What We’re Reading: Moderna Vaccine Deal; Virus Aerosols Isolated; COVID-19 Reappears in New Zealand

August 12, 2020

Moderna will receive over $1.5 billion for 100 million doses of its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine candidate; researchers isolated COVID-19 from the air; New Zealand had no new cases of COVID-19 for almost 4 months.

Trump Administration Reaches Vaccine Deal With Moderna

Late Tuesday, the Trump administration announced it had reached a $1.5-billion deal with biotech giant Moderna, reports The Hill. Under the agreement terms, 100 million doses of mRNA-1273 will be manufactured and delivered, at an average cost of $15 per dose. mRNA-1273 is currently in a phase 3 study that Moderna is conducting with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Enrollment for the COVE study should be complete by September.

Can COVID-19 Spread From Beyond 6 Feet?

Aerosols, or airborne floating respiratory droplets measuring up to 5 mm, containing live SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, were isolated from up to 16 feet away in a carefully controlled experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Florida, according to The New York Times. In the experiment, the researchers increased the size of the aerosols by using pure water vapor to enable their capture from a room in a COVID-19 patient ward. Questions remain, however, if the amount of live virus captured can cause infection, and the results have not yet undergone peer review.

New Zealand Sees the Return of COVID-19

For 102 days, New Zealand had no new cases of locally transmitted COVID-19, details Reuters, until 4 members of 1 family tested positive in Wellington, causing the city to return to lockdown and social distancing measures to be reimposed across the country. Origins of this new virus cluster remain under investigation, with officials investigating the possibility it may have originated from imported freight. So far, New Zealand has just 22 deaths from close to 1500 cases, for a 1.5% case fatality rate.