Late-stage studies of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate are on temporary hold while the company investigates whether a recipient’s “potentially unexplained” illness is a side effect of the shot. In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the company said its “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.”
AstraZeneca didn’t reveal any information about the possible side effect except to call it “a potentially unexplained illness.” The health news site STAT first reported the pause in testing, saying the possible side effect occurred in the United Kingdom. An AstraZeneca spokesperson confirmed the pause in vaccinations covers studies in the U.S. and other countries. Late last month, AstraZeneca began recruiting 30,000 people in the U.S. for its largest study of the vaccine. It also is testing the vaccine, developed by Oxford University, in thousands of people in Britain, and in smaller studies in Brazil and South Africa.
The world is getting closer to passing a temperature limit set by global leaders five years ago and may exceed it in the next decade or so, according to a new United Nations report. In the next five years, the world has nearly a 1-in-4 chance of experiencing a year that’s hot enough to put the global temperature at 2.7 degrees (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times, according to a new science update by the U.N., World Meteorological Organization and other global science groups.
That 1.5 degrees Celsius is the more stringent of two limits set in 2015 by world leaders in the Paris climate change agreement. A 2018 U.N. science report said a world hotter than that still survives, but chances of dangerous problems increase tremendously. The warming that has already occurred has “increased the odds of extreme events that are unprecedented in our historical experience,” Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said.
The British government backed a series of measures it hopes will stem a worrying increase in new coronavirus cases, particularly among young adults, including a legally enforced ban on any social gatherings of more than six people in England. In the biggest reversal of the months-long easing of the lockdown, it said social gatherings in England will be limited to a maximum of six people, either inside or outside of the home. The new limit will be in place from Monday and police will be able to fine, and even arrest, anyone breaching the rules.
Among other measures, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “COVID-secure marshals” will be introduced to help ensure social distancing in city centers and that border force officials will step up enforcement efforts to ensure arrivals are complying with the quarantine rules.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates will sign their historic deal normalizing relations at a White House ceremony on Sept. 15, officials said this week. Senior delegations from the two countries will be led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the brother of Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince. U.S. officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ceremony would either be on the South Lawn, the Rose Garden or inside depending on weather.
Netanyahu tweeted he “was proud to leave for Washington next week at the invitation of President Trump and to participate in the historic ceremony at the White House” to sign the deal with the UAE. The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency acknowledged Sheikh Abdullah would lead the Emirati delegation to the signing. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan apparently will not attend.