Covid-19: maybe a vaccine before Christmas

The first vaccines against Covid-19 could begin to be marketed before the end of the year in Europe and the United States, where the authorities have taken a new set of restrictions to contain the pandemic as the Thanksgiving holidays approach , between closure of schools in New York and curfew in California.

US President-elect Joe Biden, who is due to enter the White House on January 20, has however asserted that he will not impose “confinement national total“despite the resurgence of the epidemic.”I think it would be counterproductive“, he pleaded.

I won’t stop the economy, period. I will stop the virus“, he launched at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, after a meeting with governors devoted to this crisis.

On the medical front, the director of the German laboratory BioNTech, which is working with the American Pfizer on a vaccine against Covid-19, estimated Thursday “possible“its authorization and distribution during the month of December, both in the United States and in the European Union.

We are working hard“Ugur Sahin told AFP.

US Secretary of Health Alex Azar has confirmed that he is waiting for an emergency authorization request on Friday from the US Medicines Agency.

We expect Moderna to make this request soon as well.“, he added about this American company also in the ranks to develop and distribute on a large scale a vaccine against the Covid-19.

The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced for her part that the European regulator could give the green light to the marketing of the two vaccines “from the second half of December, if the procedures go smoothly“.

The Pfizer / BioNTech alliance and Moderna have announced in recent days an efficacy of around 95% for their vaccines, sparking a wave of optimism around the world, where hundreds of millions of doses have already been reserved by various governments.

Hungary, she did not wait and already has a vaccine, Sputnik V, developed by Russia but which is still being tested and has not yet obtained approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The first samples ordered by Hungary – around ten doses – will be used for testing, “before larger quantities are imported in the second half of January “, Budapest clarified.

Moscow estimates the effectiveness of his vaccine at 92%. Still, some experts have expressed doubts about the legality of this import without the agreement of theEMA.

Trips not recommended for Thanksgiving

This good news comes as some 56 million cases, and 1.35 million deaths, have been officially recorded worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to a report established Thursday by AFP.

To the United States, the most bereaved country with 251,000 dead for some 11.6 million cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University count, the epidemic is in phase “exponential“.

Health officials have urged people to refrain from traveling on Thanksgiving, November 26, the largest family holiday in the United States, when attendance records are traditionally broken at airports and on the roads.

And across the country, local officials have had to resolve to impose new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

In California, approximately 94% of the population will be placed under curfew as of Saturday, for a period of one month. The measure prohibits all “non-essential” trips between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the counties most affected by the coronavirus epidemic.

The virus is spreading at a speed not seen since the start of this pandemic and the days and weeks to come will be critical to stop this rise. We sound the alarmGovernor Gavin Newsom warned.

In the capital Washington, public museums and the zoo will close their doors from Monday, while in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday closed public schools, a move that immediately sparked controversy, with a petition calling for the continuation their opening and demonstrations in front of the town hall.

In EuropeWHO welcomed a drop in the number of weekly cases last week (-10%), but deaths have continued to rise and caution remains in order.

In Germany, the level of contamination is still “too high“, even if the new restrictions put in place at the beginning of the month” are effective “and encourage” optimism “, said Thursday the reference health authority.

In France, the “virus circulates less quickly“, but” the health burden remains high “, with 15,807 new patients entering the hospital over the last seven days, underlined the Minister of Health Olivier Véran.

Mink alert raised

CataloniaShe is preparing to take the plunge in easing restrictions: the northeastern region of Spain announced Thursday the reopening of bars, restaurants and cinemas next Monday, after more than a month of closure.

Other good news in Europe: two weeks after issuing the alert on a worrying mutation of the coronavirus via mink – and starting to slaughter its entire huge herd -, Denmark concluded that this potential threat to human vaccines was “most likely extinct“, in the absence of a new case detected.

The Irish government said on Thursday it was planning to cut down the country’s livestock mink as a precaution.

Elsewhere in the world, the virus continues to wreak havoc. Russia passed the two million case mark, setting two new records for infections and daily deaths.

Japan For his part, he said he was on “maximum alert” after having identified a record number of daily contaminations, without, however, planning new restrictive measures immediately.

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