Coronavirus News – May 22

AstraZeneca receives $1B in U.S. funding for Oxford Univ. coronavirus vaccine

AstraZeneca has received more than $1 billion from BARDA to develop a coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University. The drugmaker has agreed to initially supply at least 400 million doses of the vaccine and secured total manufacturing capacity to produce 1 billion doses, with first deliveries in September. AstraZeneca’s development program of the vaccine includes a phase three clinical trial with 30,000 participants and a pediatric trial. Read more.

Poll finds Americans wary of taking coronavirus vaccine

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, less than two-thirds of Americans are “very” or “somewhat” interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine if one becomes available. About one-quarter of those surveyed had little or no interest in taking a vaccine and more than 40% said the vaccine could be riskier than the disease. Medical experts say about 70% of the population would need to be immune, either through vaccine or by fending off a previous infection, for herd immunity to take effect. Read more.

CDC estimates 35% of coronavirus patients do not have symptoms

The CDC is estimating that about one-third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic. Its best estimate is that 0.4% of people who show symptoms and have COVID-19 will die, and the agency estimates that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick. The numbers are part of planning scenarios that are being used by mathematical modelers throughout the federal government. Read more.

Colleges seeking ways to stockpile testing kits in hopes of reopening

The CDC released guidance on reopening higher education institutions this week and colleges are releasing their own plans for how they intend to open with students on campus this fall. Most plans include testing for SARS-CoV-2. Colleges joining together to plan has proved useful across the country and it could make it easier to purchase tests in bulk. But colleges are facing extreme financial struggles due to the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding the tests, how to get them and what tests are effective has made educational leaders less likely to make large purchases. Read more.

Europe begins to lift coronavirus travel restrictions

Europe is beginning to lift coronavirus travel restrictions. Italy will open its borders on June 3, Iceland on June 15 and Greece on July 1. However, not all airlines will immediately fly to those countries. “We need to make sure that both Canada and Italy are open for international travel to make a strong business case for travel,” Michael Rousseau, Air Canada CFO, told the Wolfe Global Transportation Conference. “We want to make sure that Canadians can go there and when they come back, they don’t have to self-quarantine.” Canada’s international, non-U.S., travel restrictions are scheduled through June 30 but Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam tapered expectations the quarantine requirement would end. “The mandatory 14-day quarantining of people who come in remains a cornerstone as we go forwards,” said Dr. Tam. Read more.