BY ERIN PRATER
First-generation vaccines were not the panacea hoped for in COVID-19’s early days. Nor did herd immunity swoop in and save the day.
Could a so-called “pan-coronavirus” vaccine be the long-awaited silver bullet that ends the COVID pandemic—and the next one, too?
Answer: It’s complicated.
“The term pan-coronavirus vaccine needs an asterisk next to it,” Dr. Stuart Ray, vice chair of medicine for data integrity and analytics at Johns Hopkins’ Department of Medicine, told Fortune.
Such a vaccine could tackle all coronaviruses, named for their crown-like appearance under a microscope. Or it could focus on COVID-19 and its myriad variants. Or it could tackle the four longstanding coronaviruses that circulate as common colds—or any combination thereof.
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After several long "winters," business is ready for an A.I. spring.
The age of artificial intelligence (A.I.) is finally upon us. Consumer applications of A.I., in particular, have come a long way, leading to more accurate search results for online shoppers, allowing apps and websites to make more personalized recommendations, and enabling voice-activated digital assistants to better understand us.
As impressive as these uses of A.I. are, they only hint at how this game-changing technology will be applied in business. Because the goal of business A.I. is to help the companies that drive our global economy learn from their data to become vastly more resilient, adaptive, and innovative.
We all know there is tremendous potential value in data, which continues to grow exponentially. In fact, the world is creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day (that's 2.5 followed by 18 zeros). To harness that potential, companies need A.I. to make sense of the data, and hybrid cloud computing platforms that can distribute it across organizations.
The economic opportunity behind these technologies is enormous, given that business is only about 10 percent of the way to realizing A.I.'s full potential.
By Arvind Krishna, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, IBM
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By Naomi Grimley
Gordon Brown has warned that the world risks "sleepwalking" into another Covid variant crisis if it does not increase vaccinations in low-income countries.
Wealthier countries needed to share the cost of global vaccinations, tests and treatments, he told the BBC.
Speaking before an international Covid summit on Thursday, the former UK prime minister said the world had become "complacent" about the virus.
US President Joe Biden is due to host the virtual summit at the White House.
He does so at a time when Congress has failed to approve key funds earmarked for the global pandemic response.
Campaigners fear that could mean other countries will not offer extra money either, leaving the push for better vaccine coverage around the world without momentum.
Mr Brown, who is a World Health Organization (WHO) ambassador on health finance, said the numbers were "shocking".
"Only 11% have been vaccinated in low-income countries and we set a target of 70%," he said.
"Tragically, we are sleepwalking into the next variant, and political leaders are still not listening to the medical advice that is still there - that we've got to increase vaccination, continue to test at a high level, and provide the new treatments available."
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is showing promising results in detecting breast cancer which may otherwise have been missed by radiologists, the largest study of its kind has found.
Researchers in Germany discovered that AI can correctly detect interval breast cancers, which develop in between routine screening rounds (usually 24 months in many countries) and can be missed and diagnosed as a false negative result.
In 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685 000 deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The peer-reviewed study showed approximately 16 per cent of interval cancers are probably visible during a previous screening while one in five may be too subtle to the human eye and can be missed by radiologists, which is known as "minimal signs".
The findings present an opportunity to detect more cancers at a screening with AI, which may help detect breast cancer earlier.
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Population-wide study of COVID-19 vaccination shows that mix-and-match approach to booster vaccination offers the best protectionRead Now
A new study on Chile’s national COVID-19 vaccination program, to be presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2022, Lisbon 23-26), and published in The Lancet Global Health, shows that giving a different type of vaccine (heterologous) for the third or ‘booster’ dose than was received for the first two doses, leads to better vaccine performance than using the same (homologous) inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for all three doses.
The study is by Dr Rafael Araos, Institute of Science and Innovation in Medicine, Clinica Alemana, Universidad del Desarrollo, Dr Alejandro Jara, and Dr Eduardo A Undurraga from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and colleagues including Dr Johanna Acevedo from the Chilean Ministry of Health.
The study assesses the effectiveness of CoronaVac (Sinovac Biotech), AZD1222 (Oxford-AstraZeneca), or BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine boosters in individuals who had completed a primary two-dose immunisation schedule with CoronaVac, an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine which accounts for about half the COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered globally, compared with no vaccination. The study assessed the nationwide vaccination program in Chile, where the two-dose Coronavac schedule was by far the most commonly given.
Individuals administered vaccines from Feb 2, 2021 to the prespecified trial end date of Nov 10, 2021 were evaluated; the team excluded individuals with a probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (RT-PCR or antigen test) on or before Feb 2, 2021, and individuals who had received at least one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine before Feb 2, 2021. They estimated the vaccine effectiveness of booster doses against laboratory-confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 (symptomatic COVID-19) cases and COVID-19 outcomes (hospitalisation, admission to the intensive care unit [ICU], and death).
A total of 11 174 257 individuals were eligible for this study, among whom 4 127 546 completed a primary immunisation schedule (two doses) with CoronaVac and received a booster dose during the study period. 1 921 340 (46·5%) participants received a heterologous AZD1222 booster, 2 019 260 (48·9%) received a heterologous BNT162b2 booster, and 186 946 (4·5%) received a homologous booster with CoronaVac.
The authors calculated an adjusted vaccine effectiveness (using statistical modelling) in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 of 79% for a two-dose schedule plus CoronaVac booster, 97% for a BNT162b2 booster, and 93% for an AZD1222 booster. The adjusted vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19-related hospitalisation, ICU admission, and death was 86%, 92%, and 87% for a CoronaVac booster, 96%, 96%, and 97% for a Pfizer-BioNTech booster, and 98%, 99% and 98% for an Astra Zeneca booster.
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Experts assumed China needed an mRNA COVID vaccine to reopen safely. New data suggest that may not be the caseRead Now
China’s inactivated Sinovac COVID vaccine may provide as much protection from death as Germany’s BioNTech mRNA jab after three doses, according to new research from Hong Kong University. The findings suggest that China, which continues to impose tough COVID-zero policies, may not need to approve or develop mRNA vaccines to emerge from the pandemic.
Hong Kong Free Press announced:
During the press conference, HKU’s medical faculty released its latest empirical analysis of the effectiveness of the two available vaccines – the Chinese-made Sinovac and German-produced BioNTech – based on data of hospitalised patients in Hong Kong as of March 8.
According to their findings, receiving three jabs of a Covid-19 vaccine, irrespective of the brand, can provide around 98 per cent of immunity against severe or fatal cases in patients aged 60 or above.
Artificial intelligence can improve medical imaging for screenings, precision medicine, and risk assessment.