A COVID-19 vaccine-development partnership between Canada and a Chinese firm has been abandoned, ending clinical trials that were to be conducted by a Dalhousie University research lab.
The National Research Council of Canada said Thursday the CanSino Biologics vaccine intended for phase one clinical trials has not been approved by Chinese customs for shipment to Canada.
“Due to the delay in the shipment of the vaccine doses to Canada it is evident this specific opportunity is over and the NRC is focusing its team and facilities on other partners and COVID-19 priorities,” the agency said in a statement.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne downplayed suggestions the vaccine partnership failed because of ongoing political tensions between the two countries.
“I don’t necessarily think so,” Champagne told reporters Thursday. “I can only speak for the Canadian side. I would not necessarily link whether that particular opportunity is linked to anything else.”
Relations have been sour since the Chinese detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in apparent retaliation for the RCMP’s arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou on an American extradition warrant in December 2018.
Despite the tensions, Champagne said “we have issues in terms of global health where we can work together.”
The Canadian Centre for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University was supposed to conduct the trials through a partnership with the NRC and CanSino Biologics. Dalhousie’s lab had been ready to start clinical trials as early as June, the NRC said, after Health Canada approved CanSino’s proposal.
The Halifax lab was one of several in Canada and in the U.S. whose work in 2014 led to an Ebola vaccine that was used in West Africa.
Dr. Scott Halperin, the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, said it was disappointing the CanSino project won’t be going ahead.
“The CanSino vaccine is one of the most furthest along of any of the candidate vaccines so it would have been nice to do that study,” Halperin said. “It’s not the only vaccine that we are working with … but we certainly don’t like to lose access to any one of them because we need multiple vaccines.”
Halperin said all of the protocols had been written and approved and had his lab received the vaccine its study would have been “well along by now.”
“We thought the shipment would be coming any day, as did the company,” he said. “There was no bad faith on the company — they were trying everything but they could not get (Chinese) government approval to ship it. The request for shipment hasn’t been denied it just hasn’t been approved.”
Halperin said the Halifax lab would be working on other COVID-19 studies and is in discussions with at least six different manufacturers. Once approvals are granted he said at least two of the studies could begin as early as next month.
“Things are moving along. We weren’t sitting and waiting for CanSino and doing nothing else.”
Wall Street opens lower as jobless claims rise – Reuters
Sept 24 (Reuters) – Wall Street opened lower on Thursday as a surprise increase in weekly jobless claims signaled that a labor market recovery was cooling and that more fiscal support would be necessary to avoid another round of mass layoffs and furloughs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47.04 points, or 0.18%, at the open to 26,716.09. The S&P 500 opened lower by 10.78 points, or 0.33%, at 3,226.14, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 81.97 points, or 0.77%, to 10,551.02 at the opening bell. (Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)
US STOCKS-Tech stocks lift Wall Street as economic rebound slows – Reuters
(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.)
* Weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rise to 870,000
* Nikola slides after Wedbush downgrade
* Accenture drops, BlackBerry rises on quarterly earnings
* Indexes up: Dow 0.39%, S&P 0.54%, Nasdaq 0.81% (Updates to early afternoon)
Sept 24 (Reuters) – Wall Street climbed in choppy trading on Thursday, with investors returning to the perceived safety of technology-related stocks as a surprise rise in weekly jobless claims signaled a slowdown in economic growth.
Nine of the 11 major S&P indexes were trading higher, with information technology leading gains.
Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Netflix Inc , Nvidia Corp and Facebook Inc, which have outperformed at a time of increased economic uncertainty, rose between 0.5% and 2.7%.
“Investors are going to be needing stocks that can weather a lower growth path because if we don’t get another round of fiscal stimulus, there’s not going to be a lot more we can do to continue boosting the economic recovery,” said Max Gokhman, capital markets strategist at Pacific Life Fund Advisors.
Waning hopes of more fiscal stimulus, signs of a faltering business recovery and a sell-off in technology-related names have weighed on U.S. stocks this month.
The S&P 500 briefly fell 10% below its intraday record high hit on Sept. 2. If the benchmark index closes at that level, it will enter correction territory.
Dow constituents, considered a barometer of economic confidence, lagged the S&P 500 on Thursday as data showed 870,000 Americans applied for jobless benefits in the week ended Sept. 19, up from 866,000 in the previous week.
Job cuts have spread to industries such as financial services and technology that were not initially impacted by the mandated business closures in mid-March because of insufficient demand.
At 12:32 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.39%, the S&P 500 was up 0.54% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.81%.
The CBOE volatility index, which is hovering near two-week highs, is expected to climb in the run up to the quarter end next week.
“The key is the VIX index, which has not yet reached levels that would suggest a continued strong move to the downside,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
“So you might get a day of bargain hunting followed by a day of selling, but as the last days of September come into place, we should begin to see some sort of window dressing by institutions.”
Homebuilders climbed 0.8% as sales of new single-family homes increased to their highest level in nearly 14 years last month.
Nikola Corp, which is set for its biggest weekly decline ever, shed another 4.3% as Wedbush downgraded the stock to “underperform”.
Accenture Plc fell 6.4% after the IT consulting firm forecast current-quarter revenue below expectations, while, U.S.-listed shares of Canadian security software firm BlackBerry Ltd jumped 5% after it posted a surprise rise in quarterly revenue.
Declining issues nearly matched advancers on the NYSE and the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded seven new highs and 116 new lows. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)
Etobicoke pub temporarily closes after employee tests positive – CityNews Toronto
An employee at Firkin on the Bay has tested positive for COVID-19.
The pub is located at 68 Marine Parade Drive near the Lake Shore in Etobicoke.
The pub has temporarily shut it’s doors and in a letter to customers say they are taking necessary steps to ensure that they can reopen when it’s “absolutely safe to do so.”
The employee last worked at the location on September 20 from 10:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Management at the pub say they contacted Toronto Public Health and shared contract tracing details. As per public health officials guidance all employees at the location have gone into self-isolation and will undergo testing before being able to return to work.
News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #199 – news.gov.mb.ca
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