26 April 2021

• After India’s states objected to coronavirus vaccine profiteering, the central government – which is paying Rs 150 ($2.03]) per dose –  asked Serum Institute (which charges Rs 400/600 [$5.41/ $8.12] per dose to government and private hospitals) and Bharat Biotech (which charges Rs 600/1200 [$8.12/ $16.24] per dose to government and private hospitals) to lower their prices. Source

• India reports five-day stretch of record-breaking coronavirus infections, a situation Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, calls “…beyond heartbreaking.” Source

• At a virtual trade policy even hosted by the European Commission, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala called on the US and the UK  to export more of their supply of coronavirus vaccines, saying “It’s not acceptable that 80% or more of the present doses administered are largely in the richer countries. If we don’t pay quick attention to getting vaccines to everyone, the world will simply not be safe.” Source

• As India becomes the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, Australia, China, France, the EU and the US pledge their help; Germany sends 25 mobile oxygen concentrators; Pakistan – despite decades of conflict between the two countries – is sending ventilators, Bi-PAP machines, digital X ray machines, PPE and – if Modi’s government clears them- a fleet of 30 ambulances to India; Saudi Arabia sent 80 metric tons of liquid oxygen, while Singapore sent four cryogenic oxygen tanks and the UK has shipped 140 ventilators and 495 oxygen generators to Delhi. Source

• After facing increasing pressure to help other countries struggling with the pandemic, US President Biden spoke with India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modi, pledging to “work closely together in the fight against Covid-19.” The US plans distribute 10 million existing doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine (which is not FDA-approved) – if they meet federal regulatory standards. The vaccines were produced at the troubled Emergent Biosolutions plant in Baltimore, which is undergoing FDA inspection. Production of an additional 50 million doses – which could also be distributed –  is underway. Source

• The EU is taking legal action against AstraZeneca, which said that it could only deliver a third of the 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses it expected by the end of June, which delayed  the bloc’s vaccination campaign. The dispute centers around whether AstraZeneca did everything it could to meet its delivery deadline. Source

• South Africa’s Sisonke study, which is assessing the efficacy of J & J’s coronavirus vaccine, will resume after a brief pause. The Health Ministry says it will ensure that  “… intensified pre-vaccination assessment and post-vaccination monitoring” are included in the study, noting the benefits of vaccination. Source

• In Israel, health officials are looking at multiple cases of heart inflammation among recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus; to date, 62 cases – including two deaths –  have been reported among over five million  vaccinated people, an overall incidence of one in 100,000 – and one in 20,000 among me ages 18 to 30 years. Pfizer released a statement saying  that it has “…not observed a higher rate of myocarditis than what would be expected in the general population,” and that “A causal link to the vaccine has not been established. There is no evidence at this time to conclude that myocarditis is a risk.” Source

• Coronavirus cases in the Philippines exceed one million, which a spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte attributed to new variants. Source

• Sanofi enters an agreement with Moderna to manufacture its coronavirus vaccine; it will perform fill-and-finish at its Ridgefield, NJ plant, completing as many as 200 million doses, starting in September of 2021. Source

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