Just two months ago, the prospects for beating the novel coronavirus with highly effective vaccines couldn’t have seemed better. Shots from Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership proved more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 symptoms in massive trials, surpassing the most optimistic forecasts. An end to the pandemic appeared imminent.
Yet pharma companies now suddenly face a daunting challenge that few anticipated we’d see so soon: an onslaught of fast-spreading and potentially dangerous mutations of the virus. So even as they ramp up production in the early stages of a massive rollout, drugmakers have to retool their vaccine strategies. That’s raised the possibility that patients will need extra shots to protect against the new strains—and that drugmakers could get a new revenue stream that, for some, may prove lucrative.
The highly transmissible B.1.1.7 mutation first identified in the U.K. is spreading across the U.S. But the strains researchers are most worried about coming from South Africa and Brazil. The South African variant has spread quickly across Africa and has been seen in at least 24 countries elsewhere. It was reported in South Carolina on Jan. 28 and in Maryland two days later. The strain prominent in Brazil shares one of the same key mutations.
Current Covid vaccines are formulated to fight the form of the virus that was most prevalent last year. But small changes occur as the virus replicates, so as the pathogen spreads, it mutates into viruses the original vaccines might not be properly tailored to fight. The world has “allowed the virus to infect 100 million people already,” says virologist David Ho, who heads the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University. “That is 100 million chances for mutation.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
When Employees Go, Data Can Leave, Too
Cybersecurity professionals fear that job cuts can lead to vulnerabilities
The Word That Went Unsaid at Davos
The outlook among global leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in mid-January ranged from cautiously optimistic to unapologetically positive. Attendees interviewed by Bloomberg News during the proceedings talked about the reopening of China, the warmer-than-expected winter, which has helped keep energy prices down, and the expected surge in other commodity prices that hasn't occurred.
Mercedes makes the G-Wagen bigger, badder and in a way I didn't think possible better.
A Natural Touch For Jewelry
Collectors clamor for Emmanuel Tarpin’s one-of-a-kind pieces.
These Watches Are Not for You
Max Büsser and his band of revolutionaries made products they themselves wanted-and built a huge fandom on the way.
Small watchmakers are soaring thanks to a boom in timepiece: collecting and a supply crunch among the most famous Swiss brands.
Middle-aged tech centimillionaire Bryan Johnson and his team of 30 doctors say they have a plan to reboot his body
Big Brother at Bargain
NSO Group and its rivals have made military-grade surveillance software shockingly affordable. The way it was used against the real-life hero of Hotel Rwanda might finally force lawmakers' hands
Trolling While on Autopilot
Amid falling demand and sudden price cuts, Elon Musk seems determined to take a blowtorch to his car company’s brand
Tackling Textile Waste
A machine that sorts unwearable clothing is helping divert items away from landfill
5 Facts About the New Covid Booster
What you need to know to further protect yourself & your loved ones
China's Bet On Homegrown mRNA Vaccines Holds Back Nation
China is trying to navigate its biggest coronavirus outbreak without a tool it could have adopted many months ago, the kind of vaccines that have proven to offer the best protection against the worst outcomes from COVID-19.
Time for a Boost
As changes to the vaccine policy are announced we unpack what you need to know
MOST EFFECTIVE COVID VACCINES
CDC says mRNA works – China’s jabs are JUNK!
MIRACLE COVID DRUG COMES WITH A CATCH!
A BREAKTHROUGH medication has been approved by the FDA to fight COVID-19, but it can cause potentially life-threatening interactions with a variety of widely prescribed drugs, warned experts.
Vacuna COVID-19 en niños: soluciona tus dudas
Los pequeños de 5 a 11 años ya pueden vacunarse frente al coronavirus. De la mano de dos expertos en Pediatría, resolvemos algunas cuestiones que preocupan a los padres.
Dig Into Analysts' Estimates for Disruptive Companies
THE PANDEMIC ERA generated a whole wave of disruptive companies as it accelerated the introduction of new products and services in areas including artificial intelligence, digitization, electronic payments, online meeting platforms, and virtual currencies.
The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies – Biotech
Mariana Matus Cofounder and CEO of Biobot Analytics
More uses for new mRNA technology
The Last Pandemic
Technological breakthroughs and policy progress mean humanity may never again have to endure a disaster like Covid-19.