SALFORD'S OPERATION MOONSHOT COVID TESTING TRIAL IS GO FOR LAUNCH
A little positive (no pun intended) news this evening as from next month the government will be trialling its much touted mass covid test pilot scheme in Salford.
The new scheme will initially see audiences at sports venues and theatres tested on the day for the virus and if shown to be negative, they will be allowed in.
The new scheme is part of the PM's plans to get life back to normal, or as near close to normal as it can be right now.
Mr Johnson eventually wants to see 20 minute pregnancy style tests developed in order to allow quick results as part of his wider plans to get the country back on its feet.
And with the Oxford vaccine trials currently locked in a quagmire it may be that these new tests could be a huge asset in the governments arsenal.
As we reported earlier in the week, Salford has been chosen as the test bed for the new pilot program which if a success is to be scaled up to offer widespread mass UK testing by mid spring 2021.
Mr Johnson, speaking a Downing Street coronavirus press conference this evening, said that negative tests would effectively provide people with a 'passport' which would allow them the 'freedom to mingle with everybody else who is similarly not infectious in a way that is currently impossible'.
The 'ambitious agenda' code named 'Operation Moonshot' will see audiences at indoor and outdoor venues within Salford given the tests, effectively using Salfordians as test subjects in order to perfect the technology.
Others however were quick to raise questions over previous wild claims by the PM regarding the failed test and trace system which was set up and also billed as a game changer in the fight against the virus.
Members of the public have even ridiculed the PM after it was revealed that hundreds of people seeking testing in the Greater Manchester region were being told that there were no tests available.
Ray Lever from Broughton said:
"This is the man who has repeatedly told us that the test and trace system would be up and running within weeks, only for the time scale to be constantly pushed back and back again due to failure after failure.
"If the government can not get that right then how are we expected to have faith this latest 'game changer'."
However, if successful the new tests could open up businesses and workplaces in a safe manner, allowing people who test negative in the morning to carry on their day at work with little to no risk.
This is all dependent on if the prototype technology actually works.
Five-hundred Greater Manchester and East Cheshire volunteers will from today be invited to join a leading phase three COVID-19 vaccine study taking place in the region.
The study will test the safety and effectiveness of a promising new vaccine, developed by US biotechnology company Novavax, across a broad spectrum of people, including those from a variety age groups and backgrounds. Phase 3 studies involve many thousands of people, giving researchers insights into the effects of a vaccine on a much larger population than phase 1 and 2 studies.
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust is among the sites selected to undertake the Novavax study. It will be carried out in a community setting, in cooperation with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Greater Manchester.
Calling on some of the thousands of volunteers who have joined the fight against COVID-19 by signing-up to the NHS Vaccine Registry, the phase three trials are the second to commence in the UK.
A total of 10,000 volunteers are needed to take part in the trials which will also be undertaken at a number of NIHR regional sites across the UK, including Lancashire, the Midlands, London, Glasgow and Belfast.
At Stockport, 500 volunteers are needed. Volunteers who sign up to the Registry and live in Stockport, East Cheshire and South East Manchester could potentially take part.
The Registry was launched in July to help create a database of people who consent to be contacted by the NHS to take part in clinical studies, to help speed up the development of a safe and effective vaccine.
More than 250,000 people nationally have now signed up, including 26,785 in the North West and 11,955 in Greater Manchester and East Cheshire. [data on the number of sign-ups in each local authority area is available here].
With several more studies for potential vaccine candidates expected to start before the end of the year, UK researchers are calling for additional volunteers to sign up to take part in research. To better understand the effectiveness of vaccine candidates and help find a vaccine that works for as many people as soon as possible, researchers are particularly seeking more volunteers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as well as those with underlying health conditions and the over 65s.
Professor Andrew Ustianowski, NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) national specialty lead for Infection and NIHR CRN Greater Manchester Deputy Clinical Director, said:
Dr David Baxter, Principal Investigator for the trial at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said:
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
The government has secured 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine for the UK, which will be manufactured using FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’s facilities in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees. This will ensure that, once approved by regulators, the vaccine can be supplied as quickly as possible.
Professor Paul Heath, Novavax Phase 3 trial Chief Investigator and Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:
Chair of the government’s Vaccines Taskforce Kate Bingham said:
Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research & Development at Novavax said:
If any of the vaccines are successful in clinical studies, they could start to be delivered to the UK in 2021. It is expected that these vaccines would first be given to priority groups such as frontline health and social care workers, ethnic minorities, adults with underlying health conditions, and the elderly based on JCVI advice.
In August this year, the UK government and Valneva made a multi-million-pound joint investment in a vaccine manufacturing facility in Livingston, West Lothian, which will be at the heart of efforts to produce a new Covid-19 vaccine. This is in addition to the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), currently under construction in Oxfordshire, and the new vaccine manufacturing plant in Braintree, Essex recently acquired by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult.
The UK public can support the national effort to speed up vaccine research and receive more information about volunteering for clinical studies by visiting www.nhs.uk/researchcontact.
Despite Greater Manchester reporting growing numbers of COVID cases, Greater Manchester Police recorded 320 illegal gatherings over the weekend and officers issued 24 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN). Incidents which resulted in FPNs include the third illegal gathering at a property in North Manchester, an illegal gathering of more than 40 people at a property in Stockport, and an illegal gathering of 60-70 people in Tameside. Officers also issued a closure notice at a property in Trafford after receiving multiple reports of an illegal gathering and associated antisocial behaviour.
This is in advance of the new national restrictions for England to reduce the spread of Covid-19 which came into place this week. People across England must no longer meet people from other households, socially, in groups of more than six. This applies indoors and outdoors, including in homes and gardens. There are a limited number of exemptions.
The new national restrictions, however, do not supersede the varying local restrictions in place in all Greater Manchester boroughs (except Stockport and Wigan). Bolton now has the highest case rate in the country and in response to this, the Government also announced new local restrictions for Bolton which can be found on the Government's website. GMP are urging the people of Greater Manchester to abide by these restrictions in order to prevent the stop of the virus, and report any breaches by using the online reporting tool here: https://www.gmp.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/c19/tell-us-about-possible-breach-coronavirus-measures/
GMP Assistant Chief Constable, Nick Bailey said:
Restrictions by borough
City of Manchester, Bury, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Trafford
In addition to the new national restrictions, local restrictions still apply in the City of Manchester, Bury, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Trafford: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/north-west-of-england-local-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do
Bolton currently has the highest case rate in the country - 192 cases per 100,000. As a result, in addition to the new national restrictions, the Government has announced additional local restrictions: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/bolton-local-restrictions
In addition to the new national restrictions, additional local restrictions still apply in Oldham: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/blackburn-with-darwen-oldham-pendle-local-restrictions
Stockport and Wigan
Local restrictions no longer apply in Stockport and Wigan. However, the new national restrictions still apply.
MORE SCHOOL CHILDREN SELF-ISOLATING AFTER A CASE IS REPORTED WITHIN THE YEAR-8 GROUP BUBBLE AT OASIS ACADEMY IN ORDSALLBy KARL
Oasis Academy in Ordsall has joined Salford City Academy, Harrop Fold, Buile Hill Academy, Co-op Academy and Ellenbrook Primary in reporting cases of pupils forced to self-isolate, making them the sixth school within Salford to do so.
Pupils from within the year-8 group have been told they will need to stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days under government regulations.
Pupils will continue their education virtually, online.
Across Greater Manchester there have been 65 schools with reported cases.
Pupils in other year groups have been told that they should continue to attend the school.
Meanwhile there have been a further seven more deaths across the region today as Salford sees another rise in cases which bring the rate to 82.3 per 100,000 people.