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Volunteers in Medicine director to speak to Rotary Club | Ocean City



Volunteers in Medicine director to speak to Rotary Club

Jackie Meiluta




The Rotary Club of Ocean City-Upper Township online program for Thursday, Dec. 3., will be Jackie Meiluta, executive director of Volunteers in Medicine–South Jersey.

Meiluta lives in Sea Isle City and has been associated with VIM for more than 10 years. She also serves on the Finance Council for St. Joseph’s in Sea Isle, is an officer of the Citizen Veteran Advisory Council and is member of the County Homeless Trust Fund Advisory Board.

Prior to moving full-time to Cape May County, Jackie was a senior executive with a Fortune 500 company.

Organized as a 501( c )3 in 2001, ViM operates two free clinics in South Jersey to serve the needs of the uninsured and underserved. ViM’s Cape May County clinic has been in continuous operation since 2002, the Atlantic County clinic opened in March of 2017. More than 500 people consider the ViM clinics their primary care doctor and medical home.

ViM relies on volunteers to provide free medical care to low-income, working residents of South Jersey who do not have health insurance or the means to pay for care. Patients who register with ViM receive free, quality primary care, specialists care when available, and prescription medicine assistance. Perhaps more importantly, ViM becomes their advocate to ensure continuity of care.

ViM operates solely due to the generosity of the medical professionals who volunteer to provide care, and the private donors and funders who help ViM extend care to the underserved in South Jersey.

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Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine helps patients prioritize their own health care: Season of Sharing 2020

In the 21 years since Miriam Patino Sanchez came to Oregon, things haven’t always been easy.

The mother of four, who emigrated from Mexico at 26, is a full-time caregiver for her daughter with special needs and has faced health problems herself. It wasn’t always possible to address her own issues.

A few years ago at the urging of a friend, she applied to Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine, a free clinic in Oregon City.

For the first time in years, she found she was getting her health needs met without worrying about getting turned away or encountering a language barrier.

“I’ve found that no matter where you’re from, there’s no discrimination — that’s not a factor in receiving treatment,” Patino Sanchez told The Oregonian/OregonLive through an interpreter.

Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine is a beneficiary of The Oregonian/OregonLive’s 2020 Season of Sharing holiday fundraising campaign.

>>To donate: Season of Sharing GoFundMe page

In the five years that Patino Sanchez, 47, attended the clinic, she got treatment for her hyperthyroidism and fibromyalgia, and a free inhaler for her asthma.

The clinic also took its own measures to help Patino Sanchez, offering her services before she even asked for them. After she had hemorrhoid surgery, Patino Sanchez was still in a lot of pain. A doctor from the clinic determined that the surgery had not been done well, and called in a specialist to fix the problem.

“If I hadn’t had anyone to go to, I would have been suffering — I’d have been in a world of hurt for who knows how long,” she said.

Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine’s development director, Rebekah Singh, said many patients, like Patino Sanchez, are in a position where it’s difficult to prioritize their own health care.

“Most of our patients are $15-per-hour wage workers, who are sometimes holding multiple jobs,” Singh said. “Their employers hold them under 32 hours (a week) to avoid having to provide benefits.”

Many also have chronic health issues like hypertension or diabetes, which could be easily managed with proper care.

The Volunteers in Medicine organization has clinics nationwide, but the Clackamas branch, the first in Oregon, opened in 2011. It was started by local doctors with the goal of providing health care to those who couldn’t get it elsewhere.

The clinic is staffed by about 200 volunteers and five paid employees. Volunteers include doctors, some of whom are retired, as well as lab technicians, nurses and nurse practitioners. There are five paid administrative staff members. The clinic serves about 700 people a year, many of whom don’t have health insurance, or earn just above the rate to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan for low-income earners.

The organization operates on a budget of $400,000 annually, with 60% of its revenue coming from grant funding. About 40% comes from community funds, including donations and a yearly fundraiser.

Although Patino Sanchez received health insurance this year through Project Access NOW, which helps insure Oregonians, she has urged friends to seek out Clackamas Volunteers

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medicine

Michigan Medicine student volunteers help patients cast emergency absentee ballots

(WXYZ) — With the help of medical students, two patients hospitalized in Ann Arbor were still able to cast their vote on Election Day.

According to an article with Michigan Medicine, student volunteers made themselves available around the clock to assist with emergency absentee voting.

Michigan Medicine says the Emergency Voter Initiative has helped several dozen Michigan Medicine patients request and receive emergency absentee ballots, or use the regular absentee voting process, to ensure their voices are heard in the election.

At 8 a.m. on Election Day, students Shelby Hinds and Eric Rosen helped two longtime voters who had planned to vote in person but were unexpectedly hospitalized on the eve of Election Day.

Michigan Medicine says the students drove first to Pinconning, then to Bay City, to deliver the patients’ signed requests for emergency absentee ballots to their local clerks. Then, ballots in hand, they drove back to University Hospital so the patients could make their choices.

The final leg of the journey will be handled by the patients’ husbands, who will both return home this evening to drop off their wives’ ballots and then go cast their own votes.

Michigan Medicine says patients who are unexpectedly hospitalized and/or have experienced a significant personal emergency in the days leading up to the November 3 voting deadline qualify to request an emergency absentee ballot under state law.

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These teens, tweens are some of the Covid-19 vaccine trial’s youngest volunteers

When Abhinav, an Ohio seventh grader, learned that a Covid-19 vaccine trial near his hometown was enrolling children, he wanted to participate. But there was one aspect of the study that had him worried.

“I was mostly a bit nervous about the blood draws, because I had one about five years ago, and it wasn’t so comfortable,” Abhinav, 12, said.

Nonetheless, he decided to enlist in the trial, which is run by Pfizer Inc.

“I think that it could really benefit the world, and I think it could also help scientists know more about the coronavirus,” said Abhinav, whose family asked that their last name not be used to protect their privacy.

Abhinav received his first injection at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center last Thursday, making him among the youngest participants in the world to take part in a Covid-19 vaccine trial. His father, Sharat, a bone marrow transplant physician, had already been in the trial himself, and encouraged Abhinav to sign up after experiencing no ill effects other than a fever that lasted for a day or two.

“I’m happy that he’s doing his bit for science,” Sharat said of his son. “With the Pfizer study, no major side effects have been reported so far, so that made me comfortable with enrolling Abhinav as well.”

Earlier this month, Pfizer became the first pharmaceutical company in the United States to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration to test its vaccine on children as young as 12. The kids who have signed up say they are proud to be participating — and say they feel safe doing so.

“They were talking about symptoms, and they were just fatigue, low-grade fever, headache. I was thinking, ‘I hope I don’t have anything like that because I don’t want it to mess with school or work,’” Katelyn Evans, 16, of Green Township, Ohio, said. “But I wasn’t thinking about my permanent health for a short-term inconvenience.”

Katelyn Evans, 16, receives a Covid-19 vaccine during a trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on Oct. 14. (Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center)
Katelyn Evans, 16, receives a Covid-19 vaccine during a trial at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on Oct. 14. (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center)

Like most of the other coronavirus vaccine trials, Pfizer’s involves getting two shots. Participants are given the shots three weeks apart and then have their health monitored for two years by researchers. The participants do not know whether they are receiving a placebo injection or an actual Covid-19 vaccine.

Either way, the youngest trial volunteers say they have confidence in the vaccines that are being developed — putting them at odds with many adults across the country.

Manufactured during a highly politicized pandemic in a matter of months versus the years or decades that a vaccine typically takes, the Covid-19 vaccines have prompted growing skepticism. A survey in October from Stat News and the Harris Poll found that only 58 percent of the American public would get a vaccine when it becomes available, down from 69 percent of those polled in August.

But researchers say the vaccines they are testing

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UK backs COVID-19 vaccine trials that infect volunteers

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it would back “human challenge” trials, where young and healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with COVID-19, to accelerate the development of vaccines for the disease.

The government said it would invest 33.6 million pounds ($43.5 million) in the studies in partnership with Imperial College London, laboratory and trial services company hVIVO and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

If approved by regulators and an ethics committee, the studies would start in January with results expected by May 2021, the government said.

Britain’s hVIVO, a unit of pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan, said on Friday it was carrying out preliminary work for the trials.

Using controlled doses of virus, the aim of the research team will initially be to discover the smallest amount of virus it takes to cause COVID-19 infection in small groups of healthy young people, aged between 18 and 30, who are at the lowest risk of harm, the government said.

Up to 90 volunteers could be involved at the early stage, it said.

Imperial College’s Chris Chiu, lead researcher on the human challenge study, said the trials could increase understanding of COVID-19 in unique ways and accelerate development of the many potential new treatments and vaccines.

“Our number one priority is the safety of the volunteers,” he said. “My team has been safely running human challenge studies with other respiratory viruses for over 10 years. No study is completely risk free, but the Human Challenge Programme partners will be working hard to ensure we make the risks as low as we possibly can.”

$1 = 0.7730 pounds)

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Michael Holden)

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To Test Virus Vaccines, U.K. Study Will Intentionally Infect Volunteers

LONDON — Scientists at Imperial College London plan to deliberately infect volunteers with the coronavirus early next year, launching the world’s first effort to study how vaccinated people respond to being intentionally exposed to the virus and opening up a new, uncertain path to identifying an effective vaccine.

The hotly contested strategy, known as a human challenge trial, could potentially shave crucial time in the race to winnow a number of vaccine candidates. Rather than conducting the sort of trials now underway around the world, in which scientists wait for vaccinated people to encounter the virus in their homes and communities, researchers would purposely infect them in a hospital isolation unit.

Scientists have used this method for decades to test vaccines for typhoid, cholera and other diseases, even asking volunteers in the case of malaria to expose their arms to boxes full of mosquitoes to be bitten and infected. But whereas the infected could be cured of those diseases, Covid-19 has few widely used treatments and no known cure, putting the scientists in charge of Britain’s study in largely uncharted ethical territory.

Starting with tiny doses, the scientists will first administer the virus to small groups of volunteers who have not been vaccinated at all, in order to determine the lowest dose of the virus that will reliably infect them. That process, scheduled to begin in January at a hospital in north London, will be followed by tests in which volunteers are given a vaccine and then intentionally exposed to this carefully calibrated dose of the virus.

The study will be led by scientists with Imperial College London and hVivo, a company specializing in human challenge trials. It still requires approval from Britain’s drug regulation agency, but the government said on Tuesday that it would allot 34 million pounds, or $44 million, in public funding.

The first round of volunteers, up to 90 healthy adults aged 18 to 30, will have the virus dripped into their noses without having been vaccinated. If not enough participants become infected, the scientists will try to expose these early-stage volunteers to a higher dose, repeating the process until they have identified the necessary exposure level of the virus.

Only once the scientists decide on a dose, which they intend to do by late spring, will they begin the process of comparing vaccine candidates by immunizing the next group of volunteers and then exposing them to the virus.

Some vaccine candidates now undergoing trials may already have received approval by then, but researchers hope a challenge trial will add direct evidence of efficacy and help them compare the performance of different vaccines.

“Deliberately infecting volunteers with a known human pathogen is never undertaken lightly,” said Professor Peter Openshaw, an immunologist and co-investigator on the study. “However, such studies are enormously informative about a disease, even one so well studied as Covid-19.”

Many important questions about the study remain unanswered. The British government’s vaccine task force, which will select the first vaccine candidates to include in

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UK plans COVID-19 ‘challenge’ trials that deliberately infect volunteers

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will help to fund trials using a manufactured COVID-19 virus to deliberately infect young healthy volunteers with the hope of accelerating the development of vaccines against it.

The government said on Tuesday it will invest 33.6 million pounds ($43.5 million) in the so-called “human challenge” trials in partnership with Imperial College London, laboratory and trial services company hVIVO and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

If approved by regulators and an ethics committee, the studies will start in January with results expected by May 2021, the government said.

Using controlled doses of virus, the aim of the research team  will initially be to discover the smallest amount of virus it takes to cause COVID-19 infection in small groups of healthy young people, aged between 18 and 30, who are  at the lowest risk of harm, the scientists leading the studies said in a briefing.

Up to 90 volunteers could be involved at the initial stages, they said, and virus to be used will be manufactured in labs at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Chris Chiu, an Imperial College scientist on the team, said the experiments would rapidly increase understanding of COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes it, as well as accelerating development of potential new treatments and vaccines.

Critics of human challenge trials say deliberately infecting someone with a potentially deadly disease for which there is currently no effective treatment is unethical.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the trials would be carefully controlled and marked an important next step in building understanding of the virus and accelerating vaccine development.

Chiu said the plan for initial studies – which are aimed at assessing how much virus it takes to infect someone with COVID-19 – is to immediately treat volunteers with the Gilead antiviral drug remdesivir as soon as they are infected.

He said that while studies have show remdesivir has little or no effect on severe COVID-19 cases, his team has a “strong belief” that it will be an effective treatment if given in the very earliest stages of infection.

A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization said that there are “very important ethical considerations” when approaching such human challenge trials.

“What is critical is that if people are considering this, it must be overseen by an ethics committee and the volunteers must have full consent. And they must select the volunteers in order to minimise their risk,” she told reporters in Geneva.

Chiu said his team’s “number one priority is the safety of the volunteers”.

“No study is completely risk free, but (we) will be working hard to ensure we make the risks as low as we possibly can,” he said.

Britain’s hVIVO, a unit of pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan, said last week it was carrying out preliminary work for the trials.

Reporting by Kate Kelland and Paul Sandle in London, with additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Editing by Michael Holden and Angus MacSwan

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Volunteers to Be Infected With Coronavirus in Planned Experimental Trials

LONDON—U.K. researchers plan to start infecting healthy volunteers with tightly controlled doses of the coronavirus in early 2021 in what they called a first-of-its-kind effort to more rapidly gauge the effectiveness of multiple vaccines against Covid-19.

The plans for so-called human-challenge trials target 18- to 30-year-olds who have been free of Covid-19 symptoms and show no other risk factors such as heart disease or diabetes, said the researchers, led by infectious-disease experts at Imperial College London, who are overseeing the effort.

The goal of is to test how effective vaccines are in warding off infection and symptoms and to study in detail how participants’ immune systems respond. Plans are to start at a clinical site at London’s Royal Free Hospital, part of the state-funded National Health Service, and eventually expand the study to other sites nationwide, researchers said.

Scientists around the globe for months have debated whether deliberately infecting healthy people with the virus that causes Covid-19 is too high risk and therefore unethical.

The debate over inoculating humans with live, potent viruses has gone on for centuries. In a now-famous experiment in the late 1700s, British doctor Edward Jenner injected a child with the smallpox virus, then recorded details of the boy’s reaction.

The U.K. researchers said Tuesday that independent ethics and health committees will first have to approve the study before volunteers are enrolled, and they will closely monitor every phase, from participant screening to injection, isolation and follow-up.

Initially, trial subjects will be quarantined and compensated for an expected period of two to 2½ weeks, the group of researchers said. Scientists plan to expose the volunteers initially with the smallest dose possible until they find a level that reliably causes infection. The virus will be injected as droplets through the nose.

That first phase of the study doesn’t involve a vaccine, scientists said. After the researchers better understand infection levels and participant responses, they will integrate vaccines to measure their effectiveness when volunteers encounter the virus.

Backers of challenge trials say they are necessary in the pandemic to expedite approval and fine-tuning of vaccines and for better understanding of the disease. Vaccines normally can take eight to 10 years to develop. Covid-19 has spurred accelerated research and testing of experimental vaccines in a fraction of that time in bids to save lives and jump-start economies. Leading Covid-19 vaccine candidates have progressed into late-stage testing and could be available, if granted emergency authorization, as early as December, companies developing them have said.

Researchers in the planned U.K. challenge trials said they haven’t identified which vaccine candidates they will use, and said the challenge study doesn’t replace conventional vaccine clinical trials, which rely on participants to be naturally exposed to the virus.

During the challenge trials, treatments, which will initially include the antiviral drug remdesivir, will be at the ready and administered most likely before the volunteers even show symptoms, in an effort to limit the risk of severe disease, Dr. Chris Chiu, the study’s lead researcher from Imperial

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UK to infect healthy volunteers in vaccine research trial

LONDON (AP) — U.K. researchers are preparing to infect healthy young volunteers with the virus that causes COVID-19, becoming the first scientists to use the controversial technique to study the disease and potentially speed up development of a vaccine that could help end the pandemic.

This type of research, known as a human challenge study, is used infrequently because some consider the risk involved in infecting otherwise healthy individuals to be unethical. But researchers racing to combat COVID-19 say that risk is warranted because such studies have the potential to quickly identify the most effective vaccines and help control a disease that has killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide.

“Deliberately infecting volunteers with a known human pathogen is never undertaken lightly,″ said Professor Peter Openshaw, co-investigator on the study. “However, such studies are enormously informative about a disease, even one so well studied as COVID-19.”

Human challenge studies have been previously used to develop vaccines for diseases including typhoid, cholera and malaria.


Imperial College London said Tuesday that the study, involving volunteers aged 18 to 30, would be conducted in partnership with the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and hVIVO, a company that has experience conducting challenge studies. The government plans to invest 33.6 million pounds ($43.4 million) in the research.

Before any research begins, the study will be considered by regulators and the NHS Health Research Authority.

Governments around the world are funding efforts to develop a vaccine in hopes of ending the pandemic that has pummeled the international economy, shutting businesses and putting millions of people out of work. Forty-six potential vaccines are already in human testing, with 11 of them in late-stage trials — several expected to report results later this year or in early 2021.

“I don’t think many people think that what we’re doing as scientists is searching for a silver bullet,” said Michael Jacobs, a consultant in infectious diseases at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust who will take part in the research. “We’re going to need a whole raft of interventions in order to control this pandemic.”

Tens of thousands of volunteers around the world have already signed up to participate in more traditional trials of COVID-19 vaccines. Critics of challenge studies question the need to expose healthy people to the virus when the disease remains widespread and vaccine development is moving quickly.

In the first phase of the U.K. challenge study, researchers will expose 90 paid volunteers to the virus using nasal drops in an effort to determine the smallest level of exposure needed to cause COVID-19. Ultimately, the same model will be used to test the effectiveness of potential vaccines by exposing volunteers to the virus after they’ve received one of the candidate vaccines.

The research will be conducted at the Royal Free Hospital in London, which has a specially designed area to contain the disease. Volunteers will be monitored for at least a year to ensure they don’t

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UK launching controversial vaccine trials where volunteers will be infected with the coronavirus

In a bid to speed up the race to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the U.K. government announced Tuesday morning that it will be launching some controversial vaccine trials known as challenge trials.

The experiment will take place in a quarantine ward of a north London hospital. After inhaling a diluted dose of the virus, the trial participants will be closely monitored, thus enabling scientists and doctors to better understand the disease and how a vaccine can fight it.

The 1Day Sooner advocacy group, which has been petitioning the government to allow challenge trials, hailed the announcement. “We are glad the U.K. government is embracing the altruism of the thousands of our British volunteers who want these studies,” the group said.

The advocacy group says these trials “will be key to making multiple safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available for the whole world, including those in low-income countries bearing the brunt of this pandemic.”

It says it believes these trials will not only accelerate research into vaccines but “will also answer essential questions about COVID-19 immunity that are broadly applicable to the development of treatments and public health policy.”

Alastair Fraser-Urquhart, 18, a spokesperson for 1Day Sooner, explained to ABC News his motivation to volunteer for these trials. Brushing aside the fact that he’s putting himself at risk, he said, “I’m convinced that challenge trials will save thousands of lives and billions of pounds, and if I didn’t do something and I wasn’t advocating challenge trials I would regret it.”

Andrew Catchpole, the chief scientist of hVIVO, the company that will be running the trials in conjunction with the British government and Imperial College University, stressed to ABC News that as much risk as possible has been removed from the process.

Only people ages 18 to 30, proven to be healthy, will be taken as volunteers, according to Catchpole, and the dose of the virus that they will be exposed to will be very carefully calibrated.

“So just like any other clinical trial, what you would expect is that any product we put into a human needs to undergo very tight regulations, and this is no exception to that,” Catchpole said.

“So the virus, which we would inoculate them with, has been manufactured to the very high standards, a medical grade version of the virus that undergoes very high regulatory scrutiny to make sure that that virus is safe and suitable for use — just like you would expect for any other licensed medicine,” he added.

PHOTO: A medical syringe is inserted into a small bottle labeled "Vaccine COVID-19" in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.

A medical syringe is inserted into a small bottle labeled “Vaccine COVID-19” in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.

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