The Moderna vaccine may be less effective against the South African Covid-19 variant . . . one of the variants that has scientists so concerned.
That is why Moderna is starting a trial for a new Covid-19 vaccine. It admits that its current Moderna vaccine is less effective against the South African strain.
The company warned that the neutralizing antibody response to the South African variant was sixfold lower than to the original variant. This raises concerns that immunity to the virus may wane significantly. This will be particularly true in older people.
Moderna is working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the trials for a new vaccine.
A few thousand trial participants would be given a booster shot of the Moderna vaccine. They will be divided into two groups: one will receive the original Moderna vaccine again, and another to get a new vaccine formulated to target the South African variant of Covid, called The trial will also test to see what dose is needed for a booster.
The Big News
Making Masks Smarter and Safer
Researchers are developing a color-changing test strip that can be stuck on a mask and used to detect Covid in a user’s breath or saliva. The team at University of California San Diego is creating stickers that can be put on any mask. They will be designed to detect protein-cleaving molecules (proteases) that are produced from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Pfizer Wants More Money
It was a happy coincidence when
healthcare workers found they could get an extra dose out of Pfizer’s vaccine
vials. Now, Pfizer wants to be paid for those extra doses. What happens if that
occurs? Such a windfall could bring Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, as much
as $390 million in the first quarter of this year.
Pfizer Cuts Vaccine Delivery to Europe
Pfizer slashed in half the volume of vaccines it will deliver to some European Union countries, including Germany, France and Italy. Frustration grows over this unexpected cut in supplies. Government officials say the reductions are undermining their efforts to inoculate their citizens and tame the pandemic. Adding to the problem are worries about supplies of special syringes needed to extract six doses from each vial of the shot.
More Vaccine Bumbling
McKesson will replace some Moderna vaccines after they arrived colder than the low end of the required temperature range. The company – the U.S. distributor for Moderna vaccines – said some of the gel packs malfunctioned and were too cold. The doses are currently under quarantine, waiting for a determination on whether they are viable.
Walmart to Aid in Vaccine Rollout
Walmart is offering to help give Covid-19 vaccines. Walmart says it could deliver 10 million to 13 million doses a month from the pharmacies it operates. That is, if enough vaccine becomes available. “We have more capacity to put needles into arms than is currently being used,” Doug McMillon, Walmart’s CEO said.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Monday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 99,268,840 Infected Worldwide
- 2,130,995 Deaths
- 25,128,378 Infected in the U.S.
- 419,225 Deaths in the U.S.
Tesla shares surged 743% in 2020. And everyone is suddenly BUYING the stock. However, some of the smartest investors are SELLING Tesla. And they’re buying EV Pre-IPOs instead. Go here for details – before Feb. 28.
The new virus variant has taken a bit of the froth off of market sentiment recently. Last week’s action was choppy, to say the least.
Earnings season shifts into high gear this week. Several large-cap tech giants are reporting results alongside a number of Dow components.
On Tuesday, Microsoft reports earnings. And on Wednesday, it’s a big doubleheader with both Apple and Tesla releasing numbers.
Investors will be looking at Apple’s first quarter of iPhone 12 sales, as well as the Apple One subscription service bundle.
With Tesla, investors will be interested in its 2021 delivery outlook, especially in China.
If results from these companies are strong, look for another leg up for stocks in general.
Yours in Health & Wealth,