Health Highlights: June 11, 2020

First Large Clinical Trial of U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Could Begin in July French Celebrity Chef Installs Special Ventilation System in Restaurant Grocery Stores, Banks Among Locations That Should Reopen First: Study

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

First Large Clinical Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine in U.S. Could Begin in July

A large clinical trial of the first U.S. COVID-19 vaccine could begin next month, according to Moderna Inc., which developed the vaccine with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The trial will assess whether the vaccine is effective and will include 30,000 volunteers who will receive either the vaccine or a dummy shot, the Associated Press reported.

That trial can't start until results of smaller, earlier-stage studies on safety and dosing are available, but Moderna said those studies are progressing well enough to start planning for the large trial.

About a dozen COVID-19 vaccines are in the early stages of testing worldwide, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health expects to assist several more of them into large, late-stage trials this summer, the AP reported.

If all goes well, "there will be potential to get answers" on which vaccines work by the end of the year, Dr. John Mascola, director of the NIH's vaccine research center, told a meeting of the National Academy of Medicine on Wednesday.

Hundreds of millions of doses of different vaccine candidates are being stockpiled by governments to use when/if scientists conclude that one is effective. The U.S. plans to have 300 million doses available by January, the AP reported.


French Celebrity Chef Installs Special Ventilation System in Restaurant

A new air ventilation system that utilizes high-tech filtration technology used in hospitals was installed by French celebrity chef Alain Ducasse in one of his smallest Parisian restaurants in advance of France once again allowing indoor dining at restaurants, which is expected to be announced later this week.

"It's one of the smallest restaurants in Paris and that's why we decided to create this system here, as social distancing would make capacity here almost impossible," Ducasse told the Associated Press.

"With this new system, the air in each table is as contained as in an operating theater," Ducasse said.

The system, which has been approved by France's state health agency INRS, means the restaurant can operate at 80% capacity and be economically viable to reopen, the AP reported.

However, one expert said the system wouldn't prevent coronavirus transmission between people sitting at the same table.

"Generally, ceiling height indoor ventilation systems will not really affect the air flows between two people sitting at a table talking," Julian Tang, Respiratory Sciences Department, Leicester University, U.K., told the AP.


Grocery Stores, Banks Among Locations That Should Reopen First: Study

As coronavirus pandemic lockdowns ease in the United States, grocery stores, banks, dentists, universities and big box stores should be allowed to reopen sooner and with fewer restrictions than other locations, researchers say.

Cafes, gyms, sporting goods stores, bookstores, tobacco and liquor stores should be remain closed longer and have tighter restrictions, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, CNN reported.

The researchers conducted a cost benefit analysis of 26 different types of locations to compare their importance with the infection risk they may pose to people.

They also analyzed tracking data from 47 million mobile phones to determine where Americans went during February and March, CNN reported.

"We find colleges to offer a relatively good trade-off, but most have shut down, leading to a 61% decline in visits," the authors wrote.

"Conversely, we find liquor and tobacco stores to be relatively poor trade-offs [due to mediocre economic importance and small busy stores], yet the number of visits to this category has declined by less than 5%," they added.

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