Covid-19: Israeli hospital begins clinical trial with fourth dose of vaccine – Last Minute

Israel’s Sheba hospital started a clinical trial this Monday to test the effectiveness of the fourth dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine against covid-19 in 6,000 people, including 150 health professionals.

Reuters

The study, the first of its kind in the world, is being carried out in coordination with the Israeli Ministry of Health, which is awaiting the results to start administering the fourth dose to the population over 60, with immunity problems and health workers , as recommended last week by the committee of experts that advises the Government on responding to the covid-19 pandemic. “This study will test the effect of the fourth dose of vaccine on the level of antibodies, preventing infection and verifying its safety,” said Professor Gili Regev-Yochay, a doctor at Sheba, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

The study should have started 15 days ago, with a smaller group, but was postponed because it did not receive the necessary approvals.

“It is hoped that this study will clarify the additional benefit of a fourth dose and lead us to understand whether it is worth giving a fourth dose and to whom,” he added.

After the expert advisory committee advised the start of the campaign for the fourth dose in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Benet promised to launch the “immediate plan” to contain the fifth wave of the pandemic and the spread of the Omicron variant.

The campaign was announced to start on Sunday but was delayed by the Ministry of Health, following a review of preliminary data suggesting that those infected with the Omicron variant are between 50 and 70% less likely to need hospitalization than patients with the variant Delta.

The ministry’s director-general, Nachman Ash, has not yet given the “green light” for the start of the fourth vaccination campaign, and is analyzing studies and data available to date, such as those by the UK Health Security Agency, according to which the Omicron variant produces milder diseases, although it spreads faster and is more vaccine-evasive.

Nachman Ash is expected to make a decision later this week, with rejection of the expert advisory committee’s recommendation not being excluded.

Covid-19 has caused more than 5.39 million deaths worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest report by Agence France-Presse.

The respiratory disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, detected in late 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China, and currently with variants identified in several countries.

A new variant, Omicron, classified as a concern by the World Health Organization (WHO), has been detected in southern Africa, but since the South African health authorities raised the alert on 24 November, infections have been reported in at least 89 countries from all continents, including Portugal.

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