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Bron: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/22/new-cov ... idappshareNew Covid variant detected at Texas A&M lab shows signs of antibody resistance and more severe illness in young people
PUBLISHED THU, APR 22 202111:41 AM EDTUPDATED AN HOUR AGO
Scientists at Texas A&M University Global Health Research Complex say they’ve detected a new Covid-19 variant that shows signs of antibody resistance.
The variant is named BV-1 for its Brazos Valley origin.
Scientists say it is related to the U.K. strain and shows signs of resistance to antibody neutralization.
regels gelden niet voor de globalistische elite
(ABM FN-Dow Jones) De Europese Commissie heeft afgelopen vrijdag juridische stappen ondernomen tegen AstraZeneca, omdat de Britse fabrikant afspraken over het leveren van coronavaccins niet nakomt. Dit bevestigde woordvoerder Stefan De Keersmaecker maandagmiddag.
"Het bedrijf is niet in staat gebleken een betrouwbare strategie te presenteren om de tijdige levering van de [corona]doses te garanderen", aldus de zegsman.
De Commissie wil zo de vaccins zeker stellen, "waar de Europese burgers recht op hebben en die op basis van het contract zijn toegezegd", ging De Keersmaecker verder.
De zaak is aangespannen namens de Europese Commissie en de 27 individuele lidstaten.
25 april 2021
bron: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... d-the-west
With the resumption of global travel on the horizon, some people are discovering that their choice of vaccine could determine where they’re allowed to go.
Already, the European Union is planning to allow Americans vaccinated with shots approved by their drug agency to enter over the summer, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen suggested in a New York Times interview Sunday.
This means that those who have shots by Chinese makers like Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and Sinopharm Group Co. Ltd. are likely to be barred from entry for the foreseeable future, with stark consequences for global business activity and the revival of international tourism.
As inoculation efforts ramp up around the world, a patchwork of approvals across countries and regions is laying the groundwork for a global vaccine bifurcation, where the shot you get could determine which countries you can enter and work in.
For Chinese citizens who venture abroad regularly, and western nationals wanting to pursue business opportunities in the world’s second-largest economy, a dilemma is emerging about which shot to opt for. China so far recognizes only Chinese-made shots, and its vaccines are not approved in the U.S. or Western Europe.
Hong Kong citizen Marie Cheung travels to mainland China regularly for her work with an electric vehicle company, a routine that’s been interrupted by lengthy mandated quarantine stays since the pandemic began.
Of the two vaccine options available in the city -- one from Sinovac and another developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE -- Cheung plans to sign up for Sinovac for easier movement in and out of the mainland. Meanwhile, her British husband will go for the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, she says to boost his chances of visiting family in the U.K.
“For people who need to work in or return to mainland, the Chinese vaccine is the only option for them,” Cheung said. “Westerners will only choose the vaccine recognized by their home country.”
For millions of people worldwide who can’t choose which vaccines they get, the risk of more places becoming selective about which shots they recognize, especially given the vaccines’ varying efficacy rates, creates the possibility that even fully inoculated, people’s travel could still be limited -- with consequences for international business activity and the tourism industry.
The EU plans to introduce vaccine passes as of June, which will allow travel for those inoculated or recently recovered from Covid and are thus considered immune. According to the draft of the regulation -- subject to ongoing negotiations between EU governments and the European Parliament -- all vaccines approved by the bloc’s drugs regulator will be acceptable for travel, though EU members are “encouraged” to accept vaccines that have secured World Health Organization approval for emergency use and recognize certificates issued by non-EU nations. The final decision on which vaccines will be accepted rests on individual member states.
“A global division of peoples based around vaccine adoption will only exacerbate and continue the economic and political effects of the pandemic,” said Nicholas Thomas, associate professor in health security at the City University of Hong Kong. “It will risk the world being divided into vaccine silos based on vaccine nationalism rather than medical necessity.”
Many countries have shut their borders amid the pandemic, some allowing entry only to citizens, and even then with weeks-long quarantines after arrival. While vaccines are seen as the way to remove those entry barriers, considerable uncertainty remains over how, or if, nations will differentiate the at least 11 shots available worldwide.
Governments from China to Europe are discussing vaccine passports -- easily accessible and verifiable certifications stating that an individual has been inoculated -- but it’s unclear if countries will pursue universal recognition of all shots, or be selective on which they choose to recognize, particularly with the rise of virus variants and questions over whether the current crop of vaccines are as effective against them.
China eased visa application requirements for foreigners who had been inoculated with Chinese shots in March, including the ability to skip Covid tests or fill out travel declaration forms. The country’s homegrown vaccines are only available in some countries, like Brazil, Pakistan and Serbia. You can’t get Sinovac or the other Chinese shots in the U.S.
But in a sign that Beijing may be cognizant of the economic costs of being selective on vaccines, the Chinese embassy in Washington said this week that travelers who had taken certain western shots could still enter the country if they were departing from Dallas in Texas. State media has indicated that the Pfizer-BioNTech shot is likely to be approved mid-year.
“We do think that it’s important to get a very high percentage of the community vaccinated and the best way to do that is to offer choice,” said Ker Gibbs, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. As a key market and source of business for companies around the world, China’s border restrictions -- among the world’s strictest -- have “had a major impact on our ability to conduct business,” he said.
“Just speaking with our members, mobility is a high priority for us both in terms of allowing our executives to come in and out of China, but also to have their dependents travel back to China,” Gibbs said. “That’s been a big problem.”
China isn’t the only place that’s restricting access to people with certain vaccinations. Iceland currently omits Chinese and Russian vaccines from the list of those it approves for entry.
The question of vaccine recognition is a key one for tourism-dependent countries, with the $9 trillion global travel industry effectively paralyzed since the pandemic began.
China’s approach to this issue may impact their decision-making, as Chinese tourists have been among the biggest groups of foreign visitors to travel hot spots in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand and capitals as far away as Paris before the pandemic.
There were 155 million outbound tourists in 2019 spending more than $133 billion abroad, according to the China Tourism Academy, a government think tank and subsidiary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. While Indonesia, home to Bali, and Thailand have approved and are administering Chinese shots, New Zealand and Australia -- which has seen its relations with China deteriorate the past year over the virus and trade -- do not.
“I don’t know how practical it will be for western countries to recognize Chinese vaccines given the geopolitical environment,” said Ether Yin, a partner at Trivium China, a Beijing-based consultancy. “But there won’t be a true resumption of global travel or economy without the inclusion of China, plus dozens of economies who used Chinese vaccines.”
Katy Niu, a 26-year old Chinese citizen, is a skiing enthusiast and frequent traveler living in Beijing. It’s unclear whether she’ll be returning to international slopes like those in Japan’s Hokkaido anytime soon. Prior to the pandemic, she used to travel internationally at least three times a year, from shopping on Paris’s Champs Elysées to relaxing on a Southeast Asian beach.
Niu hasn’t gotten a vaccine yet, saying she didn’t feel any urgency since she’s not currently able to travel -- and doesn’t see it opening up in the near future.
“If other countries don’t recognize the Chinese vaccine, does that mean vaccination is not going to make a difference?” she said. “We are not offered a western vaccine anyways -- we don’t have a choice.”
— With assistance by Emma O'Brien, Claire Che, Karen Leigh, Jinshan Hong, and Nikos Chrysoloras
What’s the Best Covid Vaccine? Why It’s Not So Simple
By Jason Gale and Lisa Beyer
10 maart 2021
As scientists raced to develop Covid-19 vaccines, public health specialists were hoping that more than one group would succeed. Having multiple companies producing vaccines would make it easier to inoculate a lot of people fast. Be careful what you wish for. A range of vaccines with different efficacy results now has given rise to worries that some people may refuse the shot on offer in hopes of getting a “better” one later. In reality, comparing efficacy numbers isn’t necessarily the best way to measure a vaccine’s value. And as suppliers struggle to meet global demand, experts say the best vaccine for you is probably whichever one you can get now.
1. What does efficacy mean?
On a basic level, vaccine efficacy of 50%, for example, roughly means that an immunized person has a 50% reduced risk of becoming ill compared with an otherwise similar non-immunized person. However, the measurement can be applied to different questions about a vaccine’s effect. For example, several Covid-19 vaccines appear to successfully -- 100% -- avert hospitalization and death. But since relatively few people infected with SARS-CoV-2 become critically ill, it’s hard to measure such a rare outcome reliably in clinical trials involving only tens of thousands of participants -- a relatively small pool. Instead, the primary aim of most late-stage trials has been to measure broader efficacy against lab-confirmed Covid cases with any symptoms, including mild ones.
2. What efficacies are being reported?
The first two Western vaccines to prove effective -- one from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, and another from Moderna Inc. -- set a high bar, with efficacy estimated at 95% and 94%, respectively. That means that Covid cases among trial participants who received the vaccine were reduced by that much compared with those who got a placebo. Efficacy was estimated at 66.7% for AstraZeneca Plc’s and 89.3% for Novavax Inc.’s two-shot regimens; and 66.9% for Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine. Four vaccines from China and one each from India and Russia are reported to have efficacies ranging from 51% to 91%, summarized below.
VACCINE DEVELOPER EFFICACY
Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
50.7% in Brazil,
65.3% in Indonesia,
83.5% in Turkey
Sinopharm Group (Beijing Institute of Biological Products Co.) 79.3%
Sinopharm (Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co.) 72.5%
CanSino Biologics Inc. 65.7%
Bharat Biotech International Ltd. (Covaxin) 81%
Russian Direct Investment Fund (Sputnik V) 91.6%
3. Are the numbers reliable?
It’s hard to say. Data from the clinical trials have been reported in various ways and subject to varying degrees of scientific scrutiny. Although publication in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal is considered the gold standard for ensuring the accuracy, integrity and credibility of clinical data, only a handful of Covid vaccine studies have undergone that rigorous vetting process so far. Vaccine efficacy data from other studies have been reported in press releases, articles in state-owned media and in papers released on so-called pre-print servers and, therefore, weren’t reviewed by scientists not involved in the research.
4. Why isn’t efficacy all that counts?
For one thing, the figures aren’t directly comparable. That’s in part because the vaccines weren’t tested using the same criteria or groups of people. Also:
The vaccines were tested at different times and in different places. The intensity of the epidemic and measures to mitigate it, such as mask-wearing, may contribute to differences in efficacy estimates between countries.
SARS-CoV-2 has mutated over time, generating variants that appear to be more dangerous. So, in general, the first vaccines to prove effective likely faced fewer of these viral strains than subsequent ones have.
Vaccines take time to work, and the time periods during which efficacy was measured in clinical trials differ across studies.
Some trials may exclude participants with pre-existing conditions that could affect their response, while another trial might include such people. For example, Novavax reported a modest decline in efficacy in South Africa when HIV-infected individuals were included in the analysis.
While most of the trials were designed to evaluate how well vaccines prevented any symptomatic case of Covid, the J&J vaccine was tested for its ability to protect against moderate and severe Covid, which entails having at least two lesser symptoms or one or more serious one, such as an elevated respiratory rate.
5. So numbers may be misleading?
Yes, especially without understanding the clinical trial data on which they’re based. Although efficacy is given as a single figure, it’s actually a point estimate based on a range, or “confidence interval,” that scientists are 95% certain contains the true number. For the Moderna vaccine, in which 30,420 volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either vaccine or placebo, the range is 89.3-96.8%. That compares with a significantly wider range of 57.4-74% for the AstraZeneca jab, which studied its effects in a smaller group overall -- 17,178 participants -- and under varied conditions. In any case, research on all vaccines is incomplete because there hasn’t been sufficient time or follow-up to understand their efficacy longer-term. The best way to determine with a high degree of certainty how one vaccine stacks up against another is to compare the two under the same conditions. Such studies are likely to be carried out eventually.
6. What matters beyond the efficacy number?
Match to local variants:
Mutations mean that some vaccines may work better or worse in certain regions than in others, depending on which viral strains are present. The J&J results included data from dozens of testing sites in South Africa and Brazil, where two especially worrying variants are circulating. The vaccine achieved efficacies of 64% in South Africa and 61% in Latin America -- less than the 72% seen in the U.S., but still respectable outcomes. (The 66.9% result is the global figure.)
An interim analysis of trial results in February found that AstraZeneca’s vaccine didn’t protect people in South Africa against mild-to-moderate Covid-19 caused by the variant identified there, prompting the government to halt the shot’s rollout.
Match to recipients:
The safety and efficacy of a vaccine can vary among individuals depending on characteristics such as age, gender, genetic background and pre-existing conditions, including allergies. The European Union’s drug regulator said in January that it was unclear how well the AstraZeneca vaccine worked in people over 55 because it hadn’t been sufficiently tested in them. The agency authorized the inoculation for all adults anyway, but some governments restricted its use in older people. Those policies are changing now that real-world data have started showing the shot works for all age groups.
Separately, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which use a novel technology called messenger RNA (mRNA), have been linked to a small number of cases of anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that requires medical attention. It’s possible the trigger is an ingredient used just in these shots, in which case people prone to anaphylaxis might be better off with an alternative vaccine.
Several countries temporarily suspended giving AstraZeneca shots after a rare type of blood clot was reported in some recipients. The European Union’s drugs regulator identified at least 62 cases of so-called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis at the end of March, raising the possibility of a link, but insisted the shot’s benefits still outweigh its risks. Germany limited its use to older people as the rare condition predominantly occurred in recipients younger than 60.
All the authorized Covid vaccines so far require two doses except for J&J’s and CanSino’s, which are single shot -- a big plus.
A one-dose vaccine reduces the burden on the health-care system, which is substantial in a mass-vaccination campaign. It eliminates the challenge of getting people to return on time for a second dose; a U.S. study found 1 in 4 senior citizens failed to do so after getting an initial injection of the shingles vaccine. And it means people get the vaccine’s full protection sooner, without having to wait for a booster shot to kick in.
Vaccines have to be kept cold while they’re transported and stored, but the complexity of the so-called cold chain varies. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine needs to be shipped and stored at temperatures so low that special pharmacy freezers are required; after thawing, the doses must be used within five days. Moderna’s vials can be transported in regular freezers and stored for 30 days in a regular refrigerator. J&J’s ship frozen but keep for up to three months in a fridge.
AstraZeneca’s are even easier to handle: they can be transported and stored at normal refrigerator temperatures for at least six months. The Sinovac, Sinopharm and Covaxin vaccines can be stored in refrigerators for up to three years. That makes all those varieties better candidates for places that don’t have large freezer capacity.
The companies making Covid vaccines are getting different prices from different buyers and many of the figures aren’t public. Still it’s clear that some are significantly more expensive than others.
Moderna’s is the priciest. Its chief executive officer has given a range of $25 to $37 per dose. Next comes Pfizer-BioNTech: The EU is paying about $14.70 a dose, the U.S. $19.50, and Israel $30.
The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines are considerably more affordable. J&J’s formulation costs the EU $8.50 -- and only one dose is needed. The EU has paid $2.15 per AstraZeneca dose while South Africa shelled out $5.25.
7. What’s the bottom line?
Public health officials say that, at least initially, the best vaccine is whichever one is available at the time of eligibility. However, as supplies become less of a limitation, it’s likely some vaccines will offer advantages for different groups, such as a single shot for those for whom returning is difficult. Also, the uptake of vaccines across the world and the resulting effects on populations will inform the effectiveness of each vaccine at preventing infections and symptoms and establishing herd immunity under “real-world,” as opposed to clinical trial, conditions. A CDC study released March 29 found the mRNA vaccines were highly effective in preventing infections in such conditions among essential workers, echoing findings in a study that followed 1.2 million people in Israel.
Eight private jets carrying India's super-rich landed in London Friday morning ahead of the UK adding the country to its "red list" of pandemic-stricken countries, according to the British daily newspaper The Times .
Flight data showed the last private jet to land was a Bombardier Global 6000 from Mumbai. The plane's cabin, which can hold up to 17 passengers, landed 44 minutes before the UK slapped India with travel restrictions. ...
bron: https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/ ... newsletter