26 May 2021

JAMA publishes an interim analysis of a 40,382- person trial in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE of two coronavirus vaccines from Sinopharm. The vaccine developed in Wuhan (WIV04) was 72.8% effective against symptomatic COVID; the vaccine developed in Beijing. (HB02 or BBIBP-CorV, which is now WHO-recommended) was 78.1% effective. Most trial participants were males in their mid-thirties, and data from 3.469 participants in Egypt and Jordan were not included because enrollment there began later. Efficacy against variants is unknown as they were uncommon in the places where the trial was conducted. Oddly, data on safety were included in supplemental tables, rather than the paper itself; most adverse events were mild-to-moderate. Source

• US President Joe Biden ordered the country’s intelligence agencies to conduct an investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, asking that they report back to him in 90 days. Source

• The US FDA announced that it may decline to review and process further emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, unless the developer has already been engaged with the agency. Vaccines that are  in early stages of development will need to undergo a lengthier process for full approval. Source 

• During his testimony to the British Parliament, Dominic Cummings, former aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, describes him as “unfit,” saying that the decisions he made during the pandemic mean that “…tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to.” Source

• In Taiwan, demand for coronavirus testing has overwhelmed laboratories; results have been delayed by up to nine days. Source

• Belgium announces that it has halted use of the J & J coronavirus vaccine in people under age 41 years following the death of a 37 year-old woman who received the vaccine and developed a blood clot with low platelets. Source

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