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Australia expects

Australia expects to receive AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine within months – Reuters Australia

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia expects to receive its first batches of a potential COVID-19 vaccine in January, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, as the number of new daily infections in the country’s virus hotspot fell to a 10-week low.

Morrison said his government has struck a deal with CSL Ltd (CSL.AX) to manufacture two vaccines – one developed by rival AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and Oxford University, and another developed in CSL’s own labs with the University of Queensland.

“Australia needs some hope,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra. “Today, we take another significant step to protect the health of Australians against the coronavirus pandemic.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt said scientists leading the development of both vaccines have advised that recent evidence suggests both will offer “multi-year protection”.

Morrison said CSL is expected to deliver 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is currently undergoing late-stage clinical trials in Britain, Brazil and South Africa, in January and February next year.

AstraZeneca’s candidate, AZD1222, is viewed as a frontrunner in the global race to deliver an effective vaccine to combat the virus.

Australia had announced in August that it planned to buy AZD1222, along with an agreement of intent from CSL to manufacture it. That plan was thrown into some doubt when CSL announced shortly afterward that it would prioritise the manufacture of its own vaccine.

Morrison’s announcement on Monday that Australia would also purchase the CSL drug if trials proved successful appeared to be the culmination of a deal to get both vaccines across the line.

The CSL vaccine is due to begin second stage clinical trials in late 2020, meaning the earliest it could hit the market would be mid-2021.

Should both vaccines pass clinical trials, Australia will spend A$1.7 billion ($1.24 billion) for a total of nearly 85 million doses, Morrison said.

The agreement came as Australia reported its lowest one-day rise in new COVID-19 cases since June 26, with 45 infections in the past 24 hours, 41 of which were recorded in Victoria state.

Australia’s second most populous state has been the epicentre of a second wave, and now accounts for about 75% of the country’s 26,320 cases and 90% of its 762 deaths.

The southeastern state on Sunday extended a hard lockdown in its capital Melbourne until Sept. 28 as the daily infection rates had declined more slowly than hoped.

FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a “Vaccine COVID-19” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

JOB LOSSES

The extension of the lockdown in Melbourne is expected to fuel further job losses. The national Treasury Department said the original six-week lockdown had already cost Victoria around 250,000 jobs, or half the total recorded by the state since the pandemic began.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Monday announced Australia would extend its temporary insolvency and bankruptcy protection rules until the end of this year, barring creditors cannot issue bankruptcy notices to businesses for debts below A$20,000.

Reporting by Colin Packham in Sydney; Additional reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall, Stephen Coates and Jane Wardell

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expects Qantas

Qantas expects global travel won’t resume until mid-2021 – Fox Business

Qantas Airways said Thursday the pandemic cost it 4 billion Australian dollars ($2.9 billion) in revenue in the last fiscal year and warned that international travel won’t resume before mid-2021.

The Australian airline reported an underlying profit before tax of AU$124 million ($89 million) for the fiscal year that ended on June, a 90.6% decline from the AU$1.33 billion profit posted a year before.

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The carrier’s statutory net loss for the latest year was AU$1.96 billion ($141 billion).

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said international routes would not reopen until the middle of next year and U.S. services might depend on a COVID-19 vaccine becoming widely available.

Routes would be reopened country by country, depending on virus spread.

“New Zealand is an obvious example that should potentially open up relatively fast compared to the other countries around the world,” Joyce said.

“The U.S., with the level of prevalence there, is probably going to take some time. It’s probably going to need a vaccine before we could see that happening,” he said.

AIRLINES WILL CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE TO SCHEDULE CREW, PILOTS FOR FALL FLIGHTS, EXPERT PREDICTS

“We potentially could see a vaccine by the middle or the end of next year and countries like the U.S. may be the first country to have widespread use of that vaccine, so that could mean that the U.S. is seen as a market by the end of ‘21,” he added.

The first six months of 2019 had been the toughest conditions in Qantas’ 100-year history, Joyce said.

The airline recorded a AU$771 million ($554 million) pre-tax profit in the first half of the fiscal year before the pandemic struck.

Joyce said Qantas was in a better financial position than many airlines to survive the pandemic.

“We have the lowest cash burn, we believe, of any major airline group in the world,” Joyce said.

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“AU$40 million ($29 million) a week is still a big number, but that is a lot lower than other airlines in North America and Europe and that gives us the longest runway of any airline group out there, well through to ’21 and into ’22 and we may need that,” he added.

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expects outbreak

CDC expects 2020 outbreak of life-threatening AFM in children – ABC News

Acute flaccid myelitis “is a medical emergency …”

August 5, 2020, 12:00 PM

7 min read

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a call to action to warn of a potential outbreak between the end of this summer and winter of a rare, but potentially lethal disease that affects young children, where seeking medical attention right away could make all the difference.

Acute flaccid myelitis “is a medical emergency that requires immediate recognition and care,” urged CDC director Robert Redfield, on a conference call with the media Tuesday.

AFM is a rare, rapid onset neurological disease affecting the spinal cord leading to paralysis. Symptoms of AFM include sudden arm or leg weakness, difficulty walking, limb pain, back pain or neck pain. AFM can cause paralysis over the course of hours to days, which may require a ventilator for breathing.

It most commonly affects young children. Parents are being asked to seek medical care immediately if a child develops a sudden arm or leg weakness.

Most children with AFM will have a fever or respiratory illness about six days before weakness occurs. For this reason, AFM has been associated with viruses, and specifically one called Enterovirus D68.

But why some children get AFM and some don’t isn’t yet clear.

“We’ve learned a lot, but we have a lot to learn about AFM … We are working at CDC and collaborating with the NIH on a couple of prospective large studies, which will help us better understand risk factors for AFM,” said Redfield.

The CDC began tracking cases of AFM in 2014 and a wave of cases has occurred every other year since then. In 2018, the US experienced the third and largest outbreak of AFM with 238 cases in 42 states between August and November.

The average age was just 5 years old.

At least 98% of those children were hospitalized, and over half were admitted to the intensive care unit, while 20% required a ventilator to breathe.

And while most parents sought medical attention within one day of developing AFM symptoms, a concerning 10% were not hospitalized after four days of weakness.

While many children will recover to their usual state of health after AFM, unfortunately, many kids will have permanent disability.

“Early and aggressive physical therapy and occupational therapy can help strengthen the functioning they will retain and go about their lives with the best functioning possible,” said Dr. Thomas Clark, a pediatrician and CDC deputy director of the division of viral diseases.

With the 2020 peak season looming, AFM is a priority for CDC as it prepares for an outbreak this year.

“As a parent and a grandparent my heart goes out to the families affected by AFM,” Redfield said.

Parents should look out for any sudden weakness of the arms or legs in addition to pain in these areas, the neck or the back. If your child recently had a viral cold or fever, this should heighten your suspicion for AFM.

Clark urged pediatricians and other health care providers to “consider and properly recognize [AFM], hospitalize immediately, take specimens as soon as possible and report [the case] to local health authorities.”

If suspecting AFM, health care providers should order an MRI in order to distinguish AFM from other neurological conditions.

“It’s vital that all health care providers maintain a high index of suspicion for AFM in children with acute limb weakness or neck or back pain that develops after an upper respiratory illness from late summer through fall,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an Emergency Physician at Lenox Hill in New York City.

“We expect that AFM will likely have another peak in 2020. That said, it’s still unclear if or how COVID-19’s recommended social distancing measures and attention to mask wearing and hand hygiene will impact how much enterovirus we end up seeing, along with cases of AFM,” Glatter said.

The same hygiene precautions for COVID-19 apply to viruses that cause AFM.

As some of the symptoms of COVID-19 may overlap with AFM, parents should be on high alert this season.

Non-COVID-19 emergency room visits dropped off sharply in 2020 due to fear of COVID-19. If this trend continues, parents need to know that time is critical and potentially lifesaving with AFM, so even in the age of COVID-19 seek medical attention immediately if your child has sudden numbness in their arms or legs.

“We are concerned in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that cases [of AFM] might not be recognized or that parents might be concerned about taking their kids to the doctor,” Clark said.

Molly Stout, M.D. is a dermatology resident at Northwestern in Chicago and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

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expects Senate

GOP expects Senate to be in session next week without coronavirus deal | TheHill – The Hill

Senate Republicans said on Tuesday that they expect to be in session next week as negotiations on a fifth coronavirus bill appear to be at an “impasse.”

The tentative plan, described by GOP senators leaving a closed-door lunch, means the Senate will be in Washington, D.C., for at least the first week of a previously scheduled four-week break that had been expected to start on Friday.

“We have been told we would likely be back next week, unless we somehow finish this week,” said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntHouse Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Pelosi to require masks on House floor MORE (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThis week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Chamber of Commerce endorses Ernst for reelection MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations MORE (R-Ky.), told reporters that “we’ll be in session next week, if we don’t get a resolution this week.”

The House left town last week. House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThis week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Fauci gives his COVID-19 vaccine estimate Congress rightfully rejects dangerous effort to cut defense budget by 10 percent MORE (D-Md.) has said he will call House members back to Washington with a 24-hour heads-up once there is an agreement ready for a vote.

The negotiations are between Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMeadows: ‘I’m not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term’ on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Trump says he’s considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax Trump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread MORE (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization’ Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump won’t say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread On The Money: Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization’ Democratic leaders report ‘some progress’ in talks with White House MORE, leaving most lawmakers to get updates from reporters and leadership.

Asked why the Senate would stay in town if most aren’t directly involved in the talks, Cornyn added, “How do you think it looks for us to be back home when this is unresolved? This is the most important thing we need to be doing.”

McConnell hasn’t announced a change to the Senate’s schedule. Asked about being in session next week, a spokesman for the GOP leader said, “the Leader will let everyone know when we have an update and / or guidance.”

Negotiators say they are making progress in the most recent talks on Saturday and Monday but they still remain far apart on significant sticking points like unemployment insurance, state and local aid and McConnell’s red line of liability protections for businesses.

Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig Shelby33K laptops meant for Alabama distance learning are stuck in customs, could be held until October Senate GOP opens door to smaller coronavirus deal as talks lag Overnight Defense: Senate GOP coronavirus bill includes .4B for Pentagon | US, Australia focus on China in key meeting MORE (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, told reporters after a closed-door lunch with Mnuchin and Meadows that the talks are at an “impasse.”

“Nothing’s happened,” he added.

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expects Novavax

Novavax expects COVID-19 vaccine trial results in July – Yahoo Finance

The intense demand for a coronavirus vaccine has all types of players in the treatment race.

NVAX) is the latest biotech company to announce that it is entering its vaccine in clinical trials. It’s recombinant technology, already tested in a late-stage flu vaccine trial, focuses on using DNA from the virus to create a vaccine.” data-reactid=”17″ type=”text”>Novavax (NVAX) is the latest biotech company to announce that it is entering its vaccine in clinical trials. It’s recombinant technology, already tested in a late-stage flu vaccine trial, focuses on using DNA from the virus to create a vaccine.

Phase 1 clinical trial in Australia is the first in the Southern Hemisphere, and is focusing on 130 participants. Pre-clinical data showed a lower dose of the vaccine was effective, which lays a foundation for potentially greater volumes of the vaccine to be produced.” data-reactid=”18″ type=”text”>The Phase 1 clinical trial in Australia is the first in the Southern Hemisphere, and is focusing on 130 participants. Pre-clinical data showed a lower dose of the vaccine was effective, which lays a foundation for potentially greater volumes of the vaccine to be produced.

Dr. Gregory Glenn, president of Novavax’s research and development, told Yahoo Finance Tuesday that the company is aiming to produce 100 million doses by the end of the year, and 1 billion by 2021. Trial results are expected as early as July, with a vaccine ready for emergency use by the fall.

“This trial is designed to be very compressed,” Glenn said, adding that the company hopes to get into the next phase by August, at which point the vaccine is proven effective enough to be deployed.

Three potential coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccines are kept in a tray at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on March 20, 2020, one of the labs developing a vaccine for the coronavirus, COVID-19. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

When asked about recent surveys showing people are hesitant to be given the vaccine because of the fast pace of development, Glenn said the company’s technology has been proven in a late-stage flu vaccine.

“The less proven, the earlier the technology, the more you need to pay attention to their side effects,” he said, adding that side effects are common but the severity is important. Finding the right balance of side effects and effectively blocking the virus is what is at stake. If a vaccine were to be deployed, Novavax has a robust system for any side effect to be reported, Glenn said.

So far, though, the data looks promising, according to Glenn. “The immune responses we are seeing are well in excess of what we see in people who have (the) infection.”

Novavax is one of a number of smaller biotech firms receiving funding from the European nonprofit CEPI, which is partially backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. CEPI awarded its largest funding amount to-date to Novavax — up to $388 million.

INO) and Moderna (MRNA)— the latter of which is leading the race in the U.S. — are among the smaller players receiving nonprofit and government funding to develop and produce coronavirus vaccines. Pfizer (PFE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), AstraZeneca (AZN), Sanofi (SNY) with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Merck (MRK) are among the larger pharmaceuticals. Many of the larger companies are relying on government funding to scale up production of the vaccines while they are still being tested in trials.” data-reactid=”37″ type=”text”>Inovio (INO) and Moderna (MRNA)— the latter of which is leading the race in the U.S. — are among the smaller players receiving nonprofit and government funding to deve

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