ECONOMY

Moderna Booster Effective; Canada May Mix Shots: Virus Update

Moderna Inc. said mid-stage trials showed its booster shots were effective against strains of the coronavirus that emerged from Brazil and South Africa. Canada became the first nation to clear the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for adolescents.

Drugmakers in India warn that halting some cargo flights from China, due to the surge in cases in India, could disrupt the global drug supply chain. The U.S. will support a proposal to waive intellectual-property protections for vaccines, joining an effort to increase global supply and close the gap between rich and poor nations.

The U.K. insisted a meeting of top Group of Seven diplomats in London should go ahead after India’s foreign minister said he would self-isolate over possible exposure to coronavirus. Meanwhile, new research suggests deaths from Covid-19 in India may double from current levels.

  • Global Tracker: Cases top 154.6 million; deaths exceed 3.23 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 1.21 billion doses have been given
  • Moderna Covid booster shots prove effective against variants (Video)
  • Vaccines work on this India variant. Experts fret about the next
  • Here comes the Covid-19 community corps and they want you
  • What are vaccine passports and how would they work?: QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.

China Flight Halt May Snarl Supplies (6:50 a.m. HK)

Drugmakers in India warn that a halt on some cargo flights from China could imperil an important link in the global pharmaceutical supply chain.

The U.S. relies heavily on India to stock its medicine cabinets, and any slowdown in output could leave pharmacies short of drugs used regularly by millions of Americans.

On April 26, China’s state-run Sichuan Airlines suspended cargo flights to India for 15 days amid an alarming second Covid-19 outbreak there. If the flights remain on hold, the drug industry fears “cascading effects on its entire supply chain,” Mahesh Doshi, national president for the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association, wrote in an April 29 letter to India’s external affairs minister. That could lead to domestic shortages of essential medicines and have a severe impact on exports, she said.

Argentina Has Record Number of Daily Deaths (6:45 a.m. HK)

Argentina reported a record 663 deaths in the last 24 hours for a total of 65,865, according to the country’s evening report.

There were 24,079 new Covid-19 cases reported, bringing the total to 3,071,496.

Novavax Shows Efficacy Against Variant (5:41 p.m. NY)

Novavax said initial primary analysis of Phase 2B results for its vaccine showed efficacy against a South African variant of the coronavirus.

Among healthy adults without HIV, the Novavax vaccine showed efficacy of 60% in the initial analysis and 55% in the subsequent complete analysis, the company said.

Novavax may have lost the race on vaccinating millions of Americans but a successful trial can still help developing nations like India and Brazil where shots are in high demand.

Canada May Mix Vaccines Amid Supply Crunch (4:47 p.m. NY)

Canada is considering allowing patients to receive two different types of vaccines as the country deals with shortages of shots from AstraZeneca Plc and Moderna Inc.

Federal health officials are closely watching a U.K.-based trial in which participants received two kinds of shots. Results are expected in the next month or so, said Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada.

If adopted, the new protocol would mark another major deviation from original vaccine guidelines. Canada has opted to extend the length of time between mRNA vaccines from the recommended three to four weeks to as long as four months, in order to stretch supplies.

Colorado Woman Pro-Vaccine Despite Clot (4:43 p.m. NY)

A Colorado woman who suffered a rare blood clot after receiving Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine urged others to get a shot just the same.

Morgan Wolfe, 40, of Denver, told the Colorado Sun: “Despite everything that’s happened, I definitely still think that it’s important to keep on pushing for as much of the country and as much of the world to get vaccinated as possible”

“Obviously, I had a bad reaction to this one. And that’s unfortunate for me, but I do still think that there’s a place for it in the overall strategy,” Wolfe said.

Moderna Booster Effective on Variants (4:08 p.m. NY)

Moderna Inc.’s booster shots gave positive results against immune system-evading strains that emerged in South Africa and Brazil, according to early results from a mid-stage trial.

Two types of booster shots studied spurred higher levels of virus-halting antibodies, Moderna said in a statement. One of the boosters is an additional low-dose shot of its existing vaccine, while the other type is customized against the South Africa strain.

“We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants,” Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We will continue to make as many updates to our Covid-19 vaccine as necessary to control the pandemic.”

U.S. to Back Waiver of Vaccine IP Protections (3:25 p.m. NY)

The U.S. will back a proposal to waive intellectual-property protections for Covid-19 vaccines, joining an effort to increase global supply and access to the life-saving shots as the gap between rich and poor nations widens.

“We are for the waiver at the WTO, we are for what the proponents of the waiver are trying to accomplish, which is better access, more manufacturing capability, more shots in arms,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in an interview on Wednesday.

The Biden administration will now actively take part in negotiations for the text of the waiver at the World Trade Organization and encourage other countries to back it, Tai said.

She acknowledged the talks will take time and “will not be easy,” given the complexity of the issue and the fact that the Geneva-based WTO is a member-driven organization that can only make decisions based on consensus.

Biden Touts Relief Funds for Restaurants (3 p.m. NY)

President Joe Biden visited a Washington restaurant owned in part by Mexican immigrants on Wednesday to highlight $28.6 billion in federal aid for restaurants that struggled during the pandemic.

Under the Covid-19 relief measure Biden signed in March, restaurants can apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $5 million per location, or $10 million for those with 20 or fewer locations.

Pandemic Delays FDA Plant Inspections (2:20 p.m. NY)

Pandemic disruptions severely hampered U.S. regulators’ ability to inspect drug and device makers’ manufacturing plants, delaying at least 68 applications for approval to market new products, according to a Food and Drug Administration review.

Seven of the delayed applications were mission-critical, meaning they represented a medical advancement, the agency said Wednesday in its report, and six of those were for new drugs. The delayed applications were among 600 where the FDA required a factory inspection before approval decisions.

Yankees, Mets to Segregate Unvaccinated Fans (12:07 p.m. NY)

New York Yankees and Mets stadiums will reopen to all fans on May 19, with separate sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated spectators.

Those who are vaccinated can sit together at 100% capacity, as long as they wear masks. The unvaccinated fans will need to wear masks and also observe a 6-foot (1.8-meter) social distancing rule, which works out to about 33% capacity in those sections, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

Fans will be able to get vaccines at the games, under a deal between the state and the teams. Those who get a shot at a game will get a free ticket to another game, Cuomo said. New York joins several other states offering incentives for vaccines as the pace of inoculations slow.

The governor also announced that Broadway tickets will go on sale Thursday, with shows starting Sept. 14 at full capacity, Cuomo said.

U.S. Cases Could See ‘Sharp Decline’: CDC (11:20 a.m. NY)

U.S. Covid-19 cases could see a sharp decline by July if nationwide vaccination efforts continue to be successful, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers used scenario modeling techniques to show long-term projections of potential trends in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in data released Wednesday in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Canada Clears Pfizer Shot for Teens (10:39 a.m. NY)

Canadian public health officials authorized the use of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE Covid vaccine for teenagers, making Canada the first nation to do so. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser with Health Canada, made the announcement Wednesday at a press conference. The department determined the vaccine was “safe and effective” for the younger age group, Sharma said. The U.S. is considering similar action.

G-7 Meeting Goes Ahead in U.K. (7:06 a.m. NY)

The U.K. insisted a meeting of top Group of Seven diplomats in London should go ahead after India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he would self-isolate over possible exposure to coronavirus.

The news risked derailing a high-profile event that marked the G-7 debut of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Britain is hosting the gathering, which began on Tuesday.

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