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Venezuela offers to send oxygen to hard-hit Brazilian state
From CNN’s Taylor Barnes
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza stands at the Miraflores Government Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 7, 2020.
Carolina Cabral/Getty Images
Venezuela has offered to send oxygen tanks to Brazil’s hard-hit Amazonas state, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Thursday.
Amazonas is suffering from what Brazil’s health minister called a “collapse” in the healthcare system due to a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Arreaza said on Twitter that he made the offer during a call with Amazonas Gov. Wilson Lima, and added: “Latin American solidarity above all!”
Lima responded: “The people of Amazonas thank you!”
White House's Covid-19 vaccine access move set unrealistic expectations, says Biden adviser
From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, is part of President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board.
Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA
The Trump administration’s move to expand Covid-19 vaccine access may have set unrealistic expectations that local health departments will have to manage, Michael Osterholm, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus advisory board said Thursday.
This week, the Trump administration asked states to open vaccinations to people aged 65 and older and those with chronic conditions who are at higher risk of severe disease.
Under the new guidelines, almost 180 million people are eligible to receive a vaccine, Osterholm said on an episode of his podcast, “The Osterholm Update: COVID-19.”
“There’s no way vaccines are going to get to that number of people until in the summer, yet we just gave people this message, ‘Well you can get your vaccine now, we’re recommending it,’” he said.
When vaccine doses aren’t immediately available to those who are now allowed to take it, people will likely get upset, Osterholm said.
“These are not vaccines that are just there overnight, and I don’t care how many people you recommend get it – if you don’t have the vaccines to give, what have you accomplished except frustration?” he said.
He noted that local health authorities will likely have to answer for that frustration.
“I think what we’re all going to be seeing is state and local health departments are going to continue to be the shock absorber,” Osterholm said.
The Trump administration also said this week that it would release all available Covid-19 doses, instead of holding half in reserve for people’s second doses – adopting the same approach the Biden administration announced last week.
Brazil's health minister says healthcare collapsing in Manaus, hospitals full
From CNN's Taylor Barnes
Brazil's Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello speaks during the launching ceremony of the National Vaccination Operationalization Plan against Covid-19 at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on December 16, 2020.
Andre Borges/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Brazilian Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said that the healthcare system in the hard-hit Amazonian city of Manaus is in “collapse” during a Facebook live broadcast with President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday.
“I would say, yes, there is a collapse in healthcare in Manaus. The line to get a hospital bed has grown a lot, today we have about 480 people waiting in line. And the reality is that there is a lower supply of oxygen – not an interruption, but a lower supply of oxygen,” he said.
Pazuello also said Brazil – which has yet to commence a vaccination campaign even though its Covid-19 death toll is the second highest in the world, behind only the United States – will begin to vaccinate people in January, though he did not specify a date.
“In January we will start vaccinating. In the beginning with 2, 6, or 8 million doses. … And in February, we will have mass production, and our National Vaccination Program, which we’ve been doing for 45 years, will get ahead of everyone in the whole world, including the United States.”
The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) will meet on Sunday, Jan. 17 to decide whether to give emergency approvals to the Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Sinovac vaccine, according to state-run news agency Agencia Brasil.
Pharmacy techs recruited to help get more Covid-19 shots into arms
From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Samira Said
Syringes ready for vaccine use sit on a table at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) in Boston, Massachusetts on December 24, 2020.
Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images
In an effort to speed up the slow US vaccine rollout, pharmacy technicians are being trained to get more Covid-19 shots into arms.
“We need more injectors, and I think all hands-on deck for a period of time is a very good idea,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an adviser on vaccines to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Thursday, 30,628,175 coronavirus vaccine doses have been distributed, but only 11,148,991 of those doses have been administered, according to the CDC.
There are nearly 425,000 pharmacy techs in the US, and up until October, most states wouldn’t let them administer vaccinations.
But then the Department of Health and Human Services authorized pharmacy techs to give Covid-19 vaccines.
Jenny Arnold, CEO of the Washington Pharmacists’ Association, has sent training material for technicians to pharmacy associations and companies that employ pharmacists around the country. She said the technicians have been eager to sign up to learn how to give shots.
“We’ve had pharmacy techs from all over the country excited to help solve this pandemic,” Arnold said.
More than 1.3 million Americans have gotten both doses of Covid-19 vaccine, CDC says
From CNN Health's Michael Nedelman
A Holy Name Medical Center healthcare worker administers the Pfizer BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine to a law enforcement officer at the Rodda Community Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, on January 13.
Christopher Occhicone/Bloomberg/Getty Images
More than 1.3 million people in the United States have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to data posted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday.
In total, over 11 million doses have been administered to 9.7 million people. More than 30 million doses have been distributed in total.
Of those 11 million doses, about 6.5 million come from Pfizer/BioNTech, and 4.6 million come from Moderna.
Pfizer’s vaccine, given in two doses 21 days apart, began rolling out on December 14. A week later came Moderna’s, with two doses administered 28 days apart.
Biden pledges to help schools reopen with testing, cleaning, ventilation
From CNN Health's Maggie Fox
US President-elect Joe Biden announces a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
US President-elect Joe Biden promised Thursday to help elementary and middle schools open to in-person learning within the first three months of his administration by helping schools stay clean and improve air circulation.
Researchers are increasingly finding that it’s shared, unfiltered air that is helping spread the coronavirus the most – which is why people are advised to stay out of enclosed spaces with others, to open windows, and to meet outside if at all possible.
Biden noted this, too, as he laid out his $1.9 trillion pandemic recovery plan.
“We’ll also do everything we can to keep our educators, our students to safely open the majority of our K through 8 schools by the end of the first 100 days,” Biden said. “We can do this if we give the school districts, the schools themselves, the communities, the states, the clear guidance they need, as well as the resources they need that they can’t afford right now because of the economic dilemma that we’re in. That means more testing and transportation; additional cleaning and sanitizing services in those schools; protective equipment and ventilation systems in those schools,” he added.
Twice as many women as men are getting vaccinated for Covid-19 in the US
From CNN’s Michael Nedelman
Roughly twice as many women as men are getting vaccinated for Covid-19, according to CNN’s analysis of data from a dozen states that publish demographic information online.
In at least three of these states – Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Nebraska – records that include gender say women account for more than seven in 10 people vaccinated. The percentage of men did not break 39% in any of the states included in CNN’s analysis.
Experts say this may reflect who has been eligible early in the vaccine rollout: health care workers and older adults.
Women represent 76% of full-time health care workers, according to a 2019 report by experts from the US Census Bureau. Life expectancy in 2019 was 76.3 years for men and 81.4 years for women, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last month.
However, national polls have repeatedly shown that women in the general population are slightly less willing to receive a vaccine than men. The reasons for this are “still a bit of a puzzle,” said Cary Funk, director of science and society research at Pew Research Center.
“That level of trust people have in how the vaccine has been developed is strongly related to how likely they are to get the vaccine,” Funk said. “In public opinion surveys, when we’re asking about emerging science and tech developments … we tend to see women a little more cautious or wary of those developments and how they’ll be applied.”
Decades of research have shown that “men and women sometimes approach risk a little bit differently,” she added.
States that publish Covid-19 vaccine demographics and included in CNN’s analysis are: Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
US President-elect Joe Biden outlines Covid-19 relief plan
The two-step proposal will be called the American Rescue Plan. It includes direct cash payments, extended unemployment insurance, rent relief, food assistance, keeping essential front-line workers on the job, and aid to small businesses.
It allocates more than $400 billion toward addressing the pandemic, including $160 billion in funding for a national vaccination program and expanded testing, among other measures.
The proposal also includes $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans and extending and expanding unemployment benefits through September.
Watch President-elect Biden discuss details of his relief plan:
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Former Trump admin whistleblower says public trust eroded over vaccine rollout
From CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen
Bright testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing to discuss protecting scientific integrity in response to the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, May 14, in Washington, DC.
Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images/FILE
A former Trump administration whistleblower said public trust has suffered over the vaccine rollout.
Bright, formerly the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, resigned from his post at the National Institutes of Health last year after filing a whistleblower complaint alleging that his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored and his caution about hydroxychloroquine led to his removal.
He said vaccine manufacturing doesn’t always go exactly as planned.
“Making vaccines is very difficult. It’s biology, things will go wrong, regardless how much effort and attention and quality oversight you put on it, they will go wrong,” Bright, who is a member of President-elect Biden’s Covid-19 task force, said.
“As we go forward, we want to make very sure that we lay out the challenges and the areas where things can go wrong and when they go wrong - that’s normal,” he said.
“Setting those expectations, doing our best to not over promise and under deliver on those timelines and doses is going to be really critical messaging on the vaccines and vaccination schedules to maintain the trust of the population.”
New York City will be reimbursed the $5.9 billion it spent on Covid-19 pandemic
From CNN's Julian Cummings
New York City will be reimbursed fully for the $5.9 billion dollars spent so far fighting the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a presentation for the city’s 2022 fiscal budget.
De Blasio said that Senator Chuck Schumer told him a deal has been reached with the incoming Biden administration for FEMA to repay 100 percent of the money the city has spent fighting Covid. Previously NYC was responsible for 25 percent and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would pick up the remaining 75 percent of costs “at some point.”
The policy shift will be retroactive to the beginning of the pandemic and will bring in an additional $1 billion dollars to the city preventing further cuts to programs like fair student funding and delaying the expansion of 3K for all, according to de Blasio.
The city has lost a total of $10.5 billion dollars in tax revenue from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2022. Lost revenue, primarily from a decline in property tax revenue, has created a $5.25 billion dollar budget deficit in the proposed 2022 budget.
DeBlasio said that city avoided cutting 22,000 jobs this fall by asking federal agencies to find cuts, which led to $1.3 billion in savings.
“I can say right now there is no plan to move forward with layoffs. They will only be an absolute last resort,” he said.
Study: Pandemic will reduce life expectancy for Black and Latino populations by three to four times more than Whites
From CNN’s Maggie Fox
The coronavirus pandemic is set to knock more than a year off the average US life expectancy, and will reduce life expectancy for Black and Latino populations by three to four times more than Whites, researchers reported Thursday.
In the US, the pandemic will have a larger impact on life expectancy than a recent drug overdose epidemic that caused a startling two-year drop in life expectancy after decades of constant improvements, the researchers said.
“We project that COVID-19 will reduce US life expectancy in 2020 by 1.13 years,” Theresa Andrasfay of the University of Southern California and Noreen Goldman of Princeton University’s Office of Population Research write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Estimated reductions for the Black and Latino populations are three to four times that for Whites. Consequently, COVID-19 is expected to reverse over 10 years of progress made in closing the Black−White gap in life expectancy and reduce the previous Latino mortality advantage by over 70%,” they added.
And it may be a multi-year effect. “Some reduction in life expectancy may persist beyond 2020 because of continued COVID-19 mortality and long-term health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic,” they wrote.
The researchers used Census Bureau data and data on actual and projected deaths from the pandemic of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and the National Center for Health Statistics. They used various models and estimates for mortality rates.
“Our medium estimate indicates a reduction in US life expectancy at birth of 1.13 years to 77.48 years lower than any year since 2003,” they wrote.
“The Black and Latino populations are estimated to experience declines in life expectancy at birth of 2.10 and 3.05 years, respectively, both of which are several times the 0.68-year reduction for Whites. These projections imply an increase of nearly 40% in the Black−White life expectancy gap, from 3.6 years to over 5 years, thereby eliminating progress made in reducing this differential since 2006,” they added.
About half of Virginia residents are now eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, governor says
From CNN's Kay Jones
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said Thursday that about half of the commonwealth’s residents will now be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
Northam said people who are 65 and up will now be prioritized along with the “Phase 1B” group that also includes frontline essential worker groups like police, firefighters, hazmat workers, teachers, and staff at childcare services as well as pre-K through 12th grade, corrections workers, grocery store workers, mail carriers and more.
The move follows new guidance issued by US Department of Heath and Human Services on Tuesday telling states to expand vaccinations to those 65 and up, as well as those under 64 with a comorbidity.
Northam also said Virginia has distributed 100% of the doses received so far.
The health department’s dashboard shows that 215,101 people have received at least one dose as of today, with a total of 27,429 full vaccinations. The commonwealth has distributed 943,400 doses.
Study: Pandemic lockdown may have increased nearsightedness in China
From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid
Pandemic lockdowns may have affected kids in a subtle way, Chinese and US researchers reported Thursday. They found a significant rise in nearsightedness among young children in China.
Among children ages 6, 7 and 8, the researchers found that the rate of nearsightedness, or myopia, was higher in 2020 than in any of the past four years.
Nearsightedness rates did not change significantly among children 9-13, even though older children spent more time online, the US and Chinese team reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association- Ophthalmology.
It’s possible home confinement hit at an important time in vision development, where children are more sensitive to environmental changes, the team said.
The researchers analyzed results compiled from in-school vision screenings in Feicheng, China. Due to Covid-19, these vision screenings were conducted in June, after schools were shut down nationwide from January to May 2020.
The greatest increase in nearsightedness was among 6-year-olds, where the prevalence jumped from 5.7% in 2019 to 21.5% in 2020. Nearsightedness doubled among 7-year-olds over previous years, and increased 1.4 times in 8-year-olds.
They connected the increases to home confinement during Covid-19, and the change in screen time and outdoor activities.
“If home confinement is necessary, parents should control the children’s screen time as much as possible and increase the allowable outdoor activity while maintaining safe social distancing,” they wrote.
A person dies of Covid-19 every six minutes in Los Angeles County
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg and Jessica Firger
Los Angeles County called upon the National Guard to assist with processing of Covid-19 deaths and placing them into temporary storage at the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner Office. The temporary storage will relieve pressure from overwhelmed hospitals and mortuaries who can’t accommodate the deceased.
Los Angeles County
Over the past seven days, an average of 1,644 people in Los Angeles County have died of Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
That’s an average of 235 Covid-19 deaths per day, or one every six minutes.
Covid-19 deaths in Los Angeles increased about 30% this week compared to last.
Hospital systems in Los Angeles continue to struggle amid a surge in cases, as California is once again an epicenter of the pandemic. Most recent data show California has the second-highest number of new Covid-19 cases per capita, after Arizona.
Los Angeles officials are securing more places to store the bodies of those who died from the virus. About 900 bodies are currently being held at the Los Angeles Medical Examiner Coroner’s Office, which usually has a capacity of 500, according to spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. She estimates that about 150 of the bodies are overflow from local hospitals that have run out of room.
Since the initial surge last spring, a dozen refrigerated storage units have been on site at the downtown location. A dozen more trailers will be in place by next week, along with six refrigerated containers, Ardalani tells CNN.
Pandemic drove overdose deaths up, federal health officials say
From CNNs Lauren Mascarenhas
A big jump in overdoses contributed to the deaths of up to 90,000 Americans over the past year, federal health officials said Thursday.
Early data shows a 21% increase in overdose deaths in 2020 and the number could grow, Admiral Brett Giroir, US Health and Human Services assistant secretary told reporters.
After a “flattening” of overdose mortality rates, overdose deaths have been rising since the fall of 2019, Giroir said.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 83,000 overdose deaths in the year ending in June 2020 – a 21% increase from the previous year. He said overdoses due to synthetics opioids, like fentanyl, are up 44.75%.
“If this rate continues, we could see the losses of between 85 and 90,000 Americans in 2020 due to overdoses,” he said.
Older Hispanic adults have more vaccine confidence than younger ones, says Kaiser Family Foundation data
From CNN's Virginia Langmaid
Most Hispanic adults in the United States want to receive a Covid-19 vaccine eventually, but Hispanic adults under 50 are twice as likely to say they will “definitely not get the vaccine,” according to an analysis of Kaiser Family Foundation’s Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor Survey.
Hispanic adults under 50 are also less likely to say that they will “get the vaccine as soon as possible” once one is approved and available. (The surveys were completed by December 8 when coronavirus vaccines were not yet available to the general public.)
Only 20% of Hispanic adults under 50 reported that they would get the vaccine as soon as possible, compared to 38% of Hispanic adults over age 50.
Almost one-fifth of Hispanic essential workers reported that they would “definitely not” get a vaccine under the circumstances.
According to Kaiser Family Foundation, these numbers suggest a need to increase vaccine trust in younger Hispanic Americans through public health outreach in these communities.
300 Pfizer vaccine doses are unusable after a vaccine storage unit malfunctioned in Colorado
From CNN's Raja Razek
Local public health officials in the Colorado city of Pueblo rendered 300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine unusable after a portable vaccine storage unit malfunction, the Colorado State Joint Information Center tells CNN.
The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at about minus 75 degrees Celsius, which is about 50 degrees colder than any other vaccine currently used in the United States.
Brazil’s Amazonas state faces an oxygen shortage
From CNN’s Taylor Barnes
Amazonas Federal University's workers carry empty oxygen tanks at the Getulio Vargas Hospital amid the new coronavirus pandemic, Manaus, Brazil, Thursday, January 14.
Severe oxygen shortages and pressure on hospitals in Brazil’s Amazonas state, an economic and population center in the country’s Amazon region, prompted the state government to announce emergency measures on Thursday, including a curfew and the airlifting of patients to other Brazilian states.
“Today we are in the most critical moment of the pandemic, one that has no precedent in the state of Amazonas. We are facing a lot of difficulty in getting medical supplies. And as everyone is following, our main difficulty now has been getting oxygen,” Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima said at a Thursday press conference.
Demand for oxygen is up fivefold over the past 15 days, according to the state government.
Some 235 patients will be airlifted to five other Brazilian states, according to a tweet from the Amazonas state government, which wrote that the transfers are necessary due to the state’s oxygen shortages.
The state government also announced a curfew from 7pm to 6am and a ban on mass transit.
US airlines support Biden proposal for nationwide mask mandate
From CNN's Greg Wallace
A coalition of US airlines says it supports the incoming Biden administration’s proposal for a nationwide mask mandate, and wants to ensure it applies to require passengers wear face masks on airplanes and in airports.
Airlines For America (A4A), which represents major air carriers in the U.S., wrote in a letter to Biden on Thursday that since airlines currently have policies requiring masks and ban noncompliant passengers, it believes a Biden action would be “a consequential enforcement backstop.”
A4A said it supports a temporary requirement applying to all individuals two years and older that lasts “only for the duration of the pandemic.”
National Guard is administering Covid-19 vaccines in 16 US states and territories
From CNN’s Keri Enriquez
Sixteen states and territories are utilizing the National Guard to administer Covid-19 vaccines to the civilian population, according to National Guard spokesman Wayne Hall.
Idaho, Illinois, Puerto Rico and Rhode island are the latest additions, bringing the total number of states and territories to 16. The other 12 states are Arizona, California, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The majority of states are not relying on the National Guard to administer vaccines, but rather for repackaging vaccines, PPE distribution, disinfecting and operating testing sites.
Pandemic has created new opportunities for criminals, says Interpol Secretary General
From CNN's Richard Quest and Pamela Boykoff
The Covid-19 pandemic is providing new opportunities and vulnerabilities for criminals, such as “attacks” on vaccines, Interpol’s Secretary General warned in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest.
The international police organization has alerted governments and law enforcement to prepare for attacks on vaccines, including theft, warehouse break-ins and fake vaccines.
Two countries have already asked Interpol to assist combatting criminal efforts, Stock said, one involving the production of a fake vaccine and the other the distribution of one.
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Chain drug stores ask states to transfer unused Covid-19 vaccine doses to pharmacies
From CNN's Gregory Lemos
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is asking states to transfer unused Covid-19 vaccine doses to pharmacies.
“Any allocation that’s out there right now that’s sitting on shelves can be transferred to a community pharmacy,” Kathleen Jaeger, a senior vice president for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said Wednesday. “A lot of that supply is out there, and it’s not being used.”
On Thursday, New York is scheduled to start transferring vaccine doses to pharmacies in the state, Jaeger said. Ohio and Colorado are expected to start transferring vaccine doses to pharmacies very soon, she said.
In addition, the association wants states to soon start sending doses of vaccine directly from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies.
Nineteen pharmacy chains and associations have partnered with the federal government to carry out vaccinations in their stores. The federal pharmacy partnership program was announced by US Health and Human Secretary Alex Azar in November. Jaeger said the program is expected to begin in early to mid-February with the exact start date dependent on vaccine supply.
France plans to test 1 million schoolchildren and teachers per month to keep schools open
From Barbara Wojazer in Paris
Blanquer speaks during a press conference in Paris on Thursday, January 14, on the current French government strategy for the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. (
Thomas Coex/POOL/AFPGetty Images
Despite new countrywide restrictions in France – including a curfew — schools will remain open and plans are in place to test one million schoolchildren and teachers per month, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer announced on Thursday.
He said health measures will be reinforced during mealtimes and sports activities in closed spaces would be cancelled.
Although schools have remained open for most of the pandemic, universities have mainly switched to online learning.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday announced a gradual resumption of in-person teaching at universities, saying he appreciated that the situation was “extremely difficult” for university students and their mental health.
University students “feel that the health crisis stole their best moments,” French Higher Education Minister Frédérique Vidal said, echoing concerns voiced in French media this past week.
All first-year students will be allowed to go to seminars in smaller groups starting January 25, and the measure could later be extended to students in other years depending on the epidemic, Vidal said.
The government also announced measures to provide economic and psychological support to students.
These announcements come as the French government tightened restrictions nationally, with the extension of a 6pm-6am curfew to the whole country.
Biden administration may focus on better coronavirus treatments, adviser says
From CNN’s Maggie Fox
The incoming Biden administration may put a greater emphasis on developing or finding new drugs to treat coronavirus, one top adviser said Thursday.
Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at NYU who is advising the Biden transition team, expressed concern about the current administration’s focus on monoclonal antibodies – immune system treatments that appear to help some people early on in the course of infection. The US Food and Drug Administration has given emergency use authorization to two such treatments – one made by Eli Lilly and Co., and one by Regeneron.
“I think, big picture, we need to be thinking about other therapies right now,” Gounder told a webcast sponsored by Johns Hopkins University.
“We’ve been mostly focused on monoclonal antibodies and to some degree, remdesivir and some of the other immunomodulators, but we really need to be thinking about other antivirals,” Gounder added.
The antiviral remdesivir has been approved to treat coronavirus, although it appears to have at best modest effects. It is not a cure.
Monoclonal antibodies are very specific treatments and they might lose efficacy if the virus evolves much, Gounder pointed out. Scientists are checking to see if some of the variants first noticed in the UK and South Africa might be able to partly evade the effects of monoclonal antibody treatments.
“Here I am speaking as a member of IDSA – the Infectious Diseases Society of America. IDSA still does not recommend the use of monoclonal antibodies, despite emergency use authorization being granted by the FDA,” Gounder added.