ndia’s drug regulator has approved the world’s first DNA vaccine against Covid-19 for emergency use. The three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 66% of those vaccinated, according to an interim study quoted by the vaccine maker Cadila Healthcare. The firm plans to make up to 120 million doses of India’s second home-grown vaccine every year. Previous DNA vaccines have worked well in animals but not humans. Cadila Healthcare said it had conducted the largest clinical trial for the vaccine in India so far, involving 28,000 volunteers in more than 50 centers. This is also the first time, the firm claimed, a Covid-19 vaccine had been tested in young people in India — 1,000 people belonging to the 12-18 age group. The jab was found to be “safe and very well tolerated” in this age group.
DNA and RNA are building blocks of life. They are molecules that carry that genetic information which are passed on from parents to children. Like other vaccines, a DNA vaccine, once administered, teaches the body’s immune system to fight the real virus. ZyCoV-D uses plasmids or small rings of DNA, that contain genetic information, to deliver the jab between two layers of the skin. The plasmids carry information to the cells to make the “spike protein,” which the virus uses to latch on and enter human cells.
ZyCov-D is also India’s first needle-free Covid-19 jab. It is administered with a disposable needle-free injector, which uses a narrow stream of the fluid to penetrate the skin and deliver the jab to the proper tissue. Scientists say DNA vaccines are relatively cheap, safe and stable. They can also be stored at higher temperatures — 2 to 8C. Cadila Healthcare claims that their vaccine had shown “good stability” at 25C for at least three months — this would help the vaccine to be transported and stored easily. Source: India Approves World’s First DNA Covid Vaccine – Slashdot
A day after the Education Department wiped out $5.8 billion in student debt for borrowers with disabilities, it announced service members will also be getting relief: waived interest that has been a benefit under the Higher Education Act but has barely been accessed.
On Friday, the Education Department announced the Federal Student Aid (FSA) office will be retroactively waiving interest on student loans for 47,000 former and active-duty service members. The relief will happen automatically, removing the requirement for service members to make individual requests to access the benefit.
Source: 47,000 service members will finally get the student loan debt relief they’ve been promised for years
The number of nursing homes across the state with at least one active COVID-19 case has shot up nearly 800% in the past month — while nearly half of nursing home employees in Texas remain unvaccinated. Nursing home residents were among the hardest hit by COVID-19 last year as the virus tore through facilities at an alarming rate. More than 400 Texas nursing home residents died during a single week in August 2020; since the pandemic began, 9,095 have died after contracting COVID-19, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. As of Aug. 11, that’s 17% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. To slow the virus’s spread, Gov. Greg Abbott shut down nursing home visitation in March 2020, then eased those restrictions five months later for facilities that didn’t have active cases in the previous two weeks. HHSC’s current visitation guidelines for nursing homes require visitors to wear a mask at all times and limits visitation to no more than two “essential caregivers” per resident. But after seeing infections remain relatively low in recent months, the state’s more than 1,200 nursing homes are seeing a new wave of infections as COVID-19 cases explode around the state, driven b
Source: COVID-19 cases soar in Texas nursing homes, with many workers unvaccinated | The Texas Tribune
The life expectancy disadvantage among Native American males was primarily attributable to motor vehicle accidents (0.96 years), liver disease (1.22 years), and diabetes (0.78 years). Source: Contributors to reduced life expectancy among Native Americans in the Four Corners States – Docwire News