12 March 2021

• Dr Deborah Birx, former coordinator of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, is joining ActivePure, a Texas firm that manufactures air purifiers which it says will clean COVID-29 from the air in minutes. Source
• WHO grants emergency authorization for the  J & J coronavirus vaccine, which means it can be distributed through COVAX, which has reserved 500 million doses. Source
• In the US, millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s yet-to-be approved  coronavirus vaccine have been stockpiled. AstraZeneca asked to have them sent to the EU, which is facing shortages, but the request was denied even though the doses may never be used in the country.  Source
• Hungary – which has already purchased the yet -to-be EMA-approved  Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for $9.95 per dose, has made a deal for five million dosed of Sinopharm’s two-shot coronavirus vaccine, at a price of  $36 per dose – making it one of the  world’s most expensive vaccines. In contrast, Pfizer is charging the EU just under $18 per dose, and AstraZeneca’s vaccine is priced at $2.15 per dose. Source
• India reports a daily surge of  23,285 new coronavirus cases; over half of them occurred in the state of Maharashtra  home to Mumbai, the country’s financial center), which is currently under lockdown. Source
• Russia aims to provide its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to 700 million people by ramping up production in China, India and South Korea. Although the vaccine’s producer, RDIF, refuses to disclose how many doses it has exported,  it is estimated at less than four million. Domestically, Russia has produced enough of its two-dose vaccine for 13 million people. So far, five million people have been inoculated; at this pace, it will take until 2022 to vaccinate 70 percent of the population. Source
• Although AstraZeneca agreed to supply the EU with 90 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine,  it will only provide 30 million doses by the end of March, with an additional 20 million expected in April.  Source
• Sanofi, in partnership with Translate Bio, announced the launch of a 415-person  phase I/II trial of their experimental mRNA coronavirus vaccine, MRT5500, targets the original SARS-CoV-2 antigen; interim results are expected in Q3 of 2021. The two are also developing vaccines for emerging coronavirus variants in preclinical trials. Source
• Thailand delays rolling out  AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in response to safety concerns raised in Europe. Source
• Coronavirus cases are surging across Eastern Europe. The Czech Republic, which has the world’s highest COVID-19 death rate, reports that new cases in the country are increasing ten times faster than those in Germany. Cases are also surging in Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, where new restrictions are being implemented.  Source
• Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla earns $20 million in 2020, a nearly 18 percent increase over 2019. Source
• US President Biden announces that coronavirus vaccines should be available to all adults by 1 May, and that a semblance of normality could return by 4 July if public health measures and vaccination rates are maintained. Source
• German health authorities report that a third wave of coronavirus is underway in the country, where less than seven percent of the population has been vaccinated. Within a week, daily cases increased by 2,444 to reach 14,356, with more than half caused by the B.1.1.7 variant. Source
• At the Quad Vaccine Summit Meeting, the US (which has purchased a surplus of 453 million vaccine doses, but will not export any until it has vaccinated its population), Australia, India and Japan announced a partnership to address Southeast Asia’s coronavirus vaccine shortage by financing increased production capacity. The US pledged $100 million; Australia pledged $77 million, and Japan is discussing aid with the Indian government. Source

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