Los Angeles | An emergency authorization request for the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Pfizer / BioNTech alliance should be filed on Friday in the United States, where authorities have taken a new series of restrictions to stem the pandemic as the outbreaks approach. Thanksgiving holidays, between school closures in New York and curfews in California.
“Pfizer’s partner BioNTech has announced that it intends to file an emergency clearance request with the FDA tomorrow,” the US Medicines Agency, US Secretary of Health Alex said on Thursday. Azar at a press conference at the White House.
“We expect Moderna to make this request soon as well,” he added, of this American company also in the ranks to develop and distribute a vaccine on a large scale.
The director of BioNTech estimated Thursday “possible” its authorization and distribution during the month of December, both in the United States and in the European Union. “We are working hard,” Ugur Sahin told AFP.
The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced for her part that the European regulator could give the green light to the marketing of the two vaccines “from the second half of December, if the procedures go smoothly”.
The Pfizer / BioNTech alliance and Moderna have announced in recent days an efficacy of around 95% for their vaccines, sparking a wave of optimism in the world, where hundreds of millions of doses have already been reserved by various governments .
And the immunologist Anthony Fauci, a highly respected scientific figure in the United States, wanted to be reassuring by asserting Thursday that “the speed of the process” of development of these vaccines had “in no way compromised the safety, no more than the ‘scientific integrity’.
This good news comes as some 56 million cases, and 1.35 million deaths, have been officially recorded worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to a report established Thursday by AFP.
In the United States, the epidemic is in an “exponential” phase, according to health authorities. More than 200,000 new cases in 24 hours were recorded Thursday, as well as more than 2,000 deaths, a bar that had not been crossed for months.
Americans have been urged not to travel on Thanksgiving, November 26, America’s largest family holiday, when attendance records are traditionally broken at airports and on the roads.
And across the country, local officials have had to resolve to impose new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
In California, about 94% of the population will be placed under curfew as of Saturday, for a period of one month. The measure prohibits all “non-essential” trips between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the counties most affected by the coronavirus epidemic.
“The virus is spreading at a speed never seen since the start of this pandemic and the days and weeks to come will be critical to stop this rise. We are sounding the alarm, ”Governor Gavin Newsom warned.
“I will stop the virus”
In the capital Washington, public museums and the zoo will close their doors from Monday, while in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio closed public schools on Thursday, a move that immediately sparked controversy, with a petition asking to maintain their openness and demonstrations in front of the town hall.
US President-elect Joe Biden, who is due to enter the White House on January 20 and has made the fight against the epidemic a priority at the start of his term in office, said Thursday that he would not impose “containment” national total ”despite the resurgence of the epidemic. “I think it would be counterproductive,” he pleaded.
“I won’t stop the economy, period. I will stop the virus, ”he said at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, after a meeting with governors devoted to this crisis.
In Europe, the WHO welcomed a drop in the number of weekly cases last week (-10%), but deaths have continued to rise and caution remains in order.
In Germany, the level of contamination is still “too high”, even if the new restrictions put in place at the beginning of the month “are effective” and encourage “optimism”, said Thursday the reference health authority.
In France, the “virus circulates less quickly”, but “the health burden remains high”, with 15,807 new patients entering the hospital over the last seven days, underlined the Minister of Health Olivier Véran.
Mink alert raised
Catalonia is preparing to take the step of easing restrictions: the northeastern region of Spain announced on Thursday the reopening of bars, restaurants and cinemas next Monday, after more than a month of closing.
More good news in Europe: Two weeks after sounding the alarm on a disturbing coronavirus mutation via mink – and starting to cull its entire huge herd – Denmark concluded that this potential threat to human vaccines was “Very probably extinct”, in the absence of a new case detected.
The Irish government said on Thursday that it was planning to slaughter the country’s farmed mink as a precaution.
Elsewhere in the world, the virus continues to wreak havoc. Russia has passed the two million case mark, setting two new records for infections and daily deaths. Mexico, the fourth most bereaved country in the world, has reached 100,000 deaths from the virus.
India has passed the 9 million case mark and officially claims 132,162 deaths, but many experts believe the real figure is much higher, due to a relatively low number of tests.