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Wave of hope linked to covid-19 vaccine

The announcement by the pharmaceutical group Pfizer that its serum reduced the risk of falling ill with the virus by 90% sparked immense optimism across the world on Tuesday, the European Union estimating that it could have an authorized vaccine by “the beginning 2021 ”.

The announcement by the pharmaceutical group Pfizer that its serum reduced the risk of falling ill with the virus by 90% sparked immense optimism across the world on Tuesday, the European Union estimating that it could have an authorized vaccine by “the beginning 2021 ”.

(AFP) – While it is still uncertain whether the vaccine will confer long-term immunity against the virus, the announcement on Monday evening immediately sparked a wave of optimism and a surge in global stock markets, just ten months after the coronavirus was sequenced. A scientific feat. The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, considered the announcement “encouraging”, welcoming in a tweet “an innovation and an unprecedented scientific collaboration to end the pandemic!”.

The organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, postponed due to the pandemic, said on Tuesday that the announced success of the vaccine was a “relief”, even if they continued for the moment to prepare for the Olympics next summer in a scenario without vaccine. According to Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, their vaccine, taken in two doses three weeks apart, is “90% effective”, according to preliminary results from a large-scale trial still in progress and which have not been detailed. It reduced the risk of getting sick in the vaccinated group by 90%, compared to the placebo group.

For Americans, who have pre-ordered 100 million doses, that means the first vaccinations could begin before the end of the year, provided safety is confirmed, by next week. Pfizer then planned to submit an application for authorization to the United States Medicines Agency (FDA), which will have to decide whether the vaccine is safe and effective. The distribution would only be a matter of “weeks”, assured on Fox News Alex Azar, Secretary of Health to Donald Trump, president who has made vaccine development the basis of his response to the health crisis.

In the European Union, which has pre-purchased 200 million doses and is negotiating for 100 million others, the vaccine could be available “early 2021”, according to a European source. Other countries – Japan, Canada, United Kingdom … – have also placed orders with Pfizer, and initial demand is sure to exceed supply, with Pfizer anticipating being able to manufacture 50 million doses in 2020 and 1, 3 billion next year. Nonetheless, NGOs have been worried for months about the monopolization of doses by rich countries, as well as the price at which Pfizer will sell the vaccine. “The vaccine will be 0% effective for people who do not have the means to access it,” responded Robin Guittard, spokesperson for Oxfam France.

Another experimental vaccine, developed by the American company Moderna and whose results are expected in the coming weeks, uses the same new technology, based on messenger RNA. And the world is also awaiting the results of another very advanced vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. The CoronaVac vaccine candidate from the Chinese laboratory Sinovac Biotech, on the other hand, suffered a halt: the Brazilian health authority announced on the night of Monday to Tuesday to have suspended clinical trials after “a serious incident” noted at a volunteer. Sinovac Biotech said on Tuesday it was “confident in the safety of the vaccine”, saying in a statement that the incident in question was “unrelated” to the vaccine.

In total, more than 50.3 million cases of the new coronavirus have been detected worldwide since December, according to a report established from official sources. In Europe, where more than 12.7 million cases have been recorded, Portugal entered a state of health emergency on Monday, with a curfew in most of the country. “It is not worth believing that we will be able to face this pandemic without pain”, admitted the Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa, while the daily toll has for the first time exceeded the 60 dead mark. Most of Europe is subject to varying levels of lockdowns or curfews.


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