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Covid19

Ohio Wants To Make 5 People Millionaires — If They’re Vaccinated

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In a bid to get more Ohioans vaccinated, Gov. Mike DeWine announced a $1 million lottery offer to adults who get at least one COVID-19 dose. Kids under 18 who get the vaccine will be entered into a lottery to get a scholarship. Phil Long/AP hide caption

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Phil Long/AP

Amid dropping vaccine demand in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine announced five, weekly drawings of $1 million open to residents who’ve received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. A similar lottery for teenagers will provide the lucky names with a full, four-year scholarship to a public university in Ohio – room and board included.

“The number of Ohioans who get the vaccine will determine what our future looks like, particularly this coming winter,” DeWine said in a statewide address Wednesday. “Everyone has a stake in more Ohioans getting vaccinated.”

The first of the weekly drawings will be May 26. The money will come from existing federal Coronavirus Relief Funds.

“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money,'” DeWine said. “But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic — when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it — is a life lost to COVID-19.”

Nearly 42% of Ohioans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data.

DeWine’s push to boost participation in the state’s immunization program is part of a trend among other states. In an effort to reach those who have yet to receive a first dose, officials in other states are offering free tickets to sports games or a free beer and a shot to entice vaccination.

Elsewhere in Ohio, DeWine said other businesses are running their own incentive program. He said the Cleveland Indians are offering discounts on tickets to games, as are the state’s minor league teams. The fast food restaurant, White Castle, is offering free butter cakes on a stick and Kroger, the grocery store chain, is giving employees $100 in cash.

Lottery details

The pool of names for the lottery drawing will be pulled from the Ohio Secretary of State’s publicly available voter registration database. There will also be a webpage created for people to sign up for the drawings if they are not in a voter registration database.

The Ohio Department of Health will be the sponsoring agency for the drawings, and the Ohio Lottery will conduct them. To be eligible to win, participants must be at least 18 or older on the day of the drawing, an Ohio resident, and must be vaccinated before the drawing.

An online portal will be created starting Tuesday for young participants to enter their names to win the scholarship

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Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/05/13/996445109/ohio-raises-the-stakes-to-boost-vaccinations-offers-5-1-million-drawings

Covid19

This Man Is Honoring COVID Victims By Telling Their Stories, One Obituary At A Time

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Alex Goldstein, a communications specialist in Boston, created @FacesofCOVID on Twitter. He says it helps people mourn and for them to hear from others that their loved one “meant something, and even if I didn’t know them, we are all less because they’re not here anymore, and we all share in your sadness.” Alex Goldstein hide caption

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Alex Goldstein

Alex Goldstein started the Twitter account @FacesofCOVID in March of 2020 to help him make sense of grief.

The account has been his way to honor some of the nearly 600,000 people who have died in the U.S.

Even back in March 2020, Goldstein knew something was wrong. The communications specialist’s home city of Boston was hit early and harshly from virus. As the death toll climbed and businesses shut down, he started to feel overwhelmed. How could a virus kill so many and yet he knew so few of its victims? Who were the people who had passed away from COVID, and what were their stories?

He created FacesofCOVID to learn those answers. He has posted over 5,000 virtual obituaries from newspapers and families of those who have died.

“I think that the story at the beginning of the pandemic was largely a data story. We were getting thrown all these numbers thrown at us — hospitalizations and cases and deaths,” Goldstein tells Morning Edition. “I found it really hard to process and I felt like, we were missing the human element of that story.”

One of the things that made this pandemic especially difficult was the lack of mourning rituals. Families saw their loved ones one last time from iPads in isolation wards. Many funeral homes did not let more than 10 mourners at a time attend a service due to regulations. In a time of immense grief, people couldn’t mourn in familiar ways.

“It’s a place where they can share their loved one’s story and see people from all over the country and all over the world saying, ‘Your loved one meant something, and even if I didn’t know them, we are all less because they’re not here anymore, and we all share in your sadness,’ ” Goldstein says.

As long as COVID-19 continues to exist and take lives, Goldstein plans on running the account indefinitely.

“I don’t want us to immediately lose sight just because things are reopening,” he says. “There’s a lot of pain out there, and if FacesofCOVID can help people slow down a little bit on their impulse to change the channel, I think that can be a good thing.”

Tori Dominguez is an intern at Morning Edition.

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Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/06/15/1006190754/faces-of-covid-twitter-obituaries

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Novavax Says Its COVID Vaccine Is Extremely Effective

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Novavax says its vaccine is 100% effective against the original strain of the coronavirus and had 93% efficacy against more worrisome variants. Alastair Grant/AP hide caption

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Alastair Grant/AP

The first results from a large efficacy study of a new kind of COVID-19 vaccine are now out, and they are good. Very good.

According to Novavax, the vaccine’s manufacturer, it had a 100% efficacy against the original strain of the coronavirus and 93% efficacy against more worrisome variants that have subsequently appeared.

In addition to efficacy, the PREVENT-19 (the PRE-fusion protein subunit Vaccine Efficacy Novavax Trial COVID-19) trial showed the Novavax vaccine was safe for users. Like other COVID-19 vaccines, it caused headaches, chills and muscle aches after injection, but few of these side effects were considered serious or severe.

The study involved 29,960 volunteers in the United States and Mexico. In the study, two-thirds of the volunteers received two shots of the vaccine and one-third received two shots of a placebo.

A total of 77 cases of COVID-19 occurred during the study: 63 in the placebo group and 14 in the vaccine group. According to the Novavax statement describing the results, none of the cases of COVID-19 in the vaccine group were related to the original strain of the virus, hence the 100% efficacy against the original strain.

The breakthrough cases were all caused by the newer, more worrisome variants, and all of the breakthroughs in the vaccine group were mild. By contrast, 10 in the placebo group were considered moderate and four severe. Novavax’s statement did not specify which variants in particular were prevented.

The company says it intends to file for authorization from regulators in the U.S., Europe and the United Kingdom later this summer. Novavax says it will be able to deliver 100 million doses per month by the end of September and 150 million doses per month by the end of the year.

The Novavax vaccine is what’s known as a protein subunit vaccine. All COVID-19 vaccines are based on something called the coronavirus spike protein. That’s the protein that prompts the immune system to make antibodies to the virus.

The vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech deliver the genetic instructions for the spike protein in the form of messenger-RNA, and the cells of the person receiving the vaccine make the spike protein. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine delivers those instructions using a viral vector, again relying on the vaccine recipient’s cells to make the protein.

Novavax, on the other hand, makes the protein in cell cultures grown in giant bioreactors in manufacturing facilities and delivers the fully formed vaccine along with a substance for priming the immune system in its vaccine.

The Novavax vaccine was one of the vaccines chosen for development as part of Operation Warp Speed. The U.S. government is providing $1.75 billion to the company to support the vaccine’s development.

It’s not clear at this point whether the Food and Drug Administration is prepared to continue to grant emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA may require Novavax to go through the standard licensure process, which can take considerably longer than an EUA.

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Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/06/14/1006094476/novavax-says-its-covid-vaccine-is-extremely-effective-efficacy

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Specific antibodies may be effective against multiple coronavirus types

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coronavirus antibody

Patients who have been exposed to a coronavirus may produce a versatile, cross-reactive coronavirus antibody; this may be useful for the eventual development of a broad-acting vaccine.

There are seven human coronavirus types, of which, four cause the common cold, named OC43, HKU1, 229E, and NL63. Most people become infected with at least one of these four coronaviruses at some point in their lives. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is another member of the coronavirus family that causes COVID-19. Infection with the cold-causing coronaviruses may lead to immune memory. This could potentially impact on the immune response to COVID-19.

Research published in Nature Communications compared blood samples of patients collected before the pandemic with those who tested positive for COVID-19. By doing this, the researchers were able to find antibody types that cross reacted with other coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.

Cross-reactive coronavirus antibody produced during SARS-CoV-2 infection

It was discovered that a cross-reactive coronavirus antibody is triggered as a direct result of a COVID-19 infection. Dr Raiees Andrabi, a senior author of the paper, stated, “We were able to determine that this type of cross-reactive antibody is likely produced by a memory B cell that’s initially exposed to a coronavirus that causes the common cold, and is then recalled during a COVID-19 infection.”

Memory B cells are long-lived, as they can circulate throughout the body for decades in order to recognise and fight pathogens that they have previously encountered. Memory B cells offer protection against reinfection by rapidly producing specific antibodies. Although the study found evidence of pre-existing cross-reactive memory B cells that were triggered during SARS-CoV-2 infection, there was only weak evidence of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive serum antibodies in pre-pandemic patient samples. However, the researchers were able to identify one cross-reactive neutralizing antibody specific to the S2 subunit of the spike (S) protein.

How does this antibody work?

The researchers used electron microscopy to visualise how the cross-reactive antibody had the ability to neutralize a range of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. They found that the antibody typically bound to the S protein of the virus. This area did not seem to vary in different coronavirus strains.

Ge Song, the first author of the paper, stated, “The study highlights how important it is to fully understand the nature of pre-existing immunity, especially in regard to coronaviruses. Earlier exposure to a coronavirus, even a virus that causes mild colds, impacts the nature and level of antibodies produced when more serious coronavirus threats emerge.”

Significance of the study

Since immunological memory forms the basis of vaccination, the findings of this study could potentially lead to the creation of a vaccine or antibody treatment that works against most or all coronaviruses. Pre-existing immunity to endemic coronaviruses should be further investigated to evaluate antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2.

Co-author Dr Dennis Burton explained, “Another deadly coronavirus will likely emerge again in the future – and when it does, we want to be better prepared. Our identification of a cross-reactive antibody against SARS-CoV-2 and the more common coronaviruses is a promising development on the way to a broad-acting vaccine or therapy.”

References:

Song, G., et al. (2021). Cross-reactive serum and memory B-cell responses to spike protein in SARS-CoV-2 and endemic coronavirus infection. Nature Communications, 12(1), 1-10. Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-23074-3

Versatile coronavirus antibody may be starting point for broader-acting vaccines (2021). EurekAlert! Retrieved from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-05/sri-vca052721.php

Quast, I. and Tarlinton, D. (2021). B cell memory: understanding COVID-19. Immunity, 54(2), 205-210. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826135/

Image by mattthewafflecat from Pixabay 

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Source: https://medicalnewsbulletin.com/specific-antibodies-may-be-effective-against-all-coronavirus-types/

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June 18 Web Event: Asian Immigrant Experiences with Racism, Immigration-related Fears, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

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While the country has collectively experienced health and economic difficulties with the COVID-19 pandemic, certain groups have experienced a disproportionate impact. The Asian American community has had to cope with the burden of pandemic-related racism and, as one of the fastest growing immigrant communities in the nation, immigration-related fears due to policy and regulatory action of recent years. Yet, there is often limited data and focus on the experiences of the expanding Asian immigrant community. KFF is hosting a June 18 public web event to highlight and discuss the complex set of challenges facing Asian immigrants and strategies to address them.

The one-hour interactive web event begins at 12 p.m. ET on Friday, June 18, featuring remarks from U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, who has been a leading voice on many of the issues to be discussed and chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Findings from a new KFF survey of Asian American patients from four community health centers will be released at the event with a panel discussion and audience questions to follow.

Welcome and Keynote Remarks

  • KFF Executive Vice President for Health Policy Larry Levitt (moderator)
  • U.S. Congresswoman and Chair of Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus The Honorable Judy Chu
  • Chief Program Director of Blue Shield of California Foundation Carolyn Wang Kong

Presentation of Survey Findings

  • KFF Vice President and Director of the Racial Equity and Health Policy Program Samantha Artiga

Panel Discussion

  • Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) Adam Carbullido
  • Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at International Community Health Services Sunshine Monastrial
  • Chief Deputy of Administration at Asian Health Services Thu Quach

The one-hour event will conclude with a question-and-answer session.

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Source: https://www.kff.org/racial-equity-and-health-policy/event/june-18-web-event-asian-immigrant-experiences-with-racism-immigration-related-fears-and-the-covid-19-pandemic/

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