Moderna Booster Effective; Canada May Mix Shots: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Moderna Inc. said mid-stage trials showed its booster shots were effective against strains of the coronavirus that emerged from Brazil and South Africa. Canada became the first nation to clear the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for adolescents.
U.S. cases could see a sharp decline by July if nationwide vaccination efforts continue to be successful, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. will support a proposal to waive intellectual-property protections for vaccines, joining an effort to increase global supply and close the gap between rich and poor nations.
The U.K. insisted a meeting of top Group of Seven diplomats in London should go ahead after India’s foreign minister said he would self-isolate over possible exposure to coronavirus. Meanwhile, new research suggests deaths from Covid-19 in India may double from current levels.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 154.6 million; deaths exceed 3.23 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 1.19 billion doses have been given
- Moderna Covid booster shots prove effective against variants (Video)
- Vaccines work on this India variant. Experts fret about the next
- Here comes the Covid-19 community corps and they want you
- What are vaccine passports and how would they work?: QuickTake
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Novavax Shows Efficacy Against Variant (5:41 p.m. NY)
Novavax said initial primary analysis of Phase 2B results for its vaccine showed efficacy against a South African variant of the coronavirus.
Among healthy adults without HIV, the Novavax vaccine showed efficacy of 60% in the initial analysis and 55% in the subsequent complete analysis, the company said.
Novavax may have lost the race on vaccinating millions of Americans but a successful trial can still help developing nations like India and Brazil where shots are in high demand.
Canada May Mix Vaccines Amid Supply Crunch (4:47 p.m. NY)
Canada is considering allowing patients to receive two different types of vaccines as the country deals with shortages of shots from AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc.
Federal health officials are closely watching a U.K.-based trial in which participants received two kinds of shots. Results are expected in the next month or so, said Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada.
If adopted, the new protocol would mark another major deviation from original vaccine guidelines. Canada has opted to extend the length of time between mRNA vaccines from the recommended three to four weeks to as long as four months, in order to stretch supplies.
Colorado Woman Pro-Vaccine Despite Clot (4:43 p.m. NY)
A Colorado woman who suffered a rare blood clot after receiving Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine urged others to get a shot just the same.
Morgan Wolfe, 40, of Denver, told the Colorado Sun: “Despite everything that’s happened, I definitely still think that it’s important to keep on pushing for as much of the country and as much of the world to get vaccinated as possible”
“Obviously, I had a bad reaction to this one. And that’s unfortunate for me, but I do still think that there’s a place for it in the overall strategy,” Wolfe said.
Moderna Booster Effective on Variants (4:08 p.m. NY)
Moderna Inc.’s booster shots gave positive results against immune system-evading strains that emerged in South Africa and Brazil, according to early results from a mid-stage trial.
Two types of booster shots studied spurred higher levels of virus-halting antibodies, Moderna said in a statement. One of the boosters is an additional low-dose shot of its existing vaccine, while the other type is customized against the South Africa strain.
“We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants,” Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We will continue to make as many updates to our Covid-19 vaccine as necessary to control the pandemic.”
U.S. to Back Waiver of Vaccine IP Protections (3:25 p.m. NY)
The U.S. will back a proposal to waive intellectual-property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, joining an effort to increase global supply and access to the life-saving shots as the gap between rich and poor nations widens.
“We are for the waiver at the WTO, we are for what the proponents of the waiver are trying to accomplish, which is better access, more manufacturing capability, more shots in arms,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in an interview on Wednesday.
The Biden administration will now actively take part in negotiations for the text of the waiver at the World Trade Organization and encourage other countries to back it, Tai said.
She acknowledged the talks will take time and “will not be easy,” given the complexity of the issue and the fact that the Geneva-based WTO is a member-driven organization that can only make decisions based on consensus.
Biden Touts Relief Funds for Restaurants (3 p.m. NY)
President Joe Biden visited a Washington restaurant owned in part by Mexican immigrants on Wednesday to highlight $28.6 billion in federal aid for restaurants that struggled during the pandemic.
Under the Covid-19 relief measure Biden signed in March, restaurants can apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $5 million per location, or $10 million for those with 20 or fewer locations.
Pandemic Delays FDA Plant Inspections (2:20 p.m. NY)
Pandemic disruptions severely hampered U.S. regulators’ ability to inspect drug and device makers’ manufacturing plants, delaying at least 68 applications for approval to market new products, according to a Food and Drug Administration review.
Seven of the delayed applications were mission-critical, meaning they represented a medical advancement, the agency said Wednesday in its report, and six of those were for new drugs. The delayed applications were among 600 where the FDA required a factory inspection before approval decisions.
Yankees, Mets to Segregate Unvaccinated Fans (12:07 p.m. NY)
New York Yankees and Mets stadiums will reopen to all fans on May 19, with separate sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated spectators.
Those who are vaccinated can sit together at 100% capacity, as long as they wear masks. The unvaccinated fans will need to wear masks and also observe a 6-foot (1.8-meter) social distancing rule, which works out to about 33% capacity in those sections, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
Fans will be able to get vaccines at the games, under a deal between the state and the teams. Those who get a shot at a game will get a free ticket to another game, Cuomo said. New York joins several other states offering incentives for vaccines as the pace of inoculations slow.
The governor also announced that Broadway tickets will go on sale Thursday, with shows starting Sept. 14 at full capacity, Cuomo said.
U.S. Cases Could See ‘Sharp Decline’: CDC (11:20 a.m. NY)
U.S. Covid-19 cases could see a sharp decline by July if nationwide vaccination efforts continue to be successful, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers used scenario modeling techniques to show long-term projections of potential trends in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in data released Wednesday in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Canada Clears Pfizer Shot for Teens (10:39 a.m. NY)
Canadian public health officials authorized the use of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE Covid vaccine for teenagers, making Canada the first nation to do so. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser with Health Canada, made the announcement Wednesday at a press conference. The department determined the vaccine was “safe and effective” for the younger age group, Sharma said. The U.S. is considering similar action.
Fauci Sees Pfizer Shot Cleared for Teens Soon (8:33 a.m. NY)
The Food and Drug Administration is likely to issue an emergency authorization for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for adolescents “within several days,” said White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci.
“I think it is going to be very soon,” Fauci said during an interview with NBC News. “I mean, I don’t want to get ahead of the FDA, but I believe it is going to be within several days.”
G-7 Meeting Goes Ahead in U.K. (7:06 a.m. NY)
The U.K. insisted a meeting of top Group of Seven diplomats in London should go ahead after India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he would self-isolate over possible exposure to coronavirus.
The news risked derailing a high-profile event that marked the G-7 debut of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Britain is hosting the gathering, which began on Tuesday.
Thailand Readies Relief (6:31 a.m. NY)
Thailand is planning to spend billions of dollars for financial relief to low-income groups to cope with the economic hit from the biggest outbreak sweeping the nation since the pandemic began.
The cabinet on Wednesday approved in principle fiscal stimulus measures, including extension of two cash handout programs by a month at a cost of 85.5 billion baht ($2.8 billion). It also proposed 140 billion baht of spending for co-payment and e-voucher programs and more cash handouts to welfare cardholders and special groups to stimulate consumption, officials said.
Malaysia Tightens Curbs in Capital (6:26 a.m. NY)
Malaysia tightened restrictions on movements in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur to defuse a fresh wave of coronavirus infections, a day after it imposed similar curbs in the nation’s richest state of Selangor.
The movement control order will be in force from May 7 to May 20, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Wednesday. Dining at restaurants is prohibited and curbs on inter-state travel remain, the minister said.
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