(Reuters) – Pfizer and BioNTech submitted new temperature data to the U.S. health regulator which could allow their vaccine to be stored in pharmacy freezers rather than in ultra-cold storage facilities.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals https://apac1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=1592404098 for a case tracker and summary of news.
* The European Union has contributed a further 500 million euros ($606.3 million) to the WHO-led COVAX programme for supplying vaccines to developing nations, the European Commission said.
* Germany wants to set up a special task force to help boost investment in vaccine production and build up reserve capacity for the next pandemic, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
* The Czech Republic dropped plans to open all retail shops from next week due to a surge in cases.
* Spain has given a full two-shot course of vaccines to almost all its elderly nursing-home residents, the FED care-home association said.
* Johnson & Johnson has submitted data to the World Health Organization for emergency use listing of its vaccine, which would allow for wider access to the one-dose shot.
* Brazil intends to buy 30 million doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine to be produced locally and delivered between October and December.
* The Biden administration will pledge $4 billion to the COVAX vaccination program for poorer countries in hopes of prying loose bigger donations from other governments, U.S. officials said.
* Vietnam will receive 60 million vaccines this year, including 30 million under the WHO-led COVAX scheme, the health minister said.
* Indian drugmaker Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories said it has begun the process of filing for emergency use authorization of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in India.
* Japan confirmed a new variant of COVID-19, and an infection cluster emerged at a Tokyo immigration facility.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The African Union’s vaccine task team said Russia had offered it 300 million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine along with a financing package for countries wanting to secure the shots.
* Ghana is expecting a first delivery of just over 350,000 AstraZeneca vaccine shots by the end of next week.
* Two of the South African government’s top advisers on COVID-19 backed Pfizer’s vaccine on Friday, despite a study earlier this week showing that the dominant local coronavirus variant may reduce protective antibodies it triggers.
* Pfizer’s vaccine greatly reduces virus transmission, two Israeli studies have found, shedding light on one of the biggest questions of the global effort to quash the pandemic.
* A top Pfizer scientist said the company is in intensive discussions with regulators to test a booster shot version of its vaccine specifically targeted for a highly contagious variant that is spreading widely in South Africa and elsewhere.
* Global shares edged up, reversing three days of losses, as investors clung to hopes of economic recovery ahead, while German and British 10-year bond yields touched multi-month highs, spurred by bets of reflation in the United States. [MKTS/GLOB]
* Sterling hit $1.40 against the dollar for the first time in nearly three years, as analysts continued to bet Britain’s quick pace of vaccinations will lead to an economic rebound from the worst crash in output in 300 years.
(Compiled by Veronica Snoj and Devika Syamnath; Editing by Gareth Jones, Sriraj Kalluvila and Nick Macfie)