As highly transmissible coronavirus variants sweep across the world, scientists are racing to understand why these new versions of the virus are spreading faster, and what this could mean for vaccine efforts. New research says the key may be the spike protein, which gives the coronavirus its unmistakable shape. Illustration: Nick Collingwood/WSJ
A historic winter storm swept across the U.S., hitting particularly hard in Texas, where millions were left without power in record low temperatures.
Also, President Biden held a town hall as part of a tour to sell Americans and Congress on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. And, an impending deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan is putting pressure on President Biden to make a choice his predecessors could not.
Vaccines are rigorously studied and tested — but there are challenges along the way.
Eight different Covid-19 vaccines are currently being used around the world and just over 172 million people have received their first dose, 2.2 for every 100 people. All of the vaccines being used require two shots but that is set to change with Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ+0.3%JNJ+0.3% one-shot vaccine expected to gain regulatory approval for use in the United States within weeks. As it stands, the first Covid-19 vaccine to be authorized for use in the U.S. is also the most widely used shot globally, according to information from website Our World in Data reported by The New York Times.
Just two months ago, the incredible performance of new vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer had people cheering for an imminent end to the pandemic. But an onslaught of fast-spreading and potentially dangerous mutations of the virus changed that.
So now, even as pharma companies ramp up production in the early stages of a massive rollout, they are racing to retool their vaccine strategies. Robert Langreth reports that booster shots could give drugmakers a lucrative new revenue stream.
The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins this week as Republicans and his legal team argue the impeachment is unconstitutional.
And, South Africa has paused a planned deployment of a coronavirus vaccine from AstraZeneca after a study there showed it may be less effective against a new strain of the virus detected there. Also, how worried are U.S. health officials about variant strains of the virus in the U.S.?
The U.S. coronavirus rollout has been anything but smooth. States are reporting limited supply of vaccines, leading them to delay appointments and close clinics to the public. Some states lack staff and essential resources to get the job done. With little guidance from the previous White House administration on how to effectively administer vaccines, it’s up to states and local health officials to get the job done. President Joe Biden announced the administration will buy 200 million more vaccines and institute a national vaccine program to vaccinate 100 million doses in his first 100 days. But can it be done? Here’s what went wrong with the U.S. coronavirus vaccine rollout and how a new White House plans to turn things around.
Researchers are scrambling to understand the biology of new coronavirus variants and the impact they might have on vaccine efficacy.
Around the world, concern is growing about the impact that new, faster-spreading variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will have on the pandemic.
In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss what these variants are, and the best way to respond to them, in the face of increasing evidence that some can evade the immunity produced by vaccination or previous infection.
Factual and reliable information is vital to creating trust in vaccines and to overcoming the pandemic. Ed Carr, The Economist’s deputy editor, and Natasha Loder, our health policy editor, answer some of the big questions about the global vaccination drive.
Chapters 00:00 – Challenges in vaccinating the world 00:45 – Trust in vaccines 02:30 – mRNA vaccines 03:23 – Impact of variants on vaccination 04:29 – Time between vaccine doses 06:09 – Mandatory vaccines for travel?