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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 11th Mar 2021

Five Minute Briefing

Will the COVID-19 pandemic and new technology disrupt the vaccine market?

  • Could the global pandemic propel the vaccine market to become a much bigger part of the pharmaceutical market than before? Bill Gates said if we can take the new technological platform (Mrna) and apply it to other markets, like cancer, the possibilities become mind-boggling. Ten times the R&D, ten times the spend, global scale of cases - a form of global pandemic too.
  • An estimated $6.4 trillion in economic output was lost last year and another $4.4 trillion would be lost this year, the development cost of vaccines is a rounding up number in comparison.
  • Setting up a global infrastruture with manufacturing capability on a global scale may not make private sector sense (if some sites are manufacturing at a sub-optimal level) but in the times we are in now they show their worth ten times over.
  • Could this be the catalyst to a new form of vaccine market development ramped up onto a global scale?
Vaccine economics: how Covid-19 will disrupt the vaccine market
Vaccine economics: how Covid-19 will disrupt the vaccine market
The FT explains the business models behind vaccines and asks if the Covid-19 pandemic will fundamentally change the vaccine market. This short documentary features global experts including Bill Gates, the CEOs of Moderna and Gavi, and the lead scientist behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
Developing nations demand equal access to coronavirus vaccines
Developing nations demand equal access to coronavirus vaccines
South Africa, India, and more than 100 other nations have called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily waive patents for COVID-19 vaccines, saying they are being prevented from immunising their people. The two countries first made the appeal in October last year, calling on the WTO to waive provisions in a trade agreement governing intellectual property rights so medical products can be more easily accessed by developing nations. More than 100 nations have since joined the calls. Endorsing requests for a waiver, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier this month: “If a temporary waiver to patents cannot be issued now, during these unprecedented times, when will be the right time?”
UNICEF chief: $1 billion more needed for COVAX COVID-19 vaccine rollout
The United Nations’ children’s fund on Wednesday urged countries to contribute more money to help poor countries access coronavirus vaccines, saying around $1 billion was needed. UNICEF, the world’s single largest vaccine buyer, is part of the World Health Organization-backed COVAX programme to supply COVID-19 shots to emerging economies. “We have been asking the world for more funding ... for UNICEF and our distribution to countries we still need about $1 billion,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said at a virtual event organised by Dubai’s World Government Summit.
European Commission says Pfizer and BioNTech to supply 4 million more coronavirus vaccine doses
European Commission says Pfizer and BioNTech to supply 4 million more coronavirus vaccine doses
The European Commission said Wednesday that Pfizer and BioNTech will provide 4 million more doses of their coronavirus vaccine in the next two weeks. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the doses are on top of planned dose deliveries. Regions like Tyrol in Austria, Nice and Moselle in France, Bolzano in Italy and some parts of Bavaria and Saxony in Germany have seen rising infections and hospitalizations in recent weeks, the European Commission said.
Germany sees up to 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses per week in June
Germany sees up to 10 million coronavirus vaccine doses per week in June
Germany expects up to 10 million doses of coronavirus vaccine per week in June, a government spokesman said on Wednesday, but not as soon as next month. “In this first quarter we will get the expected and agreed deliveries, even a little more. For the second quarter, the delivery volumes will then grow steadily and it is important to have realistic expectations,” said spokesman Steffen Seibert. “A figure of 10 million doses per week, which is sometimes discussed, is certainly not something we will reach in April, but rather in June,” he added.
Biden to buy more COVID vaccine doses as stimulus bill passes
Biden to buy more COVID vaccine doses as stimulus bill passes
President Joe Biden is expected to announce that he is procuring an additional 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine for the second half of 2021 during a meeting today with J&J and Merck executives. Last week, the two pharmaceutical giants formed a partnership to ramp up distribution of the single-dose J&J vaccine. "This is war time, the extra doses gives us maximum flexibility for the upcoming months," said Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for COVID response, during a White House press briefing. The increase in doses comes as the president closes in on his first 50 days in office.
Biden to double US order of J&J one-shot vaccine
President Joe Biden will double the U.S. order of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine – seeking another 100 million doses – bringing the country’s supply to enough for 500 million people, an official familiar with the plans says. Biden will make the announcement Wednesday during an event with the chief executives of J&J and Merck & Co., who struck a collaboration to boost production of the J&J vaccine. The U.S. had previously ordered 100 million doses, which the company has said will be delivered before the end of June.
Vaccine approvals and prioritisation
South Korea extends use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 65 and over
South Korea will extend vaccination for people aged 65 years and older with AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to ramp up its immunisation drive, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a government meeting on Thursday. The country has been rolling out the vaccine since the last week of February, beginning with the elderly and health workers, but had excluded more than 370,000 over-65s in nursing homes citing a lack of clinical trial data on the age group. Real-world data from Britain has now shown AstraZeneca and Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccines are both more than 80% effective in preventing hospitalisations in over-80s after one shot. “Vaccination had been postponed to those aged 65 and over due to lack of evidence to determine the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but recently, data to prove its efficacy for the elderly has been released in the UK,” Chung said.
Morocco, Kenya approve Russian coronavirus vaccine for use - RDIF
Morocco and Kenya have approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for use against the new coronavirus, Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday. The fund, which is promoting the vaccine globally, said that 48 countries had now approved Sputnik V for use.
South Korea to Prioritize Coronavirus Vaccines for Olympic Athletes
South Korea will prioritize vaccinating Olympic athletes before they travel to Japan for the Tokyo Games this summer. The Korean Sport and Olympic Committee confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that South Korea is making an exception for the athletes and allowing them to skip vaccine priority. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is available to health care workers and staff and residents of nursing facilities. The general public will not be able to receive the vaccine until July.
Pakistan begins vaccine campaign to protect over-60s from coronavirus
Pakistan has started vaccinating people who are 60 years old or above to protect them from Covid-19 amid a steady increase in cases and fatalities from the disease. Pakistan is currently using China’s Sinopharm vaccine, which was donated to it by Beijing last month. Pakistan hopes to start receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine this month under the World Health Organisation’s Covax Facility. Authorities say Pakistan will receive 17 million doses of coronavirus vaccines under the scheme from March to June
COVID-19: Wales to prioritise homeless for jabs during coronavirus vaccine rollout
Homeless people in Wales will be prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine as they are more likely to have an underlying health problem, the Welsh government has said. Health Minister Vaughan Gething said this includes rough sleepers, those in emergency accommodation, and people who were recently homeless and are now in supported accommodation. Mr Gething, who was speaking during a Welsh government coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, said those people will now be part of priority group six in the country's vaccine roll-out.
Portugal approves AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for over-65s
Portugal’s health authority said on Wednesday it had approved the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for those aged over 65 as new studies revealed its effectiveness in preventing infection and lowering hospitalisations among elderly people. The decision means that all people aged over 18 can now receive the shot, the DGS authority said, after it was approved for those under 65 in late January. Portugal, a nation of just over 10 million people, faced a tough battle against the pandemic in January, but the number of daily infections and fatalities has dropped sharply since then.
Alaska Becomes First U.S. State to Open COVID-19 Vaccinations to Anyone Age 16 and Older
Alaska is leading the U.S. in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, with anyone age 16 or older that lives or works in the state now able to get vaccinated. "This historic step is yet another nationwide first for Alaska, but it should come as no surprise," Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a statement on Tuesday. "Since day one, your response to the pandemic has been hands-down the best in the nation. I couldn't be prouder of Alaska's response." There are currently three COVID vaccines that have been FDA approved: Pfizer and Moderna, which each require two doses, and Johnson & Johnson, a single-dose vaccine that is currently being rolled out. Pfizer is available to anyone 16 and older in Alaska, while Moderna and J & J are available to anyone 18 and older in the state.
Vaccine passports, Mask mandates
Vaccine passports 'long, complex, global dialogue,' expert says
As vaccines continue to roll out across the globe, conversations surrounding “vaccine passports” or any other kind of government-issued papers used to show a person has been inoculated against COVID-19 are ramping up. Israel has already rolled out a vaccine passport, and while questions remain about its security several European countries have followed suit and expressed they are considering implementing their own. Canada has also mulled the prospect of vaccine passports, with federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu saying conversations are “very live” with G7 partners.
International travel could resume by October if Australia's vaccine rollout goes to plan
International travel could resume in October once the Australian adult population has been vaccinated against COVID-19. The recommencement of international travel would depend on a number of factors, including the country's progress on the vaccine rollout. The government would also need to monitor whether the COVID-19 vaccines are successful at preventing transmission of the virus. Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed today Australia was on track to reopening its borders by the October target, however there were no guarantees.
Vermont business owner challenging COVID-19 mask mandate
A Vermont business owner is in court arguing the state’s mandate that people wear masks in his store to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is unconstitutional. Andre Desautels, the owner of Derby Port Press in Newport, was sued by the state after he refused to wear masks in his store. The store offers printing services and until recently, was also a pickup spot for packages. Last month, United Parcel Service Inc. severed its relationship with the store, saying it refused to comply with the company’s uniform policy, which includes wearing masks. The Caledonian-Record reported that during a Tuesday court hearing, Assistant Attorney General Rachel Smith said Desautels admits he has not worn a mask since Gov. Phil Scott issued the mandate last year, he still isn’t wearing one and he has no intent of doing.
Countries under strain, virus surging
Brazil hits new daily COVID deaths record as crisis escalates
Brazil has once again recorded a single-day record for deaths linked to the novel coronavirus, as the head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned that nearly all states across the country are seeing a rise in infections. The Brazilian Health Ministry said on Wednesday that 2,286 people had died in the previous 24 hours – up from 1,972 deaths reported a day earlier.
EU gets extra vaccine doses to tackle virus border clusters
The European Union’s executive arm has secured an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech for an extra 4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to fight a worrying surge of coronavirus clusters that are prompting the bloc’s nations to impose border restrictions. The European Commission said Wednesday that the deal will help “tackle coronavirus hot spots” and facilitate free border movement. The extra doses, to be delivered in the next two weeks, come in addition to previously planned vaccine deliveries.
Questions surround Turkey’s COVID strategy as cases surge
A year on from the first recorded case of COVID-19, Turkey is seeing a resurgence in infections as it begins to take tentative steps towards normalisation. Last week, businesses such as cafés and restaurants were able to fully open for the first time since they were closed at the start of December when daily cases of about 30,000 saw the government impose evening and weekend lockdowns.
North America sees drop in COVID-19 cases, Brazil surge worrying, says PAHO
New COVID-19 cases continue to decline in North America, but in Latin America infections are still rising, particularly in Brazil where a resurgence has caused record daily deaths, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned on Wednesday. “We are concerned about the situation in Brazil. It provides a sober reminder of the threat of resurgence: areas hit hard by the virus in the past are still vulnerable to infection today,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said in a briefing.
'It's an atomic bomb': Scientists warn that Brazil's Covid catastrophe threatens to drag out the pandemic worldwide as the variant that emerged there and can reinfect people spreads around the globe
Brazil's P1 variant is now dominant there, has caused a second wave even worse than the hard-hit country's first and has put the health care system on the brink The variant is thought to be 1.4 to 2.2 times more transmissible than older variants and has reinfected people who already had COVID-19 in Brazil. Control measures and vaccinations are shoddy in Brazil, where 2,000 people died of COVID-19 yesterday. Experts compare the out-of-control situation in Brazil to 'an atomic bomb' As long Brazil or other countries have uncontrolled spread, variants could keep emerging and triggering new Covid waves around the world
French coronavirus patients in intensive care highest since end November
The number of people in intensive care in France who have COVID-19 is at the highest level since the end of November, health officials said on Tuesday as new infections rose slightly to 23,302 from 22,857 a week ago. The new cases pushed the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic a year ago to 3.93 million, the health ministry reported, and the seven-day moving average of new cases was virtually steady at 21,333. While France has been registering over 20,000 new cases per day since late January, week-on-week increases have slowed from nearly five percent in mid-January, when a tighter curfew at 6 p.m. was imposed, to less than four percent over the past five days.
Hungarian hospitals under strain from COVID-19 surge: surgeon general
COVID-19 admissions are putting Hungary’s hospital system under increasing strain and infections are expected to rise further in coming days as the variant first identified in Britain spreads, the surgeon general said on Tuesday. Cecilia Muller said numbers of hospitalised COVID-19 patients reached 8,270 on Tuesday to exceed a December second-wave peak. “The pandemic situation is very serious in Hungary,” she told a briefing, adding that 833 people were on ventilators, also more than December’s high.
Montenegro appeals to EU, NATO for medical staff to help it fight COVID-19
Montenegro appealed to the European Union and NATO to send it medical workers to help exhausted health services battle a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic in the tiny Adriatic nation, its leading newspaper reported on Wednesday. So far 1,902 people in the ex-Yugoslav republic of 620,000 have died from COVID-19 while 80,803 have contracted the respiratory disease. On Tuesday it reported 612 new infections, bringing the total of those currently ill to 9,063. Montenegro, a member of NATO and candidate to join the EU, began inoculating its population with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine on Feb. 20 but has struggled to contain COVID-19 contagion
No lockdown planned for Paris as severe COVID-19 cases hit three-month high
France is not planning to put the Paris region into lockdown even though the number of people with COVID-19 in intensive care is at its highest since November, public health director Jerome Salomon said on Tuesday. Medical authorities in the Paris region, which accounts for about one-sixth of France’s population, ordered hospitals on Monday to cancel 40% of their regular activities to make space for critical COVID-19 patients.
We got rid of Covid-19 in the Faroe Islands through competence – and luck
We got rid of Covid-19 in the Faroe Islands through competence – and luck
The government decided early on that rather than influencing behaviour by making laws, we would instead issue recommendations, says Barour a Steig Nielsen, prime minister of the Faroe Islands. "In some ways, our response to Covid-19 followed the same map as other countries: testing, contact tracing, lockdowns, public health campaigns and a reorganisation of our health sector. But, in other respects, our approach was unique. Unlike most other governments, we decided early on that we wanted to influence the behaviour of our citizens by issuing recommendations – not by making laws."