine developments

Positive Covid-19 vaccine developments were the principal focus of healthcare news in the UK press over the past week with early-stage trial results out from AstraZeneca/Oxford University and Pfizer and BioNTech.
The Telegraph on Tuesday said the eyes of the world were turned on Oxford University on Monday as the results of the first human trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine were published (APMHE 68241)
The results showed it was safe and produces an immune response. Experts hailed the results as a "really important milestone" which kept alive the hope of a vaccine being rolled out before Christmas.
Initially, it had been hoped that a vaccine might be ready by September, but the number of Covid-19 cases plummeted in the UK after lockdown, meaning the chance of getting infected dropped substantially and making it difficult to test a vaccine. Researchers were forced to move trials to South Africa and Brazil.
On the same day, Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech announced their Covid-19 candidate was safe and induced an immune response in patients. The papers covered the findings, with the FT on Friday saying Pfizer and BioNTech experimental vaccine showed "good signs of provoking a dual T-cell response".

Fenofibrate could make Covid-19 'treatable as common cold'

Cholesterol drug fenofibrate could make coronavirus as treatable as the common cold, the Telegraph at the weekend reported scientists as suggesting.
Researchers at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center looked at depriving the virus of nutrients which Covid-19 needs to survive. They found that fat which accumulates inside lung cells is a key component of what the virus needs to reproduce.
Depriving the virus of these conditions could mean that the virus could be better controlled, with the researchers claiming it could be reduced to something akin to an ordinary cold, the paper added.

IL-7 offers Covid-19 improvement in small study

The Daily Mail on Wednesday reported on a small study suggesting a protein drug may help improve the conditions of severely ill coronavirus patients.
Interleukin 7 (IL-7) immunotherapy was found to restore counts of a specific white blood cell in those critically with Covid-19, it said.
The international team, led by Université Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium, said the treatment also seemed to help quell and even reverse dangerous inflammation in patients.

Russians receive Covid-19 vaccine

Scores of top Russian government officials and executives received Russia's experimental coronavirus vaccine as early as in April before human trials started, the Telegraph on Monday reported Bloomberg as saying (APMHE 68235).
Reports came a few days after the UK government said it had evidence that Russian government-connected cyber hackers had been trying to steal research from two UK labs which have been developing Covid-19 vaccines.
Bloomberg quoted several unnamed sources as saying that billionaire tycoons as well as executives at aluminium giant Rusal, owned by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, got access to an experimental vaccine developed by the Gamalei Institute in Moscow.

Optimism for Synairgen's drug

There was widespread coverage on Monday of Synairgen's SNG001, an inhaled formulation of interferon beta, in 101 hospitalised Covid-19 patients from nine sites in the UK for a two-month period (APMHE 68228).
The Times said the drug was found to dramatically reduce the chances of coronavirus patients needing intensive care, according to the preliminary results of a randomised trial. The Telegraph described it as a "game changer" treatment.
The Times on Tuesday pointed out that only a year ago, fallen fund manager Neil Woodford was the "proud owner of 22.2% of Synairgen". Its shares soared 421% in a day to 190p. Woodford had reduced his holding to 19% before Woodford funds' administrator Link Fund Solutions sold the remaining stake to Acacia Research in June.

GSK takes 10% stake in CureVac

The FT on Monday reported on GlaxoSmithKline taking a 10% stake in Germany's CureVac. (APMHE 68229)
It said the stake makes GSK well placed to benefit from increases in the German group's valuation fuelled by investor optimism about its coronavirus product.

UK signs up for 90 million French and German Covid-19 vaccine doses

The FT on Monday reported that the UK government has agreed deals to secure a total of 90 million doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines from companies based in Germany and France (APMHE 68227).
The UK became the first country to agree to buy supplies of a vaccine developed by Germany's BioNTech and Pfizer, signing an agreement for 30 million doses to be delivered during the next two years.
At the same time, the government committed to buying 60 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from France's Valneva, which is less advanced in development but works in a different way to BioNTech's, the FT said.
The story was also covered in the Telegraph and Guardian on Monday.

U.S. spent almost $2 billion to secure Covid-19 vaccine

The FT on Wednesday reported that the U.S. government has committed to spend $1.95 billion on 100 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Germany's BioNTech and Pfizer, which will be distributed free of charge to U.S. citizens (APMHE 68267).

UK government buys vaccine factory in £100 million vaccine drive

The Telegraph on Thursday covered an announcement the UK government is buying a fish medicine factory in Essex, south east England, to be turned into a vaccine manufacturing plant to combat coronavirus.
The taxpayer is spending £16 million to buy the facility in Braintree in Essex in south east England from Benchmark Holdings, a small company that specialises in animal health and genetics.
The deal is part of a £100 million investment by the government to quickly scale up the UK's capacity to produce a vaccine for Covid-19 if one is found, the paper said (APMHE 68279).

GSK shown up by AstraZeneca 'yet again'

The FT on Monday said that for a vaccine specialist, GlaxoSmithKline looks a "little left behind on Covid-19". On Monday, AstraZeneca's lead extended further with positive results from the trial it is conducting with Oxford university.
GSK's vaccine-related announcement was more modest. It is paying £130 million for a 10% stake in CureVac, which the paper described as a "sideshow for an £83 billion market cap company".
If GSK has been trailing others on Covid-19, it should not trouble investors too much, said the paper, noting that the vaccines are not set to be big money-spinners, at least at first.
GSK is also collaborating with Sanofi on a vaccine booster that could play a key role in increasing immunity.
AstraZeneca's shares are up more than 40% over the past year. GSK's are flat and its second-quarter earnings out next week are unlikely to provide much of an uplift, the FT added.

U.S. official claims China 'bought' WHO chief

The Telegraph reported on Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as saying that China "bought" the head of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, claiming the organisation's failings had contributed to "dead Britons".
Speaking to MPs at a private meeting in London, he alleged that Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organisation's director general, had struck a deal with China that helped him secure election.
Pompeo is quoted by the paper as saying that "when push came to shove, when it really mattered most", people had died "because of the deal that was made".
He added that the WHO was a "political" rather than "science-based organisation" that had failed to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pompeo's comments came as he began a trip to Europe to put pressure on the UK and U.S. EU allies to take a tougher stance against China and comes just days after the UK announced a ban on Huawei technology in its 5G network.
His remarks follow President Donald Trump's announcement that the U.S. is to withdraw from the WHO, accusing the organisation of being under China's control.
The Telegraph on Wednesday said Boris Johnson has called for "reform" of the WHO and refused to express confidence in its head.
Johnson believes the WHO could be better run in order for it to respond "as quickly and effectively as possible" to emergencies following widespread criticism of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
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