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United Airlines, whose CEO expressed support for mandatory vaccines, instead gives pilots incentives to get the shot

United Airlines, whose CEO had expressed support for employers to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, will provide incentives to pil.....»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneMay 25th, 2021

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt2 hr. 15 min. ago

A US Army officer who has taken all other military-mandated vaccines says he is resigning instead of getting the COVID vaccine

In a resignation letter, he criticized vaccine mandates, as well as lockdowns, failures in Afghanistan, and the "Marxist takeover of the military." US Army nurse administers COVID-19 vaccine at Fort Meade in Maryland. US Army photo An Army officer has decided to resign rather than take the COVID vaccine mandated by the military. Lt. Col. Paul Douglas Hague said on Fox News that he has had all other vaccines, but he won't get the one for COVID. The CDC and other medical experts have argued that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective. See more stories on Insider's business page. A US Army officer who has received all other vaccines mandated by the Department of Defense has decided to resign after 18 years of service rather than take the COVID shot, though that is not his only complaint."I don't want the COVID vaccine, and I don't plan on getting it," Lt. Col. Paul Douglas Hague told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Wednesday. "I've had all the other Army vaccines. I've had eight anthrax shots. I've had the smallpox vaccination. I've had them all.""So it's really not about whether I'll get the shot," he continued."This is about the freedom of the American people," Hague explained. "The right to choose your own medical procedures. The right to decide what's gonna be injected into your body and what's not. That's a natural human right that we can't take away from people. And I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution which affords those rights to the Americans."US military members do not have the right to reject mandated vaccines and still serve. These requirements are based on the military's experience that diseases can be as big a threat to troops as the enemy. Still, there are certain religious exemptions, among others.Hague's decision, which comes just two years from retirement and will cost him his pension and other benefits, made waves last week when his wife posted his resignation letter on Twitter.-Katie Phipps Hague (@AtTheHague) September 9, 2021"I am incapable of subjecting myself to the unlawful, unethical, immoral, and tyrannical order to sit still and allow a serum to be injected into my flesh against my will and better judgement," Hague wrote in his letter, a partial response to the Pentagon's COVID vaccine mandate.Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin sent a memo in late August requiring military personnel to get the vaccine after its full FDA approval, emphasizing it was necessary for a "healthy and ready force.""After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people," he said.In his resignation letter, Hague also lamented lockdowns in response to the virus, said he had a "complete lack of confidence" in the Biden administration after failures in Afghanistan, and criticized what he sees as a "Marxist takeover of the military."While the COVID vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, along with other response measures like masks and lockdowns, have proven to be divisive issues in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as outside medical experts, continue to push for these in order to reduce the virus' spread and severity, which is claiming an average of more than 2,000 lives each day, largely among unvaccinated people.The CDC has stressed that "COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective," notes that millions of people have received the shot, and encourages everyone ages 12 and up to get the vaccine.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

CDC Not Changing Definition Of "Fully Vaccinated"...For Now: Walensky

CDC Not Changing Definition Of "Fully Vaccinated"...For Now: Walensky Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said Friday that the definition of “fully vaccinated” won’t change when COVID-19 booster shots are rolled out—at least in the near future. Currently, the CDC and other federal health agencies have defined one as fully vaccinated if they receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, two doses of Moderna’s vaccine, or one Johnson & Johnson shot. In Israel, officials recently announced individuals who have not received a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine after six months will not be counted as fully vaccinated. It means they won’t be able to use the “green pass” vaccine passport that is utilized for restaurants, gyms, and other venues in Israel. When asked whether the CDC will change its definition, Walensky said that “we are not changing the definition right now of fully vaccinated.” As the agency gathers more “experience with our third shot and have more people who are recommended” to get the shot, then the CDC may change its guidelines around boosters, Walensky said during the White House’s COVID-19 response team briefing. Across the United States, some businesses and government agencies have made it mandatory for workers to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Should the CDC and other health agencies change its policy around who can be considered fully vaccinated, the rule would potentially impact tens of millions of people. Several weeks ago, Israel, which has one of the most vaccinated populations in the world, set an expiration date for its vaccine passport. Now, a booster shot received within six months of the second dose extends the passport’s validity by six months. That decision came just days after the country started offering COVID-19 boosters to all vaccinated people. Walenksy’s remarks come just hours after a CDC panel on late Thursday recommended Pfizer boosters for individuals aged 65 and older. The panel also overwhelmingly voted for a booster for people between the ages of 50 and 64 who have underlying health issues, and voted in favor of providing the third dose for anyone who is being treated at a long-term care facility. “Prevention of infection may protect health care capacity and other essential services for the COVID-19 response and maintain overall function for society,” said Dr. Kathleen Dooling, a CDC official on the panel. The World Health Organization has sharply criticized the U.S., Israel, and other wealthy nations for trying to develop and approve booster doses for their populations, arguing that poorer countries are still in dire need of COVID-19 vaccines. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 11:03.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge15 hr. 47 min. ago

How the evangelical Christian right seeded the false, yet surprisingly resilient, theory that vaccines contain microchips

Conservative Christian groups have linked the vaccine to the Biblical 'Mark of the Beast' for decades, a claim echoed in current anti-vaxx rhetoric. Anti-vaccine rally protesters hold signs outside of Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, on June 26, 2021. MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images The groundless conspiracy theory that vaccines contain microchips is believed by thousands. The narrative has deep roots in the right-wing evangelical movement. Prominent figures turbocharged the theory in the era of COVID-19, helping drive US vaccine hesitancy. See more stories on Insider's business page. Back in August, the right-wing evangelical Mat Staver appeared on an hour-long livestream hosted by the World Prayer Network.In it, he told listeners that vaccines for COVID-19 were not meant to save the world from the pandemic, but instead to radically depopulate it.The groundless theory has no evidence at all to support it, but has proved durable all the same."What is involved in this is depopulation, population control to reduce the population of the planet, and to control everyone, and to do it by force and to have a tracking mechanism to determine whether or not you've had one of these particular injections," Staver said.He linked the fictitious plot to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has become a hate figure for right-wing anti-vaccine activists during the pandemic.In an emailed statement to Insider, Staver denied believing the microchip theory, but did not seek to reconcile that with the times he had publicly advocated it.The belief that COVID-19 vaccines are being used to secretly implant tracking mechanisms or microchips has spread far and wide during the pandemic.According to a survey by YouGov for The Economist magazine in July, about half those resistant to getting the shot believe the microchip claim. With about 80 million Americans still unvaccinated, that makes millions of believers in a version of of the conspiracy theory. Some have traced the conspiracy theory back to a Q&A given by Gates on Reddit on March 18, 2020, in the early days of the pandemic.He projected that that "digital certificates" would one day be used to identify who had recovered from the coronavirus, and who had been vaccinated. The reality of today's COVID passports is not far from this prediction.His words were distorted by those who claimed they were evidence of a secret plan to monitor and control people, and gained currency from there. But the conspiracy theory has older and deeper roots, experts have told Insider.A network of right-wing Christian activists and preachers helped seed fears that public-health measures would one day be used as part of a plot to secretly monitor people. It meant that there was fertile ground for conspiracy theorists to plant doubts about the vaccines developed during the pandemic. Multiple surveys suggest that Republicans and white evangelicals are among those least willing to get the shot, overlapping with the most receptive audience for the microchip theory.Andrew Whitehead, an expert on the Christian right who teaches at Indiana University, said: "One reason some groups and individuals on the Christian right champion anti-vax views is their skepticism or even outright rejection of science as a trustworthy source of authority."In their view, science competes with the supremacy of Biblicist authority. Not any and all claims of science, though, just those they perceive to be religiously contested or politically motivated. Vaccines, and especially the COVID-19 vaccine, is in this realm."Vaccines and the 'The Mark of the Beast'Peter Montgomery, a senior researcher at People for the American Way, has for decades monitored right-wing Christian groups and their connections with the Republican Party.He said that many on the Christian right believe that humanity is living through the end of days.They see in public health measures such as vaccine passports evidence of the "Mark of the Beast", proof of widespread allegiance to Satan that predicts the apocalypse in the Bible. Mat Staver in 2015. AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File "For many evangelicals who believe that we are living in the 'End Times', there's a strain of rhetoric and thinking out there about the vaccine and the idea of vaccine passports or businesses requiring people to be vaccinated," he said."They connect it all to the 'Mark of the Beast.'" An implanted microchip, on these lines of thinking, would be the ultimate example of such a mark. It's a claim that he sees echoed in the rhetoric of Republican lawmakers who have opposed public-health measures.Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in a video in March described Biden administration plans for a vaccine passport as "The Mark of the Beast."-Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) March 30, 2021As far back as a decade ago, Staver's Liberty Counsel, which provides legal support for those challenging federal laws on religious grounds, was drawing links between vaccines and microchip plots.A Liberty Counsel attorney at a public event as far back as 2010 claimed that the Obama administration's swine flu (H1N1) vaccine could be part of a plot to implant microchips.According to Montgomery, the student of the Christian right, the statement was a typical variant of the conspiracy theory that had circulated among right-wing evangelicals, which went on to be cited by preachers at pulpits, on radio shows, and on TV.It emerged again during the pandemic, where it found a vast new audience. Staver, he said, had been among the most prominent opponents of vaccines and other public-health measures as the coronavirus swept the US. In April, Staver appeared on an evangelical podcast to claim that vaccines are part of a plot to "force the submission to the experimental gene therapy," an allusion to a conspiracy theory claiming the vaccines tamper with DNA.A month later he was on the Voice of Christian Youth America radio station, where on its "CrossTalk" program, he claimed, groundlessly, that pregnant women are having miscarriages by being near vaccinated people. Other right-wing Christians have also helped spread the microchips conspiracy theory.An investigation in July by The Verge found that an online sermon by Baptist pastor Adam Fannin played a role in popularizing the theory in the early days of the pandemic. And deep links between the right-wing evangelical movement and the QAnon conspiracy theory movement had also helped boost anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, said Joe Ondrak, head of investigations at LogicallyAI, a UK-based company that uses AI to track disinformation."The 'Mark of the Beast' gets heavily folded into QAnon conspiracy theories as well,' he said, noting that that both movements involve the belief that Satanic elites are plotting against ordinary Americans. Staver in an emailed reply to questions from Insider denied believing that vaccines are used to implant microchips. "This is false. That is not my opinion," he said. On the issue of whether the vaccines cause infertility, he said that "it is unknown whether they cause infertility since this issue was not part of the clinical trials and the data will not be available for some time."The CDC has said there is no evidence that the vaccines harm fertility, and a growing body of evidence that they do not.The agency initially limited it advice on taking the vaccine while pregnant, but in August 2021 updated its position to unambiguously recommend it, citing new data.Staver went on to argue that there were many credible reports of adverse reactions to the vaccines. "We speak with many healthcare workers and doctors to learn about what they are seeing in addition to the data," he said, without giving any specifics."Of course not everyone has adverse events, but the adverse events cannot be ignored and must be investigated rather than merely discounting them."Adverse effects are already subject to monitoring like that described by Staver.The CDC noted that it, the FDA, and other agencies are monitoring such events. On occasion it has acted on them, prompting policies like the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout in April, which was lifted after 11 days.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Unvaccinated Americans abroad will need a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of flying home from November, rather than the current 3 days, the White House said

Unvaccinated Americans abroad will need to prove they've bought a "viral test" for when they land in the US from November, the White House said. A health care worker tests a traveller at a COVID-19 testing station at LAX airport. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Unvaccinated Americans abroad will need a negative COVID-19 test within a day of their return flight from November. They will also need to buy a "viral test" to take when back in the US, the White House said. Currently, returning Americans need a test within 72 hours of flying, regardless of vaccination status. See more stories on Insider's business page. Unvaccinated Americans abroad will have to test negative for COVID-19 within a day of their return flight to the US, rather than within three days, under new rules coming in November, the White House press secretary said Monday.Jen Psaki said in a briefing that unvaccinated Americans flying home would need "proof of a negative test result taken within one day of their departure," as well as proof they have bought a "viral test" to take when they get to the US.The rules would "obviously apply to children as well," she said.Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rules state that all air passengers coming to the United States, including US citizens and vaccinated people, must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight, or proof that they've recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months.Everyone must be tested three to five days after their return flight, too. Unvaccinated people must also self-quarantine for seven full days even if they test negative - if they don't get tested, they must self-isolate for 10 days. Vaccinated people don't have to self-quarantine if they test negative.Some of the details of the upcoming November rules remain unclear, such as what kind of tests passengers would need to prove they have bought, and whether the new rules apply to partially vaccinated people. Psaki said there were ongoing "discussions" about how the new process would work.About 37% of the US population are unvaccinated, according to Our World in Data. A further 9% are partially vaccinated, according to the data.The CDC has advised against international travel for unvaccinated Americans since January.The announcement came as the White House said it expected to ease the travel ban for vaccinated travelers from Europe and the UK. The ban has been in place since March 14, 2020.Some airlines worldwide have already mandated vaccines for flyers. Alan Joyce, chief executive officer at Qantas, said on September 9 that the airline would only allow vaccinated people to board its flights.It's not yet clear whether the White House will introduce vaccine mandates for domestic flights.Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, said Sunday that the Biden administration had "not yet gotten to the point of requiring vaccinations on domestic flights, but everything is on the table.""I would support that if you want to get on a plane and travel with other people then you should be vaccinated," he said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

CDC Panel Approves Pfizer Boosters For Older Americans Despite More Pushback

CDC Panel Approves Pfizer Boosters For Older Americans Despite More Pushback Update (1622ET): ACIP has also approved boosters for people aged 18-49 with underlying issues. This vote was 9-6. CDC ACIP BACKS BOOSTER FOR 18-49 WITH UNDERLYING CONDITIONS The next vote should define "at-risk" occupations. * * * Update (1600ET): Despite some disagreement about the necessity of booster shots (which we also saw at the FDA panel''s meeting late last week), the CDC's advisory panel has voted 15-0 and 13-2 to approve authorization for booster jabs for people over 65, and immuno-compromised adults between the ages of 50 to 64. As the CDC's advisory panel prepared to vote on their final set of guidelines for Pfizer booster jabs, some members of the panel have raised more objections to authorizing booster jabs, though they're not the same objections shared by members of the FDA's advisory panel. Members worried that the pandemic would likely be prolonged no matter what thanks to vaccine holdouts. In fact, with so many Americans refusing to get the jab, using booster shots would be tantamount to slapping lipstick on a pig. “My concern is that we’re just going to keep give booster doses to the vaccinated as different variants come onto the scene, and we’re not going to be able to move forward in truly mitigating the pandemic,” Lynn Bahta, a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices from the Minnesota Department of Health, said. During the meeting, which started earlier, none of the ACIP panelists spoke against recommending boosters for senior citizens, and debate focused on whether a third shot is warranted for younger people at high-risk of severe Covid and if so, how to target them. With more than 30% of the population refusing the jab, "it feels like we are putting lipstick on hogs," said Helen Talbot of Vanderbilt University. "This is not going to solve the pandemic." One participant noted that the data supporting boosters, including real-world evidence from Israel, have relied on shorter term follow-up, meaning the data isn't very credible. But at the very least, one Israeli study has shown that natural immunity is more than 13x more resilient than artificial inoculation. Per CNBC, the vote is still a "a win for President Joe Biden, whose administration has said it wants to give booster shots to all eligible Americans 16 and older as early as this week. While the CDC panel’s recommendation doesn’t give the Biden administration everything it wanted, boosters will still be on the way for millions of Americans." While CNBC may have actually reported that, from what we remember, President Biden initially pushed for boosters for the entire adult population, which provoked a backlash in the scientific community who argued there wasn't enough evidence to approve the boosters, and that they would be put to better use in emerging economies. The panel - officially, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP - has a few more votes to get through, including on whether to extend boosters to other groups including at-risk workers. Dr. Rochelle Walensky visited the panel earlier and acknowledged that while the data wasn't "perfect", "they do offer guidance" about whether to make a decision, she said. *  *  * Last night, the FDA - as expected - authorized the emergency use of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jab for patients over the age of 65, the immuno-compromised, and the occupationally vulnerable. Now, it's the CDC's turn. The panel is preparing to wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, where it is deliberating a more specific set of guidelines regarding the booster jab and who will initially be eligible, and when. Before we get into specifics, it's worth noting that after the first day of discussion, some of the advisors were so befuddled by the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off the CDC's decision for a month to wait for more evidence. Such a decision would probably have driven the Biden Administration crazy. According to the AP, "the uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month." On Wednesday, "the CDC panelists heard a series of presentations Wednesday outlining the knotty state of science on boosters. On one hand, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On the other hand, there are signs of more low-grade infections among the vaccinated as immunity wanes." Ultimately, the function of the CDC panel is to "refine exactly who will be eligible" as Politico put it. For the booster jab, the focus will be on defining who's at "high risk". The discussions are expected to conclude Thursday afternoon. Politico has five key takeaways from day one, and what to expect on day two (text courtesy of Politico): The goals of vaccination might be changing: Data from the large clinical trials used to authorize Covid-19 vaccines in the United States suggested they offered strong protection against even mild infection, raising hopes that the shots would confer so-called sterilizing immunity — preventing vaccinated people from spreading the virus. But over time, scientists have realized that the vaccines' ability to ward off mild infection is waning, although protection against severe disease and death remains strong overall. CDC panel member Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University's College of Medicine, urged her colleagues to differentiate between ensuring the vaccines prevent hospitalizations versus all infection. "I don't think there's any hope that a vaccine, such as the ones we have, will prevent infection after the first maybe couple of weeks that you have those extraordinary immediate responses," she said. The elderly show the clearest need for boosters at this point: Antibodies from vaccination decrease over time among all age groups. But vaccine recipients 80 and older develop lower levels of neutralizing antibodies post-vaccination than younger adults do, said Natalie Thornburg, a respiratory virus immunology specialist at the CDC. That means that older people's antibodies may drop to undetectable levels faster, at which point their memory immune cells play a larger role in protecting them against Covid-19. But older people also may produce fewer memory cells than younger people whose immune systems are stronger — suggesting that older people would benefit from a third vaccine dose. Ruth Link-Gelles of the U.S. Public Health Service said current data shows significant drops in the efficacy of both the Pfizer and Moderna shots in people 65 and older in the time the Delta variant has dominated the domestic infection landscape. But Thornburg cautioned against viewing vaccines' protection as an on-off switch. "Immunity is not simply a binary" in which individuals are either protected or not against the coronavirus, she said. Most people are able to maintain some level of cellular immunity, which is likely enough to protect vaccine recipients from severe disease even after antibody levels drop off. Nursing-home residents face special risks, even with a boost Boosters may not be enough to fully protect residents of nursing homes, according to modeling data presented by Rachel Slayton of the U.S. Public Health Service. While boosters may help reduce the number of cases in long-term care facilities, she said, that depends on their inherent efficacy and on the vaccination coverage among facility staff. High community transmission will likely lead to more infections in nursing homes because staff can more easily import the virus, Slayton said. It's unclear whether booster doses could help curb transmission of the virus among vaccinated individuals. Experts are worried about confusing the public Members of the CDC's vaccine advisory committee expressed concerns Wednesday about green-lighting boosters from one brand over others with authorized Covid vaccines available to Americans, noting the potential for public perception and logistical issues. The panel is tasked with recommending to the CDC how the FDA's vaccine policy should be implemented in real-world settings. Long suggested that the group wait for more information on so-called mix-and-match doses — the ability to vaccinate someone with one brand's primary series with the option for a different manufacturer's booster later — before signing off on just the Pfizer booster, asking “whether we’re willing to panic half the recipients of Moderna." “I don’t want to jeopardize anyone," she said of delaying a booster decision. "At the same time, it’ll be very, very difficult to have a little less than half of the population who would be eligible to receive" a booster if people can only get the brand that matches their initial series. Moderna has asked FDA to authorize its booster shot, and Johnson & Johnson has begun submitting booster data to the agency with an eye to filing an application. Amanda Cohn of the CDC urged committee members to consider the recommendations they're making now as "interim policies" that will change as more data surfaces. The National Institutes of Health is conducting a study on mixing vaccine doses, with results expected later this year. "This is a rapidly moving target," she said. The booster rollout could be messy Still, there are a number of challenges to approving only one brand's vaccine for boosting. Immunocompromised Americans have already been permitted to seek out third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because of concerns they may not have mounted a sufficient immune response to the first two shots. While they've been told they can receive the other brand's shot if they can't access the one they initially got, FDA isn't expected to allow mixing brands for people outside that category, which could sow further confusion. More than 98 percent of Americans participating in a CDC safety monitoring program who have gotten additional doses stuck with the same brand they originally received. But it's unclear how many of those studied actually fell under the CDC's definition of immunocompromised since patients only have to attest to their eligibility — no doctor's note required — meaning there are few obstacles keeping people interested in boosters from acquiring them, anyway. Declining to allow mixing Pfizer and Moderna doses beyond the immunocompromised could make administering boosters in long-term care facilities difficult if residents received different brands, said Molly Howell, an immunization program manager at the North Dakota Department of Health. “I don’t know that it’s realistic to keep going back with different brands," she said. * * * Ironically, the deliberations on the booster jabs are happening during the slowest week for first-dose vaccinations since July (despite NY's mandate looming on Monday). Remember, all of the deliberation so far have  focused on the Pfizer jab. Regulators will decide on boosters for people who have received the Moderna or J&J jabs in the coming weeks. One thing we already know: Pfizer boosters won't be recommended for patients who received a different brand the first time around (though exceptions to this have already and will likely continue to be made). Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 16:12.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

The best deals for getting your flu shot this season

Pharmacies at retailers like Publix and CVS will offer you coupons and gift cards for getting a flu shot this year. An advertisement offering free flu shots in New York City on August 21, 2020. John Nacion/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images Retailers are offering incentives for customers to get vaccinated against the flu. Some of the best deals include coupons for up to $20 off purchases at select stores. This year, health experts are worried patients with the flu could overwhelm hospitals already full of COVID-19 patients. See more stories on Insider's business page. Retailers are making it easier than ever to battle cold and flu season this fall by offering incentives to get vaccinated.Last year, because of the precautions many Americans took related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the flu season reached "historical lows," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as only 155 people were hospitalized during its peak.This year, health experts are worried patients sick with the flu could once again overwhelm hospitals as doctors and nurses are still helping patients fight severe cases of COVID-19. The CDC also says it is safe to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.The best way to fight the flu is by getting the flu vaccine at the start of the flu season which goes from mid-fall to late spring, according to the CDC. Luckily, flu shots are free with insurance, and some pharmacies and clinics even offer free flu shots without insurance. This year, some retailers are also offering gift cards and coupons to customers who get their flu shots at their pharmacy locations.Here are some of the best flu shot deals:AlbertsonsAlbertsons pharmacies are offering 10% off grocery purchases up to $200 with any immunization.CVSCVS Pharmacy is encouraging customers to get vaccinated there by December 31 by offering a $5 shopping pass on any purchase of $20 or more when you shop in stores.Fresco y Más Fresco y Más is offering a deal where customers can get $20 off their groceries if they get two immunizations. Fresco y Más pharmacies are offering $10 coupons if customers get their flu shot in store, and another $10 if they get another immunization the same day. HarveysLike Fresco y Más, Harveys is offering $10 coupons if customers get their flu shot in store and another $10 if they get another immunization the same day. Rite AidCustomers who get the flu at a Rite Aid pharmacy will receive $5 off any purchase of $25 or more, through September. 30.TargetTarget pharmacies, which are operated by CVS, are also offering customers a $5 off $20 or more coupon when they get their flu shot.WalgreensWalgreens is offering $5 in Walgreens Cash to receive a flu shot there. With each flu shot, Walgreens will also donate $0.23 to a United Nations vaccine fund. Winn-DixieCustomers can get up to $20 off their groceries if they get vaccinated at Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie pharmacies are offering $10 coupons if customers get their flu shot in store and another $10 if they get another immunization the same day. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

3 Promising MedTech Stocks to Snap Up in Second-Half 2021

Backed by robust long-term prospects, investors can add three lucrative MedTech stocks, MMSI, ITGR and OFIX, to their watchlist. After a volatile 2020, economies globally exhibited signs of sustained recovery in the first half of 2021. Although there are concerns regarding the highly-transmissible Delta variant in some parts of the United States and the world, case counts have been on the decline. However, certain states are grappling with rise in the variant cases as the country heads toward fall season and colder weather.Nevertheless, with 70% of adults in the United States having received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data), the optimism is palpable.The MedTech sector has shown tremendous strength since the beginning of this year. It has been exhibiting recovery and gaining traction on the back of economy rebounding and normalization based on mass vaccinations.The lingering effects of the pandemic might impact the MedTech space in both positive and negative ways in 2021. It is worth mentioning that the sector showed considerable strength last year despite the pandemic-induced disruption. Therefore, it would be a prudent decision to capitalize on the MedTech space. Let us delve deeper.MedTech Space Gaining SteamAlthough companies involved in diagnostic testing experienced high demand during the peak of the pandemic, these players saw a substantial decline in demand for COVID-19 testing due to the changing testing landscape on account of a significant reduction in coronavirus cases and the rollout of vaccines globally.The Delta variant, however, has brought about changes as President Joe Biden announced a new mandate on Sep 9 aimed at curbing the surge in COVID-19 infections, which signals a sharp rise in testing. The President’s plan on the diagnostic side of the mandate calls for the government to work on ramping up test supply. According to a Reuters report, QIAGEN QGEN has already shown support for this mandate. At the same time, Abbott ABT stated that it is rapidly working to scale up manufacturing of its BinaxNOW and ID NOW test kits, and hiring additional employees.Apart from this, digital health will continue to gain immensely on the back of last year’s momentum. This year is likely to see companies involved in telemedicine and artificial intelligence make necessary technological advancements to better serve patients.The pandemic led to a change in the business models with companies leaning toward virtualized, remote-operated business models for medical care, which in turn, have helped the companies recover and attain pre-COVID-19 levels.With the increasing dependence on self-monitoring tools, the wearable devices space continues to show strength, thereby instilling further optimism in investors.Elective procedures, although, are expected to remain under pressure this year. J.P. Morgan analysts projected (as published in a MedTech Dive report) that vaccination might help in driving volumes but procedure comebacks are not likely to be seen until the second half of 2021.3 Lucrative PicksGiven the MedTech space’s resilience and prevailing prospects, investors can choose to invest in MedTech stocks that have shown tremendous promise despite challenging market conditions and are fundamentally strong. To narrow down the list, we have selected three stocks with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of B. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Merit Medical Systems, Inc. MMSI: In the second quarter of 2021, Merit Medical displayed considerable strength with better-than-expected results. The company saw revenue growth not only in both its segments but also across all product categories within its Cardiovascular unit. Strong execution and improving customer demand trends owing to the gradual business recovery fueled the overall top-line performance. The company stands to benefit from the execution of its global growth and profitability plan. A robust product line and other internally developed products raise investors’ optimism on the stock. Expansion of both margins bodes well. A raised financial outlook for the full year also augurs well. The company’s long-term earnings growth rate is projected at 12.7%.Shares of the company gained 76.7% in the past year, compared with the industry’s growth of 36.9%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchInteger Holdings Corporation ITGR: Integer Holdings exited the second quarter of 2021 with better-than-expected results. Robust segmental performances and strength in the majority of the product lines are impressive. Continued business recovery, despite U.S. labor constraints and global supply chain disruptions, is encouraging. Expansion of both margins also bodes well for the stock. A raised financial outlook raises our optimism. Management, during the second-quarter 2021 earnings call in July, reiterated its stance of sustained investment in the execution of its strategy to drive above-market top-line growth and continued margin expansion. For 2021, the company’s earnings growth rate is projected at 43.7%.In the past year, shares of the company appreciated 57.3% compared with the industry’s rally of 21.8%.  Orthofix Medical Inc. OFIX: Orthofix Medical exhibited robust second-quarter 2021 results, wherein it delivered top-line growth on a year-over-year basis and above pre-COVID levels. The company saw significant improvement in U.S. Spinal Implant net sales, and solid performance from its U.S. M6-C artificial cervical disc and FITBONE limb lengthening system with about $9 million in combined sales. A raised 2021 revenue outlook buoys optimism in the stock. For 2021, the company’s earnings growth rate is projected at 200%.In the past year, shares of the company climbed 37.6% compared with the industry’s rise of 21.8%. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Abbott Laboratories (ABT): Free Stock Analysis Report ORTHOFIX MEDICAL INC. (OFIX): Free Stock Analysis Report QIAGEN N.V. (QGEN): Free Stock Analysis Report Merit Medical Systems, Inc. (MMSI): Free Stock Analysis Report Integer Holdings Corporation (ITGR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Pfizer (PFE) Booster Dose Gets FDA Nod for High-Risk People

FDA approves Pfizer's (PFE) COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for older adults and high-risk people amid rising infection rates in the country. The FDA granted emergency use authorization (EUA) toa booster or “third” dose of Pfizer PFE/BioNTech’s BNTX mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, for individuals 65 years and older and also those in high-risk groups.The high-risk groups include individuals, aged 16 to 64, who are at a high risk of severe COVID-19, and also those whose occupation exposes them to the virus and puts them at high risk of COVID-related complications, including severe COVID-19, like healthcare workers, teachers, and others. The FDA said that the third jab should be given at least six months after the primary two-dose series.However, inline with the recommendation of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) last week, the FDA did not approve the booster dose for the entire population for which Pfizer/BioNTech was seeking approval. Pfizer/BioNTech had filed its supplemental biologics license application (sBLA), seeking approval for the booster dose of Comirnaty, in people 16 years of age and older, in August.The sBLA for the booster dose included data from a phase III study (n=306), which showed that the booster dose induced significant SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody titers against the initial SARS-CoV-2 virus (wild type), as well as the Beta and Delta variants. The antibody levels elicited against the initial wild type virus one month after the booster dose were 3.3 times the levels seen one month after the second dose. Pfizer/BioNTech have submitted the booster data to other regulatory agencies as well.Pfizer’s stock has risen 19.4% this year so far compared with an increase of 9% for the industry.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchBioNTech’s stock has risen 316.2% this year so far against a decrease of 0.6% for the industry.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchLast week, the VRBPAC voted unanimously, recommending that the FDA grant EUA to the Comirnaty booster dose for individuals 65 years and older and those at high risk of severe-COVID. However, the panel voted against approving the booster for the general population.Pfizer becomes the first company whose booster dose has been granted emergency approval by the FDA. Moderna MRNA has also submitted an application for authorization/approval for a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine and has provided clinical data to support the efficacy of a booster dose to the FDA.Earlier this week, J&J JNJ presented additional data from the phase III ENSEMBLE study, which showed that a booster dose of its adenovirus-based, single-shot vaccine, given 56 days after the first jab, led to 94% protection against mild-to-severe COVID-19 in the United States. J&J has submitted the latest additional data for the booster dose to the FDA.Last month, the FDA expanded the EUA of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines to allow the third dose to be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals like those who have undergone solid organ transplantation or those diagnosed with other diseases that may have weakened their immune systems. Along with the latest approval for the booster dose, Pfizer clarified that the third dose for immunocompromised individuals is different from the booster dose approved.  While the third dose for immunocompromised individuals is for people who do not build enough protection after two shots of the vaccine, the booster dose is for individuals who have built enough protection after the primary vaccination regimen. However, these individuals may see decreased protection over time due to the declining efficacy of COVID vaccines.Last month, the U.S. government had said that it intends to begin offering the third shots from September to those individuals who had taken their initial shots more than eight months ago. But it clarified that the booster plan was contingent upon approvals by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.In a separate press release, Pfizer/BioNTech announced plans to provide the U.S. government with 500 million additional doses of Comirnaty at a not-for-profit price for donation to the poorest countries. With the latest deal, the total number of vaccine doses to be supplied to the U.S. government for donation by Pfizer/BioNTech adds up to one billion.Both BioNTech and Pfizer carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR (BNTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

CDC Panel Considers Delaying Booster Jabs Decision By 1 Month To "Wait For More Evidence"

CDC Panel Considers Delaying Booster Jabs Decision By 1 Month To "Wait For More Evidence" Last night, the FDA - as expected - authorized the emergency use of booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA jab for patients over the age of 65, the immuno-compromised, and the occupationally vulnerable. Now, it's the CDC's turn. The panel is preparing to wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, where it is deliberating a more specific set of guidelines regarding the booster jab and who will initially be eligible, and when. Before we get into specifics, it's worth noting that after the first day of discussion, some of the advisors were so befuddled by the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off the CDC's decision for a month to wait for more evidence. Such a decision would probably have driven the Biden Administration crazy. According to the AP, "the uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month." On Wednesday, "the CDC panelists heard a series of presentations Wednesday outlining the knotty state of science on boosters. On one hand, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. On the other hand, there are signs of more low-grade infections among the vaccinated as immunity wanes." Ultimately, the function of the CDC panel is to "refine exactly who will be eligible" as Politico put it. For the booster jab, the focus will be on defining who's at "high risk". The discussions are expected to conclude Thursday afternoon. Politico has five key takeaways from day one, and what to expect on day two (text courtesy of Politico): The goals of vaccination might be changing: Data from the large clinical trials used to authorize Covid-19 vaccines in the United States suggested they offered strong protection against even mild infection, raising hopes that the shots would confer so-called sterilizing immunity — preventing vaccinated people from spreading the virus. But over time, scientists have realized that the vaccines' ability to ward off mild infection is waning, although protection against severe disease and death remains strong overall. CDC panel member Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University's College of Medicine, urged her colleagues to differentiate between ensuring the vaccines prevent hospitalizations versus all infection. "I don't think there's any hope that a vaccine, such as the ones we have, will prevent infection after the first maybe couple of weeks that you have those extraordinary immediate responses," she said. The elderly show the clearest need for boosters at this point: Antibodies from vaccination decrease over time among all age groups. But vaccine recipients 80 and older develop lower levels of neutralizing antibodies post-vaccination than younger adults do, said Natalie Thornburg, a respiratory virus immunology specialist at the CDC. That means that older people's antibodies may drop to undetectable levels faster, at which point their memory immune cells play a larger role in protecting them against Covid-19. But older people also may produce fewer memory cells than younger people whose immune systems are stronger — suggesting that older people would benefit from a third vaccine dose. Ruth Link-Gelles of the U.S. Public Health Service said current data shows significant drops in the efficacy of both the Pfizer and Moderna shots in people 65 and older in the time the Delta variant has dominated the domestic infection landscape. But Thornburg cautioned against viewing vaccines' protection as an on-off switch. "Immunity is not simply a binary" in which individuals are either protected or not against the coronavirus, she said. Most people are able to maintain some level of cellular immunity, which is likely enough to protect vaccine recipients from severe disease even after antibody levels drop off. Nursing-home residents face special risks, even with a boost Boosters may not be enough to fully protect residents of nursing homes, according to modeling data presented by Rachel Slayton of the U.S. Public Health Service. While boosters may help reduce the number of cases in long-term care facilities, she said, that depends on their inherent efficacy and on the vaccination coverage among facility staff. High community transmission will likely lead to more infections in nursing homes because staff can more easily import the virus, Slayton said. It's unclear whether booster doses could help curb transmission of the virus among vaccinated individuals. Experts are worried about confusing the public Members of the CDC's vaccine advisory committee expressed concerns Wednesday about green-lighting boosters from one brand over others with authorized Covid vaccines available to Americans, noting the potential for public perception and logistical issues. The panel is tasked with recommending to the CDC how the FDA's vaccine policy should be implemented in real-world settings. Long suggested that the group wait for more information on so-called mix-and-match doses — the ability to vaccinate someone with one brand's primary series with the option for a different manufacturer's booster later — before signing off on just the Pfizer booster, asking “whether we’re willing to panic half the recipients of Moderna." “I don’t want to jeopardize anyone," she said of delaying a booster decision. "At the same time, it’ll be very, very difficult to have a little less than half of the population who would be eligible to receive" a booster if people can only get the brand that matches their initial series. Moderna has asked FDA to authorize its booster shot, and Johnson & Johnson has begun submitting booster data to the agency with an eye to filing an application. Amanda Cohn of the CDC urged committee members to consider the recommendations they're making now as "interim policies" that will change as more data surfaces. The National Institutes of Health is conducting a study on mixing vaccine doses, with results expected later this year. "This is a rapidly moving target," she said. The booster rollout could be messy Still, there are a number of challenges to approving only one brand's vaccine for boosting. Immunocompromised Americans have already been permitted to seek out third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because of concerns they may not have mounted a sufficient immune response to the first two shots. While they've been told they can receive the other brand's shot if they can't access the one they initially got, FDA isn't expected to allow mixing brands for people outside that category, which could sow further confusion. More than 98 percent of Americans participating in a CDC safety monitoring program who have gotten additional doses stuck with the same brand they originally received. But it's unclear how many of those studied actually fell under the CDC's definition of immunocompromised since patients only have to attest to their eligibility — no doctor's note required — meaning there are few obstacles keeping people interested in boosters from acquiring them, anyway. Declining to allow mixing Pfizer and Moderna doses beyond the immunocompromised could make administering boosters in long-term care facilities difficult if residents received different brands, said Molly Howell, an immunization program manager at the North Dakota Department of Health. “I don’t know that it’s realistic to keep going back with different brands," she said. * * * Ironically, the deliberations on the booster jabs are happening during the slowest week for first-dose vaccinations since July (despite NY's mandate looming on Monday). Remember, all of the deliberation so far have  focused on the Pfizer jab. Regulators will decide on boosters for people who have received the Moderna or J&J jabs in the coming weeks. One thing we already know: Pfizer boosters won't be recommended for patients who received a different brand the first time around (though exceptions to this have already and will likely continue to be made). Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 09:34.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Escobar: Eurasia Takes Shape, Part 1 - How The SCO Just Flipped The World Order

Escobar: Eurasia Takes Shape, Part 1 - How The SCO Just Flipped The World Order Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle, As a rudderless West watched on, the 20th anniversary meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was laser-focused on two key deliverables: shaping up Afghanistan and kicking off a full-spectrum Eurasian integration. The two defining moments of the historic 20th anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan had to come from the keynote speeches of – who else – the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership. Xi Jinping: “Today we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO.” Vladimir Putin: “I would like to highlight the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today between the SCO Secretariat and the Eurasian Economic Commission. It is clearly designed to further Russia’s idea of establishing a Greater Eurasia Partnership covering the SCO, the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).” In short, over the weekend, Iran was enshrined in its rightful, prime Eurasian role, and all Eurasian integration paths converged toward a new global geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm, with a sonic boom bound to echo for the rest of the century. That was the killer one-two punch immediately following the Atlantic alliance’s ignominious imperial retreat from Afghanistan. Right as the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, the redoubtable Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told his Iranian colleague Admiral Ali Shamkhani that “the Islamic Republic will become a full member of the SCO.” Dushanbe revealed itself as the ultimate diplomatic crossover. President Xi firmly rejected any “condescending lecturing” and emphasized development paths and governance models compatible with national conditions. Just like Putin, he stressed the complementary focus of BRI and the EAEU, and in fact summarized a true multilateralist Manifesto for the Global South. Right on point, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan noted that the SCO should advance “the development of a regional macro-economy.” This is reflected in the SCO’s drive to start using local currencies for trade, bypassing the US dollar. With Iran's arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they're focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia. Watch that quadrilateral Dushanbe was not just a bed of roses. Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon, a staunch, secular Muslim and former member of the Communist Party of the USSR – in power for no less than 29 years, reelected for the 5th time in 2020 with 90 percent of the vote – right off the bat denounced the “medieval sharia” of Taliban 2.0 and said they had already “abandoned their previous promise to form an inclusive  government.” Rahmon, who has never been caught smiling on camera, was already in power when the Taliban conquered Kabul in 1996. He was bound to publicly support his Tajik cousins against the “expansion of extremist ideology” in Afghanistan – which in fact worries all SCO member-states when it comes to smashing dodgy jihadi outfits of the ISIS-K mold . The meat of the matter in Dushanbe was in the bilaterals – and one quadrilateral. Take the bilateral between Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese FM Wang Yi. Jaishankar said that China should not view “its relations with India through the lens of a third country,” and took pains to stress that India “does not subscribe to any clash of civilizations theory.” That was quite a tough sell considering that the first in-person Quad summit takes place this week in Washington, DC, hosted by that “third country” which is now knee deep in clash-of-civilizations mode against China. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was on a bilateral roll, meeting the presidents of Iran, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The official Pakistani diplomatic position is that Afghanistan should not be abandoned, but engaged. That position added nuance to what Russian Special Presidential Envoy for SCO Affairs Bakhtiyer Khakimov had explained about Kabul’s absence at the SCO table: “At this stage, all member states have an understanding that there are no reasons for an invitation until there is a legitimate, generally recognized government in Afghanistan.” And that, arguably, leads us to the key SCO meeting: a quadrilateral with the Foreign Ministers of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi affirmed: “We are monitoring whether all the groups are included in the government or not.” The heart of the matter is that, from now on, Islamabad coordinates the SCO strategy on Afghanistan, and will broker Taliban negotiations with senior Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara leaders. This will eventually lead the way towards an inclusive government regionally recognized by SCO member-nations. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was warmly received by all – especially after his forceful keynote speech, an Axis of Resistance classic. His bilateral with Belarus president Aleksandr Lukashenko revolved around a discussion on “sanctions confrontation.” According to Lukashenko: “If the sanctions did any harm to Belarus, Iran, other countries, it was only because we ourselves are to blame for this. We were not always negotiable, we did not always find the path we had to take under the pressure of sanctions.” Considering Tehran is fully briefed on Islamabad’s SCO role in terms of Afghanistan, there will be no need to deploy the Fatemiyoun brigade – informally known as the Afghan Hezbollah – to defend the Hazaras. Fatemiyoun was formed in 2012 and was instrumental in Syria in the fight against Daesh, especially in Palmyra. But if ISIS-K does not go away, that’s a completely different story. Particular important for SCO members Iran and India will be the future of Chabahar port. That remains India’s crypto-Silk Road gambit to connect it to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The geoeconomic success of Chabahar more than ever depends on a stable Afghanistan – and this is where Tehran’s interests fully converge with Russia-China’s SCO drive. What the 2021 SCO Dushanbe Declaration spelled out about Afghanistan is quite revealing: 1. Afghanistan should be an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful state, free of terrorism, war and drugs. 2. It is critical to have an inclusive government in Afghanistan, with representatives from all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society. 3. SCO member states, emphasizing the significance of the many years of hospitality and effective assistance provided by regional and neighboring countries to Afghan refugees, consider it important for the international community to make active efforts to facilitate their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland. As much as it may sound like an impossible dream, this is the unified message of Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan and the Central Asian “stans.” One hopes that Pakistani PM Imran Khan is up to the task and ready for his SCO close-up. That troubled Western peninsula The New Silk Roads were officially launched eight years ago by Xi Jinping, first in Astana – now Nur-Sultan – and then in Jakarta. This is how I reported it at the time. The announcement came close to a SCO summit – then in Bishkek. The SCO, widely dismissed in Washington and Brussels as a mere talk shop, was already surpassing its original mandate of fighting the “three evil forces” – terrorism, separatism and extremism – and encompassing politics and geoeconomics. In 2013, there was a Xi-Putin-Rouhani trilateral. Beijing expressed full support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program (remember, this was two years before the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the JCPOA). Despite many experts dismissing it at the time, there was indeed a common China-Russia-Iran front on Syria (Axis of Resistance in action). Xinjiang was being promoted as the key hub for the Eurasian Land Bridge. Pipelineistan was at the heart of the Chinese strategy – from Kazakhstan oil to Turkmenistan gas. Some people may even remember when Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was waxing lyrical about an American-propelled New Silk Road. Now compare it to Xi’s Multilateralism Manifesto in Dushanbe eight years later, reminiscing on how the SCO “has proved to be an excellent example of multilateralism in the 21stcentury,” and “has played an important role in enhancing the voice of developing countries.” The strategic importance of this SCO summit taking place right after the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok cannot be overstated enough. The EEF focuses of course on the Russian Far East – and essentially advances interconnectivity between Russia and Asia. It is an absolutely key hub of Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership. A cornucopia of deals is on the horizon – expanding from the Far East to the Arctic and the development of the Northern Sea Route, and involving everything from precious metals and green energy to digital sovereignty flowing through logistics corridors between Asia and Europe via Russia. As Putin hinted in his keynote speech, this is what the Greater Eurasia Partnership is all about: the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), BRI, India’s initiative, ASEAN, and now the SCO, developing in a harmonized network, crucially operated by “sovereign decision-making centers.” So if the BRI proposes a very Taoist “community of shared future for human kind,” the Russian project, conceptually, proposes a dialogue of civilizations (already evoked by the Khatami years in Iran) and sovereign economic-political projects. They are, indeed, complementary. Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal, is among the very few top scholars who are analyzing this process in depth. His latest book remarkably tells the whole story in its title:  Europe as the Western Peninsula of Greater Eurasia: Geoeconomic Regions in a Multipolar World. It’s not clear whether Eurocrats in Brussels – slaves of Atlanticism and incapable of grasping the potential of Greater Eurasia – will end up exercising real strategic autonomy. Diesen evokes in detail the parallels between the Russian and the Chinese strategies. He notes how China “is pursuing a three-pillared geoeconomic initiative by developing technological leadership via its China 2025 plan, new transportation corridors via its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, and establishing new financial instruments such as banks, payment systems and the internationalization of the yuan. Russia is similarly pursuing technological sovereignty, both in the digital sphere and beyond, as well as new transportation corridors such as the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic, and, primarily, new financial instruments.” The whole Global South, stunned by the accelerated collapse of the western Empire and its unilateral “rules-based order," now seems to be ready to embrace the new groove, fully displayed in Dushanbe: a multipolar Greater Eurasia of sovereign equals. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 23:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Pfizer CEO On Providing 500 Million Vaccines To Low Income Countries

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Wednesday, September 22. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Pfizer CEO On Providing 500 Million Vaccines To Low Income […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Wednesday, September 22. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Pfizer CEO On Providing 500 Million Vaccines To Low Income Countries MEG TIRRELL: That special guest is Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer. Albert, thanks for being with us this morning. Let's start with the news of the day, at least 500 million doses add to a previous agreement for the same number. They started shipping last month and will continue over the next year we understand. Tell us about your expectation for what these agreements will do for the course of the pandemic. ALBERT BOURLA: I think they will enable way more equitable access to our vaccines. When we started, Meg, more than a year, we're going to begin with the pandemic. It was always in our minds that we need to have a vaccine that will be available to all and the first thing that we had to do was to develop the vaccine because now it's considered given but the months ago, nobody thought that this could be done. The second was to manufacture enough so that everybody will have and we are gearing up our manufacturing capacity. Right now, at the end of the month, we will have manufactured 2 billion doses, 500 of which will be gone to the low- and middle-income countries. By the end of the quarter 3 billion doses, 1 billion of which will go to the low- and middle-income countries. And the third was to set the price that will enable everybody to access. As you know the price from the high-income countries is the cost of takeaway meal and this price for the government because their citizens are paying nothing. But for the middle-income countries, we are charging half of this price and the low-income countries we are charging basically at non-for-profit. The US government stepping once more 1 billion doses will be donated to the poorest of the countries, not to the middle and low but to the poorest countries, and that will not be given to them at the non-for-profit price, it will be given free because US is covering the cost. So, I think it is a great news for humanity and frankly it is great news for us because we are very proud that our vaccine will save the lives of people around the world. TIRRELL: How do you respond then to criticisms like from former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, who has been pointing out on Twitter over the last week that he thinks this inequity is quote, “shameful.” He says, “While focusing on selling expensive vaccines to rich countries, Moderna and Pfizer are doing next to nothing to close the global gap in vaccine supply.” How do you respond to criticisms like that? BOURLA: Well I respond that already we have seen 500 million doses to low- and middle-income countries, that we will see a billion doses by the end of this year, not in the near future, by the end of this year. And we will do at least 1 billion doses next year and I think the facts are speaking for themselves. TIRRELL: Is there more that Pfizer could do? There's also some focus on the infrastructure in developing countries and there's been criticisms of the Biden administration for delivering perhaps vaccines but then not delivering the sort of cold chain functionality to be able to store and move those vaccines around or helping get vaccinators to be able to help roll out these vaccines. What more do you think can be done to expedite all of this? BOURLA: Clearly there's more that can be done in terms of infrastructure in the poorest countries so that they can absorb vaccines so this kind of technology that they need special conditions like ultra-cold chain, etc. I think this is something that WHO is doing and this is something that was ourselves, we are working very intensively to help, although it is not let’s say our direct responsibility is to provide the vaccine but we are working also on the last mile, how we can assist, so that they can move eventually this vaccine to the citizens. TIRRELL: There's also been a big focus on ramping up production of mRNA vaccines in these developing countries so that they're not dependent on manufacturers elsewhere providing them. You do say or Uğur Şahin, your partner at BioNTech, says in your release today that you are exploring how to build the sustainable mRNA production infrastructure in low-income countries over the mid- and long-term. It seems like that is not a near term goal necessarily just because does it take that long to build this up, could scaling up happen in these countries any faster than it's happening already? BOURLA: Well yes, it will take a very long time to be able to build infrastructure that it is able to handle this higher level of technology. This is not easy. This is not making, you know, any type of goods so this is really, really high-end, regard not only sophisticated investments but thousands of people that they are highly skilled to do that. I don't say that it is impossible to be done but it will take time. TIRRELL: And of course, here in the United States, we're all focused on boosters, who's going to get their third shot and when. We're expecting an FDA decision on that today or tomorrow and CDC will, will vote. How do you in this position of deciding, where to take orders from and where to deliver things, respond to the pressures you get from the World Health Organization which is saying people shouldn't get boosters until the end of the year until more people have gotten their first doses. How do you weigh all those pressures coming in? BOURLA: Look, I think there's, as a whole that the decision to provide a booster should be made on the merits of the science. This is not correct to say that I will not give boosters to one because I prefer to give primary dose to someone else. The second is as I said that we should not be in, we should not resolve it with a “or,” we should resolve it with an “and.” Boosters should be given and other doses should be given to the other countries and this is the meaning of this agreement that we're doing today with the United States. And the third I would say that they, doses for this year have been allocated long ago. Everybody has placed their orders and with the first orders placed, first deliveries are coming out and so that will not change even if the boosters are approved which I expect will be. We will not give more to the countries that are approving boosters so that they can do the boosters. We will give the quantities to everyone that we have committed to give this year, and then as I said, this year, we're going to do a billion doses to the lower, middle-income countries. BECKY QUICK: Hey, Albert, on that point, it just, we know that the FDA panel that met last week voted no on the original question was that booster shots would be available for anyone ages 16 and up. They did vote yes on a more qualified picture, people ages 65 and up, people who have comorbidities and, and people who were maybe exposed at work because of the jobs that they do, but that still leaves a big gap if the FDA eventually goes through and approves the ladder question, not the opening. On that first question, they said they didn't have enough science to prove it. The science that was put in front of them didn't prove that those ages 16 and up needed boosters. When will we see more science, what's the next step or are people just kind of left to fend for themselves at this point? BOURLA: I think time will bring data because everybody's collecting data and I’m sure pretty soon they will have more data so that they can reevaluate their recommendations. It is clear from the data that we have seen that we support it to the need to give broad recommendations. The majority of the committee clearly thought that this is not the right time for people to receive in earlier phases. So, they, I guess they will expect to see when is the right time. What I want to say is in pandemic typically, it's very difficult to come to the right time. You're coming either too early or too late. ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Albert, when you think about efficacy, there seems to be different definitions of efficacy in the United States versus Israel and people are measuring it differently. In some cases, it's hospitalization and death. In others, it's simply infection upfront. Do we have to redefine what efficacy really is and what it should be and what we're trying to avoid? BOURLA: I think science is to measure everything so and we should be very clear when you speak about efficacy, if you refer to efficacy against severe disease, or if we speak about efficacy in general in disease or infection, and the data for example for me is coming from all three categories is not that they're coming only for mild infections. They had seen drop in the protection against severe disease as well. SORKIN: Do you have a view on why it appears that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine seems to be lesser, at least at the moment, based on some of the numbers than the, than the Moderna vaccine. It appears that in the case of Moderna, it has a higher efficacy or at least more durable efficacy, is that a function of the fact that, it's that there's more of it, more vaccine, actually that's put in the arm? Is it a function of the fact that between the first and second dose, there's a longer wait period, four weeks rather than three weeks, what do you, or is it simply the timing of what we've seen in the studies? A lot of people got Pfizer earlier. BOURLA: I think that it is the wrong thing to start comparing vaccines, particularly in public and I don't think I would like to do it. But nevertheless, given your, your question, I'm not convinced that one is better than the other or it lasted longer than the other because of the reasons that we just said that when those studies compare, they don't exhaust from the time of the second dose and also they don't adjust from the fact that Pfizer was given way earlier to elder, high risk people. And so, we are comparing more months of since the first dose from Pfizer and very different population. But again, I said that the both of them are wonderful vaccines, I don't want to make comparisons and those that make comparisons, they are wrong. QUICK: Albert, can you give us an update on where things stand for the vaccine approval at least emergency use authorization for kids ages five to 11. We've heard a lot and the latest that we've gotten is maybe available by Halloween. But what does that actually mean? Does it really mean that our kids might actually get to the shots by then, will it be fully distributed? Is it going to be hard to find this because I know you have to give different vial sizes so as a result it's kind of gearing up the entire process again like we did at the beginning of the year. BOURLA: We are going to be ready once FDA approves the vaccine, provided that they will approve it, to be able to distribute it. And I know that we will submit our data pretty soon. The data are very positive, but I cannot comment when FDA will approve it. This is absolutely up to them to take their time to do their review and do the approval, the time that they're comfortable if they approve it. TIRRELL: And Albert, you actually got data I think a little earlier than people expected in that age group five to 11. What are you expecting in terms of younger kids asking completely unbiased as a parent of a two-and-a-half-year-old? BOURLA: Meg, as you know, we are always coming ahead of people's expectations so I hope that we will not disappoint them. TIRRELL: So, your CFO Frank D’Amelio had suggested perhaps you're about a month behind for younger children. Is that the timeline you're looking at for down to age two, or down to age six months? BOURLA: Well yeah, that's one to two months I would say, somewhere there. TIRRELL: Okay, and just to go back to that booster discussion that that Becky was talking about. Were you surprised that the panel voted to narrow the recommendation for, for whom, who should get boosters here in the US as we're seeing them given so broadly in Israel and even to everybody over the age of 50 in the UK? BOURLA: Yes, I was surprised but you know this is not about me being surprised. This is about the committee which is composed by renowned scientists. They have very high integrity. They have high expertise and they came to this conclusion. Our scientists also have very high integrity and they have very high expertise and they came to different conclusion. Israel scientists, UK scientists is different from German scientists also they have high expertise, but this is the role of committees. They have responsibility to recommend and then the administration has the responsibility to implement health care policies that they are important. And, you know, I think we should let the system work. QUICK: With all of the countries that you just mentioned, is there one Albert that has been the easiest to work with or the most difficult to work with and maybe the administration maybe the bureaucracy that you deal with. What, what would you say? BOURLA: I would say that all the candidates have stepped up and they are wonderful and frankly, I had the opportunity because of that, to, to connect personally with state leaders and with administration of many countries and I understand there are going to do the best for their people and they have to deal with very tough decisions and sometimes they get it right. Sometimes they get it wrong. But they are all having the best of intentions so I wouldn’t separate anyone on this. TIRRELL: Alright, Albert. I think that's all the time we've got. We really appreciate you being with us this morning and we look forward to all of these updates coming up. Thanks so much. BOURLA: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Meg. Thank you. Updated on Sep 22, 2021, 9:35 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 22nd, 2021

FDA authorizes boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for older adults and others at high risk from COVID-19

The hope is that booster shots will help protect those most at risk as the pandemic continues to rage. A nurse prepares to inject staff with the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images The FDA authorized boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for older adults and people at higher risk. Booster shots are likely to be available in locations like pharmacies and clinics at no cost. The US is still struggling to convince many people to get their first doses of coronavirus vaccines. See more stories on Insider's business page. The US coronavirus booster-shot campaign has cleared a crucial hurdle.The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for older adults and others at high risk from the pandemic. Boosters can be given starting six months after the first two doses of the shot. The agency said that getting a third shot is safe and can help increase protection against the disease.The FDA decision caps more than a month of messy debate over the US vaccination drive. In mid-August, a group of President Joe Biden's top health officials issued an extraordinary joint statement saying that boosters were coming. The statement prompted controversy because it came before reviews by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and before much data on the safety or effectiveness of boosters was available. The US has already greenlit an extra vaccine dose for people with compromised immune systems, and some countries have embarked on booster-shot campaigns focused on vulnerable individuals.Under the FDA's emergency-use authorization, four main groups of people are eligible for booster shots:People 65 and older;People 18 to 64 who are at high risk of a severe case of COVID-19 if they get sick;People 18 to 64 who are at higher risk of getting COVID-19 at work, such as healthcare workers and teachers;People 18 to 64 who are at higher risk of getting COVID-19 because of where they live, such as those in prisons and other institutions.Protecting the most vulnerable amid the pandemicThe hope is that booster shots will help protect those most at risk as the pandemic continues to surge, fueled by the rise of the Delta variant. Delta is more contagious, and appears to be able to partially elude the protection offered by vaccines.Still, the US is struggling to convince much of its population to get coronavirus vaccines at all. Just over 64% of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC."At this moment, it is clear that the unvaccinated are driving transmission in the United States," Dr. Amanda Cohn from the CDC said during an FDA meeting on boosters shots on Friday. Cohn said that masks and social distancing are still crucial, because "vaccination will never be perfect" at preventing every case.The CDC still needs to weigh in formally on who should be prioritized to receive booster doses. The agency's vaccine advisory committee is set to discuss booster shots on Thursday. Interim FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock. Tom Williams/Getty Images The Biden administration has said that once approved, booster shots will be widely available in locations like pharmacies and clinics. They'll be offered to individuals for free.Expanding the reach of boostersThe FDA decision is a setback for Pfizer, which had asked the agency to make boosters available to everyone over age 16, six months after their second dose.It comes after a panel of doctors and other experts advising the FDA voted against the idea of making booster shots available that widely. The panel instead said that boosters should be given to people 65 and older, and to those most at risk of severe cases of COVID-19.Experts on the panel said there wasn't enough evidence showing the benefits of an extra vaccine dose for younger people. They also expressed concern that there wasn't enough safety data for younger adults, highlighting the risk of myocarditis, or heart inflammation, that has been seen at higher-than-usual levels in teenagers and 20-somethings who have been vaccinated."The incremental benefit to the younger population really has not been demonstrated at all," Dr. Michael Kurilla, an infectious disease expert from the National Institutes of Health, said during the meeting."I think we need to target the boosters right now specifically to the people who are likely to be at high risk, and it's an older population." 'A good step to protect yourself'Infectious-disease experts who aren't on the FDA's committee said the group made the right call to limit the initial rollout to more vulnerable people."If you fall into the age category, this is a good step to protect yourself," said Gigi Gronvall, an immunologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.The booster rollout shouldn't distract from effort to get more unvaccinated people to get their initial shots, said Bernadette Boden-Albala, director of the University of California, Irvine's public-health program. "If you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated," Boden-Albala said. "If you are vaccinated, be vigilant. And if you're vaccinated and eligible for the booster, get it."The FDA still has plenty of work ahead on coronavirus vaccines. The agency is reviewing an application from Moderna to give a third shot of its two-dose vaccine. Johnson & Johnson recently put out data showing that its vaccine is more effective after a second dose, and said it'd provided the information to the FDA.The agency is also being pressed to make vaccines available to younger kids. Pfizer has said it plans to submit data from a study of kids ages 5 to 11 to FDA in early October, and the agency could reach a decision by the end of that month. The drugmaker then plans to submit data from kids between 6 months and 5 years old in November. Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer's head of vaccine research and development Pfizer The case for boostersTo make the case for booster shots, Pfizer presented results from at least eight studies showing protection from the vaccine wanes over time and that a booster could help. The company also cited data from Israel that showed big benefits from boosters in older people. That data comes from an observational study and could be skewed by factors that researchers weren't aware of or couldn't account for.The FDA's own review of the evidence for extra shots avoided taking a firm stance on some of the largest questions surrounding boosters, and noted that Pfizer didn't formally evaluate the efficacy of boosters.In a statement on Friday, Pfizer said that it believes booster shots are "a critical tool in the ongoing effort to control the spread of this virus.""We continue to believe in the benefits of a booster dose for a broader population," Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer's head of vaccine research & development, said in the statement.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 22nd, 2021

J&J"s (JNJ) New Data Shows COVID-19 Booster Ups Protection

J&J's (JNJ) data showed that a booster dose of its vaccine generated 94% efficacy against mild-to-severe COVID-19 in the United States. The data also confirmed that even one dose offers strong and long-lasting protection. J&J JNJ announced data from a phase III study and the real world, which showed that a booster shot of its adenovirus-based, single-shot vaccine increases protection against the infection.Additional data from the phase III ENSEMBLE study showed that a booster dose given 56 days after the first jab led to 94% protection against symptomatic (moderate to severe/critical) COVID-19 in the United States and 75% protection globally. Meanwhile, the “second” or booster shot provided 100% protection against severe/critical COVID-19 — at least 14 days post-final vaccination.The data demonstrated that when the booster jab was given two months after the first shot, antibody levels were four to six times higher than observed after the first vaccination. Also, antibody levels increased nine-fold one week after the booster dose when the same was given six months after the first shot,J&J also said that the phase III data together with real-world evidence confirmed its vaccine’s strong and long-lasting protection against COVID-19-related hospitalizations and death even after a single shot.Last month, J&J released data from two phase I/IIa studies on its vaccine’s booster shot. The data showed that its COVID-19 vaccine booster, after the single dose primary regimen, led to a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies. These antibody levels were nine-fold higher than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination.J&J has submitted the latest additional data to the FDA and plans to submit the same to other regulators like the World Health Organization (WHO) soon.This year so far, J&J’s shares have risen 4.5% compared with an increase of 8.4% for the industry.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOther COVID vaccine makers, Pfizer PFE/BioNTech BNTX and Moderna MRNA have already submitted an application for authorization/approval for a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine and have provided clinical data to support the efficacy of a booster dose to the FDA.The United States is recording around 130,000-new cases per day as the pace of infection has gained traction since July mainly due to the spread of the Delta variant. A booster dose, given 6-12 months after the primary two-dose schedule, can help enhance immunity, and thus sustain protection from COVID-19.Booster doses have demonstrated a manifold increase in the immunity levels compared to the levels achieved following the initial regimen in clinical studies. Data from some studies have suggested declining efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines over time against symptomatic infection or the Delta variant.Though none of the marketed COVID-19 vaccines are yet approved as a booster dose, last month, the FDA expanded the EUA of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines to allow the third dose to be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals like those who have undergone solid organ transplantation or have been diagnosed with other diseases that may have weakened their immune systems. However, an amendment to the EUA to include immunocompromised individuals in the authorized label of J&J’s single-shot, adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine was not enacted due to insufficient data.Earlier this week, an FDA advisory committee voted against approval of the booster or “third” dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, for the entire population for which Pfizer and BioNTech were seeking approval (people 16 years of age and older). The committee, however, recommended approving the dose for people aged 65 years or older. The FDA’s decision on Pfizer/BioNTech’s booster shots is expected in the next few weeks.J&J currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR (BNTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

Futures Bounce On Evergrande Reprieve With Fed Looming

Futures Bounce On Evergrande Reprieve With Fed Looming Despite today's looming hawkish FOMC meeting in which Powell is widely expected to unveil that tapering is set to begin as soon as November and where the Fed's dot plot may signal one rate hike in 2022, futures climbed as investor concerns over China's Evergrande eased after the property developer negotiated a domestic bond payment deal. Commodities rallied while the dollar was steady. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 flipped from losses to gains as China’s central bank boosted liquidity when it injected a gross 120BN in yuan, the most since January... ... and investors mulled a vaguely-worded statement from the troubled developer about an interest payment.  S&P 500 E-minis were up 23.0 points, or 0.53%, at 7:30 a.m. ET. Dow E-minis were up 199 points, or 0.60%, and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 44.00 points, or 0.29%. Among individual stocks, Fedex fell 5.8% after the delivery company cut its profit outlook on higher costs and stalled growth in shipments. Morgan Stanley says it sees the company’s 1Q issues getting “tougher from here.” Commodity-linked oil and metal stocks led gains in premarket trade, while a slight rise in Treasury yields supported major banks. However, most sectors were nursing steep losses in recent sessions. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers: Adobe (ADBE US) down 3.1% after 3Q update disappointed the high expectations of investors, though the broader picture still looks solid, Morgan Stanley said in a note Freeport McMoRan (FCX US), Cleveland- Cliffs (CLF US), Alcoa (AA US) and U.S. Steel (X US) up 2%-3% premarket, following the path of global peers as iron ore prices in China rallied Aethlon Medical (AEMD US) and Exela Technologies (XELAU US) advance along with other retail traders’ favorites in the U.S. premarket session. Aethlon jumps 21%; Exela up 8.3% Other so-called meme stocks also rise: ContextLogic +1%; Clover Health +0.9%; Naked Brand +0.9%; AMC +0.5% ReWalk Robotics slumps 18% in U.S. premarket trading, a day after nearly doubling in value Stitch Fix (SFIX US) rises 15.7% in light volume after the personal styling company’s 4Q profit and sales blew past analysts’ expectations Hyatt Hotels (H US) seen opening lower after the company launches a seven-million-share stock offering Summit Therapeutics (SMMT US) shares fell as much as 17% in Tuesday extended trading after it said the FDA doesn’t agree with the change to the primary endpoint that has been implemented in the ongoing Phase III Ri-CoDIFy studies when combining the studies Marin Software (MRIN US) surged more than 75% Tuesday postmarket after signing a new revenue-sharing agreement with Google to develop its enterprise technology platforms and software products The S&P 500 had fallen for 10 of the past 12 sessions since hitting a record high, as fears of an Evergrande default exacerbated seasonally weak trends and saw investors pull out of stocks trading at lofty valuations. The Nasdaq fell the least among its peers in recent sessions, as investors pivoted back into big technology names that had proven resilient through the pandemic. Focus now turns to the Fed's decision, due at 2 p.m. ET where officials are expected to signal a start to scaling down monthly bond purchases (see our preview here).  The Fed meeting comes after a period of market volatility stoked by Evergrande’s woes. China’s wider property-sector curbs are also feeding into concerns about a slowdown in the economic recovery from the pandemic. “Chair Jerome Powell could hint at the tapering approaching shortly,” said Sébastien Barbé, a strategist at Credit Agricole CIB. “However, given the current uncertainty factors (China property market, Covid, pace of global slowdown), the Fed should remain cautious when it comes to withdrawing liquidity support.” Meanwhile, confirming what Ray Dalio said that the taper will just bring more QE, Governing Council member Madis Muller said the  European Central Bank may boost its regular asset purchases once the pandemic-era emergency stimulus comes to an end. “Dovish signals could unwind some of the greenback’s gains while offering relief to stock markets,” Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group, wrote in emailed comments. A “hawkish shift would jolt markets, potentially pushing Treasury yields and the dollar past the upper bound of recent ranges, while gold and equities would sell off hunting down the next levels of support.” China avoided a major selloff as trading resumed following a holiday, after the country’s central bank boosted its injection of short-term cash into the financial system. MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index declined for a third day, dragged lower by Japan. Stocks were also higher in Europe. Basic resources - which bounced from a seven month low - and energy were among the leading gainers in the Stoxx Europe 600 index as commodity prices steadied after Beijing moved to contain fears of a spiraling debt crisis. Entain Plc rose more than 7%, extending Tuesday’s gain as it confirmed it received a takeover proposal from DraftKings Inc. Peer Flutter Entertainment Plc climbed after settling a legal dispute.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entain shares jump as much as 11% after DraftKings Inc. offered to acquire the U.K. gambling company for about $22.4 billion. Vivendi rises as much as 3.1% in Paris, after Tuesday’s spinoff of Universal Music Group. Legrand climbs as much as 2.1% after Exane BNP Paribas upgrades to outperform and raises PT to a Street-high of EU135. Orpea shares falls as much as 2.9%, after delivering 1H results that Jefferies (buy) says were a “touch” below consensus. Bechtle slides as much as 5.1% after Metzler downgrades to hold from buy, saying persistent supply chain problems seem to be weighing on growth. Sopra Steria drops as much as 4.1% after Stifel initiates coverage with a sell, citing caution on company’s M&A strategy Despite the Evergrande announcement, Asian stocks headed for their longest losing streak in more than a month amid continued China-related concerns, with traders also eying policy decisions from major central banks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 0.7% in its third day of declines, with TSMC and Keyence the biggest drags. China’s CSI 300 tumbled as much as 1.9% as the local market reopened following a two-day holiday. However, the gauge came off lows after an Evergrande unit said it will make a bond interest payment and as China’s central bank boosted liquidity.  Taiwan’s equity benchmark led losses in Asia on Wednesday, dragged by TSMC after a two-day holiday, while markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed. Key stock gauges in Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam rose “A liquidity injection from the People’s Bank of China accompanied the Evergrande announcement, which only served to bolster sentiment further,” according to DailyFX’s Thomas Westwater and Daniel Dubrovsky. “For now, it appears that market-wide contagion risk linked to a potential Evergrande collapse is off the table.” Japanese equities fell for a second day amid global concern over China’s real-estate sector, as the Bank of Japan held its key stimulus tools in place while flagging pressures on the economy. Electronics makers were the biggest drag on the Topix, which declined 1%. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.7% loss in the Nikkei 225. The BOJ had been expected to maintain its policy levers ahead of next week’s key ruling party election. Traders are keenly awaiting the Federal Reserve’s decision due later for clues on the U.S. central banks plan for tapering stimulus. “Markets for some time have been convinced that the BOJ has reached the end of the line on normalization and will remain in a holding pattern on policy until at least April 2023 when Governor Kuroda is scheduled to leave,” UOB economist Alvin Liew wrote in a note. “Attention for the BOJ will now likely shift to dealing with the long-term climate change issues.” In the despotic lockdown regime that is Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 7,296.90, reversing an early decline in a rally led by mining and energy stocks. Banks closed lower for the fourth day in a row. Champion Iron was among the top performers after it was upgraded at Citi. IAG was among the worst performers after an earthquake caused damage to buildings in Melbourne. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3% to 13,215.80 In FX, commodity currencies rallied as concerns about China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles eased as China’s central bank boosted liquidity and investors reviewed a statement from the troubled developer about an interest payment. Overnight implied volatility on the pound climbed to the highest since March ahead of Bank of England’s meeting on Thursday. The British pound weakened after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warnedthat people should prepare for longer-term high energy prices amid a natural-gas shortage that sent power costs soaring. Several U.K. power firms have stopped taking in new clients as small energy suppliers struggle to meet their previous commitments to sell supplies at lower prices. Overnight volatility in the euro rises above 10% for the first time since July ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision announcement. The Aussie jumped as much as 0.5% as iron-ore prices rebounded. Spot surged through option-related selling at 0.7240 before topping out near 0.7265 strikes expiring Wednesday, according to Asia- based FX traders.  Elsewhere, the yen weakened and commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar pushed higher. In rates, the dollar weakened against most of its Group-of-10 peers. Treasury futures were under modest pressure in early U.S. trading, leaving yields cheaper by ~1.5bp from belly to long-end of the curve. The 10-year yield was at ~1.336% steepening the 2s10s curve by ~1bp as the front-end was little changed. Improved risk appetite weighed; with stock futures have recovering much of Tuesday’s losses as Evergrande concerns subside. Focal point for Wednesday’s session is FOMC rate decision at 2pm ET.   FOMC is expected to suggest it will start scaling back asset purchases later this year, while its quarterly summary of economic projections reveals policy makers’ expectations for the fed funds target in coming years in the dot-plot update; eurodollar positions have emerged recently that anticipate a hawkish shift Bitcoin dropped briefly below $40,000 for the first time since August amid rising criticism from regulators, before rallying as the mood in global markets improved. In commodities, Iron ore halted its collapse and metals steadied. Oil advanced for a second day. Bitcoin slid below $40,000 for the first time since early August before rebounding back above $42,000.   To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise on the data side, we’ll get US existing home sales for August, and the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area in September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 4,362.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 461.19 MXAP down 0.7% to 199.29 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 638.39 Nikkei down 0.7% to 29,639.40 Topix down 1.0% to 2,043.55 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 24,221.54 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,628.49 Sensex little changed at 59,046.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,296.94 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,140.51 Brent Futures up 1.5% to $75.47/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,775.15 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.26 German 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to -0.319% Euro little changed at $1.1725 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg What would it take to knock the U.S. recovery off course and send Federal Reserve policy makers back to the drawing board? Not much — and there are plenty of candidates to deliver the blow The European Central Bank will discuss boosting its regular asset purchases once the pandemic-era emergency stimulus comes to an end, but any such increase is uncertain, Governing Council member Madis Muller said Investors seeking hints about how Beijing plans to deal with China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis are training their cross hairs on the central bank’s liquidity management A quick look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed as caution lingered ahead of upcoming risk events including the FOMC, with participants also digesting the latest Evergrande developments and China’s return to the market from the Mid-Autumn Festival. ASX 200 (+0.3%) was positive with the index led higher by the energy sector after a rebound in oil prices and as tech also outperformed, but with gains capped by weakness in the largest-weighted financials sector including Westpac which was forced to scrap the sale of its Pacific businesses after failing to secure regulatory approval. Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) was subdued amid the lack of fireworks from the BoJ announcement to keep policy settings unchanged and ahead of the upcoming holiday closure with the index only briefly supported by favourable currency outflows. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) was initially pressured on return from the long-weekend and with Hong Kong markets closed, but pared losses with risk appetite supported by news that Evergrande’s main unit Hengda Real Estate will make coupon payments due tomorrow, although other sources noted this is referring to the onshore bond payments valued around USD 36mln and that there was no mention of the offshore bond payments valued at USD 83.5mln which are also due tomorrow. Meanwhile, the PBoC facilitated liquidity through a CNY 120bln injection and provided no surprises in keeping its 1-year and 5-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged for the 17th consecutive month at 3.85% and 4.65%, respectively. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat amid the absence of any major surprises from the BoJ policy announcement and following the choppy trade in T-notes which were briefly pressured in a knee-jerk reaction to the news that Evergrande’s unit will satisfy its coupon obligations tomorrow, but then faded most of the losses as cautiousness prevailed. Top Asian News Gold Steady as Traders Await Outcome of Fed Policy Meeting Evergrande Filing on Yuan Bond Interest Leaves Analysts Guessing Singapore Category E COE Price Rises to Highest Since April 2014 Asian Stocks Fall for Third Day as Focus Turns to Central Banks European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.5%) trade on a firmer footing in the wake of an encouraging APAC handover. Focus overnight was on the return of Chinese participants from the Mid-Autumn Festival and news that Evergrande’s main unit, Hengda Real Estate will make coupon payments due tomorrow; however, we await indication as to whether they will meet Thursday’s offshore payment deadline as well. Furthermore, the PBoC facilitated liquidity through a CNY 120bln injection whilst keeping its 1-year and 5-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged (as expected). Note, despite gaining yesterday and today, thus far, the Stoxx 600 is still lower to the tune of 0.7% on the week. Stateside, futures are also trading on a firmer footing ahead of today’s FOMC policy announcement, at which, market participants will be eyeing any clues for when the taper will begin and digesting the latest dot plot forecasts. Furthermore, the US House voted to pass the bill to fund the government through to December 3rd and suspend the debt limit to end-2022, although this will likely be blocked by Senate Republicans. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly firmer with outperformance in Basic Resources and Oil & Gas amid upside in the metals and energy complex. Elsewhere, Travel & Leisure is faring well amid further upside in Entain (+6.1%) with the Co. noting it rejected an earlier approach from DraftKings at GBP 25/shr with the new offer standing at GBP 28/shr. Additionally for the sector, Flutter Entertainment (+4.1%) are trading higher after settling the legal dispute between the Co. and Commonwealth of Kentucky. Elsewhere, in terms of deal flow, Iliad announced that it is to acquire UPC Poland for around USD 1.8bln. Top European News Energy Cost Spike Gets on EU Ministers’ Green Deal Agenda Travel Startup HomeToGo Gains in Frankfurt Debut After SPAC Deal London Stock Exchange to Shut Down CurveGlobal Exchange EU Banks Expected to Add Capital for Climate Risk, EBA Says In FX, trade remains volatile as this week’s deluge of global Central Bank policy meetings continues to unfold amidst fluctuations in broad risk sentiment from relatively pronounced aversion at various stages to a measured and cautious pick-up in appetite more recently. Hence, the tide is currently turning in favour of activity, cyclical and commodity currencies, albeit tentatively in the run up to the Fed, with the Kiwi and Aussie trying to regroup on the 0.7000 handle and 0.7350 axis against their US counterpart, and the latter also striving to shrug off negative domestic impulses like a further decline below zero in Westpac’s leading index and an earthquake near Melbourne. Next up for Nzd/Usd and Aud/Usd, beyond the FOMC, trade data and preliminary PMIs respectively. DXY/CHF/EUR/CAD - Notwithstanding the overall improvement in market tone noted above, or another major change in mood and direction, the Dollar index appears to have found a base just ahead of 93.000 and ceiling a similar distance away from 93.500, as it meanders inside those extremes awaiting US existing home sales that are scheduled for release before the main Fed events (policy statement, SEP and post-meeting press conference from chair Powell). Indeed, the Franc, Euro and Loonie have all recoiled into tighter bands vs the Greenback, between 0.9250-26, 1.1739-17 and 1.2831-1.2770, but with the former still retaining an underlying bid more evident in the Eur/Chf cross that is consolidating under 1.0850 and will undoubtedly be acknowledged by the SNB tomorrow. Meanwhile, Eur/Usd has hardly reacted to latest ECB commentary from Muller underpinning that the APP is likely to be boosted once the PEPP envelope is closed, though Usd/Cad is eyeing a firm rebound in oil prices in conjunction with hefty option expiry interest at the 1.2750 strike (1.8 bn) that may prevent the headline pair from revisiting w-t-d lows not far beneath the half round number. GBP/JPY - The major laggards, as Sterling slips slightly further beneath 1.3650 against the Buck to a fresh weekly low and Eur/Gbp rebounds from circa 0.8574 to top 0.8600 on FOMC day and T-1 to super BoE Thursday. Elsewhere, the Yen has lost momentum after peaking around 109.12 and still not garnering sufficient impetus to test 109.00 via an unchanged BoJ in terms of all policy settings and guidance, as Governor Kuroda trotted out the no hesitation to loosen the reins if required line for the umpteenth time. However, Usd/Jpy is holding around 109.61 and some distance from 1.1 bn option expiries rolling off between 109.85-110.00 at the NY cut. SCANDI/EM - Brent’s revival to Usd 75.50+/brl from sub-Usd 73.50 only yesterday has given the Nok another fillip pending confirmation of a Norges Bank hike tomorrow, while the Zar has regained some poise with the aid of firmer than forecast SA headline and core CPI alongside a degree of retracement following Wednesday’s breakdown of talks on a pay deal for engineering workers that prompted the union to call a strike from early October. Similarly, the Cnh and Cny by default have regrouped amidst reports that the CCP is finalising details to restructure Evergrande into 3 separate entities under a plan that will see the Chinese Government take control. In commodities, WTI and Brent are firmer this morning though once again fresh newsflow for the complex has been relatively slim and largely consisting of gas-related commentary; as such, the benchmarks are taking their cue from the broader risk tone (see equity section). The improvement in sentiment today has brought WTI and Brent back in proximity to being unchanged on the week so far as a whole; however, the complex will be dictated directly by the EIA weekly inventory first and then indirectly, but perhaps more pertinently, by today’s FOMC. On the weekly inventories, last nights private release was a larger than expected draw for the headline and distillate components, though the Cushing draw was beneath expectations; for today, consensus is a headline draw pf 2.44mln. Moving to metals where the return of China has seen a resurgence for base metals with LME copper posting upside of nearly 3.0%, for instance. Albeit there is no fresh newsflow for the complex as such, so it remains to be seen how lasting this resurgence will be. Finally, spot gold and silver are firmer but with the magnitude once again favouring silver over the yellow metal. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.7%, prior 2.0% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Rate Decision (Lower Boun, est. 0%, prior 0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap All eyes firmly on China this morning as it reopens following a 2-day holiday. As expected the indices there have opened lower but the scale of the declines are being softened by the PBoC increasing its short term cash injections into the economy. They’ve added a net CNY 90bn into the system. On Evergrande, we’ve also seen some positive headlines as the property developers’ main unit Hengda Real Estate Group has said that it will make coupon payment for an onshore bond tomorrow. However, the exchange filing said that the interest payment “has been resolved via negotiations with bondholders off the clearing house”. This is all a bit vague and doesn’t mention the dollar bond at this stage. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has reported that Chinese authorities have begun to lay the groundwork for a potential restructuring that could be one of the country’s biggest, assembling accounting and legal experts to examine the finances of the group. All this follows news from Bloomberg yesterday that Evergrande missed interest payments that had been due on Monday to at least two banks. In terms of markets the CSI (-1.11%), Shanghai Comp (-0.29%) and Shenzhen Comp (-0.53%) are all lower but have pared back deeper losses from the open. We did a flash poll in the CoTD yesterday (link here) and after over 700 responses in a couple of hours we found only 8% who we thought Evergrande would still be impacting financial markets significantly in a month’s time. 24% thought it would be slightly impacting. The other 68% thought limited or no impact. So the world is relatively relaxed about contagion risk for now. The bigger risk might be the knock on impact of weaker Chinese growth. So that’s one to watch even if you’re sanguine on the systemic threat. Craig Nicol in my credit team did a good note yesterday (link here) looking at the contagion risk to the broader HY market. I thought he summed it up nicely as to why we all need to care one way or another in saying that “Evergrande is the largest corporate, in the largest sector, of the second largest economy in the world”. For context AT&T is the largest corporate borrower in the US market and VW the largest in Europe. Turning back to other Asian markets now and the Nikkei (-0.65%) is down but the Hang Seng (+0.51%) and Asx (+0.58%) are up. South Korean markets continue to remain closed for a holiday. Elsewhere, yields on 10y USTs are trading flattish while futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.10% and those on the Stoxx 50 are up +0.21%. Crude oil prices are also up c.+1% this morning. In other news, the Bank of Japan policy announcement overnight was a non-event as the central bank maintained its yield curve target while keeping the policy rate and asset purchases plan unchanged. The central bank also unveiled more details of its green lending program and said that it would immediately start accepting applications and would begin making the loans in December. The relatively calm Asian session follows a stabilisation in markets yesterday following their rout on Monday as investors looked forward to the outcome of the Fed’s meeting later today. That said, it was hardly a resounding performance, with the S&P 500 unable to hold on to its intraday gains and ending just worse than unchanged after the -1.70% decline the previous day as investors remained vigilant as to the array of risks that continue to pile up on the horizon. One of these is in US politics and legislators seem no closer to resolving the various issues surrounding a potential government shutdown at the end of the month, along with a potential debt ceiling crisis in October, which is another flashing alert on the dashboard for investors that’s further contributing to weaker sentiment right now. Looking ahead now, today’s main highlight will be the latest Federal Reserve decision along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference, with the policy decision out at 19:00 London time. Markets have been on edge for any clues about when the Fed might begin to taper asset purchases, but concern about tapering actually being announced at this meeting has dissipated over recent weeks, particularly after the most recent nonfarm payrolls in August came in at just +235k, and the monthly CPI print also came in beneath consensus expectations for the first time since November. In terms of what to expect, our US economists write in their preview (link here) that they see the statement adopting Chair Powell’s language that a reduction in the pace of asset purchases is appropriate “this year”, so long as the economy remains on track. They see Powell maintaining optionality about the exact timing of that announcement, but they think that the message will effectively be that the bar to pushing the announcement beyond November is relatively high in the absence of any material downside surprises. This meeting also sees the release of the FOMC’s latest economic projections and the dot plot, where they expect there’ll be an upward drift in the dots that raises the number of rate hikes in 2023 to 3, followed by another 3 increases in 2024. Back to yesterday, and as mentioned US equity markets fell for a second straight day after being unable to hold on to earlier gains, with the S&P 500 slightly lower (-0.08%). High-growth industries outperformed with biotech (+0.38%) and semiconductors (+0.18%) leading the NASDAQ (+0.22%) slightly higher, however the Dow Jones (-0.15%) also struggled. Europe saw a much stronger performance though as much of the US decline came after Europe had closed. The STOXX 600 gained +1.00% to erase most of Monday’s losses, with almost every sector in the index ending the day in positive territory. With risk sentiment improving for much of the day yesterday, US Treasuries sold off slightly and by the close of trade yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +1.2bps to 1.3226%, thanks to a +1.8bps increase in real yields. However, sovereign bonds in Europe told a different story as yields on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-0.3bps) and BTPs (-1.9bps) moved lower. Other safe havens including gold (+0.59%) and silver (+1.02%) also benefited, but this wasn’t reflected across commodities more broadly, with Bloomberg’s Commodity Spot Index (-0.30%) losing ground for a 4th consecutive session. Democratic Party leaders plan to vote on the Senate-approved $500bn bipartisan infrastructure bill next Monday, even with no resolution to the $3.5tr budget reconciliation measure that encompasses the remainder of the Biden Administration’s economic agenda. Democrats continue to work on the reconciliation measure but have turned their attention to the debt ceiling and government funding bills.Congress has fewer than two weeks before the current budget expires – on Oct 1 – to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. Republicans yesterday noted that the Democrats could raise the ceiling on their own through the reconciliation process, with many saying that they would not be offering their support to any funding bill. Democrats continue to push for a bipartisan bill to raise the debt ceiling, pointing to their votes during the Trump administration. If Democrats are forced to tie the debt ceiling and funding bills to budget reconciliation, it could limit how much of the $3.5 trillion bill survives the last minute negotiations between progressives and moderates. More to come over the next 10 days. Staying on the US, there was an important announcement in President Biden’s speech at the UN General Assembly, as he said that he would work with Congress to double US funding to poorer nations to deal with climate change. That comes as UK Prime Minister Johnson (with the UK hosting the COP26 summit in less than 6 weeks’ time) has been lobbying other world leaders to find the $100bn per year that developed economies pledged by 2020 to support developing countries as they reduce their emissions and deal with climate change. In Germany, there are just 4 days to go now until the federal election, and a Forsa poll out yesterday showed a slight narrowing in the race, with the centre-left SPD remaining on 25%, but the CDU/CSU gained a point on last week to 22%, which puts them within the +/- 2.5 point margin of error. That narrowing has been seen in Politico’s Poll of Polls as well, with the race having tightened from a 5-point SPD lead over the CDU/CSU last week to a 3-point one now. Turning to the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson reported that their booster shot given 8 weeks after the first offered 100% protection against severe disease, 94% protection against symptomatic Covid in the US, and 75% against symptomatic Covid globally. Speaking of boosters, Bloomberg reported that the FDA was expected to decide as soon as today on a recommendation for Pfizer’s booster vaccine. That follows an FDA advisory panel rejecting a booster for all adults last Friday, restricting the recommendation to those over-65 and other high-risk categories. Staying with the US and vaccines, President Biden announced that the US was ordering 500mn doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be exported to the rest of the world. On the data front, there were some strong US housing releases for August, with housing starts up by an annualised 1.615m (vs. 1.55m expected), and building permits up by 1.728m (vs. 1.6m expected). Separately, the OECD released their Interim Economic Outlook, which saw them upgrade their inflation expectations for the G20 this year to +3.7% (up +0.2ppts from May) and for 2022 to +3.9% (up +0.5ppts from May). Their global growth forecast saw little change at +5.7% in 2021 (down a tenth) and +4.5% for 2022 (up a tenth). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise on the data side, we’ll get US existing home sales for August, and the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area in September. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 08:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Europeans Vaccinated With AstraZeneca Should Be Able To Enter US, Says EU

Europeans Vaccinated With AstraZeneca Should Be Able To Enter US, Says EU Authored by Lorenz Duschamps via The Epoch Times, People who have received two doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine should be able to travel to the United States once restrictions are eased, even though the vaccine hasn’t been approved yet by U.S. regulators, the European Commission (EC) said on Tuesday. “From our point of view, obviously it would make sense for people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca to be able to travel,” Eric Mamer, a spokesperson for the EC, said during a press briefing. “We believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe,” Mamer added, although he also noted that the final decision remains with American authorities. The Biden administration confirmed on Sept. 20 that it will ease travel restrictions on COVID-19-vaccinated foreign visitors from November. It hasn’t been confirmed yet which vaccines will be accepted under the new requirement, or whether vaccines that haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could be accepted. The FDA has so far authorized COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, but is still reviewing the AstraZeneca shot. Thierry Breton, the European Union (EU) commissioner for the internal market, told AFP that he had a conversation on the matter with White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, who “sounded positive and optimistic,” though Zients also noted that “for the other vaccines, for AstraZeneca in particular, their health agency would decide.” EU commissioner for internal market and consumer protection, industry, research, and energy Thierry Breton speaks during a press conference following a college meeting to introduce draft legislation on a common EU COVID-19 vaccination certificate at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on March 17, 2021. (John Thys/Pool via Reuters) In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes the final decision on which COVID-19 vaccines will be authorized for use in the country. AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, developed in the United Kingdom by Oxford University, is approved for use in 27 EU countries, where about 70 million shots have been administered cumulatively, according to public data. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he is “delighted” the Biden administration reinstating transatlantic travel so fully vaccinated British nationals are able to visit the United States once again. “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again,” Johnson said. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside United Nations headquarters during the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, in New York, on Sept. 20, 2021. (David ‘Dee’ Delgado/Reuters) About 18 months ago, the Trump administration announced that the United States would restrict flights from China, much of Europe, the UK, Brazil, and other countries in the nascent phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Those restrictions were intact when Biden took office in January 2021, and the White House announced in July that it would maintain the restrictions due to the Delta variant. For months, airlines and airline groups have been pushing the Biden administration to rescind the restrictions, as European and UK officials have eased entry rules for U.S. travelers. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 05:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Tucker Carlson baselessly claims the US military is purging "sincere Christians" and "men with high testosterone levels" by requiring vaccines

While Carlson depicted the vaccine mandate as new and a drastic overreach, it's actually the 18th vaccine mandated by the Department of Defense. Fox News host Tucker Carlson Janos Kummer/Getty Images Fox News host Tucker Carlson went on a rant about the military's vaccine mandate on Monday night. He claimed the mandate is a purge on "sincere Christians" and "men with high testosterone levels." COVID-19 vaccines are the 18th immunization mandated by the Department of Defense. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fox News host Tucker Carlson made his strongest anti-vaccine false claim to date on Monday night.Similar to other monologues from the opinion host where he's trashed top US military leaders, Carlson alleged a baseless conspiracy behind the Department of Defense's COVID-19 vaccine mandate - only the latest approved shot in its longstanding vaccination requirement. "The point of mandatory vaccination is to identify the sincere Christians in the ranks, the free thinkers, the men with high testosterone levels, and anyone else who doesn't love Joe Biden and make them leave immediately," Carlson said. "It's a takeover of the U.S. military."-nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) September 21, 2021Carlson did not present any evidence to back up his claims on testosterone levels, nor did he offer a working definition for "sincere Christians" and what that has to do with vaccines."There is zero scientific basis for any of this," Carlson said at another point. "The fighting strength of the military is young healthy people, virtually all of them at extremely low risk of dying from COVID."As Insider's Aylin Woodward reported in August, the vaccines have been proven to be effective against the Delta variant.Fox News did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.These coronavirus vaccines are the 18th to be mandated by the Defense Department, depending on regional assignments. Active-duty troops already must have up to date immunizations for shots like chickenpox, MMR, and Tdap. Military vaccinations in the US date back to the Revolutionary War, when General George Washington mandated troops get vaccinated for smallpox. The close quarters and stress of combat conditions historically made disease one of the greatest threats to troops, and contributed to the necessity of vaccinations.Immunization jabs are a routine part of pre-deployment medical screenings to ensure a soldier has all the required vaccinations, as well as any region specific requirements like Japanese encephalitis for those headed to Japan and Korea.Anthrax requires five shots to adequately protect against the bacteria that could be used as a bioweapon.A service member who refused a vaccination - and can't produce a record of having already received it - won't be allowed to deploy and is likely to face discipline for that refusal, including being kicked out.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2021

From fear-mongering about asylum seekers at the border to preemptively accusing Afghan refugees of terrorism, the GOP"s rhetoric on people coming to America puts lives at risk

GOP politicians are stoking fears about refugees and immigrants. Instead of debating policy, their language fuels dangerous conspiracy theories. An immigrant father and daughter embrace after crossing the border from Mexico on August 13, 2021 in Roma, Texas. John Moore/Getty Images Texas Gov. Abbott has repeatedly referred to the situation at the Southern border as an "invasion." This language pulls from a white supremacist conspiracy theory that has led to numerous killings. As we welcome Afghan refugees, fear-mongering language instead of policy debate only causes harm. Jack Herrera is an independent reporter writing about immigration, race, and human rights. He is a contributing opinion writer for Insider. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. See more stories on Insider's business page. More and more, it feels like one of the defining features of reporting on refugees and asylum-seekers is tackling misinformation - confronting the untruths, misconceptions, and lies that exist about refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants. When I'm on the Mexican border embedded with families fleeing violence, I read tweets accusing them of being gang members; when I talk with mothers in ICE detention, I get emails ranting about MS-13. I tend to keep an unhappy peace with this misinformation and fear-mongering - "things I can't change" and all that - but this last month I've struggled to contain my anger and my fear. The way powerful people talk, loudly and openly, about refugees isn't just untrue or cynical; it's putting lives in danger - from Afghan refugees to asylum-seekers on the border - in a very real way. At the Southern borderIn early August, I went to a church in San Francisco's Mission District, a Latino capital, to spend time with my thoughts. It was the second anniversary of the massacre in El Paso, where a white gunman went to kill people like me in an act of terrorism motivated by, in his words, "the Hispanic invasion of Texas." When I left the church, my phone began buzzing: A friend was asking about news reports of police and National Guard from red states being sent to the Texas border. In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Doucey sent a letter to all 48 other states requesting they send armed personnel to the border "in defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity." During a press conference announcing the request, Abbott claimed "homes are being invaded," and his Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick went even further saying, "We are being invaded." Hearing Texan elected officials opine against immigration isn't anything new, and it's not something I begrudge them. Abbott and Patrick were elected by a largely anti-immigration electorate in their party, and they're representing them well. A politician can argue against immigration without putting anyone in active danger. But both of these leaders should know the dangers of using language like "invasion" - especially Abbott. After meeting with El Paso community members after citizens of his state were slaughtered in 2019, Abbott issued a rare admission of guilt. Just the day before the El Paso massacre, Abbott's campaign sent out a fundraising email calling on Texan citizens to "DEFEND" the border and claiming that Democrats were trying to "transform" Texas "through illegal immigration." Abbott's call to action was echoed, eerily and disturbingly, in the El Paso shooter's manifesto, which ranted about the "great replacement" - a white supremacist conspiracy theory that elites in Europe and the US are trying to "replace" white people with immigrants of color. After talking with El Paso community leaders about the threats posed by "dangerous rhetoric," Abbott admitted that "mistakes were made," and said that he and his campaign would correct the course. But Abbott is facing re-election this year, and his commitment to do better seems to have been replaced with his desire for re-election. While there is a real problem on the Texas border - a large number of people have begun arriving in a very specific area, in the Rio Grande Valley, stressing local resources - Abbott should know he has a serious and solemn responsibility when he speaks publicly on the issue. He can't hyperbolize or exaggerate. He can't use the language of invasion, or any of its synonyms. Even when used as a metaphor, that language is a call to arms, a call to action. It's the same twisted belief that Texas is facing an "invasion" that sent a gunman to murder people in a Walmart. We need to be clear: This is not a national security crisis, it's a humanitarian crisis. The same language harms Afghans fleeing the Taliban There's a through-line that exists from "invasion" rhetoric targeting Latin Americans to the currency hysteria over Afghan refugees and potential terrorism. The El Paso shooter's manifesto was not a one-off; it exists within a loosely associated group of white supremacists, united by online conspiracy theories and alarmist rhetoric. The El Paso shooter was himself directly inspired by the Christchurch, New Zealand terrorist, who shot 51 predominantly Muslim people to death in two mosques. Just as the El Paso shooter feared that Latin American immigrants were "invading" the US, the Christchurch murderer found motivation in virulent Islamophobia and the deranged fear that Muslims were seeking to replace the white majority in New Zealand. His manifesto's title - "The Great Replacement" - is itself a reference to a theory developed by the French extremist thinker Renauld Camus, who coined the term in 2012. Today, that same set of "great replacement" theories - explicitly in white supremacist spaces, and implicitly in anti-immigrant politicians' offices - are driving opposition to Afghan refugees resettling in the US and those still trying to make it here after fleeing the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. Former senior advisor to Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, offered a reliably anti-refugee take during the effort to evacuate Afghans who had aided the US during the war effort. Miller posted a long Twitter thread claiming the US didn't owe anything to Afghans, arguing against an "immigration policy that has brought the threat of jihadism inside our shores." "Some arrivals don't assimilate. Others hold more extreme beliefs. Some blame the host country for what happened to their home. Sometimes 2nd or 3rd generation becomes radicalized," Miller wrote. (To date, there has not been a single fatal terrorist attack committed by a refugee in the United States. Researchers at the Cato Institute estimate that an American's chance of dying in an attack committed by a refugee on any given year is 1 in 3.86 billion.)GOP Senator Tom Cotton, after accusing Biden of failing to evacuate Afghans, suddenly changed his tone once Afghans began arriving in the US, worrying out loud that refugees would not "accept our way of life here in terms of constitutional government."Politicians should certainly be talking about how to best help Afghans resettle. Last week, I spoke with an Afghan father in California who is struggling to find housing for himself and his young children. More attention must be paid to how best to help these new arrivals make a home here. However, Cotton's useless dithering about assimilation is dangerous. His language connects with strong, coherent sentiments already in the air in the US, which pushed extremists to murder Muslims multiple times in recent years. In 2019 alone, there were more than 500 attacks on Muslims in the US - arsonists targeted multiple mosques, and a man in California plowed his car into a group of people he assumed were Muslim, putting an middle school girl into a coma. Since 2010, there have been three different bombings or at temped bombings targeting Muslims. Anti-Muslim attacks have also claimed Indian, Sikh, and Orthodox Jewish victims, when attackers mistakenly assumed they were Muslims. If leaders like Cotton are going to discuss the integration of refugees, they have to take responsibility for their words and speak with sensitivity to the extraordinary violence refugees and Muslims of all backgrounds can face in this country. If conservatives are serious about preventing terrorism on US soil, they should consider that white supremacist violence has taken far more lives in recent years than any terrorism associated with Islam. Likewise, when it comes to the border, politicians like Abbott have a right to argue in favor of decreased immigration and increased border enforcement. But they can do that without issuing a call to arms to white supremacists.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 21st, 2021

FDA Panel Vetoes PFE/BNTX Third Jab for All, Vaccine Stocks Down

Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) are the only two companies that have submitted data and are seeking approval for a booster or "third" dose of their COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine stocks were down on Friday after an FDA advisory committee voted against approval for booster or “third” dose of Pfizer PFE/BioNTech’s BNTX mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, for the general population. The committee, however, recommended approving the dose for people aged 65 years or older.The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (“VRBPAC”) voted unanimously, recommending that the FDA grant emergency use authorization (EUA) to a booster dose of Comirnaty for individuals 65 years and older and those at high risk like healthcare workers and others. The committee recommended that the third jab should be given at least six months after the primary two-dose series.Pfizer/BioNTech had filed its supplemental biologics license application (sBLA), seeking approval for a booster dose of Comirnaty in people 16 years of age and older in August. Data submitted from Pfizer studies showed that a booster dose elicited a strong immune response.However, the committee did not vote in favor of approving a booster dose for the entire population for which Pfizer/BioNTech were seeking approval. The FDA is expected to give its decision in the coming months. Though the FDA is not bound by the advisory committee’s decision, it usually follows the same.Why a Booster Dose?The United States is recording more than 160,000-new cases per day as the pace of infection has gained traction since July mainly due to the spread of the Delta variant. A booster dose, given 6-12 months after the primary two-dose schedule, can help enhance immunity, and thus sustain protection from COVID-19.Booster doses have demonstrated to increase the immunity levels many-folds compared to levels achieved following initial regimen in clinical studies. Data from some studies have suggested declining efficacy of COVID vaccines over time against symptomatic infection or the Delta variant.Who is Seeking Approval for Boosters?Other than Pfizer, Moderna MRNA has also submitted an application for authorization/approval for a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine and has provided clinical data to support the efficacy of a booster dose to the FDA.Although Pfizer and Moderna are the only two companies vying for a booster currently, several other pharma/biotech companies may join the race sooner or later. J&J JNJ, last month, announced encouraging interim data from two phase I/IIa studies evaluating booster dose of its adenovirus-based, single-shot COVID-19 vaccine in previously vaccinated people with its own dose. It may soon submit the necessary data and seek approval for a booster dose of its vaccine.Are Any Boosters Available?Though none of the marketed COVID-19 vaccines are yet approved as a booster dose, last month, the FDA expanded EUA of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines to allow the third dose to be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals like those who have undergone solid organ transplantation or diagnosed with other diseases that may have weakened their immune systems. However, an EUA amendment to include immunocompromised individuals in authorized label of J&J’s single-shot, adeno-virus-based COVID-19 vaccine was not enacted due to insufficient data.Why Were Vaccine Stock Prices Down?The coronavirus vaccine boosted revenues significantly for Pfizer, BioNTech, and Moderna in the first half of 2021. In fact, BioNTech and Moderna’s stock prices have shot up significantly since 2019-end driven by the success of their COVID-19 vaccines. An approval for a booster shot could be huge opportunity for these companies as it can further increase revenues.Pfizer and BioNTech’s shares were down 1.3% and 3.6%, respectively, in response to the FDA panel’s decision. The panel’s decision not to recommend approving Comirnaty for the broader population not only hurt Pfizer/BioNTech’s stock price but also that of Moderna and J&J as the decision affected prospects of an authorization for booster dose of their respective vaccines. The FDA committee’s decision, in fact, raised questions about demand for booster doses. Moderna’s stock declined 2.4% while J&J was down 0.3% on Friday.Last month, the U.S. government had said that it intends to begin offering the third shots from September to those individuals who had taken their initial shots more than eight months ago. But it clarified that the booster plan was contingent upon approvals by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.With the VRBPAC recommending approval of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine only for older adults and those at risk of severe disease, it looks like Biden Administration’s plan has been rejected.While Pfizer, J&J, and BioNTech carry Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), Moderna has a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR (BNTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Coronavirus links: sick societies

A coronavirus-focused linkfest is still a weekly feature here at Abnormal Returns. Please stay safe and find a vaccination site near you.... Booster shotsThe FDA advisory panel has recommended booster shots for those 65+ and at high risk of disease. (statnews.com)WHO is pushing back against vaccine booster for the general population. (statnews.com)Whatever the FDA and CDC decide about boosters they need to be clear in their messaging. (nytimes.com)Israeli data show booster shots boost immunity. (biopharmadive.com)What's the right dose for boosters? (marginalrevolution.com)How some people are already getting booster shots. (theatlantic.com)VaccinesThe Moderna ($MRNA) seems to be holding up better. (npr.org)The U.S. is buying another 500 million vaccine doses to be distributed around the world. (washingtonpost.com)Canada has given full approval to the Moderna ($MRNA) vaccine. (ft.com)The UK is going to give 12-15 year olds one dose of the Pfizer ($PFE) vaccine. (bloomberg.com)Vaccine hesitancyVaccine hesitancy is a symptom of a much bigger problem. (ft.com)Wellness influencers have jumped on the anti-vaccine bandwagon. (washingtonpost.com)Vaccine mandatesOSHA is at the center of any vaccine mandates. (washingtonpost.com)A CEO on why companies should embrace a vaccine mandate. (fastcompany.com)Southwest Airlines ($LUV) is boosting incentives for staff to get COVID-19 vaccines. (businessinsider.com)How the prospect for vaccine mandates is playing out in tourist-dependent Las Vegas. (politico.com)Italy is going wide with vaccine passports. (nytimes.com)How mandates could harden opposition to the vaccines. (theatlantic.com)EndemicityWhat we need to rethink in a world where SARS-CoV2 is endemic. (theatlantic.com)Emily Oster, "In the end, the message here is that there is no world of “no COVID” and if you are waiting for some external sign that the pandemic is over, you will be waiting forever." (emilyoster.substack.com)InfluenzaIt's time to get a flu shot. (nytimes.com)Are we facing a viral immunity deficit? (labroots.com)Long CovidHow long Covid is like chronic fatigue syndrome. (unchartedterritories.tomaspueyo.com)Breakthrough infections could cause long Covid, but it is less likely. (npr.org)ResearchThe long history of mRNA research. (nature.com)Why children fight off Covid better than adults. (scientificamerican.com)The next pandemic may not be so susceptible to vaccines. (theatlantic.com)Health careHospital acquired Covid infections are on the rise. (arstechnica.com)The American health care system wasn't built with a pandemic in mind. (vox.com)Why this wave feels so much worse for health care workers. (scientificamerican.com)The pandemic has exacerbated already existing problems in nursing homes. (marketwatch.com)The U.S. is buying more doses of monoclonal antibody treatments. (biopharmadive.com)Data1 in 500 Americans have died from Covid. (washingtonpost.com)The percentage of deaths among non-Seniors are on the rise. (wsj.com)The U.S. ranks 40th on this list of vaccine uptake. (gizmodo.com)StatesIdaho's hospitals are rationing care. (npr.org)Idaho's issues are spilling over into Washington state. (nytimes.com)Oregon hospitals are delaying surgeries and cancer care. (npr.org)A look at the crisis facing ICUs in the South. (nytimes.com)MaskingContinued masking will help with other respiratory illnesses like flu and RSV. (fastcompany.com)The weight of the evidence is that masks work. (scientificamerican.com)The best mask is one your child will wear. (wsj.com)ChildrenThe case for pressuring the FDA to approve vaccines for children. (theatlantic.com)Covid has made us all risk managers, especially for children. (nytimes.com)When it comes to schools, testing best self-isolation. (sciencedirect.com)PodcastsAndy Slavitt talks with Ed Yong about how this pandemic eventually ends. (omny.fm)Charlie Skyes talks with Dr. Scott Gottlieb about his new book "Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic." (plus.thebulwark.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: what success looks like. (abnormalreturns.com)There's only one way through the pandemic tunnel. (abnormalreturns.com)Why we are eventually going to need digital health passes, i.e. vaccine passports. (abnormalreturns.com)The 'Swiss cheese model' and the importance of avoiding single points of failure in pandemic and life. (abnormalreturns.com)On the challenge of holding two competing thoughts on the pandemic in your head a the same time. (abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaModeling a pandemic is challenging, in part, because human behavior changes. (wired.com)The politicization of public health is a disaster happening in plain sight. (washingtonpost.com)A Q&A with Scott Gottlieb the author of "Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic." (washingtonpost.com)What it's like to get a breakthrough infection. (npr.org).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsSep 21st, 2021