People wait to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus in the Winding Wheel Theatre, Chesterfield, Britain. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said on Wednesday it will work with a German biopharmaceutical company to develop new vaccines targeting emerging variants of COVID-19 as a British minister said, “There are around 4,000 variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 around the world.
Now all vaccine manufacturers including Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc are trying to improve their vaccines amid concerns that some mutations are making the virus harder to combat.
GSK plans to invest 150 million euros ($181 million) to support the research of the Tubingen, Germany-based CureVac, which is developing vaccines that use messenger RNA to attack the disease. GSK also said it will help make up to 100 million doses of the company’s existing COVID-19 vaccine candidate this year.
"The increase in emerging variants with the potential to reduce the efficacy of first generation COVID-19 vaccines requires acceleration of efforts to develop vaccines against new variants to keep one step ahead of the pandemic,’’ the companies said in a statement.
The announcement comes as public health officials around the world raise concerns about new virus variants that are more contagious or resistant to existing vaccines. While viruses mutate constantly, most of the changes cause little concern. But scientists are closely tracking these mutations to make sure they quickly identify variants of concern.
“Its very unlikely that the current vaccine won't be effective on the variants whether in Kent or other variants especially when it comes to severe illness and hospitalisation,” Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky.
“All manufacturers, Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and others are looking at how they can improve their vaccine to make sure that we are ready for any variant — there are about 4,000 variants around the world of Covid now.”
The World Health Organization says its survey, conducted between June and August in 130 countries, is the first to detail the "devastating impact” of COVID-19 on access to mental health services.
Infections have been reported in 210 countries since the first cases were identified in China in December last year and British aid minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said assisting the poorest nations now would help prevent the virus returning to the United Kingdom.
As health officials issued warnings on Tuesday against reopening economies too quickly, the coronavirus struck inside some of the world’s superpowers, with a top aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin diagnosed just days after US Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary also tested positive.
Afghan government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Monday that special forces had arrested the person responsible for the embassy attack. "This person is a citizen of a foreign country and a member of Daesh," he said.
The Bharatiya janata Party (BJP) looks all set to form the government in Gujarat for a record seventh time, according a slew of exit polls released on Thursday.
The three teachers, all in their 30s, reportedly told investigators that their treatment of the toddlers was "discipline,” while the director said he had the document signed only to protect privacy of those involved and denied trying to cover up the abuses.