While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 10

A woman walks past the Pfizer headquarters in New York, on Nov 9, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Pfizer says Covid-19 vaccine 90 per cent effective in Phase 3 trial

A vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in ongoing Phase 3 trials, the companies announced Monday.

Protection in patients was achieved seven days after the second of two doses, and 28 days after the first, according to preliminary findings.

"The first set of results from our Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine's ability to prevent Covid-19," Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

"We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis.


WHO says Covid-19 vaccine could help fundamentally change pandemic's arc

A Covid-19 vaccine may be rolled out by March 2021 to the most vulnerable, which along with other advances could fundamentally change the course of the pandemic, a senior World Health Organisation official said on Monday.

Bruce Aylward told the WHO's annual ministerial assembly that interim results from Pfizer Inc's late-stage vaccine trial were "very positive".

"There is still much work to be done, this is just interim results...but some very positive results coming today which should hold great promise hopefully for the entire world as we move forward," Aylward told the 194-member state forum.


Trump says he has fired Defence Secretary Mark Esper

US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he had "terminated" Defence Secretary Mark Esper, appearing to use his final months in office after his election defeat to settle scores within his administration.

Trump split with Esper over a range of issues and was particularly angered by Esper's public opposition to Trump's threats to use active duty military forces this summer to suppress street protests over racial injustice after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Trump said on Twitter that Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was taking over as acting secretary of defence. The Senate would be highly unlikely to confirm a new nominee before Trump leaves office in January.


Republican Senator McConnell says Trump within his rights to probe election 'irregularities'

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said President Donald Trump was completely within his rights to look into "irregularities" from last week's election.

In a speech on the Senate floor, the Republican leader did not acknowledge Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect or Kamala Harris as vice president-elect.

"President Trump is 100 per cent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options," McConnell said.


Wall Street breaks records at opening on Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine news

US stocks surged higher at the open on Monday, with all three major indices breaking records after Pfizer announced that its vaccine was 90 per cent effective in protecting against Covid-19 infections.

But the enthusiasm calmed somewhat pulling back the early gains, although maintaining a solid rise.

About 30 minutes into the trading session, the bellwether Dow Jones Industrial Average had jumped 4.4 per cent to 29,553.62, still beating the closing record set February 12 of 29,551,42.


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