Covid-19 Coronavirus
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  • Global confirmed cases
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  • Global recovery rate
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Coronavirus: A timeline of how the deadly COVID-19 outbreak is evolving

10:16 am

Double dip recession looms for Europe post Covid

20 October

Even before the actual coronavirus outbreak was fully controlled, many countries in Europe are now facing a second wave of infections.

The previously projected growth forecasts remain doubtful as a double dip recession seems more likely.

Rafael Domenech, head of economic analysis of BBVA Research, shared an article on how a second wave of coronavirus infections and restrictions in Europe is threatening to cause a double dip recession in the region.

Several countries in Europe including Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands have announced measures to control the rise in coronavirus cases.

Experts predict that the second wave will result in negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The European Central Bank’s earlier prediction that the region will grow by more than 3% now seems unlikely.

It also casts doubt on the forecast of recovery in the euro zone to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.

Additional monetary easing and fiscal aid may be needed to address the damage caused by the second wave, the article noted.

Read more

9:45 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 40.4 million – US may authorize emergency use of vaccine in December

20 October

Global: Global coronavirus infections have passed 40.4 million cases, reaching 40,403,779. The global coronavirus death toll is 1,118,361 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

US: US Covid-19 infections exceed 8.2 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 220,133 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

President Donald Trump has confirmed he will participate in a final presidential debate on Thursday. Topics will include the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as Trump said Americans were “tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots” discuss Covid.

The Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting some crucial voters two weeks before Election Day, costing American lives and potentially hurting President Donald Trump, who has received overwhelmingly poor grades from Democrats and independent voters on his virus response.

Almost one-fourth of all hospital beds in the El Paso, Texas, area are occupied by virus patients and the region with almost 1 million residents has just 16 intensive-care beds available, state health department data showed.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a “strong recommendation” for mask-wearing by both passengers and operators on planes, trains, buses and taxis to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The change was reported earlier by the Washington Post, which said it followed airline industry pressure and a request from Vice President Mike Pence. A note at the bottom of the CDC web page states it was last reviewed on Monday.

India: India has already seen a peak in the number of new coronavirus infections and may be able to contain the world’s second-largest outbreak by February, according to a government panel of scientists that attributed a recent slowdown to a harsh national lockdown earlier this year.

New Zealand: In New Zealand, 11 international seamen in a Christchurch hotel have tested positive for Covid and 14 more cases are “under further investigation”, according to the ministry of health.

Thailand: Thailand reported five imported cases of Covid on Monday, which took the nation’s total infections to 3,691. All the new cases were found in state quarantine.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria reported a record-high of 1,024 new cases, the first time daily infections have gone past 1,000. The number of people hospitalized and in intensive care units in the Balkan country are also at their highest.

Germany: Germany’s new coronavirus cases rose by 8,397, the highest level since the pandemic began. The record in new infections exceeded the previous high of 7,695 recorded last Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There were 44 new fatalities on Tuesday, lifting the overall number of deaths to 9,842.

South Korea: Daily new cases in South Korea fell to 58, marking the fifth consecutive day that the number of infections has been below 100. The slowdown comes as the Asian nation relaxed social distance measures and began gradually reopening classrooms and public parks and museums.

China: China has reported 19 new coronavirus cases for 19 October, up from 13 cases a day earlier, the health commission said on Tuesday. All of the new infections were imported. China also reported 24 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 33 a day earlier.

Vaccine news

Japan: Pfizer and BioNTech will start a phase 1/2 clinical trials for a candidate Covid vaccine BNT162b2 in Japan. The trial is placebo-controlled, randomized and observer-blind with enrolment of around 160 participants, and the estimated study completed date 30 November, 2021.

US: Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said the US government could authorize emergency use of its Covid-19 vaccine in December if it gets positive interim results in November from a large clinical trial, Wall Street Journal reported. He added that if results from the study take longer to get, authorization may not occur until early next year.

California will require a panel of health experts to review any coronavirus vaccine before allowing it to be distributed to the state’s 40 million residents, Governor Gavin Newsom said.

Singapore: Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases temporarily halted enrolling Covid-19 patients for a monoclonal antibody trial after the American pharmaceutical company that developed the drug, Eli Lilly, had to halt the trial last week on safety concerns, Straits Times reports.

Lockdown updates

Global: The World Health Organization has warned that quarantine failures are partly responsible for rising cases in the northern Hemisphere. The WHO’s emergencies director, Michael Ryan said the fact that self-isolation measures were not being enforced systematically was “a good part of the reason why we’re seeing such high numbers”.

Hong Kong: Chief Executive Carrie Lam said “conditions” weren’t right for Hong Kong to further relax social distancing measures, and that authorities would brief regarding the latest on the restrictions later Tuesday.

Japan: The governments of Japan and China will agree to resume business travel between the countries as soon as this week, Yomiuri reports, citing an unidentified Japanese government official. Those planning long stays will be required to undergo 14 day quarantine, but will be exempt for short stays provided certain conditions are met.

UK: In England, the strictest Covid restrictions will be imposed on nearly 3 million people across Greater Manchester if no deal is reached by midday on Tuesday, the government has said in a dramatic ultimatum.

Wales is to go into a two-week “firebreak” lockdown, under which schools, shops, pubs and hotels will close and citizens will be told to stay at home. The government said it was needed to prevent thousands more deaths and the NHS becoming overwhelmed.

Ireland: Ireland has announced a return to coronavirus lockdown. The prime minister, Micheal Martin, issued a nationwide “stay at home” order, but insisted schools would stay open. Measures coming into effect for six weeks from midnight on Wednesday will see all non-essential retail businesses close and bars and restaurants limited to takeaway or delivery service only. “Everyone in the country is being asked to stay at home,” Martin said in a televised national address.

Bulgaria: Plovdiv, the second-biggest city, introduced limits for the number of people in supermarkets, while regional authorities in the capital Sofia will tighten control over existing measures, which include wearing masks in closed spaces.

Economy updates

Thailand: Bank of Thailand’s new governor said he’s looking into new measures to boost the economy as it faces a long and uneven road to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The policy response to the economic crisis should be long term, factoring in challenges likely to arise over the next two years, Governor Sethaput Suthiwart-Narueput told reporters on Tuesday at his first press briefing since taking office this month.

9:18 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Evotec receives Gates Foundation funding for Covid-19 antibody drugs –

20 October 2020 

Aridis Pharmaceuticals announced that it has developed a neutralising monoclonal antibody, AR-711, obtained from recovered Covid-19 patients. Preclinical data found that the antibody removed all traces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in infected animals with fewer doses than when injected with Covid-19 monoclonal antibodies. AR-711 is designed to be long-acting and remain in the patient’s blood for a period of six to 12 months.

Evotec announced that its biotechnology arm, Just – Evotec Biologics, has secured a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop antibody drugs to prevent Covid-19. The grant is part of the World Health Organization‘s Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator initiative to support the development of monoclonal antibody drugs to treat Covid-19.

Atossa Therapeutics announced that it has completed the enrolment for its Phase I clinical study of proprietary nasal spray drug AT-301. The drug may help many people who do not need immediate hospitalisation to manage their symptoms at home, according to the Atossa CEO, Steven Quay.

Mateon Therapeutics announced that it has received approval from the regulatory agency of Argentina to conduct phase II clinical trial on OT-101, a TGF-β inhibitor against Covid-19. Argentina ranks fifth highest in the world with respect to confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the data collected by John Hopkins University.

2:27 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 40.1 million – rise in Africa as restrictions eased

19 October

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 40.1 million with more than 1,114,000 deaths and 27,532,000 recoveries.

The US and India combined remains the most heavily affected country worldwide, accounting for 40% of the total confirmed cases across the world.

Cases are rising all over the Europe with countries recording record rise in daily new cases.

Even countries in Central and Eastern Europe, such as Poland and Czech Republic, which escaped the major outbreak during the first wave are reporting high number of daily new cases.

Africa is reporting a resurgence of Covid-19 new cases, driven by increases in countries such as South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and Ethiopia.

Rising numbers of cases have coincided with easing of restriction and reopening the economy in these countries.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:50 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 40 million – Trump claims US is ’rounding the turn’

19 October

Global: Global coronavirus infections have passed a staggering 40m cases, reaching 40,050,902. The global coronavirus death toll is 1,113,750 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Europe: Europe’s death toll has passed 250,000 according to an AFP tally based on official sources.

US: US Covid-19 infections exceed 8.1 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 219,674 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the Trump administration’s current coronavirus strategy “is just to endure the spread until we get a vaccine.” Gottlieb spoke on CBS on Sunday as many states are seeing a rising rate of infection, including more severe cases.

At his rally in Nevada, Trump claimed that the US was “rounding the turn” of the pandemic, a common claim at his appearances, despite the weekly case average rising in 48 of the country’s 50 states.

Dr Anthony Fauci said he was “absolutely not” surprised that Donald Trump contracted coronavirus. In an interview with 60 Minutes aired on Sunday, shortly before Trump held a rally in Nevada, the top US infectious diseases expert and sidelined White House coronavirus taskforce member said: “I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask.”

Poland: Poland has started construction of the first field hospital for Covid-19 patients at Warsaw’s national stadium, reported. The facility should initially have 500 beds and be ready this week.

Thailand: Thailand reported five imported cases of Covid on Monday, which took the nation’s total infections to 3,691. All the new cases were found in state quarantine.

India: India added 55,722 coronavirus cases on Monday, the lowest in almost a week as officially reported infections continue an easing trend. Monday’s tally brings India’s total infections to more than 7.55 million.

Brazil: Brazil reached a total of 5,224,362 after reporting 10,982 new cases, the fifth-lowest daily increase since the early days of the pandemic last spring, according to Health Ministry data. Daily deaths rose by 230, the second-fewest since late April.

Italy: Italy reported a record figure of 11,705 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, the health ministry has said, up from the previous peak of 10,925 posted on Saturday.

France: France reported 29,837 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, according to statistics on the website of France’s national health agency.

South Africa: South Africa reported 1,928 new cases on Saturday, pushing the total to just over 700,000 and 18,408 deaths.

South Africa’s health minister Zweli Mkhize announced that he and his wife had tested positive and were quarantining at home.

China: China’s eastern port city of Qingdao said it conducted 10.9 million coronavirus tests in five days, managing to test its entire population after a cluster of 13 infections surfaced. All of the tests came out negative.

Slovakia: The Slovak army will carry out mass testing in November, aiming to test all of Slovakia’s 5.4 million people, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad told reporters. He said Slovakia would be the first country ever to do so.

Vaccine news

US: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the National Governors Association is sending the White House a letter asking for specific guidance about how to distribute a coronavirus vaccine when it is available.

Lockdown updates

Italy: Italy’s mayors were given new coronavirus powers amid a record case rise. Among the powers is the ability to impose 9pm curfews in their towns and cities.

Ireland: Ireland is set to introduce some of the toughest curbs in Europe in a renewed effort to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. The cabinet is due to meet Monday to finalize the restrictions, after health authorities recommended a move to the tightest lockdown tier, Level 5.

UK: Britain needs an immediate three-week national lockdown as opposed to more limited regional restrictions, said Jeremy Farrar, a scientific adviser to the government.

Slovenia: Slovenia’s prime minister has said on Twitter that a 30-day epidemic would be declared on Monday, with stricter measures to be imposed nationally.

Australia: Restrictions have eased in the Australian city of Melbourne, which has been under a strict lockdown for more than 100 days. On Monday, hairdressers, dog grooming businesses and real estate inspections reopened.

Economy updates

China: China became the first major economy to recover from Covid-19 pandemic. The Chinese economy grew 4.9% between July and September, according to government data, as China becomes the first major economy to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Global: The International Air Transport Association is working to set up a testing system. The IATA, which represents about 290 airlines globally, is working with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization to put in place scalable, affordable and fast testing systems, Conrad Clifford, IATA’s regional vice president for Asia Pacific, said.

9:07 am

Coronavirus company news summary – India begin studying Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine – China to approve Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use

19 October 2020 

The Russian Direct Investment Fund and Dr Reddy’s have been granted approval to perform phase II/III clinical trials for the Sputnik V vaccine by the Drugs Controller General of India. The trials will test the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine and are set to begin in September 2020.

China has announced plans to provide Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use to key groups affected in the cities of Jiaxin, Yiwu, Ningbo and Shaoxing. Currently, 11 Covid-19 vaccines are undergoing clinical trials and awaiting approval in China, including the BBIBP-CorV vaccine. Clinical trials for this vaccine candidate that took place between April and July 2020 triggered antibody immune responses in patients.

India’s Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, has announced that the Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech will commence clinical trials on intranasal Covid-19 vaccines upon receiving necessary approvals. The Phase III clinical trials of the vaccines are expected to enrol approximately 30,000 to 40,000 people, the minister added.

PharmaMar announced that the APLICOV-PC clinical study on Aplidin (plitidepsin) in adult patients affected with Covid-19 has met its primary and secondary endpoints. The trial found considerable reduction in viral load and C-reactive protein among individuals who needed immediate hospitalisation. The company also announced that it will commence its phase III study in the months ahead.

7:50 am

How rising unemployment rates point to slow US recovery – Why obesity has made Covid-19 worse in the US

19 October

Experts and economists initially forecast the US economy to recover by the end of the year. The growth posted in the second quarter was also encouraging.

However, the slowdown in the third quarter raises questions about the forecasted recovery.

Prof. Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, questioned the predicted V-shaped recovery, and shared an article on how the number of unemployment claims increased to the highest levels last week since August.

The four-week average of the claims increased to more than 860,000, indicating that a greater number of people are losing their jobs.

Further, several companies have announced layoffs pointing towards a slower than expected economic recovery.

According to a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, more than half of experts and economists surveyed noted that they did not expect the labour market to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023.

The results of the survey indicate a slower recovery than that predicted six months ago.

Meanwhile, economist Celestine Chukumba noted that the US was already an unhealthy nation before the arrival of the Covid-19 disease due to its obesity rates, and that this was a factor in the US having the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world.

Read more

1:56 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases near 39 million – deaths approach 1,100,000

16 October

Globally, the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 have reached over 38,998,000 with over 1,099,000 deaths and 26,930,000 recoveries.

The US remains the most heavily affected country worldwide, accounting for 21% of the total confirmed cases across the globe.

Though the UK is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 considerably larger than the first, daily confirmed deaths have not seen the same increase.

In Latin America, overall new daily infections are thought to be slowing. Brazil, Latin America’s worst affected region has seen a decrease in new cases and deaths since August.

Indonesia has now overtaken the Philippines as the most heavily affected country in Southeast Asia.

As new daily cases in the Philippines have started to slow, a ban on non-essential overseas travel is set to be lifted from 21 October.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist  at GlobalData

1:13 pm

Pfizer plans to submit Covid-19 vaccine for FDA approval in late November

In an open letter, the CEO and chairman of Pfizer Albert Bourla has laid out the company’s timeline for submitting its Covid-19 vaccine candidate to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval or emergency use authorisation.

Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate relies on mRNA technology and is being developed alongside German BioNTech. The vaccine is currently being studied in a global Phase II/III study.

“Assuming positive [efficacy, safety and manufacturing] data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the U.S. soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November,” wrote Bourla in the letter.

This means that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will not be approved before the US election on 3 November. President Donald Trump has been pushing hard over the past few months to have a vaccine approved in time for the election.

In late September, the CEO of Moderna stateed that his company’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine would also not be submitted for approval until after the US election, at a Financial Times‘ event.

The aim of Bourla’s announcement was  to foster trust among the public about the safety of Covid-19 vaccines; many studies have suggested that vaccine hesitancy is high globally and there are concerns that the Covid-19 vaccines have been rushed. Bourla wrote: “To ensure public trust and clear up a great deal of confusion, I believe it is essential for the public to understand our estimated timelines for each of these three areas [safety, efficacy and manufacturing].”

11:16 am

International update: Global Covid infections near 39 million – case numbers rising across Europe

16 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,098,434 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 38.9 million world wide.

US: Covid-19 infections exceed 7.9 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 217,700 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

A passenger on Joe Biden’s campaign plane tested positive for Covid-19, the Biden campaign announced Thursday.

North Dakota, hit another record, adding 705 new cases on Thursday, the state reported.

Midwest states from Illinois, Ohio to Michigan have seen a rise in cases. In Illinois, cases surged to a record 4,015 on Thursday, extending one of the nation’s most concerning weekly trends. Daily Covid-19 deaths in the state rose to 53, the highest since June 24.

Europe: At a press conference in Copenhagen, the WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge told reporters it was time to “step up the measures” as rising case numbers on the continent were of “great concern,” AFP reports.

Europe has recorded its highest ever weekly number of new Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organization has said, warning that without effective countermeasures daily death rates could reach four or five times their April peak within months.

The president of the European Commission says she is going into self-isolation with immediate effect after a colleague tested positive for Covid-19.

Switzerland: after a record high Covid-19 infection numbers on a daily basis, the health minister warned Thursday that the situation is “deteriorating” at an alarming rate.

France: France reported a record 30,621 new infections on Thursday after the previous high last Saturday with 26,896 cases. Deaths increased by 88 to 33,125, according to the health agency.

Ireland: Ireland reported a record 1,205 new cases. The number of hospitalizations is increasing faster than predicted, health authorities said, a sign of “a rapidly deteriorating disease trajectory nationally.”

Netherlands: The Netherlands added a record 7,833 patients, Dutch news agency ANP said, citing health agency RIVM. The number of infections in the country doubled in less than a month.

Austria: Chancellor Sebastian Kurz urged the country’s provinces to tighten regional measures as new infections rose by a record 1,552 on Thursday.

Portugal: Portugal reported the biggest daily increase in cases since the start of the outbreak. There were 2,101 new infections in a day, bringing the total is now 93,294.

Argentina: Argentina passed Colombia as the most-infected country in Latin America after Brazil and is currently number five globally in overall cases. In total, 931,967 people have tested positive while 24,921 fatalities have been reported.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 7,334 to 348,557, the highest one-day tally recorded there over the course of the pandemic so far, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Virus outbreaks are increasing in German nursing homes, resulting in more cases and deaths, according to the country’s public health authority, Robert Koch Institute.

Spain: Spain’s cumulative tally of coronavirus infections rose by over 13,300 to 921,374 in a slight acceleration from the previous few days, as Catalonia prepared to shut down bars and restaurants in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

Italy: Italy’s coronavirus infections reached 8,804 on Thursday, up by almost 1,500 in a day, while deaths almost doubled to 83.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic will start building capacity for Covid-19 patients outside of hospitals, officials said on Thursday, as the country faces the fastest rate of infections in Europe.

Vaccine news

Russia: The Times reported that a Russian disinformation campaign has been set up in order to spread fear about the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine, with pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made inoculation as dangerous.

UK: The UK National Health Service is in talks with the British Medical Association and others around mobilising the rollout of a potential Covid-19 vaccine from December, Pulse website for health professionals reported on Thursday.

France: Sanofi Plans Human Trial of mRNA Vaccine. Two doses of the candidate induced neutralizing antibodies “significantly higher” than those observed in Covid-19 patients as well as a response in infection-fighting T-cells in non-human primates, Translate Bio and Sanofi said in a statement.

US: Eiger BioPharmaceuticals said its Lambda treatment decreased viral load for patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infections more than a placebo treatment during a study. Patients treated with Lambda, which stimulates immune responses, were below the infectivity threshold by day seven of the 14-day study.

ImmunityBio received authorization from the FDA to begin a Phase I clinical trial of vaccine candidate hAd5-Covid-19, which targets T cells and antibody immunity.

The antibody cocktail US President Donald Trump credited for his swift coronavirus recovery won’t become widely available because it’s impossible to make enough for everyone who might need it, according to Roche Holding AG, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant working on scaling up production.

Lockdown updates

EU: More than half of countries in the EU, plus the UK, were on Thursday labelled red in a new map issued by the bloc’s disease control agency aimed at guiding decisions on travel restrictions. The map was issued after EU member states decided on Tuesday to coordinate their approach to travel restrictions on other countries in response to Covid-19 outbreaks.

UK: The UK government’s flagship policy for tackling the coronavirus in England descended into chaos after mayors and MPs from the north-west of the country emphatically rejected being moved into the highest lockdown level and accused ministers of treating the region with contempt.

London prepares for Tier 2 lockdown. The capital city is bracing for Tier 2 restrictions from Saturday, which means a ban on separate households mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

France: France imposed a curfew in Paris as Germany and Italy posted record increases in new infections, as Europe’s leaders intensified efforts to stem an unrelenting surge in coronavirus cases. President Emmanuel Macron will confine residents of nine of the country’s biggest cities to their homes between 9 pm and 6 am for four weeks starting on Saturday.

Australia: Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews has offered hope there will be a “significant” easing of restrictions soon, after only two new coronavirus cases and no deaths. The state capital city, Melbourne, has been under some form of stay-at-home orders for 99 days.

US: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he’ll challenge a judicial decision that temporarily blocked the governor’s order limiting capacity in bars, restaurants and other public places. He spoke as the state again hit a record number of daily cases, 3,747.

Germany: Germany’s foreign ministry has warned against non-essential travel to France, the Netherlands, Malta and Slovakia from Saturday due to high coronavirus infection rates.

Economy updates

US: President Donald Trump on Thursday said he is willing to raise his offer of $1.8Tn for a Covid-19 relief package to get a deal with House of Representatives Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a move likely to raise concern among his fellow Republicans in the Senate.

10:04 am

Coronavirus company news summary – WHO finds inconclusive results for repurposed Covid-19 drugs – ImmunityBio to advance its Covid-19 vaccine into Phase I

16 October 2020 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised ImmunityBio to begin a Phase I clinical trial of its hAd5-Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine targets both the inner nucleocapsid (N) and outer spike (S) protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It can produce antibodies against the virus and offer potential long-term T cell and antibody immunity.

Sanofi’s vaccine arm Sanofi Pasteur and Translate Bio announced that their MRT5500 vaccine candidate generated positive immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in preclinical studies. The data supports further clinical development of vaccine; a Phase I/II clinical trial is expected to begin in the final quarter of 2020.

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) six-month SOLIDARITY trial of Covid-19 therapeutics has provided convincing evidence on the effectiveness of repurposed drugs to treat Covid-19. Results from the trial revealed that remdesivir, lopinavir/ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, and interferon had limited effect on the short-term mortality or in-hospital course of Covid-19 patients. The study was conducted across more than 30 countries to evaluate the effects of the drugs on mortality, duration of hospital stay and ventilation requirements.

Eiger BioPharmaceuticals announced positive results of its Interferon Lambda for Immediate Antiviral Therapy at Diagnosis in COVID-19 (ILIAD) study. The randomised controlled trial was conducted among outpatients suffering from mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms. Outcomes of the trial revealed that lambda significantly reduced viral load in the drug group, compared to the placebo group.

7:27 am

Covid pandemic pushes 8 million into poverty in US

16 October

Latest research has indicated that millions of people have been pushed into poverty due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As infection cases continue to rise and without additional aid, more people are expected to be impacted.

Justin Wolfers, professor at the University of Michigan, shared an article on the number of people in poverty growing to eight million in the US, according to research conducted by Columbia University.

The $2tn stimulus package announced by the US government initially helped in saving millions of people from poverty.

The aid, however, has now exhausted pushing millions into poverty.

Although the job market has witnessed improvement since May, the rebound in the economy is too slow to offset these benefits.

The economy is showing further signs of contraction due to increasing layoffs, rising coronavirus cases and lack of progress on stimulus talks.

Minority groups including Black and Latino people are most affected due to the impact on the industries that they mostly employed.

Read more

11:20 am

Synairgen raises £87m to support Phase III Covid-19 trial

UK-based Synairgen has raised £80m through a private placement, as well as an open offer of up to £7m, to support its Phase III clinical development of its anti-viral drug, SNG001, for Covid-19.

SNG001 is currently in a Phase II study of hospitalised Covid-19 patients in the UK. However, this funding will allow Synairgen to initiate a Phase III trial in the fourth quarter of 2020 in 20 countries.

This total of £87m in funding will also be used to scale up its supply chain and manufacturing capacity for this product.

Synairgen was advised on this fundraising by Fieldfisher. The law firm’s equity capital markers partner Ed Westhead commented: “We are delighted to have worked with Synairgen on another crucial fundraising for the company to support the progression of SNG001.

“Its results in its Phase II trial in UK hospitalised Covi-19 patients earlier this year were promising and this fundraising will support the Phase III trial of the drug in over 20 countries and also support manufacturing scale up.

“It has been a privilege to be involved in this potentially important step in the fight against Covid-19 and to work together with the fantastic teams at Synairgen, Numis and finnCap on what was a significantly oversubscribed fundraising.”

Numis and finnCap acted a joint bookrunners for the financing.

11:04 am

International update: Global Covid infections pass 38.5 million – lockdowns tighten across Europe

15 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,092,641 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 38.5 million world wide.

US: US Covid-19 infections exceed 7.9 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 216,903 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

President Trump has again claimed he is “immune” from Covid and said that he thinks his son Barron, 14, didn’t even know he had coronavirus.

Trump’s youngest son, Barron, tested positive for coronavirus while his parents recovered from Covid-19 but never showed symptoms of the disease, his mother said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said city health officials are making progress in reducing infection rates in areas of Brooklyn and Queens where coronavirus cases have been spiking recently.

Intensive-care units in Texas’s hardest-hit cities and towns are filling up as a new wave of infections grips the second-biggest US state. The El Paso area has just 10 ICU beds available after hospital admissions jumped by more than 80% in the past week.

India: India’s tally of coronavirus infections stood at 7.31 million on Thursday, having risen by 67,708 in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed.

China: In China, a hospital president and the director of the health commission in the northern city of Qingdao have been fired after China’s latest coronavirus outbreak, authorities said on Thursday. A brief notice on the Qingdao city government’s official microblog Thursday said Health Commission Director Sui Zhenhua and Deng Kai, president of Qingdao’s thoracic hospital to which the cases have been linked, were placed under further investigation.

Italy: Italy on Wednesday reported a record number of new coronavirus cases, as the spread of the contagion surpassed levels reached at the peak of last spring’s outbreak. New cases jumped to 7,332 from 5,901 on Tuesday.

Germany: Germany has recorded its highest daily coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic. It added 6,638 new infections on Thursday, eclipsing the 28 March figure of 6,294.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic has also set a new record for daily Covid cases, recording 9,544 new infections, the highest since the pandemic started, Health Ministry data showed.

South Korea: South Korea logged 110 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, bringing total infections to 24,988, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

Vaccine news

Global: The WHO’s chief scientist has said young, healthy people may have to wait until 2022 to be vaccinated for coronavirus, because health workers and vulnerable groups will likely be prioritised.

Russia: Russia is going to miss its target of making 30 million doses of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine this year due to setbacks maintaining the serum’s stability while expanding production.

Japan: Japanese drugmakers don’t think they can roll out a possible coronavirus vaccine until 2022, NHK reported late Wednesday, citing remarks made by companies at an industry symposium.

Philippines: China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. may start Covid-19 vaccine trials in the Philippines before the end of the year, the chief of the Southeast Asian nation’s food and drug agency said.

Lockdown updates

Pakistan: Pakistan warned of “restrictive actions” because of a spike in coronavirus cases, the highest since August, which may hurt the economy that was showing signs of recovery.

France: Paris and eight other French cities will be subject to a curfew from Saturday. “We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a TV appearance, announcing the 9pm-6am curfew that will remain in force for at least four weeks, except for essential reasons. The curfew will also apply in Rouen, Lille, St Etienne, Lyon, Grenoble, Montpellier, Marseille and Toulouse.

Spain: Spain will close bars and restaurants across Catalonia for the next 15 days following a surge in cases, as the country tackles one of the highest rates of infection in Europe, with nearly 900,000 cases and more than 33,000 deaths.

Portugal: Tough measures are to be introduced in Portugal from Thursday as the country reported a new record in cases. Gatherings will be limited to five people. Weddings and baptisms can be attended by a maximum of 50, but university parties will be banned. Fines for businesses which do not comply with the rules will be doubled from an upper limit of 5,000 to 10,000 euros.

UK: London is on course for an imminent tightening of coronavirus restrictions, as cases continue to rise in Britain and the country’s response fragments. A change in the rules in the capital is likely in very short order, according to an official in London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office. Khan and health leaders met Wednesday to discuss the potential move into stricter restrictions.

Ireland: Ireland is introducing new measures to curb the spread of the virus, after daily cases increased at the fastest rate since April. All household visits will end, and a number of districts close to the border with Northern Ireland will move to a so-called Level 4 lockdown. In addition to existing restrictions in those areas, including the closure of most bars and restaurants, most business and services deemed non-essential will shut, wedding guests will be limited to six and gyms will close.

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a series of piecemeal measures to contain a second wave of the pandemic in Germany, and cautioned that more would follow if the rise in virus infections didn’t stop in 10 days. In hard-hit areas, bars and restaurants must shut down by 11 p.m., while gatherings will be limited to 100 people. The use of masks in public will be extended.

10:10 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Russia approves second vaccine – Moderna allowed to apply for marketing authorisation in EU

15 October 2020 

Health authorities in Russia have approved a second Covid-19 vaccine before the Phase 3 trial. The vaccine has been created by a former bio-weapons research laboratory. This is the second time the country has bypassed approval of the drug in a desperate move to control the rising coronavirus cases.

Moderna has received a confirmation from the European Medicine Agency (EMA) to apply for a European Union marketing authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. This followed a letter of intent submitted to allow Moderna to evaluate the prospect of submitting a Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) for the vaccine candidate with the EMA.

Turkey is set to conduct human trials for two of its potential Covid-19 vaccines. According to the Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, these vaccine candidates are being developed locally. Approximately, 14 institutions are currently engaged in the research of a vaccine to fight the novel coronavirus disease, reported Hurriyet Daily News. There have been positive results from the pre-clinical and clinical phases of the vaccine development, Koca added.

Relief Therapeutics and NeuroRx have announced topline results from an open-label study of RLF-100 for Covid-19. In the study, 21 critical patients with respiratory failure and hospitalised in the ICU were treated with RLF-100 and were compared to 24 control patients. The study found that an overall 81% of RLF-100-treated patients survived beyond 60 days, compared to 17% of control patients. Patients who were treated with RLF-100 showed a nine-fold increase in probability of survival and recovery from respiratory failure.

8:32 am

How Covid heightens existing inequalities

15 October

Larry Mishel, an economist, shared an article on how the Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating the already existing labour market inequalities in the US.

According to the latest report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more people were found to be leaving the work force than jobs being created by employers.

Further, new jobs being created were lower than the previous months and permanent layoffs were increasing with 3.7 million workers being permanently laid off.

Several firms including Disney, United Airlines, Wells Fargo, and Salesforce have announced permanent layoffs.

The article noted that the pandemic is unevenly impacting different groups of workers particularly black people, older workers and women.

Issues such as low wages, access to good jobs and retirement policies need to be addressed, the article added.

read more

2:49 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 38.2 million – rapid response to testing in China

14 October

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 38,200,000 with over 1,087,000 deaths and 26,507,000 recoveries.

The US, India, and Brazil remain the top three most heavily affected countries worldwide, accounting for 53% of the world’s total confirmed cases.

The US has seen a steady rise in cases since September, which is now being driven by Midwestern states, such as, Wisconsin, Ohio and Missouri.

Countries across Europe continue to impose tighter restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.

With rising cases seen in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, partial lockdowns have been introduced in these regions.

Over the weekend, 12 new locally transmitted cases were reported in Qingdao, China.

Following a push for batch testing by the Chinese health authorities, 7.5 million people have now been tested in Qingdao with no new cases discovered.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

10:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Lilly pauses Covid-19 antibody drug trial – Moderna to submit Covid-19 vaccine to Health Canada on a rolling basis

14 October 2020 

Eli Lilly has paused trials of its Covid-19 antibody treatment due to safety concerns. Trump had previously touted the Lilly’s drug and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ antibody treatment as a potential cure for Covid-19; he was personally prescribed the latter while being treated for the viral disease. Several coronavirus vaccines trials have also been put on hold due to adverse reactions in participants.

Moderna announced a rolling submission to Health Canada for the mRNA vaccine against Covid-19. The initiative kick-started after positive results emerged from a preclinical viral challenge study of mRNA-1273 and the phase 1 study of mRNA-1273 in healthy and older adults published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The rolling submission allows companies to produce safe and effective data when the information is available.

Vaxart started an early-stage study of an oral Covid-19 vaccine. The drug is expected to be an alternative option to injectable vaccines. The trial will examine two doses of the VXA-CoV2-1 among 48 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 54.

9:55 am

International update: Global Covid cases approach 38 million – infections at record levels

13 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,080,840 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 37.8 million world wide.

In the week through October 11, countries reported a record 2.2 million new cases and 39,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Europe had the largest increase in infections, rising 34%, while deaths in Africa rose 27%. The US. had the largest increase in newly reported cases since early August, at 327,000. Spain had a 24% drop.

Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries not to pursue “herd immunity.” “Herd immunities are achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” he said. “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It’s scientifically and ethically problematic.”

US: US Covid-19 infections exceed 7.8 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 215,086 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

US President Donald Trump has tested negative for Covid-19 and he is not infectious to others, the White House physician said on Monday. In a memo released by the White House, Dr Sean Conley said Trump had tested negative on consecutive days using an Abbott Laboratories BinaxNOW antigen card.

As Donald Trump declared himself “immune” at his Florida rally, a new case study published in The Lancet revealed a 25-year-old man in Nevada was infected with coronavirus twice this year. This is the first confirmed case of reinfection in the US.

India: India total infections of more than 7.17 million. While the daily rate of cases appears to be slowing, India is expected to surpass the US as the worst hit nation in the world by as early as next month. The country’s death toll rose to 109,856.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded its 18th consecutive day of no new cases of Covid-19 spread in the community, health officials said on Tuesday. One imported case was reported on Tuesday, in a traveller who had entered New Zealand from the United States on 8 October.

France: France reported a three-month high in ICU patients. Health authorities said the number of people treated in intensive care units for Covid-19 surpassed the 1,500 threshold on Monday, for the first time since 27 May, raising fears of local lockdowns in the country.

In France, prime minister Jean Castex has urged people to limit gatherings in their homes but said he “cannot regulate” them. He added that the battle against the virus will last “several months more, I think”.

South Korea: South Korea reported 102 new coronavirus cases as of Monday midnight, marking a triple-digit increase in six days, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said on Tuesday.

Iran: For the second day in a row, Iran has announced the highest single-day death toll from the coronavirus, with 272 new victims, as well as its single-day highest count of new cases, with 4,206.

China: the city of Qingdao in eastern Shandong province announced plans to test each of its 9 million residents, after six new cases emerged linked to a hospital treating infections in returning international travellers.

Vaccine news

Global: China’s joining of a global push to make coronavirus vaccines accessible for developing nations brings to 180 the number countries participating in the World Health Organization-backed initiative – representing 90% of the global population, Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said Monday. While the US hasn’t joined the $18 billion effort, called Covax, the breadth of participants is encouraging, Swaminathan said.

US: Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it has temporarily paused its Covid-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study. The participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by an independent data and safety monitoring board as well as the company’s clinical and safety physicians, it said in a statement.

China: Units of China National Pharmaceutical Group, known as Sinopharm, rose on a report that inoculation by its coronavirus vaccines is available through appointments in Beijing and Wuhan. The company will administer two vaccines being developed by subsidiary China National Biotec Group, local news outlet Jiemian reported, citing unidentified sources.

Lockdown updates

Czech Republic: The Czech government will order bars, restaurants and clubs to close from Wednesday until 3 November and shift most schools to distance learning as it puts new measures in place to curb the fast spread of Covid-19 cases in the country. Public gatherings will also be limited to six people, alcohol consumption in public spaces will be banned, and masks will be required at public transport stops.

UK: The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, set out a new, three-tiered system for Covid restrictions to “simplify and standardise” rules in England. The city region of Liverpool was immediately put into the “very high” category, with pubs and bars closed and almost all household mixing banned.

Malaysia: Announced that it will impose some restrictions on movement in its capital city and in the neighbouring state of Selangor from Wednesday, as the country grapples with a fresh surge of cases.

Singapore: Travellers to Singapore from Hong Kong will have their quarantine requirement cut from 14 days to a seven day stay-home notice, as Hong Kong joins the list of places where the virus is deemed to be “well under control and the risk of importation is low.”

Economy updates

Global: Oil demand will take years to recover from the pandemic and will peak at a lower level, the International Energy Agency said. After an unprecedented 8% drop this year, global oil consumption will return to pre-crisis levels in 2023, if Covid-19 is brought under control next year, the agency said.

US: The Covid-19 pandemic will exact a $16 trillion toll on the US, about four times the cost of the Great Recession, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and fellow Harvard University economist David Cutler wrote in an essay published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Spain: In Spain, the government agreed protocols to establish travel corridors between European states and the Canary and Balearic Islands, both of which rely heavily on tourism and have been hit hard by the Covid crisis. Unemployment in the Balearics has risen by 90% since last year as a result of coronavirus.

China: Underscoring the country’s continued recovery from its pandemic-induced economic slump, deliveries of sedans, SUVs, minivans and multipurpose vehicles rose 7.4% in September from a year earlier to 1.94 million units, according to the China Passenger Car Association. A third straight monthly rise in contrast with weakness in the US and Europe.


9:49 am

Coronavirus company news summary – J&J temporarily suspend Covid-19 vaccine trials – Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to be studied in the UAE

13 October 2020 

Johnson & Johnson has announced the temporary pause of further dosing in all its vaccine candidate clinical trials for Covid-19 after one of the study participants reported an unexplained illness. The ENSEMBLE trial’s independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) and the company’s internal clinical and safety physicians are currently reviewing and evaluating the participant’s illness.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is hosting human clinical trial abroad of Russia‘s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V. These are the second trials of Sputnik V abroad, after their launch in Belarus. Clinical trials are also expected to start in Venezuela in the coming months. Initially licensed by Russian authorities for domestic use in August this year, the vaccine is currently being tested on 40,000 volunteers in Moscow as part of a Phase III late-stage trial. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) head Kirill Dmitriev said that the UAE trial results will be combined with the results of the of the trial in Russia and other countries. Interim results are expected to be published before the end of next month.

The University of Alabama (UAB) in Birmingham has reported that a Covid-19 vaccine candidate that underwent preclinical testing demonstrated potent preclinical immune responses, including several that distinguish it from other vaccine approaches for the virus. In July and August, biopharmaceutical company Altimmune announced partial preclinical results. The latest expanded results show strong activation of both arms of the adaptive immune system after giving a single intranasal dose of the company’s AdCOVID, as tested at the university in two strains of mice.

8:41 am

Why Covid can boost digital jobs – How execs pandemic proof their bonuses

13 October

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to widespread unemployment across the world but has also accelerated digitalisation.

New digital jobs are expected to be created over the next five years due to the pandemic.

Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and author, shared an article on how the pandemic is accelerating digitalisation.

The article notes that although the pandemic has led to the loss of more than 250 million jobs globally, it has also provided opportunities to generate digital jobs.

According to Microsoft, the pandemic is expected to create 149 million new jobs by 2025.

Software development jobs will account for majority of these jobs at 65%, followed by cloud and data at 15% and data analysis and machine learning at 13%.

Cybersecurity and privacy and trust are expected to account for 4% and 1% of jobs respectively.

Meanwhile, Robert Palmer, Head of Tax Justice UK, shared an article on how some US companies are rewriting bonus plans to ensure that executive pay is not adversely affected due to the pandemic.

Read more

2:10 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid infections pass 37.5 million – India likely to outstrip US cases

12 October

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 37,575,000 with over 1,077,000 deaths and 26,109,000 recoveries.

The US remains the most heavily affected country worldwide, though India is on track to surpass the US in the coming days.

With popular Hindu festivals, such as Dussehra and Diwali being celebrated in the coming months, India’s health minister has urged people to stay at home and avoid congregating in fear of the problem worsening.

Across Europe, countries continue to battle the virus, with France, Ukraine, and Poland all reporting record highs in daily confirmed cases over the weekend.

In Spain, the government has ordered a 15-day state of emergency in Madrid in an effort to bring the outbreak in the capital under control.

In Africa, the continent is thought to have passed its peak of Covid-19, though with some countries still seeing a rise in new cases, the WHO urges all countries in this region to not become complacent.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

11:35 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 37.4 million – India exceeds 7 million

12 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,076,818 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 37.4 million world wide.

US: US Covid-19 infections exceed 7.7 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 214,771 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, says he was taken out of context in a new campaign ad that praises Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The advertisement was released by the Trump campaign last week, after the president was discharged from Walter Reed hospital.

Trump pitched what he called his post-infection immunity to Covid-19 as an advantage over Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, in his first interview since doctors certified he was no longer at risk of transmitting the deadly virus. “Once you do recover, you’re immune, so you don’t have a president who has to hide in his basement, like his opponent,” Trump said on Sunday.

India: India reported 66,732 additional coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing total infections to 7.12 million. While the daily rate of cases appears to be slowing, India is expected to surpass the US as the worst hit nation in the world by as early as next month. The country’s death toll rose to 109,150.

Brazil: Brazil reported 290 virus-related deaths in its latest daily count, the fewest since 5 April, according to Health Ministry data. The country, which has the most reported infections behind the US and India, added 12,342 cases, bringing the total to almost 5.1 million. The official death toll rose to 150,488.

Italy: Italy’s daily infections surpassed 5,000 in recent days for the first time since March.

Greece: Health authorities in Greece announced a daily record of 13 deaths from Covid-19, along with 280 new confirmed infections. The country’s total number of cases since the pandemic started stands at 22,358, with 449 deaths.

France: More than half of France’s nurses are close to burning out, according to a survey of nearly 60,000 of them, which found they were struggling with cancelled holidays and increased work due to coronavirus.

UK: The prime minister, Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a three-tier alert system of Covid restrictions for England. The first tier is expected to include existing restrictions limiting gatherings to six people and a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants, and existing rules on masks and social distancing. The second tier is likely to include bans on home visits and indoor socialising with other households in bars or restaurants, while the final tier could force bars and pubs to close.

China: The city of Qingdao announced plans to test each of its nine million residents, after six new cases emerged linked to a hospital treating infections in returning international travellers.

South Korea: South Korea confirmed 97 new Covid cases, a modest rise from the daily levels reported last week, just as officials eased social distancing restrictions.

Solomon Islands: A second Covid case has been confirmed in Solomon Islands, the Pacific archipelago that had, until this month, remained Covid-free. The first case, confirmed on 3 October, was a student who had been repatriated from the Philippines in late September. The second confirmed case is another student who was on the same flight.

French Polynesia: President, Edouard Fritch, has tested positive for Covid on returning to Tahiti from France, where he met the French prime minister, Jean Castex, and the president, Emmanuel Macron.

Belgium: Belgium’s 14-day incidence rose to 387 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants from 349 the previous day. That makes it currently the second-hardest hit country in Europe, behind the Czech Republic.

Portugal: The Portuguese government said Science Minister Manuel Heitor tested positive for Covid-19. Heitor has no symptoms of the infection, the government said in an emailed statement. All members of the government who attended a cabinet meeting on Thursday are being tested for the virus, even if they didn’t have close contact with Heitor.

Vaccine news

UK: AstraZeneca Plc said an antibody medicine against Covid-19 is advancing into the last stage of clinical tests, and will be administered to more than 6,000 people starting in the next few weeks.

New Zealand: New Zealand has agreed to purchase enough vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for 750,000 people. The pact is subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, according to Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins in an emailed statement.

Lockdown updates

Italy: Health minister, Roberto Speranza, said he had proposed a nationwide ban on private parties, while Rome would also target opening hours for bars and restaurants.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic plans to further tighten social-distancing rules to stem the European Union’s worst coronavirus surge — without repeating the economic paralysis from this spring. The government will on Monday decide on more steps to limit human contacts after it already banned cultural and sports events, closed some schools and ordered bars and restaurants to close at 8 pm.

Greece: Greece has new restrictions on the number of people allowed inside restaurants, museums and archaeological site are being imposed on Monday in Athens and several regions around Greece where the incidence of new cases is considered particularly high.

Philippines: The Philippines’ health department is open to easing a curfew, but movement restrictions for the young and elderly are needed to protect vulnerable groups, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Monday.

Poland: Poland is considering whether to introduce a state of emergency if the coronavirus outbreak starts to clog the health-care system, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reported, citing unidentified people from the government.

Economy updates

US: President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed each other for a lack of progress on new plan to support the US economy, while a senior White House aide said he expects talks to continue and a Fed official called for fiscal help.

10:54 am

Why lockdowns have failed to halt Covid – how masks have reduced ‘Flu in NZ

12 October

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis SV, shared an article on the views expressed by officials from the World Health Organisation on avoiding lockdowns as the primary method of controlling the spread of the Covid-19 infection.

The article notes that lockdowns have produced devastating effects including poverty, job losses and business closures.

Lockdowns have also led to increase in domestic violence, mental health issues and increased levels of stress and anxiety.

The officials recommend the use of focused protection wherein the most vulnerable people of the population are protected, while less vulnerable should be allowed to resume normal life.

Meanwhile, Steve Keen, an economist, shared an article on how wearing masks and hygiene precautions adopted to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic have helped in reducing 99.8% influenza cases in New Zealand.

Read more

9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US invests in AZ’s Covid-19 antibody treatment – Glenmark’s umifenovir combo shows no benefit

AstraZeneca has received an investment of approximately $486m from the US Government to develop and supply its long-acting antibody (LAAB) cocktail, AZD7442, for Covid-19 treatment. The company intends to supply up to 100,000 doses of the therapy beginning towards the end of 2020. In the coming weeks, AZD7442 will progress into two Phase III trials in a total of over 6,000 subjects enrolled at sites across the US and other countries.

India-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has reported that the combination of umifenovir and favipiravir failed to demonstrated significant benefit, compared to favipiravir alone, in hospitalised patients with moderate Covid-19. Data showed that umifenovir did not lead to superior clinical outcomes when added to favipiravir. Based on the results, the company said that favipiravir along with supportive care remains an effective treatment option for mild to moderate Covid-19 cases.

UK researchers are conducting a clinical trial to test the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which is currently used to protect babies from tuberculosis, for its ability to protect against Covid-19. The UK arm of the large-scale, global study is being led by the University of Exeter. Named BRACE, the trial will involve more than 10,000 healthcare staff and care home workers across the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Brazil.

The New Zealand Government has entered into an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech for 1.5 million doses of the companies’ Covid-19 vaccine candidate, with supply expected in the first quarter of 2021. This deal marks the first vaccine purchase by New Zealand and will see doses sufficient to vaccinate 750,000 people. In addition, Pfizer Canada and BioNTech have begun a rolling submission to Health Canada for the potential Covid-19 vaccine.

2:09 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 36.5 million – sharp increases in Eastern Europe and Balkans

9 October

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 36,574,000 with over 1,062,000 deaths and 25,485,000 recoveries.

The US, India, and Brazil remain the most affected countries.

In the US and most European regions, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

Eastern Europe and the Balkans, with relatively low numbers at the start of the outbreak, now report sharp increases in daily confirmed cases.

In Italy, a face mask is now mandatory in outdoor spaces across the country.

In the UK, about 16,000 confirmed cases went unreported due to a technical glitch.

Although those who tested positive received their results, contact tracing was not carried out. While this error has since been resolved, there are growing concerns on the impact of this oversight in regard to a potential increase in transmission rate and case fatality.

As of yesterday, over 17,500 daily confirmed cases were reported in the UK.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

11:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US launches trial of immune globulin therapies – Gilead reports positive results for remdesivir in Covid-19

US-based Emergent BioSolutions has announced the start of the Phase III INSIGHT-013 trial to analyse its plasma-derived therapy, COVID-19 Human Immune Globulin (COVID-HIG), in hospitalised patients with Covid-19. The trial, funded by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will test the safety, tolerability and efficacy of hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin products. As well as COVID-HIG, the Phase III trial will assess hyperimmune globulin products by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Grifols and CSL Behring.

The European Commission (EC) has approved an advance purchase agreement by Johnson & Johnson for Janssen Pharmaceutical to supply 200 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate to EU member states upon approval or authorisation. The countries will have an option for up to 200 million additional doses. J&J also intends to allocate up to 500 million doses toward global efforts to supply low-income countries.

Gilead Sciences has reported final results from the Phase III ACTT-1 clinical trial, where its experimental antiviral Veklury (remdesivir) demonstrated consistent, clinically meaningful improvements when compared to placebo, in hospitalised adults with mild-moderate or severe Covid-19. Data showed that treatment with the drug led to a faster time to recovery.

Rentschler Biopharma has agreed to act as contract development and manufacturing organisation partner to support drug substance manufacturing of BNT162b2, the Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Rentschler will carry out downstream processing to deliver purified drug substance by removing process and product-related impurities. The purified drug substance will be generated at Rentschler’s headquarters in Laupheim, Germany.

Eli Lilly has signed an agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enable access by low- and middle-income countries to its future therapeutic antibodies, being developed to prevent and treat Covid-19. The deal, part of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, will see the start of commercial manufacturing in April next year. In addition, Lilly reported that its drug baricitinib plus Gilead’s remdesivir decreased time to recovery and improved clinical outcomes in Covid-19 patients, compared to remdesivir alone.

China has joined the COVAX initiative, which is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines globally. The COVAX initiative aims to provide at least two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021. China joins 168 countries that have committed to participate in the vaccine initiative. The US and Russia have not joined the programme thus far.

Russia-based R-Pharm is assessing rheumatoid arthritis drug olokizumab for the treatment of patients suffering from moderate to severe Covid-19, according to Reuters. Final data from a placebo-controlled, randomised trial in 372 participants is expected to be published late this month or early next month. The drug has been included in national guidelines for treating patients with moderate Covid-19, the news agency added.

10:39 am

International update: Global Covid infections pass 36.5 million as India nears 7 million

9 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,062,075 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 36.5 million world wide.

US: Covid-19 infections exceed 7.6 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 212,784 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

POTUS Donald Trump suggested he might organise a rally in Florida on Saturday, while continuing to ignore questions on whether he has yet tested negative for the disease.

Trump’s physician, Dr Sean Conley, said he anticipated Trump would be able to return to public engagements on Saturday, after initially suggesting that the president might not be able to return to public life until Monday.

Trump says he wants emergency use authorization signed “immediately” for the Covid-19 treatment that he received. Trump didn’t name specific drugs in his video. On Wednesday, he called Regeneron’s antibody cocktail a “cure” that was “key” to his recovery.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi, announced that Democrats in the US Congress would discuss the 25th amendment to the constitution, which contains a clause that allows a president to be removed from office against his will because of physical or mental incapacity.

Texas virus hospitalizations rose for a fourth straight day to 3,556 – the highest since 10 September, according to state health department data. It’s the longest stretch of daily increases since July, when the state’s outbreak was at its worst.

New Jersey recorded 1,301 new cases, the most since May. It hadn’t exceeded 1,000 new cases in a single day since May 29.

New York City is closing an additional 61 public schools, bringing to 169 the number shut to combat Covid-19 hot spots, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, as opposition to community restrictions intensified in Orthodox Jewish areas. The earliest reopening would be 21 October, he said. Closings are now affecting about 10% of the city’s public schools.

India: India’s total coronavirus cases rose by 70,496 in the last 24 hours to 6.91 million on Friday morning, data from the health ministry showed. Deaths from Covid-19 infections rose by 964 to 106,490, the ministry said.

UK: Newcastle University said 1,003 of its 28,000 students tested positive for Covid-19 this month and 12 staff members were also found to have the virus, the Telegraph reported, citing the university.

Australia: Australia reported its second straight day without any Covid-19 deaths on Friday, the longest stretch without any fatalities from the virus in three months. Australian states and territories reported 16 cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, down from 28 on Thursday, and no deaths for two days.

France: Hospitals in the Paris region have moved into emergency mode, cancelling staff holidays and postponing non-essential operations, as coronavirus patients made up close to half of all patients in intensive care units (ICUs).

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry on Thursday reported 5,300 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 370 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 804,488 infections and 83,096 deaths.

Brazil: Brazil added 27,750 cases, bringing the total to 5,028,444. The number of deaths reached 148,957 after adding 729 new fatalities, the Heath Ministry said.

Argentina: In Argentina, 15,454 new cases were reported, for a total of 856,369. The number of new deaths rose by 485 to 22,710, the government said.

Germany: Germany recorded more than 4,000 new Covid cases for a second day, as major cities including the capital Berlin experience a surge in infections fuelled by social gatherings and returning travellers. The number of cases rose by 4,804 in the 24 hours through Friday morning, the most since April 10, after a gain of 4,010 on Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Japan: Suicides rose in Japan in August due to an increase in women and school-aged children taking their own lives, a first glimpse into the consequences of the mental health strain brought about by Covid-19 around the globe.

Vaccine news

China: China has officially joined a global vaccine initiative for distributing 2bn doses of Covid-19 vaccines around the world by the end of next year, according to the ministry of foreign affairs. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday that Beijing had joined the initiative known as Covax, making China the largest economy to join to coalition aimed at countering so-called “vaccine nationalism”.

Thailand: Thailand is in talks with several Chinese, Russian and U.K. vaccine developers to secure viable inoculations against the coronavirus as soon as they became available. The Southeast Asian nation also expects to reach agreements with the University of Oxford and Covax, a World Health Organization-backed initiative, by the end of October, according to Nakorn Premsri, director of Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute.

Lockdown updates

Cuba: Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said late on Thursday that most of the Caribbean island nation would open to international tourism starting next week as it moved towards a “new normality” after containing its coronavirus outbreak.

Romania: Romania has suspended flights to and from high-risk countries to stem a sharp rise in new coronavirus infections. Travellers from 49 high-risk countries will need to self-isolate for 10-14 days upon arrival, except those travelling for less than three days, who must have a negative coronavirus test. On Thursday, the government suspended flights from the countries on the list, except European Union states, the UK, the UAE and Qatar.

Spain: Madrid must enforce travel restrictions ordered by the health ministry to limit coronavirus outbreaks or the national government will impose a state of emergency that would force it to comply, the Spanish government said late on Thursday.

Economy updates

US: The White House is again leaning toward a large-scale stimulus bill after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back on the idea of individual measures for parts of the economy hit by the Covid-19 crisis. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Pelosi in a 40-minute call that Trump wants agreement on a comprehensive stimulus package, her spokesman said.

7:53 am

Unemployment still rising in US

9 October

The US economy showed some signs of recovery in the third quarter of 2020 but unemployment claims continue to remain above pre-pandemic levels.

Layoffs are expected to rise over the next few months hampering recovery.

Ben Casselman, economics/business/data reporter for the New York Times, shared an article on applications for unemployment benefits continuing to remain high in the US.

More than 800,000 people filed for new claims in the last week, according to the US Labour Department.

Further, 464,000 people filed applications for benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programme.

The article noted that the level of claims is still very high indicating a slowdown in recovery.

Experts opine that without additional aid, layoffs will rise even as millions of workers who lost their jobs early in the pandemic still remain unemployed.

Read more

3:52 pm

International update: Global Covid cases pass 36.2 million – infections reach record daily levels in several countries

8 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,057,102 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 36.2 million world wide.

US: Covid-19 infections exceed 7.5 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 211,917 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Top US immunologist quits health role over Trump Covid response. The ousted director of the office involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine has quit his post at the National Institutes of Health, charging that the Trump administration “ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists”.

CME Group Inc. reported a third case of Covid-19 on its trading floor in Chicago despite strict safety measures, highlighting the challenges businesses are facing to reopen during the pandemic.

Wisconsin is activating a Milwaukee-area alternative care facility as the state’s hospitals are increasingly overwhelmed by surging Covid-19 cases. The move comes as the state’s seven-day daily average of new Covid-19 cases reached 2,346, up from 879 just one month ago, said Andrea Palm, the Department of Health Services secretary-designee.

Brazil: Brazil tops 5m infected. There are the now more than 5m cases in Brazil, which has the third-highest total worldwide after India (6.8m) and the US (7.5m).

India: India’s total coronavirus cases rose by 78,524 in the last 24 hours to 6.84 million on Thursday morning, data from the health ministry showed.

Argentina: Argentina reported a daily record of 16,447 new Covid-19 cases, for a total of 840,915 cases, according to the government’s evening report.

Myanmar: Myanmar reports 1,400 new Covid-19 cases and 39 fatalities on Wednesday, the nation’s highest one-day spike in infections, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by a staggering 4,058 to 310,144, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria reports national one-day case record. Bulgaria reported a daily record of 437 coronavirus cases on Thursday. The Balkan country now has 22,743 confirmed Covid-19 cases, including 873 deaths.

France: Covid-19 hospitalisations are at a three-month high and new cases at an all-time high. French health authorities reported 18,746 new confirmed Covid-19 cases over 24 hours on Wednesday, a new all-time daily high, and almost double of Tuesday’s tally of 10,489. More than 7,500 patients are being treated in hospital for Covid-19.

Italy: Italy’s coronavirus infections jumped by 1,000 to 3,678 on Wednesday – the highest daily tally since the middle of April. There were 31 new fatalities, bringing the total to 36,061. The country made it mandatory to wear face masks outdoors nationwide.

Therapeutic developments

US: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has asked federal regulators to authorize its antibody treatment for Covid-19 for emergency use. President Donald Trump received the antibody cocktail last Friday under a compassionate use program after becoming sick with the coronavirus. He hailed the treatment in a video posted on Twitter Wednesday.

Eli Lilly & Co. has approached the US FDA for authorization of a treatment it is developing with Canadian biotech AbCellera Biologics Inc., according to a statement Wednesday. It would allow high-risk patients recently diagnosed with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 to receive the therapy.

Lockdown updates

Belgium: Brussels closes cafes and bars in new virus curbs. All bars, cafes and event halls in Brussels have been told they must shut down for at least a month as of 7am on Thursday as the Belgian capital went beyond recently tightened national restrictions in Belgium. Berlin nightlife given first curfew in 70 years as Covid cases surge.

Germany: Berlin’s nightlife is facing a closing time for the first time in 70 years as the party-loving German capital seeks to contain spiralling coronavirus infection rates.

Italy: Italy confirms swab tests for travellers from four countries, following growing concerns about rising cases across Europe, and makes face masks compulsory outdoors. Swab tests for Covid-19 will be compulsory for people travelling from the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic, the health minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s chief health inspector has said new restrictions may be imposed if the confirmed cases continue to rise, but ruled out a full lockdown.

Japan: Japan is to lift travel bans on 12 countries. In a sign that restrictions are loosening in Asia, Yomiuri newspaper has reported that Japan plans to lift travel bans on people going to China and 11 other countries.

UK: First minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a nationwide ban on drinking indoors in licensed premises in Scotland for more than two weeks, with a full shutdown of all premises across the central belt where infection rates are accelerating most rapidly.

Economy updates

Singapore: Singapore plans to offer a one-off payment to encourage couples to have a baby during the coronavirus pandemic, fearing that the economic impact of the outbreak is worsening the city state’s already low birth rate.

3:41 pm

Eurozone to retain fiscal support until pandemic passes

8 October

Francesco Saraceno, Italian economist, shared an article on European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde’s plans to retain monetary support until the crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

She noted that the policies adopted in the euro area have helped in protecting jobs and increasing productivity.

The support measures should be continued to ensure recovery as new infections are forcing governments to impose restrictions, the article noted.

Germany is the only country in the euro area to have reported a growth although a drop in industrial production was noted last month.

Growth in France is also forecast to stagnate over the last quarter of the year, while other European countries in the south are facing tough conditions as the hospitality and tourism industry is impacted.

Meanwhile, John Ashcroft, economist, shared an article on how the recovery achieved in the US economy in the last quarter is on the verge of collapsing due to US President Donald Trump’s decision to end stimulus talks.

Read more

10:10 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Lilly seeks EUA for Covid-19 monotherapy – EC purchases more remdesivir doses

Eli Lilly has submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking emergency use authorisation (EUA) for LY-CoV555 monotherapy for treating higher-risk patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19. The company also plans to submit an EUA application to the FDA for a combination therapy of LY-CoV555 and LY-CoV016 in November this year. The

Israel-based Mapi Pharma has commissioned a vaccine production facility to support the supply of vaccines against Covid-19 to the country, as well as Europe and other global markets. The company is expanding its Jerusalem Fill & Finish plant with an investment of more than $100m. It will add a new line for sterile filling and finishing of liquids and powders for injections.

The Native Antigen Company has launched ten new monoclonal antibodies that identify different epitopes of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein. Nine of these candidates specifically detect SARS-CoV-2 and do not do not cross-react with other human coronaviruses, the company said. These antibodies could help in the research and development of Covid-19 vaccines, therapies and diagnostics.

India’s regulator agency has declined a proposal from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to conduct a large-scale study of Russia’s Sputnik-V Covid-19 vaccine. A panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) asked for a smaller trial, stating that safety and immunogenicity data available from early-stage studies overseas is small, without any inputs on Indian subjects. Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) secured approval to trial animal-derived antibodies for treating Covid-19.

Amid shortages in Europe, the European Commission has agreed to purchase more doses of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir to treat approximately 3,400 patients, reported Reuters. This comes after the agency purchased 30,000 courses of the treatment in July that were meant to cover Europe’s requirement in August and September. However, with increasing cases and hospitalisations across the continent, several countries are facing shortages of the drug.

7:17 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases approach 36 million

7 October

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 35,865,000 with over 1,050,000 deaths and 25,004,000 recoveries.

The US, India, and Brazil account for over 53% of the world’s total confirmed cases and about 44% of total confirmed deaths.

While many US states report increases in daily confirmed cases, the number of daily confirmed cases in India continues to decline.

In Europe, over 6,337,000 total confirmed cases and 241,000 total deaths have been reported, resulting in a relatively high case fatality rate of 3.8% compared with other regions.

In Czechia, a record high of over 4,400 daily confirmed cases was reported; the government will announce new restrictions on Friday.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:45 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 35.8 million – new infection spike in France

7 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,050,188 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 35.8 million world wide.

US: Covid-19 infections exceed 7.5 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 210,909 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Top US military chiefs are quarantining after a senior coast guard official tested positive. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, and the vice-chairman, General John Hyten, were among those affected, US officials said.

The White House shared rules for staff interacting with the infected president. Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, is the latest person in the president’s orbit to test positive for Covid-19.

Texas virus hospitalizations rose 2.3% in a 24-hour period to 3,394, the highest in more than three weeks, according to state health department data released Tuesday. The increase comes as Governor Greg Abbott prepares to lift some of the remaining restrictions.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria registered a record high 436 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, data from the national information platform on the disease showed on Wednesday.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong expects to add 11 new virus cases on Wednesday, “several” of which have unknown sources of infection, the South China Morning Post said.

Argentina: Argentina reported a daily record of 14,740 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total to 824,468.

South Korea: South Korea identified 114 more cases, the largest increase in almost two weeks.

France: France reported 10,489 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with the weekly pace picking up for a fourth day and following a record number of infections on Saturday. The seven-day rolling average of new cases, which smooths out daily variations, rose above 12,000 for the first time in eight days.

Vaccine news

US: President Trump accused the US Food and Drug Administration of carrying out a “political hit job” against him by releasing new standards that could delay authorization of a coronavirus vaccine until after the November election. The guidelines are intended to reassure the American public any vaccine is safe and effective.

The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program asked vaccine makers to hold off filing for an emergency authorization of a Covid-19 shot until they can manufacture several million doses. Moncef Slaoui, Warp Speed’s chief adviser, suggested that authorizing a vaccine without being able to make it might be a “major disappointment” to the public.

Indonesia: Indonesia is seeking to secure vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc, part of its plan to procure doses from overseas while ramping up local output to inoculate its more than 270 million people. The Indonesian government seeks to get effective vaccines as soon as possible by securing deals with China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and the United Arab Emirates’ G42 Healthcare, but it’s also looking to supplement that by producing enough doses locally.

Lockdown updates

US: New York state will reinstate restrictions on businesses, houses of worship and schools in and near areas where coronavirus cases are spiking, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, saying the severity of shutdowns would vary by proximity to the hot spots.

Hong Kong: Health authorities are considering whether bars should be closed again, according to a South China Morning Post report citing an unidentified person in the government.

Economy updates

US: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the White House is “in complete disarray” after Trump abruptly crushed talks between Democrats and Republicans on a fresh coronavirus economic relief bill. Pelosi accused Trump of “putting himself first at the expense of the country”.

Germany: Germany’s economy is gradually recovering. As theFederal Statistical Office announced, the manufacturing sector recorded an order increase of 4.5 percent in August 2020 compared to the previous month.

10:16 am

Coronavirus company news summary – PFizer/BioNTech begin rolling EMA submission of Covid-19 vaccine – Moderna may seek EUA from FDA for mRNA-1273 – Indonesia grants EUA to favipiravir and remdesivir

Indonesia’s Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) to the antiviral drugs favipiravir and remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 patients as cases in the country increased by 4,056 in a single day to 311,176. Last month, several pharmaceutical companies also obtained approvals from the BPOM to produce the drugs. The permit to produce favipiravir was issued to PT Beta Pharmacon, while PT Kimia Farma was approved to produce a generic favipiravir product.

Pfizer and BioNTech have initiated a rolling submission to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate BNT162b2. By working with the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), the companies plan to complete the rolling review process to facilitate the final marketing authorisation application (MAA) for BNT162b2, which is the lead candidate from the companies’ vaccine development programme against Covid-19. The MAA submission could be finalised after the rolling review process. The EMA accepted the rolling review based on available preclinical and clinical data for the vaccine candidate.

US-based biotechnology company Moderna may seek an emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate after 25 November. With the EUA, the FDA can authorise the use of unapproved medical products or treatments during public health emergencies. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel was quoted by Times Now Digital as saying: “25 November is the time we will have enough safety data to be able to put into an emergency-use authorisation file that we would send to the FDA.”

The COVID-19 Early Treatment Fund (CETF) has reported positive results of an outpatient clinical trial at Washington University in St Louis that examined the viability of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluvoxamine in patients with mild Covid-19. Based on the trial results, it was observed that, if given early in the course of Covid-19, the drug significantly reduced the likelihood of hospitalisation. CETF founder Steve Kirsch said: “Covid-19 will be with us for a while, so in addition to the vaccine studies, we should be focusing on testing drugs such as fluvoxamine, camostat, GS-441524, and doxazosin.”

8:33 am

Weak US recovery worry as Trump ends stimulus talks

7 October

The long discussions between the Republicans and Democrats on the next round of economic stimulus for the US ended abruptly, without hopes for additional aid for businesses and households.

Claudia Sahm, a policy analyst, shared an article on the comments made by Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, after US President Donald Trump abruptly called off stimulus talks ending hopes for providing additional aid for people affected by the pandemic.

Powell noted that lack of support could lead to a weak recovery and cause hardship for both households and businesses.

He noted that the risks of overdoing stimulus are smaller in comparison to the damage that lack of support will cause including household insolvencies and business bankruptcies.

Powell also noted that prolonged recovery will lead to increased job losses and economic disparity as low income groups, people of colour and women were most likely to be affected.

He opined that recovery will be stronger if monetary policy and fiscal policy work together.

Read more

2:06 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 35.5 million – continuing rise in Europe

6 October

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 35,527,000, with over 1,044,000 deaths and 24,783,000 recoveries.

The US, with over 7,459,000 total confirmed cases and over 210,000 deaths, remains the most affected country in the world.

In contrast, India reports a similar number of over 6,685,000 total confirmed cases, but reports less than half of US deaths.

Across Europe, daily confirmed cases continue to increase, with many regions tightening lockdown restrictions.

In the Middle East, daily confirmed cases are still on the rise.

In Iran, a third wave of infections surge through the country following a steady decline in cases observed in August. As a result, the government has increased the level of restrictions in some regions.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

1:19 pm

International update: Global Covid infections pass 35.5 million death toll reaches 1,044,490

6 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,044,490 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections exceed 35.5 million world wide. Some 10% of the world’s population may have been infected with Covid-19, according to Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program.

US: Covid-19 infections exceed 7.4 million, meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 210,195 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Donald Trump has left Walter Reed hospital and returned to the White House. Trump’s personal physician said the president was “not entirely be out of the woods yet.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany says in tweet that she tested positive for coronavirus on Monday morning.

Covid-19 is spreading again across most of the US. In 34 states, the seven-day average of new cases is higher now than it was a month ago.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott plans to announce additional relaxation of anti-virus rules just weeks after he first began easing restrictions.

Mexico: Mexico saw a record increase in deaths and daily cases on Monday jumping by 2,789 and 28,115 respectively. However,  the deputy health minister dismissed it as a one-off event caused by a new method of classifying infections.

Germany: Germany’s confirmed cases increased by 2,639 to 303,258, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases on Tuesday.

China: China had 12 new Covid-19 cases on the mainland on Monday, down from 20 the day before.

Vaccine news

US: The FDA said it has worked to make clear to Covid-19 vaccine developers what standards would have to be met to authorize use of shots. One such path is an emergency-use authorization, or EUA, a fast-track procedure that relies on less safety and efficacy data than a full approval.

Lockdown updates

Hong Kong: Chief Executive Carrie Lam said there would be “no further relaxation” of coronavirus measures, as authorities continue to find infections of unknown origin. More than half of local cases recorded since Sept. 30 were of unknown origin, a development Lam described as “worrying.”

UK: MPs in Britain are expected to rebel this week during votes on pandemic curbs. The votes come amid anger at a data blunder that has left officials scrambling to trace 50,000 Covid contacts.

Ireland: Ireland’s government moved to tighten coronavirus restrictions across the country, but rejected proposals from health officials for a full lockdown of the country. Instead, the country will move to level 3 on a five point scale of restrictions. The move means restaurants will only be allowed serve take out, while bars that don’t serve food must close. Ireland reported 518 newly confirmed cases on Monday.

APAC: Japan and South Korea plan to open business travel between the two countries this week. Papua New Guinea is opening its borders to people from four countries including Japan and Singapore.

Economy updates

Vietnam: About 31.8 million Vietnamese have suffered economically this year through September because of the coronavirus epidemic, according to a survey by the General Statistics Office.

Asia: Stock markets in Asia have recovered some lost ground after Trump’s positive comments about his health. The FTSE100 in London is expected to open up about 0.2%.

China: China and 25 other countries have called for the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed by the United States and western countries in order to help targeted countries recover from the pandemic.

11:08 am

Public investment key to strong economic recovery post Covid, says IMF

6 October

Wonkmonk, an economic policy activist, shared an article on the IMF’s call to developed economies to increase public investment to enable a strong economic recovery from the Covid pandemic. The IMF noted that advanced economies should not worry about public debt but rather take advantage of low borrowing costs to increase spending particularly on infrastructure.

The IMF’s comments are in stark contrast to its usual concerns with public debt in rich countries although the organisation cautioned that the public investments should be made in such as way that it does not affect the debt dynamics. The IMF noted that increasing public investment by 1% could increase GDP by 2% in two years and generate millions of jobs.

Several countries have already pledged to increase public investment including the UK, which plans to increase spending by 1% of national income. The IMF also cautioned that developing and poor countries should be wary of spending as they do not have access to finance. These countries should focus on efficient public investment management to ensure money is spent effectively.

Read more

10:49 am

Coronavirus company news summary – NDIVIA’s supercomputer will support AI-based Covid-19 research – Fred Hutchinson opens Covid-19 clinical research centre

6 October 2020 

Bharat Biotech has partnered with ViroVax to use the latter’s adjuvant to boost the immune response of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin. Bharat Biotech will have access to ViroVax’s Alhydroxiquim-II adjuvant technology to support its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, which is currently in Phase II clinical trials.

NVIDIA is creating a supercomputer named Cambridge-1 to enable artificial intelligence (AI)-based research on Covid-19, as well as other healthcare areas. Claimed to be the UK’s most powerful supercomputer, Cambridge-1 will be initially leveraged by GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London and Oxford Nanopore Technologies for pharmaceutical research.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has opened the new Covid-19 Clinical Research Center to help assess new interventions for the prevention and treatment of the disease. The new centre will offer a collaborative space for scientists and clinicians to work on Phase I through III clinical trials in participants diagnosed with Covid-19, and other infectious diseases in the future.

Biotechnology startup HDT Bio has completed a $3m seed funding round led by Zoic Capital for the development of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, HDT-301. In alliance with the US National Institutes of Health, the vaccine is scheduled to begin clinical trials in the fourth quarter of this year.

1:41 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 34 million – India has most new infections

1 October

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 34 million with more than 1,014,000 deaths and 23,662,000 recoveries.

The US, India, Brazil and Russia, remain the top four most affected countries in the world.

With more than 6,300,000 confirmed cases, India is fast approaching the number of infections in the US.

India also continues to experience the highest number of daily new cases and daily deaths globally.

International tourism is beginning to open back up in many parts of the World.

Singapore and South Africa have announced that some international tourists will be allowed to enter the countries and certain visitors will not need to self-isolate as long as they test negative for Covid upon arrival.

South Africa was very hard hit by the virus early on and has managed to significantly reduce the number of new infections, however, loosening of restrictions risks upending those efforts.

Topias Lemetyinen, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:36 am

International update: Global Covid infections near 34 million with 1,014,291 fatalities

1 October

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,014,291 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections are nearing 34 million world wide.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.6% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 7.23 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. Deaths rose to 206,959.

India: India reported another 86,821 coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total confirmed number to 6.31 million, government data showed. Covid-19 related deaths rose to 98,678.

Coronavirus super-spreaders were behind the explosion of Covid-19 in India, researchers said. One in 15 Indians have been exposed.

UK: The UK on Wednesday recorded more than 7,000 cases of Covid-19 for the second day running: the two highest daily tallies since the start of the pandemic.

Research conducted by Imperial College London using the results from England’s largest community coronavirus testing programme suggests that the rate of infection has decreased in the country, but that the number of infections has increased “substantially”.

Australia: In Australia, the state of Victoria has recorded 15 new cases of coronavirus and two more fatalities, bringing the state’s death toll to 800 and the national figure to 888.

Germany: Germany’s daily coronavirus cases rose the most since late April, while the infection rate fell below a key benchmark of 1.0 for the first time in five days. There were 2,442 new cases in the 24 hours through Thursday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Vaccine news

Europe: European regulators are set to start an accelerated review of a Covid-19 vaccine front-runner from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc. Trials were halted earlier this month due to concerns about a trial participant who fell ill. However Reuters also reported that the US Food and Drug Administration had widened its investigation of the incident that led to the trial halt. US authorities have yet to approve the restart of the trial there.

Lockdown updates

India: The federal government issued guidelines allowing movie theatres to reopen at 50% capacity and said states could decide to gradually open schools, colleges and other educational institutions from 15 October.

Germany: Germany declared regions in 11 European countries to be areas where there was an elevated risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Cuba: Cuba said on Wednesday it was lifting a curfew and partial lockdown in Havana. The governor of Havana Reinaldo García Zapata said cases had dropped to an average of 21 per day over the last week for an infection rate of 0.87 in justifying the decision.

UK: Stormont’s health minister is to recommend the introduction of further coronavirus restrictions in Northern Ireland, as it recorded its highest number of infections in a 24-hour period – 424 – since the region’s testing regime was expanded, PA Media reports.

South Africa: South Africa will reopen its borders to all African countries from today while barring tourists from around 50 nations with high infection rates, including Britain, France, India, Russia and the US.

Colombia: Colombia’s land and water borders will remain closed until 1 November, the country’s migration agency said on Wednesday, in an effort to stem coronavirus infections.

Spain: Residents of infection hotspot Madrid are to be barred from leaving except on essential trips under new rules to fight the coronavirus resurgence, Spain’s government said on Wednesday Reuters reports.

Czech Republic: From Monday, 5 October a state of emergency will apply in the Czech Republic. The government of Andrej Babiš announced at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, 30 September.

Bulgaria: The Minister of Health ordered that from 1 October, indoor sports competitions may be held with an audience with an occupancy of no more than 50% of the capacity of the sports facility. Spectators will be accommodated in at least one seat and at a physical distance of 1.5 meters.

Economic updates

Saudi Arabia: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Saudi Arabia contracted by 7.0% in real terms in the second quarter of 2020.

Latin America:  The UN’s International Labour Organization said Wednesday that at least 34 million jobs have been lost in Latin America due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan: Japan’s ruling party will consider additional economic stimulus to prop up the economy amid the pandemic, and will compile another budget if needed, Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party told the Nikkei in an interview.

US: American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. will start laying off thousands of employees, spurning an appeal from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The cuts are the latest among tens of thousands of job losses announced by blue-chip companies in a 24-hour period.

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Uni of Oxford studies adalimumab in Covid-19 patients in care homes – Pfizer/BioNTech start enrolling Phase III Covid-19 vaccine study in South Africa

1st October 2020 

The University of Oxford is set to commence a new clinical study to assess the anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF) drug adalimumab in Covid-19 patients in the community, primarily care homes, across the UK. The Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit will conduct the AVID-CC trial in up to 750 patients.

Fujifilm has concluded a manufacturing contract agreement with VLP Therapeutics Japan for the latter’s Covid-19 vaccine formulation. Fujifilm agreed to leverage its manufacturing facilities and lipid nanoparticle infrastructure to manage operations associated with the vaccine formulations, from process development to production for clinical trials.

A clinical trial by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has revealed no difference in infection rates among health care workers treated with a daily regimen of hydroxychloroquine, compared to placebo. The study involved 125 physicians, nurses, certified nursing assistants, emergency technicians and respiratory therapists.

Pfizer and BioNTech have started enrolling participants into a Phase III clinical trial of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate in South Africa. Designed to assess the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate, the trial will involve nearly 800 subjects at four sites across Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape. The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) granted approval for the trial on 22 September 2020.

NeuroRx and Relief Therapeutics have signed supply chain agreements and ordered enough drug substance of RLF-100 to potentially treat one million Covid-19 patients, if the pandemic continues. The companies agreed separate contracts with Nephron Pharmaceuticals and Bachem Americas for the production of commercial supplies of RLF-100. Also, another contract has been signed with an undisclosed pharmaceutical logistics partner to enable overnight supply to US hospitals.

8:10 am

Covid drives ‘female recession’ in US

1 October

The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing millions of women in the US to rethink their employment status.

Heather Long, Washington Post economics correspondent, shared an article on how the Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting women, who were instrumental in pulling the US out of the last recession.

The pandemic is expected to undo years of economic gains made for women.

The majority of the impact is expected to be on women of colour and women with children.

The unemployment rate among Black and Hispanic women is estimated at more than 10%, according to data from the US Labor Department.

Many women aged between 25 and 54 are leaving the workforce to care for their children, increasing the participation gap between men and women.

Even after a vaccine is found millions of women may still not be able to return to the workforce, which will slow down economic recovery and increase the wage gap between men and women.

Read more

3:41 pm

Innovate UK pharmaceutical R&D grants 2020 prioritised innovative early drug discovery Covid-19 projects

Innovate UK’s 2020 pharmaceutical R&D grants prioritised projects addressing the current public health emergency, Covid-19, according to data from GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center. Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency, which is part of the UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK Government. The agency runs multiple grant competitions throughout each year that aim to address current industry challenges and focus on supporting science and technology innovations that can drive productivity and economic growth in the UK.

Click here to read the full article.

1:13 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases near 33.7 million – lockdowns becoming more widespread

30 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 33,692,000 with over 1,008,000 deaths and 23,414,000 recoveries.

New restrictions are being enacted around the world to help curb the resurgence of the virus.

Finland, Poland, and Germany have all resumed restrictions on bars, restaurants, and large gatherings.

Along these same lines New York City will begin issuing fines for those not wearing a mask in public as the rate of positive tests climbs above 3%.

India reported more than 80,000 new cases in the last 24 hours, leading the world in new infections over this time period.

Topias Lemetyinen, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:30 am

International update: Covid death toll still rising past 1 million – India fears 60 million infections

30 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll is 1,007,769 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. More than 33.6 million cases have been confirmed.

The director general of the World Health Organization described the one millionth death as a “difficult moment for the world”. Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus urged urged countries to ‘bridge national boundaries’ to fight back against the virus and said it was never too late to turn the tide on the disease.

Becton Dickinson & Co.’s Covid-19 test that returns results in 15 minutes has been cleared for use in countries that accept Europe’s CE marking, the diagnostics maker said Wednesday.

US: Covid-19 extended its march across the Midwest on Tuesday, with the surge in North Dakota looking similar to Florida’s two months earlier. Cases were also on the rise in South Dakota and Wisconsin.

India: India could have 60 million Covid cases: ten times the official figure. On Tuesday, the country’s lead pandemic agency cited a nationwide study measuring antibodies. According to official data, India is the world’s second most infected nation, with more than 6.1 million cases, just behind the US.

Germany: Germany is heading for nearly 20,000 new infections a day unless urgent action is taken, its chancellor Angela Merkel said. She added that she wanted to avoid another nationwide lockdown “at all costs” but that measures were necessary on a state-by-state basis.

Netherlands: The Netherlands is in grip of a fast-growing second wave of coronavirus. The country reported 3,011 new cases on Tuesday, a daily record, as it imposed new measures to combat a resurgence of infections.

France: France reported 8,051 new coronavirus cases on Monday and a decline in the seven-day rolling average of new infections.

Vaccine news

Global: The World Bank has announced plans for a $12bn (£9.3bn) initiative that will allow poor countries to purchase Covid-19 vaccines to treat up to 2 billion people as soon as effective drugs become available.

US: Seven former Food and Drug Administration commissioners appealed for the agency to decide on coronavirus vaccine approvals free of political interference, to gain public trust and help combat the pandemic.

Lockdown updates

US: San Francisco moved into a less-restrictive classification under California’s tiered guidelines for reopening the economy, paving the way for the city to reopen more businesses. The county, with a test positivity rate of 2%, is the only part of the Bay Area to have improved to a “moderate” status in the state’s tiers.

Germany: Germany is taking aim at public and private parties, joining several other European countries in stepping up restrictions to contain a resurgent wave of coronavirus infections.

Economic updates

South Africa: The number of people who work in South Africa fell to the lowest level in almost a decade in the second quarter as a lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in 2.2 million job losses.

9:01 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Regeneron’s Covid-19 antibody cocktail shows promise in clinical trials – Serum Institute of India teams up with Gavi and the Gates Foundation on Covid-19 vaccines for LMICs

30 September 2020 

A descriptive analysis of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ clinical trial has found that its antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 lowered the viral load and the time to symptoms improvement in non-hospitalised Covid-19 patients. The therapy also demonstrated positive trends in decreasing medical visits. Safety analysis revealed that both the 8g and 2.4g doses of the therapy were well-tolerated.

CureVac has started dosing participants in a Phase IIa clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV. Being performed in Peru and Panama, the dose-confirmation study will involve 690 healthy volunteers, who will be given two vaccinations spaced 28 days apart. Initial data from the study are expected in the fourth quarter of this year.

An expanded alliance between Serum Institute of India (SII), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will see the production and delivery of an additional 100 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for India and low and middle-income countries (LMICs). This brings the total number of vaccine doses under the collaboration to up to 200 million.

Moderna has reported data from the second interim analysis of Phase I clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, which was found to be generally well-tolerated at 25µg and 100µg dose levels in participants aged 56-70 and above 71 years. Immune responses were found to be dose-dependent, with the 100µg dose demonstrating higher binding and neutralising antibody titres.

World Bank president David Malpass has said that the bank is seeking board approval for a $12bn Covid-19 vaccine financing plan to ensure enough vaccine doses are available for poor and developing countries. In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Malpass added that the plan is to help these countries obtain and distribute vaccines early to healthcare and other essential workers, as well as boost manufacturing worldwide.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has partnered with Trinity Pharmaceuticals to supply 25 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to Nepal. The deal is expected to help vaccinate 90% of population in Nepal and provide a Covid-19 vaccine to the country’s clinics. More than 50 Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Europe and CIS countries have applied for the Sputnik V vaccine, noted the RDIF.

China’s Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products has received approval to conduct a clinical trial of its Covid-19 inactivated vaccine candidate, which was able to elicit antibodies when evaluated in mice and monkeys. The company has also completed a manufacturing facility for the vaccine candidate, pending tests and regulatory certification.

9:01 am

More than 70 countries at risk of Covid-19 driven poverty

30 September

The Covid-19 pandemic may undo years of progress made on anti-poverty efforts and increase inequality across the world.

Robert Palmer, Head of Tax Justice UK, shared an article on how the Covid-19 pandemic will widen inequality unless appropriate actions are taken, according to Kristalina Georgieva, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) managing director.

She noted that the pandemic threatens to affect the most vulnerable countries and push millions into poverty.

Georgieva added that the pandemic may cause inequality by leading to reduced exports, capital inflows, and remittances, which will impact more than 70 countries.

She recommends four approaches that can help in addressing these issues including making health a priority to ensure the handling of the pandemic.

Increased spending on various areas such as education and curbing corruption apart from transitioning towards a low-carbon digital economy will also help in addressing the inequality.

Georgieva also noted that rich countries should increase aid and resources in the form of grants, loans and relief to poor countries.

Read more

12:56 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases near 33.4 million with more than one million fatalities

29 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 33,389,000 with over 1,002,000 deaths and 23,177,000 recoveries.

The US, India, Brazil and Russia, remain the top four most affected countries in the world, combining for more than 57% of the total cases globally.

The US and Brazil together account for more than one third of all deaths.

Over the weekend Colombia hit more than 800,000 cases despite early efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

Reopening of restaurants, shops, and other businesses has contributed to the resurgence of disease and mitigated the initial response.

Cases are likely to surpass one million in Colombia in the coming weeks.

Topias Lemetyinen, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:06 am

International update: Global Covid deaths pass one million – lockdowns increase across Europe

29 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll passed one million in just nine months since the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Global Covid-19 infections have passed 33.3 million.

US: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 7,095,422 cases of the new coronavirus as of 4pm ET on 27 September, an increase of 36,335 cases from its previous count a day earlier, and said the number of deaths had risen by 295 to 204,328.

US Vice-President Mike Pence said Americans should expect cases to rise in the coming weeks. Pence claimed the country has “passed through a challenging time” with its coronavirus crisis, but he added that, “The American people should anticipate that cases will rise in the days ahead.”

India: India reported its smallest daily rise in coronavirus deaths since 3 August, with of 776 new fatalities, data from the health ministry showed on Tuesday, as global deaths crossed one million and infections surged in several countries.

India’s coronavirus case tally passed six million after it reported 82,170 new infections in the last 24 hours, as the pandemic rages across the vast South Asian nation.

Mexico: Mexico upped its estimated Covid-19 deaths to 89,612 on Monday, and boosted estimates of its total number of cases to 870,699, almost 137,000 more than it previously recognised.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported a fourth consecutive day of no new Covid-19 cases spread in the community. There were two new diagnoses of the virus in the government-run isolation facilities for travellers returning to New Zealand, health officials said.

France: French health authorities reported 4,070 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from Saturday’s third-highest ever tally of 14,412 and Sunday’s 11,123.

Spain: Spain’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached 748,266, rising by 31,785 from Friday’s total, health ministry data showed. The cumulative death toll is up to 31,411 from 31,232 on Friday.

UK: The UK has reported 4,044 new Covid-19 cases, raising the total number of cases to 439,013, government data showed. The daily cases figure was down from 5,693 on Sunday.

Germany: Germany will face more than 19,000 new Covid-19 cases a day by the end of December if the current trend in infections isn’t halted, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Monday.

South Korea: South Korea added 38 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, down from 50 a day earlier, according to data from Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The number of newly confirmed cases was the lowest in seven weeks. The total death tally rose by one to 407.

Vaccine news

Panama: Panama’s health ministry has agreed to spend $1.9m next month in an initial payment for Covid-19 vaccines through the World Health Organization’s COVAX vaccine programme, officials said.

Lockdown updates

Slovakia: Slovakia is set to declare a new state of emergency this week to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said on Monday following a sharp rise in cases.

Netherlands: A host of new restrictions was introduced in the Netherlands. Travel was limited, bars and restaurants closed early public gatherings discouraged.

UK: The UK government came under pressure to scrap its 10pm closing time rule. The mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, said there needed to be an ‘urgent review of the emerging evidence’ after city centre supermarkets were “packed” after closing time.

France: New rules came into effect in Paris and 11 other French cities. All bars must close at 10pm and remain closed until at least 6am. Restaurants can stay open later.

Kenya: Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the nationwide curfew put in place to curb the spread of the new coronavirus but said it would end two hours later at 11pm local time.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said her government was looking at allowing city residents currently on the Chinese mainland to return home without quarantining for 14 days, providing they first had a negative virus test.

8:56 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Inovio has placed a clinical hold on its Phase II/III vaccine trials – COVAXX launches Phase I vaccine study in Taiwan

29 September 2020 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed partial clinical hold on Inovio Pharmaceuticals‘ planned Phase II/III clinical trial of its potential Covid-19 vaccine, INO-4800. The regulator asked the company to provide more information on the trial, including details about the use of CELLECTRA 2000 delivery device. Inovio would respond to FDA’s queries in October, after which the agency will have up to 30 days to decide whether the trial may proceed.

COVAXX has started dosing healthy adult participants in its open-label, dose-escalation Phase I trial of Covid-19 vaccine candidate, UB-612, in Taiwan. UB-612, a multitope peptide-based vaccine candidate, will be assessed for its safety, tolerability and immunogenicity. Currently, the trial is recruiting 60 participants aged 20-55 years.

Interim data from a clinical trial in India has showed that an Ayurvedic remedy named Immunofree by Corival Life Sciences and a nutraceutical called Reginmune by Biogetica have resolved most Covid-19 symptoms earlier than other, standard drugs, according to IANS news agency. Also, these traditional medicines were said to have led to between 20% and 60% improvement, compared to conventional treatment.

IONTAS and FairJourney Biologics have discovered certain neutralising antibodies as potential therapies for Covid-19. The companies selected a panel of 15 potent antibodies that are ideal for clinical development and manufacturing. In pseudoviral assays and live coronavirus assays, these antibodies were observed to block infection when given at low doses.

8:20 am

Food insecurity in US higher than during the Great Depression

29 September

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented increase in unemployment rates across the world.

Trevon D Logan, professor of economics at Ohio State University, shared an article on how one in three families with children in the US are experiencing food insecurity due to the unemployment caused by the pandemic.

The level of food insecurity is higher than the peak of the Great Recession.

The article notes that food insecurity is common during an economic downturn, but the current pandemic is disproportionately affecting families with children and children themselves.

Majority of the children from low-income groups depended on schools to provide two of their meals but as schools remain closed they are deprived of these meals.

The pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) programme has provided some of the money to replace the meals that children receive at school but it is not sufficient, the article added.

Further, those children who are not in school and in daycare did not qualify for the programme depriving them of much needed meals.

Read more

2:23 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 33 million – Deaths exceed 998,000

28 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 33,138,000 with over 998,000 deaths and 22,952,000 recoveries.

Global deaths are likely to reach over one million in the coming days.

The US, India and Brazil remain the top three worst-hit countries.

The US has confirmed more than 204,000 deaths due to Covid-19.

New hotspots have emerged in Israel and the virus continues to spread in many hard hit areas of the world including numerous countries in South America.

The death toll in India continues to rise with over 95,000 deaths so far.

The number of deaths in India is rapidly rising, and in the previous week India surpassed those in the US over the same time period.

Brazil and Mexico also experienced a high death count in the previous week but still remained lower than the US and India.

Topias Lemetyinen, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

10:11 am

International update: Global Covid infections pass 33 million – deaths exceed 997,000

28 September

Global: global Covid-19 infections have passed 33 million. The global death toll has passed 997,799 according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. However, the true toll is likely already over one million, due to differing definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries. Mexico’s top coronavirus official said on Sunday that definitive data on the country’s death toll from Covid-19 won’t be available for a couple of years, AP reports.

India: India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached six million cases on Monday, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases since the pandemic began.

Brazil: Brazil reported 14,318 cases, after a week in which the nation had the lowest number of infections since June, according to Health Ministry data. Total cases, in the country with the world’s third-highest number of infections, are now 4,732,309. Another 335 people died, for a total 141,741 fatalities.

South Korea: South Korea on Monday reported 50 new coronavirus cases, the lowest since 11 August, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said. Of the new cases, 40 were domestic and 10 imported.

UK: There have been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK, according to government data, taking the total to 429,277. Government figures show a further 17 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus as of Sunday. This brings the official UK toll to 41,988.

Greece: Greece has recorded its first coronavirus fatality among its large migrant community.

Philippines: The Philippines cannot be complacent amid the slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus as clusters of infections still remain while critical cases have marginally increased, health authorities said.

Ireland: Ireland recorded 430 new infections on Sunday, the most in five months, with Dublin accounting for around half the cases.

France: France reported a third daily decline in new cases, falling to 11,123 on Sunday from 14,412 on Saturday. The seven-day average remained above 12,000 for the third day. France reported 27 additional deaths, taking the total to 31,727.

Myanmar: Myanmar has seen a spike in cases this month, prompting the government to order the construction of treatment and quarantine centres in Yangon and Mandalay. Some 743 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed on Sunday, boosting the South-East Asian nation’s total to 10,734, the Ministry of Health and Sports said. Fatalities increased by 28 to 226.

Italy: Italy reported 1,766 new cases on Sunday, down from 1,869 on Saturday, with 87,714 daily tests. The country reported 17 deaths, the same as Saturday. Patients in intensive care units rose to 254, from 247 a day earlier. Total cases reported since February increased to 309,870.

Lockdown updates

UK: The UK Government is planning to impose a total social lockdown across most of northern England and potentially London to combat a second coronavirus wave, the Times reports.

Ireland: The government has reintroduced restrictions in the Irish capital, Dublin, as well as in a region along the border, to try and curb the spread of the virus.

New Zealand: Travel between New Zealand and some states of Australia is possible before the end of the year, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

Thailand: Thailand’s Covid-19 task force, which is chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, agreed to extend a nationwide state-of-emergency for one more month through 31 October, according to Deputy Premier Wissanu Krea-Ngam.

Lesotho: Lesotho will reopen the border with South Africa on Thursday for business people, students, workers and those with medical appointments, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro said.


9:48 am

China’s industry leads recovery from Covid-19 driven slump

28 September

Industrial companies in China registered profits for the fourth straight month in August although the growth is lower than that of 2020.

Despite the growth, the recovery of China from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic remains uneven, with industrial production growing by 5.6% in August compared to the previously year.

John Ashcroft, an economist, shared an article on how some of the largest industrial firms in China have registered a positive growth.

Profits, however, were down by 4.4% compared to the same period during the previous year.

The recovery in China was mostly noted in the manufacturing, electrical machinery and raw material sectors.

In August, the profits increased by 19.1% compared to the previous year although the growth was still lower than 19.6% in July.

Read more

9:14 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Janssen reports positive Phase I/IIa data of Covid-19 data – Manchester University starts studying GSK’s otilimab in severe Covid-19

28 September 2020 

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary Janssen has reported positive interim data from an ongoing Phase I/IIa clinical trial of a potential Covid-19 vaccine, JNJ-78436735. According to the results, a single dose of the vaccine candidate showed a strong neutralising antibody response in almost all participants aged 18 years and above. The candidate was observed to be generally well-tolerated. J&J added that immune responses were similar across the age groups, including older adults.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust  in the UK has started dosing Covid-19 patients with severe lung disease in the OSCAR study assessing GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)’s otilimab. The first patient has been enrolled and is being treated at the Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI). The trial is designed to be conducted at hospitals across the UK.

A Government panel in India has rejected Glenmark’s proposal for a Phase III clinical trial of favipiravir plus dexamethasone to potentially treat Covid-19, as reported by The Print news agency. The panel said that the justification offered for use of the combination treatment in all patients with moderate Covid-19 in the test arm is not adequate.

Novavax has signed a non-exclusive agreement with Endo International subsidiary Par Sterile Products for fill-finish manufacturing services for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Par Sterile’s plant in Rochester, Michigan, has started manufacturing the vaccine’s final drug product and initial batches are meant for use in a Phase III trial in the US.

1:55 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 32.2 million – Midwest surge as US nears 7 million

25 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 32,273,000 with more than 983,000 deaths and 22,255,000 recoveries.

The US, India and Brazil remain top three worst-hit countries.

The US will soon reach 7 million total confirmed cases of Covid-19.

After several weeks seeing an overall downward trend in new cases, the US is now seeing another surge in new cases.

This new surge is driven by the flare of new cases reported in the Midwest region.

India is nearing 6 million total confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Chile has experienced a sustained decrease in new daily cases since mid-June.

As Chile approaches the summer, the warmer weather will lead to more outdoor activities which will contribute to the decrease in new cases.

Peru’s second wave which, was larger than the first, is slowly heading to an end. Although new daily cases remain high, they have been on a path of steady decline.

Ana Fernandez, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:09 am

International update: Global Covid cases top 32.2 million – deaths top 983,000 – second wave swamps Europe

25 September

Global: The global Covid-19 death toll passed 983,000 on Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. With the number of deaths confirmed daily averaging more than 5,000, it looks likely the toll will pass one million within days. There are 32.2 million Covid-19 cases worldwide.

The virus is continuing to mutate throughout the course of the pandemic, according to new research, with experts believing it is probably becoming more contagious. The study did not find that mutations of the virus had made it more lethal or changed its effects.

US: In the US, all Midwest states except Ohio reported more cases in the past four weeks as compared with the prior four weeks, led by South Dakota and North Dakota. South Dakota had the biggest percentage increase at 166% with 8,129 new cases, while North Dakota’s new cases doubled to 8,752 as compared to 4,243 during the same time in August, Reuters reports.

India: India’s coronavirus case tally surged to 5.82 million after it recorded 86,052 new infections in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed on Friday.

Brazil: Brazil recorded 32,817 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 831 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

France: France set a new record for daily new cases. Health authorities reported 16,096 new confirmed cases on Thursday, a significant increase on the previous record of 13,498 and setting a fourth all-time high of daily additional infections in eight days.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 2,153 to 280,223, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

Spain: Hospitals in Madrid are filling up with seriously-ill Covid-19 patients again, raising the spectre of a healthcare collapse similar to the grim scenes southern Europe experienced last spring.

UK: The UK reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic, breaking a record set at the peak of the first wave. A further 6,634 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Thursday by Public Health England, the agency tracking the data.

Italy: Italy reported 1,786 new cases Thursday, compared with 1,640 the previous day and amid increased screening, with more than 108,000 tests in one day. Patients in intensive care units rose to 246 and 23 deaths were reported.

China: Two port workers in Qingdao tested positive, the first local asymptomatic cases reported in China since August 20. The workers were responsible for unloading frozen seafood, so the infections are likely to intensify concern about the virus being transmitted on imported seafood, meat and their packaging.

Lockdown updates

Europe: In Europe, the pandemic is worse now than at the March peak in several member countries, the European Union warned, as governments re-impose drastic measures.

Israel: Israel further toughened its lockdown measures on Thursday after existing restrictions failed to bring down the infection rate. The country has 212,115 cases out of a population of just under nine million: roughly equivalent to one case per 23 people.

South Korea: South Korea on Friday said it would impose tighter restrictions during the Chuseok autumn holiday weeks when people traditionally reunite with families, flagging the risks of new clusters of coronavirus infections.

Ireland: Ireland’s government moved to tighten restrictions in a second county and signalled more limits may follow. Travel to and from Donegal in the north-west of the country will be limited, while restaurants will be restricted to outdoor service only. That mirrors restrictions placed on Dublin six days ago.

Australia: Coronavirus hot spot, Victoria, looks set to ease restrictions over the weekend. The two-week average of new infections in Melbourne dropped below 26, well below the 30-50 level which the state has set as a precondition to relax its strict curbs.

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – FDA considers unpausing AstraZeneca trial – Brazil signs up to COVAX

25 September 2020 

US-based biotechnology firm Novavax has started the first Phase III clinical trial of its potential Covid-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, in the UK. Performed with the UK Government’s Vaccines Taskforce, the trial will investigate the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of NVX-CoV2373. The study is designed to recruit up to 10,000 participants aged 18 to 84 years, with and without relevant comorbidities, over the coming four to six weeks.

Brazil is set to join the COVAX Facility, a Covid-19 vaccine initiative focused on equitable access, and has committed BRL2.5bn ($453.8m) to secure vaccines via the initiative. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will provide decrees on the legal groundwork for the country to join COVAX, which is expected to provide enough supplies to vaccinate 10% of Brazil’s population by the end of next year.

Lumen Bioscience has received nearly $4m grant from the US Army Medical Research and Development Command to create a rapid, scalable and cost-effective biologic drug cocktail for treating gastrointestinal infection in Covid-19 patients, as well as potentially blocking disease transmission. The grant will support development through the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational new drug filing and initial engineering work for a large-scale manufacturing facility.

The US FDA is yet to provide authorisation for AstraZeneca to resume its Covid-19 vaccine trial in the country, nearly three weeks following a pause over safety concerns. The US regulators are still investigating an illness in one of the trial participants, even after the clinical programme restarted in the UK and other countries, according to Reuters.

8:14 am

Covid is taking a big bite from US tax revenues – cyberattacks on the rise

25 September

The Covid-19 pandemic is impacting state and local tax revenues similar to any other recession.

The level of impact, however, is far higher than historical figures.

David Wessel, director of Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy, shared an article on how state and local tax revenues have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the US.

The impact of income tax revenues is recorded to be low as most of the employment losses are concentrated on low-wage workers.

Sales and other tax revenues, however, have fallen sharply compared to historical figures due to fall in consumption rate as more people are staying home.

As a result, revenues generated from taxes and fees imposed on the tourism, travel and hospitality sectors have plummeted.

Revenues of state and local governments are expected to decline by 5.5% in 2020 and 5.7% in 2021, the article added.

The fiscal aid provided by the government has helped in offsetting some of the revenue losses but state and local governments are expected to face further shortfalls forcing them to make spending cuts.

In other news, Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and author, shared an article on how cyberattacks have increased amid the pandemic.

Read more

2:23 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 31.9 million – India could overtake US infection count

24 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 31,920,000 with more than 977,000 deaths and 22,002,000 recoveries.

The US, India and Brazil remain top three worst-hit countries.

India has started reopening tourist attractions and easing restrictions to revive its economy.

The Taj Mahal reopened for the first time in six months with a 5,000 visitor cap per day.

India now reports over 5.7 million cases of Covid-19, if new daily cases continue to increase India may overtake the US as the worst hit country.

Poland reported its highest number of new daily cases since the pandemic started, at 1,136 cases on 24 September.

Russia has recorded more than 1 million total confirmed cases of Covid-19 with Moscow is the top affected region.

Italy has been more effective at controlling the second Covid wave than Spain and the UK.

On 23 September, Italy reported 1,640 new cases while Spain and the UK reported 11, 289 cases and 6,186 cases, respectively.

Ana Fernandez, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:37 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 31.8 million – deaths exceed 976,000 – stock markets slump

24 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 31.8 million, with more than 976,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.6% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.91 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.5% to 201,319.

Mexico: Mexico’s confirmed coronavirus caseload rose to 710,049 on Wednesday, according to updated data from the health ministry, along with a reported death toll of 74,949.

Australia: Victoria, the epicentre of Australia’s Covid-19 outbreak, said on Thursday the number of new daily infections was close to a three-month low, buoying hopes that restrictions will be eased sooner than expected.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic saw 2,309 new infections in its third highest daily rise since the pandemic began, but the figure was down slightly from 2,392 the previous day, health ministry data showed on Thursday.

Germany: Germany’s confirmed cases increased by 2,143 to 278,070, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

China: China reported seven new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, down from ten the day before, the country’s national health authority said on Thursday.

South Korea: South Korea added 125 more coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours compared to 110 a day earlier, according to data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 23,341, and the death tally rose by five to 393.

France: France introduced new steps to fight the rapid resurgence of the coronavirus, including closing bars earlier in the evening and limiting public gatherings in Paris and several other cities. But the government isn’t considering a new nationwide lockdown.

Ireland: The number of new coronavirus cases in Ireland will double every 12 to 14 days at the current rate, the nation’s health ministry said. Ireland reported 234 more cases on Wednesday, with two deaths.

Scotland: Scotland recorded 486 new cases, the biggest daily tally since the outbreak began, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told reporters in Edinburgh.

Lockdown updates

Israel: Israel’s cabinet has agreed to a tightening of its second national lockdown in a bid to stem a steep rise in cases. Businesses will face more curbs on operation times from Friday and people will no longer be able to attend street protests as part of travel curbs.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong will put the UK on its “high-risk” list from 1 October, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unnamed sources. This would mean UK arrivals have to present a negative virus test upon arrival and quarantine for 14 days in a hotel instead of at home, it said.

Scotland: The Scottish government unveiled restrictions Tuesday to halt a resurgence of the virus. The rules went further than Boris Johnson’s and included a nationwide ban on people visiting each other’s homes.

Economy update

Global: Stock markets have suffered heavy losses amid concerns about the ability of the global economy to recover from the pandemic. Shares in Asia Pacific are down 2% after more losses on Wall Street on Wednesday. The FTSE is set to drop 1.15%.

9:01 am

Coronavirus company news summary – J&J starts Phase III trials of Covid-19 vaccines – first human challenge trials of Covid-19 vaccine starts in London

24 September 2020

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has initiated the pivotal Phase III ENSEMBLE clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, JNJ-78436735 (Ad26.COV2.S). This large-scale, multi-country trial comes after positive interim data from a Phase I/IIa study, which showed encouraging safety profile and immunogenicity with a single vaccination. Based on these study data and discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ENSEMBLE is designed to recruit up to 60,000 participants across three continents.

Researchers in London are set to test vaccine candidates in the first-ever Covid-19 human challenge trials, where healthy participants will be deliberately infected with the coronavirus, according to the Financial Times. The studies are expected to commence in January at a secure quarantine facility in London. The project will be led by Imperial College London and run by Queen Mary University of London spinout hVivo.

Humanigen has partnered with Thermo Fisher Scientific to boost the manufacturing of its Covid-19 drug candidate lenzilumab, which is undergoing a Phase III registration trial. The multi-year alliance compliments Humanigen’s recent collaborations with Lonza and Catalent for large-scale commercial production of the drug candidate.

India-based Bharat Biotech has signed a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to develop a single-dose intranasal Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The deal provides Bharat Biotech with the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets, excluding the US, Japan and Europe. Phase I trials of the vaccine will occur at the university, and after regulatory approval Bharat Biotech will conduct further studies and begin large scale manufacturing.

Swiss-based Relief Therapeutics has announced that its partner NeuroRx submitted a request seeking emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the US FDA for RLF-100 (aviptadil) to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients who are receiving intensive care and have exhausted all approved treatments. The submission is backed by a case-control study that compared patients treated with RLF-100 to those on maximal standard of care treatment in the same ICU by the same medical staff.

8:33 am

Why Covid vaccine needs a cooperative approach

24 September

An effective vaccine against the Covid-19 virus is the best way to curb the pandemic.

Although many companies and countries are surging ahead with the development efforts, the question about how the vaccine will be distributed across the world remains.

Adam Tooze, director of European Institute, shared an article on how a vaccine is the best solution to curbing the Covid-19 pandemic, yet it is triggering a new set of problems.

The US has already declined to participate in the UN sponsored COVAX programme.

Further, countries across the world are moving ahead with their own vaccine development programmes.

Russia, for example, approved an unproven vaccine, while China has approved the use of a vaccine for its military.

The article notes that the real problems will arise when a vaccine becomes available.

Governments of rich countries have already signed agreements to procure four billion doses of vaccines.

A lack of equitable distribution may damage the reputations of the countries who try to monopolise the vaccine, the article added.

In other news, Prof. Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on how South Dakota successfully adopted Sweden’s no lockdown approach.

South Dakota is the fifth least densely populated state in the US.

Read more

2:20 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 31.6 million as deaths near 972,000

23 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 31,647,000 with over 971,000 deaths and 21,775,000 recoveries.

The US, India and Brazil remain top three worst-hit countries.

The US has confirmed more than 200,000 deaths due to Covid-19.

In Latin America, Colombia, Peru and Mexico remain the three countries with the most cases of coronavirus.

Mexico’s case fatality rate* has declined since it reported its all-time high at 12.40 cases per million population on 27 June.

However, Mexico’s case fatality rate at 10.52 cases per million population on 22 September was much higher than Colombia’s or Peru’s.

On the same date, Colombia’s case fatality rate was 3.17 cases per million population and Peru reported 4.08 cases per million population.

Argentina continues to see an upward trend in new daily cases as it remains the tenth worst hit country with over 652,000 cases and 13,900 deaths.

Ana Fernandez, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

* Case fatality rate is the proportion of deaths from a certain disease compared to the total number of people diagnosed with the disease

10:08 am

International update: Global Covid Cases pass 31.6 million – weekly rate of new infections highest ever

23 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 31.6 million, with more than 970,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University tracker.

The weekly number of new recorded infections worldwide was last week at its highest level ever, the WHO announced. With a new seven-day high of just short of two million new cases recorded, the latest tally represents a 6% increase on the previous week, as well as “the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic”, the UN health agency said.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.7% as compared with the same time Monday to 6.88 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 200,284.

India: India reported 1,085 additional fatalities from Covid-19, bringing its total death toll above 90,000. It also added 83,347 cases for Wednesday. India trails only the US and Brazil in Covid-19 deaths, while its 5.6 million confirmed cases are surpassed only by the US’s tally of almost 6.9 million infections.

Mexico: Mexico’s confirmed coronavirus caseload rose to 705,263 on Tuesday, according to updated data from the health ministry, along with a reported death toll of 74,348.

Argentina: Argentina reported a record daily rise of 470 Covid-19 deaths, for a total of 13,952, according to the government’s evening report. It’s the second day in a row Argentina has reported a record rise in fatalities. The government confirmed 12,027 new cases, bringing the total to 652,174.

China: China’s UN representative Zhang Jun said the country rejected ‘baseless accusations’ around coronavirus before introducing President Xi Jinping.

Mainland China reported 10 new Covid-19 cases as of 22 September, up from 6 a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Wednesday.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,769 to 275,927, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

France: France reported 10,008 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, in line with the pace of infections picking up again, after a post-weekend lull on Monday. Confirmed cases rose by 10,008 in 24 hours, France’s public health agency said.

South Korea: South Korea added 110 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, after seeing infections dip below 100 for three straight days. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 23,216, while the death toll remained at 388.

Iran: Iran recorded its biggest spike in daily cases since the pandemic began, with 3,712 new infections, surpassing 3,574 cases reported on June 4, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state TV. The death toll rose by 178 overnight, almost unchanged from 177 a day earlier.

Papua New Guinea: Papua New Guinea does not have enough Covid-19 testing kits, the country’s health minister has said. Fewer than 17,500 tests have been conducted across the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

Lockdown updates

Japan: Japan is considering allowing more foreign arrivals into the country for longer stays starting as early as next month while keeping the Covid-19 entry curbs in place for tourists, the Asahi newspaper reported on Wednesday.

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced new restrictions for England that could last six months, following a surge in cases in recent weeks. The slew of new measures includes telling the public to continue working from home, a 10pm curfew for hospitality venues, and limiting weddings to 15 people.

In Scotland, hundreds of students have been told to isolate after a suspected Covid-19 outbreak in a hall of residence. NHS Tayside is investigating a single positive Covid case and a small number of suspected cases linked to private student accommodation Parker House in Dundee.

Economy update

Europe: The European Central Bank risks legal trouble if it tries to extend the “emergency powers” of its pandemic bond-buying plan to its other asset-purchase program, according to Executive Board member Yves Mersch.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Fujifilm reported positive Phase III data of Avigan – Canada signs a new supply deal with Sanofi and GSK

23 September 2020 

Fujifilm Toyama Chemical has reported that the Phase III clinical trial of Avigan (favipiravir) has met its primary endpoint of time to negative conversion of detectable SARS-CoV 2 viral RNA in the RT-PCR assays, and to relief of symptoms, in Covid-19 patients with non-severe pneumonia in Japan. Based on the positive data, the company plans to seek approval for the drug to treat Covid-19, expanding its current indication for influenza patients.

The Serum Institute of India has started manufacturing Codagenix’s intranasal, live-attenuated Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CDX-005. With the vaccine expected to enter Phase I trial in the UK by the end of this year, the Serum Institute will commence production for large-scale safety and efficacy studies, as well as to meet vaccine supply demand worldwide.

The Government of Canada has entered into an agreement for the supply of up to 72 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), starting next year. The country also increased its confirmed order commitment of Moderna’s potential Covid-19 vaccine to 20 million doses, and maintains an option for an additional 36 million doses.

China-based Sinovac Biotech has started Phase III clinical trial of its inactivated Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CoronaVac, in Turkey. The pivotal study will assess the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate and is intended to support the licensure of the product in Turkey. With an adaptive design, the trial will recruit volunteers in a step-by-step approach.

The US’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) has expanded the enrolment target for two clinical trials investigating convalescent plasma as a treatment for hospitalised Covid-19 patients. The trials are now expected to recruit approximately 1,000 participants at academic and community-based hospitals across the US.

Pakistan has started Phase III clinical trials of China-based CanSino Biologics’ Covid-19 vaccine candidate, according to a government minister and an official at the company. The trial, being led by the government-run National Institute of Health (NIH) and pharmaceutical company AJM, is set to enrol up to 10,000 in Pakistan.

8:29 am

Lockdown backlash as economies slump

23 September

Stock markets across Europe witnessed one of the sharpest declines in recent months over reports of new lockdowns and measures that are planned to be implemented to curb the resurgence of infection cases.

The sectors that were already impacted by the previous lockdown measures suffered most of the damage indicating at a slowdown in global economic recovery over the next few months.

John Ashcroft, an economist, shared an article on how stock markets across the world slumped after reports of additional lockdowns emerged.

The UK’s index of leading shares, for example, had its sharpest decline since June of 3.4% or 202.76 points.

Further, the UK-focused FTSE 250 declined by 4% or 698.90 points to 16,870.78, which is its worst decline since mid-April.

The pan-continental Stoxx 600 index also closed down by 3.2%, which is the biggest decline since June.

Oil prices also witnessed the sharpest decline in two weeks after fears that new lockdowns will impact the demand for fuel.

Prices of Brent crude declined by 4% or $1.70 to $41.44 a barrel.

Meanwhile, as the lockdown backlash continues, Prof. Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on an open letter signed by doctors and health professionals in Belgium to Belgian authorities and media.

Read more

2:24 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 31.3 million – US, India and Brazil worst hit

22 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 31,358,000 with over 965,000 deaths and 21,523,000 recoveries.

The US, India and Brazil remain top three worst-hit countries.

The US is approaching 200,000 total deaths due to Covid-19.

Several states, among them Wisconsin, Utah , Texas, and North Dakota, have reported an upward trend in new daily cases.

The CDC has removed recommendations regarding airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from their webpage.

A previous draft posted to their website included information that the virus could remain airborne and be transmitted to people more than six feet away.

New daily cases in the UK have been increasing since mid-August and it is experiencing a second wave of Covid-19.

The UK has introduced new measures to curb the spread of the virus: pubs, bars, and restaurant will close at 10pm.

People who can work from home are asked to stay home and people are required to wear masks in shops and indoor restaurants except when eating.

Colombia remains the worst-hit Latin American country despite seeing a downward trend in new daily cases.

The country reports over 770,400 total confirmed cases, followed by Peru with 768,800 total confirmed cases.

Ana Fernandez, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:47 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 31.3 million – US deaths near 200,000

22 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 31.3 million, with deaths nearing 965,000 according to Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: At least 199,884 Americans are known to have died since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins, which relies on official government data. With the worst death toll in the world, the US accounts for one in five coronavirus-related fatalities worldwide.

India: India, with more than 5.5 million cases the second-worst affected country, reported 75,083 new coronavirus infections in the lowest daily increase since 7 September.

Mexico: Mexico surpassed 700,000 confirmed cases on Monday after the health ministry reported 2,917 new confirmed cases in the Latin American country, bringing the total to 700,580 as well as a cumulative death toll of 73,697.

China: China reported six new Covid-19 cases on 21 September, down from 12 a day earlier, the national health authority said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

Thailand: Thailand found five new imported coronavirus cases, all detected in state quarantine, after people travelled from India and Switzerland.

South Korea: South Korea reported 61 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the third straight day that the increase has been below 100.

Australia: Victoria, Australia’s worst-hit state, reported a jump in new infections on Tuesday with 28 new cases and three more deaths.

Greece: Greece reported 453 cases, a new daily high since the beginning of the pandemic in March.

Vaccine news

Global: An $18 billion initiative to deploy a Covid-19 vaccine around the world is moving into the next phase, with 156 countries and regions joining the program.

Lockdown updates

UK: Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will have to shut by 10pm from Thursday under new nationwide restrictions to halt an “exponential” rise in coronavirus cases. Boris Johnson is expected to make an address to the nation on Tuesday setting out the new measures. Scotland is also expected to announce new restrictions on Tuesday.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s four-person limit on public gatherings and other social distancing measures will be extended by a week to 1 October, Chief Executive Carrie Lam told a briefing.

Czech Republic: Prime minister Andrej Babis admitted on Monday that his government had made a mistake when it eased restrictions over the summer.

New Zealand: New Zealand recorded no new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, as restrictions on much of the country were entirely removed, and measures imposed on Auckland, the largest city, were due to ease further.

9:09 am

New lockdowns threaten economic recovery – Covid second wave gathers pace

22 September

Countries across Europe including the UK, Spain and France are witnessing a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Some of these countries have just started showing signs of economic revival and new lockdowns to control the recent surge in cases may have serious consequences.

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis SV, shared his article on the possibility of imposing new lockdowns in Europe.

Lacalle notes the lockdowns will have devastating impact on the economy through jobs losses and business insolvencies.

Countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Sweden, and Austria have implemented effective measures to control the pandemic instead of implementing a total lockdown, the article noted.

Lacalle added that economies in Europe will not be able to survive a new series of lockdowns as it may lead to an economic crisis characterised by massive job losses, highly indebted corporations, and record high government debt.

Meanwhile, the epidemic in the UK appears to be doubling every seven days, according to the government’s chief scientific advisor.

Read more


8:59 am

Coronavirus company news summary – VBI signs a vaccine deal with Canada – over 150 countries have joined the WHO’s COVAX Facility

22 September 2020 

VBI Vaccines has signed an agreement with Canadian Government for the development of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate by 2022 through mid-stage human trials performed exclusively in the country. The government agreed to provide approximately 75% of the development costs, along with C$55.9m ($42.2m) for the project.

Serum Institute of India (SII) has started a Phase III clinical trial of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine candidate at the state-run Sassoon General Hospital in Pune, Maharashtra. The trial is expected to recruit 150 to 200 volunteers. Also, SII plans to initiate the trial of another potential Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Novavax, next month.

More than 150 countries, including 64 higher income and 92 low- and middle-income economies, have joined the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations of  COVAX Facility, which aims for equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. However, China and the US are missing from the list of members. COVAX Facility intends to begin signing agreements with vaccine manufacturers and developers to potentially secure two billion doses by the end of next year.

Russia’s Petrovax Pharm has started dosing participants in a Phase III clinical trial of Ad5-nCoV Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by China-based CanSino Biologics and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, Academy of Military Medical Science. The first group of participants were vaccinated at medical centres in Moscow, in alliance with contract research organisation OCT Clinical.

2:24 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Covid cases near 5.5 million in India – Global infections pass 31 million

21 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 31,092,000 with over 961,000 deaths and 21,274,000 recoveries.

The US, India and Brazil remain top three worst-hit countries.

India now reports over 5 million total confirmed cases of Covid-19.

On 17 September India reported its highest number of new daily cases since the pandemic started with over 97,894 new cases.

The top affected regions in India are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Brazil continues to see a decline in new daily cases.

In Latin America, the three worst-hit countries are Peru, Colombia, and Mexico with more than 750,000 cases, 743,000 cases and 684,000 total confirmed cases, respectively.

Spain, France, and the UK are each experiencing a second wave of Covid-19 as new daily cases continue to increase.

Italy is also reporting increasing new daily cases, though far fewer than what was reported in March and April.

Several countries are expected to see a second wave as the weather gets colder and regular ‘flu season begins.

Ana Fernandez, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

10:55 am

Restrictions could curb UK GDP growth – US losing status as economic superpower

21 September

The UK is facing resurgence in cases forcing the government to take drastic measures to curb the infection rates.

A new set of restrictions and the possibility of another national lockdown threaten to wipe out many sectors particularly the hospitality industry.

John Ashcroft, economics and financial markets expert, shared an article on how the hospitality industry in the UK is on the verge of collapsing.

Owners and operators in the hospitality industry are calling for the implementation of various steps including extension of the current furlough scheme until the end of October, extension of the VAT cut and reduction in beer duty.

The new restrictions are expected to impact the recovery of the UK’s economy and the recent increase in GDP growth may be short-lived, the article noted.

Meanwhile, Professor Steve Hanke, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared a chart on how the US is losing its status as a superpower.

A poll conducted by Pew Research Center has revealed that majority of respondents from countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Australia, and France felt that China is emerging as the biggest economic power.

Read more

9:52 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 31 million – deaths exceed 960,000

21 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 31 million, with deaths exceeding 960,000 according to Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: The US is nearing 200,000 deaths, nine months after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of deaths in the US, the highest in the world, stood at 199,509 on the Johns Hopkins University tracker on Monday morning, roughly a fifth of the global total.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry has reported 3,542 new coronavirus cases and 235 new deaths.

Brazil: Brazil’s health ministry has reported 16,389 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to more than 4.52 million, though the latest numbers do not include three states.

Australia: Australia’s coronavirus hotspot of Victoria reported its lowest daily rise in infections in three months on Monday, although state premier Daniel Andrews said there were no plans yet to ease restrictions sooner than expected.

Spain: Madrid’s rate of transmission is more than double the national average, which already leads European contagion charts.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 922 to 272,337, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Monday.

France: France’s daily coronavirus cases rose by 10,569 on Sunday, after surging to more than 13,000 twice in the highest daily increases since the national lockdown ended in May on Saturday.

Ireland: Ireland recorded 396 new cases on Sunday, the highest since mid-May, with about two thirds of the infections in Dublin.

Italy: Italy reported 1,587 new coronavirus cases on Sunday down from 1,638 the previous day. There were 15 additional deaths bringing the total number of people that have died from the virus in Italy since the beginning of the pandemic to 35,707.

China: China’s National Health Commission has reported 12 new coronavirus cases, raising the number of cases in the country to 85,291, although most of the infections have now recovered. The agency said all the new cases are imported. At least 25 others were categorised as asymptomatic.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 70 new coronavirus cases, the second consecutive day that it reported infections below 100, but the government also admitted that “high number” of untraceable cases remain.

Lockdown updates

New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, further eased restrictions on the country’s largest city, Auckland, and completely removed domestic restrictions on the rest of the nation, after zero new cases were reported.

South Korea: Schools in the South Korean capital Seoul and nearby areas resumed in-person classes for the first time in almost a month on Monday after daily coronavirus cases dropped to the lowest levels since mid-August, Reuters reports.

Israel: In Israel, which, on Friday, became the first country globally to return to a strict nationwide lockdown, thousands of protesters gathered on Sunday in Jerusalem to demand the resignation of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the first such demonstrations since the start of a new nationwide lockdown.

Canada: The government of Canada’s province of Quebec has announced new restrictions on gatherings in order to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Myanmar: A stay-at-home order for Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon, has taken effect as the country tries to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Lebanon: Lebanon hit a third consecutive day of record virus cases as Health Minister Hamad Hassan proposes a two-week lockdown, Associated Press reported.

Economic updates

Denmark: Denmark’s government is offering help to restaurants and bars hurt by new Covid-19 restrictions after getting parliament’s backing for the aid package. The government will provide compensation for rent and other fixed costs to firms that lose revenue after opening hours were cut, the business ministry said in a statement late Sunday.

8:49 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Sanofi, GSK sign vaccine access agreement with the EU – EMA approves dexamethasone for Covid-19

21 September 2020 

Russia has granted marketing authorisation for R-Pharm’s Covid-19 prescription drug, Coronavir, to treat outpatients with mild to moderate infection. The antiviral drug has become the first coronavirus drug to be rolled out in pharmacies in Russia. Coronavir’s approval was based on the final data obtained during a Phase III clinical trial performed in patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 in community and hospitalised settings.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have signed an advanced purchase agreement with the European Commission (EC) to supply up to 300 million doses of their potential Covid-19 vaccine, following regulatory approval. The deal will enable the purchase of the vaccine for all the European Union (EU) Member States, which may choose to donate reserved doses to lower and middle-income markets. The companies will receive upfront funding to scale up their manufacturing capabilities in Europe.

Biotech firm Axon Neuroscience is set to introduce the world’s first independently-developed crowdfunded Covid-19 vaccine, ACvac1. In mice, the vaccine was able to trigger antibody production and blocked the replication of live virus. Based on the efficacy results, Axon has opened the vaccine project for investment from individuals and small investors. ACvac1 is schedule to enter clinical trials in the fourth quarter of this year.

The European Medicines Agency‘s human medicines committee (CHMP) has recommended that dexamethasone can be considered a treatment option for adult and adolescent Covid-19 patients needing oxygen therapy. The recommendation comes after review of results from the RECOVERY trial. The UK Government already authorised the use of dexamethasone to treat Covid-19 on the National Health Service (NHS) in June.

3:58 pm

UK supports Covid-19 vaccine access by joining WHO’s COVAX

According to the Press Association, the UK Government has decided to join the COVAX to help accelerate the development, production and access to coronavirus vaccines.

Overseen by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), COVAX is the vaccine pillar of the WHO’s Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April. The accelerator focuses on ensuring that “in the fight against Covid-19, no one should be left behind”.

Secretary of state for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma said: “The global effort to find a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine is not a competition but is among the most urgent shared endeavours of our lifetime – it benefits us all to be better equipped to fight this virus.

“That’s why I am delighted to confirm that the United Kingdom will join the global Covax initiative to expedite the discovery, manufacture and fair distribution of a vaccine to one billion people.

“Today’s landmark agreement complements the various vaccine deals the UK has already made and ensures we have the best chance of accessing a safe and effective vaccine for people in the UK as soon as one becomes available, as well as supporting access in poorer countries.”

The participation of rich, developed countries is central to COVAX’s mission to ensure that lower-income countries who are unable to sign bilateral deals with individual manufacturers will also have access to Covid-19 vaccines once approved. It also provides developed countries, like the UK, with an insurance policy as it increases their likelihood of securing additional vaccine doses.

2:08 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 30.2 million – no sign of peak in India

18 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 30.2 million with over 946,000 deaths and 20,532,000 recoveries.

Worldwide the Covid-19 cases and recoveries are trending upwards while deaths remain low.

The US has the largest number of confirmed cases globally with the leading states appearing to have passed their peaks.

Infections in India continue to rise with no signs of a peak.

Popular holiday destination Croatia has tripled the number of daily confirmed cases when comparing to values seen in April.

This coincides with the lifting of travel bans and an influx of tourists.

The UK has ordered a two-week quarantine for all traveling back into the country from Croatia to limit any possible spread.

Croatia may need to enhance public health awareness especially in regards to tourism to curtail the rise.

Nneoma Okeke, MD, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:44 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 30.1 million – deaths near 950,000

18 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 30.1 million, with deaths exceeding 946,000 according to Johns Hopkins University tracker. The global death toll is expected to pass one million by 1 October. The US accounts for than 22% of global cases, at 6.67m, and nearly 200,000 fatalities.

Europe: Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, said the region is showing “alarming rates of transmission.” The September case numbers “should serve as a wake-up call for all of us,” he added.

India: India’s coronavirus cases jumped by another 96,424 infections in the past 24 hours to more than 5.2 million and showing little sign of levelling. It said 1,174 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 84,372 fatalities. India is expected to have the highest national total of confirmed cases within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than 6.67 million people have been infected.

US: Reports emerged late on Thursday that guidance about the novel coronavirus testing posted last month on the website of the US CDC was not written by the agency’s scientists and was posted despite their objections.

US manufacturers are sharply increasing production of cheap, fast, but less accurate Covid-19 tests, aiming for 100 million per month by year-end that will enable schools and workplaces to significantly expand testing, Reuters reported.

France: France confirmed a new 24-hour record late on Thursday, registering 10,593 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours and pushing the cumulative number to 415,481.

Germany: Germany recorded more than 2,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time since late April, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There were 2,179 new infections in the 24 hours through Friday morning, up from 1,855 a day earlier and the most since 14 April.

Greece: Greece reported 135 cases of coronavirus infections among migrants and refugees made homeless by a fire at a large refugee on the island of Lesbos.

China: China reported 32 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, marking the highest daily increase in more than a month and up sharply from nine cases reported a day earlier, the Chinese health authority said on Friday. The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections among returned travellers.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported no new confirmed cases of the coronavirus for the first time in more than five weeks as hopes rise that an outbreak discovered in Auckland last month has been stamped out.

Australia: The coronavirus hot spot of Victoria reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections in more than a week as the state began relaxing lockdown restrictions. The state reported five deaths from Covid-19 and 45 cases in the last 24 hours.

Pakistan: Pakistan reported 752 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the most in five weeks. The country, which has the third-most cases in Asia, had seen new cases drop gradually over the past three months. Pakistan opened schools and marriage halls this month after it recently reopened most industries, including tourism.

South Korea: South Korea added 126 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, down from 153 a day earlier, the 16th straight day the caseload was lower than 200, according to data from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The total number of confirmed cases reached 22,783, while the death tally rose by five to 377.

Mexico: Mexico reported 3,182 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 684,113, according to data released by the Health Ministry on Thursday night. Deaths rose 201 to 72,179. The increases in cases and deaths were both below the seven-day average, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Argentina: Argentina reported 12,701 new Covid-19 cases and 232 deaths on Thursday, according to the government. Total Covid-19 cases now stand at 601,713, with 12,460 fatalities.

Brazil: New cases and deaths are slowing in all regions of Brazil, according to the Health Ministry. Confirmed cases increased by 36,303 in the last 24 hours to almost 4.46 million. Deaths rose by 829 to 134,935, Thursday’s data showed.

Lockdown updates

Israel: Israel is preparing to enter a second national coronavirus lockdown on Friday, becoming the first country to re-enter nationwide restrictions. The unpopular lockdown is expected to last at least three weeks, upending a normally festive period filled with Jewish holidays.

Canada: Ontario, Canada’s largest province, will fine people who hold social gatherings in defiance of new limits amid a spike in cases in the cities of Toronto and Ottawa, as well as a region just outside Toronto. Starting on Friday in those three areas, only 10 people will be allowed to gather indoors – down from the current limit of 25. The number for outdoor gatherings will drop to 25 from 100.

China: The Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero for the coronavirus outbreak, is reopening for international flights, ending an eight-month moratorium. China stopped international flights in March as Covid-19 swept the world, but has now largely brought the disease under control at home through travel restrictions, testing and lockdowns.

Australia: The Australian government is expected to announce an increase in the number of citizens able to return home after a National Cabinet meeting later on Friday, where states will be asked to boost quarantine capacity. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seeking to raise the cap on the number of people allowed into Australia each week by 2,000 from next Friday.

Serbia: Serbia will require all travellers returning from areas it considers high-risk for Covid-19 to fill in an online form ahead of time. The measure will help authorities quickly trace returnees who develop symptoms of the coronavirus, Serbian media reported. It comes into effect at 6pm local time on Friday.

Economic updates

Europe: Leaders of Europe’s coronavirus-stricken travel and tourism industries have appealed to the EU’s chief executive to press governments to end quarantine requirements and instead embrace coordinated restrictions and testing.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Takeda and CoVIg alliance to start late-stage clinical trials of plasma-based therapy – Moderna to seek emergency approval for vaccine in high-risk groups

18 September 2020 

BioNTech has agreed to acquire Novartis’s manufacturing facility in Marburg, Germany to expand its Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity by up to 750 million doses annually, once the site is completely operational. BioNTech expects production of up to 250 million doses of BNT162b2 in the first half of next year, based on drug substance and drug product manufacturing capabilities at the Novartis facility.

A plasma-based Covid-19 therapy developed by Takeda and its CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance partners is set commence late-stage clinical trials this month, reported Reuters. The trial is funded by the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and will enrol 500 participants from the US, UK, Argentina and Denmark.

Eli Lilly has entered into a global antibody manufacturing partnership with Amgen to boost the supply capacity available for its potential Covid-19 antibody therapies. Currently, Lilly is testing different neutralising antibodies to potentially prevent and treat the disease. The alliance with Amgen is meant to scale up manufacturing, if Lilly’s therapies are successful in clinical trials and obtain regulatory nod.

Moderna plans to seek emergency authorisation for the use of its Covid-19 vaccine in high-risk groups, if the vaccine shows at least 70% effectiveness, said Reuters citing the company’s chief executive. The vaccine candidate is currently in Phase III trial, which enrolled 25,296 participants so far. An interim analysis is expected to take place in October or November.

8:10 am

Why China’s economic growth will not drive global recovery

18 September

China’s economy was earlier predicted to contract but new estimates show that the country may post growth during the year.

Ray Fisman, economics professor at Boston University, shared an article on how China is the only G20 country expected to witness a positive economic growth in 2020, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD has revised its forecast for China’s growth to 1.8% from the previous forecast of 3.7% contraction in June.

China has brought the coronavirus outbreak under control and has been able to reopen businesses enabling a quicker economic rebound than previously expected.

China’s recovery, however, will not be a driver for global growth, as the country’s economy is now more dependent on domestic consumption rather than exports.

The OECD also noted that the global economy is slowly moving towards recovery as household spending on consumer durables increased.

Read more

11:01 am

Oxfam criticises the vaccine nationalism of richer countries

Using data from Airfinity, non-profit charity confederation Oxfam has warned that wealthy countries which make up on 13% of the world’s population have already bought up approximately 51% of doses of the five leading Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

This creates a situation, where even if all five vaccines did get approved, almost two-thirds of the world’s population would not have access to a Covid-19 vaccine until 2022 at the earlier.

Oxfam notes that while the UK has managed to secure deals for several leading vaccines candidates, which is the equivalent of five doses per head of the UK population, analysis shows that Bangladesh, for example, has only secured one dose per nine people.

Oxfam health policy advisor Anna Marriott commented: “These figures reveal how pharmaceutical monopolies are being protected at the expense of people’s health and the global economy.

“While countries like the UK are understandably concerned about securing enough doses, until they challenge monopolies these deals will leave many poorer nations out in the cold.

“Most importantly, we will never be able to produce a vaccine at the scale required until corporations share their knowledge free from patents. We need a People’s Vaccine, not a profit vaccine.”

Other charitable organisations have also emphasised that the only way to logistically end this pandemic is for Covid-19 vaccines to be available to those at-need, irrespective of where they live.

9:12 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Lilly reports positive results for Covid-19 antibody drugs – Indonesia to sign up to COVAX Facility

17 September 2020 

Eli Lilly has reported positive proof-of-concept results from the BLAZE-1 clinical trial, which assessed SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibody candidate LY-CoV555, of symptomatic Covid-19 in outpatients. An interim analysis found that the drug candidate decreased rate of hospitalisation. The pre-specified primary endpoint of change from baseline in viral load at day 11 was reached at the 2800mg dose level.

The US Government has plans to begin distributing a Covid-19 vaccine within a day of regulatory authorisation, with the potential that a limited quantity of doses may be available at the end of the year. According to the government’s distribution plans, vaccines will be allocated for each state depending on the critical populations recommended first for vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A study by the University of Illinois Chicago in the US has found that Covid-19 drug candidate, azithromycin, is not related to an increase in cardiac events, but its use alongside some other heart drugs could rise cardiac events. Findings revealed that a QT-prolonging medication plus azithromycin increased the risk of cardiac events by 40%, when compared to amoxicillin.

Indonesia Ministry of Health has signed a memorandum of understanding with UNICEF to ensure access to a Covid-19 vaccine, once available. The access will be provided through the COVAX Facility initiative, which is led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization, to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Sinovac Biotech is set to conduct a clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in adolescents and children later this month. About 552 healthy participants aged three to 17 years will be given two doses of the CoronaVac vaccine or a placebo in a Phase I/II trial in China. According to a company spokesperson, Chinese regulator already approved the trial.

9:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Pfizer notes some side effects to vaccine experienced by trial participants – Germany commits €745m to BioNTech and CureVac

16 September 2020 

Novavax has expanded its existing deal with Serum Institute of India, increasing its production capacity of Covid-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, to more than two billion doses per year as of 2021. As part of the amended agreement, Serum Institute will also make the antigen component of NVX‑CoV2373.

Germany has granted $745m in funding to domestic firms BioNTech and CureVac to help accelerate their work on Covid-19 vaccines and improve manufacturing capacity in the country. Of the total funding, BioNTech will receive $445m, subject to reaching certain milestones. The health ministry is also said to be in discussions to provide funding to a third company, IDT Biologika.

Pfizer has said that some Phase III clinical trial participants were experiencing mild-to-moderate side effects with its investigational Covid-19 vaccine candidate. During an investor conference call, the company executives noted that more than 12,000 study participants had received a second dose of the vaccine candidate, according to Reuters; the company has recruited more than 29,000 volunteers so far. Pfizer added that it was continuously analysing the safety and tolerability of the vaccine candidate.

Lonza has entered into an agreement with Humanigen to manufacture the latter’s Covid-19 therapy lenzilumab. The deal will allow Humanigen to leverage Lonza’s monoclonal antibody manufacturing and regulatory expertise. It also provides Humanigen with additional capacity for production of the drug candidate, with operations expected to begin next year.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Aurobindo Pharma in India have partnered to develop Covid-19 vaccine candidates. Three CSIR labs – Cellular and Molecular Biology, Institute of Medical Technology, Chandigarh and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology – are  working to develop the vaccines using various technology platforms. Aurobindo Pharma will be responsible for clinical development and commercialisation of the vaccines.

1:36 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 29.3 million – continued rise in UK

15 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 29,300,000 with over 928,000 deaths and 19,862,000 recoveries.

Worldwide the Covid-19 cases and recoveries are trending upwards while deaths remain low.

The US has the largest number of confirmed cases globally, with California reporting the highest number of cases in the US.

The majority of African countries continue to report very low levels of confirmed cases. This is most likely due to minimal testing and inefficient documentation of results to a national database.

The UK has seen a steady rise in newly confirmed cases per day since July.

While this may be due to an increase in testing, travel has also increased in the same time frame and should be considered as a cause.

With winter fast approaching, cold induced pneumonia and the flu threaten to compound the Covid-19 threat, possibly burdening the NHS further.

Nneoma Okeke, MD, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:39 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 29.2 million – China expects vaccine to be ready by November

15 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 29.2 million, with deaths exceeding 928,000 according to Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.5% as compared with the same time Sunday to 6.54 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.2% to 194,339.

Only 3.5 percent of Covid-19 tests came back positive in California over the last seven days, the lowest rate since the state began reporting the data in March, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

India: India’s death toll crossed 80,000 on Tuesday, after 1,054 people died in 24 hours. India also reported 83,809 new coronavirus infections for its lowest daily jump in a week, the health ministry said on Tuesday. However, Covid cases now number more than 4.9 million.

Germany: Confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 1,407 to 261,762, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported no new cases of Covid-19 spread in the community on Tuesday.

China: Mainland China reported eight new Covid-19 cases on 14 September, down from ten cases a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Chinese city of Ruili, which lies on the border with Myanmar, will begin nucleic acid testing of all residents after two people were discovered to have Covid-19 on Sunday.

Australia: Victoria state, at the centre of the country’s latest coronavirus outbreak, has reported 42 new cases, compared with 35 a day earlier.

South Korea: South Korea added 106 more cases in the past 24 hours, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The number of confirmed cases was the smallest in a month, while remaining below 200 for a 13th day. Total number of confirmed cases rose to 22,391. The death toll rose by four to 367.

Vaccine news

China: China expects a vaccine to be ready as soon as November. Wu Guizhen, head of biosafety at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said she expected Chinese vaccines for Covid-19 would soon be available to the public as soon as November or December

South Korea: South Korea will secure early supply of the novel coronavirus vaccines for 30 million people, or 60% of its population, prime minister Chung Sye-kyun told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Lockdown updates

Wales: A new national lockdown could be imposed in Wales within weeks unless people follow the updated rules on social gatherings, the country’s health minister has said.

Jordan: Jordan will suspend schools for two weeks from Thursday and close places of worship, restaurants and public markets as part of renewed restrictions after a record rise in coronavirus cases in the last few days, Reuters reports.

US: A federal judge in the United States state of Pennsylvania has ruled that lockdown measures imposed in March to curb the spread of Covid-19 are “unconstitutional”.

Economic updates

Global: The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out progress on lofty goals such as ending world poverty and hunger in the next decade, but the economic damage of Covid-19 shows how badly such global development is needed, philanthropist Bill Gates said.

Asia: The economies of developing Asia – from the Cook Islands in the Pacific to Kazakhstan in Central Asia – are expected to contract in 2020 for the first time in nearly six decades, throwing tens of millions of people into poverty, according to the Asian Development Bank.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong will launch a new round of its virus relief fund as the city’s economy continues to suffer from a recession prompted by pro-democracy protests and worsened throughout the pandemic. Fresh funding would add to nearly HK$290 billion ($37 billion) in direct Covid-19-related relief measures.

9:16 am

Coronavirus company news summary – RECOVERY trial starts studying Regeneron’s antibody cocktail – UK signs €900m supply deal with Valneva

15 September 2020 

A large-scale randomised clinical trial, RECOVERY, which is led by the University of Oxford in the UK, is set to test Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ anti-viral antibody cocktail, REGN-COV2, to treat hospitalised Covid-19 patients. The trial will assess REGN-COV2 plus usual standard-of-care compared to standard-of-care alone in a total of about 4,000 patients. REGN-COV2 is said to be the first specifically designed Covid-19 treatment evaluated by RECOVERY.

The UAE has granted emergency approval for use of a Covid-19 inactivated vaccine developed by Chinese-based pharmaceutical company Sinopharm. A Phase III trial of the vaccine candidate was commenced in the UAE in July and is ongoing. UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said that the vaccine will be given to its ‘first line of defence heroes who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus.’

The UK Government has signed an agreement, valued at nearly €900m, for the supply of French company Valneva’s inactivated Covid-19 vaccine, VLA2001. Valneva agreed to provide 60 million doses in the second half of next year. The UK holds options for more than 40 million doses in 2022 and an additional 30-90 million doses, in aggregate, across 2023 to 2025.

Eli Lilly has plans to seek emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies for its baricitinib to treat hospitalised patients. The decision is based on data from ACTT-2 clinical trial, where the combination of baricitinib with Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir reduced time to recovery when compared to remdesivir alone in hospitalised Covid-19 patients. If authorised, Lilly will make baricitinib available via commercial channels and will work with hospitals and governments to allow patient access.

Researchers at Imperial College London will conduct small clinical trials to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of inhaled versions of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate, as well as the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. Currently, clinical trials are testing intramuscular formulations of these vaccine candidates. The new trials will assess low, medium and high dose of the vaccines administered as an aerosol in a total of 30 participants.

7:39 am

US economy to bounce back earlier than expected – economic stimulus packages open to fraud

15 September

The US economy was earlier projected to return to pre Covid-19 levels by the fourth quarter of 2021.

New analysis indicates that the country’s economy may recover sooner than previously forecast.

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis SV, tweeted about the projected recovery of the US economy.

The US GDP is expected to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels two quarters earlier of Q2 2021 than the previously projected Q4 2021, according to Morgan Stanley.

Lacalle added that the recovery will mainly be supported by debt-fuelled government spending with the private sector requiring more time to recover.

Meanwhile, Prof. Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on how the stimulus package announced by the UK government is giving rise to a wave of fraudulent claims

Read more

1:52 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases exceed 29 million – significant rise expected in India

14 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 29,032,000 with over 924,000 deaths and 19,625,000 recoveries.

Worldwide the Covid-19 cases and recoveries and trending upwards while deaths remain low.

While the United states still has the highest number of cases, they have been trending downwards since July.

Cases in India are steadily rising most likely due to the dramatic increase in testing.

India’s massive population means many more will be tested in order to have a comparative rate of tests per thousand people as the western countries.

This means we expect to see many more cases from India in the coming weeks.

The United Arab Emirates has seen a continuous rise in cases since August but with a steady decline in the positive test rate since its peak in June.

This rise is most likely due to increased testing with the UAE having the highest rate of testing per thousand people worldwide.

Nneoma Okeke, MD, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

10:22 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 29 million with more than 924,000 deaths

14 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 29 million, with deaths exceeding 924,000 according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization reported a record single-day increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, as the tally surged by a further 307,930 infections in just 24 hours.

US: The US added 40,016 cases, a 0.6% rise in line with the average daily increase of the previous seven days. Total cases are now 6,519,979.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry has reported 4,408 new coronavirus cases and 217 additional deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 668,381 and the death toll to 70,821 deaths.

Greece: Greek health authorities have reported 207 new coronavirus cases, including 29 infections from abroad, with three more fatalities, as the country prepares to reopen its schools on Monday.

France: France reported 7,183 new coronavirus cases on Sunday after more than 10,000 a day earlier, which was the most since a national lockdown ended in May.

UK: The UK reported 3,300 new cases on Sunday, the third straight day over 3,000. Rising cases prompted the UK on Thursday to limit to six the number of people who can gather indoors or outdoors, starting Monday.

Italy: Italy reported 1,458 new cases on Sunday, compared with 1,501 the previous day, with 72,143 daily tests. There were seven additional deaths, higher than the 6 deaths reported on Saturday.

Portugal: Portugal reported 673 cases, bringing the total to 63,983, the government said. The country has had more than 600 daily new confirmed coronavirus cases in three of the last five days, remaining at a level last recorded in April.

Germany: Germany’s monitor for infectious diseases has reported that the country’s Covid-19 cases have gone up by 927 to 260,355. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) also reported on Monday that the death toll rose by one to 9,350.

Norway: Norway’s infection rate has risen to 24.8 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks, overtaking Sweden’s rate of 24.0, Aftenposten reported. That’s despite Norway introducing stricter restrictions than its neighbour.

Australia: The state of Victoria on Monday reported seven deaths from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 35 new cases, its lowest daily rise in infections since late June.

Indonesia: The Doctors Without Borders (also known as MSF) has called on the Indonesian government to step up education regarding the spread of the coronavirus in the country, saying that the spread of rumours and fake news is creating “panic” in many communities.

China: China’s National Health Commission has reported ten new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s confirmed cases to 85,194. China also reported 39 new asymptomatic cases, which the government does not include in its total count.

South Korea: South Korea’s coronavirus monitoring agency reported on Monday at least 109 Covid-19 cases – the 12th straight day that infections stayed below 200. Yonhap quoted the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency as saying that of the new cases reported, 98 were of domestic origin, with the overall total hitting 22,285.

Iran: Iran recorded 128 fatalities and 2,089 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 23,157 in 402,029 known infections, latest Health Ministry figures showed.

Lockdown updates

Israel: Israel’s government will impose a new three-week nationwide lockdown that will start on Friday, after the rate of infection during the past two weeks became the highest recorded since the outbreak began.

New Zealand: New Zealand will remain at its current Covid-19 alert level for at least another week. The country is currently under low-level restrictions due to continued community transmission of the coronavirus in Auckland. Physical distancing is required, and masks are legally mandated on public transport.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia will partially lift its suspension of international flights as of 15 September to allow “exceptional categories” of citizens and residents to travel.

Philippines: Doctors in the Philippines have expressed opposition to the government’s plan to easing physical distancing regulations in the country, saying it is too early to relax the rules. The country has over 261,000 cases and at least 4,371 deaths due to the pandemic.

Economic updates

South Africa: Finance minister Tito Mboweni warned on Sunday the economy could shrink by more than the 7% forecast for 2020, stressing that public finances are “overstretched”.

9:16 am

Coronavirus company news summary – AstraZeneca restarts vaccine trials after pause – Merck starts enrolment of Phase I/II vaccine trial

14 September 2020 

The Medicines Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA) in the UK has said that the clinical trials of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate are safe to resume. AstraZeneca voluntarily paused the late-stage trials of the vaccine last week after a participant in the UK study experienced an unexplained illness. The independent committee in the UK completed its review and then recommended to the MHRA that trials were safe to restart. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford said that further medical information cannot be disclosed.

Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted a proposal to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand their Phase III pivotal Covid-19 vaccine trial to include  up to 44,000 volunteers. The initial target enrolment was 30,000 participants, which the companies expect to achieve by next week. The propose expansion would enable the enrolment of a diverse population of individuals as young as 16 and people with chronic, stable HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B.

US-based Merck has started participant enrolment for its Phase I/II Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial, according to the government database Based in Belgium, the study is designed to assess the investigational vaccine V591 in 260 healthy volunteers. Merck gained the vaccine candidate as part of a deal signed in May with Austrian vaccine company Themis Bioscience.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary Janssen will commence Phase II clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate in Spain today, said the programme’s lead investigator. La Paz University Hospital clinical trials unit chief Alberto Borobia said that 190 participants will be enrolled at three hospitals in the country. The Phase II trial will also be conducted in Germany and the Netherlands, noted Reuters.

7:12 am

How wearing face masks can help reduce Covid-19 symptoms

14 September

Research has indicated that wearing face masks can help in limiting the exposure of the Covid virus and in turn generate an immune response in the body.

Masks can help in increasing asymptomatic cases and slow the spread of the disease.

Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, shared an article on how wearing masks can help in providing immunity against the Covid-19 virus.

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine notes that wearing masks can help in reducing the severity of the virus.

Wearing a mask can help in creating a form of inoculation that can generate immunity against the virus and slow its spread as a vaccine is awaited.

The research indicates that the amount of virus a person is exposed to determines the severity of the illness.

Meanwhile, Colin Williams, professor of public policy at University of Sheffield, shared an article on the rise in Covid-19 cases in the UK.

According to research conducted at the Imperial College London, the number of cases is doubling every 7.7 days.

At this rate, the UK will have 10,000 new cases each day in the next two weeks.

Read more

11:45 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid fatalities near 910,000 – infections pass 28.1 million

11 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 28,170,000, with more than 909,000 deaths and 18,995,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

This is primarily driven by increasing cases observed in Latin America, the US, and India.

Cases are rising alarmingly in India with no indication to suggest that cases will decline in the near future.

Argentina is reporting an increasing trend of Covid-19 cases in Latin America.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high numbers of new daily cases.

Total confirmed cases collectively in Africa are very low with only South Africa among the top 30 most affected countries globally.

South Africa is reporting a steady decline in daily new cases in recent days.

However, countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have reported increasing trend of daily new cases.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:52 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 28.1 million – Western Europe a new hotspot

11 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 28.1 million, with deaths exceeding 909,000 according to Johns Hopkins University.

Latin America: The number of confirmed coronavirus infections topped eight million in Latin America, though there were indications the spread of the virus was slowing in some countries. During the past week, the daily average of cases in the region fell to 67,173 through Wednesday from 80,512 in the previous seven days, according to a tally by Reuters.

Europe: Western Europe has surpassed the US in new daily infections, re-emerging as a global hotspot after bringing the pandemic under control earlier in the summer. The 27 countries in the European Union plus the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein recorded 27,233 new cases on Wednesday, compared with 26,015 for the US.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.38 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 191,444.

India: India has set another global one-day record for coronavirus infections with 96,551 new cases. The country’s total reported cases are 4,562,414, according to Johns Hopkins data, and deaths stand at 76,271.

Germany: Germany has recorded 1,484 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total of confirmed cases in the country to 2567,850, and 9,342 deaths.

France: France recorded almost 10,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, its highest-ever single-day total, a day before a cabinet meeting that might consider imposing fresh, local lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded just one new community case of Covid-19. The person in their 50s is linked to the cluster around the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group in Auckland.

South Korea: In South Korea, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 176 new cases of Covid-19 as of midnight Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 21,919, with 350 deaths.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 3,144 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 2,836 registered on September 5.

China: Mainland China reported 15 new coronavirus cases at the end of Thursday, up from seven cases a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement all of the cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, marking the 26th straight day of no local infections.

Japan: The Japanese government is planning to have testing centres for coronavirus in nightlife districts across the nation in a bid to prevent flare-ups, Yomiuri reported, without saying who provided the information. Areas to be targeted include bar districts in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka.

UK: Intensive care medics were significantly less likely to have been infected with Covid-19 than cleaners and other healthcare workers in departments deemed a lower risk, according to a study of several British hospitals at the peak of the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Brazil: Brazil is still to decide if it will join the COVAX Facility, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization, the acting health minister said on Thursday.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, said a curfew imposed to contain the state’s coronavirus outbreak will remain in place as health officials reported 43 new cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours.

Singapore and Japan: Will begin a reciprocal green lane for business and official travel on 18 September, according to a joint government press statement.

Myanmar: A domestic flight ban came into effect in Myanmar on Friday, with Myanmar National Airlines, Air KBZ, Air Thanlwin and other airlines announcing the suspension of their services, many for at least two weeks.

Colombia: Maria Orozco, Colombia’s transport minister, said international flights to and out of the country will begin gradually, starting on 21 September, following a six-month hiatus to contain the spread of coronavirus.

US: The US is ending its Covid-19 screening of international travellers arriving at airports as airlines seek new ways to more aggressively test for the virus to boost traffic.


9:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – China to study University of Hong Kong Covid-19 vaccine – SII pauses its AstraZeneca trial

11 September 2020

China has granted approval to conduct human clinical trials of the country’s first nasal spray Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by a team of researchers led by the University of Hong Kong. The Phase I trials, scheduled to launch in November this year, will enrol 100 participants, reported Global Times. This vaccine candidate is said to be the first of its kind to secure authorisation from the China National Medical Products Administration.

Serum Institute of India (SII) has paused its clinical trials of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate after receiving a show-cause notice from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). AstraZeneca temporarily paused its studies after a participant developed unexplained illness. SII said that it had not faced any issues in its trials so far, but temporarily stopped them as per DCGI’s instructions.

The Brazilian state of Bahia has agreed to perform Phase III clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, and intends to purchase 50 million doses to distribute in Brazil, according to Reuters citing officials. Bahia is set to receive 500 doses after regulator Anvisa approves the trial protocol.

9:13 am

Why US dollar will remain dominant in spite of Covid

11 September

The weakening of the US dollar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the new policies proposed by the Federal Reserve, led to speculations that the US dollar is losing its dominance as a global currency.

However, there is ‘push back’ that these speculations are exaggerated because ‘there are no other contenders’ for a reserve currency.

Daniel Lacalle, an economist and author, tweeted on how the US dollar index lost 10% since March and the speculations surrounding its collapse as a reserve currency.

He noted that these speculations are false and that the US dollar index has weakened only relative to the Euro and the Yen.

Lacalle added that the status of the US dollar as a reserve currency is not at risk as there is no other contender.


Read more

10:30 am

International update: Global Covid deaths likely to pass 1 million by October – infections near 28 million

10 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed 903,000 – just over ten weeks after passing 500,000. If global deaths continued at the current rate, the toll is likely to pass one million before 1 October, ten months after the World Health Organization was first informed of the first cases in Wuhan, China. The number of cases worldwide is nearing 28 million.

Europe: Infections continue to rise rapidly across Europe. France has seen its second-highest one-day case total of the pandemic so far and hospitalisations are at a one-month high, as the Netherlands and Portugal both confirmed their highest daily infections since April.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.2% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.33 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 189,972.

India: India has reported another record for daily coronavirus cases with the health ministry confirming 95,735 cases over the past 24 hours. Some 1,172 people in India also died from the virus, the ministry said.

Mexico: Mexico reported 4,647 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 647,507, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night. Cases rose 0.7%, compared with a seven-day average rise of 0.8%.

Spain: Spain’s daily coronavirus infections climbed close to last week’s four-month high, as the country struggles to control fresh outbreaks. There were 4,410 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 3,168 recorded Tuesday and taking the total to 543,379, according to Health Ministry data.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s health minister has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, as the government struggles to contain a mini-cluster centred on an evangelical church in Auckland.

Lockdown updates

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes a mass testing programme is the UK’s “only hope for avoiding a second national lockdown before a vaccine”, according to leaked official documents.

Japan: Japan plans to lift restrictions on bar and restaurant opening hours. Tokyo is reportedly planning to lift restrictions on opening hours for bars and restaurants, as new coronavirus cases in the city continued on a downward trend.

Australia: Australia’s health minister says the state of Victoria should consider lifting a night-time curfew in Melbourne if it wasn’t imposed for health reasons. The state has been under pressure over the 8pm (10:00 GMT) – 5am (19:00 GMT) curfew since the chief health officer told local radio he hadn’t recommended the policy.

Indonesia: Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan says the Indonesian capital will head back into lockdown as it steps up efforts to tackle what he said was an “emergency – more pressing than the start of the pandemic.”

Economic updates

US: New York City restaurants struggling to stay in business after months of closures imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic won a long-awaited approval on Wednesday to resume limited indoor dining.

Indonesia: Indonesia’s benchmark stock index fell 5% after its capital brought back social distancing measures amid a continued rise in the number of coronavirus cases.


9:23 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.8 million – deaths exceed 903,000

10 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,871,000, with more than 903,000 deaths and 18,780,000 recoveries.

India is the most affected country from Covid-19 with over 90,000 daily new cases and over 1,000 daily new deaths.

The US and Brazil continue to report the high number of daily new cases, but the daily new cases have started to gradually decline in both countries.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high number of daily new cases and the testing positivity rate is also rising in these countries.

According to World Health Organization, countries worldwide are now experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services and vaccinations, as the economic and health resources are diverted to manage Covid-19.

This might reverse the years of progress made in child and maternal health.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:06 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Pfizer/BioNTech publishes pre-clinical data for its lead candidate – Dasa and COVAXX partner on vaccine clinical trial in Brazil

10 September 2020 

Pfizer and BioNTech have reported positive preliminary preclinical data of their lead Covid-19 vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, in mouse and non-human primate models. In a non-human primate preclinical study, BNT162b2 was able to protect rhesus macaques against Covid-19. The vaccine candidate triggered SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies in vaccinated-macaques, along with viral antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has teamed up with pharmaceutical company Landsteiner Scientific to supply 32 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine to Mexico. Deliveries are set to begin in November 2020, subject to Mexican regulatory approvals.

China-based Sinovac Biotech has reported positive data from healthy adults aged 60 and above in Phase I/II clinical trials of its inactivated Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CoronaVac. According to the results, the vaccine showed good safety and immunogenicity, which was comparable to that observed in healthy adults aged 18 to 5 in the prior studies. Sinovac noted that CoronaVac appeared to be well tolerated across low dose, medium dose and high dose groups. Investigators did not report any vaccine-related serious adverse event.

Dasa has signed a letter of intent with United Biomedical subsidiary COVAXX to jointly conduct a large-scale human efficacy clinical trial of the latter’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate in Brazil. COVAXX will provide Dasa with its experimental s UB-612 vaccine for a Phase II/III clinical trial in Brazil. UB-612 is a synthetic multitope peptide-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate.