The New York Times – Denise Grady and Katie Thomas / Moderna and Pfizer reveal secret blueprints for coronavirus vaccine trials
- Two drug companies that are leading the race to develop coronavirus vaccines bowed to public pressure on Thursday, abandoning their traditional secrecy and releasing comprehensive road maps of how they are evaluating their vaccines.
- The companies, Moderna and Pfizer, revealed details about how participants are being selected and monitored, the conditions under which the trials could be stopped early if there were problems, and the evidence researchers will use to determine whether people who got the vaccines were protected from Covid-19.
- Moderna’s study will involve 30,000 participants, and Pfizer’s 44,000. The disclosures while the trials are still underway, a rare move, are aimed at addressing growing suspicion among Americans that President Trump’s drive to produce a vaccine before the election on Nov. 3 could result in a product that was unsafe.
- The plan released by Moderna on Thursday morning included a likely timetable that could reach into next year for determining whether its vaccine works. It does not jibe with the president’s optimistic predictions of a vaccine widely available to the public in October.
- Financial Times – Hannah Kuchler / Moderna signals slower timeline for Covid-19 vaccine
The Guardian – Joan E. Greve / Joe Biden: trust scientists, not Trump, on realities of coronavirus
- Joe Biden sent a message to voters on Thursday night that differed starkly from Donald Trump’s unlikely coronavirus promises, saying: “The idea that there’s going to be a vaccine, and everything is going to be fine tomorrow is just not rational, just not reasonable.”
- The president sent a very different message on the pandemic, once again implausibly suggesting coronavirus was “going to disappear” and that a vaccine would be available in weeks.
- Echoing comments he made during a Wednesday speech, Biden said he did not trust Trump’s statements on the development of a coronavirus vaccine, accusing the president of politicizing the issue for the sake of his re-election.
- “I don’t trust the president on vaccines. I trust Dr Fauci,” Biden said, referring to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “If Fauci says the vaccine is safe, I’d take the vaccine. We should listen to the scientists, not to the president.”
- The Washington Post – Anne Gearan and Lena H. Sun / Trump contradicts health advisers on coronavirus vaccine timetable as death toll mounts
The New York Times – Rick Gladstone / As U.N. turns 75, the celebration is muted by calamity and conflict
- Worldwide contagion, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and a warming planet — not to mention rising hunger, growing legions of refugees, xenophobic bombast from strongmen leaders and a new cold war between the United States and China.
- The United Nations is about to celebrate its birth in 1945 from the ruins of World War II, though “celebrate” might seem an odd choice of word amid the long list of current global woes and the organization’s own challenges.
- As he looked ahead toward convening this year’s General Assembly, Secretary General António Guterres emphasized the long view. The values embedded in the U.N. Charter, he said, have prevented “the scourge of a Third World War many had feared.”
- Still, the organization is struggling like perhaps never before. Its basic structure gives little real power to the main body, the General Assembly, and the most to the World War II victors — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — with each wielding a veto on the 15-seat Security Council as permanent members.
- Foreign Policy – Hannah Ryder, Ovigwe Eguege and Anna Baisch / Decolonizing the United Nations means abolishing the Permanent Five
The Economist / Is it the end of the oil age?
- Oil fuelled the 20th century—its cars, its wars, its economy and its geopolitics. As covid-19 struck the global economy earlier this year, demand for oil dropped by more than a fifth and prices collapsed. Since then there has been a jittery recovery, but a return to the old world is unlikely.
- The 21st-century energy system promises to be better than the oil age—better for human health, more politically stable and less economically volatile. The shift involves big risks. If disorderly, it could add to political and economic instability in petrostates and concentrate control of the green-supply chain in China.
- Today fossil fuels are the ultimate source of 85% of energy. But this system is dirty. Energy accounts for two-thirds of greenhouse-gas emissions; the pollution from burning fossil fuels kills over 4m people a year, mostly in the emerging world’s mega-cities. Oil has also created political instability.
- A picture of the new energy system is emerging. With bold action, renewable electricity such as solar and wind power could rise from 5% of supply today to 25% in 2035, and nearly 50% by 2050. Oil and coal use will drop, although cleaner natural gas will remain central.
- Bloomberg – Leslie Kaufman / Voluntary efforts curb the world’s plastic problem aren’t working
Further reading for the weekend:
- Financial Times – Henry Mance / The future of the university in the age of Covid
- Bloomberg – K. Oanh Ha, Jack Wittels, Khine Lin Kyaw and Krystal Chia / Worst shipping crisis in decades puts lives and trade at risk
- The Guardian – Sirin Kale / The battle over dyslexia
- Wired – Arielle Pardes / The Facebook defectors turning Trump’s strategy against him