Patterico's Pontifications


In Coronavirus Vaccine Development News

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:15 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The New York Times reports:

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana last month inoculated six rhesus macaque monkeys with single doses of the Oxford vaccine. The animals were then exposed to heavy quantities of the virus that is causing the pandemic — exposure that had consistently sickened other monkeys in the lab. But more than 28 days later all six were healthy, said Vincent Munster, the researcher who conducted the test.

“The rhesus macaque is pretty much the closest thing we have to humans,” Dr. Munster said, noting that scientists were still analyzing the result. He said he expected to share it with other scientists next week and then submit it to a peer-reviewed journal.

Immunity in monkeys is no guarantee that a vaccine will provide the same degree of protection for humans. A Chinese company that recently started a clinical trial with 144 participants, SinoVac, has also said that its vaccine was effective in rhesus macaques. But with dozens of efforts now underway to find a vaccine, the monkey results are the latest indication that Oxford’s accelerated venture is emerging as a bellwether.


More Animals Infected With New Coronavirus

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:46 am

[guest post by Dana]

Minks in the Netherlands:

Two mink farms in the Netherlands have been put into quarantine after animals were found to be infected with the new coronavirus, the agriculture ministry said on Sunday, urging people to report any other likely cases in the animals.

The mink, which were tested after showing signs of having trouble breathing, were believed to have been infected by employees who had the virus, the ministry said in a statement.

The possibility that they could further spread the virus to humans or other animals on the farms was “minimal”, the ministry said, citing advice from national health authorities.

However movement of the ferret-like mammals and their manure was banned and the ministry said it was studying the outbreak carefully, including testing the air and soil.

A family’s dog in the U.S.:

The family was involved in a study at Duke in which the mother, father and son tested positive for COVID-19. During this study, the family had their pets tested and found out their pug, Winston, had coronavirus.

Dr. Chris Woods, the principal investigator of the Duke study, said, “The virus that causes COVID-19 was detected,” and he believes it’s the first known positive case in a dog in the United States.

The family’s mother, Heather McLean, is a pediatrician at Duke. She said their dog was experiencing mild symptoms. “Pugs are a little unusual in that they cough and sneeze in a very strange way. So it almost seems like he was gagging, and there was one day when he didn’t want to eat his breakfast, and if you know pugs you know they love to eat, so that seemed very unusual,” she said.

Note (and, eew…):

“(The dog) licks all of our dinner plates and sleeps in my mom’s bed, and we’re the ones who put our faces into his face. So, it makes sense that he got (coronavirus),” said McLean’s son, Ben.

Last week, Smithsonian Magazine published a report which questioned why the virus behind the disease affects only certain animals:

In just a few months, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put billions of humans at risk. But as researchers work around the clock to understand SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the disease, some have begun to worry that countless others may be at stake: animals who could catch the germ from their distant Homo sapiens cousins.

Recent reports of SARS-CoV-2 infecting creatures such as monkeys, dogs, ferrets, domestic cats and even a tiger have raised the possibility that the pathogen could plague other species—including, perhaps, ones already imperiled by other, non-infectious threats.

…[H]umans remain the virus’ most vulnerable victims, as well as the hosts most likely to spread the disease from place to place. There is also no evidence that animals are passing the pathogen to people, says Jane Sykes, a veterinarian and animal virus researcher at the University of California, Davis. However, studying the creatures this stealthy virus has affected so far could help scientists understand what makes some species—but not others—susceptible.

Specifics detailed at the link.


Jet Blue To Require Passengers to Wear Face Masks

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:11 am

[guest post by Dana]

Flight attendants are required to wear them, and now passengers on Jet Blue will have to wear them as well:

JetBlue Airways on Monday became the first U.S. airline to announce that all passengers will have to wear a face covering on flights.

Starting May 4, passengers will be required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth during the duration of each flight and also during check-in, boarding and deplaning, according to a JetBlue statement.

“We are also asking our customers to follow these CDC guidelines in the airport as well,” said Joanna Geraghty, the airline’s president and chief operating officer. “Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself; it’s about protecting those around you.”

While flight attendants on American Airlines and United Airlines will be required to wear faces masks, passengers will not to be required to wear them. Instead, flight attendants on American Airlines will be offering masks to passengers.

Because of the lack of safety measures being taken by airlines, flight attendants are calling for leisure flights to be cancelled:

In recent days, scenes of packed airplanes with passengers not wearing masks have made the news. And while major carriers are allowing passengers to do some seat switching to help with social distancing, they are not requiring passengers to wear masks or stay six feet away from each other.

The risky situation has prompted a strong reaction from the union of flight attendants, which is calling on the Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, to “end all leisure travel until the virus is contained”—the words of Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), who penned an open letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Health Secretary Alex Azar.

Nelson’s letter points out that flight attendants have been hard hit by the virus. “At airlines employing AFA member flight attendants, at least 250 have tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and flight attendants have died as a result of the virus too,” writes Nelson.

Nelson’s impassioned letter also says that flight attendants are questioning if they are “helping to spread the virus.”

The flight attendants union is also requesting that every crew members and passenger be required to wear masks on airplanes, as well as in airports.


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