- One week after receiving the second Pfizer shot, only 20 in 128,600 Israelis caught the coronavirus after they were considered immunized. Most of these infections were mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic and picked up during other visits to hospitals. Of the 715,425 people who received the second dose 99.6% were not infected. Government officials recently declared the reopening of the economy in Israel might take a few more weeks than the anticipated mid-February to ensure vaccinations reach more of the population.
- Moderna conducted tests that show its vaccine is effective against the South African mutation, although it is not as effective as hoped.
- New vaccine player Novavax shows 89% efficacy in UK trials. It showed effectiveness against the new virus variant found in the UK.
- Researchers think a promising coronavirus treatment is 30 times more effective than the first drug approved for Covid-19 therapy, and it can work against the UK strain. Research article published last week says the drug helped patients recover much faster by blocking the virus from replicating.
- A new drug prevented symptomatic infections in residents who were exposed to the virus, even the more vulnerable ones, according to preliminary results of a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and drug maker Eli Lilly.
- Daily reported cases in the UK, on average, are declining, as vaccine rollout is still on track with 14 million expected to be vaccinated by mid-February.
- Almost 80% of those over 80 have already received a first dose. The R number is still on a downward trend since early December and passed under 1 since mid-December meaning virus transmission is declining. An early study shows the vaccines are already slowing the spread of the virus in the UK.
Quick fact: The "R number" is the average number of people an infected person will pass the disease on to. If R is below one, then the number of people contracting the disease will fall; if it is above one, the number will grow.
- While Chief executive of AstraZeneca says the firm will honour the UK’s earlier contract despite EU anger over shortfall, an agreement on a delivery of 9 million more vaccines by March was reached as a ‘step froward’.
- French drug maker Sanofi is to help product Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, thus projecting an additional 100 million doses before the end of June 2021.
- Last week, India reported less than 10,000 daily COVID-19 cases for first time in 7 months.
- Australia had 12 consecutive days without any local transmission of the virus.
- In the US, C.D.C. officials say most available evidence indicates schools can be safe if precautions are taken on campus and in the community.
- Meanwhile, Boris Johnson announces English schools could return 8 March 'at the earliest'.
- How will the COVID-19 crisis be remembered? An interesting article discussing the difference between the experiencing self and remembering self, and how story-telling fits in the political context of Britain emerging from the COVID-19 crisis.