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Researchers continue study of COVID-19 vaccinations, pregnancy and postpartum

With the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ongoing, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with the American Academy…

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With the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ongoing, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), will continue a national study to evaluate the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations during pregnancy, and monitor immune response for mother and baby following vaccinations.

Credit: UC San Diego Health Sciences

With the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ongoing, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), will continue a national study to evaluate the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations during pregnancy, and monitor immune response for mother and baby following vaccinations.

Published research has found that pregnant people are particularly vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection and at higher risk of developing a more serious or complicated disease course, including approximately a 70 percent increased risk of death. Infection in pregnancy also increases the risk for preterm delivery and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, including stillbirth.

“Pregnant people are considered a priority population for COVID-19 vaccination. However, only about a third of pregnant persons have chosen vaccination,” said Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, principal investigator on the Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS) coordinated by AAAAI, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies.

“As pregnant persons were not included in the original clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccinations, there is a critical need to do this work to help provide concrete information about the safety and benefits of these vaccines for both mother and baby.”

The continuation of study efforts is made possible by a $10 million, four-year grant and involves evaluating the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations among 1,800 participants.

Using the established U.S. MotherToBaby pregnancy cohort study at UC San Diego, researchers will follow-up with 900 individuals who received one or more doses of any COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and 900 who did not. They will evaluate pregnancy outcomes, including major birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery and postpartum growth of infants through one year of age.

In a subset of 180 women in the study, researchers will also collect blood samples after vaccination in different trimesters of pregnancy to measure the cellular immune response to SARS-CoV-2.

The investigators will study the expansion of T lymphocytes that recognize spike and non-spike regions of the virus. The development of T cell memory, critical to determine long-lasting protection from infection, will be also defined together with the measurement of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in both mother and baby after delivery.

“The results of this sub-study will provide essential efficacy information that can support COVID-19 vaccine-related public health recommendations in this special population,” said Alessandra Franco, MD, PhD, co-investigator on the study, immunologist and associate professor in Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

“We feel confident that this study will provide important information in support of best clinical practice for obstetric providers and their patients,” said Michael Schatz, MD, lead AAAAI study coordinator.

The study will continue enrolling pregnant persons through 2024, with final results expected in 2026.

Individuals interested in participating can contact MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies at mothertobaby.org/pregnancy-studies or by calling 877-311-8972.

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Spread & Containment

Preventing the next pandemic: Learning the lessons

In the first of a three part series, Ben Hargreaves looks at what the odds are of another
The post Preventing the next pandemic: Learning the lessons appeared…

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In the first of a three part series, Ben Hargreaves looks at what the odds are of another pandemic arising in our lifetimes and what can be done to lower the risk of this happening again.

The current pandemic is still very much underway. The question is, as one study was recently entitled, whether the current phase brings the world closer to the end of the pandemic or just to the end of the first phase? What is clear is that due to vaccines and therapeutics, the critical early phase of the pandemic is over. As the article suggests, what could lie ahead is a process of learning how to live with a persistent circulation of the virus and, with this, consistent spikes of cases, likely occurring periodically and more often in the winter months.

With the current pandemic refusing to dissipate, the discussions around future pandemics become more difficult to countenance. As identified very early into the current pandemic by the WHO, there is the risk of fatigue arising over long-term global health crisis response, which becomes an issue when acknowledging that the current times we’re living through could happen again. Research has suggested that in any given year there is a 2.5 to 3.3% chance of a pandemic on the scale of COVID-19 occurring. Not only this, the expectation is that such events are becoming more likely, with estimations that the probability of outbreaks such as the current pandemic will likely grow three-fold in the next few decades.

Pharma invested

The acceptance that there will potentially be another pandemic within many people’s lifetimes underlines the importance of using the emergence of COVID-19 to better protect ourselves against the next threat. Although it’s come at a high cost, the world is now in a strong position to prepare itself, with the lessons from the current pandemic still fresh in mind.

One clear benefit is that the pharmaceutical industry has proven that it is able to develop and safely deliver vaccines in a much shorter timeframe than usual. A typical vaccine development timeline takes between five and 10 years; the vaccines approved for COVID-19 emerged much more quickly.

Though the next pandemic could prove to be a more complicated target to vaccinate against, the success of the vaccines and the financial gains that were achieved would see companies eager to engage in development. Already, the industry is seeing greater research and funding being diverted back into vaccine development, with mRNA vaccines holding particular interest. This should see a pipeline of vaccine candidates better stocked than on the emergence of COVID-19, if this can be sustained into the future.

Global governance

However, the work required to prevent the next pandemic is far broader than vaccines and therapeutics, which are essentially the last defence. In the future, the entire global health system will need to change to become more resilient, which requires many individual changes but can be broken down it smaller, logical actions that have outsized outcomes. One such action is simply coordination at the highest levels.

There were warning signs prior to COVID-19 that a pandemic could be possible, with the outbreaks of Zika and Ebola viruses, both of which have occurred intermittently for years but had attained wider notoriety after bigger outbreaks in the last decade. Despite this, coordinated efforts on the response to the current pandemic lacked cohesion – many countries adopted different methods of combatting the spread of the virus and containment. Once vaccines were on the market, countries competed against one another for access, thereby denying them to the countries without the economic firepower to match.

A recent report for the G20 group of nations, on preventing the next pandemic, concluded: “It requires establishing a global governance and financing mechanism, fitted to the scale and complexity of the challenge, besides bolstering the existing individual institutions, including the

WHO as the lead organisation. A primary one is training and hiring adequate levels of health workers.”

The report broke down four major gaps that need to be addressed, on a global and national level, to be able to respond more quickly, equitably and effectively when further pandemics occur:

  • Globally networked surveillance and research: To prevent and detect emerging infectious diseases
  • Resilient national systems: To strengthen a critical foundation for global pandemic preparedness and response
  • Supply of medical countermeasures and tools: To radically shorten the response time to a pandemic and deliver equitable global access
  • Global governance: To ensure the system is tightly coordinated, properly funded and with clear accountability for outcomes

Spending money to save money

The hiring of additional healthcare workers, the build-out of surveillance systems, support provided for R&D into infectious diseases, and the creation of a stockpile of medical countermeasures all require funds. This is a major question of the report for world leaders: Whether there is the appetite for further funding into pandemic preparation? The global economy has taken and continues to feel the financial blow of COVID-19.

However, the report calls for more public funding to be put into health in the coming years, with the authors stating that approximately 1% of GDP must be committed by low- and middle-income countries. In terms of funding for international efforts for preventing the next pandemic, the figure is estimated at $15 billion per year, sustained for the coming years. Compared to the sums spent on vaccines and therapeutics during the current pandemic, the investment is far lower and will help boost what the report calls, “a dangerously underfunded system.”

Beyond all action is a tactic for mitigating pandemics that is known as primary prevention. Fundamentally, this means going before all of the previously discussed methods to tackle the virus at the root cause.

Research has called for greater emphasis to be put on elements that prevent virus spillover, where a virus jumps species. The authors identify three areas where a difference can be made: reduced deforestation, better management of the wildlife trade and hunting, and better surveillance of zoonotic pathogens before any human is infected. The authors suggest that even a 1% reduction in risk of viral zoonotic disease emergence would make any efforts in this direction cost-effective. They end their study, stating, “Monothetic ‘magic bullets,’ including diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines, failed to control COVID-19 as it spread around the globe and exacted the largest health and economic toll of any pathogen in recent history. This makes plain that we cannot solely rely upon post-spillover strategies to prevent a similar fate in the future.”

The post Preventing the next pandemic: Learning the lessons appeared first on .

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FTSE 100 gains as commodity-linked stocks bounce back

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3% UK’s FTSE 100 gained on Monday, as an easing of COVID-19 restrictions…

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The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3%

UK’s FTSE 100 gained on Monday, as an easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China brought relief to commodity prices, lifting shares of major oil and mining companies.

As of 0704 GMT, the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3%.

The risk sentiment improved after a Wall Street rally late last week and a rebound in copper and iron ore prices on Monday, boosted by an easing COVID-19 restrictions in Shanghai and relaxed testing mandates in several Chinese cities.

The burst of global enthusiasm for equities has put a spring in the step of the FTSE 100 at the start of the week, Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said.

Mining stocks led gains on the FTSE 100 index, with Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore rising more than 3%, after Group of Seven leaders pledged to raise $600 billion private and public funds in five years to finance needed infrastructure in developing countries.

It is hoped this scheme, seen as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, will set off a spurt of spending and demand for commodities around the world, Streeter added.

Among individual stocks, CareTech surged 20.8% after the UK-based provider of care and residential services agreed to be acquired by a consortium led by Sheikh Hoidings in an 870.3 million pounds ($1.07 billion) deal.

Carnival Corp jumped 5.6%, extending its Friday gains after the leisure travel company forecast a positive core profit for the current quarter despite surging costs.

London-listed shares of Rio Tinto added 2% after a U.S appeals court ruled that the federal government may give the UK copper miner a right to lands in Arizona.

BAE Systems inched up 0.4% after the defence company received a $12 billion contract from the U.S Department of Defence.

The post FTSE 100 gains as commodity-linked stocks bounce back first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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The Depopulation Of Taiwan

The Depopulation Of Taiwan

Authored by Igor Chudov via Igor’s Newsletter,

This is a continuation of my post from yesterday about a massive…

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The Depopulation Of Taiwan

Authored by Igor Chudov via Igor's Newsletter,

This is a continuation of my post from yesterday about a massive 13% decline in births in Germany. Such a decline is a nine-sigma event, meaning that it is so unlikely to occur by chance, that it would naturally happen as rarely as an asteroid striking the Earth.

My article explored several more locales (UK, North Dakota, and Switzerland).

But no other place stands out as much as Taiwan does.

23% Drop in Birth Rate in Taiwan

According to a Taiwan government report, the birth rate dropped by 23.24% in May 2022, compared to May 2021.

I inputted historical birth rate data from Macrotrends for the years 2009-2021, and added the year 2022 as year 2021 adjusted down by 23.24%. Obviously, 2022 is not over and the number of Taiwanese babies to be born this year (or during the next 12 months) is unknown. So the chart below is an illustration of what would happen in the next 12 months if the 23.24% drop stays constant.

When expressed in “sigmas”, units of standard deviation, the 23.24% drop in the birth rate in Taiwan is a 26-sigma event!

This is can be described as “unimaginable” in terms of the likelihood of happening due to random chance.

The Wolfram-Alpha illustration of likelihood by sigma only goes to ten-sigma. They thought that it would be pointless to show more sigmas. Except a 26-sigma drop in birth rate just happened in Taiwan.

What Happened In Taiwan?

Health experts are quick to blame Covid for all sorts of health problems afflicting those they advised to vaccinate. It is not the vaccine, they say, it is Covid. We tried to protect you with the vaccine, they would always insist. But you got Covid anyway, thanks to the evil antivaxxers, and your problems are due to Covid — that’s their explanation.

We know for certain, though, that the drop in birth rate in Taiwan is NOT due to Covid. Yes, Taiwan is suffering from a terrible COVID pandemic right now (despite being 91% vaccinated), however, Covid in Taiwan only started around April 21 of 2022, and could not impact May birth rates much.

To see what could cause the extreme drop in births, go back 9 months from May 2022, so to September 2021.

Taiwan was a poster child for successful vaccination. 91% of all Taiwanese residents received a vaccine dose. By October 1, 2021, 56% of ALL people of Taiwan received Covid vaccines.

They got a fairly usual mix of “safe and effective” AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines.

People of Taiwan got their shots, felt assured that Covid-19 stops with every vaccinated person, and moved on with their lives.

I doubt that the people of Taiwan noticed anything at the end of September. They knew for sure that their vaccines were safe and effective and would not affect their sperm or pregnancies. So they proceeded with family plans just as before, trying to make babies on purpose, or partying and having fun and getting pregnant accidentally, just as people do elsewhere.

Except for 9 months later, they only gave birth to 77% of the number of babies expected.

I hope that the people of Taiwan will start asking their authorities: what is happening to us?

A Glimmer of Hope

If you are like me, and you like babies, children, and grandchildren, you are probably upset by now and are wondering what will happen to all of us. Let me mention a possibility that, although unlikely in my opinion, may make this drop in birth rates temporary.

Covid vaccines are known to “disrupt the menstrual cycle” and lower sperm counts. It is possible that some women, for a period of several months, could not conceive and become pregnant due to these disruptions. Because all Taiwanese women were vaccinated at almost the same time, those disruptions created a precipitous drop in birth rates.

My hope, as someone who likes people, is that this will turn out to be the case. However, in my opinion, we will likely see the opposite, and reductions in birth rates will be permanent. Why? Because vaccinating young people was a crime. It was not a mistake. Let me not explain why, in this article.

Crimes like this are NOT perpetrated to achieve a two-month drop in birth rates. Criminals of such nature who gave young people shots that they did not need, for sinister reasons, go for the jugular. Of course, not all people participating in vaccination campaigns were having such sinister intentions. But it is possible that some persons on top had criminal motives that they did not disclose.

Again, I hope that the preceding paragraph will turn out to be unfounded. I was, and am, against any of that happening, do not support anything that is happening in Taiwan, and I am very worried.

Time will tell.

They Told Us it is Safe

This fact check from Dec 5, 2020 says that the vaccine is definitely safe for pregnancy “because there is no evidence that it is unsafe”. No trial specifically for pregnancy and fertility was conducted. They just lied to us that it is safe — but had no way of knowing.

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Tyler Durden Mon, 06/27/2022 - 23:15

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