Vaccine maker BioNTech sees profits skyrocket in second quarter


BERLIN – German pharmaceutical maker BioNTech, which developed the first widely used coronavirus vaccine with Pfizer, saw profits increase in the second quarter of 2021.

The Mainz-based company said Monday it made a net profit of nearly 2.8 billion euros ($ 3.3 billion) from April to June. This brought the first half net profit to more than 3.9 billion euros, compared to a net loss of almost 142 million euros in the first half of 2020.

The company said the boon to its mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine would help it develop drugs for cancer and other diseases.



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LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigeria has postponed the deployment of its second batch of COVID-19 vaccine due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’, a setback for Africa’s most populous country as it faces a surge in numbers of confirmed cases.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 made the announcement on Sunday evening, without providing further details on why Tuesday’s launch was delayed.

Less than 2% of the country’s 200 million citizens have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

Nigeria initially received around 4 million doses of AstraZeneca donated through COVAX, but ran out of supplies in mid-July. The country has now received 4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the United States.

There has been a 553% increase in confirmed monthly infections since the delta variant was detected in the country in early July, according to data from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.


RIYAD – Saudi Arabia is reopening Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina to overseas pilgrims to make the smaller pilgrimage known as “umrah”.

State media reported that for the first time since the pandemic prompted the government to close Mecca to international travelers, the kingdom will gradually start receiving requests from Umrah pilgrims from various countries around the world from Monday. .

Travelers will need to prove they have been vaccinated and will need to self-quarantine if traveling from countries still on the kingdom’s red list, which include many countries that once sent the most pilgrims each year. The government plans to increase the capacity of pilgrims to 2 million per month.

The kingdom has allowed its own citizens and residents to perform umrah since October last year under certain conditions, and has held significantly reduced hajj pilgrimages last year and this year due to the pandemic.


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka has launched a home care program for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, abandoning its policy of hospitalizing almost all those who test positive, as the number of daily infections increases.

People aged 2 to 65 will be observed by call center doctors. Doctors will assess patients daily and recommend admission if necessary.

However, people who are obese or have a history of heart, kidney or other serious chronic diseases will be hospitalized immediately.

Until recently, most people who tested positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized in Sri Lanka. However, the country has seen a sharp increase in the number of patients since the end of July with the emergence of the delta variant. The number of new daily cases is approaching 3,000, with almost 100 deaths per day on average.

Photos have circulated on social media over the past week, showing crowded hospital wards with many patients on the floor, along hallways and even outside.

The government says it has booked more services to help ease congestion and refer asymptomatic patients to home care.

Sri Lanka has so far reported 329,994 positive COVID-19 cases, including 5,111 deaths.


For the second day in a row, Iran broke its one-day record for new coronavirus deaths and infections.

Iranian authorities on Monday reported 588 new deaths, surpassing the previous day’s record of nearly four dozen. 40,800 new cases of the virus have been recorded, with more than 6,500 people in critical condition.

More than a year and a half after the start of the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, Iran is in the midst of its deadliest wave to date, fueled by the rapid spread of the delta variant.

The pandemic has killed more than 94,000 people in Iran, overwhelming hospitals in major cities as mass vaccination remains a long way off. About 4% of the more than 80 million Iranians have been fully immunized.


KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepal on Monday launched a comprehensive vaccination campaign for all over 65s in the country against COVID-19 following the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccines donated by Japan.

The 1.4 million citizens over 65 had received the first dose of the vaccine in March, but had to wait many months for the second due to India’s refusal to export any vaccine made there . Japan’s donation follows desperate appeals from the Nepalese government to foreign governments for AstraZeneca vaccines.

Nepal is trying to revive its vaccination campaign, which has struggled for months due to a shortage of all vaccines. He received 4 million doses of Sinopharm from China last month and 1.5 million Johnson and Johnson jabs donated by the United States.

The government warns of the possibility of a new wave of infections in the Himalayan country. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nepal is 714,877 since the start of the pandemic last year.


CANBERRA, Australia – The Australian government has said Moderna will become the third COVID-19 vaccine available in Australia next month.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s vaccine regulator approved the Moderna vaccine for adults on Monday.

The first million doses will arrive in Australia at the end of September and 10 million doses of Moderna are expected to be delivered to Australia this year, said Health Minister Greg Hunt.

Australia suffers from a shortage of Pfizer vaccine and an overabundance of locally made AstraZeneca, which many refuse to take due to the low risk of blood clotting. The states of New South Wales and Victoria, where cities are stranded due to virus outbreaks, have stocks of more than a million unwanted doses of AstraZeneca, media reported.

Only 22% of adults in Australia’s population of 26 million had been fully immunized as of Monday. The government hopes to have provided a vaccine to every Australian adult who wants one by the end of the year.


BEIJING – More than 30 local officials have been fired or received other sanctions for failures in handling the latest wave of the virus in China.

Officials fired for failing to fully implement anti-pandemic measures included a deputy mayor, heads of city districts and health commissions, as well as staff from hospital management departments, hospitals and hospitals. airports and tourism.

China’s National Health Commission said on Monday that 94 new cases of domestic transmission had been recorded in the past 24 hours. Of those, 41 were in central Henan Province, which has been hit by deadly floods in recent weeks.

Another 38 cases have been reported in Yangzhou, a city neighboring Nanjing, where China’s largest epidemic since the start of the pandemic has been traced. The highly contagious delta variant spread among Nanjing airport workers and has since spread from tropical Hainan Province in the south to Inner Mongolia in the far north.

As the total number of cases in the outbreak hovers around 1,500, a small number compared to those occurring in other countries, Chinese authorities have renewed travel restrictions, locked down communities and cordoned off the entire area. Zhangjiajie city, with a population of 1.5 million.

China has administered more than 1.7 billion doses of the vaccine in its country, although it does not disclose how many of its 1.4 billion people are now fully protected. Chinese vaccines are given in one, two or three doses, but questions have been raised about the effectiveness of domestic vaccines as the delta variant continues to spread.


MELBOURNE, Australia – The state of Victoria in Australia is lifting its pandemic lockdown from Tuesday, except in the city of Melbourne.

Australia’s second most populous state imposed a seven-day lockdown last Thursday over concerns over the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

But Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrew said all cases detected in Victoria in recent days had been in Melbourne, and 11 more were reported there on Monday. Containment will therefore end in the rest of the state from Monday at the end of the day.

The neighboring state of New South Wales on Monday reported 283 new coronavirus infections and one death from COVID-19 in the last 24-hour period. The death toll from the last outbreak first detected in Sydney on June 16 is now 29.

Sydney has been on lockdown since June 26 and will remain under strict pandemic restrictions until at least August 28.


NEW ORLEANS – With the outbreak of new coronavirus cases in Louisiana, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will not be returning this year.

The festival is traditionally held in the spring, but it was scheduled to take place October 8-10 and October 15-17 after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But organizers on Sunday cited “current exponential growth” of new cases in the city and region as they announced the festival would not go as planned.

They say the dates for next year are April 29 to May 8.

Jazz Fest celebrates the native music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. The music encompasses almost every style imaginable: blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun, Zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rock, rap, contemporary and traditional jazz, country, bluegrass and everything in between.


MIAMI – Ready to party at one of South Beach’s most glamorous nightclubs? Then roll up your sleeves. LIV offers free COVID vaccines outside of the Miami club where the big guys spend up to $ 20,000 just for a table.

The star-studded nightclub, where Super Bowl champions celebrate at parties that inspired lyrics by Drake and Kanye West, has set up pop-up COVID vaccine sites over the weekend to attract young people.

The Sunshine State set another record over the weekend. On Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 23,903 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday. This exceeds the previous day’s record of 22,783 new cases.

The LIV and Story clubs were closed for about a year during the pandemic and reopened in April. Owner David Grutman, the king of South Beach nightlife, who also owns a restaurant and hotel with Pharrell, said: “We’re thrilled, we want to stay open and we know the only way to do that is to vaccinate people. , so we want to make it as accessible as possible.

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