The first vaccinations against the corona virus could possibly be distributed in the USA on December 12th. After approval by the US FDA, the vaccine from pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner Biontech could be shipped to the US within 24 hours, said the head of the Operation Warp Speed program, Moncef Slaoui, the TV broadcaster CNN. His program is in charge of coronavirus vaccinations in the United States.
Pfizer filed for emergency FDA approval of its vaccine candidate on Friday. Their advisory board is to decide on the application on December 10th. If the answer is yes, i.e. the vaccine is approved, vaccinations can start two days later, says Slaoui. Pfizer and Biontech recently announced that the vaccine appeared to be 95 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe disease courses from Covid-19. The study on the vaccine is still ongoing.
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On Saturday, the FDA granted emergency approval to an experimental antibody mixture from Regeneron, which US President Donald Trump was given when he was infected with corona in October. The combination of two antibodies is said to help the immune system fight Covid-19. Emergency approval means that the product will be released on the market while safety and efficacy studies continue.
Mutated coronavirus in Denmark “in all probability” eradicated
Animals infected with the coronavirus have been discovered on a mink farm in central France. 1000 minks are now to be culled, as the Ministry of Agriculture announced on Sunday. A company in the Eure-et-Loire department southwest of Paris is affected. A total of two farms in France were tested, one of them negative. For two more, results are not expected until later this week.
There have already been positive corona cases in mink in Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands. The virus was found to be mutated in Denmark. Experts fear that if a vaccine is transmitted back to humans, it could be less effective. Around 17 million mink should therefore be killed in Denmark. According to the Ministry of Health in Copenhagen, the mutated virus is “in all probability” eradicated.
Macron is considering easing the lockdown
In view of the falling corona infections, French President Emmanuel Macron is holding out the prospect of gradually easing the contact restrictions that have been in force since October 30. “The point is to adjust the rules for the lockdown if the health situation improves,” said a government spokesman for the newspaper Sunday newspaper.
Restaurants, bars and many non-essential shops in France have had to remain closed since the end of October. Macron’s speech on the current pandemic situation has been announced for Tuesday, in which he wants to show prospects for the coming weeks. Easing is planned in three stages, with a first step in early December, which could potentially bring easing especially for retailers, and further steps just before the holidays and in January.
In France, it was possible to limit the increase in new infections somewhat. For example, the number of new coronavirus infections rose by almost 17,900 on Saturday, while the plus on Friday was almost 22,900. The number of hospital patients has also fallen for the fifth day in a row.
Easing in England and the Netherlands, tightening in Portugal
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to end the partial lockdown, which has been in effect since the beginning of November, on December 2nd as planned, his office announced on Saturday evening. Then a three-tier system of local restrictions would be reintroduced in England. Scotland and Wales have their own regulations issued by the local autonomous authorities.
Easings are already in force in the Netherlands. From last Thursday on, theaters, museums, cinemas and libraries are allowed to reopen. However, bars, cafes and restaurants will remain closed. In the future, the country with a population of 17 million will be able to receive three guests at home – so far there have been two.
In contrast, the government in Portugal has adopted new restrictions on freedom of movement. For the next two extended weekends, people are not allowed to leave their residential areas, with a few exceptions, said Prime Minister António Costa on Saturday evening in Lisbon. In addition, a mask requirement will be introduced at the workplace. With almost 7,000 new infections within 24 hours, Portugal had only reached a new high of reported virus infections on Thursday. Compared to other European countries, Portugal got through the pandemic relatively well in the spring. The situation has been getting worse and worse for weeks.
Results of the corona mass test in South Tyrol
In a three-day corona mass test in the northern Italian province of South Tyrol, several thousand people found out about their infection. By Sunday morning, almost 270,000 citizens in the small Alpine province had had a free smear test. As the authorities announced on the Internet, a total of 2626 participants, i.e. about one percent, received a positive corona result by 10 a.m. People in South Tyrol can take part in the mass test until Wednesday evening.
A good half a million people live in the province of Bolzano-South Tyrol, over which a partial lockdown has been imposed. The authorities hope to reach up to 350,000 of them. According to experts, the success of a mass test depends heavily on a high participation rate. The state government wants to break the second corona wave faster: Virus carriers who have no idea of their infection are to be discovered. They are considered a dangerous source of infection.
WHO expert criticizes governments in Europe
A Covid-19 expert from the World Health Organization warns European governments of a third wave. “They failed to build the necessary infrastructure in the summer months after they had brought the first wave under control,” said David Navarro in an interview with Swiss newspapers. “Now the second wave is here. If you don’t build the necessary infrastructure now, we will have a third wave at the beginning of next year.”
Report: WHO advises against remdesivir
According to a report, the World Health Organization advises against the use of the once promising drug Remdesivir for Covid-19 diseases. After careful examination, a panel of experts from WHO came to the conclusion that the drug “has no significant influence on mortality or other important effects on patients, such as the need for artificial ventilation or the time to recovery,” wrote the journal British Medical Journal in an article published on Friday. It is also not yet ruled out that the drug could also cause damage. Then there would be the costs.
In Germany, despite the WHO study, Remdesivir should initially continue to be used to treat certain corona patients. A spokesman for the Ministry of Health announced that they wanted to wait for a reassessment at EU level. Remdesivir is only used in very specific cases. Remdesivir was originally developed by the US pharmaceutical company Gilead to fight the Ebola virus. After the global pandemic broke out, it was considered a beacon of hope in the fight against Covid-19 for a while. of certain patients. Most recently, however, tests had suggested that the drug’s benefit is minimal at best.
Slovakia plans new corona mass tests
Slovakia is preparing new nationwide corona mass tests. Prime Minister Igor Matovic announced December 2nd as the next date for testing almost the entire population. As early as the beginning of November, under the direction of the Ministry of Defense, a large number of residents who are older than ten years were subjected to a rapid antigen test.
While the head of government boasts that his idea of mass tests is now serving as a model for imitators from Liverpool to South Tyrol to neighboring Austria, criticism is increasing in the country. After the first two rounds of testing, those who had not been tested were treated almost like people with a positive test result. You weren’t even allowed to go to work without a negative test.