Explainer: A new variant of COVID-19

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called a special meeting to discuss a new variant of COVID-19. The variant, called B1.1.529 (for now), has a range of unusual mutations and is spreading rapidly from its first detections in Botswana and South Africa. The UK has already closed its borders to six African nations as a … Continue reading Explainer: A new variant of COVID-19

COVID Booster: vaccination payments, fluvoxamine and cancer care

Cancer care improved (on average) during the pandemic A consensus statement by 30 Australian cancer experts has found that cancer care changed during the pandemic, and – while there were some negative effects – many elements of cancer medicine got better. Telehealth and in-home care, patient access to information, and scientific collaboration all improved, but … Continue reading COVID Booster: vaccination payments, fluvoxamine and cancer care

Your unvaccinated friend is roughly 20 times more likely to give you COVID

By Christopher Baker, The University of Melbourne and Andrew Robinson, The University of Melbourne As lockdowns ease in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT, and people return to work and socialising, many of us will be mixing more with others, even though a section of the community is still unvaccinated. Many vaccinated people are … Continue reading Your unvaccinated friend is roughly 20 times more likely to give you COVID

Explainer: Booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has provisionally approved a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for people aged over 18, administered six months after they receive the first two doses. This “booster dose” is designed to improve immunity to COVID-19. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), which is the official government advisor on COVID … Continue reading Explainer: Booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine

Jonas Salk wins the fight against polio

In the early 20th century, polio was, as the World Health Organisation’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative notes, one of the most feared diseases in industrialised countries, paralysing hundreds of thousands of children every year. However, soon after the introduction of effective vaccines in the 1950s and ’60s it “was brought under control and practically eliminated … Continue reading Jonas Salk wins the fight against polio

Brain strain: neurological effects of COVID and vaccines compared

Concerns about the side-effects of COVID vaccinations have been amplified during the current pandemic by both the vast quantity of data that’s accumulating, and traditional- and social-media coverage. Rare blood clots resulting from first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca (ChAdOx1nCoV-19) vaccine have been most prominently revealed. As a result there have been changes to the age … Continue reading Brain strain: neurological effects of COVID and vaccines compared

COVID Booster: Vaxzevria, refugees and omni-vaccines

Vaxzevria: harder to spell, easier to stamp, same stuff inside The AstraZeneca vaccine has received a name change in Australia, going from “COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca” to “Vaxzevria”. This represents a change in branding around the specific vaccine, rather than the name of the company – it’ll still probably be referred to as “AstraZeneca’s vaccine” in … Continue reading COVID Booster: Vaxzevria, refugees and omni-vaccines

What’s happening with China’s vaccines?

By Adam Taylor, Griffith University Chinese authorities have already approved multiple COVID vaccines for emergency use in the country, and nearly a million Chinese have already been vaccinated with one candidate. Several local governments are already placing orders for domestically developed vaccines, though the Chinese government hasn’t confirmed how many people it’s aiming to vaccinate … Continue reading What’s happening with China’s vaccines?

Steps to ensure that a vaccine is safe

By Paul Griffin, University of Queensland The worldwide race is on to find a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the World Health Organisation there are currently 31 vaccine candidates undergoing various phases of clinical trials around the world, including several in Australia, and another 142 in pre-clinical evaluation. But what exactly is required to prove they’re … Continue reading Steps to ensure that a vaccine is safe

100-year-old vaccine boosts immune system

Australian scientists have revealed the answer to a decades-old mystery – why does the tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) protect infants from a range of other diseases as well as TB Scientists from Perth’s Telethon Kids Institute have revealed that the BCG jab boosts the immune systems of newborn mice by creating a dramatic … Continue reading 100-year-old vaccine boosts immune system