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Need to be prepared for the post-pandemic era as it is almost over

Bill Gates, BioNTech, Coronavirus, Covid-19, FDA, Featured, Food and Drug Administration, National Geographic. The New York Times, Pfizer, The Guardian, vaccine, WHO, World Health Organization

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Need to be prepared for the post-pandemic era as it is almost over

Need to be prepared for the post-pandemic era as it is almost over

It is almost one year that the entire world is almost devastated due to the coronavirus pandemic. Each of us has been initially hoping for this pandemic to disappear, while experts have issued lots of predictions and prophecies giving hopes to the global population of getting rid of coronavirus. Most of the nations in the world have entered into economic challenges, while there are indications of a number of nations facing acute economic depression alongside an increase in the rate of unemployment and even food crisis. Although during the initial days of this pandemic, none of us really knew how and when all of us were going to get liberated from this curse, we sensed a serious aftermath of coronavirus. Ever since this pandemic all of a sudden hit the global population, dozens of pharmaceutical companies and scientific research institutes around the world began research on a possible remedy of coronavirus or Covid-19. Finally, at least two major companies, Pfizer and Moderna have already started distributing the coronavirus vaccine shots, while there are signs from the Chinese, Russian and Israeli companies of vaccinating their people as well as other prospective buyers around the world with their own vaccines. Hopefully, within the next 3-4 weeks or maximum in two months, the world will be out of coronavirus fear. This is great news for each of us, especially the business establishments, which has been enduring massive financial loss during this pandemic period. As we know, aviation, hoteling, and tourism industries are amongst the worst-affected sectors due to the pandemic. Until now, there are visa or travel restrictions imposed by the majority of the countries. Everything will turn normal once coronavirus vaccines reach the majority of the people.

While vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are already in use, there are controversies centering on these vaccines. As Science Magazine said: “This summer, Luke Hutchison, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology–educated computational biologist, volunteered for a trial of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. After he got the second injection, his arm immediately swelled up to the size of a “goose egg,” Hutchison says. He can’t be sure he got the vaccine and not a placebo, but within a few hours, the healthy then-43-year-old was beset by bone and muscle aches and a 38.9°C fever that felt, he says, “unbearable.” “I started shaking. I had cold and hot rushes,” he says. “I was sitting by the phone all night long thinking: ‘Should I call 911?’”

It further said: Those concerns arise after a week of good news about coronavirus vaccines: Both Moderna and Pfizer, with BioNTech, announced that their messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines reached 95% efficacy in clinical trials of tens of thousands of people. The trials revealed no serious safety concerns, both companies added.

Both vaccines consist of a snippet of genetic code directing production of the coronavirus’ spike protein, delivered in a tiny fat bubble called a lipid nanoparticle. Some suspect the immune system’s response to that delivery vehicle is causing the short-term side effects.

Those transient reactions should not dissuade people from getting vaccinated in the face of a pandemic virus that kills at least one in 200 of those it infects, says Florian Krammer, a vaccinologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who participated in Pfizer’s pivotal trial. Sore arms, fevers, and fatigue are “unpleasant but not dangerous. I’m not concerned about [reactogenicity],” he says.

And most people will escape “severe” side effects, defined as those that prevent daily activity. Fewer than 2% of recipients of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines developed severe fevers of 39°C to 40°C. But if the companies win regulatory approvals, they’re aiming to supply vaccines to 35 million people globally by the end of December. If 2% experienced severe fever, that would be 700,000 people.

Other transient side effects would likely affect even more people. The independent board that conducted the interim analysis of Moderna’s huge trial found that severe side effects included fatigue in 9.7% of participants, muscle pain in 8.9%, joint pain in 5.2%, and headache in 4.5%. For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the numbers were lower: Severe side effects included fatigue (3.8%) and headache (2%).

That’s a higher rate of severe reactions than people may be accustomed to. “This is higher reactogenicity than is ordinarily seen with most flu vaccines, even the high-dose ones,” says Arnold Monto, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Front-line public health workers should prepare their messages, says Bernice Hausman, an expert on vaccine controversy at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. “Public health professionals are going to have to have a story that gets out in front of [stories like Hutchison’s]—that responds to the way that people are going to try to make that a story about vaccine injury.”

Transparency is key, Hausman emphasizes. Rather than minimizing the chance of fever, for instance, vaccine administrators could alert people that they may experience a fever that can feel severe but is temporary. “That would go a significant way toward people feeling like they are being told the truth.” Adds Drew Weissman, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania whose work contributed to both vaccines: “The companies just have to warn people: ‘This is what you need to expect. Take Tylenol and suck it up for a day.’”

Hausman also sees a need to support people who have serious reactions. “The real question is whether or not there is going to be an apparatus set up to support the experience of people going through [experiences like Hutchison’s]. Like a hotline with a nurse triaging … and figuring out if you need to go to the hospital or not. Will your medical expenses be covered if you do? These are important questions.”

Both Moderna’s and Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccines require two doses separated by several weeks. Reactogenicity is typically higher after a second dose, Weissman says. The side effects “mean the vaccine is working well. … [It] means you had such a good immune response to the first dose and now you are seeing the effects of that,” he says. (Weissman co-invented the mRNA modifications that both Moderna and BioNTech have licensed to make their vaccines, and he receives royalties from the companies.)

“We suspect the lipid nanoparticle causes the reactogenicity because lipid nanoparticles without mRNA in them do the same thing in animals,”

Weissman says. “We see production, in the muscle, of inflammatory mediators that cause pain, [redness], swelling, fever, flulike symptoms, etc.”

Ian Haydon, who received the highest dose of the Moderna vaccine in its first human trial, knows what that’s like. (He received 250 micrograms, but partly in response to reactions like his, the company chose to take forward a lower dose of 100 micrograms).

Twelve hours after receiving his second injection in May, Haydon got chills as well as “headache, muscle ache, fatigue, nausea,” and had a fever of 39.6°C. He went to urgent care, and later vomited and fainted before the symptoms receded, roughly 24 hours after they started, he says.

Commenting on the coronavirus pandemic vaccines, The New York Times said: The news — the first results from any late-stage vaccine trial — buoyed stock markets and spirits as the public saw a glimmer of hope. But it’s worth noting that the news is still preliminary, and there is much that is still not known about how well the vaccine works.

And one thing remained clear: The vaccine will not come in time to rescue the world from the next several months, when the virus will take many more lives unless the public takes more stringent public health measures.

According to the NYT report, Pfizer and BioNTech initiated a late-stage clinical trial on the coronavirus vaccine. Half of the people who participated in the trial got the vaccine, while the other half got a placebo of saltwater. The companies then waited for people to get sick to determine if the vaccine offered any protection. So far, 94 participants out of nearly 44,000 have gotten sick with Covid-19, which helped the analysts to believe, the vaccine is 90 percent effective.

As per the set standard of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the efficacy rate of over 90 percent is good.

To get a sense of how good these results are, it’s worth considering licensed vaccines that people regularly receive. On the low end, influenza vaccines are 40 to 60 percent effective at best, because the influenza virus keeps evolving into new forms year after year. By contrast, two doses of the measles vaccine are 97 percent effective.

According to The Guardian, anti-vaxxers have seized on the promising results of a new coronavirus vaccine, attempting to discredit the Pfizer/BioNTech development on social media within hours of it being announced.

American researcher Dr. Judy Milkovits in her viral Plandemic video blamed the coronavirus outbreak on a conspiracy led by big pharma, Bill Gates and the World Health Organization.

On the National Geographic channel Sarah Elizabeth Richards wrote: “The world cheered this week after pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced early findings from their phase three trial for a frontrunner COVID-19 vaccine. On November 9, the companies issued a news release claiming their vaccine candidate effectively prevented infection with the coronavirus—welcome news after soaring global cases have prompted new shutdowns and warnings of intensive care units filled to capacity.

“But even more stunning was the extent the vaccine exceeded industry expectations. According to their press release, data reviewed by an independent panel of experts show the vaccine to be 90-percent effective, meaning nine out of 10 recipients experienced some sort of benefit—far surpassing the 50-percent benchmark set by health overseers such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

The news was unprecedented because it appears to be a vindication of the mRNA technology that so far has only been proven in animal models. But it was also surprising because the companies took the unusual step of releasing some of the results—what they called an “interim report”—before the rest of the data was available.”

Sarah Elizabeth Richards further wrote: “Several experts say they’re concerned that the public is getting an incomplete picture about the vaccine’s success that doesn’t reveal critical information, such as which demographic groups it protected and whether it was from a mild or severe form of the virus. There’s also the real possibility that the 90-percent figure could change as the trial ticks on and investigators collect more results. Plus, the unpublished results have not been peer-reviewed or even released as a preliminary preprint.”

Peter Doshi, associate professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy told NGC, “The lack of data [regarding the vaccine] is very concerning. All we have right now is a headline by Pfizer.”

But other medical experts are praising the vaccine, as Robert Wachter, chair of the University of California, San Francisco, department of medicine who studies patient safety said, “It’s unlikely the 90-percent result would change significantly in the meantime. It probably will shift, but it might be 87. But given the numbers they have in the trial; it can’t be 50 percent. It’s clearly in the range of 90.”

Conclusion

Conspiracy theorists and conspiracy-mongers will always indulge in spreading rumors and conspiracy theories centering the pandemic and vaccine – with the ulterior motive of misleading the people. We know, weeks after the outbreak of the coronavirus, some politicians in the US and India in particular were seen busy in accusing China of “creating and spreading” the virus. Later such propaganda was simply proved as rubbish. Similarly, now some wrong people will engage in evil practices of misleading the international community about the coronavirus vaccines. We should rather ignore those propaganda and conspiracy theories and help the world get into normalcy by getting everyone vaccinated.

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, research-scholar, counter-terrorism specialist, and editor of Blitz. Follow his on Twitter Salah_Shoaib

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