Oxford publishes new With data on vaccine efficacy against British strain, Johnson & Johnson seeks FDA approval, and US Senate passes key resolution for coronavirus help. Here’s what you need to know:
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Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine protects against UK variant, as FDA draws up new plans to deal with mutations
First, the bad news: There is evidence that B.1.1.7, the variant first discovered in the UK, could be more deadly than the original strain of coronavirus, in addition to being more transmissible. Now the good news: New data released Friday indicate that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine protects against both the original virus and this mutation. This research has not yet been peer reviewed, but it shows promise. Although a handful of new, allegedly more contagious variants have taken hold in the United States in recent weeks, the CDC warned last month, B.1.1.7 could be the predominant variant in the United States by March.
In response, drugmakers are rushing to revamp plans to strengthen protection against variants. And on Thursday, the FDA said it was implementing new standards to tailor drugs, tests, and vaccines specifically to combat more resilient mutations. These will likely be released within the next two to three weeks. The plan is based on years of experience with the flu virus, which is changing rapidly and constantly. The National Institutes of Health is also working with at least two drugmakers to start human trials of vaccines targeting variants next month.
Third vaccine seeks FDA approval as experts strive to make distribution both faster and fairer
Johnson & Johnson applied for Thursday emergency use authorization from the FDA for its Covid-19 vaccine. If approved, the vaccine will likely be used in late February or early March. Supplies are expected to be limited at first, but shooting will always be a welcome addition. Unlike the two vaccines currently in use, it requires only one dose and can be stored in a regular refrigerator. Nonetheless, the fact that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has a slightly lower efficacy rate than what has already been used means officials may soon face difficult questions on who gets what shot.
Indeed, equity issues have already been shown to be essential for vaccination, especially as distribution accelerates under the Biden administration. People with enough free time and internet access found it easier to get vaccinated, putting many groups who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic at a disadvantage, including Blacks, Latinxes and Latin Americans. indigenous. On Tuesday, the White House announced extensions of the vaccination program this will, among other things, give priority to vaccination efforts in minority communities.
Senate set to pass Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan
After hours of voting, the Senate approved a budget resolution At 5:30 a.m. on Friday, it brings lawmakers closer to passing Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill by a simple majority, rendering Republican support unnecessary. Biden’s plan includes Direct payments of $ 1,400 per person for most households, UI supplement of $ 400 per week until September, extended paid leave, and more. Earlier this week, the President met with a group of GOP senators to discuss a replacement $ 618 billion relief plan they had drafted in an apparent attempt to work across the aisle, but he later reaffirmed that he wanted Democratic lawmakers “Go Big” on Pandemic Aid.
These developments in Washington stand as economic recovery is stagnating in all the countries. While the US economy created 49,000 jobs last month, the pace of job gains remains slow. Economists say things are likely to speed up as more people get vaccinated and pandemic restrictions on businesses are relaxed.
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What is the impact of the pandemic on cities?
City planners announced the pandemic as a potential opportunity to remake cities for the best, prioritizing the pedestrian and rider experience over cars and finding ways to do buildings breathe better. Other researchers have noticed that the means urban crime has dropped in 2020, provide important information that could help cities increase their security, and do so more equitably, even after the pandemic. Yet, there is no doubt that the pandemic has taken its toll on city life. An example: Public transportation, the cornerstone of cities like New York, is under serious threat.
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