COVID-19 vaccine development pipeline gears up

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18 February Florencia Ballarino
Vaccination: "I am not as optimistic as Ginés González García," said Dr. Eduardo López.
The infectologist who advises the President affirmed that if the 7 million adults over 60 years of age are vaccinated by the middle of the year, "we must applaud the Ministry of Health."

In the last month, coronavirus infections fell nationwide from the peak reached in early summer. The specialists assure that this is due both to the advance of the national vaccination plan and also to the lower circulation of the virus due to prevention campaigns and to the fact that more activities are carried out in open spaces. In this context, the RePerfilAr team contacted Eduardo López, an infectious disease physician, who spoke about the drop in coronavirus cases in the country, the vaccination plan and the arrival of new doses in the country.

"The downward trend is slow but there is still a lot to improve," said López, adding that the possibility of the arrival of the second wave "is always present." Likewise, the specialist added that there is still community transmission due to the number of infected people in the country. Then, the infectologist assured that it is necessary to vaccinate 7 million adults over 60 years of age to reduce hospitalizations and the mortality rate.

"I am not as optimistic as the Minister (Ginés) González García, but if older adults are already vaccinated by June we have to applaud the Ministry of Health," said the specialist in relation to the words of the Minister of Health promising to vaccinate " all Argentines for August ”. "It is costing us much effort to receive an influx of new doses, but it is encouraging that consignments of Covishield have arrived from India," said the expert regarding the advancement of the vaccination plan. Likewise, López said that the vaccine developed by Oxford AstraZeneca and manufactured in India can be given "more easily" because the second dose is given in a longer period of time than in the case of Sputnik V.

On the one hand Gines and co are promising to "vaccinate all Argentines for August". On the other hand, Gines and co are asking to suspend elections scheduled for August because we won't have everyone vaccinated by then and it will be "too dangerous". Which one is it?




Minister of health, Gines García, apparently is being asked by the President to resign over a “VIP vaccination” scandal that has emerged.
One less incompetent and corrupt fool in this government perhaps... but let’s see who follows in his shoes and if it makes any difference the vaccination and health management issues we are facing.


19 February Natasha Niebieskikwiat
In the middle of the scandal, the Government affirms that they have already closed the agreement to buy one million doses from China.
They assure that the contract was closed on Thursday. It is known just when Minister Ginés Gonzalez García leaves.

The government closed its agreement with Beijing to buy 1 million doses of its Sinopharm vaccine from the Chinese National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation. It transpired the same day of the scandal for the "VIP Vaccination" and the departure of the Minister of Health, Ginés González García. This was assured by official sources to Clarín that they hope to bring them on an Aerolineas Argentinas flight at the end of this month. They pointed out that the trade agreement has already been signed and that it was on Thursday. If the agreement already closed proceeds without problems -Argentina had several conflicts with its vaccine purchases- this would be the largest batch to arrive in the country in a single flight. And it would allow a massive vaccination campaign that has been lagging behind to start at once. The announcement in Russia that they have problems producing Sputnik V in large quantities has been a serious blow at the local level, because here they bet to have 20 million for January and February of which there are only slightly more than 1 million.

In the Government they assure that the contract that was signed now "has nothing to do" with the dismissal of the now former Minister of Health Ginés González García, due to the "Vip Vaccination" scandal, for which numerous officials agreed with privileges to be vaccinated with Sputnik V.

González García was delaying the signing of the agreement in his ministry, according to government sources who assured Clarín, although they denied it by his team. The minister had said in Deputies that China set very harsh conditions for a vaccine: a cost of 20 dollars per dose and two per person are needed. That is 40 dollars per vaccine. Ginés González had also said that among those conditions they asked that a total of 30 million doses be purchased from them to send that first million.

Alberto Fernández said in an interview that he had been personally involved in negotiating with the Chinese together with the new ambassador in Beijing, Sabino Vaca Narvaja, to ease conditions. At the time, the delay in vaccines was used as a reason to displace the now former ambassador to Beijing, Luis María Kreckler. The Foreign Ministry denied that this was the reason. As Clarín learned, the contract for 1 million vaccines would not entail this requirement and the Argentine government could buy a la carte vaccines from the Chinese National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation.


The companies have submitted new temperature data to the FDA to support an update to the current label that would allow vials to be stored at -25 to -15 degrees Celsius for a total of two weeks.

... the higher temepratures should “greatly expand the ability to use this vaccine in many parts of the world (or even the U.S.) that do not have the capacity for deep freeze storage”.


21 February 2021....8:24pm...via information from the Télam agency.
Carla Vizzotti urgently authorized the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and a million doses arrive on Thursday.
In the framework of a strong controversy over the vip vaccination scandal, next Thursday the arrival of one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm is expected. Additionally, a new batch of the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V.

The million doses of Sinopharm will immunize 500,000 people
, since this drug, like most vaccines against Covid-19, requires two applications. In this context, the new Minister of Health of the Nation, Carla Vizzotti, authorized this Sunday on an emergency basis the vaccine of Chinese origin, whose scientific name is BBIBP-CorV. The decision was adopted after the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) recommended to the health portfolio the incorporation of this vaccine in the immunization campaign carried out by the Government. In the case of the Sputnik V vaccine, the presidential adviser Cecilia Nicolini left for Moscow on Saturday night and in the coming days she will discuss with the authorities of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) the setbacks that have arisen in recent weeks and that they affected the supply of doses to Argentina.

Vaccine trials, in Argentina. The Chinese state laboratory simultaneously conducted phase 3 studies in various parts of the world, including Argentina. In the country, trials were carried out on a control population of 3008 volunteers who participated in a "randomized study" (they receive a random vaccine or placebo) based on the association of the Chinese pharmaceutical group with the Vacunar network and the Fundación Host, plus the laboratory ELEA (from Grupo Insud) as a local sponsor. The person in charge of the Sinopharm trials in Argentina was the infectious disease specialist Pedro Cahn, founder of the Fundación Huesped. "It is extremely safe, in the trials we have not registered serious adverse events related to the vaccine, so from a safety point of view I can guarantee you," Cahn said, adding: "From an efficacy point of view , they (by the laboratory that produces it) have reported an efficacy similar to that of other vaccines ". The infectologist stressed that the arrival of these vaccines will allow the level of supply to be expanded and the vaccination process accelerated in the country.

On the other hand, and beyond the immediate, the arrival of this million doses of Sinopharm could be the first batch of a series of new purchases, assured sources that follow the negotiation in detail. In fact, the pharmaceutical group that developed the drug, China National Pharmaceutical Group, has already advised that as of March it will be ready to periodically supply significant quantities, well over a million. The commercial contract for the acquisition of the million doses was concluded between Wednesday and Thursday. It was one of the last decisions of Ginés González García at the head of the Ministry of Health.

The agreement came about, among other things, after the pharmaceutical company headquartered in Beijing agreed to lower the price of each unit, from $30 to $20 dollars, as the President himself announced two weeks ago. This vaccine is based on the inactivated virus of Covid-19 (the dead version of the germ that causes the disease) and does not use adenoviral vectors (a virus that, since it does not have the gene that reproduces it, can carry genetic material from another virus). In addition, the development of Sinopharm has a peculiarity that can be considered a logistical advantage: it does not require a refrigeration lower than 0 degrees Celsius and it can be maintained at temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees, which can be supplied from a common refrigerator.



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21 February 2021
Coronavirus vaccine in Argentina: Unsam advances in studies of phase 1. The vaccine developed at Unsam is progressing "with very good results." Argentina is expected to have its own vaccine production within a year. They highlight the project as a contribution to national scientific sovereignty.

The University of San Martín and Conicet are advancing in the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus that is about to start the preclinical tests of phase 1 if an agreement with a private laboratory is finalized, the institution clarified today in a statement. "The vaccine advances with the preclinical phase with very good results. What follows is to reach an agreement with a private laboratory to start phase 1, which is human testing," declared the rector Carlos Greco. "We had very strong support from the Agencia de Promocion Tecnologica to get a strategic partner from the business sector," said Greco and indicated that a preliminary agreement with a laboratory is in progress to finance this stage.

In the statement distributed today by Unsam it was reported that their project for a coronavirus vaccine was among the 128 in the preclinical phase in the world....As explained, the formula of this vaccine is based on recombinant proteins, a technology similar to that used in the Hepatitis B or HPV vaccine. This proposal was selected and supported by the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development and Innovation (R + D + i Agency) within the framework of the Coronavirus Unit that it integrates together with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of the Nation and the Conicet. Greco had told Radio Cooperativa yesterday that "it is possible that in a year from now Argentina will have its own vaccine production without the need for negotiations with foreign laboratories". "In the future, it would mean scientific and technological sovereignty, when the production of the vaccine is reached, which for this disease will mean that we will not depend on these complex negotiations with other international producers," Greco said.


Argentine researchers who are part of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Unit project study the effects of a nasal spray , which is already marketed in the country, which could work in the prevention of coronavirus.
(Coronavirus COVID-19 Unit is made up of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, CONICET and the National Agency for the Promotion of Research, Technological Development and Innovation)

The active ingredient in the spray is carrageenan, a polysaccharide produced by some red algae, also used as thickeners and stabilizers in the food industry. As evaluated, this chemical compound could help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.

It is not the first time that the antiviral properties of carrageenan have been studied . In vitro and animal tests have already been conducted for influenza B, herpes viruses types 1 and 2, human immunodeficiency virus, human papilloma, influenza A H1N1, dengue fever, rhinovirus, hepatitis A, enterovirus and some coronaviruses.

"The antiviral action of carrageenan is due to the fact that this polymeric compound functions as an electrical barrier that, thanks to its negative charge, would bind to viral particles, whose envelope contains positively charged proteins, thus preventing the virus from binding to the surface of cells and blocking their entry into them. The carrageenan may also 'capturing' the viral particles that release the cells that were already infected , "explains an article published by the Conicet.

The senior researcher at Conicet and scientific director of the project, Osvaldo Uchitel, explained that the study of the use of carrageenan has two objectives. “On the one hand, to stop infection through the nasal route in healthy individuals, by shielding the cells that form the epithelium of the nasopharyngeal mucosa. On the other hand, in the case of infected patients who were recently diagnosed, prevent the viral particles released by the dying cells from colonizing new cells, for example the olfactory epithelium, and that this allows the pathogen to spread towards new routes, to end up arriving to the central nervous system ”, he detailed in the Conicet publication.

If this chemical compound inhibits the arrival of the virus to the brain or to the bronchi and lungs, it would be possible to reduce the serious patients of covid-19.

The team began the study of the use of this spray six months ago in ten medical centers in the country, through a double-blind trial, applied to 395 people of legal age with no history of having suffered from covid-19. All of them were randomly assigned four doses of the spray - or placebo - over 21 days. The results so far are encouraging: its use reduced the chances of acquiring the virus by 80 percent.

Despite optimism about the results, the researchers maintain that before approving the massive use in the population, new studies are still necessary to corroborate the effectiveness of the drug.
Source: Pagina12
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