The FDA has signaled it plans to approve the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine very soon.
This follows the vote at the FDA advisory group of outside scientific advisors on Thursday. The majority of these experts back the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
This morning, the FDA told Pfizer it plans to work rapidly to finalize an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.
The FDA has also notified the CDC and Operation Warp Speed. That’s so they can prepare to distribute the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. This could be done within 24 hours of the authorization.
The U.S. government is offering to help increase production of the vaccine.
Operation Warp Speed is trying to double its pre-order of 100 million doses. Soaring demand looks likely to quickly lead to a shortage for the vaccine.
And it is going about it in the right way.
Operation Warp Speed is trying to help Pfizer obtain more raw materials and equipment under the Defense Production Act. That will ensure that it can produce the extra doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine by June 2021.
Lipid nanoparticles – the fat bubbles that deliver the genetic code into the body – have been a major stumbling block to increasing production.
Another problem has been finding enough glass vials to hold the vaccine.
The ultra-cold temperature required by this vaccine means regular glass vials are worthless. They will crack due to the extreme cold.
Companies like Corning are cranking up production of the right type of glass vials. Corning had signed a $204 million deal previously with the government to create more of its “Valor” glass vials. They are more durable than other glasses used to bottle vaccines, Corning says.
Corning researchers experimented with over 200 different glass compositions over 10 years before landing a formula that worked. The resulting aluminosilicate glass is about 10 times stronger than conventional vials.
Corning says it expects to produce hundreds of millions of these vials in 2021.
The Big News
South Korea Study on Virus Spread Indoors
A study on virus transmission from South Korea is finally get the notice of scientists in the West. It shows how infectious Covid-19 is indoors and how it spreads through the air. Diners became infected at a Korean restaurant from an out-of-town visitor. They were infected after only a five minute exposure from over 20 feet away.
Another Shortage Caused by the Pandemic
We all remember the toilet paper shortage last spring. Now, it’s antacids. Stressed Americans have turned to antacids for relief. People searching for over-the-counter stomach soothers find that they can’t easily buy antacid medications like Tums, Pepcid and its generic version, famotidine, in many parts of the country.
Stimulus Talks Dead Again?
It looks like hopes for a deal on Covid relief in Congress are being dashed again. Aides to Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, signaled that many Republicans are not on board with the $908 billion bipartisan compromise bill. Since Congress is scheduled to adjourn in a few days, Americans hoping for help may be left out in the cold.
Airbnb had a stellar opening day of trading yesterday. The shares closed at $144.71, a huge jump from the $68 a share at which it started the IPO. That first-day price values the loss-making company at $101 billion. Its Series A fund-raising round in 2010 valued it at $60 million. Now, Airbnb is worth more than Expedia and Marriott combined.
Covid Grim Reality
The U.S. reported 3,000 more coronavirus deaths on Thursday. This was just one day after crossing the daily threshold for the first time. States attributed 3,067 deaths to coronavirus, according to Covid Tracking Project data. Over the past week, 16,327 people in the U.S. have died, a record for a seven-day period. Health officials expect 3,000+ daily deaths for many weeks to come. That is a 9/11 each and every day.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Friday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 69,728,763 Infected Worldwide
- 1,584,788 Deaths
- 15,618,438 Infected in the U.S.
- 292,190 Deaths in the U.S.
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The stock market story – besides the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine approval – continues to be the red-hot IPO market.
Shares in Airbnb surged on its debut. It closed above $144 on its first day of trading after listing at $68 a share.
The more-than-doubling in the share price reflects huge investor interest. This is particularly true among retail investors.
And of course, there is a lot of excess, pandemic-related liquidity from central banks. These funds are finding a home wherever they can, especially in IPOs.
There is a strong fear of missing out on these mega IPOs. And investors seem very willing to discard the usual valuation measures. They just want in!
It’s seems to be a combination of FOMO (fear of missing out), TINA (there is no alternative . . .to stocks) and TRINA (there really is no alternative . . .to stocks).
Meanwhile, a top Tesla engineer just QUIT . . . and is now creating a brand new EV battery. Go here to grab Pre-IPO shares of this new EV stock.
Yours in Health & Wealth,