Covid-19 Vaccine

Business • Economy
Mastercard announces that employees can decide by themselves "when they feel comfortable" to return to offices

According to Mastercard about 90% of its employees are currently working remotely, despite most offices being open for work. The chief executive Ajay Banga said that "I'm not planning on getting back to a pre-Covid growth scenario for another year. I think that could be sometime next year when a vaccine is readily available and readily distributed." All employees can "make the decision on when they feel comfortable returning to an office. They know their personal circumstances and needs".

Science • Medicine
University of Oxford Plans to Roll Out Covid-19 Vaccine by September if Trials Successfull
University of Oxford
University of Oxford Credit: SHYSHKINA

In his Sunday briefing, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said clinical trials for the Covid-19 vaccine by the University of Oxford were progressing well. The trial is currently in phase one and all participants have received their doses. Oxford has received over £47 million by the government so far and Sharma announced another £84 million in new funding.

Sharma added: "This means that if the vaccine is successful AstraZeneca (a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company) will work to make 30 million doses available by September for the UK as part of an agreement for over 100 million doses in total."

Science • Medicine
Johnson & Johnson aiming to produce 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021

Johnson & Johnson, multinational medical and pharmaceutical corporation, said in a statement on Sunday that they "aim to deliver 1 billion (Covid-19) vaccines next year". According to Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer, the company is starting clinical trials in September and is planning to upscale their manufacturing to be able to start producing the vaccine late this year. Stoffel added “We will have some vaccine available this year, but it will depend on the authorities – the FDA and others – to decide whether it can be used earlier, before efficacy data are available".

Scientists conduct llama antibody research to fight Covid-19

Since 2016 researchers have used over 130 llamas from a research farm in Belgium for antibody research against the MERS and SARS viruses, which are similar to Covid-19. The researchers found that llamas produce a special type of antibodies called nanobodies which are effective against MERS and SARS and suggest that a possible treatment of Covid-19 could also be possible. The researchers from the US and Belgium are currently conducting further research.

Tokyo Olympics next year could be cancelled without a coronavirus vaccine

It will be difficult for Tokyo to host the Olympic Games next year unless there is an effective vaccine against the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Yoshitake Yokokura, the head of the Japan Medical Association (JMA) said Tuesday.
Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo Games until July 23, 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Japan is under a month-long state of emergency amid a rapid increase of infections across the country.
The president of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee Yoshiro Mori states there would be no more delays: “No, in that situation, it will be canceled,” he said. “In the past, when there were such problems, like wartime, it has been canceled. This time, we are fighting an invisible enemy.”.

Second potential Covid-19 vaccine has been cleared for human trials in the US

The United States Food and Drug Administration has cleared the INO-4800 DNA vaccine candidate by the company Inovio Pharmaceuticals for human testing. The company has gotten funding from different nonprofits and organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently, the company is preparing to inject the first test subject with the potential vaccine.

WHO announces that over 20 vaccines for the coronavirus are in development

According to the World Health Organization, just 60 days after the gene was first sequenced, over 20 vaccines are under development worldwide. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said at a press conference that "The acceleration of this process is really truly dramatic in terms of what we’re able to do, building on work that started with SARS, that started with MERS and now is being used for COVID-19" and that the first vaccines are already in clinical trials. Even though the process is done in record time, it will take several more months to develop and then produce.