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Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine effective at preventing severe outcomes from 2 variants: studies – Global News



Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine was found to be extremely effective at preventing severe outcomes — like hospitalization and death — caused by more transmissible or vaccine-resistant variants, according to two recently-published studies.

Published on Wednesday, the two studies which focused on the vaccine’s usage in Israel and Qatar found that Pfizer’s shot gave near-total protection against the worst possible outcomes of contracting the virus from either the B.1.1.7. variant first found in the U.K. and the B.1.351 variant that was discovered in South Africa.

Researchers previously found the B.1.1.7 variant to be as much as 65 per cent more transmissible than the original, dominant version of COVID-19, while the B.1.351 was found to carry mutations that allowed the variant to be more resistant to vaccines.

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The Qatar-based study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, used data from the country’s national COVID-19 database, which is comprised of over 265,000 people who received two doses of the Pfizer shot as of March 31.

Around mid-March, about 50 per cent of Qatar’s COVID-19 cases were caused by the B.1.351 variant and 44.5 per cent identified as the B.1.1.7. variant, according to the study.

Overall, the researchers found that the Pfizer shot was 97.4 per cent effective at preventing “severe, critical or fatal disease” from any form of COVID-19, and that it was 100 per cent effective in the same category against both the U.K. and South African variants.

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Global National: May 6

Global National: May 6

In terms of protection against infection, the Pfizer shot was 87 to 89.5 per cent effect at preventing infections from B.1.1.7. for those who were two weeks past their second jab. The vaccine, however, was less effective at preventing infection against the B.1.351 variant, offering as much as 75 per cent protection two weeks after the second jab.

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The other study, which was published in The Lancet and conducted by Israel’s Ministry of Health, found, based on data analyzing Israel’s rollout of the Pfizer shot, that it offered 95 per cent protection against COVID-19 infection seven days after the second jab.

Until the start of April, the analysis used data from more than 5 million people — over 70 per cent of the population — that received two doses of the Pfizer shot.

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Researchers there found that two doses gave over 95 per cent protection against infection from the U.K. variant, and over 96 per cent protection against death one week after getting the second dose. After 14 days, both of those numbers increased to 96.5 per cent and 98 per cent, respectively

It should be noted, however, that during the study’s period, over 232,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were found — of which 95 per cent were tested to be just the B.1.1.7. variant.

The researchers said that vaccine effectiveness against the South African variant could not be estimated in their study “because of the small number of B.1.351 infections identified in Israel during the study period.”

The research, however, revealed that protection was found to be significantly lower if recipients were given just a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine instead of two.

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Protection against infection was found to be 57.7 per cent between seven and 14 days after receiving the first dose, while protection against death was 77 per cent during the same period.

“Importantly, the study shows that two doses of the vaccine significantly increase levels of immunity and protection. This is why it is important that people get both doses,” said Dr. Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham via London’s Science Media Centre.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Pre-owned business jet shortage drives sellers’ market, demand for new luxury planes



A shortage of newer-model business jets is driving up prices of second-hand aircraft, a trend that is expected to deliver a windfall for luxury planemakers as new affluent buyers enter the market.

After a turbulent 2020 due to COVID-19, the rush toward private transport is so marked that some buyers are snapping up second-hand planes before fully inspecting the wares as the market shifts toward sellers, lawyers and brokers said.

That is expected to push up demand for new jets from planemakers like General Dynamics Corp‘s Gulfstream, Textron Inc and Bombardier Inc since buyers have fewer pre-owned options, and the price gap between old and new narrows.

“There are virtually no young pre-owned aircraft available – good news for would-be sellers and for (planemakers),” said aviation analyst Rolland Vincent.

He recalled one trucking company’s recent search for a pre-owned Gulfstream jet: “There was one aircraft in the world that fit their requirements.”

Traffic from business jets, which carry roughly a handful to 19 travelers, has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels in the United States, the world’s largest market for private aviation, according to FlightAware data.

“On the pre-owned side, inventory appears to be fairly low, and that’s always a benefit to new aircraft sales,” said Scott Neal, senior vice president worldwide sales, Gulfstream.

“We are seeing strong interest across the board from first-time buyers and high net worth individuals as well as corporate customers with a desire to grow their fleets.”

Textron in April raised its full-year profit forecast, propelled by a rebound in business jet demand.

The trend could encourage some planemakers to increase production rates, although any ramp-up would hinge on supply chain capabilities, Vincent said.

Planemakers do not disclose total number of orders.

Preowned aircraft for sale in May accounted for 6.6% of the worldwide fleet, the lowest level recorded in 25 years by JETNET data, Vincent said. He said 864 pre-owned business jets sold during the first four months of 2021, up 36% from the same period last year.

“There are multiple offers on planes,” said Florida-based aviation attorney Stewart Lapayowker, founder of Lapayowker Jet Counsel PA.

Amanda Applegate, a partner at Aerlex Law Group, said she handled more deals for new jets than usual in May, as buyers fail to secure popular pre-owned planes like the G650, raising prices.

Applegate said it’s a case of pent-up demand as some wealthy travelers previously avoided private jets due to concerns like “flight shaming” over the environment. Corporate planes burn more fuel per passenger than commercial.

But since COVID-19, buyers have been shifting to private aviation to avoid airport crowds and coronavirus variants.

Applegate said some deals are so competitive she’s seen buyers give up pre-purchase inspections to win them.

Don Dwyer, managing partner at Guardian Jet, which does aircraft brokerage, appraisals, and consulting, recalled one case where a client didn’t undertake a pre-purchase inspection, which can take more than a month to complete.

It was a particular case since the plane was highly coveted, in good shape based on a visual inspection, and the seller was reputable, Dwyer said.

“I don’t recommend it, but in certain situations it can work.”


(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Denny Thomas and Steve Orlofsky)

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Ford starts shipping Bronco SUVs from Michigan assembly plant



Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday it had started producing and shipping the new Bronco sport utility vehicles (SUVs) from its Michigan assembly plant, following a delay in the launch of the SUVs due to COVID-19-related issues with the automaker’s suppliers.

Customers have booked more than 125,000 sixth-generation Bronco SUVs since the beginning of the year, the company said. The SUVs are targeted at the Jeep Wrangler market segment.

Ford said it had made more than 190,000 reservations for the Bronco in the United States and Canada.

The company built the first generation of Broncos from 1966 to 1977, and withdrew the line in 1996 amid falling demand.

Ford said it had invested $750 million into and added about 2,700 jobs at the Michigan assembly plant to build the new Broncos.


(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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Lufthansa sets 2024 goal, eyes capital increase



Germany’s flagship carrier Deutsche Lufthansa said it aims to boost its return on capital employed (ROCE) and laid out plans for a capital increase as it prepares for a business recovery amid an easing coronavirus pandemic.

The largest German airline aims to have an adjusted EBIT margin of at least 8% and an adjusted ROCE of at least 10% in 2024, it said late on Monday.

Adjusted ROCE was –16.7% in 2020 and 6.6% in 2019.

The group added it had mandated banks to prepare a possible capital increase, though size and timing have not yet been determined and the German state, which has bailed out the airline during the pandemic, has not yet given its approval.


(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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