Reuters | |

The Delta variant of COVID-19, first identified in India, is becoming the globally dominant variant of the disease, the World Health Organization's chief scientist said on Friday.

Soumya Swaminathan also voiced disappointment in the failure of CureVac's vaccine candidate in a trial to meet the WHO's efficacy standard, in particular as highly transmissible variants boost the need for new, effective shots.

AP News | |

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 600,000 on Tuesday, even as the vaccination drive has drastically brought down daily cases and fatalities and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom and look forward to summer.

The number of lives lost, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Baltimore or Milwaukee. It is about equal to the number of Americans who died of cancer in 2019. Worldwide, the COVID-19 death toll stands at about 3.8 million.

Kimberly Redmond | |

Novavax Inc announced on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was highly effective against the virus, while also protecting against known variants in a late-stage clinical trial in the US and Mexico. The vaccine was over 90% effective overall with 100% protection against moderate and severe disease, the Maryland-based biotechnology company said in a press release.

AP News | |

Johnson & Johnson said Thursday that U.S. regulators extended the expiration date on millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by six weeks.

The company said a Food and Drug Administration review concluded the shots remain safe and effective for at least 4 1/2 months. In February, the FDA originally authorized J&J’s vaccine for up to three months when stored at normal refrigeration levels.

Kimberly Redmond | |

The US will purchase and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to dozens of low-income countries, as well as the African Union, the White House announced Thursday.

Two hundred million of those doses — enough to fully protect 100 million people — will be shared this year, and the balance will be donated during the first half of 2022. All doses will be distributed through COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), the international vaccine initiative, and will go to 92 low- and lower-income countries, in addition to the African Union.

Kimberly Redmond | |

The Mastercard Foundation announced Tuesday it will deploy $1.3 billion to save lives and improve pandemic response efforts in Africa.

The initiative, which will be implemented over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is intended to acquire and deliver vaccines to more than 50 million people across the continent.

Kimberly Redmond | |

Millions of Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) single-shot COVID-19 vaccines are at risk of expiring this month after an 11-day pause in April created a stockpile in the US, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Nearly half of the 21 million doses J&J produced for the country remain unused and are due to expire at the end of June, prompting federal and state officials to determine how to reroute the vaccines to areas that need them.

AP News | |

Jeannie Wells had hoped that regular visits would resume at her elderly mother’s New York nursing home once all the residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Around Easter, her wish finally came true, and she was able to hold the 93-year-old’s hand more than a year after bringing her mother to the facility for rehabilitation for a fractured hip and knee.

Kimberly Redmond | |

Moderna Inc (Nasdaq: MRNA) is asking the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for people age 18 and up, the company announced Tuesday.

The Massachusetts-based drugmaker began distributing its experimental double-dose vaccine in December 2020 under an FDA emergency use authorization (EUA), a temporary approval from regulators that requires only two months of clinical data.

Kimberly Redmond | |

Belgium suspended the use of the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine for citizens under age 41 following the death of a woman who received the one-dose shot.

In a statement Wednesday, the government said it was seeking advice from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Union’s drug regulator, before it would consider lifting the suspension.