Home / Science / Health /  Johnson & Johnson sees covid-19 vaccine available as soon as January

The World Health Organization’s director general said some countries in the northern hemisphere are facing a “dangerous moment" as U.S. coronavirus infections hit a record for the second day and France’s cases rose by more than 50,000. Global infections topped 43 million.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate produced a robust immune response in elderly people, the Financial Times reported. Johnson & Johnson said the first batches of its shot could be available in January. Both companies are resuming trials that had been paused due to safety concerns.

Spain announced a nationwide curfew and Italy introduced the strongest measures since May. Australia’s Victoria state will dismantle most restrictions and allow retailers to reopen.

J&J Sees Covid-19 Vaccine Available as Soon as January

Johnson & Johnson’s first batches of its Covid-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use as soon as January, Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, the company’s head of public health research and development, said in a presentation at the World Health Summit.

The timeline matches that previously given by the U.S. drugmaker, which said on Friday it plans to restart a large late-stage trial of the vaccine that had been paused due to safety concerns. The 60,000-person study is expected to have initial results by the end of the year.

Retailers to Re-open in Australia State

One of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns to control a surge in coronavirus cases will finally end this week, with Australia’s Victoria state to dismantle most restrictions from Wednesday and allow retailers to reopen.

Restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars will be able to serve a maximum of 20 people indoors from Wednesday, while they can cater for as many as 50 patrons outdoors, Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters. He also said that from Nov. 8, travel restrictions that have seen the state capital Melbourne isolated from the rest of Victoria will be removed.

Astra Shot Produces Response in Elderly: FT

AstraZeneca’s vaccine has produced a robust immune response in elderly people, the Financial Times reported, citing two unidentified people familiar with the finding. The vaccine, which AstraZeneca is producing in collaboration with the University of Oxford, produced protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups, the FT reported.

Findings on immunogenicity blood tests carried on a subset of older participants echo data released in July that showed the vaccine generated “robust immune responses" in healthy adults aged 18-55 years, the report said. Oxford declined to comment to the FT.

India’s Cases Continue Slowing Trend

India added 45,148 more cases on Monday, government data showed, the lowest daily number since late July. The country, which has the second-highest number of infections after the U.S., has been averaging about 52,000 cases daily over the past week, after reaching almost 100,000 in September. The slowdown comes as the U.S. is reporting higher infections, topping 80,000 for two straight days.

China Faces Outbreak in Kashgar Region

China has tested nearly three million people in Xinjiang province to tackle a cluster of coronavirus cases, in the latest example of the country’s aggressive approach to bring new outbreaks under control.

A 17-year-old teenager in Kashgar prefecture was found through routine testing to have contracted the virus. Subsequent testing found 137 cases, all related to a factory where the teenager’s parents worked. Each of the cases were asymptomatic, according to Xinjiang’s health authorities.

Free testing is being rolled out for nearly 4.75 million people in Kashgar, in the far west of China. As of 2 p.m. Sunday, 2.83 million people had undergone testing, while results for 334,800 people have already come out negative.

WHO’s Tedros Sees ‘Dangerous Moment’

Countries must “strike a delicate balance" between protecting their people and minimizing social and economic damage as cases surge, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“This is a dangerous moment for many countries in the northern hemisphere as cases spike," Tedros said in an online meeting of the Berlin-based World Health Summit. “We still have a long haul ahead of us." He urged that vaccines, once available, be spread among “some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries."

French New Cases Top 50,000

France reported record new infections for the fourth consecutive day, extending a surge that’s left it with the most cases in the European Union. The rate of positive tests for the virus that causes Covid-19 jumped to 17% from 16% on Saturday, according to the national health agency.

Reported cases increased by 52,010 after three days with more than 40,000. Deaths rose by 116 to 34,761. Covid-19 patients have taken up almost 70% of intensive-care beds in the Paris region, according to local health authorities.

Arizona Reports Most Cases Five Weeks

Arizona, among the Sun Belt states hit hard this summer, reported 1,392 cases, the most since Sept. 17. The state had successfully reined in a surge that peaked in July with several days over 4,000 cases. But the numbers have been rising again slowly over the last few weeks, as cases spread to the Midwest then to two national records this week. Florida has also reported several recent days of elevated infections, and Texas is working to contain a hot spot in El Paso.

Gottlieb Sees ‘Dangerous Tipping Point’

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the U.S. has reached a “dangerous tipping point" as hospitalizations from Covid-19 start to rise sharply, undermining the idea that most current incidences of the virus are no worse than a case of the flu.

Medical resources in most states aren’t “extremely pressed" right now, but “that’s going to change over the next two to three weeks," he said.

“There’s really no backstop here. I don’t see forceful policy intervention happening any time soon," Gottlieb said Sunday on CBS.

Fauci Backs Trump on Vaccine Timetable

The U.S. could have a coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of the year, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci said in an interview with the BBC on Sunday.

“We will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December," Fauci said, backing President Trump’s estimates for the arrival of a vaccine. Even if a vaccine is proven effective by year-end, it will take several more months before it can be made widely available in the U.S., he said.

Cuomo Accuses Trump of Virus ‘Surrender’

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo criticized President Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows for saying earlier Sunday that the U.S. is “not going to control the pandemic" and will instead focus on getting vaccines and therapeutics.

Less than two weeks before election day, Cuomo said Trump’s approach to the virus has been “don’t even try. Just surrender ... That’s what they did and we have 217,000 people dead." Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg show more than 225,000 virus deaths in the U.S.

Italy Cases at Record Level

Italy reported a record 21,273 daily infections, with more than 1,200 patients in intensive care for the virus.

Bulgaria’s Premier Tests Positive

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov tested positive for the coronavirus and is feeling a “general malaise," he said on his official Facebook page. Borissov, 61, was briefly quarantined on Friday after coming into contact with a deputy minister who had tested positive, He released on Saturday after twice testing negative and said he’s resting at home.

Italy Approves Partial Lockdown; Spain Sets Curfew

Italy introduced the strongest virus restrictions since the end of a national lockdown in May, and Spain will impose a national curfew as cases surge in the two countries at the epicenter of the initial wave of the pandemic in Europe.

In Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte approved a plan to limit opening hours for bars and restaurants, and shut entertainment, gambling venues and gyms. Italians will also be urged not to travel. The measures will begin on Monday and remain in effect until Nov. 24.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Cabinet Sunday approved a new state of emergency that will give the central government more powers and he announced the government planned a national curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., except in the Canary Islands, where the infection rate is low.

U.S. Reports Record Infections for Second Consecutive Day

The U.S. recorded the most infections of the pandemic for the second day in a row, adding another 85,317 cases, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg through Saturday. The 1% increase outstripped the 0.8% daily average of the previous seven days as President Donald Trump sought to play down the surge in rallies in virus hot spots days before the election. Another 939 people died, in line with the previous week’s daily average, as fatalities also begin to tick up again

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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