Covid-19: Vaccines continue to progress as more proof of long-lasting immunity emerges

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IN our ‘Hope behind the headlines’ series, we continue to round up the most encouraging results in Covid-19 research. But, as the pandemic continues to unfold with many countries embracing a second lockdown, a critical approach to these hopeful results is more necessary than ever.
In a live social media chat, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced a few days ago that the first doses of a safe corona virus vaccine are set to become available in late December this year or early January 2021. This is, of course, if everything continues to go smoothly.
Dr. Fauci was referring to two candidate vaccines currently underway: one in development by Moderna Therapeutics in collaboration with NIAID, and the other in development by Pfizer in partnership with BioNTech.
Since then, Pfizer announced a 90% effectiveness rate for its candidate vaccine. In this article, we track the progress of these therapeutics and offer a critical — yet hopeful — perspective.
Both the Moderna-NIAID and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines use mRNA — that is, they use genetic information rather than a viral base to “train” the immune system to respond to SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
The speakers explained how an mRNA-based vaccine could be made available faster and is generally superior to other types of vaccines that use a viral base.
They cited “the infrastructure required” as being “relatively small and quick.” They also mentioned that, because the starting point is genetic information rather than the virus itself, “there is a component of speed that allows you to get into the clinic and then […] scale-up manufacturing.”
GASTROINTESTINAL EFFECTS OF COVID-19 HIGHLIGHTED IN NEW STUDY
A new study has highlighted the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in people with COVID-19 and what signs abdominal radiologists should look out for.
In a new study, researchers have synthesized evidence from 36 scientific articles to highlight the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in people with Covid-19.
One of the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the fact that SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus. While sharing some similarities with the previous severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), SARS-CoV-2 also has many differences.
As time progresses, scientists can conduct research on the virus to discover some of these unknowns and therefore help inform effective policy decisions and clinical practices.

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