Multiple vaccines could boost immune response, says Prof leading UK trials

New clinical trials are taking place to identify a third potential coronavirus vaccine
New clinical trials are taking place to identify a third potential coronavirus vaccine
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Multiple vaccines could be used to boost the immune response to coronavirus, the professor leading the latest UK clinical trials has said. 

Professor Saul Faust, director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility and chief investigator for the Janssen phase-three trial, said different responses brought about by vaccines could work together to shield people from the disease.

Speaking about the importance of manufacturing more than one coronavirus vaccine, Prof Faust told the Today programme: “Over time we’ll learn how to use those vaccines together. It could be that giving one vaccine and then another gives you an even better and longer immune response.”

It comes as around 6,000 volunteers take part in new clinical trials at research sites n Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Leicester, Sheffield, Manchester, Dundee and Belfast.

It is the third potential coronavirus vaccine to enter clinical trials in the UK, alongside US biotech company Novavax and University of Oxford/AstraZeneca whose studies are currently ongoing.

Follow the latest updates below.

11:09 AM

Working from home during pandemic could make people less tolerant of diversity, new report finds

Increased home working and fewer opportunities to socialise during the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to make society less tolerant of diversity, a report warns.

Reduced access to workplaces, leisure centres and other communal facilities is likely to make it much harder to form friendships that break down prejudices, the Woolf Institute said.

Without alternative opportunities for social mixing, its researchers believe this will lead directly to an increase in prejudice.

The research centre, based in Cambridge, is launching the results of a two-year study, which saw 11,701 adults surveyed about their attitudes towards diversity in England and Wales.

The report, How We Get Along, suggests that there is an emerging consensus that diversity is a positive thing, but that change has occurred too quickly.

More than half (53pc) agree that ethnic diversity is good for society, 46pc believe the same of migrants and 41% believe the same of religious diversity.

However, 60pc of respondents said they feel the number of migrants in Britain has risen too quickly over the past decade, half believe ethnic diversity has increased too quickly and 43pc believe the same of religious diversity.

The findings also suggests that negative beliefs about religions such as Islam continue to be widely held.

10:54 AM

‘Why haven’t you offered your resignation?’ Hancock grilled on return to Good Morning Britain

Matt Hancock was asked why he hadn’t ‘offered his resignation’ as the Government ended its months-long “boycott” of ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

The Health Secretary was challenged by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid over the “constant series of failures and U-turns” in the Government’s coronavirus pandemic response.

His appearance on the programme brought to an end a 201-day stretch without a Government minister joining the breakfast TV show for an interview.

It follows the departure of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings and director of communications Lee Cain from Downing Street this week.

Before Mr Hancock’s interview began, the GMB presenters mused on what might had changed for them to secure a first ministerial interview since April.

Reviewing the last six months, Mr Morgan reeled off a “charge sheet” that he said revealed a “constant series of failures and U-turns throughout this year”.

These ranged from the lack of personal protective equipment for health workers to the delay in introducing the first lockdown and the “complete shambles” of the Government’s testing system.

“Given that we now have over 50,000 deaths in this country, which is the worst death toll in the whole of Europe, why are you still health secretary? Why haven’t you offered your resignation?”

Mr Hancock said the Government had been “building the response to all of these enormous challenges of this unprecedented pandemic”, picking out testing from Mr Morgan’s “long list” where the health secretary insisted his targets had been met.

But Mr Hancock also admitted “we’ve made mistakes”, citing guidance which was interpreted as preventing spouses attending the funerals of someone who died with coronavirus.

“That was wrong and we changed it,” Mr Hancock said.

Matt Hancock was challenged on Good Morning Britain - Reuters
Matt Hancock was challenged on Good Morning Britain – Reuters


10:36 AM

Another Tory MP in self-isolation

Conservative MP Lia Nici said she was also self-isolating after attending a meeting with the Prime Minister and Lee Anderson.

The Great Grimsby MP tweeted: “I have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace following a work meeting last week with Lee Anderson MP and the Prime Minister.

“As a result I will be self-isolating in line with the rules. I currently have no symptoms and will be working from home.”

Boris Johnson and Lia Nici  - Reuters
Boris Johnson and Lia Nici – Reuters


10:24 AM

South Australia imposes new restrictions after fresh Covid-19 outbreak

Authorities in South Australia have imposed new restrictions in the state after 18 coronavirus cases were reported in the first outbreak since April.

Officials say up to 13 infections are linked to a hotel quarantine worker in Adelaide suspected of spreading the virus to a family.

The restrictions come into force on Tuesday. They state only 10 people can gather within a home at once; gyms and recreation centres must temporarily close, most likely for two weeks and all inbound international flights have been cancelled this week.

State Premier Steven Marshall added: “We are facing our biggest test to date. We are working around the clock to stay ahead of this cluster – no effort will be spared.”

Australia had seen cases drop to near zero with the majority of infections in Melbourne, which spent almost four months in lockdown before the city reopened last month.

09:59 AM

Tory MP becomes latest to self-isolate after Downing Street meeting

Conservative MP Andy Carter has become the latest politician to declare he is self-isolating following a meeting at Downing Street.

The Warrington South representative was asked by Guardian journalist Helen Pidd whether he is in isolation after Mr Carter tweeted a picture of himself with Boris Johnson at a meeting on Thursday.

Mr Carter tweeted: “Yes, I had a call from test and trace yesterday following a work meeting at 10 Downing Street last Thursday.  In line with the rules I am self isolating.”

The Prime Minister revealed last night he was self-isolating after Conservative MP Lee Anderson tested positive for coronavirus.


09:52 AM

PHE looking to train people with “a range of backgrounds” to deliver Covid vaccine

Public Health England is developing training so healthcare assistants will be able to help deliver a Covid-19 vaccine, the body’s head of immunisation said.

Dr Mary Ramsey told BBC Breakfast: “In general, most vaccination in this country is given by nurses – they’re excellent at it and they do a brilliant job.

“But we will have to use other staff. During the flu season we do tend to bring in healthcare assistants and other people.

“PHE is developing training materials so that we can bring other staff on board. They will be under the supervision of a nurse and/or a doctor, so there will be supervision and training.

“But we will be using people who have a range of backgrounds. But that’s the normal way for delivering programmes like this.”

09:32 AM

“Too early” to tell if lockdown measures will end after December 2

Matt Hancock has said it is “too early” to determine whether England’s second national lockdown would end after December 2.  

Asked whether the lockdown would simply be “rebadged” after the deadline, The Health Secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “You tempt me, but it is too early to say I’m afraid.

“We’ve seen in the last week that there is still a very high number of cases but we do absolutely want to come out of this national lockdown.

“That is our goal, everybody has a part to play in making that happen of course, following the social distancing rules and isolating when you need to, which is the critical thing.”

He said one of the main goals now was to use the mass rapid testing roll-out to find those who are asymptomatic with the virus.

Mr Hancock said it was too early to tell if lockdown measures will be extended - AFP
Mr Hancock said it was too early to tell if lockdown measures will be extended – AFP


09:20 AM

Turnip Prize sees record entries as lockdown boosts art competition

The Turnip Prize has received a record number of submissions this year with entrants believed to have been inspired by lockdown.

The annual spoof award goes to someone who has “created something that they perceive to be c*** art using the least amount of effort possible”.

Some of this year’s entries poked fun at lockdown and Covid-19.

Organiser Trevor Prideaux, of The New Inn in Wedmore, Somerset, said this year’s award attracted 120 entries – crossing the 100 mark for the second time in succession.

“This year we have received a record number of entries. We have ordered a second skip,” he said.

The shortlisted entries are: A Brush with Death – a model robin laid on its back next to a paint brush by Robin Deadrest; Back to the Fuchsia – a baby doll with its back to a fuchsia plant by Pete Lamb; Fur Load – a large bundle of fur by Jolly Roger; Lockdown – a padlock on top of a pile of duck down feathers by Herewe Goagain; Rock on Tommy – a rock on top of a tomato by The Very Reverent Canon Ball and Shut the D**k Up – a duck with gaffer tape over its beak by Doug Tunn

The Turnip Prize pokes fun at modern art’s most important award, the Turner Prize.

It began in 1999 as a response to Tracey Emin’s unmade bed, which was exhibited at the Tate Gallery that year. Winners of the competition, organised by a Somerset pub, receive an actual turnip attached to a wooden base.

The winner of this year’s prize will be unveiled online on December 1.

09:02 AM

Elderly may not be first to receive vaccine, PHE chief admits

Dr Mary Ramsey, head of immunisation for Public Health England, said the vaccination priority list “may need to be modified” if it proves the vaccine works differently across age groups.

Government advisers on vaccination have set out interim guidance which sets out the order in which people would get any Covid-19 jab, starting with care home residents and staff, then those over 80 and health and care workers.

Dr Ramsey told BBC Breakfast that the NHS has plans in place to start delivering the vaccine this year, but that “will depend on having the vaccine supply”.

“We are not entirely sure when that is going to arrive,” she said. “It will depend on the safety checks that are done and the approval process through the independent regulator, the MHRA (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has decided who would be the priority and that starts with the elderly and people in care homes.

“But obviously, if something comes up that the vaccine works differently in different age groups, that may need to be modified. But at the moment, based on first principles we would start with the oldest and most vulnerable people in the population.”

08:48 AM

Hancock criticises “entirely inappropriate” healthcare staff who have formed anti-vaccinations group

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has criticised hundreds of health and care staff who have formed a group opposed to vaccinations, wearing masks and testing in hospitals.

He told Times Radio: “Being opposed to vaccinations where they have been through the rigorous safety processes is entirely inappropriate.

“And I wouldn’t advise it for anybody, because we don’t propose, and allow vaccines in this country, unless they pass some of the most stringent safety requirements in the world.

“Getting a vaccine – whether it’s for flu or hopefully for coronavirus – is something that not only protects you but protects the people around you. So it’s a really important step.”

He added: “The whole of medicine is the story of advances that are based on science and vaccines are one of the most important advances based on science in the history of medicine.

“And other than clean water have probably saved more lives than anything else in the history of humanity. That’s what the science tells us, and I think that we should be guided by that science.”

08:37 AM

19 million dental treatments missed during pandemic, say dentists

The British Dental Association has estimated around 19 million dental treatments have been missed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The group said 70 per cent of practices were left operating at less than half of capacity pre-coronavirus as it urged Matt Hancock for urgent support from the Government.

It has called for a financial package which it said can to help restore routine treatment and boost access to patients.

British Dental Association Chair Eddie Crouch said: “COVID restrictions have left dentists firefighting with huge backlogs, unable to see more than a fraction of our former patient numbers, especially in the NHS.

“We now face a Catch-22. New rules could bring back a dose of normality, but come with a multi-million-pound bill for new kit that practices simply cannot afford.   

“On paper we have a chance to restore services to millions, but without support from Government it won’t translate into better access. The clock is ticking on an oral health time bomb, as dentists lose the chance to act on the early signs of decay and oral cancer.  

Dentists have warned about a lack of access during the pandemic
Dentists have warned about a lack of access during the pandemic


08:27 AM

Testing to be available in care homes by Christmas

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was the Government’s aim for care home visitors across England to be able to take a test to see their loved ones before Christmas.

Asked if there was a chance people could see their relatives in care homes before Christmas, Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “Yes… I understand how important this is.

“And yes, our goal is to ensure that we have the testing available in every care home by Christmas – to make sure that people can take a test and therefore see their loved ones safely, that is the goal.

“We’re working closely with the social care sector to try to make that happen.

“We’ve rolled it out in a small number of parts of the country, Devon and Cornwall in the first instance, and then our goal is to have this by Christmas so that people can see and and be close to their loved ones.”

08:10 AM

Rules stating PM must self-isolate “probably are sensible”

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said the rules that mean Boris Johnson has to self-isolate “probably are sensible”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there have been more than 25 confirmed cases of Covid-19 reinfection globally, but added: “I think most of us think the rate of reinfection is quite a lot higher than that, but not enormous.”

Prof Altmann said: “I think my bottom line is not to be alarmist because whatever the risk is, it is low. My sense from some of our data and other people’s data is that it’s the people who’ve made the poorest and most negligible antibody response the first time round who are most at risk of reinfection.

“So that’s maybe 10% of everybody out there who’s been infected in the first wave.”

He added: “If we’ve learnt anything since the beginning of 2020, it’s that this is an incredibly infectious and scary virus and you can’t take it too seriously.

07:49 AM

Boris Johnson sends video message as he starts self-isolation

Boris Johnson has insisted he’s “bursting with antibodies” and is as “fit as a butcher’s dog” as he begins self-isolating after he was contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

The Prime Minister, who was admitted to intensive care with coronavirus in April, said he was notified by NHS Test and Trace on Sunday that he must self-isolate and will now remain at Number 10 for a period of 14 days.

In a video message on Monday, he tweeted that he was “in good health” and that he has “no symptoms”.

The Prime Minister said: “Hi folks, the good news is that NHS Test and Trace is working ever-more efficiently, but the bad news is that they’ve pinged me and I’ve got to self-isolate because someone I was in contact with a few days ago has developed Covid.

“It doesn’t matter that we were all doing social distancing, it doesn’t matter that I’m fit as a butcher’s dog, feel great – so many people do in my circumstances.

“And actually, it doesn’t matter that I’ve had the disease and I’m bursting with antibodies. We’ve got to interrupt the spread of the disease and one of the ways we can do that now is by self-isolating for 14 days when contacted by Test and Trace.”

Mr Johnson said he was self-isolating with a “high heart” that the country was getting on top of the virus, with rapid speed testing and hopes of having a vaccine roll-out before Christmas providing reasons for encouragement.


06:43 AM

Fresh outbreaks in Asia

Countries across the Asia-Pacific region reported record new coronavirus numbers and fresh outbreaks on Monday, with Japan facing mounting pressure to reimpose a state of emergency and South Korea warning it was at a “critical crossroads”.

The resurgence of the virus in Asia comes as travel restrictions are gradually being eased in the region.

It will dampen prospects for broader reopening that would boost the recovery underway in economies such as Japan.

New daily cases in Japan reached a record 1,722 on Saturday, with hot spots in the northern island of Hokkaido and the western prefectures of Hyogo and Osaka. In Tokyo, cases have neared 400 in recent days, levels not seen since early August.

Analysts expect rising infections to slow the recovery in the world’s third-biggest economy, which grew at the fastest pace on record in the third quarter.

06:36 AM

Another hotel quarantine failure in Australia

A sudden coronavirus cluster emerged in the Australian city of Adelaide on Monday after seven months without a significant outbreak there, with the virus again escaping from the country’s hotel quarantine system.

South Australia state reported four cases had been detected in the city on Sunday, before the cluster grew sharply overnight to 17 people on Monday – the largest there since April.

All but two of the 17 were members of the same large family, including one who was working in a hotel used to quarantine travellers returning from overseas.

Fearful of case numbers spiralling, authorities snapped back a swathe of coronavirus restrictions and suspended international flights into Adelaide.

“No effort will be spared to slow and stop the spread of the powerful cluster,” South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said.

Officials ordered hundreds of people to isolate, while closing linked schools and businesses.

The Adelaide cases prompted other states to immediately impose new restrictions on anyone travelling from South Australia.

The country’s internal borders had been reopening and were due to be almost fully reopened by Christmas.

Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart - Cases default
Coronavirus Australia Spotlight Chart – Cases default

05:59 AM

Biden team planning to meet vaccine makers

President-elect Joe Biden’s scientific advisers plan to meet with vaccine makers in coming days even as a stalled presidential transition keeps them out of the loop on government plans to inoculate all Americans against Covid-19.

President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept that he lost the election means that the Biden team lacks a clear picture of the groundwork within the government for a mass vaccination campaign that will last the better part of next year, said Mr Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain.

“We now have the possibility … of a vaccine starting perhaps in December or January,” Mr Klain said.

“There are people at HHS making plans to implement that vaccine. Our experts need to talk to those people as soon as possible so nothing drops in this change of power we’re going to have on January 20th.”

A lack of coordination between outgoing and incoming administrations would be especially problematic in a worsening public health crisis, said the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci.

“Of course it would be better if we could start working with them,” said Dr Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has been through multiple presidential transitions during 36 years of government service.

He likened the process to runners passing on the baton in a relay race. “You don’t want to stop and then give it to somebody,” he said. “You want to just essentially keep going.”

The president-elect’s outreach to vaccine manufacturers comes as the coronavirus pandemic in the United States has entered perhaps its most dangerous phase.

05:55 AM

Covid vaccine – what you need to know

There is much to celebrate about Pfizer and BioNTech’s new Covid-19 vaccine which, it was reported last week, offers more than 90 per cent protection in early data.

The vaccine trial has found “no serious safety concerns” and is in the final stage of testing, known as a phase 3 trial.

It may be available for a limited number of people by the end of the year.

We asked three medical experts to answer some common questions surrounding the vaccine.

READ MORE: Is the Covid vaccine safe and will it work? Three experts answer your questions

05:53 AM

Who will pay their care bills?

Around 25,000 elderly people with conditions such as dementia have been left in limbo waiting to find out if crippling care bills of up to £100,000 a year will be funded by the state, The Telegraph can reveal.

Thousands risk being unfairly denied funding for their care after being caught in a “huge” lockdown backlog of applications, lawyers have warned.

Under national rules, any patient with a significant health problem should have their care and nursing fees paid in full, if the condition is deemed to be the main reason they need such help.

However, investigations by The Telegraph have revealed that even before lockdown, authorities had increasingly refused to fund care, claiming that devastating diseases are not severe, or not the primary reason help is needed.

READ MORE: Thousands of elderly people still waiting to find out who’ll pay their care bills

02:03 AM

US cases surge

The US surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases on Sunday, adding one million new cases in less than a week, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The dizzying rise came as cities and states across the United States were implementing new restrictions to try to halt the spread of the virus, with stay-at-home orders set to be imposed on Chicago on Monday.

The US had crossed the 10 million case threshold on November 9. Just six days later, the Johns Hopkins University real-time tracker showed that the confirmed US caseload stood at 11,025,046.

There have been 246,108 deaths in the country. Both are the highest tolls in absolute terms in the world.

The US has seen a worrying surge in coronavirus cases since the start of November, forcing local and state officials from coast to coast to take more drastic steps to reduce the disease’s spread, with many hospitals already warning that they are running out of resources.

A person has a Covid-19 test taken at the drive-through mobile testing location outside of John H. Stroger, Jr Hospital of Cook County in Chicago - AFP
A person has a Covid-19 test taken at the drive-through mobile testing location outside of John H. Stroger, Jr Hospital of Cook County in Chicago – AFP

In addition to the stay-at-home orders in Chicago, the country’s third biggest city, its biggest – New York, the epicentre of the country’s spring outbreak – is also rushing to fend off a second wave with new restrictions on bars and restaurants.

12:03 AM

Today’s top stories

  • Boris Johnson has entered 14 days of self-isolation after coming into contact with an MP who had coronavirus, throwing his plans for a “reset” of his Downing Street operation into disarray.

  • Covid outbreaks in care homes have risen to almost 400 in a month, after the Government failed to take action to stop the spread of the virus by roving agency workers, documents reveal.

  • Thanks to Covid-19 restrictions, Gretna has once again become a destination for English couples to avoid tighter restrictions in their own country to tie the knot.

  • Around 25,000 elderly people with conditions such as dementia have been left in limbo waiting to find out if crippling care bills of up to £100,000 a year will be funded by the state, The Telegraph can reveal.

  • The predecessor of Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has accused him and his team of failing to adequately prepare Sweden for the second wave of coronavirus infections, because “wishful thinking” led them wrongly to believe that immunity would leave the country protected.

  • Baby boomers deprived of holidays, sport and socialising during lockdown are spending the money saved on alcohol, fuelling a surge in mental health problems, says the Royal College of Psychiatrists. 

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