Lilly Antibody Drug Prevents Covid-19 in Nursing Homes, Study Finds
- Eli Lilly & Co. said its antibody-based drug prevented Covid-19 among many residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, results that point to the drug complementing vaccines while inoculations increase.
- The drug, called bamlanivimab, reduced the risk of both staff and residents getting sick with Covid-19 by about 57% compared with a placebo, Lilly said Thursday.
- The effect was more pronounced among residents, the company said, an 80% reduction in risk of Covid-19.
- The findings signal the potential for a new preventive weapon that could augment the fledgling Covid-19 vaccination effort to stem the pandemic.
- Lilly said it would ask U.S. health regulators to widen the drug’s authorized use to include protecting people in long-term-care facilities where someone has recently been diagnosed with Covid-19.
- Lilly disclosed the data in a news release and said it plans to publish full results in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Fed-Up Executives Plot a Faster Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout
- The national rollout of Covid-19 vaccine doses, they agreed, wasn’t going fast enough.
- By the end of the stroll, they had sketched the outline of a plan to speed things up: Combine the logistics technology of Honeywell International Inc., the expertise of health system Atrium Health, and the real estate of Tepper Sports & Entertainment to inoculate thousands more people a day than the average North Carolina vaccination site currently does.
- The North Carolina executives aren’t the only business leaders stepping in to offer private-sector expertise to help more Americans get Covid-19 shots.
- Washington state this week said that private companies will lend expertise to accelerate its vaccine rollout, among them Starbucks Corp.
- , which will provide help with vaccine-administration facility layout and has started working on ways to reduce patient wait times.
Europeans Clash With Pfizer, BioNTech Over Covid-19 Vaccine Deliveries
- and BioNTech SE after officials said the companies had unexpectedly cut their deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines and put their immunization schedules at risk.
- The Italian government asked the country’s attorney general to study whether it can take legal action after Pfizer cut deliveries of its vaccine for this week by 29% as it retools its Belgium factory, a government spokeswoman said Wednesday.
- Separately, the German state of Hamburg said Pfizer had delivered fewer vials of vaccine to the city than expected this week.
- The companies have said they were on schedule to deliver the number of doses they had promised.
- A Hamburg government spokeswoman said the state has struggled to extract the sixth dose as special syringes are required and authorities haven’t been able to purchase them in sufficient quantities.
Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 Vaccine Helps U.K. Lead Race to Reach Nursing Homes
- More than four million of the most at-risk people in the U.K., almost 8% of the adult population, have been vaccinated with at least one shot of vaccine.
- Among them are more than half of the frailest group of all: the 300,000 elderly residents of nursing homes who can’t travel to get a shot.
- The key to reaching them has been mobile vaccination teams armed with a shot developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC.
- Together with a network of family doctors and vaccination hubs in sports centers, hotels and cathedrals, this shot has helped the country to stay on track toward a target of vaccinating its 15 million most vulnerable people by mid-February.
- The government says the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has also been authorized in India, Morocco and some countries in Latin America, has been a game changer in reaching people tucked away in smaller nursing homes.
Europe, Struggling to Exit the Pandemic, Faces Bleak 2021
- Covid-19 infections and deaths remain stubbornly high across much of Europe while vaccination efforts are moving so slowly that widespread immunity is unlikely in the region before the fall, raising the prospect of a bleak 2021 for hundreds of millions of Europeans.
- With between 3,000 and 4,000 people dying from the disease every day across the European Union in recent weeks, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, governments are prolonging and tightening antivirus measures such as curfews, remote learning and restaurant closures.
- Europe could have pressed on with the strict restrictions many governments applied in the first wave of the pandemic, as many countries in East Asia did, instead aiming to live with the virus and avoid further economic damage.
France, Once a Vaccine Pioneer, Is Top Skeptic in Covid-19 Pandemic
- Audrey Courreges’s mistrust of new coronavirus vaccines runs so deep that she’s told the nursing home where she works, in the southern French town of Beziers, that she won’t take the vaccinations or administer them.
- A big reason: French officials are running up against deeply ingrained opposition that has made France among the world’s top vaccine skeptics.
- An Ipsos poll conducted in December found that France ranked at the bottom of 15 countries on willingness to take a Covid-19 vaccine, with only 40% of the public saying they wanted the shot.
- Polls show that more than three-quarters of nursing home workers—who are among the government’s first target groups for the vaccine—don’t want to take it.
- The resistance has historical roots in the 19th century, when antivaccination groups campaigned against modern inoculation techniques discovered by Frenchman Louis Pasteur.
Argentina Is a Testing Ground for Moscow’s Global Vaccine Drive
- Russia is selling millions of doses of its homegrown Sputnik V vaccine abroad, making it a major supplier of a shot that could give Moscow a valuable slice of the global Covid-19 vaccine market and potentially earn Russia geopolitical clout in the developing world.
- Moscow approved Sputnik V for domestic use in August before finishing trials.
- Sputnik V, named for the Soviet satellite launched into orbit during the Cold War, ranks third in the world by doses ordered by middle- and low-income countries, according to Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center, ahead of U.S. drugmakers Pfizer Inc.
- Eight countries outside Russia have authorized the shot for emergency use.
- Still, Sputnik V hasn’t been approved by Western health authorities or received authorization from the WHO, which many developing countries rely on for vetting vaccines.
Companies Race to Develop Drugs That Stay Ahead of Coronavirus Mutations
- Drugmakers are racing to develop a new generation of Covid-19 medicines to make them easier to give to patients and to stay ahead of virus mutations that could make some current drugs less effective.
- After catching Covid-19, President Trump was treated with one of the drugs and credited it with his speedy recovery.
- But those concerns have given way to frustration that the medicines are going unused because of challenges in administering the drugs, which can require about an hour of preparation time before the patient arrives, an hour-long infusion and one hour of monitoring to ensure patients don’t suffer allergic reactions.
- To reduce the logistical burden and help get patients treated sooner, researchers are working on new antibody drugs that can be given with quick jabs in the arm, similar to flu shots.
Covid-19 Vaccines Are Getting Stuck at the Last Step
- In South Texas, a man slept in his car for two nights straight so he wouldn’t lose his place in a line of hundreds of people at a mass-vaccination event.
- The biggest challenges in America’s Covid-19 vaccination effort have turned out to be getting shots into the arms of the right people.
- As of Friday morning, some 31 million vaccine doses had been distributed nationwide, but only about 12 million had been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The federal government shipped those doses to states around the country, with states establishing their own criteria for who should get the vaccine first.
- Jeff Duchin, public health officer for Seattle and King County, Wash., said the federal government succeeded in helping fund and purchase vaccines that were developed in record-breaking time, but said it didn’t do nearly enough to ensure that the “last-mile” distribution efforts would be successful.