Vaccines Tackle New York Variant, But Covid Isn’t Going Away
Axios reports that though vaccinations are available across the U.S., coronavirus' spread is unchanged. Other reports cover improper Moderna doses at a military site, a study giving third doses of Pfizer vaccine to volunteers and hopes for yet another new vaccine maker.
The New York Times:
Vaccines Are Effective Against The New York Variant, Studies Find
For weeks, New Yorkers have witnessed the alarming rise of a homegrown variant of the coronavirus that has kept the number of cases in the city stubbornly high. City officials have repeatedly warned that the variant may be more contagious and may dodge the immune response. On that second point, at least, they can now breathe easier: Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will effectively prevent serious illness and death from the variant, two independent studies suggest. Antibodies stimulated by those vaccines are only slightly less potent at controlling the variant than the original form of the virus, both studies found. (Mandavilli, 4/22)
Coronavirus Cases Aren't Budging — Even After Vaccinations Doubled
The U.S. is pumping out coronavirus vaccines by the millions, but the coronavirus isn’t slowing down. The big picture: This spring has seen a surge in vaccinations but almost no change in the coronavirus’ spread, leaving the U.S. with an outbreak that’s still too big. Where it stands: In the last week of February, the U.S. was averaging 65,686 new coronavirus cases per day. Now, eight weeks later, we’re averaging 64,814 new cases per day. And yet, over the same eight-week period, the U.S. has administered more than 65 million vaccine doses — roughly doubling the number of Americans who have gotten at least one shot. (Baker and Witherspoon, 4/22)
The Baltimore Sun:
About 800 Moderna COVID Vaccine Doses Improperly Stored At Fort Meade; Recipients Will Likely Need Third Shot
Approximately 800 Department of Defense employees and members of the military community who received COVID-19 vaccines at Fort George G. Meade on two days this month will likely need to get a third dose after officials discovered some Moderna vaccine vials were improperly stored. Eighty vials of the vaccine were stored outside of the temperature range recommended by Moderna, which affects the viability, according to a statement released Thursday from Kimbrough Ambulatory Center, the main medical facility at Fort Meade. The doses were administrated on April 7 and April 12. (Mongilio, 4/22)
Only One Vaccine Is OK For Older Teens. It’s Also The Hardest To Manage In Rural America.
As states expand covid-19 vaccine eligibility to allow shots for 16- and 17-year-olds, teens in rural America may have trouble getting them. Of the three vaccines authorized in the U.S., currently only one can go to that age group: the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. That vaccine comes in 1,170-dose packages at minimum and expires after five days in a fridge, meaning too many doses on too tight a deadline for many rural communities to manage. (Houghton, 4/23)
The Motley Fool:
Could This Little-Known Company's Vaccine Candidate Leapfrog Moderna And Pfizer?
Investors looking for exposure to the COVID-19 vaccine market may naturally lean toward Moderna, which developed mRNA-1273, and Pfizer, which developed BNT162b2 in collaboration with BioNTech. These companies were the first to earn Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their respective products. But there is a small-cap company looking to make waves in this space: Ocugen, a biotech headquartered in Pennsylvania. ... Ocugen is developing Covaxin -- an experimental coronavirus vaccine -- in collaboration with India-based Bharat Biotech. The two entities penned an agreement earlier this year that stipulated that Ocugen would be responsible for the clinical development and commercialization of the candidate in the U.S. Consequently, Ocugen is set to keep 45% of the profits Covaxin will make in the country. Of course, all of this is contingent on the vaccine earning emergency authorization. (Bakiny, 4/22)
And the prospect of a third covid booster shot gains speed —
Hawaii Man Receives Third Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Dose In Booster Study: Report
A Hawaii man participating in a Pfizer-led study looking at third doses of its COVID-19 vaccine as booster shots said he joined the trial to help others, according to a local report. Gary Lahens of Honolulu took part in the company's vaccine trials for the safety of his family and community, he told news outlet KHON2. He rolled his sleeve before the cameras to show the bandage on his arm. "I did this study in the beginning because of my mom and my aunties, they’re all in their eighties," Lahens told the outlet. "I think it was a good thing for me to do." (Rivas, 4/22)
Scientist Who Helped Develop Pfizer-BioNTech Covid Vaccine Agrees Third Shot Is Needed As Immunity Wanes
The chief medical officer of BioNTech told CNBC on Wednesday that people will likely need a third shot of its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine as immunity against the virus wanes, agreeing with previous comments made by Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Dr. Ozlem Tureci, co-founder and CMO of BioNTech, which developed a Covid vaccine with Pfizer, said she also expects people will need to get vaccinated against the coronavirus annually, like for the seasonal flu. That’s because, she said, scientists expect vaccine-induced immunity against the virus will decrease over time. (Lovelace Jr., 4/21)