Week Commencing 16/11/2020 – In The News

Moderna Covid Vaccine Shows Nearly 95% Protection

A medical professional wearing a white coat and blue gloves preparing to give someone a vaccination.A new vaccine that protects against Covid-19 is nearly 95% effective, early data from US company Moderna shows. The results come hot on the heels of similar results from Pfizer, and add to growing confidence that vaccines can help end the pandemic.

The trial involved 30,000 people in the US with half being given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. The rest had dummy injections. The analysis was based on the first 95 to develop Covid-19 symptoms. Only five of the Covid cases were in people given the vaccine, 90 were in those given the dummy treatment. The company says the vaccine is protecting 94.5% of people. The data also shows there were 11 cases of severe Covid in the trial, but none happened in people who were immunised.

Moderna says it is a “great day” and they plan to apply for approval to use the vaccine in the next few weeks.

Read more from BBC News.

Scaffolding Collapse Leads to Heavy Fine For Scaffold Company

A tall block of scaffolding.A scaffolding company has been fined for safety failings after scaffolding collapsed on to a street in Maidenhead while it was being dismantled.

An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive following the incident that occurred on the 30th April 2018. It was found that the underlying cause of the scaffold collapse was a lack of training and adequate instruction. The worker carrying out the dismantling of the scaffold and removal of the scaffold ties was not adequately trained. Subsequent high winds acting upon the monoflex sheeting on the day of the collapse caused then caused scaffold to act as a “giant sail” and subsequently toppled over into the street.

Formula Scaffolding (London) Limited found guilty to breaching section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and have been fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,533.36.

Read more from the HSE.

Anti-COVID-19 Nasal Spray ‘Ready For Use in Humans’

COVID-19 spelt out in small white tablets surrounded by microscopic viruses against a red background.Good news keeps on coming with more progress steadily being made in anti-Covid-19 measures, this time in the form of a nasal spray! This has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, using materials already cleared for use in humans and is said to provide effective protection against the COVID-19 virus.

A team in the University’s Healthcare Technologies Institute formulated the spray using compounds already widely approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US. The materials are already widely used in medical devices, medicines and even food products. This means that the normal complex procedures to take a new product to market are greatly simplified, so the spray could be commercially available very quickly.

A pre-print (not yet peer-reviewed) study describes cell culture experiments designed to test the ability of the solution to inhibit infection. They found cell-virus cultures inhibited the infection up to 48 hours after being treated with the solution and when diluted many times.

“Products like these don’t replace existing measures such as mask wearing and handwashing, which will continue to be vital to preventing the spread of the virus,” says lead author of the paper Dr Richard Moakes. “What this spray will do, however, is add a second layer of protection to prevent and slow virus transmission.”

Read more from the University of Birmingham.

Building Contractor Fined Following Dumper Truck Incident

Wheels of a truck with a red centre, with another green truck behind them.A building contractor has been fined after an employee suffered serious injuries when the forward tipping dumper truck that he was operating rolled over at a construction site in Windermere, Cumbria.

On 5th June 2019, S M Dixon Building Contractors Ltd had been working on the renovation of a detached property when the dumper truck, removing rubble over uneven ground, overturned resulting in multiple fractures to vertebrae in the worker’s back. The HSE investigation found that the employee had not received adequate training on how to operate the forward tipping dumper truck, including not being clearly instructed to always wear the seat belt when operating the machine. This led to the dumper overturning and the employee being ejected from the dumper and crushed.

M Dixon Building Contractors Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,087.24.

Read more from SHPOnline.