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Researchers say step closer to meningitis B vaccine

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Researchers said Monday they were a step closer to developing a vaccine against the type of meningitis that mostly affects Europeand North America and kills hundreds every year.

A trial in adolescents in Australia, Poland and Spain showed them developing an immune response without serious side-effects, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases medical journal.

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After taking the drug, the test group generated antibodies that are active against 90 percent of strains in the meningitis B group affecting the United States and Europe.

“Our data suggest that this vaccine is a promising and broadly protective meningococcal serogroup Bvaccine candidate,” said study lead author Peter Richmond from the University of Western Australia’s School of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Meningitis, an inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord, mostly targets teenagers — with a fatality rate of between five percent and 14 percent.

Many survivors suffer permanent neurological damage and limb or hearing loss.

Vaccines exist against types A and C meningitis, but none that is broadly effective against strains in serogroup B, mostly prevalent in industrialised nations.

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Type A is the primary cause of epidemic meningitis in Africa.

“The results showed that three doses produced an immune response, indicating protection, in 80 percent to 100 percent of adolescents,” said a statement.

“Mild to moderate pain at the injection site was the most commonly reported side effect.”

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The authors said further trials must be held to determine the duration of vaccine protection.

“If additional studies show similar immunogenicity (the ability to produce an immune response) and tolerability, this vaccine might help to reduce the global burden of invasive meningococcal disease,” said Richmond.

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‘Recipe for disaster’: Officials in Florida city say they face ‘unimaginable’ potential death from COVID-19

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Officials in the Florida city of Hialeah are warning that they are uniquely vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic and face the possibility of "unimaginable" death from the disease.

In interviews with The Daily Beast, the officials explained how their large population of senior citizens is at grave risk if Hialeah erupts as a major COVID-19 hotspot.

"I think it is going to get a lot worse," Hialeah Councilman Jesus Tundidor tells The Daily Beast. “The experts have been telling us to expect a peak [in Florida] near the end of the month. As we get more testing sites up and running, the more positive cases we will see. And that will create more fear."

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The long history of US racism against Asian Americans, from ‘yellow peril’ to ‘model minority’ to the ‘Chinese virus’

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In a recent Washington Post op-ed, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang called upon Asian Americans to become part of the solution against COVID-19.

In the face of rising anti-Asian racist actions – now at about 100 reported cases per day – Yang implores Asian Americans to “wear red, white, and blue” in their efforts to combat the virus.

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COVID-19

A coronavirus vaccine that wouldn’t require a shot

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As labs around the world race to develop a vaccine, my colleagues and I are trying to find a better way to deliver it than the standard, cringe-inducing shot.

I am an immunologist and dermatologist, and my colleagues and I have been working on vaccines against the very related coronaviruses that cause MERS and SARS. We were able to use the resources and systems we had already developed to very rapidly create a vaccine candidate for this new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that we have tested in mice.

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