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Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine Efficacy Is ‘Not High,’ Top Health Official Admits

April 12, 2021

(CNN) – The efficacy of Chinese Covid-19 vaccines is “not high” and authorities are weighing options to bolster protection — including mixing different shots, China’s top disease control official has said. “The protection rates of existing vaccines are not high,” Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told a conference in the southwestern city of Chengdu on Saturday. He listed two options to solve the problem: one is to increase the number of doses, or adjust the dosage or interval between shots; the other is to mix vaccines developed from different technologies.

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South African Variant May Evade Protection from Pfizer Vaccine, Israeli Study Says

April 12, 2021

(Reuters) – The coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa may evade the protection provided by Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found, though its prevalence in the country is very low and the research has not been peer reviewed. The study, released ahead of peer review on the medRxiv website on Friday, compared almost 400 people who had tested positive for COVID-19, 14 days or more after they received one or two doses of the vaccine, against the same number of unvaccinated patients with the disease.

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The Foundations of AI Are Riddled with Errors

April 12, 2021

(Wired) – The current boom in artificial intelligence can be traced back to 2012 and a breakthrough during a competition built around ImageNet, a set of 14 million labeled images. In the competition, a method called deep learning, which involves feeding examples to a giant simulated neural network, proved dramatically better at identifying objects in images than other approaches. That kick-started interest in using AI to solve different problems. But research revealed this week shows that ImageNet and nine other key AI data sets contain many errors.

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Recent Rise in U.S. Covid-19 Cases Driven by Younger People

April 12, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – Younger people who haven’t been vaccinated are helping drive a rise in new Covid-19 cases, health officials are finding. Five states—Michigan, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey—account for some 42% of newly reported cases. In Michigan, adults aged 20 to 39 have the highest daily case rates, new data show. Case rates for children aged 19 and under are at a record, more than quadruple from a month ago. There were 301 reported school outbreaks as of early last week, up from 248 the week prior, according to state data.

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India Bans Remdesivir Exports as Coronavirus Rages On; Rallies Continue

April 12, 2021

(Reuters) – India on Sunday banned the export of anti-viral drug Remdesivir and its active pharmaceutical ingredients as demand rocketed due to a record surge in COVID-19 infections, leading to a crippling shortages in many parts. Authorities have blamed the ferocious resurgence of the virus mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks.

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New Side Effects with AstraZeneca and Janssen COVID-19 Vaccines?

April 12, 2021

(Medscape) – In addition to the unusual blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which have received extensive attention in the past couple of weeks, other safety signals are also being investigated with this vaccine, and now with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine as well, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reports.

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Clinical Trial Mix Vaccine Types to Boost COVID Protection

April 12, 2021

(Medscape) – So far, the vaccines approved in the United States have been able to stand up to the most concerning SARS-CoV-2 mutations, but the fast-multiplying variants have investigators wondering whether a vaccine mix could help protect against unknown threats. Combining different vaccine platforms — known as a heterologous prime-boost strategy — likely enhances immunity, according to Ross Kedl, PhD, from the University of Colorado in Aurora. The strategy has been used in animal studies for decades, “and it is well known that this promotes a much better immune response than when immunizing with the same vaccine twice,” he told Medscape Medical News.

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