A subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for Covid-19. Picture: Ted S Warren/AP/African News Agency (ANA)
A subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for Covid-19. Picture: Ted S Warren/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

By Reuters Time of article published Jul 15, 2020

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Moderna vaccine has positive Phase 1 results

Moderna Inc's experimental vaccine for the novel coronavirus showed it was safe and provoked immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in an early-stage study, US researchers reported.

Moderna's shot, mRNA-1273, uses ribonucleic acid (RNA) - a chemical messenger that contains instructions for making proteins. When injected into people, the vaccine instructs cells to make proteins that mimic the outer surface of the coronavirus, which the body recognises as a foreign invader, and mounts an immune response against.

In June, Moderna said it selected the 100-microgram dose for its late-stage study to minimize adverse reactions. At that dose, Moderna said the company is on track to deliver about 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, starting in 2021, from the company's internal U.S. manufacturing site and strategic collaboration with Swiss drugmaker Lonza.

Travel campaign under fire

Tokyo is considering raising its alert for coronavirus infections to the highest of four levels, officials said on Wednesday, after a spike in cases to record numbers in the Japanese capital.

Fearing a second wave of infections spreading from the capital, municipalities and opposition lawmakers also urged the central government to suspend a major campaign aimed at boosting domestic tourism, which has also come under fire on social media, with the coronavirus fuelling an unusual outburst of political anger in Japan.

Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, however, said the government would proceed with the "Go To" travel campaign, which includes offers such as discounts for shopping and food, but it would move cautiously.

Another polarising issue

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday lambasted California's two largest school districts, in Los Angeles and San Diego, for making students learn from home for the upcoming term in the face of a resurgent coronavirus.

Against the backdrop of rising cases and deaths, US school districts have been confronted with a difficult choice of resuming classes or using only online teaching, which many parents have called ineffective and burdensome. Trump has said he may withhold federal funds or remove tax-exempt status from schools that don't open. It is not clear how funds could be withheld. Most primary and secondary school funding is local.

The country's 98 000 public schools are a cornerstone of the economy, providing childcare for working parents, employing 8 million people, prior to the pandemic, and preparing some 50 million students to join the US workforce.

'It's beginning to look a bit like normal'

Jimmy Fallon has returned to the television studio for his "Tonight Show", becoming the first late-night host to get back to something approaching normal production in almost four months.

Fallon appeared from NBC's New York studio on Monday for a show in which camera operators wore masks, there was no audience, and houseband The Roots played in a socially distanced space.

"Any type of normalcy feels great. So hopefully we can put a smile on your face for an hour and let you sit back and relax," Fallon told the audience at home before breaking into a satirical ditty, "It's Beginning to Look a Bit like Normal".

Reuters

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