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Beijing Touts Major COVID Vaccine Milestone As China Plays ‘Catch-Up’ With Russia

Beijing Touts Major COVID Vaccine Milestone As China Plays ‘Catch-Up’ With Russia

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Beijing Touts Major COVID Vaccine Milestone As China Plays 'Catch-Up' With Russia Tyler Durden Mon, 08/17/2020 - 21:30

As the Philippines, Brazil, India and dozens of other countries struggling under the economic strain of COVID-19 outbreaks turn to Russia as their new savior thanks to the Putin-approved (one of his daughters was allegedly "part of the experiment") vaccine, which, technically, won't be widely available until January.

But roughly two dozen countries are already queuing up, striking multimillion-dollar deals (much of which, we suspect, will be settled in rubles) and kissing the ring, granting Putin a popularity boost as he seeks to play up his government's progress in fighting the virus.

To be sure, Russia is still clocking more than 5,000 newly confirmed cases every day, though the rate at which new deaths are being reported has slowed (some have pointed to some kind of an official cover-up). The vaccine and its association with the respected Gamaleya Institute helped bolster Putin's credibility, and even bolstered the market's appetite for risk, providing a solid day's worth of grist for the market's insatiable appetite for vaccine-related headlines.

Apparently, Putin's showboating has inflamed President Xi's thirst for a similar victory to display before the world. Which brings us to a headline from today's "Global Times". Patent Affirms Efficacy Of Vaccine Developed By China.

The story, detailing the granting of the first patent for a domestically-developed COVID vaccine in China, claimed Chinese authorities had granted the first patent to one of the many candidates vying for approval in China (and doing so with the benefit of generous government subsidies, not unlike the US with "Project Warp Speed").

Chinese authorities have granted the first invention patent to a domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate, which experts said demonstrates the vaccine's originality and creativity, and would enhance the international market's trust in Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccines amid the US' groundless accusations of Chinese hackers trying to steal novel coronavirus data on treatments and vaccine development from them.

The vaccine is a recombinant adenovirus vaccine named Ad5-nCoV co-developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics Inc, one of the vaccine candidate's co-developers, with the other being a team led by Chinese military infectious disease expert Chen Wei.

The grant of the patent further confirmed the vaccine's efficacy and safety, and convincingly demonstrated the ownership of its intellectual property rights (IPR), CanSino said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Sunday.

Xu Xinming, a Beijing-based lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, told the Global Times on Sunday that China has a comparatively strict and complete patent examination system, requiring a technology or product to be fundamentally different from existing similar technologies and products all over the world to be granted the patent.

"The grant of the patent demonstrates the vaccine's originality and creativity," Xu said, noting that CanSino is also probably applying for a patent with foreign authorities to protect its IPR during international cooperation.

An employee with the CanSino public relations department denied claims to the Global Times on Sunday that the grant of the patent had any relationship with the authorities' marketing process of the vaccine, noting that the two issues are under the supervision of two different systems.

As we've noted before, CanSino's vaccine is using an adenovirus vector similar to the Russian vaccine, and the Oxford/AstraZeneca candidate. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the report was a section entitled 'Market confidence' offering some details from the patent application (which, of course, is in mandarin).

Read the excerpt below:

The patent clarified 14 claims for CanSino's IPR over the vaccine, including its nucleotide sequence, application purpose, preparation forms and methods, according to CanSino's statement.

According to CanSino, they applied for a patent with the National Intellectual Property Administration on March 18, three days after they launched phase one clinical trials on the candidate and received approval on August 11.

The phase III trial on the vaccine which will be conducted overseas is progressing smoothly, the company noted. 

Results of the phase one and two trials were revealed as of July 20, showing a good safety profile and high levels of humoral and cellular immune responses.

CanSino has signed deals with Mexico to conduct late-stage clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico said last week.

Saudi Arabian health officials also announced on August 9 to cooperate with phase III clinical trials on the vaccine, recruiting around 5,000 participants.

CanSino has also reportedly been in talks with Russia, Brazil and Chile to launch a Phase III trial on Ad5-nCOV.

Cooperation against vaccine nationalism

Amid media hype, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a risk of "vaccine nationalism," however global cooperation around vaccine R&D to solve the COVID-19 conundrum has not stopped.

All five types of COVID-19 vaccines in China are being developed under international cooperation with a list of countries including the UAE, Brazil, the UK, the US and Germany, media reported.

China and Russia have planned to collaborate on COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, said Chinese top respiratory scientist Zhong Nanshan, a leading figure in the fight against COVID-19, at a recent academic exchange conference on China-Russia cooperation against the coronavirus held in South China's Guangdong Province.

Signs of cooperation seem to have emerged as early as January, media reported, as the Russian consulate in China's Guangzhou revealed in a statement on its website that "Russian and Chinese experts have begun developing a vaccine" and Beijing has handed over the genome of the virus to Moscow.

Experts said the move is part of China's promise to pitch into the global fight against the virus, adding that China and Russia have a clear basis for vaccine cooperation in resource sharing and mass production.

China and Russia can exchange data and techniques around vaccine R&D, given the second dose of Russia's newly approved world's first COVID-19 vaccine has almost the same mechanism with that of the China-developed adenovirus vector COVID-19 vaccine, Ad5-nCoV, according to Tao.

China may also be able to help Russia with mass production for its second dose of the vaccine if needed, considering China has relatively ample capacity for mass production, Tao said.

"The genetic sequence of viruses are very crucial in the development of vaccines, and sometimes can be even regarded as an intellectual property right," Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Sunday. "The sharing and openness of gene sequences reflects China's willingness and confidence to work with others against the virus."

Potential cooperation between China and Russia would be a win-win one, and it will also help China develop a vaccine that can be adapted to a wider range of viral strains, said Yang.

US and Chinese medical institutions have been working together on vaccine development since the beginning of the year, a US vaccine scientist told the Xinhua News Agency on January 22.

Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas, said his group is working with the Virology Center at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Hotez praised China's efforts in dealing with the epidemic, saying Chinese scientists have done an amazing job so far figuring out the transmission and working out quickly the isolation and sequencing of the virus, Xinhua reported.

Collaboration between US company Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Co. was approved in July to work jointly on advancement of the INO-4800 vaccine against coronavirus, and late-stage clinical trials have been ongoing, media reported. It is the world's first COVID-19 vaccine to be tested simultaneously in the US and China.

British multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is working with China's Xiamen Innovex on a recombinant protein-based coronavirus vaccine candidate to protect people from the novel coronavirus. GSK is eyeing boosting production of the candidate to a billion doses by 2021, according to media report.

Putin has already started his countdown clock, with an expected date of January for widespread availability of the Russian vaccine. We imagine similar announcements from CanSino, which has now apparently cemented its status as the most promising candidate in China.

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Government

Federal Food Stamps Program Hits Record Costs In 2022

Federal Food Stamps Program Hits Record Costs In 2022

In early January, The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board warned that one peril of a…

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Federal Food Stamps Program Hits Record Costs In 2022

In early January, The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board warned that one peril of a large administrative state is the mischief agencies can get up to when no one is watching.

Specifically, they highlight the overreach of the Agriculture Department, which expanded food-stamp benefits by evading the process for determining benefits and end-running Congressional review.

Exhibit A in the over-reach is the fact that the cost of the federal food stamps program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increased to a record $119.5 billion in 2022, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture...

Food Stamp costs have literally exploded from $60.3 billion in 2019, the last year before the pandemic, to the record-setting $119.5 billion in 2022.

In 2019, the average monthly per person benefit was $129.83 in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That increased by 78 percent to $230.88 in 2022.

Even more intriguing is the fact that the number of participants had increased from 35.7 million in 2019 to 41.2 million in 2022...

All of which is a little odd - the number of people on food stamps remains at record highs while the post-COVID-lockdown employment picture has improved dramatically...

Source: Bloomberg

If any of this surprises you, it really shouldn't given that 'you, the people' voted for the welfare state. However, as WSJ chided: "abuse of process doesn’t get much clearer than that."

In its first review of USDA, the GAO skewered Agriculture’s process for having violated the Congressional Review Act, noting that the “2021 [Thrifty Food Plan] meets the definition of a rule under the [Congressional Review Act] and no CRA exception applies. Therefore, the 2021 TFP is subject to the requirement that it be submitted to Congress.” GAO’s second report says “officials made this update without key project management and quality assurance practices in place.”

Abuse of process doesn’t get much clearer than that. The GAO review won’t unwind the increase, which requires action by the USDA. But the GAO report should resonate with taxpayers who don’t like to see the politicization of a process meant to provide nutrition to those in need, not act as a vehicle for partisan agency staffers to impose their agenda without Congressional approval.

All of this undermines transparency and accountability for a program that provided food stamps to some 41 million people in 2021. The Biden Administration is using the cover of the pandemic to expand the entitlement state beyond what Congress authorized.

The question now is, will House Republicans draw attention to this lawlessness and use their power of the purse to stop it to the extent possible with a Democratic Senate.

And don't forget, the US economy is "strong as hell."

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/28/2023 - 09:55

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A Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Adult Favorite Has Not Come Back

The cruise line has almost fully returned to normal after the covid pandemic, but one very popular activity hasn’t been brought back.

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The cruise line has almost fully returned to normal after the covid pandemic, but one very popular activity hasn't been brought back.

In the early days of Royal Caribbean Group's (RCL) - Get Free Report return from its 15-month covid pandemic shutdown, cruising looked a lot different. Ships sailed with limited capacities, masks were required in most indoor areas, and social distancing was a thing.

Keeping people six feet apart made certain aspects of taking a cruise impossible. Some were made easier by the lower passenger counts. For example, all Royal Caribbean Windjammer buffets required reservations to keep the crowds down, but in practice that system was generally not needed because capacities were never reached.

Dance parties and nightclub-style events had to be held on the pool decks or in larger spaces, and shows in the big theaters left open seats between parties traveling together. In most cases, accommodations were made and events more or less happened in a sort of normal fashion.

A few very popular events were not possible, however, in an environment where keeping six feet between passengers was a goal. Two of those events -- the first night balloon drop and the adult "Crazy Quest" game show -- simply did not work with social-distancing requirements.

One of those popular events has now made its comeback while the second appears to still be missing (aside from a few one-off appearances).

TheStreet

The Quest Is Still Mostly Missing

In late November, Royal Caribbean's adult scavenger hunt, "The Quest," (sometimes known as "Crazy Quest") began appearing on select sailings. And at the time it appeared like it was coming back across the fleet: A number of people posted about the return of the interactive adult game show in an unofficial Royal Caribbean Facebook group.

It first appeared during a Wonder of the Seas transatlantic sailing.

Since, then its appearances continue to be spotty and it has not returned on a fleetwide basis. This might not be due to any covid-related issues directly, but covid may play a role.

On some ships, Studio B, which hosts "The Quest," has been used for show rehearsals. That has been more of an issue with the trouble Royal Caribbean has had in getting new crew members onboard. And while that staffing issue has been improving, some shows may not have had full complements of performers, so using the space for rehearsal has been a continuing need.

In addition, while covid rules have gone away, covid has not, and ill cast members may force the need for more rehearsals.

Royal Caribbean has not publicly commented on when (or whether) "The Quest" will make a full comeback

Royal Caribbean Balloon Drops Are Back   

Before the pandemic, Royal Caribbean kicked off many of its cruises with a balloon drop on the Royal Promenade. That went away because it forced people to cluster as music was performed and, at midnight, balloons fell from the ceiling.

Now, the cruise line has brought back the balloon drop, albeit with a twist. The drop itself is appearing on activity schedules for upcoming Royal Caribbean cruises. Immediately after it, however, the cruise line has added something new: "The Big Recycle Balloon Pickup."

Most of the dropped balloons get popped during the drop. Previously, crewmembers picked up the used balloons. Now, the cruise line has made it a "fun" passenger activity.

"Get environmentally friendly as you help us gather our 100% biodegradable balloons in recycle baskets," the cruise line shared in its app. 

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What’s Still Missing on Royal Caribbean Cruises Post Covid

The cruise line has almost fully returned to normal after the covid pandemic, but one very popular activity hasn’t been brought back.

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The cruise line has almost fully returned to normal after the covid pandemic, but one very popular activity hasn't been brought back.

In the early days of Royal Caribbean Group's (RCL) - Get Free Report return from its 15-month covid pandemic shutdown, cruising looked a lot different. Ships sailed with limited capacities, masks were required in most indoor areas, and social distancing was a thing.

Keeping people six feet apart made certain aspects of taking a cruise impossible. Some were made easier by the lower passenger counts. For example, all Royal Caribbean Windjammer buffets required reservations to keep the crowds down, but in practice that system was generally not needed because capacities were never reached.

Dance parties and nightclub-style events had to be held on the pool decks or in larger spaces, and shows in the big theaters left open seats between parties traveling together. In most cases, accommodations were made and events more or less happened in a sort of normal fashion.

A few very popular events were not possible, however, in an environment where keeping six feet between passengers was a goal. Two of those events -- the first night balloon drop and the adult "Crazy Quest" game show -- simply did not work with social-distancing requirements.

One of those popular events has now made its comeback while the second appears to still be missing (aside from a few one-off appearances).

TheStreet

The Quest Is Still Mostly Missing

In late November, Royal Caribbean's adult scavenger hunt, "The Quest," (sometimes known as "Crazy Quest") began appearing on select sailings. And at the time it appeared like it was coming back across the fleet: A number of people posted about the return of the interactive adult game show in an unofficial Royal Caribbean Facebook group.

It first appeared during a Wonder of the Seas transatlantic sailing.

Since, then its appearances continue to be spotty and it has not returned on a fleetwide basis. This might not be due to any covid-related issues directly, but covid may play a role.

On some ships, Studio B, which hosts "The Quest," has been used for show rehearsals. That has been more of an issue with the trouble Royal Caribbean has had in getting new crew members onboard. And while that staffing issue has been improving, some shows may not have had full complements of performers, so using the space for rehearsal has been a continuing need.

In addition, while covid rules have gone away, covid has not, and ill cast members may force the need for more rehearsals.

Royal Caribbean has not publicly commented on when (or whether) "The Quest" will make a full comeback

Royal Caribbean Balloon Drops Are Back   

Before the pandemic, Royal Caribbean kicked off many of its cruises with a balloon drop on the Royal Promenade. That went away because it forced people to cluster as music was performed and, at midnight, balloons fell from the ceiling.

Now, the cruise line has brought back the balloon drop, albeit with a twist. The drop itself is appearing on activity schedules for upcoming Royal Caribbean cruises. Immediately after it, however, the cruise line has added something new: "The Big Recycle Balloon Pickup."

Most of the dropped balloons get popped during the drop. Previously, crewmembers picked up the used balloons. Now, the cruise line has made it a "fun" passenger activity.

"Get environmentally friendly as you help us gather our 100% biodegradable balloons in recycle baskets," the cruise line shared in its app. 

Read More

Continue Reading

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