2 July 2021

• Zydus Cadilla announces that it has applied for emergency use approval for its experimental coronavirus vaccine, ZyCoV-D, the first-ever plasmid DNA vaccine for human use. The vaccine was 67 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in trials of 28,000 people – 1,000 of them ages 12- 18. There is no published, peer-reviewed data on the vaccine. Source

• The BBC reports that sources in India say it will not recognize the EU digital vaccine pass unless the EU recognizes India’s Covishield and Covaxin and accept its government-issued certificates. Austria, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland have expanded eligibility to include Covishield, and Estonia will accept all Indian-made vaccines. Source

• The US delivered 2.5 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to Pakistan, in partnership with COVAX, Unicef and Pakistan’s government. Source

• Germany has ordered 204 million doses of coronavirus vaccines: 18.3 million from J&J; 31.8 million from Moderna; and 70 million from Sanofi, Novavax and Valneva. Nearly 85 million of the doses will come from Pfizer/BioNTech, as they are already contracted through the EU. Source

• Scientific experts are questioning whether WHO should lead the next probe on COVID-19’s origins, Lawrence Gostin, Director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights at Georgetown University, said “We will never find the origins relying on the World Health Organization,” suggesting that countries either combine their intelligence or revise international health laws to further empower WHO – or create a new entity to conduct the investigation. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers, said that determining the origins of the virus is more than a scientific question, with political dimensions that exceed WHO’s expertise. Source

• In Myanmar, where the Delta variant is likely to be driving a positivity rate above 20 percent, the military crackdown has led doctors and other healthcare workers to strike and COVAX to delay a vaccine shipment. Hospitals are full of people with severe COVID-19, and people are avoiding healthcare facilities, fearing arrest or worse from the troops occupying them. Source

• Six fully vaccinated people in Seychelles have died from COVID-19; five were vaccinated with Covishield and one with Sinopharm’s vaccine, and all of them had underlying conditions. Source

• Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announces that the country is cutting the number of international arrivals by 50 percent until the end of 2021 and the country will change its strategy from preventing transmission of the virus to minimizing serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by increasing vaccination rates. There are still 34,000 Australians trying to return to their home country. Source

• A pre-print article reports results from a 25,798-person phase III trial of Bharat Biotech’s experimental coronavirus vaccine, BBV152, noting that efficacy against asymptomatic COVID-19 was 63.3 percent; symptomatic COVID-19 was 77.8 percent and efficacy against severe disease was 93.4 percent with an overall efficacy against the Delta variant of 65.2 percent. Common side effects included injection site pain, fever, headache and muscle aches, most mild or moderate. Source

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