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FDA Fast-Tracks Novavax Vaccine

vaccine trials

Israel is delivering excellent news on the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

There are always worries about a new vaccine’s effectiveness. Will it work as well in real life as it did in the lab or during clinical vaccine trials?

The real life results from Israel give a resounding yes to that question. The results came from a study by Clalit, Israel’s biggest healthcare provider.

The latest data from Israel shows a 94% drop in symptomatic Covid-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

And even more importantly, the vaccinated group was also 92% less likely to develop severe illness from the disease. This lowers both the hospitalization and death rates.

The study was carried out for Clalit by a team from Harvard University. It included 430,000 people who were between 16 and 59 years of age, and 170,000 who were 60 or older.

It was the first study of its kind to show such a high level of efficacy for Pfizer’s vaccine for those people 70 and over.

The study was done so that each vaccinated individual was tested against an unvaccinated person who had a similar profile, including their risk level for infection, risk level of developing serious illness and overall health.

Here’s the takeaway: It is now highly likely that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is very effective in real life just one week after the second dose. This matches what was found in clinical vaccine trials. And the vaccine becomes even more effective two weeks after the second shot.

The Big News

Two Masks Are Better Than One

CDC researchers found that wearing two masks are better than one in slowing coronavirus spread. This is the finding of a lab experiment that spaced two artificial heads six feet from each other. Researchers measured how many coronavirus-sized particles spewed by one were inhaled by the other. They  found that wearing one mask – surgical or cloth – blocked around 40% of the particles coming toward the head that was breathing in. When a cloth mask was worn on top of a surgical mask, about 80% of the particles were blocked. When both the exhaling and inhaling heads were double-masked, more than 95% were blocked.

Vaccine Trials: Novavax Sets a Record

Novavax is about to finish enrolling its U.S. vaccine trials in record time. The company has almost enrolled the 30,000 participants in its U.S. trial, which began in late December. It suffered a setback with its manufacturing that meant the trial started six to eight weeks later than planned, but it has made up ground. And Novavax could leapfrog over rivals in the race to approval since the FDA is considering authorizing its use based on already-released UK trial data.

More Moderna Vaccine Per Vial Coming

The FDA gave the OK for Moderna to put up to 40% more coronavirus vaccine into each of its vials. Moderna currently supplies about half of the nation’s vaccine stock. A 14-dose vial load could increase the nation’s vaccine supply by as much as 20% almost instantly. Retooling the company’s production lines to accommodate the change could conceivably be done in fewer than 10 weeks, or before the end of April.

Covid Vaccines for Children

Many parents want to know: When will my child get a Covid vaccine? The answer is not before late summer. Pfizer and Moderna have enrolled children 12 and older in clinical vaccine trials and hope to have results by the summer. Three other companies — Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and AstraZeneca — also plan to test their vaccines in children but are further behind in these vaccine trials.

Corporate America Bounces Back

Corporate America started to turn the page on the coronavirus-induced downturn in the fourth quarter. Revenues for S&P 500 companies rose 1.3% year on year in the final quarter of 2020. Profits climbed 3.4%, according to data from Refinitiv. The return to sales and earnings growth — following three consecutive quarters of contraction — has come sooner than many analysts had expected.

The Coronavirus Numbers

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

  • 486,332 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 109,227,418 Infected Worldwide
  • 175,561,807 Vaccines Given Globally
  • 2,410,034 Deaths
  • 27,695,000 Infected in the U.S.
  • 52,884,356 Vaccine Doses Administered

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What’s Next

While we enjoyed Presidents’ Day yesterday, stock markets in Europe and Asia had a rip-roaring rally. Look for U.S. stocks to play catch-up and move higher today.

The reason for the rally is the usual one: optimism over vaccine trials, vaccine rollouts and a strong economic recovery from the pandemic. Expectations of a big U.S. stimulus package are also a factor.

It’s not just stocks that are soaring. Commodities are as well. The usual suspects – copper and oil – are rising sharply.

But so are other commodities, such as platinum.

Platinum prices hit a 6-year peak yesterday as spot prices took out $1,300. This is a level not seen since September 2014.

It’s a remarkable turnaround from the depth of the market panic last year. Platinum prices touched $550 an ounce. And now prices are +20% year-to-date.

Crucial for platinum going forward is the shift to green energy and its role in the future hydrogen economy.

I believe platinum is a canary in the coal mine for commodity prices. We may be set for a long-term bull market cycle.

Meanwhile, Wall Street plans to invest $475 million in this new EV battery stock. Go here for urgent details.

Yours in Health & Wealth,

Tony Daltorio

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