Moderna Submits Booster Data; Apple Worker Status: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Moderna Inc. submitted initial data on its booster shot to U.S. regulators. Pfizer Inc. dosed the first participant in a late-stage trial of its experimental oral antiviral treatment. Hospitalizations in the U.S. fell for the first time since June.
ViacomCBS Inc. delayed the release of the “Top Gun” sequel amid the resurgence of infections.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the government won’t impose another lockdown. South Africa may limit the use of public amenities to people who have been vaccinated. The World Health Organization opened a new hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence in Berlin.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 218.1 million; deaths pass 4.52 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 5.31 billion doses administered
- CEOs doom business-travel revival with budgets slashed worldwide
- Covid vaccines are lucrative. That’s a problem: David Fickling
- Alpha, delta and more. Why virus variants cause alarm: QuickTake
Moderna Seeks U.S. Approval for Booster (5 p.m. NY)
Moderna Inc. said that it had filed initial data with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clearance of a third-dose booster shot of its Covid-19 vaccine.
In a statement on Wednesday, the company said the booster shot, using a reduced dose of 50 micrograms that is half the dose used in the existing vaccine, raised antibody levels against the delta variant by more than 40-fold in a clinical trial.
The company also said it planned to submit the data to regulators in Europe and elsewhere in the coming weeks.
A panel of expert advisers to the FDA plans to hold a meeting on booster shots on Sept. 17, according to people familiar with the planning.
Czech Premier Pledges No More Lockdown (4:15 p.m. NY)
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the government won’t impose another lockdown as the country prepares for general elections next month.
The nation of 10.7 million suffered one of the highest death tolls in the world, adjusted for population, during a Covid-19 outbreak earlier this year. The pandemic forced Babis’s cabinet to shut down schools, most shops and services, as well as keep tight curbs on movement of people for four-months.
As vaccinations picked up speed in the past three months, the Czech Republic is now registering one of the lowest numbers of new cases per capita in Europe.
‘Top Gun’ Sequel Release Delayed (4:00 p.m. NY)
ViacomCBS Inc. moved the release date for “Top Gun: Maverick” into next year as Hollywood continues to wrestle with the pandemic that’s kept many people from theaters.
The highly anticipated sequel featuring action star Tom Cruise was expected to debut on Nov. 19, and will instead move to May 27.
The change was part of a broader reshuffling of dates at Viacom’s Paramount Pictures studio. “Mission: Impossible 7,” also featuring Cruise, moved to Sept. 30 of next from May, and “Jackass Forever” shifted to Feb. 4 from this October.
Apple Asks Workers for Vaccine Status (3:10 p.m. NY)
Apple Inc. is asking all U.S. employees to report their vaccination status, marking the latest move in a Covid-19 campaign that has stopped short of mandating shots.
The iPhone maker has asked the employees to report their status “voluntarily” by mid-September, regardless of whether they are working remotely or from an office. The company said it’s using the data to inform its Covid-19 response efforts and protocols. Apple previously asked employees in California, Washington and New Jersey for this information to comply with local regulations.
U.S. Hospital Use Falls; First Time Since June (10:50 a.m. NY)
Hospital admissions of Covid-19 patients in the U.S. are declining for the first time since late June, a sign that the latest surge may have peaked -- at least for now.
The seven-day average of new daily admissions with confirmed Covid fell 2.4% from a week earlier to 12,280, the first such drop since June 27, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Scotland to Use Vaccine Certificates (9:56 a.m. NY)
Vaccine passports will be needed for admission into nightclubs and large events in Scotland starting later this month after the country emerged again as Europe’s coronavirus hot spot.
The plans will apply to indoor and outdoor events and will need the approval of lawmakers in the Edinburgh legislature next week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday. Scotland is responsible for its own health policy and has diverged from the U.K. in some of its handling of Covid.
Pfizer Advances Antiviral Testing (9:37 a.m. NY)
Pfizer Inc. dosed the first participant in a late-stage trial of its experimental oral antiviral in adults who are at low risk of developing severe Covid.
The study will evaluate 1,140 participants getting the experimental protease inhibitor and the HIV medicine ritonavir. Half will receive a placebo, and the remainder will get the drug combination twice a day for five days from the confines of their home or a non-hospital facility.
The New York-based drugmaker is running a parallel study in adults who are at high risk of developing severe disease. Results could be available this fall.
WHO Opens Pandemic Intelligence Hub in Berlin (9 a.m. NY)
The World Health Organization opened a new hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence in Berlin, saying the center will help give countries the fast analysis they need to respond more quickly to public-health emergencies.
The German government is providing $100 million in initial funding for the project, which will seek to combine case and lab data with other information sources, including economic factors, cultural beliefs and human-animal interactions.
Moderna, Takeda Say Deaths Unrelated to Vaccine (8 a.m. NY)
Moderna and its Japanese distributor Takeda said two deaths in recently-vaccinated men were not related to the biotech’s shot and are considered coincidental. A formal investigation is still needed to confirm the analysis, Takeda said in a statement.
Switzerland Postpones Vaccine Pass Decision (7:42 a.m. NY)
Switzerland’s Economy Minister Guy Parmelin said 60 million francs ($65.5 million) have been earmarked to support the country’s beleaguered tourism sector.
With the infection rate stabilizing, even at a high level, the government postponed a decision to require a proof of vaccination, recovery from Covid or a negative test to enter restaurants and fitness centers. Hospital intensive-care units have come under pressure in recent days, and just 52% of the Swiss are fully vaccinated.
Denmark to Offer Visiting Sailors a J&J Shot (7:06 a.m. NY)
Denmark will start offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to seafarers docking in the country, regardless of nationality, for a fee. The industry lobbied the government for the program, citing the challenges seafarers face getting a shot and the large numbers who haven’t been vaccinated. About 3,000 are expected to get the single-dose vaccine in the second half.
Italy, Spain Reach 70% Vaccine Milestone (6:11 a.m. NY)
More than 70% of Italians are fully vaccinated, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday. Speranza thanked health personnel and volunteers who, all through the summer, tackled “one of the biggest challenges that our country ever faced.” Spain will reach that goal this week, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
U.S. Employers Mull Vaccine Requirements (6 a.m. NY)
Vaccine mandates are set to become more common in the workplace.
A majority of U.S. employers -- 52% -- are planning or considering requirements for a Covid shot by the end of the year, according to a survey released by consultant Willis Towers Watson. That’s more than double the 21% of companies polled that currently have some form of mandate.
The options vary, ranging from a strict order for all employees to limiting access to certain areas to inoculated workers.
Most in England Have Covid Antibodies (4:55 p.m. HK)
More than 94% of people in England had coronavirus antibodies in the week of Aug. 9, according to the Office for National Statistics.
South Africa Mulls Limits for the Unvaccinated (4:46 p.m. HK)
South Africa may limit the use of public amenities to the people who have been vaccinated, the country’s health minister said.
“Once there is sufficient coverage we should be able to arrive at the stage where we can actually make demands even at public amenities,” Joe Phaahla, the minister, said in the National Council of Provinces. “You can’t have your cake and eat it. You have the right to not have a vaccination, but you have no right to endanger the lives of other people.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.