The AstraZeneca vaccine was already less effective against Covid than its peers (60% efficacy).
Now, a legitimate question has been raised on whether the AstraZeneca vaccine is also a killer.
Countries across Europe have temporarily suspended the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. There are growing concerns the shot may cause blood clots.
The concern with these blood clots is that they have “unusual features.” These include low levels of platelets, which are involved in creating clots.
This is big news, and here’s why: This AstraZeneca vaccine was expected to be the one produced with the lowest cost and one with the widest global distribution.
But the AstraZeneca vaccine trial data was always – as one scientist friend of mine called it – “a mess.”
It may turn out that the AstraZeneca vaccine is perfectly safe. But the company has to get its scientific act together and forget the public relations.
The Big News
Facebook Expands Vaccination Efforts
Facebook plans to expand its efforts to help get people vaccinated against the coronavirus. The social media company said Monday it would roll out a new location tool to direct people to the clinics nearest to them that offer vaccinations. The company will also have an information center for Covid-19-related questions. And it will keep adding automated chat bots to WhatsApp, which can text information to users on where to get vaccinated.
BioNTech Steps Up Vaccine Production
BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) is building a new manufacturing alliance that could throw the rest of the world a lifeline. Its vaccines are still limited in supply. The company put together an alliance of 13 companies – including Novartis, Merck and Sanofi – in an effort to meet or exceed a target of making 2 billion doses of vaccine this year.
Antibody Treatments Prevent Severe Covid
Two clinical trials suggest that specific antibody treatments can prevent deaths and hospitalizations among people with mild or moderate Covid-19. This is particularly true for those who are at high risk of developing severe disease. Results from the studies (not yet published), both announced March 10, come from randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind clinical trials. The drugs could be particularly important for those who cannot mount an immune response to vaccination.
Vaccine Trials on Children Begin
Moderna has begun to test its Covid-19 vaccine on children aged 6 months to 12 years. That would be the youngest in a trial to date. The company dosed the first participants in the pediatric study, in collaboration with the US National Institutes of Health. It will examine the correct dose and safety in almost 7,000 children. Participants aged 2 to 12 will receive half and full doses of the adult vaccine. Children under 2 will get a quarter, a half and a full dose.
Covid Loves Frat Parties
A fraternity party at Duke University appears to have stoked a Covid outbreak on campus. That has led to around 16,000 undergraduates and graduate students living under a temporary enforced quarantine.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 120,302,055 Infected Worldwide
- 362,706,305 Vaccines Given Globally
- 2,662,597 Deaths
- 29,495,907 Infected in the U.S.
- 109,081,860 U.S. Vaccine Doses Administered
- 535,661 Deaths in the U.S.
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Yesterday ended up being a positive day as the 10-year Treasury stabilized around the 1.6% yield level.
The Nasdaq 100 ended up 1% and was the best of the indices after a big rally into the close. The Dow Jones rose 0.5% to a fresh record high as it notched its seventh straight daily gain. The S&P 500 also made a fresh all-time high after rising 0.65%, its fifth straight day of gains.
Futures this morning point to another higher open. It follows on from rising overseas stock markets.
The VIX — an index that tracks expected volatility in U.S. stocks — has fallen to a 12-month low of about 20. This could be an indication of greater confidence.
But it also could be a sign of complacency. After all, the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief legislation is a lot of stimulus.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,