Issue

JNJ Vaccine: FDA Investigates

JNJ vaccine

Today, both the FDA and the CDC issued a statement recommending a pause in the use of the JNJ vaccine. They issued the pause for the Johnson & Johnson product “out of an abundance of caution.”

The reason is straightforward. Six women who took the JNJ vaccine – between the ages of 18 and 48 – developed a rare disorder involving blood clots. The condition developed within two weeks of vaccination. One died and another is hospitalized in critical care.

The move follows several countries’ limiting the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine after similar reports of blood clotting.

Keep in mind that both the JNJ vaccine and AstraZeneca vaccine are based on the same viral vector technology.

Researchers are still puzzled. Very small numbers of vaccine recipients are, for some reason, producing antibodies that target their platelets and cause clots in certain parts of the body.

These cases are showing up extremely rarely in vaccinated people. But German researchers say they’re appearing slightly more than you would expect among people who have never been vaccinated.

Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna haven’t been associated with such risks. Their mRNA technology is much different.

After the announcement about the JNJ vaccine, Johnson & Johnson’s share price fell nearly 3% in premarket trading and U.S. stock market futures turned slightly negative on the news.

The Big News

Michigan: Coronavirus Resurgence Epicenter

The head of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, urged Michigan’s governor to shut down the state instead of asking for more vaccines to control a sudden jump in coronavirus cases. She said on Monday that Michigan should impose restrictions to combat the rapid spread of the disease. Walensky added that a massive delivery of vaccines would arrive too late to halt the uptick in Covid cases.

UK Variant Is Not More Deadly

The highly contagious UK variant (B.1.1.7 ) does not cause more severe disease in hospitalized patients. This is according to a new study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on Monday. The UK variant has become the most common strain in the U.S. The study analyzed a group of 496 Covid-19 patients who were admitted to British hospitals in November and December. The researchers found no difference in risks of severe disease, death or other clinical outcomes in patients with B.1.1.7 and other variants.

Regeneron’s Covid Drug Reduces Risk of Symptomatic Illness

Regeneron’s antibody drug reduces the risk of symptomatic coronavirus cases by 81%. This is according to phase 3 trial data. Regeneron said it would apply to the FDA to expand its use as a preventive treatment to more patients. The drug can now be given as an injection rather than an intravenous infusion. However, the cost of the injection is far greater than a vaccine.

South African Variant Still Troublesome

A real-world data study in Israel found the South African variant can “break through” the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/ BioNTech to an extent. The non-peer-reviewed study compared almost 400 people who tested positive 14 days or more after receiving one or two doses against the same number of unvaccinated patients. Among positive patients given two doses, the variant’s prevalence rate was eight times higher than among infected unvaccinated people — 5.4% versus 0.7%.

40,000 Children Have Lost a Parent to Covid

Close to 40,000 children in the U.S. have lost at least one parent due to COVID-19, a new study suggests. In the analysis published by JAMA Pediatrics, researchers from Stony Brook University, the University of Western Ontario, Penn State University and the University of Southern California used modeling to estimate how many children were affected by parental loss for each Covid-19 death. They found that for each of the approximately 480,000 deaths as of February of this year, .078 children aged 0 to 17 lost a parent. That represents a 17.5% to 20.2% increase in parental loss that would have occurred in the absence of Covid-19.

The Coronavirus Numbers

Here are the numbers from Tuesday at 8 a.m.ET from Johns Hopkins University:

  • 136,746,261 Infected Worldwide
  • 788,574,642 Vaccines Given Globally
  • 2,948,328 Deaths
  • 31,268,952 Infected in the U.S.
  • 189,692,045 U.S. Vaccine Doses Administered
  • 562,608 Deaths in the U.S.

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What’s Next

The JNJ developments grabbed most of the attention across markets.. The prices of U.S. government bonds slipped a bit. And stocks drifted ahead of inflation data that investors will scrutinize for clues about how long the Federal Reserve can continue with its ultra-supportive policies.

The biggest deal yet in the SPAC universe was made official this morning.

Grab – Southeast Asia’s most valuable start-up – has agreed to the largest-ever merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). It’s raising $4.5 billion in cash to go public in a deal that will value its shares at close to $40 billion.

Grab was founded in 2012 as the region’s answer to Uber. But since then, it has morphed into a superapp that provides everything from food delivery to digital payments. It will combine with a SPAC launched by Altimeter. This is a Silicon Valley firm known for its backing of late-stage technology companies.

Meanwhile, one global crypto exchange is preparing to IPO. Top venture funds and hedge funds are investing +$500 million. Go here for urgent crypto Pre-IPO details.

Yours in Health & Wealth,

Tony Daltorio

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