12 February 2021

• In the US, although COVID-19 daily deaths remain high, new cases have fallen by 21 percent over the last two weeks. Models predict that the decline will continue, but public health experts express concern about the spread of new variants. Source
• The UK government posts new findings – adding to similar results from a study performed at London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – suggesting that the B.1.1.7 coronavirus is “likely” to be deadlier as well as more contagious, although the reasons remain unclear. Sources 1,2,3
• A pre-print report on the efficacy of the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus vaccine against emerging variants is posted; in a 2,026-person trial of the vaccine in South Africa, it did not protect people against mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 from the B.1.351 variant, although the authors suggest that the vaccine “…may still protect against severe COVID-19” due to immune responses found in samples from people who were vaccinated. Source
• The US NIH announces that its phase II/III Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV-2) trial will add new agents: Synairgen’s SNG001, an inhalable beta interferon; AstraZeneca’s AZD7442, a long-acting monoclonal antibody combination given as an infusion and as an intramuscular injection and Sargent Pharmaceutical’s Camostat mesylate, an oral serine protease inhibitor. Source
• The French National Authority for Health announce a recommendation that people who have recovered from COVID-19 only need a single vaccine dose (with an exception for people with compromised immune systems). Sources 1,2
• The US FDA approves Moderna’s request to increase the number of coronavirus vaccine doses in each vial from 10 to 14, which will increase the US vaccine supply. Source
• The New York Times reports that Chinese researchers refused to share information about the origins of the coronavirus with a team of 14 expert investigators sent by the WHO. Chinese officials pressured the team to support the government’s story – that the virus came to China from another country; a member of the WHO team described the mission as “…highly geopolitical.” Source

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