Confirming their worst fears, public health officials said Friday that none of the flu vaccines made at a plant in England were safe to use, which means that the US has to cope this year with half the supply initially expected. \nDr. Lester M. Crawford, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said his agency was contacting every maker of influenza vaccines in the world to try to make up for the shortfall because of the closing of the plant, in Liverpool, of Chiron, the biotechnology company in Emeryville, Calif. \nIt is a humbling search. Crawford is one of several agency officials who have in recent years insisted that imported drugs are unsafe. \nUntil Oct. 5, Chiron executives told agency officials that they believed that they had found the source of the contamination and had isolated the infected lots, said Dr. Jesse Goodman, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. \nA 100-page company report that detailed Chiron's investigation into the contamination, a report the company said proved that it had the problem under control, actually suggested to agency inspectors just the opposite, Goodman said. \nQuality-control executives at Chiron considered just the obvious sources of contamination, Goodman said. Far from reassuring the agency, the Chiron report suggested that it could not be trusted to ensure vaccine quality, Goodman said. \nIn a news conference, Crawford said he was optimistic that with the help of British and American regulators Chiron would be able to produce vaccines safely in time for next year. \nPublic health officials across the country are limiting who is vaccinated. Officials in Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington are threatening doctors and nurses with fines and even jail if they give shots to healthy low-risk people. \nIn the San Francisco Bay Area, a 79-year-old woman who had been in line at a supermarket waiting for her shot died on Thursday after she fainted or lost her balance and fell, hitting her head on a metal object, The Associated Press reported. Witnesses told the police that the woman and her husband had been in line for about four hours. \nDr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said 90 million Americans were at the highest risk. Because half of those are vaccinated every year, the country has just enough vaccines from another maker, Aventis Pasteur, to vaccinate the 45 million who are said to be more in need and make the effort to get it. \n"Every time a clinic freely gives out vaccine to people who really don't need it that means an equal number of people in a risk category are not getting the vaccine," Fauci said. \nReports of high charges for vaccines have led to accusations of profiteering and investigations.
A British charity has teamed up with scientists to see whether dogs could help detect COVID-19 through their keen sense of smell, it said yesterday. Medical Detection Dogs is to work with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University in northeast England to determine whether canines could help with diagnoses. It follows previous research into dogs’ ability to sniff out malaria and is based on a belief that each disease triggers a distinct odor. The organizations said that they had begun preparations to train dogs in six weeks “to help provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis towards the tail end
Under partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spaniards are allowed to leave home only for essential outings, walking a dog being one of them, but not a rented dog, the Civil Guard said on Wednesday as it sanctioned a man who had repeatedly tried to rent his dogs out via Facebook so that people could walk them. “The man was advertising activities which implied people leaving their homes to rent dogs, or walk rented dogs,” said a Civil Guard spokeswoman in the northeastern Galicia region. “That would be infringing the decree that only permits going outdoors for work, groceries, walking
Britain’s Prince Charles, the eldest son and heir to Queen Elizabeth II, is showing mild symptoms of COVID-19, but “otherwise remains in good health,” his office said yesterday. The 71-year-old and his wife, Camilla, who does not have coronavirus, are currently self-isolating in Scotland, Clarence House said. “The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus,” it said in a statement, using his official title. “He has been displaying mild symptoms, but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual.” “The Duchess of Cornwall [Camilla] has also been tested, but does not have
The water service in Odessa, a port city in southern Ukraine, was suddenly overrun this week with calls from worried residents with a peculiar concern. Were officials really planning to run an antiseptic solution through the city’s taps instead of water? The calls were sparked by a message on social media claiming that: “Today, from 11pm until the morning, antiseptic will be distributed” in the water system. The antiseptic supposedly included several different whiskies — a brand for each district. However outlandish the claim, Odessa’s water agency, Infoxvodokanal, still issued a clarification. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, false news stories have spiked in