Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech said that full results from their large-scale vaccine trial showed the treatment to be 95% effective in protecting against COVID-19, better than the 90% initially reported last week. The company said it will seek emergency use authorization within the next few days. No serious safety concerns had been observed; 4% of recipients reported fatigue. The news follows early data showing a vaccine candidate from rival Moderna is also around 95% effective.
Both Pfizer and Moderna utilize a technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA), which uses tiny pieces of genetic code to teach the immune system how to respond in the presence of a full-blown coronavirus infection. It will mark the first time mRNA vaccines will be used for any type of clinical application. The downside of mRNA is it must be kept very cold—Pfizer's vaccine requires almost 100 degrees below zero, Moderna's vaccine can be held at normal freezer
temperatures—posing significant logistical challenges.
US officials hope to have 20 million doses from both companies—enough for 20 million patients, as the vaccines require a two-shot regimen—ready to distribute by late December. The first shots would go to front-line health workers and high-risk groups.
The news comes as the US passed 250,000 cumulative COVID-19 deaths, with more than 11.5 million total cases; see rolling averages here and here. New York City, the nation's largest school district, announced yesterday students would revert from hybrid to fully remote learning after the city hit a 3% test rate, a threshold previously agreed upon with the
Watch Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel pitch mRNA drugs during a Ted Talk nearly six years ago.
737 MAX to Fly Again
The Federal Aviation Administration announced yesterday it will allow the Boeing 737 MAX jet to resume flight operations. The decision to rescind the grounding order follows a 20-month review after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in late 2018 and early 2019 which killed 346 people.
The move means the aircraft can start flying commercially in the US again, once they have completed additional requirements. These include new pilot training and software upgrades to an automatic stall-prevention system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which played a central role in both fatal crashes. Nearly 400 jets were in service when they were grounded, and nearly 450 have been built since then. Each plane must be inspected by the FAA before being cleared for flight.
Long-simmering tensions have come to a head in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, as the central government began advancing on the region's capital of Mekelle after opposition forces ignored a Tuesday deadline to end fighting. Reports suggest hundreds of civilians have been killed by both sides—with accounts of at least one massacre—and more than 30,000 have fled into neighboring Sudan.
Despite representing just 6% of the country's population, the influential Tigray People’s Liberation Front has enjoyed outsized power in Ethiopia's ethnic coalition government since the early 1990s (see 101). The rise of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed led to an effort to move away from ethnic blocs of power and toward nationalized politics, which threatened the TPLF's influence. Tigrayan leadership held independent elections in September; viewed as illegitimate by Ahmed's administration, the standoff spiraled into open conflict.
Ahmed won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for striking peace with neighboring Eritrea.
Enjoy reading? Share 1440 with your three closest friends.
While the results vary by person and advisers are legally prohibited from promising returns, even an extra 1% after fees means more income in retirement.
The key is finding an adviser who can implement your vision. SmartAsset's no-cost tool lets you compare and interview up to three local fiduciary advisers who are legally bound to act in your best interest.
>Minnesota Timberwolves select Georgia’s Anthony Edwards with No. 1 pick of NBA Draft; James Wiseman goes No. 2 to Golden State (More) | See full draft results (More)
>2020 National Book Awards announced, with Malcolm X biography winning best nonfiction; see full list of winners (More) | Barack Obama’s memoir “A Promised Land” sells record-setting 890,000 copies on first day (More)
>People magazine names “Black Panther” actor Michael B. Jordan as its 2020
Sexiest Man Alive(More)
Science & Technology
>The FDA grants first approval for an at-home COVID-19 test, but will require a prescription and won't be widely distributed until spring 2021 (More)
>Study findsgenetic material from giant viruses was incorporated into the genome of common algae—a process known as endogenization—significantly
altering its evolutionary trajectory (More) | What are giant viruses? (More)
>Google unveils Tree Canopy Lab, which combines aerial images and AI to help cities determine where to plant trees; effort is aimed at promoting natural urban cooling (More)
>US stock markets down (S&P 500 -1.2%, Dow -1.2%, Nasdaq -0.8%) despite positive vaccine news as investors fear effects of growing pandemic cases (More)
>Apple reaches $113Msettlement with 33 US states regarding iPhone throttling allegations (More) | Apple lowers commissions on App Store purchases from 30% to 15% for businesses with under $1M in revenues (More)
>Electric vehicle startup Arrival—maker of electric trucks, buses, and vans—will go public via a SPAC valuing the company at $5.4B (More) | What’s a SPAC? (More)
>Trump campaign requests partial recount in Wisconsin, focusing on the heavily Democratic Milwaukee and Dane counties; effort will cost the campaign $3M (More)
>House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) says next term will likely be her last as speaker; top three house Democrats—including Reps. Steny Hoyer (MD-5) and James
Clyburn (SC-6)—are all 80 years of age or older (More) | Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-23) reelected as minority leader (More)
>The United Kingdom announces an additional $22B investment in its military, its largest since the end of the Cold War; move comes as Britain repositions itself following exit from the European Union (More)
George Clooney When We Need Him Most
GQ | Zach Baron. Catching up with the GQ Icon of the Year, still feeling the aftereffects of a 2018 motorcycle crash, as he works to finish out his newest film, "The Midnight Sky." (Read)
'We Are Shipping to the US'
NPR | Emily Feng. Inside the sprawling online network of Chinese merchants who ship fentanyl and related chemicals to the US—the synthetic substances at the core of the country's opioid crisis. (Read)
Historybook: President James
Garfield born (1831); President Abraham Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address (1863); Indira Gandhi, first and only female prime minister of India born (1917); President Ronald Reagan meets Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for first time (1985); Charles Manson dies while in prison (2017).
"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."
- Abraham Lincoln
Enjoy reading? Forward this email to a friend.
Why 1440? The printing press was invented in the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. Guess what else? There are 1,440 minutes in a day and every one is precious. That’s why we scour hundreds of sources every day to provide a concise, comprehensive, and objective view of what's happening in the world. Reader feedback is a gift—shoot us a note at email@example.com.
Interested in advertising to smart
readers like you? Apply here!