February 22, 2024

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Sanofi, Glaxo to Supply U.K.; China Cases Up: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline Plc, partners developing a potential coronavirus vaccine, agreed to supply the U.K. with up to 60 million doses of their experimental vaccine. The U.S. neared 150,000 deaths even as daily infections slowed in some hard-hit states.

China reported 101 new cases, up from 68 a day earlier, with 98 of the total from local infections, mostly in Xinjiang. Tokyo confirmed 250 more infections, TV Asahi reported. Australia’s Queensland state will close its borders to all visitors from Sydney from Saturday.

Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert, said expectations for a safe and effective vaccine by December are “reasonable.”

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases exceed 16.6 million; deaths pass 659,000Trump claims warnings against anti-malaria drug were politicalModerna vaccine protected monkeys from virus in trialPfizer says Covid could endure, with long-term need for shotPhilippine hospitals in ‘warning zone’ as cases keep risingWhat made U.S. health care so vulnerable to Covid-19

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

Vietnam Says Nobody In or Out of Danang: VTV (14:07 p.m. HK)

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered that nobody should be getting in and out of Danang at this time, in an effort to stem the coronavirus outbreak, state-owned broadcaster VTV reported.

The premier wants strict implementation of “nobody in, nobody out” in Danang, VTV reported, citing his comments in an ongoing meeting. The coastal city of Danang issued a stay-at-home order for up to 15 days for seven of eight districts starting Tuesday.

Sanofi, Glaxo to Supply U.K. With 60 Million Covid Vaccine Doses (1:23 p.m. HK)

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline are also in talks to sell the shot to the U.S., the European Union and global organizations, the French drugmaker said in a statement. Both are among dozens of companies and institutions sprinting to deliver a vaccine to help curb the pandemic.

ECB’s Stournaras Says Virus Bond-Plan Exit Depends on Inflation (12:00 p.m. HK)

The European Central Bank will decide when to unwind its pandemic stimulus program based mostly on how inflation develops, according to policy maker Yannis Stournaras, suggesting that emergency asset purchases may continue longer than initially anticipated.

Mumbai Ramps Up Testing (12:00 p.m. HK)

Mumbai, once the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in India, saw daily positive cases falling to 700 a day, its lowest in two and a half months, on a day when it conducted its highest number of tests of 8,876, according to official data.

The successful “chase the virus” model implemented in its slum Dharavi is being replicated across the city. Mumbai is doing more tests and is the first city to have liberalized rules to allow citizens to test at will, Aaditya Thackeray, an environment minister in the ruling Maharashtra government, tweeted on Tuesday.

Japan’s Long-Term Rating Outlook Cut by Fitch (11:37 a.m. HK)

Fitch Ratings cut the outlook on Japan’s sovereign debt rating to negative from stable while keeping the rating unchanged, citing damage from the Covid-19 crisis.

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused a sharp economic contraction in Japan, despite the country’s early success in containing the virus,” Fitch said in a statement Wednesday.

Japan Dodged Surge in Total Fatalities During Peak Virus Month (10:00 a.m. HK)

Mortality across Japan dropped by 3.5% in May from a year earlier, with the nation recording a total of 108,380 deaths from any cause, data released Tuesday by the nation’s Health Ministry show.

The month, during which much of the country was under a state of emergency, saw the most deaths so far from Covid-19. Japan officially recorded 468 coronavirus-related fatalities in May, almost half its total to date of 1,001.

Sydney Declared Virus Hotspot by State, Triggering Visitor Ban (9:53 a.m. HK)

Queensland will close its borders to all visitors from Sydney from Saturday, after declaring Australia’s most-populous city a coronavirus hotspot.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision on Wednesday came after two 19-year-old women tested positive for Covid-19 following their return to Queensland from visits to Melbourne, the center of Australia’s resurgence in the pandemic, and Sydney. The pair had failed to isolate for 14 days as required on their return.

Vaccine by Year-End ‘Reasonable,’ Fauci Says (8:33 a.m. HK)

“It’s a reasonable statement to make that by December we’re going to have a safe and effective vaccine,” Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert, said on a webcast with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

As U.S. schools prepare to reopen, Fauci said asymptomatic infections are more prevalent among young people. He said it’s not fully clear how children communicate the virus so teachers will be “part of the experiment.”

Fauci said the “default situation” is to try to get children back to school, but “you’ve got to be flexible.” Teachers should have personal protective equipment, if needed, and access to masks. Students in areas of active transmission should also wear masks, he said.

China New Coronavirus Cases Jump to 101, Led by Xinjiang (8:20 a.m. HK)

The breakdown of China’s cases include 98 confirmed local infections with 89 in Xinjiang, eight in Liaoning and one in Beijing, according to the National Health Commission. Three imported infections were also reported and the total is up from 68 cases reported July 27.

Trump Says Warnings on Anti-Malarial Drug Were Political (6:57 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said the medical community’s widespread warnings against using the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients were politically motivated to damage him.

“I think it could have a very positive impact in the early stages,” Trump said Tuesday during a news conference at the White House. “And I don’t think you lose anything by doing it, other than politically it doesn’t seem to be too popular. You know why? Because I recommend it. When I recommend something, they like to say ‘don’t use it.’”

Trump has repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine even though a number of studies have shown that it is not an effective treatment for Covid-19, and can have serious side effects, such as heart rhythm problems and kidney and liver damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month pulled an order that allowed the drug to be used as an emergency treatment.

Kodak Triples on Loan to Make Virus Drug Ingredients (6 a.m. HK)

Eastman Kodak Co. shares more than tripled Tuesday on a $765 million U.S. government loan to help produce ingredients used in key generic medicines to fight the coronavirus.

The development bank loan is the first of its kind under the Defense Production Act in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense. It’s intended to speed production of drugs in short supply and those considered critical to treat Covid-19, which may include hydroxychloroquine, the controversial antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump.

Trump, speaking Tuesday afternoon in a news conference at the White House, said the deal was “a breakthrough in bringing pharmaceutical production back to the United States.” About 10% of the national generic drug supply is manufactured in the country. Kodak shares, after closing the regular trading session with a 203% gain, rose another 40% in extended trading after the president’s remarks.

Texas Reports 164 New Deaths (5:24 p.m. NY)

Texas said it counted 164 new virus deaths that brought the total to 5,877, according to preliminary data from the state health department.

The figures are difficult to compare to historical trends because Texas revised how it tallies Covid-19 fatalities on Monday, basing them on death certificates rather than numbers collected by local officials. The revamp discovered almost 700 previously uncounted deaths.

The positive-test rate dropped to 12.83%, the lowest since June 25, the data showed. New cases rose by 8,341 to 394,265.

Moderna Vaccine Protected Monkeys From Virus (4:36 p.m. NY)

Moderna Inc.’s vaccine candidate protected against the coronavirus in a trial that inoculated 16 monkeys, the company said in findings published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The primates didn’t show any sign of creating enhanced disease, a problem that has occasionally been associated with vaccines.

While the data is encouraging, a far bigger test is under way for Moderna, involving 30,000 humans. The phase 3 trial to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine will begin producing data in November or December.

Separately, the Financial Times reported that Moderna is pitching its vaccine at $50 to $60 per course in the U.S. and other high-income countries. The company had initially asked certain buyers, including the European Union, for a price of at least high double-digit dollars per course, the FT said.

Marlins Seasons Suspended as Outbreak Roils Baseball (4:15 p.m. NY)

The Miami Marlins season has been paused until at least next week after Covid-19 infected players and staff, escalating troubles for Major League Baseball just days into the new season.

Marlins games against the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals had already been postponed, according to reports. And because the Marlins played the Phillies over the weekend — potentially exposing them — a Philadelphia series against the New York Yankees has been pushed back as well.

The Yankees will now play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Wednesday and Thursday, according to Major League Baseball.

U.S. Cases Rise 1% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. climbed 1% as compared with the same time Monday to 4.31 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was below the average 1.7% daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose 0.7% to 148,298.

Arizona reported 2,107 new cases Tuesday, an increase of 1.3% that brings the total to 165,934, still below the 1.7% prior seven-day average. The state also reported 104 new fatalities, lifting the toll to 3,408.Florida reported 441,977 cases, up 2.1% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2.6% in the previous seven days. The state reported a record 186 new deaths, bringing the total to 6,117.Alaska cases rose 3.9% to 2,623, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg.

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