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Post by Abacus Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:00 pm

September 2020

(September 3, 2020) AMRI Selected to Support AstraZeneca in Delivery of COVID-19 Vaccine
ALBANY, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), a leading global provider of advanced drug development
and manufacturing solutions, today announced that it has signed a supply agreement with AstraZeneca
to support the manufacture of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222, intended to protect against the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.
On May 21, 2020, AstraZeneca announced it had received more than $1B from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
for the development, production and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing in cooperation with University of Oxford.
AMRI has been chosen to contribute to the supply of the vaccine candidate through sterile fill/finish of AZD1222 at AMRI’s drug product manufacturing facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

(September 3, 2020) AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to be tested at military sites
Five Department of Defense facilities will participate in the Phase 3 trial of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
According to the Department of Defense, researchers are still seeking volunteers
for the next phase of testing for AZD1222, a COVID-19 vaccine candidate under development by AstraZeneca.
The upcoming trial will take place at
- Naval Medical Center in San Diego,
- Joint Base San Antonio,
- Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center in San Diego,
- Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.,
- and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

"The Department of Defense continues to play a key role in the development of a potential COVID-19 vaccine,"
Tom McCaffery, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said in a statement.
The vaccine is the result of a partnership between AstraZeneca and Oxford Vaccine Group,
with funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority,
a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the British government.

(September 9, 2020) Vaccination persuasion: Personal stories most likely to influence people toward COVID-19 shots, analytics firm finds
As coronavirus vaccines edge closer to market, the next question is how pharma companies and public health authorities will convince people to get them.
Civis Analytics decided to test what kind of messages might work. The data firm created five different themed messages and random tested them with 4,000 respondents.
They compared the results to the control group in which 73% said they were likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The result? Personal stories proved to be the best motivator for COVID-19 vaccinations.
When people saw a mock ad about a real person,
in this case a young healthy person who contracted COVID-19 and died, they were 5% more likely than the control group to say yes to a vaccine.

(September 9, 2020) AstraZeneca Vaccine Tests Face Delay After Patient Gets Ill
AstraZeneca Plc stopped giving shots of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after a person participating in one of the company’s studies got sick,
a potential adverse reaction that could delay or derail efforts to speed an immunization against Covid-19 for the world.
The pause stemmed from a standard review of the company’s vaccine trials after one person developed an unexplained illness (transverse myelitis, inflammation of the spinal cord)
AstraZeneca said in a statement. The move was intended to give researchers time to examine safety data
while maintaining the integrity of the trials, the company said.
Paul Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,
said the AstraZeneca shot involves giving large doses of a monkey adenovirus engineered
so it can’t replicate. It is therefore important for researchers to investigate
whether the adverse event wasn’t somehow being triggered by a reaction to that large viral dose, he said.
“When you have that kind of viral load, you can have side effects,” said Offit.

(September 9, 2020) Pfizer, BioNTech in EU Vaccine Deal That’s Their Biggest Yet
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE reached a preliminary agreement to supply 200 million doses
of their experimental Covid-19 vaccine to the European Union
-- the biggest initial order yet for the U.S.-German partners.
The European Commission has concluded exploratory talks and will now begin contract negotiations,
according to a statement Wednesday. The deal would include an option for another 100 million doses.

(September 10, 2020) Governor Hogan announces acquisition of 250,000 rapid antigen tests from Becton Dickinson through compact with Rockefeller Foundation
ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday announced the acquisition of 250,000 rapid point-of-care antigen tests,
which will be deployed to nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and correctional and juvenile detention centers across the state.
The purchase makes Maryland, the founding member of the bipartisan interstate testing compact with the Rockefeller Foundation,
the first state in the compact to move forward with an order for rapid antigen tests.
“This state-of-the-art rapid testing will be critically important to our continued economic recovery and will also help to keep the people
of our state safe,” said Governor Hogan. “I’m pleased to announce that Maryland will be the first state in the bipartisan interstate
testing compact to move forward with an order with Becton Dickinson for the purchase of the first 250,000 of these rapid tests,
along with the diagnostic machines used to process the tests onsite.”
In his remarks, the governor noted that rapid tests do not take the place of the state’s PCR diagnostic tests,
which continue to be the backbone of Maryland’s long-term testing strategy,
which has successfully completed more than 2.1 million tests for nearly 25 percent of the state’s population.
Since its launch in early August, the interstate compact now includes ten states—split equally between Democratic and Republican governors—
that are working together to purchase 500,000 antigen tests per state, for a total of five million tests.

(September 11, 2020) FDA grants EUA to Verily Life Sciences for COVID-19 test, pooling techniques
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Alphabet, for a RT-PCR test
to detect SARS-CoV-2 as well as for a pooled sampling technique, according to an approval letter from the FDA. In its letter to Verily, the FDA said
the EUA was for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in upper-respiratory specimens as well as for the pooled testing
of up to 12 specimens collected by healthcare providers.
Verily said it verified the performance of the RT-PCR test in its lab with Thermo Fisher Scientific’s TaqPath test kit.
Earlier this year, Verily also launched the Baseline COVID-19 testing program in conjunction with the state of California,
as an integrated solution combining symptom reporting, specimen collection, testing and reporting of results.
Since then, the program has expanded to other states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maryland,
Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

(September 11, 2020) Facebook board member Peter Thiel reportedly had dinner with a key white nationalist figure in 2016 and said he 'really enjoyed' meeting him
In July, 2016, Facebook board member Peter Thiel met with a white nationalist figure (Kevin DeAnna)
who has advocated for the formation of a white ethnostate, according to newly surfaced emails published by BuzzFeed News this week.
A few months later, when Thiel came out in support of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign,
some of Facebook's staff raised concerns about the move — but CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended Thiel at the time.
Thiel, a famously outspoken Libertarian, was among Facebook's earliest investors and now sits on its board.
He's also one of the most influential venture capitalists in Silicon Valley,
and the founder and a board member of Palantir the $10.5 billion software company
that has scored millions of dollars with of contracts with the Trump administration and is currently preparing to go public.

(September 12, 2020) AstraZeneca Resumes Its COVID-19 Vaccine Trials In The U.K.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca announced Saturday that its COVID-19 vaccine studies have resumed in the United Kingdom,
though not yet in the United States. The vaccine trials had been placed on hold
around the world earlier in the week after a U.K. participant in one of the studies developed a neurological illness.
AstraZeneca said it cannot disclose further medical information because it is the study sponsor,
but added in its statement, "All trial investigators and participants will be updated with the relevant information,
and this will be disclosed on global clinical registries, according to the clinical trial and regulatory standards."
In late July, results of a preliminary safety and effectiveness study found that more than two-thirds
of the people who received the experimental vaccine reported fatigue and headache after inoculation.
Muscle aches and fever were also common. In May, the Trump administration awarded the AstraZeneca
effort up to $1.2 billion from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority as part of Operation Warp Speed,
the administration's push to have a widely available coronavirus vaccine by January.

(September 12, 2020) The big problem with Operation Moonshot? False positives
On September 9, prime minister Boris Johnson announced the government’s landmark Operation Moonshot programme,
which aims to deliver up to ten million tests a day – covering nearly a sixth of the entire population –
and return results within as little as 20 minutes. Coming at a cost of a reported £100bn,
just shy of the entire annual budget for the NHS, it has the twin aims
of boosting economic activity, and avoiding a second national lockdown.
The government has stated that the onus will be on the private sector in order to achieve these milestones,
with GSK responsible for supplying tests, Serco and G4S for logistics and warehousing, and AstraZeneca for laboratory capacity.
As the threat of a second wave of Covid-19 grew last month, French health minister Olivier Véran promised
that France would carry out one million tests per week by September 1.
While this figure was met, the sudden rise in testing has overwhelmed lab capacities.
In an attempt to avoid similar problems – after all, the Moonshot targets would see the UK carrying out 60 times as many tests
per week as France – the government is banking on a novel testing technology called Transcriptase Loop Amplification (LAMP).

(September 14, 2020) Valneva CEO optimistic after signing €1.4B COVID-19 vaccine deal with UK
Under the terms of the deal, the Saint-Herblain, France-based biotech will provide the U.K. with 60 million doses of its experimental vaccine, VLA2001,
at a cost of €470 million next year, should it be successful in clinical trials. The government has also secured an option for an additional 130 million doses between 2022 and 2025.
The government is also investing in scaling-up vaccine production at Valneva's manufacturing facility in Livingston, Scotland, which will be recouped against the supply deal.
VLA2001 is one of the few inactivated vaccine candidates in development for COVID-19 and is based on the company's approved vaccine for Japanese encephalitis, Ixiaro.
Inactivated vaccines use the killed version of the virus and do not provide as strong a response — hence the need for a booster shot to maintain immunity.
Unlike at least 17 coronavirus vaccines that are already in various stages of clinical trial — including candidates already in phase 3 trials,
such as AstraZeneca PLC and Moderna Inc. — VLA2001 is not expected to enter the clinic until December 2020,
with a target date for possible regulatory approval in the second half of 2021 for a two-dose regimen.
VLA2001 is combined with an adjuvant, made by Berkeley, California-based Dynavax Technologies Corp., to boost the immune response.

(September 15, 2020) Valneva, Dynavax Enter COVID-19 Vax Supply Pact
Valneva SE, a specialty vaccine company, and Dynavax Technologies Corp., a biopharmaceutical company developing novel vaccines,
have entered a commercial partnership for the supply of Dynavax’s CpG 1018 adjuvant
for use in Valneva’s SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, VLA2001.
Dynavax will supply CpG 1018 to produce up to 100 million doses of vaccine in 2021.
Valneva has the option to purchase up to an additional 90 million doses through 2025.
This commercial supply partnership follows the companies’ initial collaboration entered in April 2020 to advance COVID-19 vaccine development.

(September 15, 2020) BioNTech Gets $445 Million in German Funding for Vaccine
(Bloomberg) -- BioNTech SE will get as much as 375 million euros ($445 million) from Germany to back its Covid-19 vaccine program,
about half of the money the government set aside to accelerate development of immunizations.
The German biotech company is working with Pfizer Inc. and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co.
on what is expected to be one of the first vaccines to deliver results from late-stage human trials.
Pfizer has repeatedly said data from a U.S. study could be ready next month.
Germany is splitting its funding between BioNTech and rival vaccine developers CureVac NV and IDT Biologika GmbH.
CureVac will get 230 million euros, while talks are still going on with IDT Biologika, Research Minister Anja Karliczek said in a press conference in Berlin.

(September 15, 2020) Novavax adds antigens to COVID-19 production pact with Indian vaccines giant
Novavax and the Serum Institute of India (SII) fleshed out an earlier manufacturing pact
for the Maryland biotech's recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine to include production of the antigen
used in the shot, the partners said Tuesday. SII will join five other manufacturers helping to produce the antigen
component of Novavax's vaccine, dubbed NVX-CoV2373, while aiming to produce 1 billion doses of the shot
specifically for low- and middle-income countries starting in mid-2021, Novavax said.
All told, Novavax's growing supply chain will enable it to produce up to 2 billion doses per year of NVX-CoV2373
once manufacturing fires up to full speed in the middle of next year.
In August, SII was reportedly pursuing $1 billion in fundraising
by this month with the backing of private equity giants Blackstone and KKR, the Economic Times of India reported.

(September 15, 2020) COVID-19 kills far more Hispanic and Black children than white youths, federal statistics show
The coronavirus is killing Hispanic, Black and American Indian children at much higher numbers than their white peers, according to federal statistics released Tuesday.
Of those killed by COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, more than three-quarters
have been Hispanic, Black and American Indian children, even though they represent 41 percent
of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The disproportionate deaths among youths echo pandemic disparities documented among adults.
Previous studies have found that the virus’s death toll is twice as high among people of color under age 65 as for white Americans.
Of the children and teens killed, 45% were Hispanic, 29% Black and 4% American Indian.

(September 16, 2020) Regeneron, University of Oxford announce RECOVERY COVID-19 phase 3 trial to evaluate REGN-COV2 investigational antibody cocktail in UK
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and the University of Oxford announced that RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY),
one of the world's largest randomized clinical trials of potential COVID-19 treatments,
will evaluate Regeneron's investigational anti-viral antibody cocktail, REGN-COV2.
Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford
and chief investigator of the trial, said "We have already discovered that one treatment, dexamethasone,
benefits COVID-19 patients, but the death rate remains too high so we must keep searching for others.
The trial is supported by a grant to the University of Oxford from UK Research and Innovation/National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
and by core funding provided by NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Wellcome,the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
the Department for International Development, Health Data Research UK,
the Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit and NIHR Clinical Trials Unit Support Funding.

(September 17, 2020) Italy could have AstraZeneca COVID-19 shots by end November, IRBM biotech says
Italy could have its first shots of British drugmaker AstraZeneca's potential COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November,
the managing director of IRBM told Reuters. Biotech firm IRBM, whose lab is based south of Rome,
is cooperating with AstraZeneca in developing a vaccine
for the disease which has caused more than 35,600 deaths in Italy.

(September 17, 2020) BioNTech buys German site from Novartis to boost vaccine output
Germany’s BioNTech is purchasing a German biotech production site from Swiss drugs giant Novartis to boost output
of the coronavirus vaccine hopeful it is developing with Pfizer. The facility in the German city of Marburg
will be converted to be fully on stream in the first half of 2021 with an annual production capacity up to 750 million doses
of the inoculation, based on the so-called messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.
The two companies were previously aiming to supply up to 100 million doses
worldwide by the end of this year and an additional 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
The new site, with its 300 staff that will join BioNTech, will allow for a larger 2021 output target
but it is not yet clear by how much on balance, a company spokeswoman said.

(September 18, 2020) Billionaire wealth grew by $845 billion, or 29%, as America struggled through first six months of pandemic
Between March 18—the rough start date of the pandemic shutdown,
when most federal and state economic restrictions were in place—and Sept. 15,
the total net worth of the nation’s billionaires rose from $2.95 trillion to $3.8 trillion.
In fact, this billionaires’ bonanza occurred against a general backdrop of working-class pain:

- 6.6 million Americans got coronavirus, and almost 200,000 died from it.
- Over 50 million Americans lost jobs, with nearly 14 million still unemployed.
- 30 million are collecting unemployment benefits (counting contract workers), up from 1.6 million a year earlier.
- Nearly 30 million Americans have gone hungry.
- 12 million Americans have lost employee-sponsored health insurance.
- Big swathes of business have shut down, including 100,000 restaurants.

(September 20, 2020) Can an employer require you to get a covid-19 vaccine?
Legally, there is little preventing private employers from imposing vaccinations on their own,
legal experts say. The only significant legal limitations are federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 could require employers to accommodate employees who object to a vaccination
because it would conflict with their sincerely held religious beliefs.
If employees have a medical condition that makes it unsafe for them to get a vaccine,
they could also try to get an exemption under the Americans with Disabilities Act,
which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
Under that law, employers must reasonably accommodate disabled employees
unless doing so would be prohibitively difficult or expensive.
A vaccine requirement may be lawful but impractical, especially for larger companies.

(September 22, 2020) Novavax Will Manufacture Its COVID-19 Vaccine In Spain
US biotech company Novavax has signed an agreement to carry out the industrial production of its vaccine for Europe in Spain,
once it becomes available, with Spanish pharmaceutical Zendal (through its subsidiary Biofabri).
Specifically, the Galician-based firm will be responsible for the production
of the vaccine designed by Maryland-based Novavax for the European Union.

(September 23, 2020) Privacy Fears Rising as DNA Test Companies Shift to New Ventures
At-home DNA test kits from companies like 23andMe and Ancestry have enabled customers to trace their heritage and piece together family trees.
A lack of strict data privacy protections has allowed these companies to rack up hundreds of millions in revenue through the collection of DNA samples
and sales of genetic data, all with the consent of customers who may not have read the fine print.
As it stands, there is no comprehensive federal privacy law in the U.S.
Other laws, including HIPPA and the Genetic Information Discrimination Act,
only keep genetic information off-limits to certain types of insurers and employers.
Further, the agency that is supposed to enforce privacy rules by DNA testing companies, the Federal Trade Commission, has limited authority.
Exposed genetic information poses risks from the mundane to the extreme, experts say.
Long-term care, disability and life insurers, for example, can still legally inflate their rates based on a customer’s predisposition to adverse health conditions.
And if a person takes a DNA test, the information could be used to profile unsuspecting relatives as well.
Some have warned of more dire consequences. One DNA data security startup, Geneinfosec—which counts former U.S. assistant secretary of defense Andrew C. Weber
among its advisors—claims that someone’s DNA profile could be used as blackmail, or even to create bioweapons that target specific people.
In 2019, Pentagon officials advised military troops to avoid taking consumer DNA tests because they could, “create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission.”

(September 24, 2020) Europe Indemnifies COVID-19 Vaccine Makers in Case of Side Effects
Sue Middleton, president of the executive board of Vaccines Europe, said in a European Parliament hearing that,
under the advance purchase agreements in place, the commission or EU member states would “essentially indemnify the companies
against the cost of legal action” arising from claims of adverse events.
Although vaccines may cause certain known side effects,
unexpected side effects of vaccines are relatively rare, Middleton said.
However, she noted that some did occur in previous mass vaccination campaigns,
such as for measles, mumps and rubella. A commission spokesperson acknowledged
that EC agreements with vaccine suppliers provide for EU “member states to indemnify the manufacturer
of certain liabilities incurred under specific and strict conditions,” but she declined to elaborate what those conditions are.

(September 25, 2020) Endo Announces Fill-Finish Manufacturing and Services Agreement for Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate
Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ENDP) today announced that its subsidiary, Par Sterile Products, LLC (Par Sterile)
has entered into a non-exclusive agreement with Novavax, Inc. to provide fill-finish manufacturing services
at its plant in Rochester, Michigan for NVX-CoV2373, Novavax' COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Under the terms of the agreement, Par Sterile's Rochester facility has begun production of NVX-CoV2373 final drug product,
with initial batches to be used in Novavax' pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial in the United States.
Par Sterile will also fill-finish NVX-CoV2373 vaccine intended for commercial distribution in the United States.
Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

(September 26, 2020) Researchers at CCMB reveal coronavirus in India has stable genome & can be effectively cured with vaccine
According to Rakesh Mishra, director of CCMB, a worldwide research has been taken up to study and identify how often the SARS CoV-2 virus is mutating.
As part of this research, the Hyderabad based CCMB scientists have also taken up a genetic research on the COVID-19 virus
and analyzed more than 2000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes secured from various parts of India and found that the virus unlike in its earlier days is hardly mutating
and is found to be highly stable with a very low genetic biodiversity.

(September 28, 2020) Trump announces plans to ship millions of Abbott's rapid tests to states
President Donald Trump announced plans to distribute millions of Abbott Laboratories’s 15-minute COVID-19 test
in the coming weeks, a move aimed at expanding access and helping reopen schools that are seen as key to getting parents back to work.
The federal government expects to ship 150 million of the Abbott rapid tests,
based on states’ populations, Trump said Monday in a press conference at the White House.
The White House will encourage states—which have ultimate discretion over how to deploy the tests—to use about 100 million
to screen teachers, check symptomatic children to see if they have contracted the virus, or conduct baseline surveillance.

(September 29, 2020) NIH expanding enclave for COVID-19 data with $36M Palantir contract
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is now home to the largest centralized collection of COVID-19 patient data in the world,
awarding Palantir Technologies a non-competitive $36 million contract for a data enclave over the weekend.
NIH calls the enclave the NCATS Secure Scientific Platforms Environment, and it supports the Unified NIH Integrated Translational Environment (UNITE),
which hosts the N3C data platform proof-of-concept built by Palantir in May.
NCATS plans to grant more researchers access to the data, add more clinical datasets and provide new analysis modules over time.
This isn’t the first time Palantir has won a non-competitive contract since the start of the pandemic.
Both the departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services quickly awarded multimillion-dollar contracts
to the Silicon Valley company for its data services citing the “unusual and compelling urgency” of coronavirus recovery.

(September 29, 2020) Michigan’s GRAM Inks COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Deal with J&J
Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing (GRAM), based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, inked a deal with Janssen Pharmaceutical,
a Johnson & Johnson company, to support the manufacturing of Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
GRAM is an injectable contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).
The agreement with GRAM includes technical transfer and fill-and-finish manufacture of the vaccine candidate.
GRAM is expanding domestic fill-and-finish capacity for COVID-19 vaccines and drugs for companies
that have deals with the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed.
The expansion is partially funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA),
part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(HHS),
in collaboration with the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND).

(September 29, 2020) Filipinos make up 4% of nurses in the US, but 31.5% of nurse deaths from COVID-19
Nurses of Filipino descent comprise just 4% of the workforce, but nearly a third of registered nurse deaths due to COVID-19.
National Nurses United, the country's largest nurse union, released a report Monday detailing COVID-19 deaths among nurses and other healthcare workers.
NNU estimates that 1,718 healthcare workers have died due to the disease and related complications,
including 213 registered nurses. Nurses of color made up more than half of the nurse deaths due to COVID-19, despite only making up 24.1% of the workforce.
The largest non-white ethnic group to die of the disease was Filipino nurses. Nurses of Filipino descent account for 31.5% of the workforce's COVID-19 deaths.


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Post by Abacus Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:02 pm

October 2020

(October 1, 2020) HHS Teams Up with The Rockefeller Foundation to Share Best Practices for Increased COVID-19 Testing
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and The Rockefeller Foundation have signed an agreement
to identify and share effective approaches for using rapid point-of-care (POC) antigen tests to screen
for COVID-19 in communities, with a focus on safely reopening K-12 schools. The partnership establishes a pilot program
with select cities and states in The Rockefeller Foundation's Testing Solutions Group (TSG),
a network of public officials devoted to rapidly scaling COVID-19 testing, tracing, and tracking in their communities.
HHS will provide at least 120,000 Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card POC SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests to pilot sites.
The initial pilot cities, selected collaboratively with The Rockefeller Foundation, are
Louisville, Ky.; Los Angeles; New Orleans; and Tulsa, Okla.
In addition, Rhode Island has been selected as a pilot state.
The collaboration between HHS and The Rockefeller Foundation builds upon the Trump Administration's national distribution plan
for the Abbott BinaxNOW tests to states, which includes sending millions of BinaxNOW rapid tests to all U.S. states and territories over the next few months.

(October 8, 2020) J&J inks European COVID-19 vaccine supply deal for 200M doses
Two months after concluding exploratory talks over a COVID-19 vaccine supply pact
with officials in Europe, Johnson & Johnson has finalized its deal.
The company will provide 200 million doses of its vaccine
—should it prove safe and effective in testing and win an approval—for an undisclosed price.
The deal also provides an option for an additional 200 million doses.
The European Commission already had supply agreements in place with
AstraZeneca and the Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline partnership.

(October 12, 2020) Pfizer and BioNTech enter Covid-19 vaccine deal with New Zealand
Pfizer and BioNTech have entered an agreement with the New Zealand Government to supply 1.5 million doses of their potential Covid-19 vaccine.
Expected to take place by the first quarter of next year, the delivery could vaccinate approximately 750,000 people in New Zealand.
The parties did not divulge the financial terms of the agreement, which marks the government’s first vaccine purchase.
According to officials, discussions are ongoing with other pharmaceutical firms
to buy more vaccine doses for the country of five million people.
Further announcements on vaccine supply deals should take place next month.

(October 12, 2020) Johnson & Johnson pauses dosing of its coronavirus vaccine
Johnson & Johnson announced late Monday it is temporarily pausing recruitment and dosing of its coronavirus vaccine
in clinical trials due to an “unexplained illness in a study participant.”
The company did not disclose more information about the affected individual.
The company noted that in placebo-controlled clinical trials,
it “is not always immediately apparent” if a given individual received the treatment or a placebo.

(October 13, 2020) AstraZeneca secures federal backing for investigational monoclonal antibody COVID-19 therapy
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD)
have awarded a contract of $486 million
to AstraZeneca’s late-stage development and large-scale manufacturing of the AZD7442
investigational treatment for COVID-19, according to a press releases.
AZD7442 is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies
that may help treat or prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2.
AstraZeneca will receive approximately $486 million under Operation Warp Speed
for two Phase 3 clinical trials and related development activities,
including a large-scale manufacturing demonstration project and supply of AZD7442 doses in the U.S.

(October 15, 2020) Google & Oracle to Monitor Americans Who Get Warp Speed’s Covid-19 Vaccine for up to Two Years
During an interview with the Wall Street Journal published last Friday, the “captain” of Operation Warp Speed, career Big Pharma executive Moncef Slaoui,
confirmed that the millions of Americans who are set to receive the project’s Covid-19 vaccine will be monitored via “incredibly precise . . . tracking systems”
that will “ensure that patients each get two doses of the same vaccine
and to monitor them for adverse health effects.” Slaoui also noted that tech giants Google and Oracle
have been contracted as part of this “tracking system”
but did not specify their exact roles beyond helping to “collect and track vaccine data.”
The day before the Wall Street Journal interview was published,
the New York Times published a separate interview with Slaoui
where he referred to this “tracking system” as a “very active pharmacovigilance surveillance system.”

(October 17, 2020) Digital ‘health passport’ trials under way to aid reopening of borders
A new digital “health passport” is to be piloted by a small number of passengers flying from the UK to the US
for the first time next week under plans for a global framework for Covid-safe air travel.
The CommonPass system, backed by the World Economic Forum (WEF),
is designed to create a common international standard for passengers to demonstrate they do not have coronavirus.
Paul Meyer, the CEO at the Commons Project, which was given startup funding by the Rockefeller Foundation
two years ago and created the digital health pass,
said countries that have closed borders and imposed quarantines are looking for ways to “thoughtfully reopen” their borders.
The trial will apply for passengers flying from Heathrow to Newark, US, on a United Airlines flight on Wednesday.
Tests from the private testing company Prenetics
will be administered by the travel and medical services firm Collinson
in Covid-19 testing facilities set up with Swissport.
It follows a pilot by Cathay Pacific on flights between Hong Kong and Singapore.
However, the test used generally in the UK is not a test of infectiousness,
experts have said, as it does not distinguish between those who have the virus and are infectious and those who are no longer infectious.
There have been many false results as a consequence. There is also suspicion that such schemes could provide a way in to greater monitoring
of people’s movements and health statuses, a paper published in the Lancet on Friday said.

(October 19, 2020) Covid-19: Remdesivir has little or no impact on survival, WHO trial shows
The largest trial to date of treatments repurposed for use in the covid-19 pandemic
has shown that none of the four drugs studied produced any measurable benefit in mortality or disease course.
This includes remdesivir—a drug already recommended by several guidelines and pre-ordered by numerous governments around the world.
Hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir-ritonavir, and interferon beta-1a regimens also seemed to have little or no effect on 28 day mortality.
None of the drugs delayed the need for ventilation or shortened the stay of patients admitted to hospital.
“For each drug in the study, the effect on mortality was disappointingly unpromising,” said the World Health Organization in a statement.
The WHO Solidarity trial followed 11 266 adults at 405 hospitals in 30 countries and,
although the results are preliminary, WHO said that the “conclusive” findings “suffice to refute early hopes” in the four drugs studied.

(October 20, 2020) Regeneron failed to disclose BARDA funding in their REGN-COV2 patent
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals failed to disclose U.S. government funding in a patent that claims antibodies against COVID-19.
The obligation to acknowledge U.S. government funding in patents is required under an existing contract
between Regeneron and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA),
as well as under the Bayh-Dole Act and regulations issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Luis Gil Abinader, the author of the research note.
“Regeneron has received massive funding for its work on COVID-19.
Federal agencies are apparently not monitoring the required disclosures.”

(October 21, 2020) Patient death casts a shadow on AstraZeneca's COVID-19 trial: report
A patient has died in the global study of AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine,
Brazil’s health authority, Anvisa announced on Wednesday. But despite the death, the study will carry on as normal,
Reuters reports. The person who died was Brazilian,
said the Federal University of Sao Paulo,
which is helping coordinate the trial in Brazil,
the news service said. It's not yet clear whether the death was related to the vaccine candidate.
"We cannot comment on individual cases in an ongoing trial of the Oxford vaccine as we adhere strictly to medical confidentiality
and clinical trial regulations, but we can confirm that all required review processes have been followed,” an AstraZeneca spokesperson said in an email.
The news comes a month after AstraZeneca, along with partner Oxford University, paused the study because a patient developed transverse myelitis,
or inflammation of the spinal cord that can be triggered by infections.
AstraZeneca isn't the only COVID-19 vaccine maker that's hit a roadblock. Just last week, Johnson & Johnson
suspended its own study because a patient developed an "unexplained illness."
Like AstraZeneca, J&J did not immediately know if the patient had received the vaccine candidate or placebo.

(October 21, 2020) Stanford Medicine launches home COVID-19 testing study covering greater San Francisco
Stanford University and its school of medicine have launched plans to survey the population of greater San Francisco
for COVID-19, in an effort to build an early warning system for future outbreaks. The program is currently seeking to enroll participants,
who will report their exposures and symptoms daily through an online portal.
Home test kits—developed in collaboration with the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub,
which is also helping to fund the study—will be delivered through the mail
within 24 hours at no cost, and will contain a gentle nasal swab for self-collection.
Samples will then be processed at Stanford’s laboratories.

(October 22, 2020) IAVI, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Serum Institute of India Join Forces to Develop Monoclonal Antibodies for COVID-19 and Ensure Prompt and Equitable Global Access
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a nonprofit scientific research organization dedicated to addressing urgent, unmet global health challenges,
and Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of vaccines and biologics, announced an agreement with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,
a leading science and technology company, to develop SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)
co-invented by IAVI and Scripps Research as innovative interventions to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agreement builds on the advanced antibody discovery
and optimization expertise of IAVI and Scripps Research,
gained from years of experience in HIV broadly neutralizing antibody research and development,
and on Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s and Serum Institute’s significant capabilities in design and scale up of accelerated manufacturing processes for mAb production.
The global development plan is being led by the three organizations in partnership.

(October 23, 2020) US: FDA approves coronavirus drug Remdesivir despite doubts about effectiveness
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the drug Remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19,
issuing a statement on Friday, October 23. The drug had previously been approved in the US only under an Emergency Use Approval (EUA).
In Europe, the product had also received an EUA in July for the treatment of certain COVID-19 patients.

(October 23, 2020) AstraZeneca's U.S. COVID-19 trial is back on track after 45-day hold
It’s been a minute, but AstraZeneca has gotten the FDA’s all-clear to restart the U.S. study of its COVID-19 vaccine.
The British pharma slammed the brakes on the program in early September when a patient in the U.K. developed an inflammatory side effect.
The pause came just one week after the 30,000-patient U.S. trial had kicked off.
Now, the FDA has finished that review and told AstraZeneca it can restart the U.S. trial, the pharma giant confirmed Friday.
On Wednesday, Brazil’s health authority Anvisa announced a patient participating in the study had died but that the trial would carry on.

(October 23, 2020) 4D pharma to merge with special purpose acquisition company, Longevity Acquisition Corporation
4D pharma plc, a pharmaceutical company leading the development of live biotherapeutic products (LBPs),
and Longevity Acquisition Corporation, a NASDAQ-listed Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC),
announce the proposed merger of the two companies. The deal is worth up to US$ 37.6 million to 4D pharma.
It is currently planned for the merger to be completed and effective in early 2021,
and 4D pharma ADSs will begin trading on NASDAQ immediately following completion.
4D pharma’s clinical programmes are targeting cancer, including a clinical collaboration with Merck & Co., respiratory diseases including COVID-19 and asthma,
gastrointestinal diseases, and pre-clinical programmes targeting neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, and autoimmune diseases;
in addition, the company has a research collaboration with MSD (Merck & Co.) in the field of vaccines.

(October 23, 2020) Trudeau announces plan to purchase 76 million doses of Canadian-made COVID-19 vaccine
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today announced another contract to buy a promising COVID-19 vaccine now in development
— part of a plan to secure millions of vaccine doses to inoculate Canadians from the novel coronavirus.
Trudeau said the government has signed a contract to procure 76 million doses from the Quebec City-biotech company Medicago.
Medicago is developing the vaccine in partnership with the British drug company GlaxoSmithKline.
Canada already has signed six other contracts for tens of millions more vaccine doses
with other pharmaceutical giants, such as AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer.

(October 20, 2020) U.S. Billionaires Wealth Surges $931 Billion since Beginning of Pandemic
Between March 18 – the rough start of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic — and October 13, the total wealth of 644 U.S. billionaires
increased from $2.95 trillion to $3.88 trillion, a rise of 31.6 percent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 220,000 Americans
and destroyed the health, wealth and livelihood of millions of households.

- Jeff Bezos’s wealth grew from $113 billion on March 18 to $203 billion on Oct. 13, an increase of 80 percent.
- Elon Musk’s wealth has more than tripled since the beginning of the pandemic, from $24.6 billion on March 18 to $92.8 billion on Oct. 13, an increase of 277 percent.
- Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth grew from $54.7 billion on March 18 to $101 billion on Oct. 13, an increase of 85 percent.
- Zoom’s Eric Yaun wasn’t even a billionaire in 2019. Now is wealth is over $22 billion, an increase of over 300 percent since March 18th.
- Steve Ballmer, a major owner of Microsoft and its TEAMS video conferencing, has seen his wealth increase by $22 billion since March 18, an increase of 43.4 percent.
- Dan Gilbert, chairman of Quicken Loans, saw his wealth rocket by 656 percent, to $49.2 billion from $6.5 billion 7 months earlier.

(October 25, 2020) A Federal Coronavirus Vaccine Contract Released At Last, But Redactions Obscure Terms
Overall, there is a lack of disclosure around the terms of the federal contracts
with companies involved in the crash program to make COVID-19 vaccines.
Most of the contracts haven’t been released.
While the publicly posted Moderna contract includes previously unknown details, extensive redactions leave the public in the dark
about some of the company’s obligations as well as the extent of protections for taxpayers.
It’s 53 pages long, but only 14 of them are free of redactions.
Some of the redactions obscure information that has already been disclosed.
The value of the contract, for example, is blacked out with a note
that it isn’t disclosable under public records law because it is a trade secret.

(October 26, 2020) Coronavirus document disclosure motion could ‘jeopardize’ vaccine for Canadians
Procurement Minister Anita Anand says if opposition parties approve a parliamentary probe
of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic — including some of its sensitive contracts —
then suppliers for coronavirus vaccine candidates and protective gear could “walk away.”
“I do not want to be back here to explain to Canadians that because of the disclosure we were forced to make,
we were not able to secure vaccines or PPE for Canadians because our supplies chose to walk away,”
she said during a press conference on Monday morning.
“I am seriously saying our contracts – vaccines, PPE, rapid test kits – are in jeopardy.”
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Canada is among those raising concerns about the motion, set to be voted on in the House of Commons Monday.

(October 27, 2020) Stevanato Group, Catalent Partner to Expedite Equipment Installation
Stevanato Group, a producer of glass primary packaging and capabilities for drug delivery systems,
has expanded its longstanding collaboration with Catalent to include the provision and accelerated delivery
of advanced visual inspection systems to help with potential vaccines and biologics to address the pandemic.
Catalent has ordered Plus 400 LKD automatic and PWL semi-automatic visual inspection machines from Stevanato
and will install the equipment at its sites in Bloomington, IN, and Anagni, Italy, to support various customer programs.

(October 28, 2020) Sanofi, GSK to provide 200M coronavirus vaccines to COVAX for equitable distribution
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline aren’t the front-runners in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine,
but execs for the companies have said they expect to play an important role in the global vaccination push.
Now, the partners are backing that up with an agreement to provide 200 million doses of their vaccine to COVAX,
a global effort to develop, produce and equitably distribute doses. COVAX is a global group of governments, health groups, businesses and nonprofits
that are aiming to speed coronavirus vaccine research and manufacturing, plus ensure equitable distribution.
Established vaccine groups Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI),
along with the World Health Organization, are co-leading the effort. Funding details for Wednesday's agreement weren't released.
Aside from their COVAX deal, the partners have inked agreements to provide 300 million doses to the EU and up to 600 million doses to the U.S.

(October 29, 2020) Takeda plans to supply 50 million doses of Moderna vaccine in Japan
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said Thursday it plans to supply 50 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine,
developed by U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc., in Japan from the first half of next year.
The Japanese drugmaker said it will provide the vaccine based on a three-way agreement with Moderna
and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare once the vaccine has been approved.
The health ministry said the doses of the vaccine to be distributed by Takeda
will cover 25 million people in Japan, as two shots are needed
for it to be effective against the novel coronavirus. The Japanese government has already agreed
with British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc and U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. to receive 120 million doses
of any successfully developed vaccine from each company. Takeda is also preparing to produce and sell
in Japan a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by U.S. biotechnology firm Novavax Inc.

(October 31, 2020) Merck collaborates with Mammoth Biosciences for CRISPR-based SARS CoV-2 diagnostic test
Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced collaboration with Mammoth Biosciences,
for the development, scale-up and commercial production of Mammoth’s CRISPR-based SARS CoV-2 diagnostic test.
Mammoth’s high-throughput systems will be compatible with both nasal swab and saliva samples
and are targeting approximately 1,500 tests per 8-hour shift with minimal user interaction.
Mammoth Biosciences plans to submit the assay for FDA Emergency Use Authorization later this year.
The Life Science business of Merck will serve as the contract manufacturer of the DETECTR BOOST SARS-CoV-2 Reagent Kit,
which will use standard, automated liquid handling equipment to allow rapid processing of patient samples.


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Post by Abacus Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:06 pm

November 2020

(November 2, 2020) Icosavax gets a $16.5M boost to study its COVID-19 candidate
A $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
designed to support the program through a phase I trial in young and older adults,
is backed by preclinical data showing the vaccine candidate induces neutralizing antibody titers after one administration.
The company also received $6.5 million from Open Philanthropy
to support the candidate’s development along with the company’s platform technology.
IVX-411 was developed at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine
using a design invented at the school’s Institute for Protein Design.
It was little more than a year ago that Icosavax launched with a $51 million series A for advancing another candidate, IVX-121,
a computationally designed self-assembling virus-like particle,
through phase Ib studies. IVX-121, based on the same fundamental technology as IVX-411,
incorporates a stabilized prefusion F antigen licensed from the NIH’s
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for treating respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in older adults.

(November 2, 2020) Ultrapotent COVID-19 Vaccine Designed via Computer: Innovative Nanoparticle Vaccine Spurs Extremely High Levels of Protective Antibodies
Compared to vaccination with the soluble SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, on which many leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates are based,
the new nanoparticle vaccine produced 10 times more neutralizing antibodies in mice, even at a sixfold lower dose.
The data also show a strong B-cell response after immunization, which can be critical for immune memory and a durable vaccine effect.

The vaccine candidate was developed using structure-based vaccine design techniques invented at UW Medicine.
It is a self-assembling protein nanoparticle that displays 60 copies of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein’s receptor-binding domain
in a highly immunogenic array. The molecular structure of the vaccine roughly mimics that of a virus,
which may account for its enhanced ability to provoke an immune response.

The lead vaccine candidate from this report is being licensed non-exclusively and royalty-free during the pandemic by the University of Washington.
One licensee, Icosavax, a Seattle biotechnology company co-founded in 2019 by Neil King,
is currently advancing studies to support regulatory filings and has initiated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s
Good Manufacturing Practice. To accelerate progress by Icosavax to the clinic, Amgen has agreed to manufacture
a key intermediate for these initial clinical studies. Another licensee, SK bioscience of South Korea,
is advancing its own studies to support clinical and further development.

Reference: “Elicitation of potent neutralizing antibody responses by designed protein nanoparticle vaccines for SARS-CoV-2
Alexandra C. Walls, Brooke Fiala, Alexandra Schäfer, Samuel Wrenn, Minh N. Pham, Michael Murphy,
Longping V. Tse, Laila Shehata, Megan A. O’Connor, Chengbo Chen, Mary Jane Navarro, Marcos C. Miranda,
Deleah Pettie, Rashmi Ravichandran, John C. Kraft, Cassandra Ogohara, Anne Palser, Sara Chalk, E-Chiang Lee,
Kathryn Guerriero, Elizabeth Kepl, Cameron M. Chow, Claire Sydeman, Edgar A. Hodge, Brieann Brown, Jim T. Fuller,
Kenneth H. Dinnon, III, Lisa E. Gralinski, Sarah R. Leist, Kendra L. Gully, Thomas B. Lewis, Miklos Guttman, Helen Y. Chu, Kelly K. Lee, Deborah H. Fuller, Ralph S. Baric,
Paul Kellam, Lauren Carter, Marion Pepper, Timothy P. Sheahan,
David Veesler and Neil P. King, Accepted 26 October 2020, Cell.

(November 2, 2020) South African firm and Johnson & Johnson strike vaccine deal
JOHANNESBURG -- South African pharmaceutical firm Aspen Pharmacare
has announced a deal with U.S. firm Johnson & Johnson to manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine candidate,
if it is approved in South Africa and internationally.
The company said the facility has a capacity to manufacture more than 300 million doses of the vaccine a year.
Johnson & Johnson's test vaccine, Ad26.COV3-S, is one of four different vaccines currently undergoing clinical trials in South Africa.
Johnson & Johnson would be responsible for supplying the vaccine in large batches
and Aspen would put it into vials and package it for individual doses,
pending a final commercial agreement, said the statement issued by Aspen.
In July protesters demonstrated in Johannesburg against vaccine trials of a vaccine being tested by the University of Oxford,
in which about 2,000 people were expected to participate. The protesters told The Associated Press then that people
chosen as volunteers for the trials were from impoverished backgrounds
and not fully aware of the potential risks associated with clinical trials.

(November 5, 2020) Australia makes COVID-19 vaccine supply agreements with Novavax and Pfizer
The Australian Government has inked an agreement with Novavax for 40 million COVID-19 vaccine doses;
and with Pfizer/BioNTech for 10 million doses.
The government expects the two vaccines will be available in Australia from early to mid-2021:
subject to them being proven safe and effective and approved by the country's regulator.
Australia has now lined up a total of 134 million doses across four vaccine candidates,
with today's announcement following agreements made in September
with the University of Oxford / AstraZeneca (for 33.8 million doses)
and Australia’s University of Queensland / CSL (51 million doses).

(November 5, 2020) Denmark to cull up to 17 million mink amid coronavirus fears
Denmark will cull all its mink - as many as 17 million -
after a mutated form of coronavirus that can spread to humans was found on mink farms.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the mutated virus posed a "risk to the effectiveness" of a future Covid-19 vaccine.
Denmark is the world's biggest producer of mink fur and its main export markets are China and Hong Kong.
The culling began late last month, after many mink cases were detected.

(November 7, 2020) Infections with a new virus variant: Mink transfer mutated coronavirus to people – knowledge
The mutated variant shows changes in the very structure that many of the vaccine candidates currently in development target.
Concerned that this new variant might spread and that vaccines against it might not work,
the Danish government is not only having all farm minks culled, but is also sealing off areas around the fur farms.
Since June, at least 214 people have been infected with a variant of the corona virus that originally appeared in minks,
the Danish health institute SSI announced on Friday. 200 of the cases were detected in the North Jutland region.
There are a particularly large number of mink farms in this region. Sars-CoV-2 has already been found in 216 breeding facilities across the country.

(November 9, 2020) UK to isolate patients with new mink strain of coronavirus
The UK ordered patients suspected of contracting a virus from mink in Denmark into isolation
as fears that the mutated coronavirus strain could undermine vaccine efforts increased.
Doctors were told the strain showed "less sensitivity for neutralising antibodies", The Telegraph said.
Known as cluster five, the variant has four mutations in the spike protein,
the part of the virus scientists put into vaccines to help drive antibodies.
There are now more than 200 patients with coronavirus infections linked to mink farms.
At the weekend, the UK banned entry to all non-residents coming from Denmark, while UK citizens must isolate for two weeks.

(November 11, 2020) Pfizer, BioNTech to Supply 200M Doses of BNT162b2 to EU
Pfizer and BioNTech SE have reached an agreement with the European Commission to supply 200 million doses
of their investigational BNT162b2 mRNA-based vaccine candidate against COVID-19 to EU Member States,
with an option to request an additional 100 million doses.
Deliveries are anticipated to start by the end of 2020,
subject to clinical success and regulatory authorization.
The vaccine doses will be produced at BioNTech’s German manufacturing sites,
as well as Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Belgium.
The BNT162 program is based on BioNTech’s mRNA technology
and supported by Pfizer’s global vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities.
Two of the companies’ four investigational vaccine candidates – BNT162b1 and BNT162b2 –
received Fast Track designation from the U.S. FDA, with Phase 1/2 studies currently ongoing in the U.S. and Germany.

(November 12, 2020) CureVac Aims to Overcome Deep-Freeze Challenge With Covid Shot
Data show CureVac’s messenger RNA vaccine remained stable for at least three months
when stored at a standard refrigerator temperature of 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit),
and for up to 24 hours as a ready-to-use shot when stored at room temperature,
the company said Thursday. Some vaccines, like the front-runner from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, must be kept at ultra-cold temperatures

(November 12, 2020) Arcturus Therapeutics receives $220M from Singapore for COVID-19 vaccine development
Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) financial commitment includes $45 million up front to fund manufacture of ARCT-021
and up to an additional $175 million in vaccine purchases.
ARCT-021 is being developed in collaboration with Duke-NUS Medical School
and ongoing Phase 1/2 development is being conducted in Singapore.
ARCT-021 combines self-transcribing and replicating mRNA (STARR™) with LUNAR® lipid-mediated delivery technology,
which is designed to enhance and extend antigen expression, enabling vaccination at lower doses.
Interactions with additional agencies are expected within the next few weeks.
Under the terms of the agreement, the loan will be repaid through royalties on future ARCT-021 commercial sales.

(November 14, 2020) J&J’s Covid Vaccine Gets Another $1 Billion Funding Boost
Johnson & Johnson will spend about $604 million expanding its deal with the U.S. government to develop a Covid-19 vaccine,
seeking to catch up with rivals who have forged ahead in the race.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will commit about $454 million
in additional money to the Phase 3 Ensemble trial, which seeks to evaluate the efficacy of the company’s vaccine candidate as a single-dose.
To accelerate the recruitment of participants and cut the trial time in half, J&J has also turned to data experts at UnitedHealth Group Inc.
J&J and Barda, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
already committed more than $1 billion in March to co-fund the research in an about 50-50 split.


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Post by KneelB4Zod! Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:38 pm

I moved this topic on the top of Main discussion. This is really excellent job!

"This is not a new world, it is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super-states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace." - "The Obsolete Man" - The Twilight Zone, 1961

"I assure you, ladies and gentlemen that, very soon history will show that we and our allies have fought a war on behalf of the whole world against terrorism supported by governments that will be held accountable by its own people..."
Quoting Dostoyevsky:
"Rest assured, hell is big enough for all. It doesn't deserve this fierce competition over who will be the worst." - Dr. Bashar Jaafari, UNSC session, 22nd of February, 2018

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刘汉 likes this post

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Post by Abacus Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:58 pm

Thank you Zod!


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Post by KneelB4Zod! Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:26 am

Abacus wrote:Thank you Zod!

We thank you. This is really a piece of work.

Btw, I trired to search while ago but I failed. Did you add Fucci's money transfer to Wuhan? It was in 2019 I think. There were more than one such transactions I think.

"This is not a new world, it is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super-states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace." - "The Obsolete Man" - The Twilight Zone, 1961

"I assure you, ladies and gentlemen that, very soon history will show that we and our allies have fought a war on behalf of the whole world against terrorism supported by governments that will be held accountable by its own people..."
Quoting Dostoyevsky:
"Rest assured, hell is big enough for all. It doesn't deserve this fierce competition over who will be the worst." - Dr. Bashar Jaafari, UNSC session, 22nd of February, 2018

Posts : 73069
Reputation : 254
Join date : 2018-05-17
Age : 44
Location : Krypton


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Post by Abacus Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:09 pm

I haven’t found anything conclusive,
but I’ll try to dig through it again when I get the time.


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Post by Abacus Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:14 pm

(November 16, 2020) George Soros buys a stake in big data firm Palantir
Soros Fund Management has acquired 18.5 million shares of Palantir, and Third Point has taken a more modest position of 2.4 million shares.
According to a submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Soros’ investment was worth about $ 175.3 million.
This is a purchase price of $ 9.50 per share. Palantir shares are currently trading at just under $ 16 per share,
so Soros shares are currently valued at approximately $ 294 million.
Palantir was co-founded by venture capitalist Thiel, known as a member of the “PayPal Mafia” that helped launch the payment giant.
With a more conservative political tendency, Thiel was also a supporter of President Trump in 2016 and is now a member of Facebook’s board of directors.

(November 16, 2020) EU Expands Vaccine Options With CureVac Contract
The EU is to sign a contract with German pharmaceutical company CureVac for another potential Covid-19 vaccine,
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Monday. The deal, to be signed Tuesday, brings to five the number of vaccines
the EU will have in its portfolio, with a sixth, from US firm Moderna, on its way, von der Leyen said in a video statement.
The CureVac contract is an option to buy up to 405 million doses if its vaccine is proven to be safe and effective.
Von der Leyen did not disclose the financial terms, in line with the same confidentiality given the other companies making candidate vaccines.

(November 16, 2020) Labour calls for emergency laws to stop misleading anti-vaccination news – leading macroeconomic influencers
The Labour party in the UK has called for immediate laws to stamp out dangerous anti-vaccine content online.
Within hours of progress of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine announcement,
online posts were popping up on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
The misleading information included chats and comments on vaccines causing deliberate harm,
the government inserting chips to alter DNA and vaccines as weapons of genocide.
Labour is pressing for criminal and financial charges for social media firms
who are not removing misleading or fear inducing stories about vaccines, the article noted.
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, stated that such content
was exploiting the fears of people and initiated mistrust against the government and institutions.
As a result, the party was interested in working with the government to promote vaccine
adoption and build trust.

(November 17, 2020) Amazon unveils online pharmacy, expanding its push into health care
Amazon unveiled its biggest push into selling prescription drugs
with the launch of a digital pharmacy and discounts for paying U.S. Prime members
that sent shock waves through shares of drugstore chains and distributors.
Amazon’s new offering comes more than two years after its $753 million acquisition of PillPack,
an online pharmacy known for organizing prescriptions into packets.

(November 19, 2020) Covid-19: Government agrees in principle to buy Janssen Pharmaceutica vaccines
The New Zealand government has reached an in-principle agreement to purchase doses of a Covid-19 vaccine for the entire population.
If all goes to plan, the first doses - up to two million - would be delivered from the third quarter of 2021.
The government would then have the option to purchase up to three million more doses, which would be delivered throughout 2022.
The vaccine is likely to be single-dose and compatible with standard vaccine distribution channels, so it may be more efficient to administer.
The Pfizer vaccine would be available in the early part of 2021 while the Janssen one would more likely be near the end of the year.

(November 20, 2020) ‘Internet of Bodies’: Are COVID Tests Harvesting DNA?
We have all heard about the Internet of Things (IoT): An emerging posthuman world of unprecedented connectivity,
in which smart technology will power a new industrial revolution.
When IoT connects with your body, this is called the Internet of Bodies (IoB).
The ‘Internet of Bodies’ is a major part of the IoT revolution that basically connects the human body to a network
through devices that are ingested, implanted or connected to the body in some way.
Our ‘friends’, the usual suspects at the World Economic Forum,
are once again at the forefront of this transformation.
Remember: The World Economic Forum were co-hosts of Event 201 and will host
the upcoming Great Reset forum between January 18-21. An important note to keep in mind.
Your DNA is a unique marker of your identity, and it reveals many things about you, your health and your family.
There are many companies who are trying to capture your DNA from the moment you are born.
Some states even assemble huge banks of DNA or blood from newborns, for example.
COVID-19 is no different. This isn’t about a virus. This is about taking your most sensitive details.

(November 20, 2020) Billionaires' net worths climbed by almost $1 trillion during the pandemic while their workers were put at risk
A report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) focuses on 12 billionaires who saw their fortunes skyrocket
during the pandemic, while thousands of workers from their companies fell ill or did not receive hazard pay.
From March 2020 to November 2020, billionaires gained almost $1 trillion in wealth.
But, as the report outlines, those profits may come at the expense of the essential workers they employ.
For instance, John H. Tyson, the owner of Tyson Foods, has made over $600 million during this timeframe.
The family member of a Tyson employee who died of COVID-19 is suing the company for wrongful death
and claiming that a plant manager organized an office pool in April on how many workers would get infected.
Iowa's News Now reported that Tyson suspended the employees
named in the lawsuit and began an internal investigation,
led by former Attorney General Eric Holder.

(November 21, 2020) Israel Says Agreed With AstraZeneca on COVID Vaccine Rations for 5 Million People
Israel said Friday it is in advanced stages of negotiations with British drug maker AstraZeneca
to secure the supply of a coronavirus vaccine for five million people.
Under to the agreement, AstraZeneca would provide some 10 million vaccine doses,
with its vaccine requiring two doses per person.
The initial supply of AstraZeneca vaccines would arrive in Israel in the first half of 2021
subject to regulatory authorities in Europe, the United States and Israel.
This deal would include the biggest supply of vaccines Israel has secured so far.
The talks to seal the deal are held on the order by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.

(November 23, 2020) Germany's CureVac Signs Contract for New Vaccine
German pharmaceutical company CureVac says it has signed a contract to produce major quantities of a COVID-19 vaccine
under development in the Netherlands. The Tuebingen company said Monday it had agreed with Munich’s Wacker Chemie AG
on a contract for the production of its COVID-19 vaccine using mRNA technology at Wacker’s site in Amsterdam
in the first half of 2021. It plans to produce 100 million doses of the CureVac vaccine per year at the facility,
and said there is potential for expansion.

(November 23, 2020) Tony Blair Institute and Oracle Launch Africa Vaccine Management in the Cloud
The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) and Oracle have brought cloud technology to Africa to manage public health programs.
Initially, Ghana, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone will use the new Oracle Health Management System
to create electronic health records for their vaccination programs
for yellow fever, HPV, polio, measles, and COVID-19, as soon as that vaccine is distributed to Africa.
TBI and Oracle are in discussions with more than thirty other countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America
that are evaluating using the same cloud system to manage their COVID-19 vaccination programs.  

(November 23, 2020) UK considers face biometrics to verify vaccinated travelers
The UK is taking steps to allow British citizens to resume traveling, with plans to make vaccination credentials
capable of supporting face biometrics checks at borders and prove the bearer is not carrying the novel coronavirus.
The investigation by The Telegraph mentions that Cabinet Office officials have contacted banknote printers, including De La Rue,
for the creation of holograph and security stamp documents to verify the identity of citizens who have tested negative for the virus.
The documents could incorporate facial recognition, as well as NFC-powered chip reading capabilities.

(November 23, 2020) Qantas airline to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for international flights
Australian airline Qantas will require travelers on international flights to be jabbed
with a coronavirus vaccine once an inoculation is ready, CEO Alan Joyce said.
Australia’s largest airline is planning to enshrine the mandate in its terms and conditions,
which would be amended to say that international travelers must be vaccinated before they can board a Qantas plane, Joyce said.

(November 24, 2020) US FDA grants EUA to Regeneron’s casirivimab & imdevimab antibody cocktail for COVID-19
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the antibody cocktail casirivimab and imdevimab administered together (formerly known as REGN-COV2(REGN10933) or REGEN-COV2(REGN10987),
a therapy currently being investigated for use in COVID-19, has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Regeneron rapidly scaled up production of casirivimab and imdevimab, beginning in the early days of the pandemic
with support from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA),
part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Regeneron now expects to have treatment doses ready for approximately 80,000 patients by the end of November,
approximately 200,000 patients by the first week of January, and approximately 300,000 patients in total by the end of January 2021.
This use is authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use,
unless terminated or revoked sooner. Casirivimab and imdevimab have not been approved by FDA and remain investigational.
Regeneron continues to increase in-house production of casirivimab and imdevimab, and the company has partnered with Roche to increase the global supply beginning in 2021.

(November 24, 2020) Coronavirus digest: EU agrees vaccine deal with Moderna
The European Union has reached a deal with US pharmaceutical firm Moderna to secure doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate,
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday.
Von der Leyen said: "I am happy to announce that tomorrow we will approve a new contract to secure another COVID-19 vaccine."
She added the deal will include up to 160 million doses.
It is the sixth deal of its kind the EU has negotiated with vaccine developers.

(November 24, 2020) Moderna boss says COVID-19 vaccine not proven to stop spread of virus
Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine may not get life back to normal
right away because it hasn’t yet been proven to prevent the deadly bug from spreading,
the company’s top doctor says.
“When we start the deployment of this vaccine, we will not
have sufficient concrete data to prove that this vaccine reduces transmission.”

(November 24, 2020) Elon Musk becomes world's second richest person
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has topped Microsoft founder Bill Gates to become the world's second richest man
after a meteoric rise in his personal fortune. Mr Musk's net worth jumped by $7.2bn (£5.4bn) to $128bn
after shares in his car firm Tesla surged. Only Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is richer, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

(November 25, 2020) ReiThera announces update on ongoing phase 1 study of vaccine candidate, GRAd-COV2 against novel coronavirus
ReiThera Srl, a biotech company dedicated to the technology development, GMP manufacturing and clinical translation of genetic vaccines
and medicinal products for advanced therapies, provides an update on the ongoing phase 1 study of its vaccine candidate (GRAd-COV2)
against the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). GRAd-COV2, the candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 recently developed by ReiThera,
is based on a novel and proprietary replication-defective simian (gorilla) adenoviral vector (called GRAd)
encoding the full-length coronavirus spike protein (GRAd-COV2). The spike protein enables the coronavirus to enter human cells.
ReiThera produced the vaccine material for this trial using its in–house GMP manufacturing expertise and capabilities in Italy.
In parallel, the Company is working with LEUKOCARE in Germany to develop a thermostable formulation
of the GRAd-COV2 vaccine and with Univercells in Belgium to develop a bespoke manufacturing process
to enable rapid, large-scale production of the vaccine.

(November 25, 2020) UK’s Johnson speaks with Mohammed bin Salman on phone call
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
on the phone on Tuesday afternoon after the Kingdom hosted the Group of 20 virtual summit at the weekend.
In a statement, a Downing Street representative said Mr Johnson congratulated Saudi Arabia for hosting the summit
and for the “productive meetings” it brought about on the global recovery from the pandemic and tackling climate change.
“They discussed recent positive progress on the vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca
and the importance of ensuring global access to coronavirus vaccines,” the representative added.

(November 25, 2020) Abu Dhabi launches Hope Consortium for global vaccine distribution, teams-up with Etihad Cargo, Rafed & SkyCell to handle over 6 billion vaccine doses
Amid an anticipated surge in vaccine logistics demand, Abu Dhabi is poised to cement its position as the global logistics hub
to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine distribution globally after spearheading the launch of the Hope Consortium.
The consortium also includes Abu Dhabi Ports Group, Etihad Cargo Rafed, the healthcare purchasing arm of Abu Dhabi-based ADQ, and Switzerland’s award-winning SkyCell,
which develops next-generation, temperature-controlled logistics containers for the pharmaceutical industry.
As part of the Hope Consortium, SkyCell will establish a regional service and manufacturing centre in Abu Dhabi.
The Consortium intends to transport the vaccines using SkyCell’s hybrid containers.

(November 29, 2020) UK secures 2 million more doses of Moderna’s Covid vaccine
Britain has secured two million doses of Moderna Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate,
to be available in Europe as early as the spring, the government said on Sunday, in addition to the 5 million doses
it secured from the U.S. company two weeks ago.
The new deal came a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson named Nadhim Zahawi,
a junior business minister, to be minister responsible for the deployment of Covid-19 vaccines.
Britain now has access to enough doses of Moderna’s vaccine candidate for around 3.5 million people.
Overall, it has access to 357 million doses of vaccines from seven developers, according to government statement.

(November 29, 2020) Coronavirus inoculations in UK to be overseen by vaccines minister
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi
would oversee the country's biggest vaccine program in decades.
During the time he was on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee
he was also chairman of the secretive trans-Atlantic group Le Cercle
but did not declare his membership. In 2019 a member of his staff
was listed as an administor of Le Cercle in the Parliamentary Register of interests.


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Post by KneelB4Zod! Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:40 pm

Abacus wrote:I haven’t found anything conclusive,
but I’ll try to dig through it again when I get the time.


That's what I found just now. But I've seen better articles I'm sure.

"This is not a new world, it is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super-states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace." - "The Obsolete Man" - The Twilight Zone, 1961

"I assure you, ladies and gentlemen that, very soon history will show that we and our allies have fought a war on behalf of the whole world against terrorism supported by governments that will be held accountable by its own people..."
Quoting Dostoyevsky:
"Rest assured, hell is big enough for all. It doesn't deserve this fierce competition over who will be the worst." - Dr. Bashar Jaafari, UNSC session, 22nd of February, 2018

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Post by Abacus Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:20 pm

Have only found this (first part already in the timeline):

(March 15, 2016) UNC Epidemiology Study: New SARS-Like Virus May Be Nearly Ready to Infect Humans
A study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that a SARS-like virus
known as WIV1-CoV, which is found in horseshoe bats, could bind to the same receptors as SARS-CoV and replicate in human cells without the need for adaptation.
Thought to be a critical barrier, the results indicate that bat populations maintain SARS-like viruses poised to reemerge in humans.
The research team worked with both full length and chimeric versions of WIV1-CoV.
The virus readily and efficiently replicated in cultured human airway tissues, suggesting and ability to potentially jump directly to humans.
While other adaptations may be required to produce an epidemic,
several viral strains circulating in bat populations have already overcome
the barrier of replication in human cells and suggest reemergence as a distinct possibility.

More info:
Reported studies were initiated after the University of North Carolina Institutional Biosafety Committee approved the experimental protocol:
project title: Generating infectious clones of Bat SARS-like CoVs; lab safety plan ID: 20145741; schedule G ID: 12279.
These studies were initiated before the US Government Deliberative Process Research Funding Pause on Selected Gain of Function
Research Involving Influenza, MERS, and SARS Viruses
and the current paper has been reviewed by the funding agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Continuation of these studies has been requested and approved by the NIH.

We thank Dr. Zhengli-Li Shi of the Wuhan Institute of Virology for access to bat CoV sequences and plasmid of WIV1-CoV spike protein.
Research was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and the National Institute of Aging ..


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Post by shachalnur Fri Dec 25, 2020 5:50 pm


dunno if you already linked this one ,but it's the score worldwide for the vaxx.

you can see how many vaxxes have been given where etc.




No se va a caer solo, hay que prenderle fuego



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Post by Abacus Sun Dec 27, 2020 7:31 pm

Thanks for info shachalnur


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Post by Abacus Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:58 pm

(December 1, 2020) DNA Data Storage Alliance Launches With Illumina, Microsoft, Twist Bioscience, Western Digital
Twist Bioscience Corporation, Illumina, and Western Digital announced an alliance last month with Microsoft to advance the field of DNA data storage.
Microsoft has already demonstrated a fully automated end-to-end system capable of storing and retrieving data from DNA in collaboration with the University of Washington.
“We have separately stored 1GB of data in DNA synthesized by Twist and recovered data from it,” added Karin Strauss, senior principal research manager at Microsoft
in the Alliance announcement. Synthetic DNA is preferable because it is easier to handle and store.
“A key component of a DNA data storage system is its ability to read back the digital information when needed,”
said Alex Aravanis, chief technology officer at Illumina in the same statement.

(December 1, 2020) Amazon delves deeper into voice recognition, call-center work as COVID-19 drives cloud
Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O on Tuesday announced voice recognition
as part of a suite of call-center services for businesses,
as the company sees growing demand for its cloud tools during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the company's annual re:Invent conference, executive Andy Jassy announced Amazon Connect Voice ID,
which uses machine learning software to authenticate customers who dial into call centers.
Jassy, who runs the firm's cloud computing division Amazon Web Services, said AWS builds a voice print
for customers who opt in to save time on calls.

(December 2, 2020) UK MHRA grants emergency use authorization to Pfizer & BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine, BNT162b2 against COVID-19
Pfizer and BioNTech announced that the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK has granted a temporary authorization
for emergency use for their COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2), against COVID-19.
“The Emergency Use Authorization in the UK will mark the first time citizens outside
of the trials will have the opportunity to be immunized against COVID-19,” said Ugur Sahin,
M.D., CEO and co-founder of BioNTech. “We believe that the roll-out of the vaccination program
in the UK will reduce the number of people in the high-risk population being hospitalized.
Our aim is to bring a safe and effective vaccine upon approval to the people who need it.

(December 2, 2020) Drugmaker Merck divests stake in vaccine-maker Moderna
U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co said on Wednesday it has sold its equity investment in Moderna Inc,
after benefiting from a surge in the stock price of the vaccine developer this year.
Merck did not disclose the details of the sale proceeds,
but said it expects to record a small gain from the sale in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Moderna's shares have risen more than seven-fold this year,
valuing the company at US$55.80 billion as of Tuesday's closing price.

(December 3, 2020) Coronavirus vaccine: Pfizer given protection from legal action by UK government
The UK government has granted pharmaceutical giant Pfizer a legal indemnity protecting it from being sued,
enabling its coronavirus vaccine to be rolled out across the country as early as next week.
The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed the company has been given an indemnity
protecting it from legal action as a result of any problems with the vaccine.
Ministers have also changed the law in recent weeks to give new protections to companies such as Pfizer,
giving them immunity from being sued by patients in the event of any complications.

(December 3, 2020) Keneka Eurogentec Joins Inovio’s Global Mfg. Consortium
Inovio, a biotechnology company focused on bringing to market precisely designed DNA medicines
to treat and protect people from infectious diseases and cancer, has executed an agreement with Kaneka Eurogentec S.A.,
an affiliate of Kaneka Corporation, for Eurogentec to manufacture Inovio's Covid-19 vaccine candidate INO-4800
at their industry-leading GMP plasmid production scales. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Kaneka Eurogentec joins existing partners Thermo Fisher Scientific, Richter-Helm BioLogics and Ology Biosciences in Inovio's global manufacturing consortium.
The INNOVATE(Inovio INO-4800 Vaccine Trial for Efficacy) trial will be funded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND)
in coordination with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (OASD (HA)) and the Defense Health Agency (DHA).

(December 4, 2020) CDC Quietly Adjusted Covid Death Data, Shows Higher Relative Toll on Black, Hispanic People
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has quietly revised
its estimates for the disproportionately deadly toll that Covid-19 is taking on communities of color.
After adjusting for age, the CDC now says Hispanic and Black Americans
are shown to die at a rate of almost three times that of White Americans.
The nation's top health agency revised the analysis after Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.,
called on the CDC to adjust the data by age.

(December 4, 2020) Pfizer COVID jab warning: No breastfeeding, avoid pregnancy for 2 months, unknown fertility impacts
UK Government produced safety instructions for a new coronavirus vaccine indicate that it should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding mothers and children.
In addition, they state that it is unknown what effect the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine will have on fertility.
In a section called “Fertility, pregnancy and lactation,” the guide says there is “no or limited data” on the vaccine.
Therefore, it is not recommending its use for pregnant women.
“Animal reproductive toxicity studies have not been completed.
COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 is not recommended during pregnancy,” the guide states in section 4.6.
But alarmingly the guide has only one thing to say about the vaccine’s impact on fertility: they don’t know if it does or doesn’t.

(December 4, 2020) Sherlock Biosciences Strengthens Intellectual Property Portfolio in CRISPR-based Diagnostics Through Exclusive License Agreement with Tolo Biotech
Sherlock Biosciences, an Engineering Biology company dedicated to making diagnostic testing
better, faster and more affordable, today announced exclusive license agreements with Shanghai-based Tolo Biotech.
Tolo has granted Sherlock exclusive rights in the United States to its CRISPR-Cas12 (including Cas12a and Cas12b) diagnostic technology,
and Sherlock has granted Tolo exclusive rights to the CRISPR-Cas13 SHERLOCK™ diagnostic platform in Greater China.
Financial details have not been disclosed.
In May 2020, Sherlock received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
for its Sherlock™ CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit, the first FDA-authorized use of CRISPR technology.

(December 4, 2020) EuBiologics partners with IVI for COVID-19 vaccine development
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and South Korean company EuBiologics exchanged an MOU to cooperate in the clinical development
of the COVID-19 vaccine the company is currently developing. The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by EuBiologics
uses two platform technologies: its own immunity enhancement technology (EuIMT) and the antigen display technology
(Spontaneous nanoliposome antigen particleization: SNAP) of the US-based POP Biotech, which EuBiologics has an investment in.
EuBiologics’ own COVID-19 vaccine uses protein subunit (synthetic antigen) technique,
which is the same method as that used by Sanofi and NovaVax, and SK bioscience in Korea.

(December 4, 2020) New CRISPR-Based Test for COVID-19 Uses a Smartphone Camera
In a new study published in the scientific journal Cell, the team from Gladstone, UC Berkeley, and UCSF
has outlined the technology for a CRISPR-based test for COVID-19
that uses a smartphone camera to provide accurate results in under 30 minutes.
The technique was designed in collaboration with UC Berkeley bioengineer Daniel Fletcher, PhD, as well as Jennifer Doudna, PhD,
who is a senior investigator at Gladstone, a professor at UC Berkeley, president of the Innovative Genomics Institute,
and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Doudna recently won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
for co-discovering CRISPR-Cas genome editing, the technology that underlies this work.
"When coupled with repeated testing, measuring viral load could help determine whether an infection is increasing or decreasing,"
says Fletcher, who is also a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator.

(December 7, 2020) Palantir Wins FDA Contract to Power Drug Review, Inspections
The three-year deal is worth $44.4 million and will allow the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation
and Research and the Oncology Center of Excellence to use Palantir software to integrate and analyze data.
The FDA contract is one of dozens Palantir has secured with U.S. federal agencies in recent years.
Government work, which Palantir undertakes globally, now makes up more than half of its total revenue.
The company was awarded $21 million in contracts in late April with the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS)
as part of the country’s data collection and analysis platform, HHS Protect.
Since the pandemic began this year, Palantir has secured more than 100 deals with private companies and health and government groups.
More recently, Palantir announced its software (Tiberius) will help power the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to 300 million Americans through Operation Warp Speed.

(December 8, 2020) The Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican, A New Alliance Of Global Business Leaders, Launches Today
The Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican ("the Council"), a historic new partnership
between some of the world's largest investment and business leaders and the Vatican, launched today.
The Council is led by a core group of global leaders, known as Guardians
for Inclusive Capitalism, who meet annually with Pope Francis and Cardinal Turkson.

The full list of Guardians is as follows:

- Ajay Banga, President and Chief Executive Officer - Mastercard
- Oliver Bäte, Chairman of the Board of Management - Allianz SE
- Marc Benioff, Chair, Chief Executive Officer, and Founder - Salesforce
- Edward Breen, Executive Chairman - Dupont
- Sharan Burrow, General Secretary - International Trade Union Confederation
- Mark Carney - COP26 Financial Advisor to the Prime Minister, and United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance
- Carmine Di Sibio, Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer - EY
- Brunello Cucinelli, Executive Chairman and Creative Director - Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A.
- Roger Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer - TIAA
- Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Founder and Managing Partner - Inclusive Capital Partners
- Kenneth Frazier, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer - Merck & Co., Inc.
- Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer - The Estée Lauder Companies
- Marcie Frost, Chief Executive Officer - CalPERS
- Alex Gorsky, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer - Johnson & Johnson
- Angel Gurria, Secretary General - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- Alfred Kelly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer - Visa Inc.
- William Lauder, Executive Chairman - The Estée Lauder Companies
- Bernard Looney, Chief Executive Officer - BP
- Fiona Ma, Treasurer - State of California
- Hiro Mizuno, Member of the Board - Principles for Responsible Investment
- Brian Moynihan, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer - Bank of America
- Deanna Mulligan, President and Chief Executive Officer - Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
- Ronald P. O'Hanley, President and Chief Executive Officer - State Street Corporation
- Rajiv Shah, President - The Rockefeller Foundation
- Tidjane Thiam, Board Member - Kering Group
- Darren Walker, President - Ford Foundation
- Mark Weinberger, Former Chair and CEO of - EY, and Board member of - J&J, - MetLife and - Saudi Aramco

(December 8, 2020) HALIX, AstraZeneca Ink Commercial COVID-19 Vax Mfg. Pact
HALIX B.V. signed an agreement with AstraZeneca for large-scale commercial drug substance manufacture of AZD1222, the adenovirus vector-based COVID-19 vaccine.
HALIX will provide commercial manufacturing of drug substance at its cGMP facility at the Leiden Bio Science Park in the Netherlands.
To meet the increased demand, HALIX has expanded with two additional viral vector production lines.
HALIX continues its key role as one of the original partners in the University of Oxford’s consortium
for the manufacture of AZD1222. The vaccine was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company Vaccitech.

(December 8, 2020) Florida Agents Raid Home Of Rebekah Jones, Former State Data Scientist
Florida law enforcement agents searched the home of former state data scientist Rebekah Jones on Monday,
entering her house with weapons drawn as they carried out a warrant as part of an investigation
into an unauthorized message that was sent on a state communications system.
The Florida Department of Health is the agency that fired Jones in May, after she helped create the state's COVID-19 dashboard.
Jones has said she lost her job after she refused requests to manipulate data to suggest Florida was ready to ease coronavirus restrictions.
The search warrant was authorized as investigators tried to learn who sent a chat message to a planning group on an emergency alert platform,
urging people to speak out publicly about Florida's coronavirus strategies.

(December 9, 2020) Health Canada Green Lights COVID-19 Vax
Pfizer Canada and BioNTech SE said that Health Canada has granted Authorization under Interim Order for the emergency use of their mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2).
The distribution of the vaccine in Canada will be prioritized according to the populations identified in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI).
BioNTech will hold the regulatory approval in Canada, while Pfizer Canada will have the commercialization rights.
Pfizer will have the marketing and distribution rights worldwide with the exception of China, Germany and Turkey.

(December 9, 2020) Fareva enhancer: CureVac to use CDMO for COVID vaccine fill/finish
Under terms of the deal – financials of which have not been disclosed – contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Fareva
will provide fill and finish capabilities for CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV, from facilities in Val-de-Reuil and Pau, both in France.
Fareva has invested over €80 million ($97 million) in its Val-de-Reuil facility over the past decade,
but Pau is a brand new extension for the CDMO, having just acquired the plant – along with a monoclonal antibody production plant
in Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, France – from French drugmaker Pierre Fabre.

(December 9, 2020) Malaysia joins CEPI donating $3 M to advance vaccine R&D
Malaysia has announced funding of $3 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)
to help support CEPI’s work to advance the development of vaccines against emerging epidemic threats.
Malaysia also last week joined COVAX, a global initiative co-led by CEPI, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO),
working to ensure the globally fair allocation of 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021 to end the acute phase of the pandemic.
With the UK and Norway working as COVAX partners and established coalition members within CEPI, H.E. Mr. Charles Hay, High Commissioner of the British High Commission,
and H.E. Ms. Gunn Jorid Roset, Ambassador of Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malaysia,
were also in attendance at the virtual signing ceremony to discuss the new partnership.

(December 9, 2020) PostEra, Pfizer ink pact to advance machine learning for drug discovery
PostEra, a biotechnology company, announced a strategic partnership with Pfizer
with the goal of accelerating small molecule drug discovery
by developing a platform technology based on generative chemistry.
PostEra's machine learning technology is intended to accelerate the drug discovery process
by designing novel molecular structures with optimised potency and drug-like properties.
PostEra will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive additional payments as the project progresses.
PostEra will also retain ownership rights to all algorithms developed during the collaboration.

(December 9, 2020) Singapore to contribute $5,000,000 to COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access AMC mechanism
In a recent press release, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs
said that "Global solidarity is required for an effective international response to the pandemic.
As part of our consistent support for vaccine multilateralism, and the fair and equitable access and allocation of vaccines,
Singapore will contribute $5,000,000 to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX)
Advance Market Commitment (AMC) mechanism, which will help support 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries’
access to COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility.
The COVAX Facility is a global risk-sharing mechanism which seeks to procure,
equitably allocate and deliver 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.
Singapore is one of 97 self-financing participants (as of 25 November 2020) in the Facility.
The Facility’s implementing partners are the World Health Organisation, Gavi,
the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Singapore and Switzerland co-chair the Friends of the COVAX Facility to support the work of this Facility.

(December 10, 2020) Anti-vaxxer who founded non-profit Learn the Risk discovered dead by 9-year-old son
Brandy Vaughan was an activist who founded California non-profit Learn the Risk in 2015,
which is known for its billboard campaigns asserting vaccines are responsible for a large number of deaths of young children.
Best known for speaking out against the pharmaceutical industry and vaccines;
She worked for Merck between 2001-2004.
After leaving her job, Brandy Vaughan lived in Europe for 8 years with her son.
In December 2019, Brandy Vaughan explicitly stated that she would never commit suicide,
stating "I’ve NEVER had any thoughts of taking my own life, not once, ever.
Vaughan was found dead by her son on December 7, 2020.
According to some webpages, she died from gallbladder complications.
Erin Elizabeth wrote on Dec. 8 that there will be an independent autopsy,
Brandy did relate that she was fearful for attacks on her life and her house had been broken into several times.

(December 10, 2020) SK Bioscience chosen to receive $10mn from CEPI for vaccine development
SK Bioscience’s second Covid-19 vaccine candidate GBP510 has been chose to receive $10 million
in funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI),
becoming the first to be supported as part of the global partnership’s Wave 2 initiative,
the South Korean company said on Wednesday. CEPI is a global health partnership launched in 2017
with the aim to accelerate the development of vaccines against infectious diseases and enable
equitable access to these vaccines during outbreaks. Last month, the organization launched the Wave 2 project
with donations from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund effective Covid-19 vaccine development.
GBP510, once developed, will be supplied to the world to more than 180 countries
and economies through the Covax Facility led by CEPI, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
GBP510 is a coronavirus vaccine candidate that SK Biosciences started development in collaboration with the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington
in Seattle in May with a grant from BMGF.

(December 11, 2020) White House threatens to fire FDA chief unless Pfizer Covid vaccine approved Friday, report says
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told the head of the Food and Drug Administration to submit his resignation
if the agency doesn’t clear Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use by day’s end, The Washington Post reported Friday.
The warning led FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and the agency to accelerate its timetable for clearing America’s first Covid-19 vaccine
from Saturday morning to later Friday, according to the Post, which cited anonymous sources.

(December 11, 2020) Sanofi, GSK announce delay in Covid-19 vaccine until end of 2021
France's Sanofi and Britain's GSK said Friday their Covid-19 vaccines will not be ready until the end of 2021,
after interim results showed a low immune response in older adults.
Also unknown is whether more side effects will emerge with longer follow-up,
how long the vaccine remains effective, whether it will limit transmission
and how it will work in children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised patients.
The vaccine candidate, developed by Sanofi in partnership with GSK,
is based on technology that Sanofi has used to produce seasonal influenza
vaccines and on immunological agents developed by GSK.

(December 11, 2020) Australia secures 20 M extra Astra Zeneca vaccines doses
The Australian Government has secured an additional 20 million doses of the "promising" AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine,
strengthening Australia’s position for whole-of-population vaccination.
This will mean a total delivery of 53.8 million Astra Zeneca vaccine doses in 2021,
covering the whole of population requirements. The extra 20 million doses
of the Astra Zeneca vaccine will be produced within Australia by CSL.
In addition, a further 11 million doses of the Novavax vaccine will be purchased,bringing the total for this vaccine to 51 million.
A purchasing agreement is also in place for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, with 10 million doses scheduled for early 2021.
The Australian Government is also part of the international COVAX Facility which allows the purchases of over 25 million doses of a range of other potential vaccines.

(December 11, 2020) 64 foreign ambassadors visit Hyderabad to take stock of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing process at Bharat Biotech
The ambassadors of all the 64 countries were taken on a tour of Bharat Biotech and Biological E vaccine manufacturing companies located in Hyderabad.
“The visit of HoMs of various countries to the leading vaccine manufacturing companies is first of its kind trip taken up in the country.
The main objective is to give a firsthand experience of the vaccine manufacturing facilities
and the processes being taken up by leading firms in India to the world countries.
Apart from Hyderabad, the central government is also planning similar trip for the HoMs (heads of missions)
to other vaccine manufacturing facilities located in other cities across the country,” informed the Chief Secretary.

(December 13, 2020) Vaccinated? Show Us Your App
In the coming weeks, major airlines including United, JetBlue and Lufthansa plan to introduce a health passport app, called CommonPass,
that aims to verify passengers’ virus test results — and soon, vaccinations. The app will then issue confirmation codes
enabling passengers to board certain international flights. It is just the start of a push for digital Covid-19 credentials
that could soon be embraced by employers, schools, summer camps and entertainment venues.
“This is likely to be a new normal need that we’re going to have to deal with to control
and contain this pandemic,” said Dr. Brad Perkins,
the chief medical officer at the Commons Project Foundation,
a nonprofit in Geneva that developed the CommonPass app.

(December 14, 2020) Singapore approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has granted an authorization 14 Dec 2020 under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR)
for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be used in Singapore for the prevention of COVID-19. The vaccination regime
submitted by Pfizer-BioNTech requires two doses of vaccine to be administered 21 days apart, in individuals aged 16 years and above.

(December 15, 2020) INOVIO to Develop dMAb COVID Treatments under DARPA Grant
INOVIO and a team of scientists from The Wistar Institute, AstraZeneca, the University of Pennsylvania, and Indiana University
received a $37.6 million grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA),
to use INOVIO's DNA-encoded monoclonal antibody (dMAb) technology to develop anti-SARS-CoV-2-specific dMAbs,
which could offer versatile capabilities to function as both a therapeutic and preventive treatment for COVID-19.
As part of DARPA's two-year grant, INOVIO and Wistar teams will construct COVID-19 dMAb candidates mirroring AstraZeneca's
traditional recombinant monoclonal antibody candidates currently being tested in clinical trials to treat COVID-19.
The company can encode the DNA sequence for a specific monoclonal antibody in a DNA plasmid and deliver the plasmid directly into cells
of the body using the company's proprietary smart device called CELLECTRA®.

(December 15, 2020) Applying AI to global health challenges: Gates Foundation awards $4.2m to Exscientia
UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery company Exscientia has received a $4.2m two-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
to apply its two Centaur platforms to three global health challenges: malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and non-hormonal contraception.
Exscientia’s AI platforms – Centaur Biologist and Centaur Chemist – will be leveraged to identify new next-generation targets
and leads for these unmet needs in infectious disease and family planning.
Exscientia portfolio manager Dr Denise Barrault explains that Centaur Biologist focuses on “identifying and quantifying new targets…for new therapies”.
The platform leverages “large data sets from the literature, large-scale repositories, like genetic repositories,
and other relevant data, including privately owned data if we can access it,” Barrault says.

(December 15, 2020) Spain's Reig Jofre to manufacture J&J's COVID-19 vaccine in Barcelona
Spanish pharmaceutical company Reig Jofre said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement with Johnson & Johnson
to produce the U.S. company's experimental COVID-19 vaccine at its plant in Barcelona.
J&J's Janssen subsidiary will transfer the technology required for large-scale manufacture
of the vaccine candidate to Reig Jofre, allowing production to get underway
once the shot receives regulatory approval, the Spanish company said in a statement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Reig Jofre said it will be responsible for the formulation, filling and packaging of the vaccine,
while Janssen will handle distribution. Reig Jofre said last month it would able to produce 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine a year
at its new factory without cancelling any existing contracts.


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Post by Abacus Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:00 pm

(December 17, 2020) You can’t sue Pfizer or Moderna if you have severe Covid vaccine side effects. The government likely won’t compensate you for damages either
If you experience severe side effects after getting a Covid vaccine, lawyers tell CNBC there is basically no one to blame in a U.S. court of law.
The federal government has granted companies like Pfizer and Moderna immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines.
You also can’t sue the Food and Drug Administration for authorizing a vaccine for emergency use,
nor can you hold your employer accountable if they mandate inoculation as a condition of employment.
In February, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act.
The 2005 law empowers the HHS secretary to provide legal protection to companies making or distributing
critical medical supplies, such as vaccines and treatments, unless there’s “willful misconduct” by the company. The protection lasts until 2024.
HHS declined CNBC’s request for an interview.

(December 17, 2020) Johns Hopkins leads coalition for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health has launched a coalition to promote equitable vaccination distribution.
The pandemic has exacerbated systemic factors that have driven longstanding health inequities among communities of color.
The CommuniVax coalition will conduct rapid ethnographic research related to COVID-19 vaccination
among historically underserved communities of color. As hard-hit communities must have an active role in the vaccination campaign,
research teams will work with community members to develop suggestions
on strengthening COVID-19 vaccine delivery and communication strategies.
The coalition will disseminate community viewpoints to national stakeholders
to develop a more equitable and effective vaccination effort.
CommuniVax received a $2 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to fund this research.

(December 17, 2020) Canada announces additional support for equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines
The Minister of International Development Karina Gould today announced a contribution of $230 million to procure COVID-19 treatments for developing countries
in response to urgent priorities identified by the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, launched by the World Health Organization and partners.
The initiative builds on the important work done with the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
to secure manufacturing capacity for novel antibody therapeutics production dedicated to developing countries.
Minister Gould also announced that Canada will invest $255 million in additional support for the ACT-Accelerator
for the effective deployment of medical solutions against COVID-19 in developing and vulnerable countries.
This will be achieved through focused investments with the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization,
the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for the development, delivery and distribution
of vaccines and therapeutics, including targeted support to Latin America and the Caribbean.
With today’s announcement of $485 million in support, Canada has contributed $865 million to date to partners of the ACT-Accelerator,
a coalition of international organizations and countries overseeing the development, production
and equitable distribution of affordable COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

(December 18, 2020) BinaxNOW COVID-19 home test granted emergency use authorization by FDA
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Abbott
this week for its BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test, allowing for virtually guided use by anyone 15 years or older, with a prescription.
Healthcare providers will refer such patients to the antigen test if they suspect them of having COVID-19 within the first seven days of symptom onset.
The test, offered in partnership with a telehealth service, will be provided for $5.
A previous EUA had authorized the BinaxNOW test only for use by medical personnel or trained operators
in certain non-clinical environments operating under CLIA certificate.
Through the telehealth service, guides will walk users through the process step-by-step,
including reading and understanding the results. All test results will then be reported to public health authorities.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been in the process of distributing 150 million
federal purchased ag card tests to states and other recipients.

(December 18, 2020) BioNTech, Shanghai Fosun Pharma to Supply COVID-19 Vax to China
BioNTech SE and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co. Ltd. have signed an agreement to supply Mainland China
with an initial 100 million doses of their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candidate against COVID-19 in 2021,
subject to regulatory approval. Initial supply will be delivered from BioNTech’s production facilities in Germany.
In March 2020, BioNTech and Fosun Pharma announced their strategic collaboration to work jointly
on the development and commercialization of a potential COVID-19 vaccine based on BioNTech’s mRNA technology platform.

(December 18, 2020) WHO (finally) admits PCR tests create false positives
The World Health Organization released a guidance memo on December 14th, warning that high cycle thresholds on PCR tests will result in false positives.
While this information is accurate, it has also been available for months, so we must ask: why are they reporting it now? Is it to make it appear the vaccine works?
The “gold standard” Sars-Cov-2 tests are based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR works by taking nucleotides – tiny fragments of DNA or RNA – and replicating them
until they become something large enough to identify. The replication is done in cycles, with each cycle doubling the amount of genetic material.

The number of cycles it takes to produce something identifiable is known as the “cycle threshold” or “CT value”.
The higher the CT value, the less likely you are to be detecting anything significant.
It’s been commonly available knowledge, for months now, that any test using a CT value over 35 is potentially meaningless.
Dr Kary Mullis: "If you have to go more than 40 cycles to amplify a single-copy gene, there is something seriously wrong with your PCR."
Despite all this, it is known that many labs around the world have been using PCR tests with CT values over 35, even into the low 40s.

So why has the WHO finally decided to say this is wrong? What reason could they have for finally choosing to recognise this simple reality?
The answer to that is potentially shockingly cynical: We have a vaccine now. We don’t need false positives anymore.
Notionally, the system has produced its miracle cure. So, after everyone has been vaccinated,
all the PCR tests being done will be done “under the new WHO guidelines”, and running only 25-30 cycles instead of 35+.
Lo and behold, the number of “positive cases” will plummet, and we’ll have confirmation that our miracle vaccine works.

(December 18, 2020) Government of New Zealand inks agreement to purchase 10.7 million doses of Novavax’s adjuvanted protein vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373 against COVID-19
Under the terms of the agreement, Novavax will manufacture NVX-CoV2373 with a target of delivering initial doses by mid-2021.
The company will work with Medsafe, New Zealand’s regulatory agency, to obtain product approvals as needed.
Given the urgency of timely approval and delivery of vaccine during the pandemic, the regulatory review process may leverage review by prioritized regulatory bodies
such as the US Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency and/or Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority in the United Kingdom.
NVX-CoV2373 is a protein-based vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
NVX-CoV2373 was created using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein
adjuvanted with Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

(December 19, 2020) Enesi Pharma, Imperial College London collaborate to develop thermostable RNA vaccines
Enesi Pharma, an innovative biotechnology company, announced its collaboration with Prof. Robin Shattock,
a leading infectious disease and vaccine expert, and his group at Imperial College London (Imperial),
to develop RNA vaccines, including against SARS-CoV-2, that are stable at ambient temperatures and up to 40o Celsius (104o Fahrenheit).
The collaboration will investigate the potential of combining Enesi's ImplaVax technology for the creation of thermostable, solid dose vaccines
with RNA vaccines based on Imperial's self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) technology and novel Polyplex DNA/RNA stabilisation technologies.
ImplaVax technology enables the development of solid dose vaccines of a fixed (unit) dose that are designed to be delivered using a needle-free device
into the dermal layer of the skin and with minimal administrator training.

(December 19, 2020) Switzerland Approves Pfizer Shot as First Covid-19 Vaccine
Switzerland has authorized Pfizer Inc.’s and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine, the first approved for use in the country.
Switzerland had previously signed contracts with the companies for the delivery of three million vaccine doses.
The first delivery of about 100,000 doses will arrive this year, with larger batches to follow,
according to a separate statement from the Federal Office of Public Health.
The Swiss nod comes after the U.K. and U.S. among others have already approved the vaccine,
while European Union regulators will be meeting next week to decide.
The public health office said that the vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca
are still undergoing Swissmedic’s approval process and the latter is “unlikely” to be available until the middle of next year.

(December 20, 2020) SII calls for protection against “frivolous” lawsuits
The chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla,
has said the government should provide vaccine makers indemnity against lawsuits,
saying such legal challenges will “ or distract them if they have to just all-day fight lawsuits
and explain to the media what is happening”. SII is expected to get approval
for distributing the vaccine developed by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca;
it also has a deal to make the Novavax vaccine.

(December 21, 2020) COVID-19 vaccination in the EU: Are the contracts with the companies publicly available?
Contracts are protected for confidentiality reasons, which is warranted by
the highly competitive nature of this global market. This is in order
to protect sensitive negotiations as well as business related information,
such as financial information and development and production plans.
Disclosing sensitive business information would also undermine
the tendering process and have potentially far-reaching consequences
for the ability of the Commission to carry out its tasks as set out in the legal instruments
that form the basis of the negotiations. All companies require that such sensitive business
information remains confidential between the signatories of the contract.

(December 21, 2020) EU approves BioNTech-Pfizer COVID vaccine
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission approved the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine on Monday.
The EMA's positive assessment of the vaccine was widely expected.
The Amsterdam-based drug regulator was under pressure from European countries,
including Germany, to speed up its decision, which was originally scheduled for December 29.
"We granted conditional market authorization to the vaccine produced by BioNTech and Pfizer,"
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, just hours after the EMA recommendation to approve the vaccine.

(December 21, 2020) COVAX plans global rollout of COVID-19 vaccine starting Q1 2021
COVAX, the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries,
regardless of income level, has announced that it had arrangements in place to access nearly two billion doses
of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, on behalf of 190 participating economies.
The new deals include the signing of an advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca for 170 million doses
of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate, and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Johnson & Johnson for 500 million doses
of the Janssen candidate, which is currently being investigated as a single dose vaccine..
These deals are in addition to existing agreements COVAX has with the Serum Institute of India (SII) for 200 million doses
– with options for up to 900 million doses more – of either the AstraZeneca/Oxford or Novavax candidates,
as well as a statement of intent for 200 million doses of the Sanofi/GSK vaccine candidate.

(December 21, 2020) IBM links with Salesforce to offer digital COVID-19 vaccine passports
"At the start of the pandemic, many organizations deployed simple COVID-19 screenings, such as self-reported health surveys,
to support re-entry to workplaces and other institutions," said Paul Roma, general manager of IBM Watson Health.
"Now, as testing becomes more widespread and vaccine distribution gets underway, we are expanding the availability of IBM Digital Health Pass with Salesforce
to help organizations verify an individual's vaccine status and any other relevant health credentials," Roma said.
Big Blue’s health pass app, which debuted earlier this year, aims to provide individual, sharable health credentials following test results, vaccinations
and temperature checks through an encrypted digital wallet on a smartphone. This could also help allow passengers to board airplanes,
concertgoers to enter venues or spectators to attend sporting events. Salesforce also recently introduced a version of Work.com for managing vaccine programs
aimed at governments and healthcare organizations. The company is also working with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
to help distribute about 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines across 190 countries before the end of next year.

(December 21, 2020) Allied Identity introduces Vaxtrac, a new vaccination management
and credentialing platform designed to aid against COVID-19 and other communicable diseases

Allied Identity announced the launch of Vaxtrac, a comprehensive vaccination management and credentialing platform
designed to aid in the local, national and international response to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.
Vaxtrac uses SICPA’s proprietary Certus service in order to ensure the security of vaccination records and credentials.
SICPA’s Certus MyHealth Pass sits at the heart of Vaxtrac to generate a blockchain-protected digital seal
that ensures credentials are tied to a unique identity, cannot be tampered with, and can be confidently verified by anyone
ensuring greater transparency and preventing potentially dangerous efforts to mislead public health officials.
SICPA is a Swiss company that provides security inks for currencies and sensitive documents,including identity documents, passports, transport and lottery tickets.

(December 22, 2020) Malaysia inks agreement with AstraZeneca to procure 6.4 Million doses of COVID-19 vaccine
KUALA LUMPUR – The government has just signed an agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca
for the procurement of an additional 10 per cent or 6.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine,
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced. He said this meant that the government had secured 40 per cent
guarantee of vaccine supply through joint agreements with COVAX, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
The government has previously signed preliminary agreements with Covax and Pfizer
for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine to secure a vaccine supply of 30 per cent of the population.
“The government is also in final negotiations with Sinovac, CanSino and Gamaleya
to secure a vaccine supply increase of more than 80 per cent or 26.5 million
of the country’s total population,” he said in a video on the recent development of COVID-19 vaccine for Malaysians today.

(December 23, 2020) Australia’s vaccine agreements
Australia has entered into 4 separate agreements for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Australian Government has invested more than $3.3 billion through these 4 agreements.
- Australia has secured 53.8 million doses of this vaccine
- 3.8 million doses will be delivered to Australia in early 2021
- 50 million doses will be manufactured in Australia in monthly batches.
- CSL will manufacture these doses on behalf of AstraZeneca
- 51 million doses will be made available in Australia during 2021
- 10 million doses will be available from early 2021
- these doses will be manufactured offshore
- Australia will have the option to purchase additional doses where supply is available.
COVAX Facility:
The Australian Government has made 2 financial commitments to Gavi’s COVAX Facility for the supply of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines:
- An upfront payment of $123.2 million to allow the purchase of over 25,000,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the Australian population.
- This would be sufficient for 50 percent of the population to receive a 2 dose regimen.
- A further $80 million to support vaccine access for up to 94 lower-income countries through the Facility’s Advanced Market Commitment.

(December 23, 2020) Data giant Palantir’s murky track record raises alarming questions about secret, potentially illegal £23 million NHS deal
Palantir has won a huge contract to continue its work on the NHS Covid-19 Data Store.
But the British public will have no way of knowing how the private information the company has been granted access to will be used.
The potentially illegal two-year deal, which began on December 12, was awarded under the Crown Commercial Services G-Cloud 11 Framework,
a ‘streamlined’ – i.e. much-accelerated – system typically used for minor contracts, which doesn’t require a tender to be published.
Under the terms of the agreement, the store will rely on Palantir’s Foundry data until at least December 2022.
Such information is clearly a highly valuable commodity, exclusive oversight of which is fraught with opportunity for abuse,
but Whitehall insists any personally-identifying details are aggregated or anonymized prior to being shared with Palantir et al.

(December 23, 2020) Merck to Deliver 100,000 Doses of COVID-19 Therapeutic
Merck announced it has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Government to support the development, manufacture, and initial distribution
of an investigational biological therapeutic (CD24Fc, to be named MK-7110) upon approval or Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. FDA.
Additionally, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority(BARDA) announced it will provide approximately $356 million
to Merck to deliver up to 100,000 doses of MK-7110 by June 30, 2021. BARDA part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response,
collaborated with the DOD Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) and Army Contracting Command (ACC-APG).
Merck acquired MK-7110 through the acquisition of New Jersey-based OncoImmune.

(December 23, 2020) Philips wins $2.8M from DoD for early COVID-19 detection tech
The U.S Defense Department has selected Royal Philips (NYSE:PHG) and BioIntelliSense to receive nearly $2.8 million.
Amsterdam-based Philips (which has its U.S. base in Cambridge, Mass.) was selected by the DoD through a Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC)
award to validate BioIntelliSense’s FDA-cleared BioSticker device for the early detection of COVID-19 symptoms, according to a news release.
“Key industry and academic partnerships provide DoD a timely opportunity
to field medical-grade wearables capable of high-frequency physiologic surveillance,”
stated Commander Christopher Steele, Director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program at USAMRDC.

(December 23, 2020) U.S. buys another 100M doses of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech will supply 100 million more doses of their coronavirus vaccine to the United States by this summer
after protracted negotiations over how much the companies could deliver, given their commitments to other nations.
The $1.95 billion agreement doubles the overall U.S. order for the vaccine to 200 million doses.
In addition to the 200 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine, the United States has also ordered 200 million doses of a vaccine from Moderna.
Because each of the vaccines must be given as two shots, those orders are enough to treat 200 million people.

(December 24, 2020) CDC To Require Negative Covid-19 Tests For Airline Passengers Entering U.S. From UK
Airline passengers heading to the U.S. from the UK must test negative for COVID-19 before departure, the Centers for Disease Control said late Thursday.
Airline passengers from the United Kingdom will need to get negative COVID-19 tests within three days of their trip
and provide the results to the airline, the CDC said in a statement. If a passenger chooses not to take a test,the airline must deny boarding
to the passenger. The agency said the order will be signed today, December 25, and go into effect on Monday.
This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo clinched an unusual agreement with three airlines with flights from London to New York – Delta,
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic — which agreed to test passengers flying from the UK to New York.
On Thursday, United Airlines agreed to do the same for its flights to Newark, NJ.

(December 24, 2020) New Zealand secures AstraZeneca & Novavax COVID-19 vaccines
The new agreements secure access to 7.6 million doses from AstraZeneca — enough for 3.8 million people,
and 10.72 million doses from Novavax — enough for 5.36 million people.
Both vaccines require two doses to be administered.
The four pre-purchase agreements secured to date are:

- 750,000 courses from Pfizer/BioNTech;
- 5 million courses from Janssen;
- 3.8 million courses from the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca; and
- 5.36 million courses from Novavax.

Medsafe, the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority, has agreed to allow pharmaceutical companies
to make rolling applications for their COVID-19 vaccines, which means they may submit their data as it is completed and ready
for assessment to speed up the process. Pfizer and BioNTech and Janssen have already started to submit data for Medsafe's approval.
Medsafe is in close contact with its Australian counterpart throughout.

(December 24, 2020) Aurobindo Pharma and Covaxx ink pact to commercialize COVID-19 vaccine, UB-612 for India and UNICEF
Aurobindo Pharma Limited has entered into an license agreement with Covaxx, a US-based company,
to develop, commercialize and manufacture UB-612, the first multitope peptide-based vaccine to fight COVID-19,
for India and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) agency.
Under the signed agreement, Aurobindo Pharma has obtained the exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and sell Covaxx's UB-612 vaccine
in India and to UNICEF, as well as non-exclusive rights in other select emerging and developing markets.
Aurobindo will manufacture the finished doses at its facilities in Hyderabad.
Aurobindo has the capacity of manufacturing 220 million doses in multi-dose presentation
and is building additional facilities to have a total capacity of nearly 480 million doses by June 2021.

(December 24, 2020) 'Morally acceptable' to receive COVID-19 vaccines regardless of cell line, Vatican says
The Vatican on Monday declared that it is "morally acceptable" for Roman Catholics
to receive COVID-19 vaccines based on research that used fetal tissue from abortions.
The Catholic Church's teaching says that abortion is a grave sin.
The Vatican concluded that "it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses"
in the research and production process when "ethically irreproachable" vaccines aren't available to the public.

(December 26, 2020) Developers of Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine Tied to UK Eugenics Movement
Analysis by Jeremy Loffredo and by Whitney Webb

..For instance, mainstream media has had little, if anything, to say about the role of the vaccine developers’ private company – Vaccitech – in the Oxford-AstraZeneca partnership,
a company whose main investors include former top Deutsche Bank executives, Silicon Valley behemoth Google and the UK government.
All of them stand to profit from the vaccine alongside the vaccine’s two developers, Adrian Hill and Sarah Gilbert, who retain an estimated 10% stake in the company.

Yet, arguably most troubling of all is the direct link of the vaccine’s lead developers to the Wellcome Trust and, in the case of Adrian Hill, the Galton Institute,
two groups with longstanding ties to the UK Eugenics movement. The latter organization, named for the “father of eugenics” Francis Galton, is the re-named UK Eugenics Society,
a group notorious for its promotion of racist pseudoscience and efforts to “improve racial stock” by reducing the population of those deemed inferior for over a century.

The ties of Adrian Hill to the Galton Institute should raise obvious concerns given the push to make the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine he developed with Gilbert
the vaccine of choice for the developing world, particularly countries in Latin America, South and Southeast Asia and Africa,
the very areas where the Galton Institute’s past members have called for reducing population growth..

(December 26, 2020) UK scientists trial instant immunity antibody drug treatment for Covid-19
The University College London Hospitals NHS Trust (UCLH) said that the researchers in the Storm Chase study
believe a Long Acting AntiBody (LAAB) known as AZD7442, developed by AstraZeneca, may offer immediate and long-term protection
to people who have been recently exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and prevent them developing Covid-19.
UCLH said its new vaccine research centre is running two clinical trials testing a LAAB combination treatment to protect against Covid-19.
The second Provent study is looking at the use of AZD7442 in people who may not respond to vaccination,
for instance where someone has a compromised immune system or are at increased risk of Covid-19 infection due to factors such as age and existing conditions.
Antibodies are protein molecules that the body produces to help fight infections.
Monoclonal antibodies are artificially produced in a laboratory and designed as possible medical treatments.
They are designed to be injected directly into the body, unlike vaccines which “train” the immune system itself to produce antibodies.

(December 28, 2020) Introducing COMIRNATY®, the EU Brand Name for Pfizer & BioNTech's COVID-19 Vaccine, Developed by Brand Institute
Brand Institute, the global leader in pharmaceutical and healthcare related name development,
is proud to announce its role in naming Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine: COMIRNATY® (koe mir' na tee).
The name was first announced by Swiss regulatory authority, Swissmedic.
Shortly after, it was included in the conditional marketing authorization published by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
“The name is coined from Covid-19 immunity, and then embeds the mRNA in the middle, which is the platform technology,
and as a whole the name is meant to evoke the word community,” Scott Piergrossi, Brand Institute president of operations and communications, said.

(December 28, 2020) Korea secures COVID-19 vaccines via deals with Janssen, Pfizer
The Korean government has concluded deals with global pharmaceutical giants Janssen of Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer
to purchase vaccines against COVID-19 for its population. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun announced the progress in a press release held on 24 Dec 2020.
"The deal with Janssen will bring in six million doses, or two million more than originally planned.
We will start administering them from next year's second quarter.
Government agreed to import 10 million vaccine doses from Pfizer from the third quarter next year.
Korean government has secured vaccines for ten million people from the COVAX facility along with another 34 million doses from pharmaceutical companies.

(December 28, 2020) Australia rolls out strategies for COVID-19 vaccine supply and distribution
Australian Government has announced that it has signed contracts with the companies to partner for safe distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to all Australians
from March next year and completion of the whole of the population in 2021.
The contracts cover three vital aspects of the vaccine rollout:
1. Distribution and logistics:
- DHL Supply Chain
- Linfox
2. Data tracking of vaccine doses as well as enabling overall program implementation monitoring:
- Accenture
3. The vaccine rollout partner:
- PwC
Data partner Accenture will design, develop, and implement a software solution to enable “point in time”
visibility of COVID-19 vaccine doses across the delivery chain. This will include receipt of the vaccine by health services,
vaccination of patients, and subsequent monitoring for adverse reactions. Australia Government has secured over 117 million doses
to cover the Australian population several times over.

(December 28, 2020) Novavax launches pivotal U.S. trial of dark horse COVID-19 vaccine after manufacturing delays
Novavax, a once-struggling biotech company that was rescued by $2 billion in funding
for its promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the U.S. government,
announced today the long-awaited start of its U.S. efficacy trial. Despite a nearly 30-year history making vaccines,
Novavax has never won regulatory approval for one of its candidates, and whether the pandemic will finally change that remains to be seen.
Novavax’s COVID-19 candidate is one of two protein subunit vaccines,
the other is made by the vaccine-making giant Sanofi Pasteur,
on which the U.S. government has bet billions of dollars,
and the first to enter a pivotal efficacy trial.

(December 28, 2020) 23andMe Raises More Than $80 Million in Equity Financing Round
DNA testing company 23andMe Inc. raised more than $80 million in equity in a financing round led by Sequoia Capital and NewView Capital.
According to Securities and Exchanges Commission filings, the company offered $85 million in equity and sold about $82.5 million.
Previously, the company had raised about $791 million. In recent years, 23andMe has begun moving beyond
telling individual consumers about their DNA and begun work developing therapeutics based on research into genetic information
its customers provide. For example, the company has used its data to find genetic differences
that can affect a person’s susceptibility to Covid-19.

(December 28, 2020) Man's fatal heart attack likely unlinked to vaccine he took 2 hours before
A 75-year-old man from Beit She’an died of a heart attack about two hours after being vaccinated
against the novel coronavirus on Monday morning, the Health Ministry reported.
In response to the report of those deaths, Israel’s Midaat Association said
when vaccines are administered to at-risk populations, “there may be unfortunate cases.

(December 28, 2020) NIH grants $1.5M to Soligenix
Soligenix Inc. reported today that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
has awarded the company a Direct to Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of around $1.5 million.
The grant is intended to support the manufacture, formulation, and characterization of COVID-19 and ebola virus vaccine candidates,
in conjunction with the CoVaccine HT adjuvant. The award will also support immune characterization of this emulsified adjuvant
with unique potency and compatibility with lyophilization strategies, in order to enable the thermostabilization of subunit vaccines.

(December 28, 2020) Karnataka health minister hints at police action against untraceable UK returnees
Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Monday hinted at stringent action
against those returnees from the United Kingdom who were untraceable and had switched off their mobile phones.
“I request the UK returnees to cooperate with us as responsible citizens. You have to get tested.
If you don’t get tested and switch off your phone, then it’s a crime in true sense,” Sudhakar told reporters here.
It could even be police action against them, the minister indicated.

(December 29, 2020) Indonesia donates $1 M to further CEPI’s vaccine research
The Government of Indonesia and Norway based CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations,
have announced that Indonesia will provide a financial contribution of $1 million to support CEPI’s
efforts to advance the development of vaccines against epidemic diseases. Indonesia has been actively participated
in fostering global solidarity and international cooperation for COVID-19 mitigation. Indonesia is part of COVAX,
the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator co-led by CEPI, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
and the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop, manufacture and equitably deliver up to 2 billion doses
of vaccine by the end of 2021 and end the acute phase of the pandemic.

(December 29, 2020) New Zeland to provide $75 M for Pacific and global COVID-19 vaccination support
New Zealand has announced $75 million of Official Development Assistance earmarked to support Pacific and global vaccine access and roll-out.
The approach will be to purchase sufficient vaccines to cover the Realm of New Zealand (Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands)
and our Polynesian neighbours (Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu) should their governments wish to take these up.
Included in the $75m support package, New Zealand plans to make a further $10m contribution to the COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment,
which is the key multilateral mechanism that has emerged to support equitable global access.

(December 30, 2020) Covid-19: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approved for use in UK
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the new vaccine - enough to vaccinate 50 million people.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has authorised two full doses
of the Oxford vaccine, with the second dose to be given four to 12 weeks after the first.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed the latest vaccine development as "a triumph"
for British science, adding: "We will now move to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible."

(December 30, 2020) Swiss nursing home resident reportedly dies after getting COVID-19 vaccine
A nursing home resident in Switzerland who was among the first in the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19 later died
— but officials did not indicate whether the death was related to the jab, according to reports.
“We are aware of the case,” an official in the canton of Lucerne told Reuters,
adding that the matter has been referred to Swiss drugs regulator Swissmedic.
Lucerne was the site of the first shot by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech
being administered in Switzerland primarily to the elderly.
A doctor at the nursing home had not been contacted by the vaccination team,
according to local news outlet zeitpunkt.ch.

(December 30, 2020) Pfizer, BioNTech SE to supply an additional 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty to EU member states in 2021
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE announced they will supply an additional 100 million doses of Comirnaty,
the companies’ COVID-19 Vaccine, to the 27 European Union (EU) member states in 2021.
This announcement is a result of the European Commission’s decision to exercise
its option to purchase an additional 100 million doses under its Advanced Purchase Agreement
signed on November 11, 2020. This agreement brings the total number of doses to be delivered to the EU to 300 million.

(December 30, 2020) Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan nominated to the Board of GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has been nominated
by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) as a member on the GAVI Board.
The GAVI Board is responsible for strategic direction and policy-making,
oversees the operations of the Vaccine Alliance and monitors programme implementation.
With membership drawn from a range of partner organisations, as well as experts from the private sector,
the Board provides a forum for balanced strategic decision making, innovation and partner collaboration.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-lweala presently serves as Chair of the GAVI Alliance Board.

(December 30, 2020) Bolivia signs contract with Russia to acquire 5.2 million dosis of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.
The Government of Bolivia signed this Wednesday an agreement with Russia
to acquire 5.2 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus.
He said that the vaccines they will acquire with Russia "are additional"
to those they will obtain with the COVID-19 Global Access to Vaccines Fund (Covax).
With this signature, Bolivia becomes the third Latin American country to sign an agreement
for the purchase of the drug, after Argentina, which has already begun vaccination, and Venezuela,
which is participating in phase III of its clinical trial and announced its acquisition on Tuesday.

(December 31, 2020) Alberta municipal affairs minister took Hawaii vacation, sources say
CBC News has learned that Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard spent time in Hawaii this month on a family vacation,
despite direction from both the federal and provincial governments to avoid non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allard's press secretary, Justin Marshall, did not respond to repeated requests for clarification on whether she had been out of the country this month.
CBC News has confirmed with sources that the United Conservative Party MLA, who was appointed to the senior cabinet position in August, was in Hawaii
this month on a family vacation. Sources indicate she returned home on Wednesday.

(December 31, 2020) China approves first self-developed COVID-19 vaccine
China announced on Thursday that it had granted conditional marketing authorization for its first self-developed COVID-19 vaccine.
The inactivated vaccine, which got the approval from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA),
is developed by the Beijing Biological Products Institute Co., Ltd.
under the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which is affiliated with Sinopharm.
China approved the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines in June, targeting groups with high risks of infection.
On Dec. 15, China officially launched a vaccination program for this winter-spring period targeting a number of key groups,
including those engaged in handling imported cold-chain products, customs officers, medical workers and people working in public transport and fresh markets.

(December 31, 2020) Moderna to supply 40 M COVID-19 vaccine doses to South Korea
Moderna, Inc., a US based biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines,
today confirmed that the company is engaged in discussions with the government of South Korea
to potentially provide 40 million or more doses of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
to support South Korea’s aim of providing vaccines to the public as soon as possible.
Under the terms of the proposed agreement, distribution would begin in the second quarter of 2021.
The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine has not been approved or licensed by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any other health authority,
but FDA has authorized the vaccine for emergency use in individuals 18 years of age and older.

(December 31, 2020) Pluristem collaborates with Innovare R&D to expand phase II study of PLX cells to treat ARDS associated with COVID-19 in Mexico
Pluristem Therapeutics, a leading regenerative medicine company, announce it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Innovare R&D,
a Mexican pharmaceutical company, to expand its ongoing clinical programme of PLX cells
in the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) associated with COVID-19 in Mexico.
The phase II study in Mexico is subject to the approval of local authorities,
with the goal of being conducted under the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared protocol.
Innovare will fund the study in Mexico and will purchase PLX cells for the study from Pluristem.
Subject to potential positive clinical study results and Mexican regulatory approval for commercialization,
the agreement grants Innovare exclusive distribution rights in Mexico to supply PLX cells for treating severe COVID-19 cases complicated by ARDS.
All intellectual property and manufacturing rights remain with Pluristem.
Pluristem is currently conducting two phase II studies in ARDS associated with COVID-19 in the US, Europe and Israel,
an Expanded Access Program in the US and a per patient compassionate use programme in Israel.

(December 31, 2020) World Economic Forum report lauds Karnataka’s BBMP COVID-war room expertise along with six other cities
Karnataka’s BBMP (Bengaluru Bruhat Mahanagara Palike) COVID-war room has been appreciated by the World Economic Forum
for its leverage of technology to fight COVID-19 along with six others: Surat, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Tel Aviv, Lisbon and New York City.
In a report titled 'Technology and Data Governance in Cities released by the World Economic Forum indicated on how Bengaluru
was unprepared for the sudden growth of COVID-19 cases and had to quickly scale up to coordinate and offset the challenge.
B H Anil Kumar, former BBMP commissioner who is the face behind setting up this war room
had stated that just as the coronavirus disease broke out the city in early March,
Bengaluru was ill-prepared in terms of infrastructure to track the pandemic.
Corporate majors including Infosys, PWC, Quantella, ESRI India, CWC India and Microsoft chipped in their expertise.

(December 31, 2020) WHO grants emergency use approval for Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
The World Health Organization on Thursday granted emergency validation to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,
paving the way for countries worldwide to quickly approve its import and distribution.
The decision "makes the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine the first to receive emergency validation from WHO
since the (novel coronavirus) outbreak began a year ago," WHO said in a statement.
Britain launched its inoculation drive with the US-German vaccine on December 8, with the United States, Canada and EU countries following suit.


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Post by Abacus Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:00 pm

January 2021

(January 1, 2021) Taiwan secures 10 M doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
Taiwan's Health Minister and Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC)
has announced that the country has purchased 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines,
including 10 million from AstraZeneca. Taiwan is also developing three of its own domestic vaccines.
Head of CECC, Chen Shih-chung said that the center has negotiated the purchase of 20 million doses of vaccines,
including 4.76 million doses through the COVAX global initiative and 10 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Chen estimates that the center will begin inoculating Taiwanese residents with these vaccines by March of 2021.
In addition, discussions with several other foreign vaccine makers who have entered Phase III trials are ongoing.

(January 1, 2021) Expert panel approves Serum Institute's (SII) Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use
An Indian regulatory expert panel on Friday recommended emergency use authorization of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine against Covid-19
manufactured by Serum Institute in India - clearing the decks for an unprecedented campaign aimed at vaccinating
30 crore people in the next few months. Sources said the approval for the first Indian Covid-19 vaccine
came from the Central Drug Standards and Control Organisation’s subject expert committee after lengthy presentation
by the company officials and detailed deliberations on the data they shared with the experts. There was no need for an efficacy evaluation
for which the data considered by the UK regulatory authority for the Oxford-Astra vaccine, was perused by the Indian experts.
But there is no clarity at the moment on what the gap between the two shots would be whether the two shots will be administered
four weeks apart as per the protocol or three months apart as decided by the UK government. There is also no clarity on the dosing schedule.
The CDSCO panel also heard a presentation from Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad on the homegrown Covid-19 vaccine but didn’t take a decision.

(January 2, 2021) Covid camps? Put disease ‘carriers’ in DETENTION CENTERS, proposed New York law suggests
A New York state lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow the government to detain people
deemed a potential public health risk, amid concerns that the Covid-19 crisis is being allegedly used to usher in authoritarianism.
Authored by a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly N. Nick Perry, Bill A416 calls for the “removal and/or detention”
of individuals who are identified as a “case, contact or carrier” of a contagious disease.
Such person or group of persons shall be detained in a medical facility or other appropriate facility or premises.
The sweeping powers would be employed in the event of the state government declaring a health emergency due to an epidemic of any communicable disease, the bill proposes.

(January 3, 2021) EFF Recaps the Major Facial Recognition Laws Passed in 2020
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has recapped some of the key 2020 milestones in the battle against face-based surveillance.
The organization called particular attention to a wave of facial recognition bans at the municipal level,
with several major cities passing laws that prohibit the police use of the technology.
The full roster includes the Massachusetts cities of Boston and Cambridge, as well as Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine.
The Portland, Oregon law goes one step further than the others,
and bars both government use and the use of facial recognition in public-facing commercial establishments.

On January 9, 2020, after first calling and threatening to arrest him at work,
Detroit police officers traveled to nearby Farmington Hills to arrest Robert Williams in front of his wife, children, and neighbors—
for a crime he did not commit. He was erroneously connected by face recognition technology
that matched an image of Mr. Williams with video from a December 2018 shoplifting incident.
Later this year, Detroit police erroneously arrested a second man because of another misidentification by face recognition technology.
For Robert Williams, his family, and millions of Black and brown people throughout the country,
the research left the realm of the theoretical and became all too real.

(January 3, 2021) Tony Blair urges UK to step up vaccination programme
The entire country must be placed under a Covid-19 vaccination programme, according to Tony Blair.
Mr Blair made the call as he urged ministers to change the UK’s strategy completely in tackling the virus.
Speaking on Times Radio, the former prime minister insisted that a goal should be set to increase vaccinations to five million per week.
It comes as a new document, ‘A Plan for Vaccine Acceleration’, is published by the Tony Blair Institute
He told Times Radio: “Because of this new variant, we need to change our strategy completely in my view.
“Not only Pfizer and AstraZeneca but possibly with the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well coming on stream.

(January 4, 2021) Moderna, Recipharm Enter COVID-19 Vax Mfg. Agreement
Moderna, Inc. and Recipharm, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO),
have entered an agreement to support formulation and fill-finish a part of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
supply outside of the U.S. Recipharm will provide these services from its drug product manufacturing facility in France.
Subject to regulatory approval of the vaccine in relevant countries outside of the U.S.,
it’s anticipated that supply will begin in early 2021.

(January 4, 2021) INOVIO, Advaccine Enter Exclusive COVID-19 DNA Vax Pact
INOVIO, a biotechnology company focused on precisely designed DNA medicines
to treat and prevent infectious diseases and cancer, and Advaccine Biopharmaceuticals Suzhou,
an emerging biotech company with next-gen technology in vaccines, have entered into a collaboration
and license agreement for COVID-19 DNA vaccine candidate INO-4800.
Advaccine will have the exclusive right to develop, manufacture and commercialize INO-4800 in Greater China.
INOVIO will receive $3.0 million upfront, and an aggregate of $108.0 million
upon the achievement of specified development and sales-based milestones for INO-4800
in Greater China. INOVIO will also receive royalties on sales.

(January 4, 2021) Health venture led by Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan is ending
The joint venture, dubbed Haven and formed in 2018 by the three U.S. corporate giants, will end operations
by the end of February, a company spokeswoman said Monday. She gave no reason for the end of the venture.
Haven's initial goal was to develop technology tools for rolling out
affordable health care options for Amazon, Berkshire and JPMorgan employees.
But JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon also said the project could eventually expand to other workers.
The companies also picked a high-profile CEO, Harvard professor and surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande, to lead the venture.
In 2019, the company picked a name for itself, but it had been largely silent since then.
Gawande departed last May. Haven's remaining employees will be absorbed by the three companies involved in its creation.

(January 4, 2021) Palantir Technologies Expands Japan Business with New $22.5 Million Contract
In November 2019, SOMPO and Palantir jointly established Palantir Technologies Japan K.K.,
a technology company that would provide Palantir’s platforms and services in Japan.
Already, Palantir Japan has actively supported elder care transformation,
with active work across dozens of facilities to make care plans more efficient and effective and improve facility operations.
Palantir Technologies Inc. (NYSE:PLTR) announced today that on December 28, 2020, it was awarded a $22.5 million, one-year contract
in partnership with SOMPO Holdings for the “Real Data Platform for Security, Health, and Wellbeing”. SOMPO’s visionary Real Data Platform,
or “RDP” is a collaborative ecosystem between public and private sectors that will improve healthcare in Japan, streamline supply chains
across industries, and increase security and resilience in the region.

(January 5, 2021) Houston hospital offers workers $500 to get COVID-19 vaccine
The eight-hospital system's president and CEO, Dr. Marc Boom, told employees in an emailed letter
last week that they can look forward to a $500 bonus as a "thank you for your perseverance throughout a difficult 2020.
" Eligibility criteria to receive the award include getting a COVID-19 vaccination, "
fulfilling our obligation as health care workers to lead the community," he stated.

(January 5, 2021) Nigel Farage backs Tony Blair to lead Britain's vaccination programme during dig at 'low grade' government
Nigel Farage has said Tony Blair should lead the UK's vaccination programme,
adding the former Labour prime minister "commands respect" and is "seriously bright".
Expressing his frustration with Boris Johnson's latest lockdown announcement,
Farage took to Twitter with a suggestion on how to speed up Britain's vaccination drive.
Farage said he was "impressed" by Blair's idea to inoculate as many people as possible
with a single dose than the standard two, which has now become government policy.

(January 6, 2021) EU Authorizes Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Saying It Has 160 Million Doses
The European Union is preparing to distribute the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all its member countries,
after the European Commission granted conditional authorization of the vaccine.
The EU acted hours after the European Medicines Agency endorsed the vaccine,
in a move that will add another 160 million doses to its large-scale vaccination effort.
With 460 million combined doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines now being rolled out in the EU,
Stella Kyriakides, the union's commissioner for health and food safety, said member nations must "ensure
that the pace of vaccinations follows suit."

(January 6, 2021) Merck to repurpose four U.S. facilities for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing
Under a new agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Merck,
the company will expand domestic manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines by repurposing four of its existing facilities.
“This collaboration with Merck will help to ensure that the U.S. is prepared to scale up production not just for this pandemic but also for future pandemics and other public health emergencies.”
A $340 million agreement reached with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a part of HHS, makes this possible.
In return, Merck will renovate and modify infrastructure to meet large-scale vaccine and therapeutic candidate manufacturing demands.
The new capacity should be operational within the first quarter of this year.

(January 6, 2021) Fujitsu signs $8M contract as Palantir Foundry customer
Palantir (PLTR) announced it was expanding its work with Fujitsu (FJTSY) with a one-year, $8M contract
between Fujitsu and Palantir Technologies Japan K.K. Fujitsu will also become the first distributor
of Palantir's Foundry platform modules in the Japanese market.
Fujitsu has used Palantir Foundry since last year to optimize its hardware supply chain,
further improve its customer service efforts, and modernize its technological infrastructure, and will continue to do so until at least the end of 2021.
Fujitsu will also become the first distributor within Japan of ERP Suite, a Palantir Foundry module.
Fujitsu is already using ERP Suite internally to integrate its ERP systems with other critical systems of record.

(January 6, 2021) Elon Musk Surpasses Jeff Bezos to Become World’s Richest Person
Elon Musk, the outspoken entrepreneur behind Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, is now the richest person on the planet.
The South Africa-born engineer’s net worth was $188.5 billion at 10:15 a.m. in New York, $1.5 billion more than Bezos,
who has held the top spot since October 2017. As chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp.,
or SpaceX, Musk is also a rival to Bezos, owner of Blue Origin LLC, in the private space race.
Over the past year his net worth soared by more than $150 billion in possibly the fastest bout of wealth creation in history.

(January 6, 2021) British Scientists Developing World’s First Covid-19 Vaccine Smart Patch
The patch will use microneedles to both administer the coronavirus vaccine and monitor its efficacy for the patient by tracking the body’s immune response.
The research team plans to develop a prototype by the end of March, in the hope it can be put forward for clinical trials
and ultimately released to the public, as part of the effort to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Scientists at Swansea’s IMPACT research centre hope to carry out human clinical studies in partnership with Imperial College London
with the aim of making the device commercially available within three years.
Using polycarbonate or silicon millimetre-long microneedles, the smart patch can penetrate the skin to administer a vaccine.
It can be held in place with a strap or tape for up to 24 hours, during which time it simultaneously measures a patient’s inflammatory response
to the vaccination by monitoring biomarkers in the skin.

(January 6, 2021) British Scientists Developing World’s First Covid-19 Vaccine Smart Patch
The patch will use microneedles to both administer the coronavirus vaccine and monitor its efficacy for the patient by tracking the body’s immune response.
The research team plans to develop a prototype by the end of March, in the hope it can be put forward for clinical trials
and ultimately released to the public, as part of the effort to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Scientists at Swansea’s IMPACT research centre hope to carry out human clinical studies in partnership with Imperial College London
with the aim of making the device commercially available within three years.
Using polycarbonate or silicon millimetre-long microneedles, the smart patch can penetrate the skin to administer a vaccine.
It can be held in place with a strap or tape for up to 24 hours, during which time it simultaneously measures a patient’s inflammatory response
to the vaccination by monitoring biomarkers in the skin.

(January 7, 2021) Bayer Joins COVID-19 Vaccine Development in Germany
Bayer announced it had signed a collaboration and services agreement with CureVac N.V. to support the further development,
supply, and key territory operations of CureVac´s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidate CVnCoV.
To this end, Bayer stated in a press release issued on January 7, 2021; it will contribute its expertise and established infrastructure
in areas such as clinical operations, regulatory affairs, pharmacovigilance, medical information, supply chain performance
as well as support in selected countries.Germany-based CureVac announced in November 2020 that it would ramp up
its European manufacturing network, working with Wacker and Fareva, amongst others.

(January 7, 2021) India will use Aadhaar authentication, considering biometrics for vaccination management
India’s government is planning to use Aadhaar biometrics for authentication of vaccine recipients through its CoWIN (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network) app,
according to a Health Ministry announcement reported by MediaNama. The government is currently planning the rollout of a pair of vaccines recently approved
by the Drugs Controller General of India, and those plans are expected to include the voluntary creation of a unique digital ID for health,
and may also include facial recognition to register and track beneficiaries, or biometric devices for online and offline identification.
The system is also expected to include QR-code certificates stored in a digital locker to prove vaccination,
and Aadhaar authentication to prevent malpractice. Other features of CoWIN may include geo-location
for vaccine batches and digital tokens to manage vaccination queues and social distancing.
Other suggestions on the MEITY site for this purpose include the use of Bluetooth and video analytics.

(January 8, 2021) Gates Backs Blackstone’s $4.3 Billion Bid for Jet-Base Operator
Bill Gates joined the battle for Signature Aviation Plc, allying with Blackstone Group Inc.
in a $4.3 billion approach for the world’s biggest operator of private jet bases.
Gates’s Cascade Investment LLC, the biggest shareholder in Signature Aviation,
and Blackstone are in advanced discussions with the London-based firm
on a cash offer of $5.17 per share, they said Friday in a statement.

(January 8, 2021) New findings help explain how COVID-19 overpowers the immune system

“We already knew that our immune response was not mounting a successful defense to COVID-19, but we didn’t know why,”
said lead author Brendan Miller, a senior doctoral student at the USC Leonard Davis School.
“What we did differently was look at how the virus specifically targets mitochondria,
a cellular organelle that is a crucial part of the body’s innate immune system and energy production.”

Chief among their findings is that SARS-CoV-2 uniquely reduces the levels of a group of mitochondrial proteins, known as Complex One,
that are encoded by nuclear DNA. It is possible that this effect “quiets” the cell’s metabolic output and reactive oxygen species generation,
that when functioning correctly, produces an inflammatory response that can kill a virus, they say.

“COVID-19 is reprogramming the cell to not make these Complex One-related proteins.
That could be one way the virus continues to propagate,” says Miller, who notes that this,
along with the study’s other observations, still needs to be validated in future experiments.

The study also revealed that SARS-CoV-2 does not change the levels of the messenger protein, MAVS mRNA,
that usually tells the cell a viral attack has happened. Normally, when this protein gets activated
it functions as an alarm system, warning the cell to self-destruct so that the virus cannot replicate, says Miller.

In addition, the researchers found that genes encoded by the mitochondria were not being turned on or off by SARS-CoV-2 –
a process that is believed to produce energy that can help the cell evade a virus –
at rates to be expected when confronted with a virus.

(January 8, 2021) UK approves Moderna’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use
The UK’s healthcare regulator the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
has approved Moderna’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine for temporary and emergency use in adults. Previously known as mRNA-1273,
the product is now referred to as COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna. Moderna’s candidate is the third Covid-19 vaccine
to be approved in the UK. Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine, BNT162b2, was approved on 2 December,
while the AstraZeneca/Oxford adenovirus candidate was approved on 30 December.
According to a detailed document about the approval, the MHRA has recommended
that the second dose of this vaccine should be administered 28 days after the first dose.
The UK had already negotiated access to seven million doses of Moderna’s vaccine,
but as a result of the approval, the UK has exercised its option to purchase an additional ten million doses.
Reports suggest that supplies are not expected until spring once Moderna has increased its manufacturing capacity.

(January 9, 2021) Australia Buys 51 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses From Maryland Pharma
Maryland-based Novavax, Inc. announced that it had executed an Advance Purchase Agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia for 51 million doses of NVX-CoV2373,
Novavax’ COVID-19 vaccine candidate. This follows an agreement in principle that was announced in November 2020.
Novavax stated it is working with Australia’s regulatory agency, the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA),
to obtain product approvals upon demonstrating efficacy in clinical studies. The company aims to deliver initial doses by mid-2021.
As part of the agreement, Australia will have the option to purchase up to an additional 10 million doses.

(January 9, 2021) False reports of a new ‘U.S. variant’ originated from Dr. Deborah Birx on the task force
Reports of a highly contagious new variant in the United States, published on Friday by multiple news outlets,
are based on speculative statements made by Dr. Deborah Birx and are inaccurate, according to several government officials.
The erroneous report originated at a recent meeting where Dr. Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force,
presented graphs of the escalating cases in the country. She suggested to other members of the task force
that a new, more transmissible variant originating in the U.S. might explain the surge, as another variant did in Britain.
Her hypothesis made it into a weekly report sent to state governors.
C.D.C. officials did not agree with her assessment and asked to remove it but were told no,
according to one frustrated C.D.C. official, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

(January 9, 2021) Merck(KGaA) buys Hamburg-based mRNA CDMO, AmpTec
Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced the acquisition of AmpTec,
a leading Hamburg-based mRNA contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), Germany.
The agreement strengthens Merck's capabilities to develop and manufacture mRNAs for its customers for use in vaccines,
treatments, and diagnostics applicable to Covid-19 and many other diseases. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Merck's acquisition of AmpTec and its PCR technology leverages its extensive experience in lipid manufacturing,
enabling Merck to have a truly unique and comprehensive offering throughout the entire mRNA value chain,
reducing significantly increase the complexity of the supply chain and improve speed to market.
Lipids, which are part of the SAFC portfolio in Merck's life sciences business,
are one of the critical components for formulating mRNA therapies, including Covid-19 vaccines.

PCR technology is another important component of mRNA manufacturing. AmpTec uses a differentiated technology based on PCR for the manufacture of mRNA,
which has proven to have advantages over other manufacturing technologies such as advantages in homogeneity, purity, activity and flexibility,
higher quality and better performance and flexible cap addition options to meet specific performance requirements.
In addition to specializing in mRNA technology, AmpTec has a diagnostic business that focuses on producing custom long RNA and DNA for in vitro diagnostics.

(January 9, 2021) Twitter strikes again: Iran’s supreme leader’s tweets about ‘untrustworthy’ UK & US vaccines deleted
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been hit by Twitter’s campaign of high-profile censorship,
as the platform removed his messages blasting coronavirus vaccines from the US and the UK as “completely untrustworthy.”
Khamenei’s remarks were posted to his multiple accounts, run in different languages, late on Friday.
The Twitter thought police, however, were quick to react, purging the messages it deemed “misleading.”
His allegations that the UK and US want to “contaminate other nations” apparently triggered the purge.

(January 11, 2021) Tony Blair eyes Covid-19 comeback with secret UK government meetings
Former British prime minister Tony Blair is secretly advising the current British government on its Covid-19 response,
including meetings with Health Secretary Matt Hancock, The Sunday Times reported.
He also spoke to the head of the National Health Service’s Test and Trace programme, Dido Harding, and Steve Bates, a member of the vaccine task force.
Mr Blair served as Labour prime minister for 10 years, leaving a complicated legacy
including introducing a minimum wage and taking the country into the Second Gulf War in Iraq.

(January 11, 2021) eCoronaPass Launches Optimized Software Platform to Facilitate COVID-19 Tests and Vaccinations Nationwide
"The pandemic shook our world last year and has now changed the way we work, learn, and live," says Happy Dhani, CEO of Softbir,
the leader in medical software solutions which includes eCoronaPass.
The platform is built and supported through Amazon Web Services (AWS), making it the most reliable and easily
The locator module allows for patients to find areas nearest to them to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
With its comprehensive COVID-19 test tracking and automated vaccine reporting, eCoronaPass will give patients peace-of-mind.
eCoronaPass includes administrative prioritization selection technology,
with features including effective patient health-risk stratification and predictive care modules.
One can pinpoint and select which populations will be segmented into different phases of vaccination programs.

(January 11, 2021) JPM: Microsoft signs on to Verily, Broad Institute’s Terra open research platform
Verily and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard hope to dramatically boost the reach
of their open-source biomedical research platform through a new partnership with Microsoft.
The scalable Terra platform includes digital tools currently used by over 15,600 researchers,
to analyze and collaborate on data gathered from nearly 2 million study
participants spanning cancer genomics to infectious disease projects.
Terra will work with Microsoft’s Azure services as well as the cloud-based offerings from Verily’s corporate sibling, Google.
Additionally, Microsoft plans to dedicate its own software engineering resources and lend its machine learning
expertise to Terra’s efforts, while also using open application interfaces and internationally recognized modular software components.
Together, Verily, Microsoft and the Broad Institute expect to see the rate of new healthcare data—including
all the information generated from genomic tests, digital scans, biometric signals and electronic health records
to reach dozens of exabytes by 2025, with each being equal to 1 billion gigabytes.

(January 11, 2021) Study links severe COVID-19 disease to short telomeres
Patients with severe COVID-19 disease have significantly shorter telomeres,
according to a study conducted by researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO)
in collaboration with the COVID-IFEMA Field Hospital, published in the journal Aging.

The CNIO group has shown in previous studies that one of the causes of the disease
is damage to the telomeres of the cells involved in regenerating the lung tissue,
the alveolar type II pneumocytes. And these are precisely the cells that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infects in lung tissue.

As Blasco explains, "we know that the virus infects alveolar type II pneumocytes
and that these cells are involved in lung regeneration;
we also know that if they have telomeric damage they cannot regenerate, which induces fibrosis.
This is what is seen in patients with lung lesions after COVID-19:
we think they develop pulmonary fibrosis because they have shorter telomeres,
which limits the regenerative capacity of their lungs."

What could not be foreseen, and this is the most important finding, is that the telomeres of the most seriously ill patients were also shorter, irrespective of age.

(January 11, 2021) AMRI Included in BARDA CDMO Network
Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), a global provider of advanced contract research, development and manufacturing solutions,
said that its Albuquerque, NM, facility has been approved for inclusion in the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) network.
The network is part of a comprehensive effort by the U.S. government to improve preparedness capabilities.
AMRI’s Albuquerque location includes a large-scale fill and finish facility,
currently supporting COVID-19 vaccine production. Inclusion in the network recognizes AMRI’s pandemic preparedness,
its existing support of COVID-19 vaccine production, experience in government contracting
and its ability to support further BARDA contract work at Albuquerque.

(January 11, 2021) Novavax bosses sell $46m worth of stock with Covid-19 vaccine still in late trials
Top executives at US biotechnology company Novavax sold roughly $46m worth of the company's stock
while its Covid-19 vaccine was still undergoing late stage clinical trials.
Chief Executive Stanley Erck and three of his top lieutenants sold the shares in the first two weeks of the year, Reuters reported.
They capitalized on a near 3,000% rally in the share price fueled by investors betting on the success of the shot.

(January 11, 2021) Boehringer Ingelheim targets medical breakthroughs with Google Quantum AI
Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) has announced a collaborative agreement with Google Quantum AI (Google),
focusing on researching and implementing cutting-edge use cases for quantum computing
in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), specifically including molecular dynamics simulations.
Boehringer Ingelheim is the first pharmaceutical company worldwide to join forces with Google
in quantum computing. The partnership is designed for three years
and is co-led by the newly established Quantum Lab of Boehringer Ingelheim.

(January 12, 2021) COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan 2.0 Announced
The US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced on January 12, 2021,
that “the COVID-19 vaccine administration in the states has been too narrowly focused.”
As a result, the administration is now asking states to vaccinate people age 65 and over and those under 65 with underlying health conditions
that put them at high risk, Sec. Azar told ABC's “Good Morning America." We’ve already distributed more vaccine than we have health care workers
and people in nursing homes,” Azar said. Sec. Azar indicated the federal government “will deploy teams to support states making mass vaccination efforts if they wish to do so.”

(January 12, 2021) UNICEF, WHO, IFRC & MSF establish global Ebola vaccine stockpile
The four leading international health and humanitarian organizations announced the establishment of a global Ebola vaccine stockpile to ensure outbreak response.
The effort to establish the stockpile was led by the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision,
which includes the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC),
and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), with financial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The injectable single-dose Ebola vaccine (rVSV?G-ZEBOV-GP, live) is manufactured by Merck, Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Corp.
and developed with financial support from the from the government of the United States of America (USA).
The European Medicines Agency licensed the Ebola vaccine in November 2019, and the vaccine is now prequalified by WHO,
and licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration as well as in eight African countries.
Before achieving licensure, the vaccine was administered to more than 350,000 people in Guinea
and in the 2018-2020 Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under a protocol for “compassionate use”.
The vaccine, which is recommended by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization for use in Ebola outbreaks
as part of a broader set of Ebola outbreak response tools, protects against the Zaire ebolavirus species which is most commonly known to cause outbreaks.
The stockpile is stored in Switzerland and ready to be shipped to countries for emergency response.

(January 12, 2021) Tessera Therapeutics scores $230M to ramp up 'gene writing' tech to cure disease
Tessera Therapeutics is pioneering “gene writing,” a kind of genetic medicine it hopes will surmount the limitations of gene editing
and gene therapy—and investors have bet more than $230 million on the approach.
At its core, gene writing simply means writing short or long messages into the genome
to treat disease, said Tessera CEO Geoffrey von Maltzahn, Ph.D.
“What that allows is one to be able to cure or prevent a disease from ever happening by writing in the code of DNA,
which of course drives the biology in every single cell in the body,”
he said. Tessera is developing multiple ways to do it.

(January 12, 2021) Westland Insurance Announces Partnership with Blackstone Credit
Westland Insurance Group Ltd. (“Westland”) is pleased to announce that it has entered a partnership with Blackstone Credit (“Blackstone”).
Westland has refinanced its existing debt with a new long-term debt financing led by Blackstone,
which includes a committed and undrawn debt facility for acquisitions.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Blackstone Credit,” said Jamie Lyons, President & Chief Operating Officer of Westland Insurance.
“Through this partnership, we are extremely well-positioned to accelerate our organic and inorganic growth strategy and to accomplish our goal of becoming Canada’s leading insurance brokerage.

(January 13, 2021) Biden nominee Avril Haines confirmed as intelligence director
Former White House lawyer Avril Haines has been confirmed as the new Director of National Intelligence,
becoming the first woman to lead the agency and the first nominee in President Biden’s cabinet to pass the vetting process.
The new Democrat-controlled Senate on Wednesday night voted overwhelmingly to confirm Haines, 84-10.
Haines is another holdover from the Obama administration tapped to join Biden’s cabinet.
The 51-year-old served as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Obama’s deputy national security advisor.

(January 13, 2021) Regeneron Announces U.S. Government Agreement to Purchase Additional COVID-19 Antibody Cocktail Doses
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD)
will purchase additional supply of the casirivimab and imdevimab antibody cocktail
for use in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients to meet the federal government's Operation Warp Speed goals.
Under the new agreement, the government will purchase all finished doses
of the casirivimab and imdevimab antibody cocktail delivered by June 30, 2021, up to 1.25 million doses.
Under a previous agreement, Regeneron is already supplying doses to treat approximately 300,000 people,
bringing the total potential purchase to over 1.5 million doses.

(January 13, 2021) Switzerland authorises Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine
The Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, Swissmedic, has authorised the Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in Switzerland.
Last month, the Swiss federal government increased its confirmed order commitment from 4.5 to 7.5 million of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine doses.
The company noted that the first deliveries should commence in Switzerland next week.
The vaccine so far holds authorisation in the US, Canada, Israel, the EU and the UK.

(January 14, 2021) Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce join a push for digital vaccination credentials.
Airlines, workplaces and sports stadiums may soon require people to show their coronavirus vaccination status on their smartphones before they can enter.
A coalition of leading technology companies, health organizations and nonprofit groups — including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic Systems, the Mitre Corporation and the Mayo Clinic
announced on Thursday morning that they were developing technology standards to enable consumers to obtain and share their immunization records through health passport apps.
“For some period of time, most all of us are going to have to demonstrate either negative Covid-19 testing or an up-to-date vaccination status
to go about the normal routines of our lives,” said Dr. Brad Perkins, the chief medical officer at the Commons Project Foundation,
a nonprofit organization in Geneva that is a member of the vaccine credential initiative.

(January 14, 2021) Abbott fulfills US Federal Government purchase of 150 million BinaxNOW Covid-19 rapid tests
Abbott is announcing the fulfillment of the US federal government's order of 150 million BinaxNOW Covid-19 Ag tests.
These rapid tests were distributed through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to states, territories and targeted entities,
such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health and hospice agencies, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and the Indian Health Service.
The University of Wisconsin System will be the first customer in the US
to secure BinaxNOW at scale, procuring 480,000 tests over six months for use at its universities and branch campuses.
"The University of Wisconsin System strives to be a national leader in combating Covid-19 and our robust testing strategy is one of our most effective means to do it," said Tommy Thompson,
president, University of Wisconsin System. "We will continue to be aggressive in acquiring and implementing tests at our universities
and our partnership with Abbott is key to making this happen."

(January 15, 2021) Up to 900 euros for each doctor
Incentives and contributions to general practitioners up to € 900 for i Covid vaccines to the over 80s.
The announcement, sent yesterday by Pisana is addressed to all the ASLs of Rome and Lazio.
A bureaucratic step necessary to start vaccinations for “born before January 1, 1941” as specified in the text.
With two (economic) parameters of reference for the doctors who will participate.
The first is referred to as an “extraordinary contribution” and reaches up to 300 euros.
The other, a “hedge incentive” of up to 600 euros.
Basically: the older the doctor vaccinates, the higher the expected economic treatment.

(January 15, 2021) Thermo Fisher Scientific acquires Henogen, viral vector manufacturing business from Novasep
Thermo Fisher Scientific and Groupe Novasep SAS (Novasep) announced that Thermo Fisher has completed the acquisition of Henogen,
Novasep’s viral vector manufacturing business in Belgium for approximately €725 million in cash.
Novasep’s viral vector manufacturing business provides contract manufacturing services for vaccines
and therapies to biotechnology companies and large biopharma customers.
With two locations in Seneffe and Gosselies, Belgium, Novasep’s viral vector business
offers more than 7,000 square meters of clinical and commercial manufacturing capacity.


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Post by Abacus Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:08 pm

(January 16, 2021) Norway Raises Concern Over Vaccine Jabs for the Elderly
Norway expressed increasing concern about the safety of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine
on elderly people with serious underlying health conditions after raising an estimate
of the number who died after receiving inoculations to 29.
The latest figure adds six to the number of known fatalities in Norway,
and lowers the age group thought to be affected to 75 from 80. While it’s unclear exactly when the deaths occurred,
Norway has given at least one dose to about 42,000 people and focused on those considered most at risk
if they contract the virus, including the elderly.

(January 16, 2021) PM Modi to launch Pan India Rollout of COVID-19 Vaccination drive
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the pan India rollout of COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday at 10:30 AM via video conferencing.
This will be the world’s largest vaccination program covering the entire length and breadth of the country.
A total of 3006 session sites across all States and UTs will be virtually connected during the launch.
vAround 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site on the inaugural day.

The vaccination programme will use Co-WIN, an online digital platform developed by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,
which will facilitate real time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualized tracking
of beneficiaries for COVID-19 vaccine. This digital platform will assist programme managers
across all levels while conducting vaccination sessions.

Adequate doses of both COVISHIELD and COVAXIN have already been delivered across the country
to all States/UTs with the active support of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
These have been further delivered by the State/UT governments to the districts.

(January 16, 2021) Eurofins introduces new tests and massive capacity for detecting and monitoring new variants of SARS-CoV-2
Eurofins announced the following initiatives to support health authorities’ variant detection and monitoring programmes:
Increasing, to more than 5,000 full genomes per day, the capacity for its ARTIC Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).
NovaType is already available as a Laboratory Developed Test (LDT) in Germany and will shortly be made available
to the more than 50 Eurofins laboratories worldwide testing patients for COVID-19.
NovaType is being made available to health authorities in a number of European countries
for trial and potential inclusion in their monitoring programmes in response to these new variants.

(January 16, 2021) Salisbury Cathedral Covid vaccine rollout ready to start
Salisbury Cathedral will open its doors as a vaccination centre today (January 16),
marking the start of the much anticipated vaccine rollout in the city.
Patients aged 80 and above have been invited to the iconic venue,
chosen to act as a hub for the Sarum South Primary Care Network,
to receive the first dose of the Covid jab.

(January 16, 2021) Three cathedrals open as vaccination centres
BLACKBURN CATHEDRAL opened its crypt as a vaccinations centre today, joining Salisbury and Lichfield,
who opened at the weekend. Blackburn has a six-month booking which could possibly extend to a year.
Like the other two cathedrals, it had been discussing feasibilities with the health authorities for several month

(January 18, 2021) Rockefeller Foundation reaches $30M agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific for COVID-19 tests
The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to boost vaccination efforts in the United States with a $30 million
new advance market commitment (AMC) with Thermo Fisher Scientific to procure and stock COVID-19 tests.
The investment will provide guaranteed demand to test manufacturers.
This will also be the first test for RF Catalytic Capital, Inc. (RFCC), the Foundation’s public charity.
It is through RFCC that the AMC will be invested. The AMC will also be replenished as tests are bought and sold,
allowing for scale to continue to expand beyond the initial $30 million commitment.
The organization intends to continue even after vaccination efforts accelerate massively scaling testing
to inform decision-makers on where to target resources to effectively counter the pandemic.

(January 19, 2021) Syntegra partners with NIH & Gates Foundation to democratize access to largest set of Covid-19 patient records
Syntegra, a company accelerates innovation in healthcare by making data easily shareable
without compromising patient privacy, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
have announced a collaboration to validate Syntegra's AI-enabled synthetic data technology
to advance the understanding of and care for Covid-19. Using Syntegra's novel synthetic data engine,
the NIH will be able to offer far less restricted access to the largest available repository of patient-level Covid-19 electronic medical records,
immediately increasing the reach and use of this data to drive Covid-19 insights and laying the groundwork to accelerate data access for life science researchers
in other key areas of disease understanding and drug and device development.
Syntegra's synthetic data engine will be a key component of the National Covid Cohort Collaborative (N3C),
validating the generation of a non-identifiable synthetic version of the entire dataset,
representing 2.7m+ screened individuals, including over 413,000 Covid-19 positive patients, and 2.6B rows of data.
This innovative public-private collaboration includes over 70 contributing healthcare organizations.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through their Covid-19 Therapeutic Accelerator,
is supporting the collaboration between Syntegra and the NIH.

(January 20, 2021) Lidl to pay $200 extra to U.S. employees who get COVID-19 vaccination
German discount supermarket chain Lidl said on Wednesday it is providing an extra $200
to all its U.S. employees who choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,
as states make shots more widely available.
The announcement follows similar moves from peers Aldi
and Dollar General Corp as well as grocery delivery firm Instacart.

(January 21, 2021) Thermo Fisher Scientific to acquire molecular diagnostic company, Mesa Biotech for US$ 450 million
Thermo Fisher Scientific has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Mesa Biotech,
a privately held molecular diagnostic company, for approximately US$ 450 million in cash.
Under the terms of the agreement, Thermo Fisher will pay up to an additional US$ 100 million in cash
upon the completion of certain milestones following the close of the transaction.
Mesa Biotech has developed and commercialized a PCR-based rapid point-of-care testing platform
available for detecting infectious diseases including SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A and B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Strep A.
Mesa Biotech's patented technology expands the availability of gold standard nucleic acid PCR amplification to point-of-care diagnostics.
The company is based in San Diego, California and has approximately 500 employees and revenues in 2020 of approximately US$ 45 million.
Mesa Biotech's Accula Flu A/Flu B, RSV and Strep A tests have obtained 510(k) clearance and Clinical Laboratory Improvements Amendments (CLIA)
waivers from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Additionally, the Accula System has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
from the FDA for SARS-CoV-2 in vitro diagnostic testing and is now available for use in patient care settings, providing results within 30 minutes,
with higher accuracy than other rapid tests on the market.

(January 22, 2021) Amazon to open pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Seattle headquarters
Amazon Inc said on Thursday it will open a pop-up clinic in its Seattle headquarters on Jan. 24 with an aim to vaccinate 2,000 eligible members
of the public against COVID-19 on the first day. Amazon Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney, who announced the plan
in a news conference with Washington Governor Jay Inslee, said a company executive will be working with Washington State’s Vaccine Command Center.
The clinic will be hosted in partnership with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. The move came a day after Reuters reported that Amazon
had offered to help with the United States’ efforts involving the COVID-19 vaccine, citing a letter addressed to President Joe Biden.

(January 22, 2021) Pfizer, BioNTech Enter Vax Pact with COVAX
Pfizer and BioNTech entered an advance purchase agreement with COVAX for up to 40 million doses
of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. The doses will be delivered throughout 2021.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
COVAX is a global initiative coordinated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI),
the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO),
to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries.
The first doses are expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021,
subject to the negotiation and execution of supply agreements under the COVAX Facility structure.

(January 22, 2021) Secretive Tech Company Palantir Gains a New Board Member
The company, which went public via a direct listing in September 2020, announced that Lauren Friedman Stat has joined
its Board of Directors and will serve on its Audit Committee as of January 18, 2021.
Stat has spent the last 15 years as an Accenture employee,
where she most recently served as a Managing Director in the company’s Health practice.
Her deep health background could be of great use to Palantir as it continues to grow its presence in health-related industries.
In October 2020, the company announced it would create a tool that can track the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines
and help determine where they should be sent. Additionally, Palantir secured a three year, $44 million deal
with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2020, to use its tech to power drug reviews and inspections.

(January 23, 2021) OraSure’s Oragene Dx saliva collection kit included in industry’s first US FDA authorization for whole exome sequencing platform
OraSure Technologies, a leader in point-of-care diagnostic tests, specimen collection devices, announced that its Oragene Dx (OGD-610) saliva collection device
was included as a component in the De Novo authorization granted by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
to Helix for their Helix Laboratory Platform, a whole exome sequencing platform.
This is the first exome sequencing-based platform authorized by the FDA.
Oragene Dx is a product of OraSure’s DNA Genotek subsidiary.
In 2020, Oragene Dx received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) general use 510(k)
clearance and remains the first and only device with general clearance for collection and stabilization of DNA from saliva
for use in genetic testing, including prescription or over-the-counter (direct-to-consumer) use.
Saliva samples collected using Oragene Dx are stabilized for use in downstream diagnostic testing
applications and can be transported and/or stored long-term at ambient temperatures.

(January 24, 2021) UK Government 'is funding EIGHT vaccine passport schemes with over £450,000' despite ministers claiming they have 'no plans' to use them
At least eight companies have been awarded government grants to develop vaccination passport schemes, it has been reported.
The projects, worth a total of £450,000, could allow users to securely carry digital proof
that they have received an approved Covid-19 vaccine. The government has however this morning denied
that such a scheme is being considered, and cabinet minister Michael Gove has said they are 'not the plan'.
But ministers have contradicted each other on the issue, including Boris Johnson's vaccine tsar Nadhim Zahawi
who said they were 'looking at the technology'.
One of the recipient projects is led by Enduring Net, which is working on a £49,678 decentralised system
that can digitally provide 'proofs of individuals' Covid-19 credentials', which will include proof of vaccination.
Another project, worked on collaboratively by firms Mvine and iProov, was given £75,000 for a passport
which would be issued in the form of a free app so users could digitally prove they have received a jab.
EAS Technologies' project was given £173,876 to develop an accreditation platform
that hopes to be used by organisers of the 'world's largest sporting organisations, events, and facilities'.

(January 25, 2021) Australia provisionally approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia.
The TGA provisional approval is for individuals 16 years of age and older. Two doses will be required – at least 21 days apart.
A priority group of Australians are expected to now receive their first dose of the vaccine as soon as it can be received from Pfizer
and the necessary checks are undertaken by the TGA, prior to its distribution.
The latest advice given to the Government from Pfizer is that shipping and the first vaccinations are expected to be in late February.

(January 25, 2021) Merck's COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates Discountinued
New Jersey-based Merck (MSD) announced that the company is discontinuing
the development of its SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccine candidates, V590 and V591.
This decision follows Merck’s review of findings from Phase 1
clinical studies for the vaccines, stated a Merck press statement.
Merck and its collaborators plan to submit the results of the Phase 1 studies for V590 and V591 for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

(January 25, 2021) Humanigen, Emergent Enter Covid-19 Partnership
Emergent BioSolutions and Humanigen have entered into a contract development and manufacturing (CDMO)
services agreement to accelerate the drug product manufacturing of lenzilumab,
an anti-human granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) monoclonal antibody
designed to prevent and treat an immune hyper-response called “cytokine storm.”
Emergent will provide access to manufacturing capacity reserved for and provided by the U.S. government
under Humanigen’s Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Department of Defense’s (DoD)
Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND)
in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA),
part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lenzilumab is currently in a Phase 3 clinical trial
evaluating patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Humanigen intends to file for emergency use authorization (EUA) in the first quarter of 2021.

(January 25, 2021) Novavax inks agreement with Government of Canada to supply up to 76 million doses of recombinant protein-based Covid-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373
Novavax, Inc., a late-stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases,
announced that it has finalized an agreement with the Government of Canada to supply up to 76 million doses of NVX-CoV2373,
the company’s recombinant protein-based Covid-19 vaccine. Canada has committed to purchase 52 million doses
of the vaccine with the option for up to an additional 24 million doses.
NVX-CoV2373 is currently in phase 3 clinical development for the prevention of Covid-19.
The company expects to supply NVX-CoV2373 to Canada beginning as early as the second quarter of 2021,
following authorization by Canada’s regulatory agency.

(January 25, 2021) WHO (finally) admits PCR test is potentially flawed
The World Health Organisation has released a memorandum which potentially completely undermines all the “pandemic” case numbers from all over the world.
On the 13th of January, they put out this memo, stating that a single positive PCR test should not be used for diagnosing Sars-Cov-2 infection.
To quote them directly:
"Where test results do not correspond with the clinical presentation,
a new specimen should be taken and retested using the same or different NAT technology."

Translation: If you get a positive test for someone with no symptoms, re-test them.
Or rather: any PCR positive test is potentially a false positive.
It goes on to say:
"Most PCR assays are indicated as an aid for diagnosis, therefore, health care providers must consider
any result in combination with timing of sampling, specimen type, assay specifics, clinical observations,
patient history, confirmed status of any contacts, and epidemiological information.

Note it says “an aid for diagnosis” and NOT “a diagnostic test”.
In careful bureaucratic language, they are essentially admitting that PCR tests were not meant to be used diagnostically,
and cannot be relied upon to do so accurately. Just as Dr Kary Mullis, the inventor of the PCR test, said himself many times.

(January 25, 2021) Workers lost $3.7 trillion in earnings during the pandemic. Women and Gen Z saw the biggest losses.
Workers around the world cumulatively lost $3.7 trillion in earnings during the coronavirus pandemic — an 8.3% decline
according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO).
American workers saw the largest losses in earnings, a 10.3% decline.
Globally, 8.8% of working hours were lost, and 114 million people experienced employment loss
what the report called an "unprecedented" level.

(January 26, 2021) Billionaires made $3.9 trillion during the pandemic
Worldwide, billionaires saw their wealth increase by $3.9 trillion between March 18 and December 31, 2020.
While billionaires saw initial losses at the start of the pandemic — like millions
of others around the globe — the report says they had recovered all losses by November.

Meanwhile, recovery for those at the bottom could take up to a decade;
the report also estimates that between 200 million to 500 million people may have fallen into poverty during 2020.

(January 26, 2021) Chronomics selects OraSure's OMNIgene ORAL salive collection kit
OraSure Technologies announced that Chronomics Limited has selected the OMNIgeneORAL saliva collection device
as a component of its SARS CoV-2 PCR test. Chronomics Limited will supply its test for the United Kingdom's
"Test to Release for International Travel" program. The OMNIgeneORAL device is a product of OraSure's DNA Genotek subsidiary.
The "Test to Release for International Travel" program enables travelers to England to purchase a COVID-19 test privately from providers including Chronomics.
Travelers who receive a negative test result can reduce their self-isolation period.
The project is part of the UK's plan to use Covid-19 testing to reduce the spread of the virus.

(January 26, 2021) Norway May Refine Vaccine Strategy After Elderly Deaths, PM Says
The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, says her country may fine-tune the vaccination of its oldest,
sickest citizens as it tries to make sense of a recent spate of deaths.
Having weathered the pandemic better than most, Norway suddenly made international headlines
this month after revealing that more than 30 people -- all over 70 and all already sick -- died
not long after being vaccinated against Covid-19.
“We don’t believe there’s any problem with the safety of the vaccines,”
Solberg said in an interview with Bloomberg Live that aired on Tuesday.
“But we will maybe not give them to the most vulnerable of the elderly, because that might speed up a process
where they were what we would say at the end of life phase anyway,” so, “that probably is not what we will continue to do.”

(January 26, 2021) Abbott Panbio rapid antigen test wins CE mark for asymptomatic COVID-19 screening
Abbott (NYSE:ABT) announced today that it received CE Mark for two new uses of its Panbio COVID-19 Ag rapid diagnostic.
Panbio COVID-19 Ag has received an updated label with clinical data on asymptomatic individuals to enable mass testing
of people who do not currently present symptoms of the disease, according to a news release.
The other update allows for self-collection of nasal specimens under the supervision of a healthcare worker,
offering improved patient comfort and reduced risk of accidental exposure to the virus
for healthcare workers as they can maintain their distance during testing.
Abbott Park, Ill.-based Abbott has shipped 200 million Panbio rapid antigen tests across 120 countries
in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa since August 2020. The company has coordinated with the Global Fund,
the World Health Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to make the tests available to low- and middle-income countries.
Panbio is not avialable in the U.S. as Abbott manufactures and sells the BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card, which has FDA emergency use authorization (EUA).

(January 27, 2021) Exclusive: Tony Blair calls on Boris Johnson to lead drive for global vaccine passport
Tony Blair has called on the Government to establish a single global vaccine passport scheme through the G7,
or risk others dictating the rules. In a detailed report published by the Tony Blair Institute (TBI),
he said current border restrictions were “disjointed” and urged the UK to “place the creation of a global Covid-19 travel pass
as a key item on the G7 agenda” - a body which Britain currently leads.
The report added that the much tougher international travel restrictions
announced on Wednesday by the Prime Minister would be much more difficult to eventually unwind without a vaccine passport.
Mr Blair said the passport should be digital and capable of tracking and verifying
an individual’s coronavirus “status” wherever they travel in the world.
Included would be details of any vaccination they had,
together with the results of Covid-19 test results.

(January 27, 2021) 23andMe in Talks to Go Public Via Branson SPAC
Consumer DNA-testing company 23andMe Inc. is in talks to go public through a roughly $4 billion deal with VG Acquisition Corp.,
a special purpose acquisition company founded by billionaire Richard Branson,
according to people familiar with the matter. Co-founded in 2006 by Anne Wojcicki,
23andMe sells direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits. The company launched with the aim of using genetics
to kick start a personalized health-care revolution, with a $1,000 test
that could alert customers to potential health risks.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began last year, 23andMe launched a million-person study to look at how genomics and other factors contribute
to how severely ill those who contract the virus become.
23andMe has raised $869 million in private funding to date and counts Sequoia Capital and Fidelity Management among its backers.

(January 27, 2021) COMIRNATY becomes first COVID-19 vaccine to receive EUA in Hong Kong
BioNTech SE and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., Ltd. have announced that according to the Food and Health Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
of the PRC, the COVID-19 vaccine COMIRNATY® (also known as BNT162b2) based on BioNTech's proprietary mRNA technology
has received emergency use authorisation (EUA) in Hong Kong. The vaccine will be produced in BioNTech's manufacturing facilities in Germany,
and supplied to Hong Kong for administration under the Hong Kong SAR Government's COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

(January 27, 2021) French firm Sanofi to help produce 100 million doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
The French company will aim to help supply more than 100 million doses of the vaccine this year
from its German plant in Frankfurt, CEO Paul Hudson told Le Figaro newspaper on Tuesday.
Last month, Sanofi and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline said a COVID-19 vaccine they are jointly developing
had shown an insufficient immune response in older people, delaying its launch to late this year.
Sanofi is also working on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate with U.S. firm Translate Bio
which uses mRNA technology, similar to the approach of Pfizer/BioNTech.

(January 28, 2021) OraSure Subsidiary DNA Genotek’s OMNIgene®·ORAL Saliva Collection Device Receives Health Canada Authorization for use in COVID-19 Testing
OraSure Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSUR), a leader in point-of-care diagnostic tests, specimen collection devices, and microbiome laboratory
and analytical services, today announced its OMNIgene®·ORAL (OME-505) saliva collection device,
a product of Ottawa-based subsidiary DNA Genotek, has received authorization from Health Canada
for use as a component in molecular diagnostic tests for the detection of SARS-CoV-2.
Diagnostic labs, provincial and territory health authorities and COVID-19 test kit providers
in Canada now have access to a non-invasive and painless saliva collection device to facilitate expansion of their COVID-19 testing programs.
“Widespread testing for COVID-19 is likely to occur for the foreseeable future, with periods of intense testing
required to respond to the local outbreaks that will inevitably arise,”
said Kathleen Weber, Executive Vice-President, Business Unit Leader, Molecular Solutions at DNA Genotek.

(January 28, 2021) A 'Mammoth' boost to COVID-19 testing capacity
Even as multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates approach regulatory approval, work is ongoing to develop additional diagnostics
and treatments to keep up with the virus. Among the many companies pursuing such efforts are Mammoth Biosciences, Inc. and Agilent Technologies,
who have established a co-marketing agreement for the launch of a complete CRISPR-based SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic solution
combining Agilent's Bravo automation workstation with Mammoth Biosciences' DETECTR BOOST assay.
Mammoth Biosciences refers to its DETECTR platform as “a search engine for biology.”
As explained on the company's website, “Our proprietary testing system works by employing CRISPR nucleases, programmed to find a defined gene sequence.
Upon finding the sequence of interest, the nuclease activates a cleavage capability, which generates a signal. The signal confirms the sequence has been found.”
The platform is suited for applications such as bacterial infections, viral infections, single nucleotide polymorphisms, antimicrobial resistance, and cancer screening and profiling.

(January 28, 2021) Bill seeking to shut down international commercial wildlife markets introduced in Senate
A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced a bill that seeks to shut down international commercial wildlife markets.
The Preventing Future Pandemics Act would direct the State Department to work with international partners
to shut down commercial wildlife markets and stop the associated wildlife trade.
It also seeks to end the import, export, and sale of live wildlife for human consumption
in the United States, as well as phase-out demand for wildlife as a food source.

(January 28, 2021) Salesforce announces Vaccine Cloud to accelerate global vaccine management
Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, announced Vaccine Cloud, technology to help government agencies, healthcare organizations, businesses,
non-profits and educational institutions more rapidly, safely and efficiently deploy and manage their vaccine programmes.
Currently, international, federal, state and local agencies, healthcare providers and non-profits worldwide are using Salesforce technology specifically for vaccine administration,
including Northwell Health, Illinois' Lake County, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and more.
Government agencies and public health agencies can use Vaccine Cloud to monitor their vaccination progress with data and insights,
which helps enable them to maximize their programme effectiveness. This includes securing enough doses, monitoring patient outcomes,
and making data-driven decisions based on community health needs and risk factors.
Salesforce partners extend the power of Vaccine Cloud to scale vaccine programmes for government, healthcare organizations and non-profits worldwide.
These include Accenture, Deloitte, IBM and KPMG, in addition to partners Coastal Cloud, Infosys, MTX, PolSource, Sense Corp, Silverline,
Skedulo, Slalom and Traction on Demand are already leveraging Vaccine Cloud solutions to help organizations accelerate their vaccine management programmes.

(January 28, 2021) India has capability to strengthen global supply chain: PM Modi at World Economic Forum
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that India has braved all difficulties
in fight against coronavirus pandemic and has the capability to strengthen global supply chains.
Addressing the World Economic Forum's Davos Dialogue via video conferencing,
Modi said that India launched 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' with the resolve of increasing the capacity of our economy.

(January 28, 2021) Biden administration promises $20bn for US vaccination programme and buys additional vaccine doses
The Biden administration is planning to ask Congress for approval of $415bn in emergency spending for Covid-19 vaccination, testing, contact tracing, genomic sequencing,
and other efforts to fight Covid-19 as part of a $1.9 trillion stimulus programme. Of these funds, $20bn will be allocated for a national vaccination programme,
$30bn for purchasing supplies and protective gear, and $50bn for a scaled-up diagnostic testing programme.
On 26 January, the White House further announced plans to buy 200 million additional vaccine doses from Pfizer / BioNTech
and Moderna and to increase the number of vaccine doses distributed weekly to states from 8.6 million to 10 million.

(January 29, 2021) CEPI Call provides up to $140 M in funding to vaccine developers
Norway based CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, has opened a new funding opportunity
to support the rapid generation of additional clinical research on COVID-19 vaccines.
Up to $140 million, contingent upon the availability of funds, is to be made available to scientific groups worldwide
to carry out the supporting research on COVID-19 vaccines either already available
to populations in some countries under ‘emergency use approval’ or ‘conditional licensure’ or similar, or currently in clinical development.
This includes COVID-19 vaccine developers, as well as public health organisations, academic institutions and others
who may not be directly carrying out their own COVID-19 vaccine development but have the capacity,
ability and partnerships established to carry out research on a chosen vaccine.

(January 29, 2021) Novartis Inks Contract Manufacturing Deal for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
Novartis has signed an initial agreement to leverage its manufacturing capacity and capabilities
in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the production of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
The agreement will see Novartis utilizing its aseptic manufacturing facilities at its site in Stein, Switzerland.
Under the terms of the contract manufacturing agreement, Novartis plans to take bulk mRNA active ingredient from BioNTech
and fill this into vials under aseptic conditions for shipment back to BioNTech for their distribution to healthcare system customers around the world.
Subject to reaching a final agreement, Novartis plans to commence production in the second quarter of 2021
at its state-of-the art aseptic manufacturing plant in Stein. Initial shipment of finished product is expected in the third quarter.

(January 29, 2021) Rockefeller Foundation Offers $12m Grant to Support COVID-19 Testing in Africa
The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a new grant of $12 million to the Africa Public Health Foundation
to help expand testing and to strengthen contact tracing for COVID-19 in Africa
through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
According to the statement, the funding would support a broader effort to accelerate equitable access to testing technologies,
increase testing of asymptomatic persons, and reducing community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
Through the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT), an initiative rolled out in August last year,
Africa CDC is establishing partnerships across the globe to mobilize technical, material and financial resources
to support African Union Member States in expanding testing, tracing
and treatment for COVID-19. This grant will contribute to the implementation of PACT across the continent.

(January 29, 2021) EMA approves AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine
The European Union (EU)’s healthcare regulator the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted AstraZeneca (AZ)
and the University of Oxford conditional marketing authorisation for their two-dose Covid-19 vaccine.
This brings the total number of emergency-approved Covid-19 vaccines in the EU to three.
The EMA granted conditional marketing authorisation to Pfizer and BioNTech’s and Moderna’s
vaccines in late December and early January respectively. UK regulator
the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has approved the same
three vaccines but approved the AstraZeneca/Oxford jab at the end of December.

(January 29, 2021) Atlantic Council congratulates members of its community appointed to Biden-Harris Administration
The Atlantic Council today congratulates four members of its community recently named to serve in senior roles in the Biden-Harris Administration:
Wendy Sherman, Eric Ridge, Caitlin Durkovich, and Rebecca Brocato.
Each individual has made significant contributions to the Atlantic Council’s mission
of shaping the global future together by galvanizing US leadership on the international stage.

Wendy Sherman, member of the Atlantic Council board since February 2018,
has been nominated by President Biden to serve as Deputy Secretary of State.

Eric Ridge, most recently Director for Strategy & Execution at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center,
has been appointed to serve as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development.

Caitlin Durkovich, a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security,
has been selected to serve as the Senior Director for Resilience and Response at the National Security Council.

Rebecca Brocato, Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab),
has been selected to serve as Senior Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council.


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Post by Abacus Sat Mar 06, 2021 3:08 pm

(January 29, 2021) How Influencers, Celebrities, and FOMO(Fear of missing out) Can Win Over Vaccine Skeptics
Inspire FOMO. Second, we recommend incentivizing the fear of missing out, both socially and economically.
For example, recently 82 percent of adults said they are not comfortable visiting family or close friends
inside their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This inability to socialize is more likely to influence
late majority and laggard groups to take the vaccine than health-related messages.

Since multiple vaccines and data on vaccines may be available by the time the late majority and laggards are ready
to make a decision, it is important that trusted sources inform this segment, so that they feel they are educated
and making the correct choice. For example, in 2016, US health authorities successfully used such a strategy during the Zika virus scare
to pinpoint the late majority and laggard segments of vulnerable populations
based on their demographics, behavior, and interests, allowing them to target their messages.

The World Economic Forum linked this article here:


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Post by Abacus Sat Mar 06, 2021 3:15 pm

February 2021

(February 1, 2021) Dynavax and CEPI Announce $99 Million in Funding for CpG 1018 Adjuvant Manufacturing to Support the Global COVID-19 Response
Dynavax Technologies Corporation (Nasdaq: DVAX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing novel vaccines,
and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) today announced they have entered into an agreement
to support the supply of Dynavax's CpG 1018 advanced adjuvant to be used in approved COVID-19 vaccines developed by CEPI grantees.
Under the terms of the agreement, CEPI will provide Dynavax funding of up to $99 million
through a forgivable loan for the manufacturing of CpG 1018
with the potential to support hundreds of million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for delivery in 2021 through COVAX.

(February 1, 2021) Illumina, Sequoia Capital launch genomics startup incubator in China
Illumina has partnered up with Sequoia Capital’s China-based subsidiary to launch a new incubator for genomics startups.
Based in Shanghai, the project follows Illumina’s previous accelerator work with startups in the San Francisco and Cambridge, U.K.,
areas, as well as Sequoia Capital China’s incubation efforts focused on digital technologies.
The program—officially dubbed the Sequoia Capital China Intelligent Healthcare Genomics Incubator,
Powered by Illumina—is set to operate on six-month funding cycles
with at least three startups selected at a time, and first participants will begin work this fall.

(February 1, 2021) iProov, Onfido, Daon stake out positions as biometrics-backed immunity passports
advance BA to trial VeriFLY on London to US flights

British Airways will be the first UK airline to trial VeriFLY,
a new biometric mobile health app that provides authentication of COVID-related documents,
on flights from London to ten U.S. cities. Starting Thursday February 4th,
BA will be the only airline outside of the U.S. to trial VeriFLY.

In November, American Airlines (BA’s joint business and oneworld partner) began offering VeriFLY
to travelers from Jamaica, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to Miami.
As of January 23rd, the trial was extended to any international destination to the U.S.
VeriFLY was developed by biometric authentication and identity assurance solutions provider Daon.

Vaccine programs have already begun in some of the 27 countries, and in the UK, iProov has begun trialing its biometric
technology to preserve the privacy of health information within the National Health service.
Tourism dependent countries like Greece, Portugal and Cyprus are advocating more strongly for the EU immunity passport,
which would likely be tied to the individual with biometrics, while France has rejected the notion due to widespread vaccine skepticism.

(February 1, 2021) Proven Advanced Adjuvant Scales Production of COVID-19 Vaccines
California-based Dynavax Technologies Corporation announced France-based Valneva SE has informed it that the UK Government
exercised its option to order an additional 40 million doses of Valneva's SARS-CoV-2 adjuvanted vaccine candidate, VLA2001.
The UK's option exercise triggers the reservation of additional quantities of Dynavax's advanced adjuvant CpG 1018
to support the production of 40 million doses of Valneva's SARS-CoV-2 adjuvanted vaccine candidate, VLA2001.
In connection with its contract with the UK Government, Valneva has now reserved for delivery
in 2021 CpG 1018 in quantities sufficient to support the production of 100 million doses of VLA2001.

(February 1, 2021) 9 Top N.Y. Health Officials Have Quit as Cuomo Scorns Expertise
The deputy commissioner for public health at the New York State Health Department resigned in late summer.
Soon after, the director of its bureau of communicable disease control also stepped down.
So did the medical director for epidemiology. Last month, the state epidemiologist said she, too, would be leaving.

In recent weeks, the governor has repeatedly made it clear that he believed he had no choice but to seize more control
over pandemic policy from state and local public health officials, who he said had no understanding
of how to conduct a real-world, large-scale operation like vaccinations.
Mayor Bill de Blasio forced out the head of New York City’s respected health department over the summer.
Around the country, frustrated and overwhelmed public health officials have resigned in large numbers.

In Albany, tensions worsened in recent months as state health officials said they often found out about major changes in pandemic policy
only after Mr. Cuomo announced them at news conferences — and then asked them to match their health guidance to the announcements.
That was what happened with the vaccine plan, when state health officials were blindsided
by the news that the rollout would be coordinated locally by hospitals.

(February 1, 2021) CureVac, Rentschler Ramp up COVID Vax Production
CureVac N.V. and Rentschler Biopharma SE, a global CDMO for biopharmaceuticals,
initiated the set-up of manufacturing capabilities for CureVac´s COVID-19 vaccine, CVnCoV.
Rentschler Biopharma contributes to the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredient,
downstream processing and formulation of drug substance for the vaccine.
The companies entered a collaboration in November 2020 with the set-up
of dedicated production lines at Rentschler’s site in Laupheim, Germany.
Optimization of the production process is now taking place to increase mRNA yield.
It is expected to produce more than 100 million doses of the CureVac vaccine per year in Laupheim.

(February 2, 2021) Biden and Drug Makers Look to Speed Coronavirus Vaccine Deliveries
Moderna, one of two developers of federally authorized coronavirus vaccines, is asking U.S. regulators to approve
what it says could be a remarkably simple proposal to speed up the immunization
of Americans against the coronavirus: Fill empty space in its vials with as many as 50 percent more doses.
Moderna currently produces about half of the nation’s vaccine stock.
If the change is approved — which could happen in weeks — it could ultimately add tens of millions of more doses to vaccine supplies.
At the same time, the White House announced on Tuesday that it was enlisting more retail pharmacies as a channel to distribute vaccines.

(February 2, 2021) Cruise Lines Are Beginning to Announce Vaccination Requirements for Guests
The first two U.S.-based cruise lines announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for guests
and crew today, a measure that's been discussed but not yet widely adopted
by the industry. American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines company, both part of the Hornblower Group,
said the move expands upon enhanced health and safety measures already in place, including pre-cruise COVID-19 testing of all guests
and crew, and requiring masks in all public areas where social distancing is not possible.
The coronavirus vaccine mandate will apply to sailings on both lines beginning July 1, 2021,
and will apply to guests as well as on-ship crew members and non-ship, corporate employees.

(February 2, 2021) Just, Evotec Expand mAbs Manufacturing Contract with DOD
Evotec SE announced that the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
awarded its Seattle, WA-based subsidiary, Just - Evotec Biologics, Inc., an agreement
worth $28.6 million for the production of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)
for use in the development of a treatment and/or prophylaxis for COVID-19.
The DOD's Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND)
is executing this effort in coordination with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (OASD(HA)) and the Defense Health Agency (DHA).
Under the agreement, the DOD will have access to manufacturing capacity
for anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAbs and priority access to future biomanufacturing capacity
over a period of seven years in the soon-to-be-completed J.POD facility in Redmond, Washington.
The agreement represents the continuation of DOD's collaboration with Just - Evotec Biologics. The collaboration started in July of 2020.

(February 2, 2021) Biden and Drug Makers Look to Speed Coronavirus Vaccine Deliveries
Moderna, one of two developers of federally authorized coronavirus vaccines, is asking U.S. regulators to approve
what it says could be a remarkably simple proposal to speed up the immunization
of Americans against the coronavirus: Fill empty space in its vials with as many as 50 percent more doses.
Moderna currently produces about half of the nation’s vaccine stock.
If the change is approved — which could happen in weeks — it could ultimately add tens of millions of more doses to vaccine supplies.
At the same time, the White House announced on Tuesday that it was enlisting more retail pharmacies as a channel to distribute vaccines.

(February 3, 2021) (South African) Treasury has indemnified two vaccine producers
Finance minister Tito Mboweni has granted indemnity to two vaccine manufacturers to date,
the Serum Institute of India, which will supply SA with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and Pfizer,
the Treasury confirmed on Tuesday. Governments across the world are being required
to take liability in the event of serious adverse events that arise from Covid-19 vaccination.

(February 3, 2021) SII to supply 1.1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Covax vaccine scheme
India's Serum Institute will supply 1.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Novavax
to the COVAX vaccine scheme as part of a new long-term deal, head of the U.N. Children's Fund said on Wednesday.
They would be produced by Serum under a technology transfer agreement, she said in a briefing.
The COVAX facility is co-led by GAVI, the World Health Organization (WHO),
the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations(CEPI) and UNICEF.

(February 3, 2021) Covid vaccine, to family doctors from 10 to 28 euros for doses in the office or at home
Ten euros to GPs for vaccinations in the doctor's office, 28 if the administration takes place at home.
These are the rates that the Italian Regions would pay white coats for anti-Covid vaccinations.
This is foreseen by the general agreement which should be discussed today by the Regions.

(February 3, 2021) New Zealand provisionally approves use of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine
New Zealand's medicine regulator Medsafe has provisionally approved the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccines are expected to arrive in New Zealand by the end of March,
the Government said, adding that people at highest risk would be vaccinated
before the broader community from the second half of the year.
With vaccination drives underway in dozens of countries — and Australia's approval of the Pfizer vaccine in January
pressure has been mounting on Ms Ardern to start inoculations.

(February 3, 2021) GSK, CureVac partnership eyes Covid-19 vaccine against multiple variants
Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and German biotech firm CureVac struck a 150 million euro ($180 million) deal
to develop next-generation vaccines against Covid-19 that target several variants in one product.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the partners said they were targeting a possible launch in 2022.
GSK, which holds a stake in CureVac, will also support the production of up to 100 million doses of CureVac’s first generation
Covid-19 vaccine candidate in 2021, they said.

(February 4, 2021) Singapore approves interim authorization of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Moderna, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines,
has announced that the Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has approved the interim authorization
of its mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 (COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna) for use under the Pandemic Special Access Route (PSAR).
The Singapore Ministry of Health has secured access to COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna through a supply agreement announced on December 14, 2020.
Moderna has also received authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine from health agencies
in the United States, Canada, Israel, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

(February 4, 2021) Switzerland withholds approval for AstraZeneca Covid vaccine citing lack of evidence
Switzerland has said trials of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine did not produce clear data,
especially around its efficacy in older people, as it withheld approval of the jab.
Drugs regulator Swissmedic called for more efficacy and quality data before it green lights the shot,
which is currently being used in the UK and won approval in the European Union last week.
Switzerland, which has already ordered 5.3 million doses from AstraZeneca,
said it was waiting on results from trials of the shot in North and South America involving tens of thousands of people.
The Swiss government said it had signed a deal with Germany's Curevac and the Swedish government for the delivery of 5 million vaccine doses,
a preliminary pact with US vaccine maker Novavax for 6 million doses, and secured a further 6 million doses from Moderna.

(February 4, 2021) Nevada bill would allow tech companies to create governments
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Planned legislation to establish new business areas in Nevada
would allow technology companies to effectively form separate local governments.
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak announced a plan to launch so-called Innovation Zones
in Nevada to jumpstart the state’s economy by attracting technology firms,
Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday. The zones would permit companies with large areas of land to form governments
carrying the same authority as counties, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and courts and provide government services.

(February 5, 2021) CureVac, UK Partner on Vaccines Against SARS-CoV-2 Variants
CureVac N.V. has entered a collaboration with the UK Government to develop and manufacture potential vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Any resulting vaccine candidates will be manufactured and distributed in the UK and its overseas and territories, subject to approval.
The R&D collaboration combines CureVac’s resources and expertise in mRNA vaccine development
with the scientific experience of the Vaccines Taskforce and the UK’s network
of experts and capabilities in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine research and development.
CureVac will also transfer its technology to enable the manufacturing of clinical and commercial quantities
of any vaccines that result from the collaboration, as well as manufacturing
of CureVac's existing vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (CVnCoV), currently in Phase 3 trials.
Subject to regulatory approval, the agreement includes an initial supply of 50 million doses
of variant vaccines to the UK with some production expected to take place in the UK.

(February 5, 2021) UK government orders another 40 million doses of Valneva’s vaccine candidate
The UK Government has ordered 40 million more doses of Valneva’s adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine candidate for supply in 2022.
This increases the total doses of the Valneva vaccine ordered by the UK Government to 100 million.
Plus, the UK Government retains options for possibly a further 90 million doses for supply between 2023 and 2025.
If all options are exercised, the total value of the 190 million doses is 1.4 billion euros.
Valneva is in advanced discussions with the European Commission regarding the supply of up to 60 million doses.

(February 5, 2021) UK discussing coronavirus immunity passport options for travel
UK ministers are looking into the creation of a digital vaccine passport, government sources have confirmed, Sky News reports.
Research groups are said to have been set up on the subject as attention
turns to what will happen to international travel once jabs are more widely rolled out across the world.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly earlier avoided confirming the news,
only telling Sky News that countries will "set their own border measures" – as well as defending the delay to hotel quarantine plans.
But The Times reported on Friday that a certification system is being planned by three government departments
to let travellers go abroad to countries that may demand proof of inoculation.

It also said Greece is preparing to waive quarantine rules for those who have been vaccinated.
Sweden's government announced on Thursday it plans to launch a digital coronavirus vaccine passport by summer,
if there is an international standard in place by then. And Denmark also said this week it would launch a first version of the document by the end of February.

Tony Blair is one of those who has been pushing for the UK government to take a lead on the issue,
suggesting last week the UK should take advantage of chairing the G7 and push for other countries to develop the documents.
Turning his attention to what happens next, Blair's institute said the UK should "place the creation of a global coronavirus travel pass
as a key item on the G7 agenda,'' when leaders from the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada congregate in Cornwall later this summer.

(February 5, 2021) Pentagon will deploy troops to assist COVID-19 vaccine drive
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will deploy troops to assist getting Americans vaccinated
against COVID-19, the White House said Friday. Coronavirus senior adviser Andy Slavitt announced
that Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
It means about 1,000 active duty military personnel will deploy to help state vaccination centres.

(February 5, 2021) Novavax inks agreement with Switzerland government to supply six million doses of protein-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373
Novavax announced that the company has executed a binding Heads of Terms agreement with the government of Switzerland
to supply six million doses of its protein-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, to the country.
Novavax and Switzerland will negotiate a final agreement, with initial delivery of vaccine doses slated to ship
following successful clinical development and regulatory review. NVX-CoV2373 was created using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle technology
to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein and is adjuvanted with Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M
to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

(February 5, 2021) India: Pfizer withdraws COVID vaccine application for emergency use
Pfizer Inc. said on Friday that it has pulled out an application for emergency use authorization of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in India.
The decision came after Pfizer representatives met with India’s health regulator on Wednesday,
who refused to grant the pharmaceutical's vaccine the authorization, citing a lack of immunogenicity trials.
The company said that it would shortly submit another authorization request with further information when available.
India's drug regulator wanted Pfizer to conduct local trials to ensure the safety of the vaccine for official authorization.
But the company failed to present evidence that its vaccine was safe for the Indian population,
according to a Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) statement.

(February 5, 2021) Australia secures total of 20 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines
The Australian Government has secured an additional 10 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine
on the advice of the Scientific Industry Technical Advisory Group on Vaccines.
Through the Government’s Advance Purchase Agreement with Pfizer, this additional 10 million vaccines
means Australia will now receive 20 million Pfizer doses in 2021.

(February 6, 2021) Daiichi Sankyo enters outsourcing agreement to manufacture AstraZeneca-developed Covid-19 vaccine, AZD1222, in Japan
Daiichi Sankyo Company announced that it recently entered into an outsourcing agreement
with AstraZeneca K.K. to manufacture the AstraZeneca-developed covid-19 vaccine, AZD1222, in Japan.
In order to play a part in the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing and supply scheme
agreed upon between AstraZeneca and the government of Japan,
Daiichi Sankyo will use undiluted solutions provided by AstraZeneca
to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines in the country, including vial filling and packaging, in accordance with the outsourcing agreement.

(February 6, 2021) COVID-19 Vaccination is Voluntary for Military Personnel
The US Department of Defense (DOD) announced on February 5, 2021, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife Hollyanne said they are committed
to protecting the military's 2.3 million men and women and 2.7 family members from COVID-19.
The DOD reported there have been about 145,000 coronavirus cases amongst Active Duty personnel and 21 fatalities (0.014%)
related to COVID-19 during the pandemic. Gen. Milley noted that the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have declared the vaccines as "safe and highly effective" but
he acknowledged that getting the vaccine is a personal decision.

(February 7, 2021) Hundreds protest Covid restrictions in Denmark
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Copenhagen on Saturday night to protest
Denmark's Covid-19 restrictions and the country's plans for a digital vaccination certificate.
Organised by a group calling itself "Men in Black," some 600 people gathered in the bitter cold
in front of the parliament building to protest the "dictatorship" of Denmark's partial lockdown.
Plans for a digital vaccine "passport" were a main target of their anger.
Protest organisers say such a passport implies an obligation to be vaccinated
and amounts to a further restriction on individual freedom. Vaccination is not compulsory in Denmark.

(February 7, 2021) Ministry of the Interior hired scientists to justify corona measures
An extensive correspondence that WELT AM SONNTAG has available shows: In the first high phase of the pandemic,
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer's house acted on researchers. Thereupon they provided results for a dramatic "secret paper" of the ministry.
Interior Ministry stressed in the first wave of the pandemic Corona in March 2020 scientists from several research institutes and universities for political purposes.
It commissioned the researchers from the Robert Koch Institute and other institutions to create a calculation model
on the basis of which the Ministry of the Interior, Horst Seehofer (CSU), wanted to justify tough corona measures.
This emerges from more than 200 pages of internal correspondence between the management level of the Ministry of the Interior
and the researchers that WELT AM SONNTAG has received. A group of lawyers fought for e-mail in a legal dispute with the Robert Koch Institute that lasted several months.

(February 8, 2021) Palantir leaps 15% after revealing partnership with IBM on artificial-intelligence applications
Palantir ripped as much as 15% higher on Monday after the company unveiled a partnership with IBM on a business-focused artificial intelligence product.
The analytics giant plans to pair its app-building platform with IBM's cloud-data service to create an AI tool for businesses,
according to a press release. The collaboration is expected to help businesses access and analyze swaths of cloud data
without the need for deep technical know-how. The firms aim to roll out the product in March.
The product, named Palantir for IBM Cloud Pak for Data, is planned for businesses in retail,
financial services, manufacturing, and telecommunications, among other sectors.

(February 8, 2021) FEMA Launches COVID-19 Super Vaccination Sites
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced via Twitter on February 8, 2021,
'Texas is working with FEMA to create Super Sites for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Initially, there would likely be 2 sites with up to 6,000 additional vaccinations per day,
7 days a week for 8 weeks. The FEMA program would likely start (vaccinations) in Houston & Dallas,
with possible expansion to other locations.'

(February 8, 2021) Verily links with Janssen for at-home COVID-19 immune system study
Verily is teaming up with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen division to observe
the body’s earliest immune responses to a coronavirus infection,
with people participating in the research from within their own homes.
The study will be launched through Verily’s Project Baseline testing program and aims to collect biological information
and real-world data in the weeks immediately after a person tests positive for COVID-19.
Separately, Verily recently opened up its coronavirus-focused Project Baseline efforts to children as young as four,
while pediatric testing and COVID-19 research has previously been limited.
The program will offer free COVID-19 testing to children through 450 screening sites across 16 states.

(February 8, 2021) EU orders 300 million more BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine doses
The European Commission has wrapped up a deal to receive another 300 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine,
a spokesperson told several news agencies Monday. The EU reached a deal with Pfizer in November for 300 million doses
and in January negotiated a preliminary deal for another 300 million.
An EU official told Reuters that the bloc would receive 200 million doses of the vaccine in 2021.
The timeline for the other 100 million was still unclear.

(February 8, 2021) Merck(KGaA) and BioNTech to boost lipid supply for Covid-19 vaccine production
Merck and BioNTech have announced a further expansion of their strategic partnership
to accelerate the supply of urgently needed lipids
and boost the amount of their delivery by the year-end.
The lipids will be used for producing the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (BNT162b2).
Lipids are vital to the drug delivery system of mRNA therapies to the body for a vaccine to be effective.
The Life Science business sector is currently backing more than 50 vaccine projects worldwide with products and technologies.
Furthermore, with its recently announced acquisition of AmpTec, Merck strengthened its capabilities and capacities for mRNA development and production.

(February 9, 2020) Facebook Hires NATO Press Officer Ben Nimmo as Intelligence Chief
Ben Nimmo, a former NATO press officer and current senior fellow at the Atlantic Council,
has announced Facebook has hired him to “lead global threat intelligence strategy against influence operations”
and “emerging threats.” Nimmo specifically named Russia, Iran and China as potential dangers to the platform.
His announcement was greeted with joy by several NATO officials but was not met with such enthusiasm by others.

(February 9, 2021) SA turns to J&J vaccine to begin COVID-19 immunisation programme
CAPE TOWN - South Africa has shifted gears and is now hinging its hopes on the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
During a World Health Organization (WHO) briefing on Monday, the chairperson of government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19,
Professor Salim Abdool Karim, said that they were scheduled to roll out the AstraZeneca vaccine in just over a week from now.
"Instead of rolling out the AstraZeneca vaccine, we'll be rolling out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
and that will give us a bit of time and leeway to ensure that we're collecting the necessary data
as we roll out the AstraZeneca in a stepwise process."

(February 10, 2021) AstraZeneca Plans Higher Covid Vaccine Output For EU
AstraZeneca plans to accelerate production of its Covid vaccine in the second quarter
to support EU needs, the British pharmaceutical giant said Wednesday, announcing a deal with Germany's IDT Biologika.
Beyond the immediate need for more vaccines, the agreement will see both companies invest to increase capacity
at a production site in Dessau, eastern Germany, to produce millions of doses monthly by the end of 2022.
Last week meanwhile saw a separate Anglo-German collaboration announced, with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline and Germany's CureVac
teaming up to develop a vaccine that can potentially counter multiple variants of Covid-19.

(February 10, 2021) SARS-CoV-2 Infection Prevented and Treated in Human Lung Tissue Model
Now, scientists at UNC have found that the orally administered experimental drug EIDD-2801 (now known as molnupiravir or MK-4482)
halts SARS-CoV-2 replication and prevents infection of human cells in a new in vivo lab model containing human lung tissue.
Separate Phase II and III clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate molnupiravir safety in humans
and its effect on viral shedding in COVID-19 patients, and the first results could be released as early as March.
This work is published in Nature in the paper titled, “SARS-CoV-2 infection is effectively treated and prevented by EIDD-2801.”
Molnupiravir is being developed by Merck & Co. in collaboration with Ridgeback Therapeutics.

Mouse models can be useful in studying highly pathogenic human coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 and compounds that might control infection.
But human coronaviruses do not replicate in mice unless researchers alter the virus,
genetically modify the mice, or introduce the individual human receptor genes into mice so the virus can infect cells.
Such mouse models have added to the scientific community’s understanding of coronavirus infection and disease progression,
but none of these models possess the diverse human cells found in human lungs where viral infection can cause severe disease.

UNC scientists created a solution to this problem—a line of mice with human lung tissue
that includes all the primary human cells infected when individuals fall ill with COVID-19.
In this study, they used a single experimental platform based on human lung-only mice (LoM)
to demonstrate efficient in vivo replication of all recently emerged human coronaviruses
(SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2) and two highly relevant endogenous pre-pandemic SARS-like bat coronaviruses.

(February 10, 2021) ICC, Mastercard, IBM join ID2020 Good Health Pass initiative
Yesterday ID2020 launched the Good Health Pass Collaborative to encourage interoperability
between the COVID-19 health credentialing solutions being developed by numerous organizations.
Members of the new initiative include the Airports Council International (ACI), Hyperledger,
COVID-19 Credentials Initiative, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC),
Mastercard and numerous others (full list below).
“Fragmentation is a risk we simply cannot ignore,” said ID2020 Executive Director Dakota Gruener.
“To be valuable to users, credentials need to be accepted at check-in,
upon arrival by border control agencies, and more.”
“We can get there — even with multiple systems — as long as solutions adhere
to open standards and participate in a common governance framework.

Good Health Pass Collaborative members: Affinidi, Airport Council International (ACI), Airside, analizA, (ICC) AOKpass,
Bindle Systems, BLOK Solutions, CLEAR, The Commons Project Foundation, Covid Credential Initiative (CCI), Daon, Everynym,
Global Privacy & Security by Design Centre, Grameen Foundation, Hyperledger, IBM, idRamp, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), iProov,
Linux Foundation Public Health, Lumedic, Mastercard, MIT SafePaths, National Aviation Services (NAS),
Panta, PathCheck Foundation, Prescryptive Health, SITA, STChealth, Trust Over IP Foundation, ZAKA.

(February 11, 2021) Moderna inks agreement to supply of 5 million &10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan and Colombia governments
Moderna announced two supply agreements for the Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna:
one with the government of Taiwan for 5 million doses
and another with the government of Colombia for 10 million doses.
Under the terms of the agreements, deliveries would begin in mid-2021.
The Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna (referred to in the US as the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine) is an mRNA vaccine
against Covid-19 encoding for a prefusion stabilized form of the Spike (S) protein, which was co-developed
by Moderna and investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center.

(February 11, 2021) USA Purchases Another 100 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses
Massachusetts-based Moderna, Inc. announced on February 11, 2021, the U.S. government has purchased an additional 100 million doses
of Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine, bringing its confirmed order commitment to 300 million doses.
Moderna has supplied 41 million released doses of the vaccine to the U.S. government to date.
Moderna is working with its domestic manufacturing partners and the U.S. FDA to continue to explore ways to accelerate delivery,
to provide this new order of 100 million doses before the end of July 2021.

(February 12, 2021) Tony Blair Says Covid Vaccine Passports ‘Inevitable’ At Home And Abroad
Digital health passports will become “inevitable” in the UK and around the world
as the public demand reassurance about coronavirus safety, Tony Blair has said.
He predicted that rapid coronavirus tests would become the norm at mass spectator events and the workplace
as the public sought reassurance about safety at work and places of leisure.
A Cabinet sub-committee met on Friday to discuss plans for a vaccine and testing certificates
for when global travel resumes. Ministers want an internationally recognised system.

(February 12, 2021) Emergent BioSolutions to bottle Providence Therapeutics new COVID-19 vaccine
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. on Friday announced a new contract development and manufacturing company (CDMO) agreement with Canadian-based Providence Therapeutics,
which is producing a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine similar to the Moderna Inc. and Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus shots already being administered across Canada and the United States.
The plan is for Emergent BioSolutions to provide fill/finish drug product manufacturing services at its facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
For Emergent, the multinational specialty biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., the deal is its eighth COVID-19 CDMO collaboration,
and its first outside of the U.S. in Canada.

(February 12, 2021) Taxes on the Rich: One-Sixth of What They Used to Be
The top .01 percent in America is a phenomenally wealthy group. Even during America’s most egalitarian periods,
the average member of the top .01% held over 200 times the wealth of the average American.
Today, the wealth of the average top .01 percenter is nearly 1,000 times that
of the average American and is closing in on one billion dollars.
Effectively, taxes on the ultra-wealthy have nearly been eliminated.
The members of the top 0.1 percent pay only one-sixth of what they paid a half century ago in taxes.
What used to be paid every two months is now paid every twelve.
And there’s no sign this trajectory is changing.

(February 12, 2021) Evonik Strengthens Partnership with BioNTech on COVID-19 Vaccine
Evonik is investing in the short-term expansion of its specialty lipids production
which are essential for mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.
Commercial lipid quantities are to be produced at Evonik’s Hanau and Dossenheim sites in Germany
as early as the second half of 2021 as part of a strategic partnership with vaccine manufacturer BioNTech.
This step contributes to increasing the supply security of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

(February 12, 2021) Pfizer, BioNTech to Supply the U.S. with 100mn Additional Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine
Pfizer and BioNTech SE said that the U.S. government has exercised its option for an additional 100 million doses
of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This brings the total number of doses to be supplied by the companies to the U.S. government to 300 million.
Consistent with the agreements for the prior 200 million doses, the U.S. government will pay $1.95 billion for the additional 100 million doses.
Pfizer’s facility in Kalamazoo, MI, remains the primary manufacturing site of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.

(February 13, 2021) Qatar Health Ministry grants Emergency Use Authorization for Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine
Moderna announced that the Qatar Ministry of Public Health has issued an emergency use authorization for Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna.
Qatar has secured access to Covid-19 vaccine Moderna through a supply agreement announced on October 26, 2020.
Moderna has also received authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine from health agencies in the United States, Canada, Israel, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Singapore.
Moderna is also working with additional health agencies and with the World Health Organization on the authorization of its vaccine in respective jurisdictions.

(February 13, 2021) US FDA grants emergency use authorization to GenScript’s cPass SARS-CoV-2 neutralization antibody detection kit in convalescent plasma screening
GenScript, a world's leading life science research tools and services provider, announced that it has received Emergency Use Authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA)
Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) for use of the cPass SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Detection Kit in convalescent plasma screening.
Convalescent plasma from patients who have recovered from Covid-19 may contain antibodies that fight the virus and is often used as a transfusion treatment for patients hospitalized with Covid-19
to speed recovery. However, successful treatment with convalescent plasma has been variable and new tools are needed to help gauge its effectiveness.
The cPass kit identifies the functionality and level of antibodies in convalescent plasma prior to its use in treatment.
The novel cPass test detects neutralizing antibodies in patient samples without the use of live virus.
The conventional method to measure neutralizing antibodies in the patient samples requires the use of live cells
and obtaining results takes multiple days and high safety level environment (BSL3). In contrast, the cPass kit utilizes pure proteins
that can be performed in most standard laboratories with short turnaround time (1hr).

(February 13, 2021) FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Welcomes UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to UK COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Site
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, a world leading contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for biologics, viral vaccines and viral vectors,
welcomed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Teesside at its Billingham site,
on Saturday 13 February to meet the team working to support the manufacture of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
During the visit, the Prime Minister toured the FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies facilities
where the antigen component (active ingredient) of Novavax' NVX-CoV2373 COVID-19 vaccine
will be manufactured as well as other life-impacting therapies.
Fujifilm's leading technical expertise in baculovirus systems and biopharmaceutical manufacturing
excellence is contracted by Novavax to produce antigen for up to 180 million vaccine doses.

(February 13, 2021) Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine could give kids ‘life long immunity’ as trials on children as young as five loom
Pfizer is starting a trial for children aged five to 11 while Oxford AstraZeneca is doing this with kids as young as six to 17.
Scientists will use volunteers to assess whether the jab will produce a strong immune response in kids.
The Oxford jab is one of three to have been approved for use in adults in the UK, along with those from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
Professor Sarah Gilbert, chief investigator on the Oxford team that developed the AstraZeneca vaccine, told The Times: "We’re all really waiting to see how things play out.

(February 14, 2021) SeqOnce Biosciences Announces RT-qPCR Assay to Detect SARS-CoV-2 N501Y Variant
The AzureSeq One-Step Universal SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR N501Y kit uses a single-tube reaction targeting the N1 nucleocapsid gene,
both alleles of S gene N501Y (A23063T), and includes RNaseP as a control. The assay uses common qPCR instruments
with detection channels of FAM, HEX, Cy5, and ROX.
The AzureSeq One-Step Universal SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR N501Y assay does not require viral RNA extraction
and has a rapid cycling protocol option, delivering sample to answer results in under 30’.
The AzureSeq One-Step Universal SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR N501Y kit is currently for Research Use Only.

(February 15, 2021) WHO approves AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use
GENEVA — The World Health Organization on Monday listed AstraZeneca and Oxford University's Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use,
widening access to the relatively inexpensive shot in the developing world.
A WHO statement said it had approved the vaccine as produced by AstraZeneca- SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India.
The COVAX Facility, which is co-led by the vaccine alliance Gavi, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations(CEPI)
and the U.N. Children’s Fund, has said doses would cover an average of 3.3 percent of total populations of 145 participating countries.

(February 15, 2021) CloudLIMS Announces Collaboration with Folio for Secure Issuance of COVID-19 Results to Patients
CloudLIMS, a leading laboratory informatics provider, and Folio, a leader in the digital identity world,
offers an integrated solution that enables COVID-19 diagnostic testing laboratories to register patients,
seamlessly manage tests, and digitally deliver COVID-19 results and certifications
directly to patients efficiently and securely. The Folio mobile wallet,
a biometrically secure wallet on patients’ smartphones, enables patients to receive,

store and share their COVID-19 test results digitally with their employers or government authorities.
The test results also include a unique secure QR code generated by the Folio app to facilitate contactless
result validation. They can have the QR code scanned by businesses, academic organizations, governments,
or health screening staff at airports to assert their COVID-19 results.

Folio is consulted by Government Departments and Think Tanks like the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change,
advising on best practices in Digital Identity frameworks, architecture and policies and recommended by Gartner
as a solution for returning to normal in a post-covid world.


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Post by Abacus Sat Mar 06, 2021 3:25 pm

(February 16, 2021) FDA issues EUA for Thermo Fisher Scientific COVID-19, flu combo test
Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) announced today that it received FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19/flu combo test.
Carlsbad, Calif.-based Thermo Fisher’s Applied Biosystems TaqPath COVID-19, Flu A, Flu B combo kit is a real-time PCR test
for detecting and differentiating RNA from SARS-CoV-2, influenza A and influenza B viruses in nasopharyngeal and nasal swabs, according to a news release.
The company’s kit includes Applied Biosystems pathogen-interpretive software for converting genetic analysis data into a readable report automatically
to reduce the risk of errors with interpretation, Thermo Fisher said.
Testing with the TaqPath COVID-19, Flu A, Flu B combo kit is limited to laboratories certified
under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), 42 U.S.C. 263a,
to perform high-complexity tests, or by similarly qualified non-U.S. laboratories.

(February 17, 2021) Jeff Bezos overtakes Elon Musk to reclaim world’s richest person title
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has reclaimed the top spot on the world’s richest list,
winning the title back from Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk just weeks after losing it.
Tesla shares slid over two percent on Tuesday, erasing around $4 billion from Musk’s fortune, according to ranking websites’ estimates.
The drop ended Musk’s six-week reign as the world’s wealthiest man, according to Forbes,
which currently puts his net worth at $173.4 billion, compared to Bezos’ $190.3 billion.

(February 17, 2020) GlaxoSmithKline doubles down on Vir pact, throwing in $345M upfront to go beyond COVID-19
Last year, Big Pharma GlaxoSmithKline and George Scangos’ biotech Vir joined forces against COVID-19.
Now, the pair is turning its crosshairs on a broader range of respiratory diseases.
Under the boosted collab, GSK nabs exclusive rights to work with Fierce 15 winner Vir on new antibodies for the flu.
These include VIR-2482, which is designed to create universal influenza A protection and has finished off a phase 1 trial,
as well as next-generation antibodies for the prevention or treatment of influenza during a three-year research period.
GSK will have the exclusive option to co-develop VIR-2482 after Vir completes and reports midstage data
and will share development costs on the development of all other influenza monoclonal antibodies.

(February 17, 2021) Novavax, SK Bioscience expand Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing deal
Novavax and SK Group’s vaccine business subsidiary, SK Bioscience, have expanded collaboration
and license agreement for manufacturing and commercialisation
of the former’s Covid-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, for sale to the Korean government.
With the agreement expansion, SK Bioscience will also increase production capacity.
The latest development is in addition to an already existing manufacturing arrangement between the companies
for developing and supplying the protein antigen component of NVX-CoV2373 to be supplied to global markets such as the COVAX Facility.
This agreement calls for technology transfer linked to Novavax’s protein antigen manufacturing, Matrix M
adjuvant supply and extending support to SK Bioscience to obtain regulatory approval.

(February 17, 2021) Pfizer, BioNTech To Supply 200M More Vax Doses to EU
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have entered an agreement with the European Commission (EC) to supply an additional 200 million doses of COMIRNATY,
the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine, to the 27 European Union (EU) member states. The EC has the option to request supply of an additional 100 million doses.
This new agreement is in addition to the 300 million doses that have already been committed to the EU through 2021 under the first supply agreement signed last year.
The additional 200 million doses are expected to be delivered in 2021, with an estimated 75 million to be supplied in the second quarter.
The total number of doses to be delivered to the EU member states by the end of 2021 is now 500 million,
with the potential to increase to 600 million based on the option granted in the new agreement.

(February 17, 2021) Novartis, Gates Foundation ally on in vivo sickle cell gene therapy
Novartis is adding sickle cell disease to its gene therapy stable through a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The latter will support a research team at the Swiss Pharma dedicated to discovering and developing a one-and-done
in vivo treatment that can be given easily to patients all over the world.
Caused by a single mutation in the gene that codes for beta-globin, a component of red blood cells, sickle cell
is a well-known genetic disorder that disproportionately affects people of African descent.
Novartis aims to develop a gene therapy that works inside the body,
which could be given to the patient without the need to extract their cells,
modify them in a laboratory and then put them back into the patient.
The partnership comes one day after bluebird bio suspended two clinical trials of its ex vivo sickle cell gene therapy because two patients developed blood cancer.
While the trials are on hold, the company will investigate whether the lentiviral vector used in the gene therapy is linked to the cases of acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.

(February 18, 2021) Coroner’s Office Releases Findings in Brandy Vaughan Death Investigation
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office has completed the death investigation of local community activist Brandy Vaughan.
The Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office conducted a thorough investigation which included an autopsy,
in depth toxicology screening, interviews and medical record review. At the conclusion of the Coroner’s months long investigation,
the Office determined the manner of her death to be caused by bi-lateral Pulmonary Thromboembolus.

(February 18, 2021) Gates, Merck and Novartis-backed Adjuvant Capital raises $300M for neglected diseases
A major group of pharma and charitable groups have joined forces to raise a $300 million venture round for Adjuvant Capital
as it goes after forgotten diseases across the globe. Those big names include Merck, Novartis, IFC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Dalio Philanthropies, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, ELMA Investments Ltd., the Ford Foundation,
the MacArthur Foundation, Global Health Investment Corporation, CDC Group, Anthos Fund & Asset Management and others.
First launched back 2019, Adjuvant has already backed 14 companies developing technologies for high-impact
indications ranging from rare conditions such as melioidosis, a tropical flu-like illness, to widespread global emergencies such as COVID-19.

(February 18, 2021) Vatican employees could lose their jobs for refusing COVID vaccine
The Vatican has taken a hard line against employees who refuse to be vaccinated for COVID-19, warning they risk losing their jobs.
According to a decree by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, whose role as President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State
makes him the territory's top administrator, employees who refuse the vaccine "without proven health reasons" face penalties
that can include "the interruption of the work relationship."

(February 18, 2021) South Africa starts administering Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to health workers
South Africa has started administering the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to health workers this week after the first doses arrived in the country.
Meanwhile, J&J has submitted an application for Conditional Marketing Authorisation in the EU, following its application for EUA in the US.
The first batch of 80,000 doses of the J&J vaccine is being administered to health workers,
having been approved by the SA Health Productions Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) under the Sinsonke protocol.
The first vaccine was administered yesterday at Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town.
This authorization is for the ‘open label, pragmatic, real world Phase 3b clinical trial’ of the vaccine,
which will investigate the effectiveness of the single-dose vaccine in preventing severe COVID-19, hospitalizations and deaths among vaccinated health workers.

(February 18, 2021) Duterte certifies indemnity fund bills for Covid-19 vaccines as urgent
President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent the proposed measures seeking to ensure availability of funds to compensate Filipinos
in case they die or suffer from severe side effects after receiving Covid-19 vaccines.
An indemnification law is expected to hasten the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines in the country,
since it is among the requirements of vaccine manufacturers to exempt them from liability
should their products cause serious adverse effects to vaccine takers.

(February 19, 2021) Gavi signs memorandum of understanding with Novavax on behalf of COVAX Facility
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance announced today that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Novavax that,
combined with a separate existing agreement with Serum Institute of India (SII), will provide a total of 1.1 billion doses
of the company’s NVX-CoV2373 COVID-19 vaccine candidate to the COVAX Facility.
The MoU lays the foundation for agreement on final terms via an advance purchase agreement
and is a critical step toward making sure doses of the vaccine,
if approved and licensed, will be made available to all countries and economies participating in the COVAX Facility.

(February 19, 2021) British Airways Extends VeriFLY Service to All International Flights to the UK
British Airways has expanded the scope of its VeriFLY trial. The digital credentialing
service is now available to passengers on all of the airline’s inbound international flights to the United Kingdom as of February 15.
British Airways began its VeriFLY trial on February 4, giving passengers the opportunity to use the app on all flights from London to the United States.
It later extended service to inbound flights from the US, and is now doing so again to provide inbound VeriFLY coverage for the rest of the world.
In other news, British Airways parent company IAG confirmed that it is working with IATA to help develop the latter’s own Travel Pass app,
which is expected to launch in the next few weeks. VeriFLY is developed by Daon,
and debuted in November when American Airlines trialed the app on flights from Miami to Jamaica.
American Airlines is a British Airways partner, and is now offering VeriFLY coverage on all inbound flights to the United States.

(February 19, 2021) Superdrug launches Covid-19 PCR saliva testing
Superdrug has become the first high street retailer to offer a Chronomics Covid-19 PCR testing service that uses a patient’s saliva.
The price covers the test as well 24 hour tracked return delivery of the test,
analysis of the sample and the results being processed and eventually being returned to the customer.
You should get your results within 36 hours of taking the test.
At a recent Downing Street press conference the PM hinted mass deployment of saliva tests
will play a fundamental part in rolling back lockdown restrictions on large events.

(February 20, 2021) Saudi Arabia launches ‘health passport’ for COVID-19 vaccine recipients
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has launched a digital “health passport,” available through the Ministry of Health’s Tawakkalna app.
The ‘passport’ will contain a registry of an individual’s vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
and confirmation that the individual is immune to the virus, it was announced at a press conference on Thursday.
The head of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA), Abdullah Al-Ghamdi,
stressed the vital role the agency plays in creating technological solutions for the government.

(February 20, 2021) Everything you need to know about Israel’s green passport program
A green passport will be required to enter certain places and to participate in certain activities.
Only people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from coronavirus will be eligible for one.

As part of the program, registered gyms, theaters, hotels, concerts and synagogues will be able to operate starting next week.
The green passport is granted to those who are a week past the second coronavirus vaccination,
or to the around 740,000 people recovered from the virus who currently are not eligible for the vaccine.

(February 20, 2021) Illumina, University Hospital of Tübingen evaluate potential of WGS to improve diagnosis of full range of genetic diseases
Illumina, Inc. announced an agreement with the Institute of Medical Genetics and Applied Genomics at the University Hospital of Tübingen to assess the value of whole-genome sequencing (WGS)
as a first-line diagnostic test for patients with genetic diseases and familial cancer syndromes. Illumina will support the new investigator-initiated study, called the Ge-Med Project,
with sequencing, analysis and health economic expertise. The Institute is the first laboratory in Germany accredited to perform clinical WGS.
Previously, it used whole exome sequencing for the diagnosis of rare disease conditions which involves sequencing
only around 1% of the genome known to contain the coding regions that provide instructions for making proteins.
The move to WGS is based on a two-year feasibility study by the Institute, supported by Illumina, which found that WGS provided improved diagnosis across a range of rare diseases.

(February 20, 2021) Schwab Family Values

Is the real Klaus Schwab a kindly old uncle figure wishing
to do good for humanity, or is he really the son of a Nazi collaborator
who used slave labour and aided Nazi efforts to obtain the first atomic bomb?

Johnny Vedmore investigates.

(February 20, 2021) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and CSIR sign MoU to promote health research
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
to support the development, conduct and promotion of health research in India.
As per the MoU, areas of research collaboration would include genetic diseases that impact infant and neonatal mortality;
new diagnostics and devices for infectious disease and environmental surveillance; development of cost-effective processes for drug, vaccines,
biologics, and diagnostics manufacturing; novel microbiome-directed foods; socio-economic impact of science and technological tools; and other areas of health and development.
The MoU was signed by Hari Menon, Director, India Country Office on behalf of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Dr G N Dayananda, Head, Technology Management Directorate – Industry Interface, CSIR.

(February 22, 2021) G7 leaders commit US$ 4.3 billion to finance global equitable access to tests, treatments and vaccines in 2021
Commitments made at Virtual G7 leaders meeting hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and at the Munich Security Conference later in the day,
signaled significant progress in the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic with an important underscoring
of the need for global equity in access to test, treatments, and vaccines. Leaders recognised that no country can be safe
until every country is safe and collectively committed over US$ 4.3 billion to the ACT Accelerator
partnership to develop and distribute effective tests, treatments, and vaccines around the world.
Contributions were made up as follows:

- The USA committed initial $2 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment and a further $2 billion
through 2021 and 2022, of which the first $500 million will be made available when existing donor pledges are fulfilled and initial doses are delivered to AMC countries.

- Germany committed US$ 1.8 billion with contributions to all pillars and partners of the ACT Accelerator across tests, treatments, vaccines, and health systems strengthening.

- The European Commission committed US$ 363 million for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

- Japan committed US$ 79 million for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment and UNITAID.

- Canada committed US$ 59 million to the ACT Accelerator.

- In addition, the European Investment Bank is providing a further US$ 242 million[iv] in loan guarantees
which will help the ACT Accelerator partnership to frontload future payments to speed up the response.

(February 22, 2021) France's Sanofi to help Johnson & Johnson manufacture COVID-19 vaccine
French healthcare company Sanofi SASY.PA will provide COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing
support to U.S. peer Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N, Sanofi said on Monday.
Once authorized, Sanofi will provide Johnson & Johnson access to the established infrastructure
and expertise of its vaccine manufacturing plant in Marcy l'Etoile, France,
to formulate and fill vials of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate in 2021
at a rate of approximately 12 million doses per month.

(February 22, 2021) Air France to pilot ICC’s blockchain Covid-19 credentials app
Air France will begin a four-week pilot of a new health passport, the blockchain-powered ICC AOKpass starting March 11.
The app enables passengers to present their Covid-19 negative test on their mobile phones and is supported by MedAire / International SOS.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has more than 45 million corporate members worldwide.
The app was co-developed by Perlin, ICC’s blockchain partner, and startup AOKpass.
App usage will be carried out on a voluntary basis, and Air France will share the results with other airlines in the Skyteam alliance,
including Delta, KLM, Aeroflot, Air Italia, Korean Air, and others.
Meanwhile, various other blockchain-based health credentialing initiatives are being trialed by airlines.
Emirates Airlines, for example, is trialing GE Digital and TE-FOOD’s TrustOne app.
British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and others are trialing IATA’s Travel Pass platform.

(February 22, 2021) Air NZ trials ‘vaccine passport’, a glimpse of post-COVID travel
Air New Zealand will ask passengers to use a digital health pass on flights to Australia
in a trial run of a “vaccine passport” system for travellers to prove they have been immunised against COVID-19.
Travel industry leaders expect COVID-19 immunisation will become mandatory
for international flights once vaccines have been widely distributed, with Qantas
chief executive Alan Joyce saying in November it would be a requirement to fly on his airline.
Incoming travellers to Australia already have to provide evidence they tested negative to COVID-19 within 72 hours of their departure.

(February 23, 2021)If you die from the COVID-19 vaccine in Japan, the government will give your family over ¥44 mil
Japan began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine on Feb 17. While a little behind other developed countries, they seem to be trying
to do it in as organized fashion as possible, staggering vaccinations to medical staff, the elderly, people with health conditions,
and everyone else in that order. It’s not without its challenges, however, and one of them remains the Japanese people’s general skittishness when it comes to vaccines.
However, some who fear that the prevention might be worse than the disease may be swayed by a recent report that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare will award a lump sum of 44,200,000 yen
to the surviving family of any person who dies as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine and even cover funeral costs up to 209,000 yen.
It doesn’t even matter if there was negligence on the part of medical staff or the vaccine producer. In other words, there’s no strings attached.

(February 23, 2021) Federal law prohibits employers and others from requiring vaccination with a Covid-19 vaccine distributed under an EUA
Even though the FDA granted emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in December 2020,
the clinical trials the FDA will rely upon to ultimately decide whether to license these vaccines
are still underway and are designed to last for approximately two years to collect adequate data
to establish if these vaccines are safe and effective enough for the FDA to license.

This means that an organization will likely be at odds with federal law if it requires its employees,
students or other members to get a Covid-19 vaccine that is being distributed under emergency use authorization.
State law often prohibits retaliating against an employee for refusing to participate in a violation of federal law.
Organizations that require Covid-19 vaccination in violation of federal law may face lawsuits
under these state laws not only to block the policy but also for damages and attorneys’ fees.
Such potentially costly lawsuits can be avoided by refraining from adopting policies
that require vaccination or penalize members for choosing not to be vaccinated.

(February 24, 2021) Why we’re suing over the £23m NHS data deal with Palantir
We’ve just issued a lawsuit over their £23m NHS data deal with controversial ‘spy tech’ company Palantir.
We’re taking the government to court because, right before Christmas, they quietly gave this CIA-backed firm a major, long-term role
in handling our personal health information, and in England’s cherished National Health Service.
The government claimed the initial Palantir ‘datastore’ deal, signed last March, was a short-term, emergency response to the pandemic.
But December's new, two-year contract reaches far beyond COVID: to Brexit, general business planning and much more.
And, as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals today, it comes after years of Palantir lobbying top UK and NHS officials,
courting them in London, San Francisco and Davos – over dinner and watermelon cocktails.

(February 24, 2021) Rwanda becomes first in Africa to Trial Air Travel Digital Health Passport
RwandAir will become the first African airline to trial IATA Travel pass,
a digial health pass currently being trialled around the world.
The airline will begin a three-week trial in April for customers travelling between Kigali and Nairobi in Kenya.
The IATA Travel Pass is a digital platform to help passengers easily and securely verify that they comply
with Covid-19 test or vaccine travel requirements, in turn giving governments the confidence to reopen borders.

(February 24, 2021) Malaysia Airlines to introduce Digital Travel Health Pass
National carrier Malaysia Airlines plans to introduce a Digital Travel Health Pass to enable
safer air travel in a post-pandemic era. In a statement today, the airline said the health pass will integrate modules
from the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass,
enabling passengers to create a digital passport on the Malaysia Airlines mobile app.

(February 24, 2021) Beam Therapeutics Acquires Georgia Tech Spin Out, Seeks Non-Viral Gene Therapy Delivery Vehicles
Months from initiating its first human trial, Beam is covering all its bases for the big day. On 23rd February, it acquired Georgia Tech spinout, Guide Therapeutics,
a company that develops tools used to deliver genetic medications into cells. The $120 million all-stock deal, which Beam completed yesterday, centers on lipid nanoparticle technology
that Guide is building for efficient and far-reaching transport of gene-editing machinery.

Unlike the conventional delivery vehicles that use inactivated adenoviruses, Guide is testing lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) to deliver gene-editing therapies.
These are similar to the ones that Moderna and Pfizer are using for delivering their mRNA vaccines.
But unlike those particles, Guide’s nanoparticles have DNA barcodes.
“DNA barcodes are DNA sequences rationally designed to act as molecular tags for specific nanoparticles.”

This serves two purposes. First, “hundreds of nanoparticles can be screened simultaneously in a single experiment,”
saving time on R&D and accelerating the discovery of new nanoparticles.
Second, it allows researchers to study how these particles are distributed throughout a tissue or organ
and how specific they are for the tissue of interest. According to Guide, its screening platform can perform drug-delivery experiments in vivo
at a rate of 15,000 times higher than a traditional platform.

(February 24, 2021) UCB taps Microsoft to accelerate drug discovery, clinical trials
UCB and Microsoft have entered into a multiyear strategic collaboration.
The deal will see Microsoft use its capabilities in computational services,
cloud computing and artificial intelligence to support drug discovery and development at UCB.
Belgium’s UCB is also looking to identify other areas of its operation that could benefit from AI and additional computing power.
UCB is yet to name areas it is exploring, saying only that the work will span “every part of the drug discovery and delivery value chain”
and is intended to accelerate the development of life-changing treatments in immunology and neurology.
The partners have set four strategic objectives for the alliance. As well as improving the overall patient journey,
UCB and Microsoft want to better understand the causes of disease, speed discovery using data-driven insights
and accelerate clinical development timelines. The collaboration expands on an existing relationship
between UCB and Microsoft that is focused on COVID-19.

(February 25, 2021) Bahrain becomes first nation to grant J&J COVID-19 shot emergency use
Bahrain became the first nation to authorize Johnson & Johnson’s new single-dose coronavirus vaccine for emergency use
on Thursday, the government announced, just a day after US regulators concluded the shot offers strong protection against severe COVID-19.
The island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia said it would dole out J&J’s shot
to the most vulnerable people, including older adults and those with chronic conditions, without specifying when.
It was also unclear when doses would be delivered to the country, which already offers vaccines
by state-backed Chinese firm Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNtech and Oxford-AstraZeneca, as well as Russia’s Sputnik V to its roughly 2 million residents.

(February 25, 2021) Tony Blair’s anti-freedom project continues, but ‘War on Terror’ is replaced by ‘War on Covid’
The ‘War on Terror’ seems to have morphed into a ‘War on Covid’. And guess what? Serial warmonger Tony Blair is a key figure in both,
seeking to curtail our civil liberties with the excuse that it’s all for the “greater good.”
The date: Monday November 6, 2006. The place: Downing Street news conference.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair dismisses the civil rights argument against ID cards,
which his government is keen to introduce. He says it is an issue of “modernity” and “modern life.”

Fast forward fourteen years, and the same Tony Blair is saying much the same thing about Covid vaccine passports.
There’s been no more zealous British advocate of vaccine passports than the man the anti-lockdown journalist Peter Hitchens calls ‘The Blair Creature’.
“Prepare for a health passport now,” he said in December. “I know all the objections,
but it will happen. It’s the only way the world will function and for lockdowns to no longer be the sole course of action.”
Last week it was reported that ´The Blair Creature’ had been lobbying hard for vaccine passports to be included in Boris Johnson’s so-called ‘road map’ out of lockdown. And they were.
Back in 2006, ID cards were promoted as a way of tackling the ‘terrorism’ threat and keeping us all ‘safe’. Vaccine passports are presented today in the same reassuring manner.
The War on Terror and the War on Covid have so much in common. They both have five level ‘alert’ systems. ´The Blair Creature’ is the key linking figure.

(February 25, 2021) AMRI Contributes to Efforts to Increase COVID-19 Vax Supply
Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), a leading global provider of advanced contract research, development and manufacturing solutions,
today announced that the company has been chosen to support the development and manufacture of lipid excipients for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
For the past several months, AMRI has been providing development, scale-up and manufacturing services at a number of its global R&D and production sites,
demonstrating operational flexibility and expertise to deliver capacity for lipid excipient supply for the vaccine
at unprecedented speed to support the program. This critical lipid excipient surrounds and protects the vaccine’s active ingredient.

(February 25, 2021) Pfizer Partners with Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Center
CPI has formed an agreement with Pfizer, making it the newest partner of the Medicines Manufacturing
Innovation Center collaboration. The partnership will enable the Center to draw upon Pfizer's
expertise within the pharmaceutical sector to help address key challenges
and maximize efficiency within the medicines supply chain.
The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Center is a collaboration between CPI,
the University of Strathclyde and founding industry partners GSK and AstraZeneca,
with funding provided by Scottish Enterprise and UK Research and Innovation.

(February 26, 2021) U.S. FDA Authorizes Flexible Storage, Transportation Conditions for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on February 25, 2021, that it is allowing undiluted frozen vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
o be transported and stored at conventional temperatures commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers for a period of up to two weeks.
The alternative temperature for storage of frozen vials is not applicable to the storage of thawed vials before dilution
(which can be held in the refrigerator for up to 5 days) or on the storage of thawed vials after dilution
(which can be held at refrigerator temperature or room temperature for use within 6 hours).

(February 27, 2021) FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency authorization
for a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, the third vaccine to be cleared
for use in the United States and the first that requires only one dose.
The vaccine, which has not yet been tested in children or adolescents, was cleared for use in adults aged 18 and older.

The addition of J&J’s vaccine to the arsenal could offer a distinct advantage in the effort to vaccinate large swaths of the American public
as quickly as possible. The single-shot vaccine doesn’t have the same onerous cold-chain requirements
as the two vaccines developed by Moderna and the Pfizer/BioNTech partnership.

The approval for all adults comes despite the fact that the data on elderly adults from the company’s Phase 3 study were limited.
Some of J&J’s data also raised questions about how well the vaccine works in adults 60 and older who have comorbidities,
or underlying medical conditions. The committee ultimately voted unanimously to recommend the vaccine
be used in those 18 or older, without any restrictions on age.

(February 28, 2021) Sanofi Joins Hands with German Biotech to Develop Improved AAV Capsids for Gene Therapies
On February 23, Munich-based SIRION Biotech GmbH announced signing a license and collaboration agreement with Sanofi.
The agreement intends to harness SIRION’s capabilities as a leader in viral vector-based gene delivery technologies
and develop improved tissue-selective adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapies.

AAVs are the most predominant vectors used to deliver genetic information.
However, they have relatively small transgenes as well as the potential for mutagenesis.
At high multiplicity of infection, wild-type AAV integrates into human chromosome 19 in approximately 60% of latently infected cell lines.
Though AAV is not known to cause disease in humans, insertional mutagenesis may be a concern.

Sanofi, working together with SIRION and Prof. Dirk Grimm, a renowned scientist at Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany,
will combine their proprietary technology platforms and develop new and modified AAV capsids
that exhibit a safe product profile with improved specificity and higher gene delivery efficiency.


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