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Daily Archives: July 11, 2021

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Pfizer and BioNTech Provide Update on Booster Program in Light of the Delta-Variant

Press Release on July 8, 2021 . . . . . . . . .

As part of Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s continued efforts to stay ahead of the virus causing COVID-19 and circulating mutations, the companies are providing an update on their comprehensive booster strategy.

Pfizer and BioNTech have seen encouraging data in the ongoing booster trial of a third dose of the current BNT162b2 vaccine. Initial data from the study demonstrate that a booster dose given 6 months after the second dose has a consistent tolerability profile while eliciting high neutralization titers against the wild type and the Beta variant, which are 5 to 10 times higher than after two primary doses. The companies expect to publish more definitive data soon as well as in a peer-reviewed journal and plan to submit the data to the FDA, EMA and other regulatory authorities in the coming weeks. In addition, data from a recent Nature paper demonstrate that immune sera obtained shortly after dose 2 of the primary two dose series of BNT162b2 have strong neutralization titers against the Delta variant (B.1.617.2 lineage) in laboratory tests.

The companies anticipate that a third dose will boost those antibody titers even higher, similar to how the third dose performs for the Beta variant (B.1.351). Pfizer and BioNTech are conducting preclinical and clinical tests to confirm this hypothesis.

While Pfizer and BioNTech believe a third dose of BNT162b2 has the potential to preserve the highest levels of protective efficacy against all currently known variants including Delta, the companies are remaining vigilant and are developing an updated version of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine that targets the full spike protein of the Delta variant. The first batch of the mRNA for the trial has already been manufactured. The Companies anticipate the clinical studies to begin in August, subject to regulatory approvals.

As seen in real world data released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has declined six months post-vaccination, although efficacy in preventing serious illnesses remains high. Additionally, during this period the Delta variant is becoming the dominant variant in Israel as well as many other countries. These findings are consistent with an ongoing analysis from the Companies’ Phase 3 study. That is why we have said, and we continue to believe that it is likely, based on the totality of the data we have to date, that a third dose may be needed within 6 to 12 months after full vaccination. While protection against severe disease remained high across the full 6 months, a decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time and the continued emergence of variants are expected. Based on the totality of the data they have to date, Pfizer and BioNTech believe that a third dose may be beneficial to maintain the highest levels of protection.


The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID19 Vaccine is authorized for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 12 years of age and older.

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Infographic: The World’s Biggest Private Tax Havens

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Source : Visual Capitalist

China Vehicle Sales in June, 2021

Tyler Durden wrote . . . . . . . . .

Sales of Chinese passenger vehicles totaled 1.6 million units for June, which was down 5.3% from June 2020, according to figures released Thursday. Passenger vehicles include sedan, MPV, SUV and minivans, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

Despite the dip in the numbers, retail new energy passenger vehicle sales rocketed higher in June, totaling 223,000 units. This marks an increase of 169.9% from June 2020, which was in the midst of China’s full blown response to the coronavirus.

Wholesale volume of new energy passenger vehicles rose by 165.7% year over year to 227,000 units, according to Xinhua. Automakers exceeding 10,000 units of NEV vehicles last month included BYD, Shanghai General Motors Wuling, Tesla China and GAC Aion.

Tesla sold 33,155 China-made vehicles during the month of June, according to the CPCA, Reuters noted on Thursday. In the month of June, the company sold 28,138 China-made vehicles and exported 5,017 vehicles. This total is down from the 33,463 vehicles that the company sold in May.

For comparison, BYD sold 40,532 NEVs for the month. General Motors’ JV with SAIC sold 30,479 vehicles.

Tesla also introduced a lower priced version of its Model Y to the Chinese market this week, starting at ¥291,840 before incentives, which reduced the model’s base price to ¥276,000, or roughly $42,600, according to The Street.

Source : ZeroHedge

Source : China Association of Automobile Manufacturers

Dating First Cases of COVID-19

David L. Roberts, Jeremy S. Rossman, Ivan Jarić wrote . . . . . . . . .


Questions persist as to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence is building that its origin as a zoonotic spillover occurred prior to the officially accepted timing of early December, 2019. Here we provide novel methods to date the origin of COVID-19 cases. We show that six countries had exceptionally early cases, unlikely to represent part of their main case series. The model suggests a likely timing of the first case of COVID-19 in China as November 17 (95% CI October 4). Origination dates are discussed for the first five countries outside China and each continent. Results infer that SARS-CoV-2 emerged in China in early October to mid-November, and by January, had spread globally. This suggests an earlier and more rapid timeline of spread. Our study provides new approaches for estimating dates of the arrival of infectious diseases based on small samples that can be applied to many epidemiological situations.

Author summary

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, questions still persist as to its origins. Evidence is building that its origin as a zoonotic spillover occurred before the officially accepted timing of early December, 2019. We date the origin of COVID-19 cases from 203 countries and territories using a model from conservation science. We use a method that was originally developed to date the timing of extinction, and turn it to date the timing of origination using case dates rather than sighting events. Our results suggest that the virus emerged in China in early October to mid-November, 2019 (the most likely date being November 17), and by January, 2020, had spread globally. This suggests a much earlier and more rapid spread than is evident from confirmed cases. In addition, our study provides a new approach for estimating dates of the arrival of infectious diseases in new areas that can be applied to many different situations in the future.


Uncertainty still persists around the origin of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the resulting COVID-19 disease. While an origin as a zoonotic spillover in the Huanan Seafood Market, Wuhan, sometime during early December, 2019, has been proposed [1], this has been called into question [2–4]. This uncertainty arises due to both the presence of earlier potential COVID-19 cases, and the fact that most phylogenetic analyses put the most recent ancestor at between mid-November and early December, 2019 [5].

Uncertainty around origination dates extends beyond the suggested zoonotic overspill in China to all countries where SARS-CoV-2 has spread. For example, in France the first case of COVID-19 was recorded as January 25, 2020, however a recent retrospective review of medical records from patients in intensive care unit (ICU) with both influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms and pulmonary ground-glass opacity admitted between December 2, 2019, and January 16, 2020, (14 patients of 58) identified one patient as having COVID-19 who had been presented to the emergency ward on December 27 [6]. In the United States, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected through retrospective RT-PCR testing of a woman who had become ill on January 31, 2020, and died on the February 6, 2020, over 3 weeks before the first recognised case on February 26 [7].

Here we repurpose extinction models from conservation science to estimate the potential for earlier cases than has been reported of COVID-19 in 203 countries and territories. Further, we examine exceptionally early cases to determine the likelihood that these cases contributed to the country’s current infection or if they were isolated outbreaks that did not lead to the current lineage of cases. As such we specifically date the origin of cases that resulted in the virus taking hold in each country.

Within the discipline of conservation science, a number of models have been developed to infer or date extinction events based on a series of sightings of a species. Interest lies in determining whether a species still persists, having not been sighted for a period of time. If it is assumed the species is extinct, interest then lies in determining when extinction occurred. The application of these models has been proposed in a number of areas beyond extinction modelling to determine end points, particularly the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) method developed by Roberts and Solow [8], including geological stratigraphy [9], archaeology [10], phenological studies [11], and phylogenetics [12]. Based on a series of COVID-19 cases, interest lies in dating the original case. Such a knowledge is critical for our understanding of the spread of this disease.

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Read more at PLOS Pathogens . . . . .