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Coronavirus

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The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies.

Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables.


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Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine protects against COVID-19, according to an analysis by U.S. regulators Wednesday that sets the stage for a final decision on a new and easier-to-use shot to help tame the pandemic.

The Food and Drug Administration’s scientists confirmed that overall the vaccine is about 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19. The agency also said J&J's shot — one that could help speed vaccinations by requiring just one dose instead of two — is safe to use.


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Top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci on Tuesday told CNN that he expects the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to soon relax some COVID-19 recommendations aimed at curbing its spread for people who have been vaccinated.


Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled what he described as England’s “journey back towards normality,” which calls for the lifting of most major COVID-19-related restrictions in June as long as certain conditions are met.

After imposing the strictest lockdown in the western world in January to curb the spread of a more highly contagious strain of the virus, British pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops are closed, schools and offices are off-limits, gatherings are prohibited and foreign vacations are illegal.


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The U.S. stood Sunday at the brink of a once-unthinkable tally: 500,000 people lost to the coronavirus.

A year into the pandemic, the running total of lives lost was about 498,000 — roughly the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and just shy of the size of Atlanta. The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.


Kimberly Redmond | Equities.com |

The UK will become the first country in the world to deliberately infect healthy volunteers with COVID-19 in what is known as a “human challenge study.”

On Wednesday, the country’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the $47 million government-funded trial received ethics approval and should begin within the next month.


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The White House said on Tuesday it is increasing the supply of coronavirus vaccines sent each week to states to 13.5 million doses, and is also doubling the amount shipped to pharmacies to 2 million doses this week.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the boost in distribution to states marked a 57% increase since President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20.


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U.S. scientists would gain vastly expanded capabilities to identify potentially deadlier mutations of the coronavirus under COVID-19 relief legislation advancing in Congress.

The U.S. now maps only the genetic makeup of a minuscule fraction of positive virus samples, a situation some experts liken to flying blind. It means the true domestic spread of problematic mutations first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa remains a matter of guesswork.


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Mike Bowen’s warehouse outside Fort Worth, Texas, was piled high with cases of medical-grade N95 face masks. His company, Prestige Ameritech, can churn out 1 million masks every four days, but he doesn’t have orders for nearly that many. So he recently got approval from the government to export them.

“I’m drowning in these respirators,” Bowen said.

On the same day 1000 miles (1,600 kilometers) north, Mary Turner, a COVID-19 intensive care nurse at a hospital outside Minneapolis, strapped on the one disposable N-95 respirator allotted for her entire shift.


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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday listed AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, widening access to the relatively inexpensive shot in the developing world.

“We now have all the pieces in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines. But we still need to scale up production,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, told a news briefing.