Many of you will be concerned about COVID19 mutant strains and many of you will be concerned about the vaccines available. Let’s reclaim copium and hopium and give some more reassuring information.

Don’t panic: New COVID strains are not ‘escape mutants’ and vaccines should still work. The variants have shut down nations and led to surges of new cases and deaths – but experts say current vaccines should still protect against the mutations. New COVID variants are increasing, but experts say there is no need to panic yet.Both the Brazilian and South African variants have a change that can reduce antibody binding, potentially reducing the efficacy of vaccines, as well as making a reinfection more likely. This polymorphism – e484k – is not present in the UK variant. The Brazilian variant has triggered a disastrous new tide of infection in the city of Manaus in the Amazon, where fully 75% of the population contracted the virus last year. This, experts fear, could point to a partial ‘immune escape’ – or suggest people who got milder cases in the first wave are faring worse with this new variant.

If they prove necessary, seasonal COVID vaccines could be available much faster than this first generation of vaccines.

Australia’s plan is to immunise our vulnerable and valuable elders in aged care first, along with those who care for them. This will be co-ordinated through special teams, and through hospitals, and will use the Pfizer vaccine (an mRNA vaccine with an amazing story I will write about soon).

In the second phase of vaccine rollout, with the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine (a more traditional vaccine), Australian General Practice and PartridgeGP will do our bit to get those who want to be vaccinated protected ASAP, at scale, as safely as we can. Our plans are well advanced. It is super important to us to play our part – and important that people are informed, and not coerced. We can see that countries and areas overseas – the UK, Europe, the US – are being more affected by COVID, and they are having to take more risks than us. We will learn from them. We will have their data and experiences to look upon before we take the plunge ourselves.

But are they safe, I hear you ask? Well, I’ve also written about risk, here, and here, but today, as an introduction, I have a very very smart person describe a story where Australia’s contribution to world vaccination DID NOT work. It wasn’t up to scratch, and so they canned it. That should give us no little confidence in what has been approved. Enough of me – handing over to the super smart Ms Maddie Massy-Westropp.

A deal for the Australian government to purchase more than 50 million doses of a promising new COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the University of Queensland (UQ) and global biotechnology company CSL limited, has been abruptly terminated. In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on December 11, UQ and CSL announced that the vaccine would not progress to Phase 2/3 clinical trials.

The UQ-CSL vaccine contains the Spike protein, a molecule located on the coronavirus surface. The Spike protein enables the virus to enter human and other animal host cells, where it replicates itself. When the vaccine is administered to a person, the immune system recognises the Spike protein and generates neutralising antibodies which can bind to it. If that person is exposed to COVID-19 in the future, those same antibodies can attack the Spike protein on the coronavirus surface, preventing the virus from entering host cells and replicating. The Spike protein was kept in a stable form in the vaccine using the novel, patented molecular clamp technology which UQ has been developing for the past 10 years.

However, the trial participants also had an immune response against the gp41 component of the vaccine. This has no health consequences at all, but widespread rollout of the vaccine could complicate the HIV screening process. Due to the production of gp41 antibodies, many people who have received the vaccine could falsely test positive on the standard HIV test. Community confidence in vaccine development is critical, with a new survey by The Australian National University showing that 41% of Australian adults would be hesitant about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

A tough decision was made

On December 11, UQ and CSL together announced that clinical trials for their COVID-19 vaccine have been abandoned. Read the whole article here. The famous advert below rings true, and that why I have confidence in Australia’a COVID vaccination program.

PartridgeGP works with you to help you make your best health decisions, and we won’t back away from being your companion, guide, advisor, and sounding board through your health journey. We pride ourselves on great communication and we’re ready to share our professional skills and knowledge with you. This is only MORE important now, in the time of a global pandemic with a new vaccine on the horizon. The way forward is clear: make your appointment with us conveniently online right here – or call our friendly reception team on 82953200.

Better, for you.

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For everyone, we believe that having a usual GP or General Practice is central to each person’s care and recommend that people with any health issues that come to the attention of other health professionals should be advised to attend their usual GP or General Practice rather than a specialised service (ie a place not providing the holistic care a specialist GP would).   If  they say that they don’t have a usual GP or general practice, they should be helped to find one and to actually attend it. Call PartridgeGP on 82953200 or make an appointment online here.

(Hat tip: Dr Oliver Frank)

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If you are a great GP or a great Allied Health Professional, and you want to serve your clients or patients to the best of your ability, without worrying about all the non clinical things that get in your way, lets talk. Call Mrs Hayley Roberts on 8295 3200 and have a coffee and chat with us as to how PartridgeGP can help you to help others.