03 August 2021

• The US achieves President Joe Biden’s vaccination goal of at least 70 percent of the population receiving at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine – one month late. Source 

• The US reports 149,788 daily coronavirus cases. Source

• Germany announces that it will begin to administer a third dose “booster” coronavirus vaccines to elderly and vulnerable people as well as those given the AstraZeneca or J & J vaccines – an approach that has drawn criticism from health experts and activists. “Wealthy governments shouldn’t be prioritizing giving third doses when much of the developing world hasn’t even yet had the chance to get their first Covid-19 shots,” said Kate Elder, senior vaccines policy adviser at Doctors Without Borders’ Access Campaign. Source

• Building on data confirming that coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective for pregnant women, England is launching the Preg-CoV study, the largest clinical trial to investigate the optimal interval between first and second doses of coronavirus vaccines for pregnant women. The study will compare immune response to vaccination at either 4 to 6 week-intervals or 8 to 12 week- intervals. Results from the study will help identify the optimal dosing schedule for pregnant women and provide more information on how vaccines protect pregnant women and their babies against COVID-19. Source          

• As coronavirus cases rise in Wuhan, China suspends flights and trains, cancelled basketball games and announced mass testing to stop the Delta variant from further spread – as confirmed cases have been reported in over 35 cities in 17 of Mainland China’s provinces and regions. Source 

• CytoDyn is being investigated by the US Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission after CEO Nader Pourhassan promoted leronlimab, a failed COVID-19 treatment, saying it had “saved” dying patient  – as he sold stock worth millions of dollars. Pourhassan also told investors they had filed for a “conditional” emergency use authorization with the FDA, although FDA officials claimed there was no such thing. The claim prompted the US FDA issue a statement saying there was little, if any, evidence to suggest leronlimab works to treat Covid-19. Since then, CytoDyn has struck deals outside the US, in countries that have been severely affected by coronavirus and are short on treatments, such as Brazil and the Philippines. Source 

• IMF member nations approve a record-breaking $650 billion to help countries deal with mounting debt and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, which will become effective on 23 August. Source 

• Lagos, Africa’s largest city, where only 1 percent of its 20 million residents have been fully vaccinated, is facing an outbreak of the Delta variant and a doctor’s strike. Source

Lancet publishes research on duration and symptoms of COVID-19 among 75 529 children tested for SARS-CoV-2. The median duration of illness among the 1,734 children (588 younger and 1146 older) who had a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result was six days (vs. three days for those who did not test positive), with 4.4 percent (77/1,1734) remaining ill for at least 28 days and 1.8 percent for 56 days. The most common symptoms among children with a positive test result were fatigue (84.4 percent, or 65/77); headache (77.9 percent, or 60/77); loss of smell and anosmia (77.9 percent, or 60/77). Source 

• The New York Times reports that the US FDA will accelerate its timetable to grant full approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine by early September. Source       

• City officials in Wuhan, China detect eight local COVID-19 cases (three symptomatic) within 24 hours, which triggers a plan for testing the city’s 11 million residents. Source                  

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