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Japan pushes homegrown coronavirus vaccines to secure supply | The Japan Times

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Osaka – Japanese drugmakers are accelerating their development of vaccines for the novel coronavirus even as foreign rivals seem to be leading the global race, with the government pushing homegrown efforts to secure stable supplies.Around 125 vaccine candidates are under development globally, including 10 at the human testing stage as of May 27, according to the World Health Organization. But given the expected surge in demand, the government is concerned that foreign vaccines could be limited in supply and not widely available for people in Japan.“In terms of the need to secure the necessary volume, a vaccine produced domestically by a Japanese company is best,” said an official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.The government has decided to facilitate large-scale manufacturing of coronavirus vaccines by launching a subsidy program for producers, government sources said in late May. It hopes to make vaccines available soon after they are deemed suitable for use, they said.Anges Inc., a biopharmaceutical startup set up by an Osaka University professor, said it will start clinical tests of its DNA vaccine, manufactured by Takara Bio Inc., as early as July, aiming to have it administered to humans around March 2021.
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A vaccine for COVID-19 is crucial for the economy. A company founded in Lansing is helping make one.

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CLOSE LANSING – A company founded in Lansing hopes to start making hundreds of millions of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by next year.Emergent BioSolutions has partnered with three other companies to manufacture their vaccine candidates. The company also has joined the Warp Speed Program, a government initiative to accelerate manufacturing of potential vaccines.  
Emergent BioSolutions Inc.’s Lansing facility.
 (Photo:
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)Dino Muzzin, the company’s senior vice president of manufacturing operations, said that, while some vaccines can take up to a decade to develop, manufacture and license, company leaders hope to get one that can address the current pandemic out to market far faster.“We are working at warp speed in order to commercialize this as quickly as we can,” Muzzin said.That speed likely is crucial for a full re-opening of the economy.Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that all of Michigan has now moved to stage 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan.Read more: Whitmer to loosen coronavirus restrictions on dining, gathering in MichiganThat decision came after decreases in new cases and deaths, the implementation of widespread testing and an increase in the capacity of health systems across the state. Those same things will …

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Coronavirus Today: A vaccine at warp speed?

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Good evening. I’m Diya Chacko, and it’s Tuesday, June 2. Here’s what’s happening with the coronavirus in California and beyond.

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Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once wrote: “Science demands patience.” In the last 25 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved new vaccines for only seven diseases. A vaccine to protect against the Ebola virus won approval just last year, three years after the epidemic in West Africa ended.But the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 100,000 Americans and cratered the U.S. economy. Faced with high stakes, little time and significant pressure from the Trump administration, scientists who would normally set a slow, measured pace to develop a safe vaccine are ramping up the process for the novel coronavirus.
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The name of the endeavor is “Operation Warp Speed,” and scientists are crossing their fingers that they’ll avoid the pitfalls that may arise from moving fast and produce something that’s workable. “We may not …

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Fauci ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Coronavirus Vaccine

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Anthony Fauci, a leading expert in the U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, expressed cautious optimism on Tuesday that several successful vaccine candidates would prove effective “within a reasonable period of time” to fight the novel pathogen. But how long the protection from an eventual vaccine might last is “a big unknown,” he said via remote video during The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Health Conference. A short duration of protection could create additional challenges, he said….

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Army vaccine researchers are preparing for the possibility of new COVID-19 strains

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Army medical experts involved in testing COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by outside laboratories are also working to develop their own vaccine, one that can give them the building blocks to combat future strains of the virus if mutations arise. The first few vaccines being “queued up” for what the White House recently dubbed “Operation Warp Speed” includes those by the companies Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, Army researchers involved in the project said during a telephone call with reporters Tuesday. Moderna’s candidate, for instance, is “very, very likely to be the first major vaccine to be tested in large scale,” said Nelson Michael, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. But Army researchers are developing another vaccine, added Kayvon Modjarrad, the institute’s director of emerging infectious diseases. Their vaccine is being designed with a “long-term approach” to combating new strains of the novel coronavirus. “There’s no evidence currently that there are new strains,” Modjarrad cautioned. But the vaccine his team is developing would help researchers more quickly fight any mutated strains should they arise. “We have been vaccinating hundreds and hundreds of mice with different versions of our vaccine …

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How animals are helping scientists develop COVID-19 vaccines

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The global race for a COVID-19 vaccine boils down to some critical questions: How much must the shots rev up someone’s immune system to really work? And could revving it the wrong way cause harm?Even as companies recruit tens of thousands of people for larger vaccine studies this summer, behind the scenes scientists are still testing ferrets, monkeys and other animals in hopes of clues to those basic questions — steps that in a pre-pandemic era would have been finished first.“We are in essence doing a great experiment,” said Ralph Baric, a coronavirus expert at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, whose lab is testing several vaccine candidates in animals.The speed-up is necessary to try to stop a virus that has triggered a pandemic, killing more than 360,000 worldwide and shuttering economies. But “there’s no question there is more risk in the current strategy than what has ever been done before,” Baric said.
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The animal testing lets scientists …

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Can Operation Warp Speed deliver a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year?

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To capture the speed and audacity of its plan to field a coronavirus vaccine, the Trump administration reached into science fiction’s vault for an inspiring moniker: Operation Warp Speed.The vaccine initiative’s name challenges a mantra penned by an actual science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke: “Science demands patience.” Patience is essential for those who ply the science of vaccines. But in that field, challenging economic conditions and a forbidding regulatory system converge with the immune system’s complexity and the resilience of microscopic pathogens. Add in drug companies’ preference for big profits and the result is a trash heap of failed and abandoned efforts.In the last 25 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved new vaccines for only seven diseases. A vaccine to protect against the Ebola virus won approval just last year, three years after the epidemic in West Africa ended.
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But in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans and cratered the U.S. economy, Trump has shown little tolerance for science’s deliberate pace. And scientists, with fingers crossed, are falling in line.

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27% unlikely to be vaccinated; Republicans, conservatives especially: POLL

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Unpersuaded by more than 100,000 pandemic deaths in the United States, 45% of strong conservatives, four in 10 Republicans and nearly as many evangelical Christians say they’d be unlikely to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, even for free.

Overall, 27% of adults in an ABC News/Washington Post poll say they definitely (15%) or probably (12%) would not get the vaccine. Among them, half say they don’t trust vaccines in general, while nearly a quarter don’t think it’s needed in this case.

See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

A plurality definitely would get vaccinated (43%) and 28% say they probably would. The net, 71%, is much higher than the adult vaccination rate for the standard seasonal flu – 45% in the 2018-19 flu season, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (with a wide range by state, from 34 to 56%.) It’s much lower than the 2017 child vaccination rates for polio and measles/mumps/rubella, 93 and 92%, respectively.

A mix of groups express less interest in getting vaccinated – 46% of Republican women, 45% (as noted) very conservative Americans, 40% of Republicans and 37% of evangelical Christians.

Across the spectrum, 90% of Democratic men say they definitely or probably would get the vaccine, as would 81% of Democrats overall, and …

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Scientists hunt pandemic hot spots in race to test vaccines | The Japan Times

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LONDON/CHICAGO – The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic may be waning. For vaccine developers, that could be a problem.Scientists in Europe and the United States say the relative success of draconian lockdown and social distancing policies in some areas and countries means virus transmission rates may be at such low levels that there is not enough disease circulating to truly test potential vaccines.They may need to look further afield, to pandemic hot spots in Africa and Latin America, to get convincing results.“Ironically, if we’re really successful using public health measures to stamp out the hot spots of viral infection, it will be harder to test the vaccine,” said Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States.A vaccine is seen as essential to ending a pandemic that has killed nearly 370,000 people and infected more than 6 million so far, with world leaders looking at inoculation as the only real way to restart their stalled economies.
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But running large-scale clinical trials of potential vaccines against a completely new disease at speed is complex, scientists say. Showing efficacy in those trials during a fluctuating pandemic adds extra difficulty — and doing so …

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Why only half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine

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