EU puts pressure on vaccine deliveries – politics

After a second pharmaceutical company, Astra Zeneca, announced problems with vaccine delivery, the EU wants to increase pressure on manufacturers to ensure punctual delivery. “We expect that the contracts that the pharmaceutical industry has signed will be kept,” said Council President Charles Michel on Sunday. Above all, one must be clear about the reason for the delay. If necessary, the EU will use legal means, he said. The EU Commission also says that the legal options are being examined. Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides wanted to remind Astra Zeneca by letter on Sunday that the company had contractually agreed to start production before the vaccine was released.

Astra Zeneca announced on Friday that it would initially deliver fewer corona vaccines in the EU than planned. The reason is lower production at one location in the EU supply chain. Astra Zeneca’s vaccine is not yet approved in the EU, but it is expected to be released next Friday. The Commission secured 400 million doses of vaccine from Astra Zeneca on behalf of the Member States in August. According to unconfirmed reports, the delivery volume is reduced by about 60 percent.

Before Astra Zeneca, the German-American manufacturer Biontech-Pfizer had already announced delivery problems. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte criticized the companies heavily. “These slowdowns in deliveries are serious breaches of contract that are causing enormous damage in Italy and other European countries,” he wrote on Facebook on Saturday. He also announced legal action. Since the purchase contracts with the companies are based on the EU quotas, but ultimately concluded by the capitals themselves, they can also take action against the suppliers themselves.

According to Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU), Germany is also affected by the reduced delivery volume. “If the Astra Zeneca vaccine is approved at the end of January, we expect at least three million vaccine doses for Germany as early as February,” said Spahn Picture on sunday. However, he admitted that this was less than expected. Spahn did not comment on any legal action taken against the company.

The reduced deliveries are causing delays in vaccination plans in the federal states. There are no new first vaccinations in North Rhine-Westphalia this week. In Bavaria, fixed vaccination appointments were canceled at short notice in individual districts and postponed by up to two months.

As Spahn further announced, the federal government is now also relying on drugs that can cause a milder course of the Covid infection. The Ministry of Health bought 200,000 cans of the corresponding preparations for 400 million euros. According to the ministry, these are contingents of two different drugs that contain antibodies. “According to the available studies, the medication could possibly help to limit the amount of virus in the body and thus have a positive influence on the course of the disease,” said a ministry spokeswoman. Former US President Donald Trump is said to have been treated with such a preparation when he contracted the corona virus.


Fewer cancer treatments in lockdown


The Paige KI assists in the classification of a tumor.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin In and after the lockdown in spring 2020, according to data from a large German clinic operator, there were fewer cancer treatments than in the same period in 2019. The decline in inpatient admissions for diagnostics and / or therapies is on average 10 to 20 percent, according to a study by authors around the physician Peter Reichardt from the Helios-Klinikum Berlin-Buch. Particularly affected are patients over 75, who have received an average of 20 percent fewer treatments.

Around 69,000 cases from 75 Helios clinics in 13 federal states were analyzed for the study. The authors consider the results to be representative for Germany. Hospital admissions between mid-March and the end of April and the period immediately thereafter up to mid-June 2020 were examined – compared to the corresponding periods in 2019.

According to the study, the cuts in oncology particularly affected larger clinics and houses in federal states with higher Covid-19 case numbers. According to its own information, Helios is Europe’s largest private clinic operator.

It is particularly worrying that there were not significantly fewer cancers in 2020, “but the diseases were probably only discovered later,” said study author Reichardt. In the case of cancer in particular, an early start to therapy is important for the chances of survival. According to the Helios clinics, further investigations are necessary to clarify the reasons for the decline. It was assumed that the patient’s fears of being infected in the hospital had an influence, but also that doctors’ surgeries were closed or open to a limited extent in lockdown.

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It is still too early to answer the question of whether the decline in treatments and diagnoses also leads to a higher mortality rate among cancer patients, said Lorenz Trümper, the executive chairman of the German Society for Hematology and Medical Oncology, when asked by the dpa . He complains about a data gap: “The cancer registry system in Germany has not yet worked the way we need it.” Trümper spoke of a “federal bureaucratic monster”. Other countries already have data, in this country a conclusion will probably only be possible after the pandemic.

Cancer is more life-threatening for patients than Corona

With the hospital data, one also has to consider that some of the patients may have been treated on an outpatient basis instead, said Trümper. Data from oncology in private practice showed a decrease in treatments of around eight percent in the main lockdown phase, after which the numbers rose again quickly. The decline in hospital admissions observed in the study could also be partly due to the fact that fewer patients were discharged home during therapy at the time.

Last spring, hospitals received so-called free lump sums so that enough beds were available for Covid 19 patients. This regulation no longer exists. According to Trümpers, cancer patients are less affected by postponing non-urgent interventions – the classic colon cancer or breast cancer surgery will be postponed by a maximum of a few days. “But still it is of course a burden for the patient,” said the oncologist at the University Medical Center Göttingen. He called for examinations and treatments to be carried out in the current lockdown.

The specialist society had already emphasized in May of last year that precautionary and protective measures had been taken so that patients could safely use therapies, for example – and that for the vast majority of patients, cancer was “a far greater risk to their lives” than Covid-19. The background was, for example, the observation that patients only came to the clinic at very advanced stages of the tumor.

Experts also warned against the neglect of cancer patients at the end of 2020. “More and more oncological interventions are being postponed, diagnostic examinations and follow-up care are being reduced significantly,” criticized the Corona Task Force from the German Cancer Aid (DKH), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and German Cancer Society (DKG). The group observes the care situation of cancer patients.

Concern is shared in other countries whose health systems are currently under severe pressure. The British heir to the throne, Prince Charles, recently warned that the fight against the consequences of cancer would ease due to the corona pandemic. The 72-year-old Royal quoted the Macmillan Cancer Support association in a guest post in the “Telegraph” as saying that an estimated 50,000 cancers have now remained undetected because of the high workload in the health care system.

More: Viruses that promise a cure: that’s behind the billion-dollar hope of gene therapy


Corona vaccination: risk of infection unclear – health

Corona vaccination


Risk of infection unclear

Vaccinated, but also no longer a potential carrier? An 86-year-old is given the Biontech and Pfizer vaccines in a vaccination center in Wiesbaden.

(Photo: dpa)

Nobody knows yet whether vaccinated people can pass on the corona virus. It is only known that they are protected from symptoms. What that means for the debate about more rights for the immunized.


Berit Uhlmann

More travel, more social life for everyone who has already been vaccinated against Covid-19? Anyone discussing this possibility is not only dealing with complicated ethical questions. The decision is also difficult because, from a scientific perspective, it is not yet clear what can be expected from Covid vaccines. The biggest open question in this context is: Do the vaccines only prevent illnesses or do they also prevent further infections? So are they primarily for self-protection, or do vaccinated people also indirectly protect other people because they no longer pass the virus on, or at least less often?

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These drugs help with corona disease – coronavirus

Even if there is no cure for Corona, some drugs can reduce mortality by a good third.

The immune system reacts to an infection with the coronavirus as it does to severe blood poisoning. Even if medication can only alleviate symptoms, studies have shown that they can significantly reduce mortality.

The intensive care physician Bernhard Rössler from the Vienna General Hospital was a guest on this topic in the Ö1 lunch journal. “We see that certain drugs can help the same patient on one day and no longer on the other, then the time has passed, so to speak, and the benefit of a drug can no longer be produced,” he said.

First antiviral

Immediately after the virus first enters the host’s body, antiviral drugs such as the Ebola drug Remdesivir help. However, it usually only makes sense to use it in the very first phase, in which the infected person and the medical professional cannot yet determine the disease.

That is why anti-inflammatory drugs are considered to be more relevant. Because “The immune system reacts as we see it in severe sepsis, severe blood poisoning,” explains Rössler. In the worst case, this could lead to organ failure.


The group of corticoids has therefore proven to be the most effective so far. The anti-inflammatory effects were able to reduce mortality in intensive care units by a third. For example, the cortisone-like dexamethasone is used.

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Cannabis Can Kill Super Bacteria That Are Resistant To Antibiotics

by Adrien Vlahovic | January 21, 2021

Australian scientists have discovered that it is possible to use cannabis to fight superbugs, a huge relief for the medical community. Indeed, the fact that some of these bacteria become resistant to all types of antibiotics was a sword of Damocles above our heads. But a new class of antibiotics from cannabis would manage to disarm them, announced the researchers on the site UQ News January 20.

Researchers at the University of Queensland examined five compounds in cannabis for their antibiotic properties. They discovered that one of them, cannabidiol, better known as CBD, can kill a wide range of bacteria, as they explain in a new study in the journal Nature.

CBD is thus effective against a very large number of Gram-positive bacteria, including pathogens resistant to antibiotics such as Staphylococcus aureus (resistant to methicillin). But CBD is also said to be effective against Gram-negative bacteria, such as Neis­se­ria gonor­rhoeae, which causes gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.

« This is the first time that CBD has been shown to kill certain types of Gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria have an outer membrane which provides an additional line of defense making it more difficult for antibiotics to penetrate. Said Dr Mark Blaskovich, director of the University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Biosciences. ” We believe cannabidiol kills bacteria by bursting their outer cell membranes, but we’re not sure yet exactly how it does this, and we need to do more research. », He specifies.

Botanix Pharmaceuticals also participated in the research. Its president, Vince Ippolito, has also announced that the company will move towards clinical trials. ” These Phase 2a clinical results are expected early this year and we hope this will pave the way for treatments for gonorrhea, meningitis and legionella. Continues Dr Blaskovich. Experts estimate that it will take 10 to 15 years before it becomes an approved antibiotic, if further trials are successful. It is definitely an incredible plant.

Source : UQ News/Nature


73-year-old dies in Baden-Württemberg after another corona infection – health

It is the first time that a patient has apparently died in Germany after being infected with the corona virus for the second time. The 73-year-old man from Baden-Württemberg had, according to information from NDR, WDR and Süddeutscher Zeitung Infected with Sars-CoV-2 for the first time in April of last year and successfully fought the virus. In December he contracted the pathogen again, on January 11th he died “of Covid-19 pneumonia and sepsis with multiple organ failure,” as the regional council of Stuttgart announced on request.

There was a long symptom-free phase between the two infections, emphasizes Christine Wagner-Wiening, the deputy head of infection monitoring at the State Health Office in Stuttgart. In addition, his wife was infected during the second infection – and there was a lot of virus genetic material in the man’s samples. These are “strong criteria” for an actual reinfection.

The State Health Office cannot say whether the man who suffered from cardiovascular disease was infected the second time with the same virus or a mutated form. The sample of the initial infection no longer exists. The English virus variant B.1.1.7 was discovered for the first time in Germany in the Freudenstadt district, where the man lived, but according to the State Health Office there is “no epidemiological evidence” that the deceased came into contact with this variant. Therefore no exact virus analysis by means of sequencing was commissioned. “Only in cases where there is a travel connection to Great Britain, South Africa or Ireland would we notify the health department to initiate sequencing,” explains Wagner-Wiening.

Experts warn again and again that a previous infection does not necessarily protect against a renewed infection

News about the coronavirus – twice a day by email or push message

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Renewed infections with the coronavirus have so far been rare. The world’s first confirmed case was in August when a man from Hong Kong tested positive again after visiting Spain. Since then, reinfections have been reported from all over the world – in Hong Kong, Belgium, Ecuador, India and the USA. At least 15 cases are considered certain. The Robert Koch Institute is currently reviewing “a number of such reports” from Germany, as it reports on request.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, experts have repeatedly warned that a previous infection with Sars-CoV-2 does not necessarily protect against re-infection with the virus. However, reinfections of this kind are usually mild, as the body has at least partial immunity after the initial infection. It is extraordinary that renewed infections lead to death. However, two other cases have already become known: In October, an 89-year-old Dutch woman died, but her immune system was weakened from cancer. In December, according to a newspaper report, a 74-year-old resident of a nursing home in Israel died of Covid-19 after he was infected for the first time in August and tested negative three times in between.

Recently reports from Brazil about a virus mutation that could allow renewed infections also caused a stir. In two case reports, scientists describe reinfections in two health care workers. The two cases are receiving special attention, since the Brazilian researchers found a mutation called E484K in the spike protein of the virus in the second Covid-19 episode. This mutation is also present in the virus variant from South Africa, which is said to be particularly contagious. To what extent this mutation favored the renewed infections is still unclear.

Hartmut Hengel, virologist at the University of Freiburg, assumes that reinfections are even “widespread” in Brazil. “There is now a certain population immunity there, which means that the virus now has to work harder.” The former president of the Society for Virology believes that this is why more and more variants and mutants will emerge.

In addition to mutations, the reason for the possible re-infection could also be a declining immune response. The number of antibodies in the blood of those who have recovered seems to decrease in the first few months after a natural infection. This is also known from other coronaviruses. However, the memory cells of the immune system are apparently still active after half a year, as scientists from Rockefeller University have just reported. How long the immune response lasts seems to have something to do with the severity of the course. It is especially short-lived when a patient shows only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

What such reinfections mean for vaccinated people is still unclear. However, the vaccination leads to a much stronger immune response than the disease itself. Therefore, experts hope that the protection of the vaccination lasts longer. It may also be necessary to re-vaccinate closely.

It is also questionable how the already approved vaccines react to the new mutations. “I don’t think the vaccines are no longer working,” says Hengel, a virologist. But he fears that they may become less effective. “I think the current virus will end up as a seasonal coronavirus,” says Hengel. You will always see severe corona infections. But by and large one will get the matter under control. Even if the vaccines have to be repeatedly adapted to the new virus variants, this can be done quickly and easily: the mRNA vaccines are ideally suited for this.


The students of Medicine and Health Sciences of Granada will be vaccinated to do the practices in health centers

The students of Health Sciences and Medicine of the University of Granada who carry out their training practices in health centers and hospitals in the second semester will receive the vaccine against coronavirus. This is a measure confirmed by the academic institution and that goes along the line of immunizing, in the first stage of the process, the groups made up of elderly people residing in nursing homes and personnel who work in health centers.

Students who did internships at the first quarter They underwent a Covid test to avoid the transmission of the disease as much as possible. Health measures and the need for a protocol when the second wave began to emerge, in October, forced to delay the start of the training period for these students in health centers and hospitals in the province. In the same way, the students of the practicum who joined the educational centers as part of their university training were tested.

In the University of Granada There are 827 students enrolled in Nursing plus another 1,677 in Medicine, according to the data of the latest academic report. The students of the last years of these degrees develop training practices in health centers, as well as those of other degrees (Dentistry, Pharmacy or Physiotherapy) and students of training cycles.


Researchers discover cross-reactive antibodies to others …

/Tatiana Shepeleva,

Flagstaff / Arizona – US researchers have detected antibodies in the blood of patients who have survived an infection with SARS-CoV-2 that also recognize relevant epitopes on endemic coronaviruses that are responsible for seasonal colds.

In the Cell Reports Medicine (2021; DOI: 10.1016 / j.xcrm.2020.100189) could help explain why an infection with SARS-CoV-2 can take a different course.

As is well known, SARS-CoV-2 is not the first coronavirus to infect humans. 4 other viruses – HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-OC43 – have been spread around the world for a long time. As a rule, they only trigger harmless diseases of the upper respiratory tract, which explain some of the common “colds” in childhood. The infections lead to an immune response that has only just been investigated. Immunologists think it is conceivable that the antibodies formed in the process could also keep SARS-CoV-2 in check.

A team led by John Altin from the Translational Genomics Research Institute at the University of Flagstaff / Arizona has now developed a method that can be used to systematically search for antibodies against coronaviruses in blood samples. The PepSeq assay consists of a large number of smaller peptides that correspond to different sections of the spike and nucleoprotein of SARS-CoV-2. Each peptide was labeled with a different oligonucleotide so that the peptides could later be clearly identified by gene sequencing.

As expected, the PepSeq assay was able to detect various antibodies in the blood serum of convalescent patients that were formed after infection with SARS-CoV-2. However, some antibodies were also present in serum samples pre-pandemic. Altin suspects that these antibodies were formed after previous infections with other coronaviruses. The fact that they also occur after an infection with SARS-CoV-2 is a first indication of cross-immunity, which, however, would have to be proven in further studies.

Because the position of the peptides in the spike and nucleoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 was known, the researchers were able to find out where the antibodies bind the coronaviruses. There are 2 binding sites in subunit 2 of the spike protein. The virus needs this section to enter the cells. Antibodies against these epitopes could therefore have a neutralizing effect. A vaccine that produces these antibodies could protect against infections against various coronaviruses.

Patients who have developed these cross-reacting antibodies after an earlier infection with HCoV-229E, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKU1 or HCoV-OC43 could fall back on a certain basic immunity in the event of an infection with SARS-CoV-2. This could then lead to an easier course of the disease. Whether this is actually the case, however, would have to be investigated in further studies. © rme /


Covid-19 could be a normal cold in the future

Coronavirus: Covid-19 could be a normal cold in the future


When does the sense of smell come back after Covid-19?

How quickly do the senses return?

Most people odor, taste and chemical anesthesia return within a few weeks. In a study from July 2020, 72 percent of Covid 19 sufferers with odor problems reported that meaning returned within a month. 84 percent said that about the sense of taste. The ENT doctor Claire Hopkins and her team from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London also observed that the senses return quickly: They examined 202 patients over a month and found that 49 percent recovered completely in the period , another 41 percent reported improvement.

In others, however, the symptoms are more persistent; the perception of some affected people only slowly recovers. And this has consequences, according to Hopkins: During the period in which a person regains their sense of smell, they often perceive smells as unpleasant or as altered compared to memory, a phenomenon known as parosmia.

“Most people fail to recognize the importance that the sense of smell has for their lives”(Shima T. Moein)

For these people, “everything smells strong,” says Hopkins, and the effect can last for months. Possibly because the olfactory nerves rewire themselves as they recover. Other sufferers remain anosmic for months and the reason is unclear. The ENT doctor suspects that the coronavirus infection has killed the olfactory nerves in these cases.

What does the loss of chemical senses do to us?

Although this damage has been less well studied than the loss of other senses such as sight or hearing, experts know that the consequences can be severe. One implication is that those affected are more vulnerable to hazards such as fire or food poisoning. In 2014, experts came to the conclusion that people with anosmia were twice as likely to be exposed to certain dangers, such as spoiled food, than people with normal smells.

Other effects are more difficult to measure. “Most people fail to understand the importance that the sense of smell has for their lives – until they lose it,” says Shima T. Moein. Obviously, losing the aroma of food is a big loss, but other perceptions are also significant. John Hayes, for example, points to the loss that parents would feel if they could no longer connect to their newborn child through the “baby smell”. And, according to Moein, odor problems seem to be related to depression, even if the biological mechanism behind it is unclear.

Are there any treatments that bring back the sense of smell?

The lack of research on the subject also means that there are few known effective treatments. One option, however, is olfactory training, in which those affected regularly sniff prescribed scents in order to relearn them. Claire Hopkins is working with a UK charity called AbScent to spread the word about this training to the public. Even before the pandemic, experts had found evidence that the procedure could improve the damaged sense of smell. However, it doesn’t seem to work for everyone.