AstraZeneca will release the most up-to-date results from its latest COVID-19 vaccine trial within 48 hours after U.S. health officials publicly criticised the drugmaker for using outdated information in a press release earlier this week.
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* The European Union health commissioner urged other countries manufacturing vaccines to contribute to global supply and facilitate the good functioning of supply chains.
* Germany is extending its lockdown until April 18 and calling on citizens to stay at home over the Easter holidays to try to break a third wave of the pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, as the country races to vaccinate its population.
* The French hospital system could face an “unprecedented violent shock” in about three weeks if the country fails to curb its vertiginous rise in cases, the president of the French hospital federation said.
* France will lower the age from which people can be vaccinated against the virus to 70 from 75, Emmanuel Macron said.
* Norwegian police said they have begun questioning Prime Minister Erna Solberg over a birthday party she held last month, which could lead to a fine of 10,000 crowns ($1,165) for breaking social distancing rules.
* Uruguay confirmed that it had detected the presence of two coronavirus variants that originated in neighbouring Brazil as the tiny South American nation faces a spike in cases and deaths.
* India will expand its vaccination campaign from April 1 to include everyone aged above 45, a minister said, to meet a demand by many states grappling with a second surge in infections.
* Several South Korea provinces and cities continued to require coronavirus testing for foreign workers, despite a request from the national government that prompted Seoul to end its mandate amid international outcry.
* South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in received AstraZeneca’s vaccine ahead of an overseas trip.
* Vietnam has approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine for use, Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Russian developers of the Sputnik V vaccine said they have applied for domestic approval of a single-dose “light” version, and that trials of it in Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)and Ghana have already begun.
* The UAE said unvaccinated private sector workers in five industries must get a PCR test every two weeks, in a bid to encourage vaccine uptake.
* A COVID-19 vaccine candidate being developed by a unit of China’s Livzon Pharmaceutical Group Inc has gained clinical trial approval from the Chinese regulator, Joincare Pharmaceutical Group Industry said.
* More producers of COVID-19 vaccines should follow AstraZeneca’s lead and license technology to other manufacturers, the World Health Organization’s head said, as he described continuing vaccine inequity as “grotesque”.
* New late-stage trial data show Regeneron and Roche’s antibody cocktail against COVID-19 cut hospitalisation or death by 70% versus a placebo in non-hospitalised patients, the Swiss drugmaker said.
* Oil prices slumped and shares slipped from a one-year peak as a wave of infections, a fresh lockdown in Germany, and U.S. and European sanctions over China combined to curb risk appetite worldwide.
* Prospects for a recovery from the COVID-induced economic slowdown are uncertain and uneven, with some emerging economies and almost all low-income countries at risk of lower growth, the IMF’s managing director said.
* Consumer confidence in Brazil registered its third largest monthly fall on record, a survey indicated, hammered by a deadly second wave of the pandemic and near collapse of the public health system in several cities.