15 April 2021

• Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla says that it is likely that people will need a coronavirus “booster” shot “somewhere between six and 12 months” after the second one – and for every year thereafter. Source

• Jose Romero, head of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, says the pause on J & J’s coronavirus vaccine may last for several weeks. Source

• The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal publishes a prospective study of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection among 3,076 mostly male Marines, ages 18-20, who were followed for six weeks after a two-week quarantine. Among the 169 Marines who were seropositive, ten percent tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, versus 48 percent of seronegative Marines. Antibodies from a past coronavirus infection reduced the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection by 82 percent. Source

• Researchers at the University of Oxford reported that the risk of rare blood clotting, called cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) among people with COVID-19 is around 100 times greater than normal. In their study of more than 500,000 people who had COVID-19, CVT occurred in 39 of a million people; among over 480,000 people who got an mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine, CVT occurred in four of a million people, and among people who had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine (which was co-developed by Oxford researchers), CVT occurred in five in a million people – making the risk of CVT from the AstraZeneca vaccine about ten times greater versus the Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna vaccines – and the risk of CVT from COVID-19 is eight times greater than from the AstraZeneca vaccine. The researchers suggested that their results be interpreted with the caution that data  will continue to accrue. Source

• India reports more than 200,700 daily cases of coronavirus – its highest-ever total. Source

• Merck is discontinuing development of  MK-7110, a first-in-class recombinant fusion protein targeting the innate immune system, which it spent $425 million on, citing production delays and unforseen regulatory requirements. The company plans to focus on developing molnupiravir, an oral antiviral, instead, although an interim analysis of the phase II/III trial  has led the company to halt the study in people hospitalized with COVID-19 and proceed with the phase III trial in outpatients. Source

• COVAX is seeking $2 billion to buy coronavirus vaccines for low-and middle-income countries before high-income countries purchase them – and those countries were also asked to donate their surplus vaccines. A fundraiser co-hosted by GAVI and the US raised over $380 in pledges, most of it from Sweden. Source

• France exceeds 100,000 deaths from COVID-19. Source

• Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, enters a two-week lockdown as the country’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, warns that it is “..on the verge of an awful tragedy.” Source

• Local authorities in in London and Smethwick tested hundreds of people for COVID-19 after finding dozens of cases of the B.1.351 variant. Source

• Iran orders 60 million doses of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, with the first batch expected to arrive in June. The country is home to more than 80 million people; it has administered less than 500,000 vaccine doses to date. Source

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