(Reuters) – The World Health Organization listed AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, widening access in the developing world, while sources said the EU is in talks with Moderna on buying more vaccines.
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* The EU is holding talks with Moderna on buying more vaccine and AstraZeneca, with which talks have stalled, has suggested delivering doses of its own vaccine made outside Europe to make up for supply cuts, EU sources said.
* Britain’s prime minister said he would plot a cautious but irreversible path out of lockdown this week after the vaccination of 15 million vulnerable people.
* Austria will decide on March 1 on potentially loosening restrictions from around Easter at earliest, its chancellor said.
* Spain plans to approve a new aid package for companies in March, its economy minister said.
* Peruvian prosecutors are investigating “courtesy doses” of China’s Sinopharm vaccine after two top government officials resigned after acknowledging they had taken the shot well before they were widely available in the country.
* Brazil hopes to roll out an emergency coronavirus aid package within three weeks, a source said, while Rio de Janeiro is set to halt vaccinations from Wednesday due to a lack of shots.
* Colombia’s first vaccines – 50,000 from Pfizer – are set to arrive on Monday afternoon.
* Australia and New Zealand received their first vaccine deliveries and will begin inoculations in the coming week, while Melbourne and Auckland were locked down following the emergence of new cases.
* China is cracking down on vaccine-related crimes, making dozens of arrests over the production and distribution of fake coronavirus vaccines, price gouging and illegal inoculations.
* A Pakistani lab will soon receive Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for commercial sale, making Pakistan one of the first countries to market shots privately as it scrambles to secure supplies.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* South Africa’s Renergen will start production of ultra-cold vaccine storage in the coming days and has started discussions to sell units to logistics companies, it said.
* Botswana will move ahead with plans to use AstraZeneca’s vaccine, its health minister said, despite South Africa’s pausing the rollout.
* Israel has cancelled plans to participate in a major defence exhibition and conference in the United Arab Emirates next week due to COVID-19 curbs.
* The World Health Organization (WHO) listed AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, widening access to the relatively inexpensive shot in the developing world.
* Britain’s drug regulator is auditing manufacturing processes at Serum Institute of India (SII) which could pave the way for AstraZeneca’s vaccine to be shipped from there to Britain and other countries, sources said.
* A pan-European consortium developing a COVID-19 vaccine is in talks with big pharma to support the late-stage development of its shot and ramp up manufacturing, the head of German biotech firm Leukocare told Reuters.
* Global shares rose for the 11th day in a row to reach a fresh peak on optimism about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and new fiscal aid from Washington, while tensions in the Middle East drove oil to a 13-month high. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Canadian universities face a financial crunch, as a drop in foreign enrolment and shuttered campuses dent the bottom line and slow vaccine rollout weighs on the next academic year.
* Peru´s economy grew in December for the first time since the pandemic struck, though GDP still plunged 11.1% in 2020.
(Compiled by Sarah Morland and Milla Nissi; Editing by Barbara Lewis)