• Pfizer predicts $15 billion in revenue from its coronavirus vaccine in 2021. Source
• A pre-print article reports that a single dose of Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was less effective (in a small group of people with a median age above age 80 years) against the B.1.1.7 variant – and more so if the variant included the E484K mutation. The authors suggested designing next-generation vaccines, although they noted that currently, vaccines are likely to contribute to controlling SARS-CoV-2. Source
Lancet publishes interim results from a 21, 977-person, randomized, controlled and double blinded phase III trial of the Sputnik V – also called Gam-COVID-Vac – coronavirus vaccine, reporting efficacy of 91.6% at 21 days after the first dose. There were 16 cases of COVID-19 among 14, 964 vaccine recipients (0·1 percent), versus 62 among 62 among 4,902 people who were given placebo (1·3 percent ). There were no cases of moderate or severe COVID-19 in the vaccinated group, versus 20 in the placebo group. The most common adverse events were flu-like symptoms, injection site reactions, headache, and weakness; 94 percent of them were mild. None of the 30 serious adverse events that occurred during the trial were considered to be vaccination- related. Source
• AstraZeneca and Oxford plan to have a re-engineered version of their coronavirus vaccine that will be effective against newer variants by the fall. Source
• Business for South Africa – a group of the country’s business leaders – is holding talks with the National Treasury and Department of Health; they aim to provide financial and logistic support for coronavirus vaccination (estimated to cost 12 billion rand [$802 million]) in return for an agreement that they will be “…intimately involved in discussing the definitions of essential workers and other phase-two beneficiaries.” Source
• Mexico approves emergency use of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. Source
• Moderna is in talks with South Africa’s Health Department; it has offered to sell the country 20 million doses, which would arrive in May. Source
• A coronavirus mutation called E484K (found in variants identified in Brazil and South Africa), which is thought to lessen vaccine effectiveness has been found in samples of the B.1.1.7 variant in the UK. Source
• Johns Hopkins reports that over 100,000 people in the US have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the year.
• WHO reports a 13 percent decline in global coronavirus cases during the last week of January.
• WHO issues an update on coronavirus variants, reporting that the B.1.1.7 variant (first identified in the UK) has now been found in 80 countries, the B.1.351 variant (first identified in South Africa) has been found in 41 countries, and the P.1 variant (first identified in Brazil has been found in 10 countries.
• Canada announces that it has signed an agreement with Novavax to produce millions of doses of its coronavirus vaccine in a Montreal facility.
• Armenia authorizes the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.
• Door-to-door testing for coronavirus for everyone over age 16 years is starting in parts of England as part of an attempt to stop the spread of a more contagious South African variant after 105 cases were detected in the country.
• Japan continues its state of emergency as coronavirus cases exceed 390,000.
• South Africa eases restrictions as coronavirus cases drop.
• Captain Tom Moore, a 100-year-old World War II veteran who raised nearly 40 million dollars for Britain’s National Health Service, dies from COVID-19. Source