29 January 2021

• The EMA grants conditional marketing approval for AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. Source
• J & J issues a press release with data from the 43,783-person phase III ENSEMBLE trial of its single-dose coronavirus vaccine, reporting 66 percent efficacy at 28 days post-vaccination (broken out as 72 percent in the US; 66% percent in Latin America and 57 percent in South Africa); overall, it was 85 percent effective at preventing severe COVID-19 at 28 days after vaccination, with no cases of hospitalization or death from COVID-19. Source
• WHO removes advice opposing coronavirus vaccines for pregnant women except for those at high risk for severe COVID-19, saying “…we don’t have any specific reason to believe there will be specific risks that would outweigh the benefits of vaccination for pregnant women.” Source
• Mexico’s coronavirus death toll surpasses that of India, putting it third after the US and Brazil. Modeling from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that new coronavirus variants could increase the US death toll to nearly 600,000 by 1 May; more rapid spread could drive it up to 620,000.
• The US CDC is conducting research to see if double-masking (with a cloth mask over a medical mask) is more effective than wearing a single mask.
• Bolivia receives its first shipment of Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines. Source
• Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s extends a policy barring children under age 15 years from leaving their homes until at least the end of February – telling them to “glue their attention to TV for the whole day – over the objections of a government infectious disease task force. Source
• Reduced and delayed shipments of coronavirus vaccines to the EU have led to ‘vaccine wars’ between the Britain and the EU, which has threatened to block exports of vaccines produced within its borders. The squabble between these high-income countries is likely to create additional delays for poor countries awaiting vaccines. Source

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