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The World Bank has given a boost for treatments in the developing world after approving $12bn in new funding to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine, tests and treatments.
The money, part of a $160bn package pledged by the organisation to developing countries, will include technical support to recipient countries so they can prepare for deploying vaccines at scale.
The funding is aimed at signalling to drug makers that there will be demand for the treatments and the infrastructure to distribute them.
Market confidence dented by treatment setbacks
The setbacks with the Eli Lilly antibody drug and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have dented confidence among investors in the world’s financial markets.
Wall Street’s three major indices closed down on Tuesday night – the S&P500 fared worst losing 0.63% – and markets in Asia Pacific have begun Wednesday in the red.
Australia’s ASX200, which reached a seven-month high on Tuesday, has been open for about 30 minutes and is off 0.2%, although that is not as much as forecast earlier.
Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking in Sydney, said the recent optimism in the markets was predicated on scientists finding a viable vaccine.
The v-shaped recovery scenario that has driven risk markets higher is dependent on the availability of an effective vaccine. While there are many other groups in the race for this vital development, the withdrawal of two major players raises concerns.
Eli Lilly pauses trial of antibody treatment
The US drugmaker Eli Lilly has suspended its clinical trial of its Covid-19 antibody treatment because of a safety concern.
The announcement comes one day after Johnson & Johnson said it was forced to pause a high-profile trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine because a volunteer fell ill.The compnay does not yet know if that person was given the vaccine or a placebo.
Lilly said earlier this month it was applying for emergency use authorization (EUA) for the antibody drug, LY-CoV555, for patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 based on data from another clinical trial.
Donald Trump touted the Lilly drug, along with the antibody treatment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals that he received for his Covid-19, as tantamount to a cure in a video he posted last week.
In the United States, Joe Biden has been using Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic to woo older voters in the key swing state of Florida.
Speaking to about 50 people at a community center in Broward county in southern Florida, Biden said the president had recklessly dismissed the threat that the virus had posed to their at-risk population.
“To Donald Trump, you’re expendable. You’re forgettable. You’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors. That’s how he sees you,” Biden said.
Meanwhile, a poll by Opinium Research and the Guardian shows that the Democratic challenger is 17 points ahead – one point more than shown in a CNN poll earlier this month.
Our man in Washington, David Smith, has the full story:
The world’s number golfer, Dustin Johnson, has become the latest sports star to test positive for the virus.
Johnson, who is American, tested positive at the weekend and has withdrawn from this week’s US PGA Tour event in Las Vegas. He joins footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and tennis star Novak Djokovic among the top sportspeople to catch the virus.
Here’s the full story:
Emmanuel Macron to give national TV address
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is expected to make a significant announcement about additional national lockdown measures when he gives a televised address to the country on Wednesday.
New Covid-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths all spiked further in France on Tuesday it is expected that Macron could unveil new restrictions.
France’s five largest cities – Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Lille – are among nine metropolitan areas already on maximum alert, meaning bars and gyms are closed and restaurants operate under strict sanitary conditions.
French health authorities reported 12,993 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, up on Monday’s 8,505, but down from Saturday’s record of 26,896 and Sunday’s 16,101.
Good morning/afternoon/evening. I’m Martin Farrer and this is the new global coronavirus blog. These are the main developments in the past few hours.
- Global cases of coronavirus are set to pass 38 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Deaths around the world stand at 1.083 million.
- UK opposition leader Keir Starmer has for national “circuit-breaker” lockdown of at least two weeks in England as the death toll from Covid-19 soared to a four-month high. The Labour leader said the prime minister Boris Johnson had “lost control of the virus”. Full story here.
- Dutch bars and restaurants ordered to close to stem surge in coronavirus cases. The Dutch government announced the new round of measures on Tuesday as the number of cases in this country surged in recent weeks to a daily record of nearly 7,400.
- Italy announces new restrictions. Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday imposed new restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, sports and school activities in an attempt to slow a surge in novel coronavirus infections.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus. The 35-year-old is said to be “doing well, without symptoms, and in isolation”, with no further positive tests reported in the squad before Portugal’s Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday.
- Dustin Johnson, the world’s number one golfer, has also tested positive and has withdrawn from this week’s US tour event in Las Vegas.
- Facebook is the greatest source of misinformation about the virus around the world, according to a survey of journalists covering the story around the world.
- Russia’s regulator has granted approval for a trial of its controversial Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine on people aged over 60. In August Russia approved the vaccine for use after less than two months of human testing, including a dose administered to one of Vladimir Putin’s daughters.
- The Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki tested negative for Covid-19. Morawiecki went into quarantine after he had contact on Friday with a person who has tested positive. A government spokesman said the prime minister had no coronavirus symptoms and continued to fulfil his duties.
- Ireland’s government offered more support on Tuesday to those hit hardest by some of Europe’s toughest Covid-19 restrictions. The budget stimulus package was described as “unprecedented in the history of the state” by Reuters.
- Russia reports record daily coronavirus cases and deaths. On Tuesday, the country’s coronavirus crisis centre said 13,868 new cases had been reported in the past 24 hours, pushing the overall number of infections to 1,326,178.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus live news: restrictions tighten in Europe; antibody treatment trial paused | World news