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Johnson & Johnson halts COVID-19 vaccine trials

Johnson & Johnson recently announced that they have temporarily halted its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

Currently, the participant’s illness is being assessed and evaluated by the company’s clinical and safety physicians along with an independent data and safety monitoring board.

The company explained in a statement that they are committed to ensuring that all clinical studies are executed safely and further added that adverse events such as this are expected especially in large studies.

(Source: Channel News Asia, 2020)

Pfizer plans to commence testing of COVID-19 vaccine in children. 

Pfizer announced in a statement its plans to commence testing of COVID-19 vaccine candidates in children as young as 12 after receiving approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. Parents have also already expressed their interest in enrolling their children, according to Pfizer.

This will be the first COVID-19 vaccine trial involving children in the United States. The team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will first commence vaccinating teenagers aged 16-17-year-olds this week and will move to enroll 12-15-year-olds later.

Pfizer, one of four companies to have vaccines in advanced, Phase 3 clinical trials in the US, says it has enrolled close to 38,000 volunteers in its trials. More than 31,000 of them have received the second of two shots.

(Source: CNN Health, 2020)

A Universal Influenza Vaccine Are Being Developed By MIT Researchers

Scientists at MIT and the Ragon Institute of MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard have recently announced that they have been working on strategies for designing a universal flu vaccine that could work against any flu strain.

The vaccine is made up of nano-particles coated with flu proteins that train the immune system to create the desired antibodies. In a clinical study, it was shown that the vaccine induces an antibody response targeting that elusive protein segment when tested in mice with humanized immune systems.

The research team is excited about this new milestone as they are a step forward in developing a flu vaccine that provides immunizations against any seasonal flu strains.

(Source: GEN News, 2020)