Friday, April 23

U.S. Election, Boris Johnson, Nagorno-Karabakh: Your Monday Briefing


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Good morning.

We’re covering the latest from the U.S. election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s quarantine and a turning point in Nagorno-Karabakh.

There’s a lot of optimism around Pfizer’s announcement last week, which suggested its mRNA-based vaccine could be more than 90 percent effective. What should we make of this? Is it too soon to rejoice?

No, I’d say a little rejoicing is in order. The F.D.A. has said it would accept a vaccine that was only 50 percent effective, which is worse than some year’s flu shots, so everyone’s expectations were lowered. This is pretty great. Plus, we were already pretty sure that mRNA vaccines would be harmless. With this type of vaccine, you’re injecting just a short stretch of the virus’s genome packed into a tiny ball of fat with a mild electric charge. In contrast, some vaccines use a whole virus that is killed or weakened and is more likely to cause bad reactions.

Pfizer actually said its vaccine is at least 90 percent effective. We need to be cautious: That was its news release, rather than the actual data, which scientists will want to examine. But I’ve read previous news releases from Big Pharma companies and compared them with the data issued later, and they’ve been honest.





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