25 January 2021

• Australia approves the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Source
• Egypt starts vaccinating healthcare workers after receiving 50,000 doses of Sinopharm’s CoronaVac, although some doctors say they plan to wait for vaccines that the country has ordered from other producers such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer, who have provided more data on their vaccines. Source
• In Mexico, where hospitals are overrun and the daily death rate has reached a record high, President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador – who has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, questioned the use of masks and often refused to wear one – announces that he has coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms. Source
• Moderna announces that its coronavirus vaccine is “…expected to be protective against emerging strains detected to date,” and that it is going to test a booster dose of the existing vaccine and a booster candidate, mRNA-1273,351, which is designed to be effective against the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa. Source
• The first case of a coronavirus variant identified in Brazil, P.1, which may render vaccines less effective, is reported in Minnesota, in a traveler recently returned from Brazil. Source
• Dr. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s chief executive, announced that the company could adjust its coronavirus vaccine to variants discovered in Brazil and South Africa in six, and that he has been having conversations with representatives from regulatory agencies about the types of trials and data they would require to authorize a new version of the vaccine. Source
• Merck announces that it is discontinuing development of two coronavirus vaccine candidates because neither elicited a strong enough immune response. The company will continue to co-develop molnupiravir, an experimental antiviral drug, with Ridgeback Biotherapeutic. Source
• The EU is considering action after AstraZeneca dramatically cut its coronavirus vaccine doses. European Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides announced that the European Commission is proposing that vaccine-producing pharmaceutical companies in EU territory would need to register any intention to export part of their production outside the bloc, adding that the EU had “pre-financed the development of the vaccine and its production, and wants to see the return.” Source
• China reports 124 new coronavirus cases, 117 of them locally transmitted.
• Turkey receives a smaller and delayed shipment of coronavirus vaccines from China. Source

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