28 January 2021

• Africa secures 400 million vaccine doses from India’s Serum Institute. Source
• The South African variant, B.1.351 now accounts for 90 percent of all cases that have been sequenced in South Africa; hospitals, especially in the country’s Eastern Cape, are overwhelmed and the country is quickly becoming home to what may be the world’s highest COVID-19 death toll. This variant has now been found in at least 30 other countries (including Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Kenya, Mayotte, Mozambique, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, the UK, and the US). Sources 1,2
• Novavax – which is developing coronavirus vaccines aimed at new variants – issued a press release on NVX-CoV2373, its experimental two-dose vaccine, with data from UK and South African trials An interim analysis from the over 15,000-person UK phase III trial found the vaccine to be 89.3 percent effective. A week after receiving the second vaccine dose, 62 people developed COVID-19 (56 in the placebo group, versus 6 among people who got the vaccine). The UK B.1.1.7 variant caused over 50 percent of these cases; all but one were mild to moderate; a single severe case occurred in the placebo group.

In its over 4,400-person phase IIb South African trial, the vaccine was 60 percent effective at preventing mild, moderate or severe COVID-19 among 97 percent of HIV-negative study participants (data from people living with HIV were not included in the press release). Notably, data on the virus was available from 27 of the 44 people who developed COVID-19; nearly 93 percent of these infections were with the B.1.351 variant. Source

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