Third dose: finally some results

COVID booster vaccine test results Results are in from the first randomised, double-blinded, controlled phase 2 clinical trial to look at the safety, immune response and side effects of a third dose of seven COVID-19 vaccines. The trial was conducted by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust in the UK and recently published in … Continue reading Third dose: finally some results

COVID Booster: HIV, variants and asthma

Address HIV to lower the risk of variants The science on the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is not going to be well understood for a few weeks at least, but a perspective in Nature makes one thing clear: even if this variant didn’t emerge in an HIV-positive person, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is the perfect breeding … Continue reading COVID Booster: HIV, variants and asthma

A Victorian-made mRNA vaccine gets to the next stage

While other types of vaccine, like AstraZeneca, are currently being made in Australia, there is as yet no large-scale way to make mRNA vaccines (such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines), meaning these vaccines have to be shipped in from overseas. But a team of Victorian researchers have just announced they’ve developed the first local … Continue reading A Victorian-made mRNA vaccine gets to the next stage

Explainer: A new variant of COVID-19

Omicron variant named and spreading. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a new COVID-19 variant of concern: Omicron, initially referred to as B1.1.529. The Omicron variant has a range of unusual mutations and is spreading rapidly from its first detections in Botswana and South Africa. Several countries, including the UK and Australia, have already closed … Continue reading Explainer: A new variant of COVID-19

COVID Booster: pandemic pluses, summer flu and long-lasting vaccine passes its first test

Pfizer jabs aren’t a heart attack risk for the over 75s Good news for those aged over 75, with a study from the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products, published in JAMA, finding that vaccination with Pfizer’s mRNA Comirnaty does not increase short-term risk of heat attack, stroke or other severe cardiovascular problems … Continue reading COVID Booster: pandemic pluses, summer flu and long-lasting vaccine passes its first test

Learning from vaccines: the race to make antiviral drugs

It took just days for Pfizer and Moderna to design an effective mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 – a breathtaking display of the power of this state-of-the-art mRNA technology. By contrast it took years to design the first effective antiviral drugs against COVID-19, paxlovid and molnupiravir – a dismal display of how very yesteryear drug development … Continue reading Learning from vaccines: the race to make antiviral drugs

COVID Booster: Vaccine tax, sense of smell, and masking kindy teachers

Maybe young kids can still see emotions through masks One of the concerns around masking teachers is that children will have trouble detecting their teachers’ emotions, making it harder to teach. A few studies have indicated that it’s harder for older kids to detect emotions from photos of people wearing masks, but a team of … Continue reading COVID Booster: Vaccine tax, sense of smell, and masking kindy teachers

COVID Frontline: Letter from Auckland

I own a busy main street café in an affluent suburb of Auckland with my husband, his sister, and her husband. On 28 February 2020, New Zealand recorded its first COVID-19 case, and we were moved to Alert Level 2 on 21 March. With no real guidance of how to operate, we attempted to socially … Continue reading COVID Frontline: Letter from Auckland

The rollout you have when you’re not having a rollout

COVID has proven again to be the gift that keeps giving, with the Australian National University’s Australian National Dictionary Centre today announcing its word of the year. The winner is strollout (noun): the slow implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia. Strollout was chosen from a long list of words and phrases that Australians … Continue reading The rollout you have when you’re not having a rollout

COVID-19 and Aussie kids: What will the next few months look like?

Safety data for the Pfizer vaccine in the 5–11 age cohort is beginning to roll in, with a paper published in NEJM this week reporting no serious side effects in a group of 1,500 children given two shots of the vaccine at a significantly lower dosage than adults currently receive. The researchers said the vaccine … Continue reading COVID-19 and Aussie kids: What will the next few months look like?

COVID Booster: kids’ vaccines, plasma treatments, and aerosols

Did your kids see you drink more during lockdown? Alcohol consumption increased among some groups when the pandemic hit, and among many more, it moved from bars and pubs to inside the home. This means that young children may have seen their parents drinking more during lockdown. Researchers at La Trobe University have started to … Continue reading COVID Booster: kids’ vaccines, plasma treatments, and aerosols

Now that Australia is re-opening, what are the numbers that count?

About a month ago, the Victorian Department of Health made a small but important change – in a tweet. Around 8:30am, it put out the day’s new COVID numbers. But the text reporting the daily case number was small, and down the bottom of the tweet. Up top, in big bold letters: how many vaccination … Continue reading Now that Australia is re-opening, what are the numbers that count?