Tag Archives: check

Australia’s Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine options are called into question as experts highlight ‘shaky’ science | Instant News


Sitting in his New York home, Geoff Porges is away from his family in Orange, in the New South Wales area.

In fact, during 2020, it has never felt far away for Dr Porges, a vaccine expert for 25 years and director of therapeutic research at one of the world’s leading health care investment banks.

And although he may still be a long way off, this week Dr Porges made comments that resonate back to his home country.

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On Monday evening Australian time, the candidate for the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine, one of the COVID-19 vaccines the Australian Government has committed to a multi-billion dollar deal, released the first interim results from the phase 3 trial.

The results have been praised at first glance, with the company claiming a single dose option provides 90 percent protection against COVID-19.

The Australian Government stated it a a “very good result” that will help create a “completely safe Australia”.

But Dr Porges isn’t sure.

“We called him first,” he told the ABC.

“We said, ‘we think the company is [AstraZeneca] has decorated the data ‘.

“And we said we didn’t think it would be approved in the US.

“People were angry with our first statement, but I think the more information that comes out, the more people agree with us.”

As the week rolls around, Dr Porges’ comments have proven correct.

AstraZeneca is the pharmaceutical company behind the clinical trials of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.(Reuters: Dado Ruvic)

Pressure has been building on the company throughout the week, with a worldwide flow of scientists and researchers joining Dr Porges’ initial assessment.

Some label it “shaky science”, while others questioned the validity of the data released by the company.

Now, critically, regulators are involved.

And the problem, it seems, all boils down to a strange error.

Accidental dosing

Interim results from the phase 3 trial found the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine 62 percent effective in people who received two doses.

But when volunteers were given half a dose followed by a full dose, that efficacy jumped to 90 percent.

The company later admitted that half the dose was a “production problem” and was given to test participants by mistake.

He also revealed that only 2,741 people had been given half a dose while 8,895 people received two full doses.

Facing increasing pressure to clarify the data, AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said on Friday it was likely to conduct a new global clinical trial to assess the vaccine’s efficacy.

However, he said he did not expect it to delay regulatory approval in the UK or the European Union, although British authorities on Friday publicly questioned whether the vaccine met “stringent safety standards”.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration is another story.

Experts say the agency may take longer to approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – if there is one – given that there are questions about results, and parts of the trials are being carried out in different countries.

In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration makes decisions about the safety and efficacy of vaccines to be released to the public.

These are often guided by international agreements in the US and UK and are currently assessing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – which the Government has committed to purchasing 33.8 million doses if approved – through what is known as a “provisional determination”.

The TGA did not answer the ABC’s specific questions about whether the two doses shown in the data would influence the approval process.

Health Secretary Greg Hunt also did not answer specific questions from the ABC about the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this week.

However, speaking at a press conference on Friday, he said he expected “ups and downs” in the process.

He described TGA as “the best regulator in the world” and said the timeline for the Australian vaccine – scheduled for first launch in March – was “unchanged”.

However it is still unclear which one from four vaccines that have been invested by the Government will be the ones that launch in March.

“Australia will not agree [a vaccine] unless we really believe that the vaccine is safe and effective, “said Hunt.

“The data on all the major vaccines is already good, and I look forward to more positive news about other vaccines in the coming weeks about the introductory briefs we have.”

But some vaccine experts are less sure.

“[AstraZeneca] hasn’t handled it very well, “said RMIT immunologist and vaccine expert Kylie Quinn.

“The dosing error is disappointing, it is disappointing to hear that it will happen at this particular point in time.

“But this whole situation highlights the importance of clear communication about what is actually being done.

“And I hope in a way the reaction [across the world] reassure the community how much surveillance there is, and that once approved by regulatory agencies, we can be assured that their vaccine has undergone a high level of surveillance: “

Vaccine expert and virologist Tony Cunningham said it was too early to say how the dosing problem with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could affect approval in Australia until all the results of the Phase 3 trial were known.

The results, which assess 40,000 people, are expected before Christmas.

Tony Cunningham of the Westmead Institute Sydney
Tony Cunningham of Sydney’s Westmead Institute said patience was needed with vaccine trials.(ABC News: Chris Taylor)

Professor Cunningham said he had never seen a “tainted” experiment like this before.

“But I have looked at what are known as ‘adaptive experiments’,” said Professor Cunningham.

“This is where a change can build up and you can change the dosage during a trial.

“So maybe they are [AstraZeneca] plans to do that and allow them to focus half the dose on countries where trials are still ongoing.

“That might be what they are suggesting they do, or they might start a ‘new experiment’.”

Professor Cunningham said it was unlikely, however, that safety would be affected by the two dosing regimes.

And, he said, even the 62 percent efficacy reported by companies in the two regimes was above the 50 percent required by most authorities – that’s just far below the “outstanding” 95 percent efficacy previously reported by Moderna and Pfizer. this month.

“This is a fairly important vaccine for Australia, and we are waiting with great interest to see the properly peer-reviewed report.”

Vaccine development still ‘excellent’

Back in New York, Dr Porges said he was worried about how “consumer confidence” in vaccines would be affected after AstraZeneca’s reporting this week.

“Confidence comes from communication transparency and clarity of communication,” said Dr Porges.

“You have to be completely honest about what you share and really clear about the information.

“And I think AstraZeneca, at least, violates both principles.”

However, he said, there is still time for the company to recover.

And, like most people, he waited patiently and eagerly for the vaccine to arrive.

“I usually come back to Australia three or four times a year,” he said. “But not this year, obviously.

“And despite the problems this week, if you think about it, what we achieved after nine months was incredible.

“We have three vaccines that are advanced, and two [Pfizer and Moderna] at 95 percent efficacy – that’s pretty awesome. “

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Seema Nusrat checks Karachi’s evolving identity | Instant News


“The identity of the city continues to evolve with every political, social and cultural event that changes according to size,” reads a statement released by the Canvas Gallery for Seema Nusrat’s art exhibition entitled ‘Brave New World’ which runs until 26 November.

“Sometimes the shift is subtle and not felt by the population because they unconsciously accept changes and adapt to a new normal,” the statement continued. “Come to think of it, we might be able to pinpoint events that left their mark on the character of the city, but it might not be possible to pinpoint exactly when the citizens adjusted their behavior. When do we become aware of public spaces, less inclusive and more suspicious?

“It might not be possible to find out when we switched walking for vehicle safety, lifted our walls and put razor wire over the gates. When will security guards become an essential part of the staff in every housing colony and in every institution?

“We feel increasingly less in control of the environment and the environment in which we live and we are compensating for that by placing security infrastructure in all shapes, sizes and colors. “Once upon a time, it became ubiquitous in Karachi right now. At one time, citizens accepted these structures as building blocks of a new architectural form – a new language! Seema Nusrat’s study of language examines the culture of security, which has become an integral part of Karachi architecture.

“Two elements of his interest are watchtowers and road blocks, with a zigzag pattern of yellow and black stripes that read as a warning sign before important settlements, public spaces, and institutions – his extraordinary presence and immortality often overshadows the developing architecture surrounding the space.”

After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Karachi Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture (IVSAA) in 2002, Seema earned her Masters in Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD) Canada in Halifax in 2012.

Her solo exhibitions include ‘Body without Body’ at Karachi’s VM Art Gallery, ‘Resuscitate’ at Lahore’s Rohtas II, ‘Traversals NSCAD Thesis Show’ in Canada, ‘New Urban Landscapes’ at Karachi’s Koel Gallery and ‘Proposals Towards a New Architecture’ in Space AAN Gandhara Karachi arts.

Her group exhibitions include ‘Emerging Talent’ at VM Art Gallery, ‘Painting Exhibition’ at Karachi’s Chawkandi Gallery, ‘Artists’ Voices: Body’ and ‘Artists’ Voices: Calligraphy’ at Karachi’s Amin Gulgee Gallery, ‘Edge’ at Rohtas II, ‘ 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Festival ‘at the Fukuoka Japan Asian Art Museum in Fukuoka and’ New Art from Pakistan ‘at the Thomas Erben Gallery, New York.

He has also been part of ‘Being There’, ‘Seven Deadly Sins’,’ Parrhesia II ‘and’ We Ate the Birds’ at the Koel Gallery, ‘Revealing Utopia’ at the Italian Alberto Peola Gallery in Turin, ‘Fresh Paint / New Construction ‘at the Canadian Mur Art Gallery in Montreal,’ Awaaz Baldia Inferno Factory ‘at the Karachi Arts Council,’ Country to Runway ‘at the Karachi Expo Center and’ Numaish ‘at the Frere Karachi Hall.

Her works are also exhibited in ‘Science of Taking a Walk’ at AAN Gandhara Art Space, ‘Bunting’ at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, ‘Access Denied’ at Mumbai’s Clark House Initiative, ‘Dak’Art: African Contemporary Art Biennale’ at Senegal, ‘Gateway: Structures of Meaning: Architectures of Perception’ at Abu Dhabi Art Fair, the Lahore Biennale, ‘Young Sub-Continent Project’ at Goa’s Serendipity Arts Festival, ‘Sweeping Back the Sea: New Contemporary Art from Pakistan’ at Gallery Aicon New York and Karachi Biennale.

He has lived in Karachi’s VASL, in Murree, in Khushab, in London, in Japan, in Spain and in India. He has attended Video Art workshops hosted by Brad and Karen Mirza at VASL, Theertha Hantana International Artist Workshop in Sri Lanka and the Three Island Workshop in Scotland.

He is currently part of the visiting faculty at IVSAA’s Fine Arts Department. Her work experience includes being part of the visiting faculty at the Szabist Department of Media Sciences, a teaching assistant at NSCAD and educational outreach coordinator at VASL.

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Caritas Pakistan examines forced conversions, child marriage | Instant News


Karachi – Karachi’s Karachi Pakistan branch and the Catholic Women’s Organization (CWO) jointly organized awareness seminars with women and girls on forced conversion, child marriage and women’s rights.

The event took place at the Kausar Naizi Colony, the Christian ward of St Jude Parish of Karachi Archdiocese, on November 13. The aim of the seminar is to create awareness in the context of the Arzoo Raja case. Arzoo, a 13 year old resident of the Karachi Railway Colony, was kidnapped, married a 44 year old Muslim man and converted to Islam. Her family is fighting the law for custody of her.

The case caused shock waves across Pakistan, prompting religious minorities, especially Christianity, to hold nationwide protests. “Mothers play a very important role in family building to protect young girls from falling into the wolf trap that preys on young girls and converts,” said Sister Catherine Qasir, a CWO coordinator.

“We must pray daily with all family members to strengthen spiritually and renew our faith in Jesus Christ and to resist the forces of evil.” Tabassum Yousaf, high court attorney and adviser to Arzoo, explained the legal rights of minority girls in accordance with Pakistan’s constitution. “Although kidnapping someone for the purpose of forced marriage is a crime in Pakistan, it is one of, if not the most widely reported, of the crimes that are widely reported against women in the country,” he said. Yousaf advises the girls on how to keep themselves safe. He urged them to remember the cell phone numbers of their parents and siblings.

She asked mothers to spend time with their daughters, befriend them, patiently listen to their problems and handle them with love, care and respect.

“We must strengthen our commitment to provide quality education and equal opportunities for our young women and children and start with our families,” he added.

Mansha Noor, executive secretary of Caritas Karachi, said the Arzoo Raja case provides a useful opportunity for mothers and daughters to learn about the threat of forced conversion and child marriage and its negative impact on society.

“What we learn from this seminar we must share with others and start implementing from our families if we have to save and protect young women and children,” said Noor.

“We must remember St. Mother Teresa’s most beautiful quote about the family that ‘the family who prays together stays together, and if they stay together they will love each other as God loves each of them.'”

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PM to examine institutional corruption in Punjab, KP | Instant News


ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan will soon be in talks to streamline the role of fighting corruption in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhewa provinces to combat institutional corruption.

According to informed sources, the prime minister takes public complaints seriously that corruption continues at the lower levels of government institutions in the two provinces.

There have been serious complaints about bribery in the revenue section and other public affairs departments that defame the government.

The source said that the prime minister will soon hold a high-level meeting to discuss the role and performance of anti-corruption agencies in the two provinces.

The meeting will be attended by governors, top ministers and senior officials from NAB, FIA and the Anti-Corruption Agency to discuss and streamline the role of the provincial anti-corruption agency.

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Fazaia Housing Scheme cashed Rs15 billion checks among 400 customers | Instant News



ISLAMABAD: Fazaia Karachi Housing Scheme has started paying funds to its customers through the Karachi National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as per court order and cashing more than 400 checks worth Rs1.5 billion in a week.

As per the joint efforts of the State Projects Directorate and Fazaia Karachi Housing Scheme NAB, the process of disbursing money to Fazaia Karachi’s customers has begun, said a press release by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

He added that the payment process would continue until the money was transferred to the last customer of the Fazaia Housing Scheme, Karachi. The PAF welcomes orders from the top court in this regard and appreciates NAB’s efforts, said a PAF spokesman.

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