COVID-19

Buying and distributing a COVID-19 vaccine will involve hard ethical and practical choices

Guest Author Nov 18, 2020

Barbara Allen, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington and Michael Macaulay, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington The world was ablaze with hope following the announcement last week that a vaccine developed by Pfiser and BioNTech may be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. New Zealand politicians were quick to … Read More

Moderna follows Pfizer with exciting vaccine news – how to read these dramatic developments

Guest Author Nov 17, 2020

Simon Kolstoe, University of Portsmouth It is very exciting to hear another positive story about vaccine trial results – a good vaccine is the most likely way of ending the pandemic. Last week, interim results from Pfizer suggested its vaccine reduces cases of COVID-19 with 90% efficacy. Now Moderna has gone one better, with interim results showing nearly … Read More

Will the Coronavirus Evolve to Be Less Deadly?

Guest Author Nov 14, 2020

Wendy Orent No lethal pandemic lasts forever. The 1918 flu, for example, crisscrossed the globe and claimed tens of millions of lives, yet by 1920, the virus that caused it had become significantly less deadly, causing only ordinary seasonal flu. Some pandemics have lasted longer, like the Black Death, which swept out of Central Asia in 1346, spread across Europe, … Read More

90% efficacy for Pfizer’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is striking. But we need to wait for the full data

Guest Author Nov 12, 2020

Harry Al-Wassiti, Monash University; Colin Pouton, Monash University, and Kylie Quinn, RMIT University German biotech company BioNTech and US pharmaceutical Pfizer announced on Monday promising early results from their phase 3 clinical trial for a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These early results are what is known as an “interim analysis”. It’s an early look at the … Read More

Buying a coronavirus vaccine for everyone on Earth, storing and shipping it, and giving it safely will all be hard and expensive

Guest Author Nov 12, 2020

Nicole Hassoun, Binghamton University, State University of New York Infectious diseases do not respect borders. An estimated 3 billion people in low-income countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America are likely to lack access to a COVID-19 vaccine for years after it becomes available. In poor nations, many communities lack the health care workers needed to administer vaccines, … Read More

Vaccine progress is great: It doesn’t mean we let down our collective guard

Sarb Johal Nov 10, 2020

I woke up this morning to great news. Pzifer and BioNTech announced in a press release that their vaccine candidate against Covid-19 achieved success in their first interim analysis from their Phase 3 study. Here’s the headline bullet points of what they found: Vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants … Read More

New Zealand needs a ‘traffic light’ system to stop COVID-19 creeping in at the border

Guest Author Nov 06, 2020

Nick Wilson, University of Otago and Michael Baker, University of Otago Following the sixth COVID-19 incursion in three months, New Zealand needs to shift from a one-size-fits-all strategy to a risk-based approach to border management. Two staff have recently tested positive after coming into contact with international seafarers in the course of their duties at a managed isolation facility … Read More

UN report says up to 850,000 animal viruses could be caught by humans, unless we protect nature

Guest Author Nov 01, 2020

Katie Woolaston, Queensland University of Technology and Judith Lorraine Fisher Human damage to biodiversity is leading us into a pandemic era. The virus that causes COVID-19, for example, is linked to similar viruses in bats, which may have been passed to humans via pangolins or another species. Environmental destruction such as land clearing, deforestation, climate change, intense agriculture and the … Read More

A new study suggests coronavirus antibodies fade over time – but how concerned should we be?

Guest Author Oct 28, 2020

Sheena Cruickshank, University of Manchester Newly released research suggests that levels of antibodies against the coronavirus have declined across the UK population since testing began. Having randomly sampled 365,000 people across the country, the React2 study – which is yet to be peer-reviewed – estimates that 6% of the UK population had antibodies against the virus … Read More