Angela Merkel has opposed the proposal to suspend intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines. Germany’s chancellor said the limiting factors in supply were production capacities and the high-quality standards, not the patents. “The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and it must remain so in the future,” she said.
Brazil could exhaust its supply of the Coronavac jab as soon as next week due to a shortage of critical ingredients from China. “Our feeling is that there is difficulty, a bureaucracy that is being slower than usual with very low authorisations of volumes,” said Dimas Covas, head of the Butantan Institute that is manufacturing the vaccine in the country.
French president Emmanuel Macron has voiced his support for temporarily suspending patent protection for coronavirus vaccines. “I am totally favourable to opening up this intellectual property. I called for it a year ago,” Macron said. He stressed, however, that other factors beyond pricing and patents might prevent a quick increase in global vaccine production.
Russia has approved the use of a single shot of its Sputnik V vaccine in a step that should expand its availability. Injection with only the first of the two-dose vaccine showed efficacy of 79.4 per cent among Russians surveyed between December and August, the jab’s developer said.
New applications for unemployment benefits in the US fell below 500,000 to a fresh pandemic-era low last week. The labour department reported 498,000 initial jobless claims on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared with 590,000 the week before. It was a larger fall than anticipated, with economists looking for weekly claims of 540,000.
Regeneron reported a 38 per cent increase in first quarter revenues as sales of its Covid-19 antibody treatment hit $262m. The New York-based company said revenues rose to $2.5bn in the first three months of the year, up from $1.8bn in the same quarter a year ago.
Moderna reported its first ever quarterly profit and sold $1.7bn worth of Covid-19 vaccines in the first three months of the year. The drugmaker said total revenues surged to $1.9bn in the first quarter as it sold 102m doses of its coronavirus vaccine. It reported net income of $1.2bn compared with a loss of $124m in the same period a year ago.