A huge international study of a COVID-19 vaccine that aims to work with just one dose is getting underway as top U.S. health officials sought Wednesday to assure a skeptical Congress and public that they can trust any shots the government ultimately approves.
Hopes are high that answers about at least one of several candidates being tested in the U.S. could come by year's end, maybe sooner.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn pledged that career scientists, not politicians, will decide whether any coronavirus vaccine meets clearly stated standards that it works and is safe. Vaccine development usually takes years but scientists have been racing to shorten that time, in part by manufacturing doses that will have to be thrown away if studies find they don’t work.
Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who has steadfastly refused to require residents to wear masks, tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Wednesday.
Parson was tested after his wife, Teresa, tested positive earlier in the day. Teresa Parson had experienced mild symptoms, including a cough and nasal congestion, spokeswoman Kelli Jones said. She took a rapid test that came back positive and a nasal swab test later confirmed the finding. The governor's rapid test showed he tested positive and he is still awaiting results from the swab test.
In other developments:
- The Trump administration has prioritized politics over science at key moments over the past six months, refusing to follow expert advice that might have contained the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci says it wouldn’t be smart for college administrators to send students home if there’s an outbreak on campus. Fauci told senators that would only make matters worse because it could turn the returning students into disease carriers.
- Americans may not know if trick or treating will happen this year because of the pandemic, but they’re buying a lot of Halloween candy while they wait to find out.
- Organizers say New Year’s Eve in Times Square will incorporate virtual elements and be scaled down and socially distant on site in response to the coronavirus.
- At the 75th annual United Nations General Assembly, world leaders floated solutions to combating the coronavirus while sometimes criticizing other nations and arguing the U.N. itself needs reform.
- The Walt Disney Co. has further postponed its next mega-movies from Marvel, including “Black Widow,” while also postponing Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” a full year in the company’s latest recalibration due to the pandemic.
- The Houston Cougars are again without an opponent and still waiting to play their season opener as COVID-19 issues affected four more major college football games Wednesday, including Notre Dame's matchup with Wake Forest, which was postponed to December.
- The Metropolitan Opera will skip an entire season for the first time in its nearly 140-year history and intends to return from the pandemic layoff next September.
- Authorities in Madrid want to enlist more doctors and get urgent help from Spain’s military and police to fight a second wave of coronavirus infections.
- France’s defense minister has admitted to misleading the nation about virus protections for air force personnel who evacuated French citizens from the hard-hit Chinese city of Wuhan in January.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing for an immediate and strict nationwide lockdown as the country’s raging coronavirus outbreak showed no signs of slowing.
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government says it will do “whatever it takes” to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Finland has deployed coronavirus-sniffing dogs at the Nordic country’s main international airport in a four-month trial of an alternative testing method that could become a cost-friendly way to identify infected travelers.
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Virus by the numbers
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