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Vaccine woes not Mulroney's fault Trudeau has faulted everyone but himself for poor shape of domestic drug industry Calgary Herald 20 Mar 2021 LICIA CORBE

You haven't noticed this?  It came in the same Liberal box labeled law abiding, daily vetted gun owners being compared to a pyromaniac serial killer, wife abusing,  police impersonator with illeg

If diversity is our strength, how do you rationalize Islamic extremism??? It’s a diverse point of view...but one should not hide behind the proclamation “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”...why

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Over 60 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka are coronavirus variants of concern: top doctor

 

COVID-19 variants of concern make up over 60 per cent of coronavirus cases in Simcoe Muskoka, concerning the region's top doctor and prompting him to recommend the move back to the grey-lockdown zone of the province's reopening framework.

Dr. Charles Gardner, the medical officer of health for Simcoe Muskoka, held a news conference Sunday afternoon to provide his reasons for the recommendation as he said many in his community wanted to know why.

The doctor said since the announcement of the move on Friday, he received calls from local officials and e-mails from small businesses. The province used its emergency brake, placing Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and Thunder Bay District Health Unit into the most restrictive category of its coloured-tiered framework for COVID-19 restrictions.

Since the B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom, was detected in a long-term care home in Barrie, the region has seen a spread of the variants in other facilities and workplaces. There are currently 185 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in Simcoe Muskoka.

"The characteristics of this strain are very serious, that it spreads very readily, that it is more severe in its impact," Gardner said.

 

 

 

https://www.cp24.com/news/over-60-per-cent-of-covid-19-cases-in-simcoe-muskoka-are-coronavirus-variants-of-concern-top-doctor-1.5327865?cid=sm%3Atrueanthem%3Acp24%3Apost&utm_campaign=trueAnthem%3A+Trending+Content&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR1dcaoyEoQPW-LL3aCkOPBsyXQhMaJRJRZQGNNBhnUKmV-QKtcvp6rTii0

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Will be interesting to follow developments here the next month or so...

 


Republican Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced on Tuesday that the state will be fully reopening businesses starting Wednesday

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This is one of two things.....(1) Even the Scientific community is suffering like the rest of us from Covid fatigue, ..or....(2) extremely sobering news 

When will it end?’: New data suggests COVID-19 could become endemic

Chris Murray, a University of Washington disease expert whose projections on COVID-19 infections and deaths are closely followed worldwide, is changing his assumptions about the course of the pandemic.

Murray had until recently been hopeful that the discovery of several effective vaccines could help countries achieve herd immunity, or nearly eliminate transmission through a combination of inoculation and previous infection.

But in the last month, data from a vaccine trial in South Africa showed not only that a rapidly-spreading coronavirus variant could dampen the effect of the vaccine, it could also evade natural immunity in people who had been previously infected.

I couldn’t sleep” after seeing the data, Murray, director of the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told Reuters.

 

When will it end?” he asked himself, referring to the pandemic. He is currently updating his model to account for variants’ ability to escape natural immunity and expects to provide new projections as early as this week.

A new consensus is emerging among scientists, according to Reuters interviews with 18 specialists who closely track the pandemic or are working to curb its impact.

Many described how the breakthrough late last year of two vaccines with around 95% efficacy against COVID-19 had initially sparked hope that the virus could be largely contained, similar to the way measles has been.

But, they say, data in recent weeks on new variants from South Africa and Brazil has undercut that optimism. They now believe that SARS-CoV-2 will not only remain with us as an endemic virus, continuing to circulate in communities, but will likely cause a significant burden of illness and death for years to come.

As a result, the scientists said, people could expect to continue to take measures such as routine mask-wearing and avoiding crowded places during COVID-19 surges, especially for people at high risk.

 

Even after vaccination, “I still would want to wear a mask if there was a variant out there,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden, said in an interview. “All you need is one little flick of a variant (sparking) another surge, and there goes your prediction” about when life gets back to normal.

Some scientists, including Murray, acknowledge that the outlook could improve. The new vaccines, which have been developed at record speed, still appear to prevent hospitalizations and death even when new variants are the cause of infection.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Many vaccine developers are working on booster shots and new inoculations that could preserve a high level of efficacy against the variants. And, scientists say there is still much to be learned about the immune system’s ability to combat the virus.

Already, COVID-19 infection rates have declined in many countries since the start of 2021, with some dramatic reductions in severe illness and hospitalizations among the first groups of people to be vaccinated.

Worse than flu

Murray said if the South African variant, or similar mutants, continue to spread rapidly, the number of COVID-19 cases resulting in hospitalization or death this coming winter could be four times higher than the flu.

The rough estimate assumes a 65% effective vaccine given to half of a country’s population. In a worst-case scenario, that could represent as many as 200,000 U.S. deaths related to COVID-19 over the winter period, based on federal government estimates of annual flu fatalities.

His institute’s current forecast, which runs to June 1, assumes there will be an additional 62,000 U.S. deaths and 690,000 global deaths from COVID-19 by that point. The model includes assumptions about vaccination rates as well as the transmissibility of the South African and Brazilian variants.

 

The shift in thinking among scientists has influenced more cautious government statements about when the pandemic will end. Britain last week said it expects a slow emergence from one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, despite having one of the fastest vaccination drives.

U.S. government predictions of a return to a more normal lifestyle have been repeatedly pushed back, most recently from late summer to Christmas, and then to March 2022. Israel issues “Green Pass” immunity documents to people who have recovered from COVID-19 or been vaccinated, allowing them back into hotels or theaters. The documents are only valid for six months because it’s not clear how long immunity will last.

What does it mean to be past the emergency phase of this pandemic?,” said Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

While some experts have asked whether countries could completely eradicate any case of COVID-19 through vaccines and stringent lockdowns, Baral sees the goals as more modest, but still meaningful. “In my mind, it’s that hospitals aren’t full, the ICUs aren’t full, and people aren’t tragically passing,” he said.

Scientific whiplash

From the beginning, the new coronavirus has been a moving target.

Early in the pandemic, leading scientists warned that the virus could become endemic and “may never go away,” including Dr. Michael Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program.

Yet they had much to learn, including whether it would be possible to develop a vaccine against the virus and how quickly it would mutate. Would it be more like measles, which can be kept almost entirely at bay in communities with high rates of inoculation, or flu, which infects millions globally each year?

For much of 2020, many scientists were surprised and reassured that the coronavirus had not changed significantly enough to become more transmissible, or deadly.

A major breakthrough came in November. Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE as well as Moderna Inc said their vaccines were around 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 in clinical trials, an efficacy rate that is much higher than any flu shot.

 

At least a few of the scientists Reuters interviewed said even in the wake of those results, they hadn’t expected the vaccines to wipe out the virus. But many told Reuters that the data raised hope within the scientific community that it would be possible to virtually eliminate COVID-19, if only the world could be vaccinated quickly enough.

“We all felt quite optimistic before Christmas with those first vaccines,” said Azra Ghani, chair in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London. “We didn’t necessarily expect such high-efficacy vaccines to be possible in that first generation.”

The optimism proved short-lived. In late December, the UK warned of a new, more transmissible variant that was quickly becoming the dominant form of the coronavirus in the country. Around the same time, researchers learned of the impact of the faster-spreading variants in South Africa and in Brazil.

Phil Dormitzer, a top vaccine scientist at Pfizer, told Reuters in November that the U.S. drugmaker’s vaccine success signaled the virus was “vulnerable to immunization” in what he called “a breakthrough for humanity.” By early January, he acknowledged the variants heralded “a new chapter” in which companies will have to constantly monitor for mutations that could dampen the effect of vaccines.

In late January, the impact on vaccines became even clearer. Novavax’s clinical trial data showed its vaccine was 89% effective in a UK trial, but just 50% effective at preventing COVID-19 in South Africa. That was followed a week later by data showing the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine offered only limited protection from mild disease against the South African variant.

The most recent change of heart was considerable, several of the scientists told Reuters. Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in San Diego, described it as “scientific whiplash”: In December, he had believed it was plausible to achieve so-called “functional eradication” of the coronavirus, similar to measles.

Now, “getting as many people vaccinated as possible is still the same answer and the same path forward as it was on December 1 or January 1,” Crotty said, “but the expected outcome isn’t the same.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/7675174/coronavirus-pandemic-end7675174/?utm_source=GlobalNews&utm_medium=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR3MdSY5eYgkj4DtTCo0PFZGEgzzFyb1ms51llRbGlNoh4bhVPhBeLto-Mg

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Happening as we speak...Because of the serious contagion factor of some new variants, hospitals are now requiring the use of Goggles AND Masks, which was incidentally  recommended by the CDC last August.

 

 

https://www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/HealthU/2020/08/20/should-you-wear-goggles-for-coronavirus-protection/

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One year in, there's still no definitive evidence COVID-19 wasn’t a 'lab leak' 

The WHO's promised international probe into the virus' Chinese origins has been deeply flawed

It is now precisely one year since the World Health Organization officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. In the interim 12 months, the health agency has not deviated much from its initial claim that this disease formed in a wild animal before spontaneously crossing the species barrier into humans.

Although virtually every other disease outbreak in history has indeed sprung from nature, COVID-19 has never fully escaped the association that it just happened to emerge within steps of a Chinese virology lab with questionable security practices that specialized in coronaviruses. Twelve months later, not much has emerged to disprove the notion that the world’s first COVID-19 patient might have been a Wuhan lab employee who accidentally picked it up at work.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology is China’s first BSL-4 laboratory; a rare classification given only to facilities equipped to deal with the world’s most dangerous pathogens. In recent years this had included leading research on coronaviruses. Specifically, on bat coronaviruses, the kind believed to be most closely related to the virus that causes COVID-19.

 

In 2018, long before any notion of COVID-19 existed, U.S. diplomats fresh from a visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology drafted a cable to Washington warning that the facility’s lax standards risked sparking a pandemic. “The new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory,” thecable said, according to the Washington Post.

As covered this week in Politico, the State Department would further claim, in January, 2021, to have evidence that staff at the institute had showed COVID-19-like symptoms as early as the autumn of 2019.

The cables were far from the only time a high-security Chinese virology lab got into trouble for cavalier behaviour with potentially globe-altering pathogens. In 2013, the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute was accused of “appalling irresponsibility” for a study that deliberately mixed avian and human influenza in order to create a new and potentially deadly hybrid.

“It’s a fabulous piece of virology by the Chinese group and it’s very impressive, but they haven’t been thinking clearly about what they are doing. It’s very worrying,” Simon Wain-Hobson, a virologist at Paris’ Pasteur Institute told The Independent at the time. Wain-Hobson added that the Harbin lab may well have created a virus with the potential to cause between 500,000 and 100 million deaths worldwide.

The Wuhan lab also had ties to a serious security breach at Canada’s own National Microbiology Laboratory. In July 2019, researcher Xiangguo Qiu was escorted by RCMP from the Winnipeg facility allegedly due to questions surrounding a shipment of Ebola and henipavirus samples. The pathogens were sent to Wuhan from the National Microbiology Laboratory in March 2019.

It was Australia who first led the charge for a thorough probe into the origins of COVID-19. For their trouble, the Aussies were hit with a wave of threatened Chinese sanctions, and warnings to Chinese students to avoid the “racist” island nation.

The WHO initially balked at the Australian proposal. By contrast, the WHO’s own early reports had nothing but praise for Beijing’s management of the crisis. The Chinese government was responsible for the most “ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history,” according to a February 2020 joint mission report. That same report also praised “the deep commitment of the Chinese people to collective action in the face of this common threat.”

Ultimately, however, the UN agency would authorize a neutered version of what Australia had first proposed. In the U.S., even the pro-WHO administration of President Joe Biden expressed “deep concerns” about their methods, and demanded a final report that would be free of “alteration by the Chinese government.”

In January, a team of 10 researchers were dispatched to China for two weeks to review medical records and conduct interviews under the strict supervision of the Chinese government. The team made a brief visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology on Feb. 3, with British zoologist Peter Daszak telling journalists that they would be “asking all the questions that need to be asked.”

It would be naïve to assume that any of the Wuhan microbiologists interviewed by the WHO team were speaking freely. Since the first days of COVID-19, Chinese authorities have actively threatened medical professionals who contradicted the official line out of Beijing. Most famously, this included Li Wenliang, a Wuhan ophthalmologist who became a folk hero in China after his early warnings about the disease earned him censure from the Wuhan Public Safety Bureau.

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“If the officials had disclosed information about the epidemic earlier I think it would have been a lot better,” Wenliang told the New York Times just a few days before his death from COVID-19 on Feb. 7, 2020.

Microbiologist Dominic Dwyer was the Australian member of the WHO investigative team. Although Dwyer discounted the lab leak theory in a recent blog post for The Conversation, he also reported that their investigation was marred by clear political tension.

 

Dominic Dwyer, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), gestures as he responds to journalists’ questions, from a balcony at a hotel in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 29, 2021. Dominic Dwyer, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), gestures as he responds to journalists’ questions, from a balcony at a hotel in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 29, 2021. PHOTO BY THOMAS PETER FOR REUTERS

 

So it was apparent and there were people from foreign affairs in China attending our meetings and so on. It was at times tense, but always very well mannered and good humoured,” Dwyer told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In regards to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Dwyer would also say that “the group wasn’t designed to go and do a forensic examination of lab practice.”

In December, an AP probe found that the Chinese government was showering money on research into COVID-19’s origins, but closely censoring results through a specialized task force. Chinese researchers working with bat coronaviruses, meanwhile, have seen samples confiscated and been ordered not to speak to the press.

On Feb. 9, the team at the centre of the WHO investigation held a press conference in Wuhan where they largely dismissed the lab leak theory.

What they did lend credence to, according to the journal Nature, was the claim, oft-pushed by the Chinese government, that recent outbreaks of COVID-19 in the country could be blamed on foreign frozen food imports. One Australian immunologist quoted by the journal was dubious of the claim, but said the team might have access to Chinese data which is not currently public.

• Email: thopper@nationalpost.com | Twitter: TristinHopper

https://nationalpost.com/news/one-year-in-theres-still-no-definitive-evidence-covid-19-wasnt-a-lab-leak?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR1fPQeBRgMAc_Jwu4ZgsXaUx5bQNESpjshQNbgOm3FIEndO9_TAbBchjrg#Echobox=1615461122

 

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The last thing the TDS crowd will do is give credit where is due.

 

“On January 15, in its last days, President Donald Trump’s State Department put out a statement with serious claims about the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. The statement said the U.S. intelligence community had evidence that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory were sick with Covid-like symptoms in autumn 2019—implying the Chinese government had hidden crucial information about the outbreak for months—and that the WIV lab, despite “presenting itself as a civilian institution,” was conducting secret research projects with the Chinese military. The State Department alleged a Chinese government cover-up and asserted that “Beijing continues today to withhold vital information that scientists need to protect the world from this deadly virus, and the next one.”

The exact origin of the new coronavirus remains a mystery to this day, but the search for answers is not just about assigning blame. Unless the source is located, the true path of the virus can’t be traced, and scientists can’t properly study the best ways to prevent future outbreaks.

 

Continued >>>>

 

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/03/08/josh-rogin-chaos-under-heaven-wuhan-lab-book-excerpt-474322

 

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The damage is done’: Europe’s caution over AstraZeneca vaccine could have far-reaching consequences

LONDON — The decision by many European countries to suspend the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus shot could have far-reaching consequences, according to analysts, with vaccine uptake and the wider immunization program already lagging in the region.

Sweden and Latvia on Tuesday became the latest countries to suspend the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot concerns. The move follows Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Ireland, among other European nations, to have temporarily paused the use of the vaccine as a precaution while checks are made into whether there is a link between the shot and an increased risk of blood clots.

 

The World Health Organization, drug regulators and the vaccine maker itself have sought to downplay ongoing safety concerns, saying there is currently no evidence to suggest a link between the shot and an increased risk of developing blood clots, which are a common occurrence among the general population

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/16/europes-suspension-of-astrazenecas-covid-vaccine-is-damaging.html

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On 3/16/2021 at 6:37 AM, Jaydee said:

The damage is done’: Europe’s caution over AstraZeneca vaccine could have far-reaching consequences

LONDON — The decision by many European countries to suspend the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus shot could have far-reaching consequences, according to analysts, with vaccine uptake and the wider immunization program already lagging in the region.

Sweden and Latvia on Tuesday became the latest countries to suspend the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot concerns. The move follows Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Ireland, among other European nations, to have temporarily paused the use of the vaccine as a precaution while checks are made into whether there is a link between the shot and an increased risk of blood clots.

 

The World Health Organization, drug regulators and the vaccine maker itself have sought to downplay ongoing safety concerns, saying there is currently no evidence to suggest a link between the shot and an increased risk of developing blood clots, which are a common occurrence among the general population

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/16/europes-suspension-of-astrazenecas-covid-vaccine-is-damaging.html

OMG.  
 

I posted this innocent and factual article from CNBC to a Facebook page and they deleted it. Said it went against community standards. 
 

What is this world coming to !!!
 

 

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2 hours ago, Jaydee said:

I posted this innocent and factual article from CNBC to a Facebook page and they deleted it. Said it went against community standards. 

Agreed, and to a large extent I've turned the page now; as a result my footprint here (and elsewhere) will be considerably less in the future. I see little point in discussion anymore so I'll just show up on voting day.

Interestingly enough, the trigger for this occurred just a few days ago. I have always considered the moment school graduation ceremonies became segregated by race, religion, gender (etc) to be worthy of a "crossing the line ceremony" and that occurrence was always somewhere off in the future, always something to be avoided, always a threshold and bridge too far. For the sake of clarity, the navy marks arctic circle and equator crossings with a ceremony and for young sailors it stands as a significant moment in time that can be easily identified by the time and location it actually happens. For me, this was that.

Columbia University recently announced they they will be doing as many as 6 separate graduation ceremonies now. This has gone mostly unnoticed (I think) but represents a significant milestone for me and identifies the exact instant at which I perceive that insanity and buffoonery needs to run its course until the masses howl. There is no longer any need to point out the nature of change, it's now hiding in plain view with all of it's consequences on full display. 

It's time for us to collectively experience those consequences and pay our bills.

 

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18 hours ago, Airband said:

Whew! That's a relief, it's all been a hoax.

I hope they don’t get castigated for expressing an opinion. It hasn’t turned out well for those that preceded them. Governments, and Social media giants can’t stand when someone goes against their narrative.

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Vaccine woes not Mulroney's fault

Trudeau has faulted everyone but himself for poor shape of domestic drug industry

  • Calgary Herald
  • 20 Mar 2021
  • LICIA CORBELLA Licia Corbella is a Postmedia columnist in Calgary. lcorbella@postmedia.com Twitter: @Liciacorbella
img?regionKey=IoaVeieI%2fmxAEKTjXkqXkA%3d%3dCP PICTURE ARCHIVES Brian Mulroney's government made vital regulatory changes to create a modern and viable innovative Canadian pharmaceutical industry, writes Licia Corbella.

For months now, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has blamed everyone for Canada's trickle of COVID-19 vaccines but himself.

Trudeau and his ministers have gone so far as to blame former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney — who was prime minister from 1984 to 1993 — for the privatization, or “the selling off”, of Connaught Laboratories. What he fails to mention is that Connaught Labs didn't go anywhere. It's now part of Sanofi Pasteur, the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines. The Connaught Campus in Toronto accounts for one-fifth of the company's global vaccine sales.

Experts in Canada's innovative pharmaceutical industry

— as opposed to the generic pharmaceutical industry — says Trudeau's attempt to pin the blame on Mulroney or a more recent Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, is ironic, because were it not for Mulroney, the innovative industry likely wouldn't exist here at all.

Paul Lucas, who was president and CEO of Glaxosmithkline Canada from 1994 to 2012, started speaking out and wrote an opinion piece in the Financial Post after he heard federal Liberal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic Leblanc being interviewed on CTV'S Power Play with Evan Solomon, saying that Glaxosmithkline had closed its manufacturing facility for vaccines during Harper's Conservative government, which is false.

“This facility didn't close, it's still producing most of the flu vaccine for Canada on an annual basis,” Lucas said during a recent telephone interview.

“I've been very concerned and frankly upset about the lies that are coming from the federal government about this whole (COVID vaccine) file,” says Lucas, who was integral to the production and distribution of the Canadian vaccine for the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. All of the vaccine for that outbreak was produced in the GSK factory in Quebec City.

“Trudeau has badly botched Canada's COVID-19 vaccine procurement,” states Lucas.

“First, he blamed Harper for his own failings. Then he blamed Mulroney and then he blamed the provinces. Then he actually turned on his own vaccine task force. He blamed them for about a day or two. Then he blamed the companies — Pfizer for delaying the delivery of its vaccines in January,” explains Lucas.

“So, you know it's been a blame game from their end, and he's got, you know, 50 per cent support of the population in Ontario, so that's absolutely astonishing to me,” says Lucas, “because people are dying because of his government botching this so badly.”

Canada is at the back of the line in the industrialized world and is even behind some developing countries because Trudeau's government signed a deal with Cansino Biologics and the Chinese military to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Given the toxic state of Canada-china relations and the propensity of China to steal intellectual property and break deals, it was a bizarre partnership.

On May 16, 2020, Trudeau announced that the federal department of health had entered into a deal with Cansino. According to documents obtained by Calgary Conservative MP and Opposition Health Critic Michelle Rempel Garner, three days later the government learned the deal fell apart.

Despite knowing on May 19 that China was breaking its deal with Canada, the Trudeau government waited until the end of August to enter into vaccine contracts with Pfizer, far behind other countries. On July 16, Trudeau pretended that the partnership with China was still a go.

According to Our World in Data, as of March 17, Canada ranks 51st in terms of the percentage of citizens (1.62 per cent) who have been vaccinated with at least one shot against COVID-19 — well behind Israel (48.68 per cent), Chile (13.22 per cent), the U.S. (12.18 per cent) and even Morocco (5.8 per cent).

Lucas says not only did Mulroney not destroy the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Canada, he has really been its only champion by bringing in Bill C-22 in 1987 and later Bill C-91 in 1992.

That legislation promoted intellectual property by protecting drug patents for up to 20 years, which led to billions of dollars of investment, research and development to flood into Canada, says Lucas.

So vital were the Mulroney government's regulatory changes in creating a modern and viable innovative Canadian pharmaceutical industry, that in 2007 he was awarded the Health Research Foundation's Medal of Honour — placing him in the distinguished company of Nobel laureate Dr. Charles Best, co-discoverer of insulin, Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, Dr. Wilder Penfield, founder of the Montreal Neurological Institute at Mcgill University and other R&D heavy hitters.

Back in 1968, explains Lucas, then prime minister Pierre Trudeau got rid of patents for pharmaceuticals in Canada, which led to the decline of the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Canada and caused the growth of the generic pharmaceutical industry, “which was in the pockets of the federal Liberal party” and led to Canada having the highest generic drug prices in the OECD.

“The Liberal party was always very opposed to the innovative pharmaceutical industry and Mulroney was really the guy who tried to turn it around, and he did, but the Liberals came back in with (prime minister Jean) Chretien (in 1993) and we were back in the Dark Ages,” explains Lucas, who says he can speak openly because he retired in 2012.

He says, “Harper improved things by passing new data protection laws, which helped the industry in terms of intellectual property protection.

“Now this Trudeau government's come in and I mean, they've been anti-, anti-, anti-innovative pharmaceutical industry,” says Lucas.

When Mulroney ushered in “Canada's golden age for biotechnology in Canada,” he brought in the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, (PMPRB), which ensured there was a balanced ceiling to what companies could charge for their new medicines to protect consumers but also to encourage more research and development.

Lucas says Trudeau's government appears poised to put the final nail in the coffin of the innovative industry by making amendments to the PMPRB'S Patented Medicines Regulation, which has been delayed twice, and is now expected to come into effect on July 1.

“This law may be the point of no return for Canada and the innovative pharmaceutical industry,” concludes Lucas. “I hate to say that, but it could very well be the last straw in the relationship between the innovative industry and this country.”

Pamela Fralick, president of Innovative Medicines Canada, says as the industry's representative in Canada, they have tried to get the ear of the federal government, to no avail.

“The cost containment measures in these new regulations are so extreme, as third-party assessments have determined them to be, it really is going to put Canadians at a huge disadvantage for gaining access to the most innovative drugs that are out there,” says Fralick, who was the president and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society before joining IMC.

“This year alone, 39 new medications — for the treatment of cancer, Parkinson's, and HIV, to name a few — have not been submitted to Health Canada for approval due to the uncertainty created by this proposed policy change,” she adds.

“It takes on average about $2.5 billion to bring a product to market and usually 10 to 15 years, so it's a lot of time and a lot of risk,” she explains.

“Most of the research and the products these companies produce never make it, so when you make something that does, you have that 20 years of patent protection to bring it to market and recoup your investment.”

When was the last time, asked Fralick, that the generic pharmaceutical industry created a new vaccine? “Of course it doesn't happen. That's an oxymoron. They don't do innovative work, so if you want innovation — vaccines for COVID-19, for example — you need to have the innovative pharmaceutical world being very functional and vibrant.”

Thankfully, many other countries are not so antagonistic to the industry or the world would be stuck in COVID-19 lockdowns for years to come.

“Our concerns about the federal government's new regulations is that they go far too far in cost containment and they don't respect or I guess even accept that maybe Canada should want these companies to invest in this country. We already do invest a lot, by the way, but we could compete globally for a lot more investment if we had an environment that was a little bit more favourable to the innovative business,” said Fralick, adding that the industry employs 30,000 Canadians in high-paying jobs and contributes $19 billion to the Canadian economy.

She says over a time span of two years, 30 global CEOS from multinational pharmaceutical companies have written to Trudeau four times seeking a meeting — from February 2018 to February 2020 — just weeks before COVID-19 started to wreak havoc on countries outside of China where it originated.

“Not only didn't they get a meeting, the prime minister never even responded. For the first letter, what we got back was an unsigned memo from the correspondence unit of the strategic policy branch of Health Canada,” says Fralick. For the other three letters, Trudeau's office never responded at all, neither did his health minister.

Is it any wonder Trudeau was so hesitant to pick up the phone and call Pfizer's CEO, Albert Bourla, when shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine were delayed in January as the company expanded the capacity of its plant in Belgium?

“So, whether it's Pierre Trudeau, or Justin Trudeau or whether it's Jean Chretien, they just have not been open to the idea of a vibrant life sciences sector,” says Fralick, and that affects the entire “ecosystem” of the sector, from little startups, like Calgary's Providence Therapeutics or Vancouver's Abcellera.

One current pharmaceutical executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “Every time Trudeau tries to blame Mulroney for his own government's failures in procuring COVID vaccines in a timely manner, my colleagues and I all think, `Can you believe this guy? He can say white is black and black is white and no one challenges him.'”

Lucas says you'd think Trudeau and his ministers would have learned about the importance of the innovative pharmaceutical industry as a result of this pandemic.

“There's no relationship between Trudeau's government and the industry. It's worse than non-existent — it's hostile as a result of the federal government's attitude,” says Lucas.

So, not only are Canadians at the back of the line for life-saving and economy-boosting vaccines, but Trudeau's hostility to the life-sciences industry is also killing off our potential of fighting off future pandemics and building a lucrative industry at the same time that can help the whole world.

Too bad there's no vaccine to inoculate us all against this kind of government incompetence.

There's no relationship between Trudeau's government and the industry. It's worse than non-existent — it's hostile.

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This year alone, 39 new medications — for the treatment of cancer, Parkinson's, and HIV, to name a few — have not been submitted to Health Canada for approval due to the uncertainty created by this proposed policy change,

 

 

I am left wondering how many lives lost this equates to ???

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High vitamin D levels may protect against COVID-19, especially for Black people: study

Published Sunday, March 21, 2021 12:26PM EDT

SASKATOON -- As people begin to soak up more of the springtime sun, the rays may offer more than just a reprieve from cabin fever.

A new study finds that COVID-19 patients, particularly Black patients, with high vitamin D levels may have a lower risk of being infected with COVID-19.

University of Chicago Medicine researchers, who published their findings in the medical journal JAMA Open Network, studied 3,000 patients who had their vitamin D levels tested within two weeks before a COVID-19 test.

 

“These new results tell us that having vitamin D levels above those normally considered sufficient is associated with decreased risk of testing positive for COVID-19, at least in Black individuals,” lead author of the study Dr. David Meltzer said in a press release.

Vitamin D can be produced by the body in response to skin’s exposure to sunlight, but can also be obtained through diet and supplements. Meltzer explained that people with darker skin generally have lower levels of vitamin D.

Doctors mostly recommend vitamin D levels of 30 ng/ml to be sufficient for people to be healthy. But the study found Black patients whose levels were between 30 to 40 ng/ml had a 2.6 times higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 -- compared to those with levels of 40 ng/ml.

“This supports arguments for designing clinical trials that can test whether or not vitamin D may be a viable intervention to lower the risk of the disease, especially in persons of colour," Meltzer, who’s also chief of Hospital Medicine at UChicago Medicine, added.

Now, his team are testing how effective vitamin D supplements are at preventing COVID-19 in general.

The researchers have been examining the relationship between the likelihood of being infected and vitamin D levels for months, with this study following an earlier one that found that a vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/ml) may actually raise the risk of testing positive for COVID-19.

The connection between vitamin D and COVID-19 is turning out to be a hot target for scientists.

A separate study found more than 80 per cent of those diagnosed with COVID-19 were vitamin D deficient. And another study, presented virtually at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting this weekend, found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients with low vitamin D levels were less likely to die or require ventilators if they were given supplements of the compound.

Although Metzer said a lot of research has been done on vitamin D’s impact on bone health, there’s only been some evidence that vitamin D might improve immune function and decrease inflammation. He said his latest study shows that past studies may not have used enough vitamin D to truly examine its impact on the immune system.

But Meltzer cautions that this was an observational study, meaning it didn’t determine a direct cause and effect between vitamin D and contracting COVID-19.

"We can see that there's an association between vitamin D levels and likelihood of a COVID-19 diagnosis, but we don't know exactly why that is, or whether these results are due to the vitamin D directly or other related biological factors."

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New study finds delaying second doses of COVID vaccine could put lives at risk 

Canada has dropped the ball by delaying second doses by 105 days to cover up its supply shortfalls

The Liberal government’s failure to procure enough COVID-19 vaccines is hurting the economy, which is why many provinces have opted to delay the second dose in order to get as many people partially vaccinated as possible in short order. But a new study out of the United Kingdom suggests this strategy could be putting lives at risk.

Pfizer and Moderna recommend that their two doses be given around 21 days apart, but Health Canada and the National Advisory Council on Immunization have agreed to stretch it out to 105 days, solely because of Ottawa’s procurement bungling.

A new study out of the U.K., which was conducted by a team at King’s College London and the Francis Crick Institute, found that delays in administering the second dose of more than 21 days leaves cancer patients vulnerable to COVID-19.

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that people who have had cancer are less “protected” if they have to wait for their second shot. Lead scientist Dr. Sheeba Irshad also said that leaving people unprotected for many weeks could give new variants the chance to emerge and allow the virus to spread among family members caring for patients.

In Canada, there are roughly 225,800 new cancer cases each year and two million Canadians have had, or currently suffer from, the disease. Cancer incidence climbs with age.

 

People line up outside of a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto for their COVID-19 vaccine. People line up outside of a Shoppers Drug Mart in Toronto for their COVID-19 vaccine. PHOTO BY PETER J THOMPSON/NATIONAL POST

The study showed that three weeks after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, an antibody response was found in only 39 per cent of those with cancer, compared to 97 per cent for those without. If a second dose occurred three weeks after the first, the cancer patients’ antibody responses sharply rose and matched those of the others. If delayed, the response stayed around 39 per cent.

“One size does not fit all,” Irshad told the BBC. “Cancer treatments have profound effects on the immune system and cancer patients’ immune mechanisms are inferior. We need to be concerned about other vaccines (in addition to Pfizer’s) for this population, too. They do need a second dose quickly.”

Irshad recommended that Britain’s 12-week gap (Canada’s now stands at 15 weeks) should be reviewed immediately. The charity Breast Cancer Now has called on the U.K.’s vaccine committee to “urgently review the evidence presented in this study and consider adapting its strategy” to give people with cancer both doses within three weeks.

Cancer Research UK said the small study was interesting, but a spokesman noted that, “Anyone undergoing cancer treatment should continue to follow the advice of their doctors and we encourage all who can to take up the vaccine.”

https://financialpost.com/diane-francis/diane-francis-new-study-finds-delaying-second-doses-of-covid-vaccine-could-put-lives-at-risk
 

 

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U.S. health body questions AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine trial data

AstraZeneca may have released outdated information on its latest COVID-19 vaccine trial, giving an “incomplete” picture of its efficacy, a leading U.S. health agency said on Tuesday, casting doubt on the shot’s potential U.S. rollout and plunging its developers, once again, into controversy.

 

 

The surprise public rebuke from federal health officials comes just one day after interim data from the drugmaker showed better-than-expected results from the U.S. trial. That had been seen as a scientific counter to concerns that have dogged the shot over its effectiveness and possible side effects.

The vaccine, developed with Oxford University, was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic illness in the large trial that also took place in Chile and Peru, according to the data. It was also 100% effective against severe or critical forms of the disease and hospitalisation, and posed no increased risk of blood clots.

The Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), an independent committee overseeing the trial, has "expressed concern that AstraZeneca may have included outdated information from that trial, which may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data," the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said in a statement bit.ly/3scE3ji released after midnight in the United States.

 

“We urge the company to work with the DSMB to review the efficacy data and ensure the most accurate, up-to-date efficacy data be made public as quickly as possible,” it said, adding that the DSMB had informed AstraZeneca of its concerns.

AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-astrazeneca-u-s-idCAKBN2BF0CV


 

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A very clear shift': Younger people getting sicker, faster with COVID, doctors say 

It’s not clear what’s driving that shift, but doctors say highly contagious variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are undoubtedly playing a role

Younger people are getting more severely ill with COVID, and more quickly, prompting desperate “rescue”  interventions for people as young as 22 at one Toronto Hospital.

On Monday, 17 people with COVID-19 were connected to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, at Toronto General Hospital, the highest number since the pandemic began. Their ages ranged from  22 to 61. Four are in their 20s or 30s.

The demographics of COVID-19 infection are clearly changing from the spring (of 2020),” Solomon said. In Canada, new infections are highest among the 20- to 29-year-olds, a more mobile and socially active group, but whether the new variants alone are contributing to more younger people being hospitalized “is hard to know for sure,” Solomon said.

 

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/a-very-clear-shift-younger-people-getting-sicker-faster-with-covid-doctors-say

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