World Coronavirus Dispatch: First vaccine results likely by mid-September

The first results showing whether a vaccine can stop people from getting the virus could come by mid-September from AstraZeneca
Two people who returned to their hometown after contracting the coronavirus in the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak in January have been sentenced to prison for failing to quarantine themselves or report the visit. After returning from Wuhan, the pair visited supermarkets and other public places in the western city of Yibin in Sichuan province for more than a week before showing symptoms, the Chinese court said on Saturday. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics:



Total Confirmed Cases: 26,873,146


Change Over Yesterday: 249,584

Total Deaths: 879,307

Total Recovered: 17,917,644

Nations hit with most cases: US (6,244,970), Brazil (4,123,000), India (4,113,811), Russia (1,017,131) and Peru (676,848)

Specials

SoftBank unmasked as ‘Nasdaq whale’ that stoked tech rally

SoftBank is the “Nasdaq whale” that has bought billions of dollars’ worth of US equity derivatives in a series of trades that stoked the fevered rally in big tech stocks before a sharp pullback on Thursday and Friday, according to FT sources. The Japanese conglomerate had been snapping up options in tech stocks during the past month in huge amounts, fuelling the largest ever trading volumes in contracts linked to individual companies. One banker described it as a “dangerous” bet. The aggressive move into the options market marks a new chapter for the investment powerhouse, which in recent years has made huge bets on privately held technology start-ups. Read more here

Covid vaccine front-runners will soon see their moment of truth

The first results showing whether a vaccine can stop people from getting the virus could come by mid-September from AstraZeneca, according to Airfinity, an analytics company that tracks drug trials. The drug maker has pledged as many as 30 million doses to the UK by the end of the month. Two other contenders -- the US’s Moderna and the US-German partnership of Pfizer and BioNTech SE -- may also have initial data before a key FDA meeting on virus vaccines scheduled for October 22. The federal government has told states to prepare for a vaccine by November 1. A fourth candidate, China’s Sinovac Biotech, could have preliminary results shortly after the FDA meeting. Read more here

This app could be crucial to reopening borders across Africa 

Two major African public bodies are promoting a new technology that could connect the continent’s Covid-19 testing centres and ease a reopening of travel across the region. The African Union and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging member states to integrate the mobile-based PanaBIOS platform that would allow results from facilities across the continent to be centralized. So far, only Ghana is using the service. Most African nations have either kept their borders closed since the pandemic began to spread or reopened with tight restrictions. Some require multiple negative coronavirus tests and, in some cases, self-isolation at a designated hotel at the expense of the traveler. Read more here



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