CategorySpain

BCG: Can a vaccine from 1921 save lives from Covid-19?

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Scientists in the UK have begun testing the BCG vaccine, developed in 1921, to see if it can save lives from Covid.

The vaccine was designed to stop tuberculosis, but there is some evidence it can protect against other infections as well.

Around 1,000 people will take part in the trial at the University of Exeter.

But while millions of people in the UK will have had the BCG jab as a child, it is thought they would need to be vaccinated again to benefit.

Vaccines are designed to train the immune system in a highly targeted way that leaves lasting protection against one particular infection.

But this process also causes wide-spread changes in the immune system. This seems to heighten the response to other infections and scientists hope it may even give our bodies an advantage against coronavirus.

Previous clinical trials have shown the BCG jab reduced deaths by 38% in newborns in Guinea-Bissau, mostly by reducing cases of pneumonia and sepsis.

Studies in South Africa linked the vaccine to a 73% reduction in infections in the nose, throat and lungs; experiments in the Netherlands showed BCG reduced the amount of yellow fever virus in the body.

“This could be of major importance globally,” Prof John Campbell, of the University of Exeter Medical School, told the BBC.

“Whilst we don’t think it [the protection] will be specific to Covid, it has the potential to buy several years of time for the Covid vaccines to come through and perhaps other treatments to be developed.”

The UK trial is part of the international Brace-study, which is also taking place in Australia, the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil, recruiting 10,000 people in total.

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Airport Covid testing to be given go-ahead ‘within days’ says MP – which could end quarantine restrictions

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Airport coronavirus testing could be given the go-ahead within days – which may end or drastically reduce quarantine periods.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay confirmed that decisions regarding new measures which include airport swabbing will be made in the “coming days”.

He also said it would be a similar procedure currently seen in Germany, where passengers arriving from high-risk countries are able to be tested, meaning they can leave the quarantine, according to the Times.

Speaking during a Conservative conference, Mr Barclay explained: ““I am expecting Grant Shapps and Matt Hancock to say more about this in the coming days.

“If we look, for example, at some of the German states, which are using testing to then release earlier from some of the restrictions.”

Brits currently have to quarantine for 14 days if returning from any countries deemed high risk, which includes Spain, France, parts of Portugal and Greece, the Netherlands and Turkey, which was added to the quarantine list last week.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/12847172/airport-covid-testing-start-quarantine-rules-end/​

Spanish hotel group to offer guests free Covid testing

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The Spanish-owned Room Mate chain of boutique hotels has become the first hotel chain to offer its guests free Covid-19 tests.

Guests will be tested on arrival or can choose to take a free antigen test before travelling at any of around 100 clinics across Spain run by Quirón, Room Mate’s partner in the scheme. The hotel will then use an app to track guests’ symptoms during their stay. Long-stay guests and hotel staff will be tested every three to five days.

The antigen test produces results within 15 minutes, compared with 48 hours for the more costly PCR “gold-standard” test used by the UK government, where samples have to be sent off to a lab.

The scheme will be piloted in four Room Mate hotels in Spain – in Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga and Granada – and will then be extended to the company’s 28-strong chain of hotels around the world.

“Right now, our priority is the health of our guests,” said chief executive Kike Sarasola. “My employees will have the comfort of knowing they are working a safe environment, as will our clients.”

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/oct/01/spanish-hotel-group-to-offer-guests-free-covid-testingHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Moderna expects to make 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by 2020 end

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Moderna said on Friday it was on track to produce 20 million doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year, while maintaining its goal of readying 500 million to 1 billion doses in 2021.

Vaccines and treatments are seen as essential in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic that has shown no signs of slowing and killed over 944,000 people worldwide.

A handful of vaccines, including those from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, are also being tested in large studies.

Moderna had enrolled 25,296 participants out of a planned 30,000 in its late-stage study as of Wednesday.

The company is working with Switzerland’s Lonza Group and Spain’s Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Rovi to make the vaccine outside the United States.

Moderna has a vaccine supply deal in place with the U.S. for 100 million doses, and has finished advanced talks with the European Union for the vaccine.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/18/moderna-expects-to-make-20-million-doses-of-coronavirus-vaccine-by-2020-end.htmlHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Sweden records its fewest daily Covid-19 cases since March

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While many European countries are seeing new cases surge to levels not seen since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sweden – whose light-touch approach has made it an international outlier – has one of the continent’s lowest infection rates.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Scandinavian country’s 14-day cumulative total of new cases was 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday, against 279 in Spain, 158.5 in France, 118 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Belgium and 59 in the UK, all of which imposed lockdowns this spring.

Twenty-two of the 31 European countries surveyed by the ECDC had higher infection rates. New cases, now reported in Sweden only from Tuesday to Friday, are running at roughly the rate seen in late-March, while data from the national health agency showed only 1.2% of its 120,000 tests last week came back positive.

Sweden also has fewer new daily infections than Norway and Denmark, its Nordic neighbours. Thirteen Covid-19 patients are in intensive care in Swedish hospitals, and its seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths is zero.

“We don’t have the resurgence of the disease that many countries have,” Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist and architect of its no-lockdown strategy, told broadcaster France-24 in an interview, adding that the country was broadly happy with its overall strategy.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/15/sweden-records-its-fewest-daily-covid-19-cases-since-marchHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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J&J unit to start mid-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials in Spain

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Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit will begin mid-stage trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in Spain on Monday, the programme’s lead investigator said.

Alberto Borobia said 190 people would take part in the country’s trials, which will take place in three hospitals and be concluded by Sept. 22.

The Spanish study is part of mid-stage, or Phase II, trials of the vaccine that are being carried out in three countries, also including the Netherlands and Germany. The trials in the three countries will last two months and include 550 participants in total.

https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-vaccine/jj-unit-to-start-mid-stage-covid-19-vaccine-trials-in-spain-idUSL8N2GA0NAHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Positive Covid tests in no-lockdown Sweden hit lowest rate since pandemic began

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Sweden carried out a record number of new coronavirus tests last week with only 1.2% coming back positive, the health agency said on Tuesday, the lowest rate since the pandemic began at a time when countries across Europe are seeing surges in infections.

Sweden avoided a lockdown and instead emphasized personal responsibility, social distancing and good hygiene in a bid to slow rather than eradicate a disease deemed here to stay.

The strategy drew fierce criticism home and abroad as deaths shot up during the spring but has also been lauded by WHO officials as a sustainable model.

“The purpose of our approach is for people themselves to understand the need to follow the recommendations and guidelines that exist,” Swedish Health Agency Director-General Johan Carlson told a news conference.

Whereas many countries have changing rules and lockdown restrictions, Carlson said the Swedish guidelines were designed to be easy to understand and retain for an extended period.

More than 5,800 people with the disease have died, many times higher per capita than in neighbouring Nordic countries but lower than Italy, Spain and the UK.

Sweden carried out over 120,000 tests last week with just over 1,300 coming back positive, far below the 19% positive tests hit during some weeks in the spring, and now has the lowest rate of spread in Scandinavia.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-sweden-strategy/positive-covid-tests-in-no-lockdown-sweden-hit-lowest-rate-since-pandemic-began-idUSKBN25Z2TMHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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England and Wales record no excess deaths for fifth week in row

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Coronavirus deaths in England and Wales were at their lowest level for 17 weeks in the week ending 17 July. There were 295 deaths where coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate, just 3.3% of the total. That represents a 19.4% decrease from the previous week.

Overall deaths in England and Wales in the week ending 17 July were below the five-year average for this week for the fifth week in a row. They were 3% below the seasonal norm. That means there were no excess deaths. Deaths in care homes, hospitals and other communal establishments were below the five-year average, but deaths in private homes were above the five-year average. Although there were no excess deaths in England and Wales overall, in two English regions, the East Midlands and the West Midlands, the death rate was higher than the five-year average.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/jul/28/uk-coronavirus-live-news-covid-19-latest-updates-quarantine-spain?page=with:block-5f1fe38b8f080665365e70e0#block-5f1fe38b8f080665365e70e0HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Spain to allow Britons to visit from Sunday without need for quarantine

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Spain said on Saturday it would allow in British tourists from Sunday without requiring them to spend two weeks in quarantine, opening up to one of its largest tourism markets after the hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

But as much as Spain wants to welcome British tourists, the UK’s current quarantine measures, requiring a two-week period of self-isolation for most people entering the country from abroad, may well put off some potential travellers.

Britain is due to review its 14-day quarantine rule on June 29, three weeks after it was introduced.

“We will allow British visitors to enter Spain just like the rest of the European Union or Schengen area from 21 June freely and without the need for the quarantine,” foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told BBC News.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-spain-britain/spain-to-allow-britons-to-visit-from-sunday-without-quarantine-idUSKBN23R0QUHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Spain reports no new COVID-19 deaths

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Spain’s Health Ministry reported no new deaths from the new coronavirus on Monday, with the total death toll unchanged from Sunday at 27,127, the health ministry said.

It said the total number of COVID-19 infections increased by 71 from Sunday to 239,638.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-spain-tally/spain-reports-no-new-covid-19-deaths-71-new-cases-idUSKBN2382YW

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