Over the past four weeks, the number of new Omicron infections recorded in the U.S.A. has dropped dramatically from a peak of 800K+ on 15 January to just 66K on 26 February
A similar pattern has been seen in the European Union, where the peak of 1.25M+ infections occurred on 28 January and has now dropped to 475K
Total COVID deaths in the European Union just passed 1 Million and the U.S.A. has reached 950K
The Appendix shows that Rest-of-World countries did not suffer Delta and Omicron surges equivalent in magnitude to the more advanced countries
Even their smaller Omicron surges experienced, have also reduced substantially.
Europe Re-Opens - The "All Clear"?
While there are other minor variants being watched by the WHO, there does not seem to be an immediate threat of another highly virulent strain of COVID
Europe has mostly decided to ‘re-open’, including Denmark, UK, Greece, France, Portugal, Sweden and Norway - other EU countries are likely to follow
However, Omicron infections are currently still growing fast in Iceland, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, New Zealand and Hong Kong
Note that most of these countries largely followed an ‘isolation’ or ‘Zero Covid’ approach.
Israel as a Case Study - Vaccination No Longer Counts?
Israel was the first country to inoculate most of its population with 2 shots; also the first to insist on 3rd shot, in order to retain a digital certificate required to attend events; and the first to offer a 4th shot
All shots were Pfizer
Despite the high levels of vaccination, 3.5M of Israel's 9.5M population got COVID
1.5M of them in the last 2 months
Israel has now ordered 5M shots of Novavax vaccine as a heterologous booster, although it is not clear if this will be deployed
Israel had severely restricted access for non-citizens over the past two years
From 1st March 2022, it is completely reopening its borders to all, irrespective of vaccination status
Israel will no longer ask for proof of vaccination, but will require a PCR test before/after arrival.
Vaccine Equity - Africa
The % vaccinated in Africa has reached 18%, and sufficient supplies are now available and even now exceed the logistical ability to deploy them
The African Union has asked for a pause in supplies this month
Part of the log jam has been caused by widespread hesitancy to take a COVID vaccine
The debate about local strategic manufacturing goes on
The WHO is working with Afrigen in South African to develop a near copy of the Moderna vaccine
They have ambitious plans to manufacture this mRNA vaccine at 6 sites in Africa: Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia
However without cooperation from Moderna there are doubts whether this will progress from the Lab to successful manufacture at scale
BionTech is promoting a 12 transport container ‘modular’ manufacturing facility that would be used to manufacture 40M doses/annually of the Pfizer/Biontech mRNA vaccine
Still in development and likely not ready for deployment until 2023.
Novavax’s protein-based vaccine is now available for use in 170 countries, including approval by the UK regulator, and has filed for use with 10 different regulatory agencies, including the U.S.A.
Canada’s Medicago COVID protein-based vaccine - based on tobacco leaves - now approved in Canada
Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, has stated that he believes the COVID Pandemic is now over, but annual boosters will be required.
Refana's Delta variant-based WIV COVID vaccine has successfully achieved its Proof of Concept (POC) objectives in our testing work at the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute (IITRI)
The vaccinated transgenic mice exhibited good levels of protection
There was a variation from low to extremely high protection between the mice
The serum of the vaccinated mice successfully neutralized both the Delta and the Wuhan strains
As expected for a Delta specific vaccine, the effect was noticeably stronger against Delta
The animals have not been subject to a live challenge
Refana should have the Proof of Concept report and full data tables next week
The Team is now exploring recently made available non-dilutive funding opportunities in both the public and private sectors that would enhance both our vaccine development and our modular manufacturing strategy
Recent RFPs have been released by multiple agencies
Refana is investigating its approaches to respond to those opportunities
As these opportunities further develop, we’ll share more info on them with our Investors.