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38 minutes ago

China Deploys Covid-19 Vaccine to Build Influence, With U.S. on Sidelines

A health worker with the Sinopharm vaccine from China in Zimbabwe this month.Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—A cavernous new airport cargo terminal in Ethiopia’s capital is the center of a vast supply network China is assembling to speed delivery of its coronavirus vaccines—and deepen its influence across the developing world.

At one end is a soccer-field-sized freezer to store vials from Chinese state-controlled drug companies. At the other is a control room with a wall of computer monitors where Chinese and Ethiopian technicians will track temperatures of every batch.

香蕉视频苹果下载This week, more than one million doses of China’s new Covid-19 inoculations will move through here, according to Ethiopian Airlines officials. Thousands of doses have already passed through, they and Ugandan officials said. More deliveries are set to arrive via a partnership between Chinese technology giant Alibaba Group Holding and Ethiopian Airlines, said officials at the state-owned airline.

香蕉视频苹果下载At stake is a potential soft-power prize: the goodwill of politicians and people across the developing world needing low-cost Covid-19 vaccines, and the prestige of being seen as a nation with the capacity to act as a guardian of global public health.

For months, China’s government, state enterprises and private companies have laid the groundwork for a vaccination push from Africa to the Middle East and Latin America. They have assembled a supply chain that would maintain temperature controls from the point of manufacturing through every step of distribution—and further the “Health Silk Road,” as Beijing has called it.

“There’s a real win-win opportunity for China if they play it right,” said Ray Yip, a public-health expert and former China director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As the U.S. and Europe focus on their own populations, he said, China can ride in like a “knight in shining armor.”

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2 hours ago

Israel Dodges Questions Over Vaccine-for-Prisoner Swap With Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday denied Israel provided its own vaccines as part of a prisoner swap with Syria.-/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sidestepped questions over whether his country agreed to pay Russia to provide coronavirus vaccines to Syria as a part of a prisoner swap between the two Middle Eastern countries.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday night, Mr. Netanyahu confirmed that negotiations with Russia took place as part of efforts to bring back an Israeli woman stuck in Syria. He said he had spoken twice with Russian President Vladimir Putin to hammer out the deal, but denied that Israel provided its own vaccines in the deal.

“I want to say that not even one Israeli vaccine went for this thing,” said Mr. Netanyahu. “We brought back the woman. I’m happy we did this. I thank President Putin that we did this. And more than this I won’t add because that was the Russian request.”

by a U.S.-based blogger, Richard Silverstein, and the New York Times, who said that Israel secretly agreed to pay Russia to send vaccines to Syria in order to secure the return of the Israeli woman being held in the country.

Israel has described the exchange as a standard prisoner swap. The prime minister didn’t deny buying the Russian vaccines, however, and a person familiar with the deal said that was part of the arrangement.

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5 hours ago

Can Mass Self-Testing for Covid-19 Keep Schools Safe?

Children at an elementary school in Vienna self-test for Covid-19 before class starts.Horst-Edgar Pintarich

BERLIN—On a continent still struggling with high Covid-19 rates, one small Alpine country is trying something new to reopen its schools: Require that students test themselves twice a week before they can attend class.

The experiment could bear valuable lessons for the U.S., where many schools remain closed, especially because it is happening in a place with relatively high infection rates despite months of restrictions.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week urged elementary and secondary schools to reopen amid a debate between parents, teachers and local governments香蕉视频苹果下载 over how they should operate during the pandemic.

In Europe, where some countries are reopening schools after winter shutdowns, more governments are pushing in-school testing as they try to balance a growing urgency to get children back into classrooms with fears about the new highly infectious virus variants.

Austria, which this month reopened schools after nearly three months, is taking this further than any other European country.

Twice a week, the nation’s 1.1 million schoolchildren now use noninvasive antigen tests, which detect infections by searching for viral proteins.

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6 hours ago

For Covid-19 Survivors, One Shot May Be Enough, Preliminary Studies Show

A woman got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Manning, S.C., on Feb. 17. Pfizer says it doesn’t have data regarding the single-dose approach in Covid-19 survivors.Micah Green/Bloomberg News

Covid-19 survivors who have gotten a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine are generating immune responses that might render a second shot unnecessary, potentially freeing up limited vaccine supply for more people, several new research papers suggest.

香蕉视频苹果下载The research, while preliminary, found that the previously infected people generated protection against the disease quickly and at dramatically higher levels after a first shot of the current two-shot regimens when compared with people who were vaccinated but hadn’t been sick.

“Everyone should get vaccinated. Not everybody needs two shots,” said Viviana Simon, a professor of microbiology at New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and an author on one study. “As long as we can’t deliver as much vaccine to everybody who wants it, I think it’s an important consideration.”

The research, which has been posted on preprint servers but not peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, comes as other findings into the two-shot regimen to healthy members of the general population highlight immune benefits after the first injection香蕉视频苹果下载. On Friday, researchers in Israel reported a single shot of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech is 85% effective in preventing symptomatic disease 15 to 28 days after being administered.

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13 hours ago

U.S. Covid-19 Hospitalizations Halve in a Month

Healthcare workers prepare to administer doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in Denver, Feb. 20.Chet Strange/Bloomberg News

香蕉视频苹果下载The number of people in U.S. hospitals for Covid-19 has halved from what it was a month ago, as new coronavirus cases fell Saturday.

香蕉视频苹果下载Just over 58,200 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized as of Saturday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That compares with 122,700 in hospitals on Jan. 20. The number of patients in intensive-care units Saturday was 12,120, the lowest level since Nov. 10.

But the U.S. coronavirus death toll is on the cusp of surpassing half a million. The country recorded more than 1,800 deaths Saturday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, pushing the nationwide toll to more than 497,000.

There were more than 71,000 newly reported coronavirus cases, down from Friday’s roughly 110,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins. Friday’s tally had jumped after Iowa and Texas added a significant number of new cases. Iowa recently changed the way it reported its Covid-19 data, and had recorded about 27,300 new cases Friday. The state’s Saturday tally was just 538, in line with daily numbers from earlier in the week.

Globally, more than 111 million coronavirus cases have been reported, and the death toll sits just under 2.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins.