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Pfizer to seek U.S. authorization for COVID booster shot as delta variant spreads – CBC.ca

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Pfizer plans to ask U.S. regulators to authorize a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine within the next month, the drugmaker’s top scientist said on Thursday, based on evidence of greater risk of reinfection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

In a joint statement, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster COVID-19 shot at this time.

Some scientists have also questioned the need for booster shots.

Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten, said the recently reported dip in the vaccine’s effectiveness in Israel was mostly due to infections in people who had been vaccinated in January or February. The country’s health ministry said vaccine effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease fell to 64 per cent in June.

“The Pfizer vaccine is highly active against the delta variant,” Dolsten said in an interview. But after six months, he said, “there likely is the risk of reinfection as antibodies, as predicted, wane.”

Pfizer did not release the full set of Israeli data on Thursday, but said it would be published soon.

A youth receives a vaccination at a mobile vaccination centre in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel’s health ministry said vaccine effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease fell to 64 per cent in June. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

“It’s a small data set, but I think the trend is accurate: Six months out, given that delta is the most contagious variant we have seen, it can cause infections and mild disease,” Dolsten said.

The FDA and CDC, in their joint statement, said: “We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.”

Dolsten said Pfizer’s own data from the United States showed an erosion of the vaccine’s efficacy to the mid-80s after six months against the variants circulating there in the spring.

Promising protection

He stressed that data from Israel and Britain suggests that even with waning antibody levels, the vaccine remains around 95 per cent effective against severe disease.

The vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech SE, showed 95 per cent efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in a clinical trial the companies ran last year.

Dolsten said early data from the company’s own studies shows that a third booster dose generates antibody levels that are five- to 10-fold higher than after the second dose, suggesting that a third dose will offer promising protection.

He said multiple countries in Europe and elsewhere have already approached Pfizer to discuss booster doses, and some may begin administering them before a potential U.S. authorization.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Angers, France. Pfizer’s chief executive has said people will ‘likely’ need a third booster dose within 12 months and could need annual shots. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

Dolsten said he believes booster shots are particularly important in older age groups.

Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, Calif., said basing the decision on waning antibody protection ignores the role of other parts of the immune response, including memory B cells, which can make antibodies on demand when challenged by the virus.

“You need better studies to be able to assert that. It isn’t just neutralizing antibodies,” Topol said.

Some scientists question need for booster

Pfizer has previously said people will likely need a booster dose, though some scientists have questioned when, or if, boosters will be needed.

Pfizer plans to soon launch a placebo-controlled efficacy trial of the booster with 10,000 participants. The study will run throughout the fall, Dolsten said, meaning it will not be completed ahead of the company’s filing with the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. William Schaffner, a vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said even if Pfizer succeeds in getting its booster authorized by the FDA, that would only be the first step. The booster would still need to be reviewed and recommended by advisers to the CDC.

A elderly woman receives a shot at an assisted living facility, in Netanya, Israel, in January. (Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

“It’s not automatic by any means,” he said. Schaffner said realistically, most of the public health bandwidth in the United States is still focused on encouraging Americans to get their first and second doses of the vaccine.

Because boosters would drive increasing demand for vaccines while much of the world is still unvaccinated, Dolsten said Pfizer is looking at ways to boost production.

It is already targeting production of three billion doses this year and four billion next year. Dolsten declined to give a forecast of exactly how many more doses the company could add, but said, “We can step up billion after billion in ’22.”

Dolsten also said Pfizer and BioNTech are designing a new version of the vaccine targeting the delta variant, but said the companies do not believe that the current version will need to be replaced in order to combat the variant.

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Stock market news live updates: Stock turn lower following last week's rebound – Yahoo Canada

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U.S. stocks closed a choppy session lower Monday, weighed down by losses in technology shares, after the major indexes failed to sustain momentum from last week’s rally.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, and Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 60 points, or 0.2% after each benchmark wavered between the red and the green throughout the trading day. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.9%.

The moves follow a sharp rebound Friday that saw the S&P 500 surge 3% during the session and over 6% for the week, its second-best week this year and its first weekly rise since late May. Still, the benchmark index is on pace for its worst opening six months since 1970.

During the previous session, the Dow rose more than 800 points, or 2.7%, while the Nasdaq increased by more than 3.3%, leading to weekly gains for the indexes of more than 5% and 7%, respectively.

Some Wall Street strategists are hopeful that markets may have found a bottom.

“As bad as [this year] has been for investors, the good news is previous years that were down at least 15% at the midway point to the year saw the final six months higher every single time, with an average return of nearly 24%,” LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick said in a note last week.

J.P. Morgan strategist Marko Kolanovic also predicted that U.S. equities may climb as much as 7% this week as investors rebalance portfolios amid the end of the month, second quarter, and first half of the year.

While sentiment on Wall Street appears optimistic, investors are in for a bevy of key economic reports and earnings that may sway markets this week and put hopes of a comeback to the test.

Quarterly results from Nike (NKE) and Micron (MU) will be closely watched for signs of rising inventories and slowing orders like Target and some other retailers have warned about recently, which may renew worries of an economic slowdown among Corporate America.

Traders also face a fairly loaded economic calendar this week, with the latest read on core PCE inflation – the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of consumer prices, the Conference Board’s consumer sentiment survey, and manufacturing and housing reports due out through Friday.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NYSE in New York, the United States, June 16, 2022. U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday as steep sell-off continued on Wall Street amid rising recession fears. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images)

On the move

  • Robinhood Markets (HOOD)‘s stock surged 14% to close at $9.12 per share following a report from Bloomberg that cryptocurrency exchange FTX is considering a deal to acquire digital trading platform. Earlier in the day, Robinhood was in the spotlight after Goldman Sachs upgraded the brokerage to Neutral, about two months after the bank downgraded shares to Sell.

  • Coinbase (COIN) shares plunged nearly 10.8% to $55.96 after analysts at Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded the cryptocurrency exchange to Sell from Neutral and slashed their price target on the stock to $45 from $70. Goldman also noted that while Coinbase recently announced it would cut 18% of staff, these layoffs will not be enough to bring the company’s costs in line with lowered sales.

  • AMC Entertainment (AMC) rallied to cap trading up 13.6% despite a turbulent session for the broader markets. The stock rose amid increased mentions across forums such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets and Stocktwits. AMC was also added to the Russell 1000 Index after an annual rebalancing.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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Man uses Apple Airtags to find stolen Range Rover | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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An Ontario man whose car was stolen from his driveway in midtown Toronto twice in three months is revealing how he tracked and located his second vehicle.

“It’s pretty scary, but you can’t live your life in fear,” Lorne, whose surname CTV News Toronto has omitted due to safety concerns, said on Monday.

On April 1, his family moved to the Avenue Road and Lawrence Avenue area.

The following day, employees from an electronics company arrived at his house to install televisions. He placed the keys of his Range Rover Autobiography into a faraday box, which is designed to prevent criminals from copying a key fob and gaining access to a vehicle.

However, within minutes of the employees leaving his house, his car was stolen in broad daylight.

“The thieves were able to disable the tracker in my car, put there by the manufacturer,” Lorne said.

Meanwhile, his wallet, along with his kids phones, which were in the car, were thrown out of the vehicle before it was stolen, which Lorne said he believes was a preventive measure to avoid him from tracking the location of his car.

His Range Rover was never recovered.

Thirty days later, he got a new car of the same model, but this time, he placed three Apple AirTag tracking devices inside – one in the glovebox, another in his spare tire in the trunk and a third under his back seat.

While Lorne said he typically parks in his garage, last Wednesday night, he didn’t.

At 8:30 a.m. the next morning, he said his kids ran into his bedroom screaming, ”Daddy, daddy, your car is gone.” 

Right away, he logged into his Find My app and located all three of his AirTags near Manville and Comsock roads in Scarborough, listed as a metal recycling plant. 

After dropping his kids at school, he headed to that location and called the police. With no success reaching an officer, he drove to the 41 Division police station.

Toronto police spokesperson David Hopkinson confirmed to CTV News Toronto that a report of this nature was received by police on Thursday.

“I pressed my panic button and you heard it going off,” Lorne said. “The next day I was told they recovered nine cars.”

Due to an ongoing investigation, police could not comment further on the incident.

This time, however, Lorne said police recovered his vehicle and he anticipates it should be back in his possession soon.

While he said his AirTags worked in this case, he anticipates car thefts will only get increasingly sophisticated.

“It’s not foolproof,” he said.

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Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas – Yahoo Canada Finance

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NEW YORK (AP) — The company planning to buy Donald Trump’s new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app.

Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped almost 10% Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York.

The Justice Department subpoenas follow an ongoing probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September, just weeks before its announcement that it would be buying Trump’s company.

Trump’s social media venture launched in February as he seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech, a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The Trump Media & Technology Group — which operates the Truth Social app and was in the process of being acquired by Digital World — said in a statement that it will cooperate with “oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors.”

The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company. The company last year got promises from dozens of investors to pump $1 billion into the company, but it can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed.

Stock in Digital World rocketed to more than $100 in October after its deal to buy Trump’s company was announced. The stock closed at $25.16 Monday.

Digital World is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, part of an investing phenomenon that exploded in popularity over the past two years.

Such “blank-check” companies are empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.

Digital World said in a regulatory filing Monday that each member of its board of directors has been subpoenaed by the grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Both the grand jury and the SEC are also seeking a number of documents tied to the company and others including a sponsor, ARC Global Investments, and Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital.

Some of the sought documents involve “due diligence” regarding Trump Media and other potential acquisition targets, as well as communications with Digital World’s underwriter and financial adviser in its initial public offering, according to the SEC disclosure.

Digital World also Monday announced the resignation of one of its board members, Bruce Garelick, a chief strategy officer at Rocket One.

The Associated Press

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