A powerful new vaccine
The makers of a new coronavirus vaccine announced results from their clinical trials today — and they are very promising.
Sanofi and GSK, both European-based pharmaceutical companies, claimed that two doses of their Covid vaccine were 100 percent effective against severe disease and hospitalizations. The new vaccine had a 75 percent efficacy against moderate to severe diseases.
It was able to protect against symptoms of symptomatic disease by 58 percent in its Phase 3 clinical trials. That is a lower number than in initial Pfizer and Moderna trials but “in line with expected vaccine effectiveness in today’s environment dominated by variants of concern,” Sanofi and GSK said in a statement.
The companies also stated that the new shot could act as a booster. The vaccine can be added to any existing coronavirus vaccines as an additional dose. It can increase antibody levels 18-to 30-fold. According to the companies, the vaccine was safe and well tolerated by adults. The data are not yet published.
The new vaccine, one of four that received funding from the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, is based on a conventional approach. The spike protein that covers the virus’s surface like a crown is the best target for Covid vaccines. To stimulate an immune response, the Sanofi GSK vaccine uses a modified version of the protein. The genetic instructions for creating the protein are found in the mRNA vaccines.
This familiar approach might convince some people who were hesitant about adopting the newer technology. Protein-based vaccines can also be made cheaply and don’t require ultracold storage. This makes them more suitable for use in countries with low vaccine coverage.
According to the companies, they intend to submit the vaccine for approval in the U.S.A. and Europe. They were expected that they would seek authorization last year. However clinical trials revealed disappointing results in older adults. They developed a stronger version to be used in future trials.
The end of the mask mandates on planes?
The United States has had the most litigious virus measures since the pandemic. The F.A.A. reported 6,300 unruly-passenger incidents in 2021 and 2022. reported 6,300 unruly-passenger incidents — more than 4,500 of them related to masks.
According to the T.S.A. spokesperson, the mandates will be lifted in the U.S. on March 18. said last night.
This move comes weeks after authorities in the country lifted mask orders due to the decline in new cases. But many flight attendants say it’s still too soon.
A flight attendants’ union is pushing the Biden administration to extend the requirement until more people are vaccinated, saying that ending it would endanger medically vulnerable travelers and passengers under 5, who have not been authorized by federal health authorities to receive the vaccine.
The mask rule was implemented by the Biden administration in response to a dramatic rise in cases last year, well before vaccines were widely available. Those who didn’t comply were fined. Officials extended the mandate two times as the virus swept across the country.
Some airline executives have raised concerns about the effectiveness of masks on planes. At a Senate hearing in December, Gary Kelly, the chief executive of Southwest Airlines, said, “The case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment.”
Experts say that HEPA filters on planes are very effective at reducing spread of the virus. However masks provide an additional layer of protection.
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Source: NY Times