First human coronavirus vaccine trials begin in UK

UNTV News   •   April 24, 2020   •   1234

Scientists in Britain began clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday (April 23) as other vaccine developers across Europe also stepped up work on experimental shots against the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Two volunteers were the first people in the world to get a potential vaccine at Oxford University as the scientist in charge of the project said she was very optimistic it would be a success.

Edward O’Neill and Elisa Granato received a shot of “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19”, while Italy’s ReiThera, Germany’s Leukocare and Belgium’s Univercells said they were working together on another potential shot and aimed to start trials in a few months.

As many as 100 potential COVID-19 candidate vaccines are now under development by biotech and research teams around the world, and at least five of these are in preliminary testing in people in what are known as Phase 1 clinical trials.

The Oxford scientists said last week that large-scale production capacity was being put in place to make millions of doses of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 shot, even before trials show whether it is effective.

They said on Thursday that the main focus of initial tests is “to find out if this vaccine is going to work against COVID-19, if it won’t cause unacceptable side effects and if it induces good immune responses”. Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, said given the success of other vaccine projects she has worked on, she was confident that this one would also prove viable.

The race for a vaccine has been fuelled by the shortage of options for treating the disease. The European Union’s drug regulator on Thursday reiterated a warning against using two older malaria drugs outside of trials or national emergency use programmes, citing potentially lethal side effects. (Reuters)

(Production: Iain Axon and Hanna Rantala)

Pagtatalaga ng overseers sa mga lugar na may mataas na COVID-19 transmission, kinuwestiyon

Robie de Guzman   •   August 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Kinuwestiyon ng ilan ang ginawang pagtatalaga ng pamahalaan ng overseers o mga tagapagbantay sa mga lungsod sa Metro Manila at ilang lalawigan na may mataas na community transmission ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Kabilang sa mga hindi pumabor sa hakbang si Dr. Anthony Leachon na dating special adviser ng National Task Force.

Aniya, medical experts ang kailangan ng mga lokal na pamahalaan upang gabayan ang kanilang mga plano kaugnay ng paglaban sa coronavirus pandemic.

“The LGUs need medical experts to guide them in the execution of their plans,” ani Leachon sa kanyang Twitter post.

Nagpahayag rin ng duda si Senator Nancy Binay sa hakbang na aniya ay tila hindi pinag-isipan ng pamahalaan.

Aniya, hindi tiyak kung may kapasidad ba o kakayanin pa ng Cabinet secretaries na gampanan ang dagdag na trabaho.

Kamakailan, itinalaga ang mga miyembro ng Inter-Agency Task Force, na karamihan ay mga miyembro ng gabinete ni Pangulong Duterte, bilang tagapag-bantay sa iba’t ibang lugar na may napapaulat na mataas na insidente ng hawahan ng COVID-19.

Kabilang sa mga lugar na ito ang 16 siyudad at isang munisipalidad sa Metro Manila, gayundin sa mga probinsiya ng Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna at Rizal.

Ngunit paglilinaw ng pamahalaan, layunin nito na tulungan ang mga lokal na opisyal na agad maaksyunan ang anumang suliraning kinakaharap kaugnay ng banta ng coronavirus disease.

Sinabi rin ni Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles na ang pagtatalaga ng overseers ay batay na rin sa karanasan ng pamahalaan sa pagpigil sa pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa Cebu City.

Matatandaang itinalaga ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte si Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu bilang overseer ng COVID-19 response ng pamahalaan sa Cebu City na noo’y napapaulat na may mataas na kaso ng nakakahawang sakit.

Ayon kay Nograles, naging matagumpay ang paghawak sa krisis sa Cebu dahil sa hakbang na ito.

“Because of the experience we’ve had with Cebu City wherein the President assigned Secretary Roy Cimatu, member of the IATF, to act as kumbaga overseer doon sa Cebu City,” ani Nograles.

Sa ngayon, nasa 153,660 na ang kabuuang kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa; 71,405 sa mga ito ang gumaling sa sakit habang 2.442 naman ang nasawi. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DILG, DOH launch ‘Bida ang may Disiplina’ program to promote public discipline

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2020

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Health (DOH) launched a program to promote public discipline during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “BIDA ang may Disiplina: Solusyon sa COVID-19” is a national advocacy campaign launched in Barangay Jesus dela Peña, City of Marikina.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the campaign is a joint effort to encourage people to earnestly practice the minimum health standards set by health authorities.

“Through the said campaign, the public, down to the barangays and families, is encouraged to be self-disciplined and cooperative in abiding with the minimum health standards (e.g. B.I.D.A.), and other COVID-19 policies,” he said in a statement. “It is only through concerted and unified efforts can we win this battle.”

Año also directs LGUs to encourage citizens to exercise new normal minimum health safety standards prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO). These include frequent hand washing; cough etiquette; avoiding touching one’s face; observance of at least one-meter physical distancing in public; regular disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces; isolating oneself from others if feeling unwell and seeking of care, if needed; avoiding confined and closed spaces with poor ventilation; avoiding crowded places; and avoiding close-contact settings, especially where people have close-range conversations. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Some lawmakers withdraw support for ‘Better Normal’ bill

Marje Pelayo   •   August 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Several members of the House of Representatives (HOR) oppose a provision in House Bill 6864 that prohibits mass gatherings.

Section 6 of House Bill 6864 or the Better Normal of Workplace, Communities and Public Spaces Act of 2020 states that public gatherings are prohibited subject to the exceptions as may be provided under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Act.

The proposed legislation was approved in the lower chamber last Monday (August 10).

Among the 242 solons who voted ‘yes’ were the six members of the Makabayan Bloc. But after reviewing the bill’s final version, they withdrew their votes.

One of them was Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate.

“Sa tingin natin ito ay taliwas sa nakasaad sa ating Konstitusyon na ginagarantiyahan ang karapatan ng mamamayan na magpahayag, i-address ang gobyerno sa kanilang mga hinaing (I believe it is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution that guarantee the people’s right to self-expresseion, to address their grievances against the government), even during the time of health crisis,” he said.

The bill primarily aims to mitigate the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in workplaces, communities and public places. The public would be mandated to wear a face shield; a face mask or an ear loop mask when they go outdoors.

Physical distancing of at least one meter would be observed.

The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) would be tasked to formulate a flexible learning program.

The bill shall improve the information and communications technology which is much needed especially this time of pandemic.

Workplaces in industrial and commercial establishments would be made to submit a management plan to their local government unit to ensure that safeguard measures are properly enforced.

Flexible working schedules would also be implemented while maintaining the 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week work setup.

Passengers of public transport would also be required to use hand sanitizers or disinfectant before entering a vehicle.

Violators of the provisions of the act shall be fined with P1,000 to P100,000 or and may be imprisoned from one to six months depending on the offense. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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