Covid-19 Timeline

Introduction and Purpose


Timeline with latest first or view in chronological order

24 November 2020

The first doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, if granted emergency use authorization by the US FDA, will shipped in mid-December, via special coolers filled with dry ice that hold at least 975 doses each. These will go to healthcare workers- and possibly, some members of vulnerable groups – in all 50 states. From then on, the vaccine will be shipped in weekly batches, reaching 40 million doses by the end of 2020. Source

23 November 2020

• AstraZeneca issues a press release with data from 11,363 participants in phase II/ III trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine, citing overall efficacy at 70 percent, which increased to 90 percent, depending on the dosing schedule. A full dose of vaccine followed by a second full dose a month later was 62% effective (among 8,895 study participants), while giving a half dose initially, followed by a full dose was 90 percent effective (among 2,741 study participants). Researchers have speculated about possible reasons why the half-dose regimen was more effective, such as differences in age or past exposure to similar viruses, or that the initial full dose could have made people immune to the delivery vehicle (a chimpanzee adenovirus), dampening immunity afterwards – and the small sample size could have also contributed. Overall, there were 131 cases of COVID-19 among study participants; none of the people who received the vaccine needed to be hospitalized. There were no serious adverse events.

Oxford and AstraZeneca plan to apply for emergency authorization in Brazil, Britain and the EU. Regulatory approval may lag in the US, where trials were paused. The company has made agreements to sell the vaccine in high-income countries upon approval and it plans to supply 44 percent of all doses to low- and middle-income countries, where it will be priced at $3 to $4 per dose globally until July 2021, and indefinitely in low-income countries. The company says it could produce up to three billion doses of the vaccine – which can be stored in a regular refrigerator- in 2021. Sources 1,2, 3
• The US FDA has called a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Advisory Products Advisory Committee for December 10th, to review Pfizer’s EUA application for its coronavirus vaccine, and asked members to reserve December 17th and 18th for meetings, possibly to review Moderna’s application for an EUA for its coronavirus vaccine. Source

22 November 2020

• The virtual G-20 Summit closed with a communique vowing support for fair global distribution of affordable COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, to ensure that poorer countries are not left behind, but it did not provide much in the way of specifics, stating: “…we fully support all collaborative efforts, especially the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative and its COVAX facility, and the voluntary licensing of intellectual property. We commit to addressing the remaining global financing needs, welcome the efforts made by the multilateral development banks to strengthen the financial support for countries’ access to COVID-19 tools, in line with existing multilateral efforts, and encourage them to do more.” Sources 1,2
• Italy reports the continent’s highest coronavirus death toll in November: 10,000 people, only 1.1 percent of them under age 50, have lost their lives. Source

21 November 2020

• Coronavirus cases in the US surpass 12 million – less than a week after reaching 11 million. Source
• In Japan, Russia and Ukraine, daily coronavirus cases break records. Source
• The US FDA grants an EUA for Regeneron’s COVID-19 antibody cocktail (REGN-COV2; casirivimab and imedievimab) , recommending it for recently diagnosed, mild to moderate COVID-19 in people at high risk of falling seriously ill and/or becoming hospitalized. The recommendation is based on phase II clinical trial data suggesting that monoclonal antibodies have the greatest benefit after diagnosis and in people who have not yet mounted their own immune response or who have a high viral load. In the US, a government-funded allocation program will make the first 300,000 doses available to people at no charge (although healthcare facilities will charge to administer the infusion). Source

20 November 2020

• Sinopharm announced that nearly one million people in China, including government personnel, students and people who traveled outside of the country, were given its experimental vaccine in July, and claims that “….there has not been a single case of infection after inoculation”. Source
• Pfizer applies to the US FDA for emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine, which will allow groups at high risk (such as healthcare workers and nursing home residents) to get the vaccine; an advisory committee meeting is scheduled for December 10. Emergency approval could be granted by mid-December. Pfizer is also seeking approval for the vaccine in Australia, Britain, Canada, Europe and Japan, and plans to “… submit immediately” to “… other regulatory agencies around the world.” Sources 1,2
• The US reports a record-breaking total of nearly 200,000 coronavirus cases. Source
• China reports locally transmitted coronavirus cases in Shanghai and Tianjin and initiates aggressive testing in both port cities to contain the virus. Source
• Iran shuts non-essential businesses and public places in 160 cities and imposes additional restrictions on travel for two weeks as its deputy health minister for research and development, Dr. Reza Malekzadeh, resigns in protest over his boss’s mishandling of the crisis. Source
• In Mexico, coronavirus deaths exceed 100,000. Source
• Oleksandr Komarida, Ukraine’s head of pharmaceutical supply department at the Health Ministry, reports a doubling of over-the-counter and prescription antibiotic sales since the pandemic began. Doctors have been needlessly prescribing antibiotics to over half of all people with COVID-19, raising concerns about furthering drug resistance. Source

18 November 2020

• The US reaches 250,000 coronavirus deaths, as experts predict the daily death toll could exceed 2,000 people per day. Source
• Pfizer issues a press release with new data from its phase III coronavirus vaccine trial, saying that BNT162b2 is 95 percent effective overall and 94 percent effective in older adults. There were 170 cases of COVID-19 among study participants – 10 of which were severe. Overall, 8 cases- one of which was severe – occurred in the vaccine group versus 162 – nine of them severe – in the placebo group. Overall, the vaccine was well-tolerated; the incidence of severe side effects was 3.8 percent for fatigue and 2 percent for headache (after the second dose). The company plans to apply to the US FDA for an EUA within days. Source
• China launches a phase III trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biologic Pharmacy and the Institute of Microbiology, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Additional trials will be launched next month in Uzbekistan, and trials are planned in Ecuador, Indonesia and Pakistan in the coming months, reaching a total of 29,000 study participants. Source

6 February 2020

A university-sponsored phase III clinical trial of the antiviral remdesivir begins in China. Source

23 January 2020

Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, announces that it has been awarded funding to develop a messenger RNA (mRNA)-based coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine was designed in collaboration with The Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), will be developed in partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations  (CEPI).  As part of the partnership, NIAID will conduct a Phase I clinical study in the U.S. Source

1 January 2020

• The World Health Organization (WHO) sets up an Incident Management Support Team at country and regional levels and its headquarters.
• First onset of symptoms in a person later confirmed to have illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Source
• A seafood market in Wuhan associated with the cluster of cases is closed.

31 December 2019

A cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China is reported by Wuhan’s Municipal Health Commission. Source