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The Daily Dose: Promising Sinovac data out of Indonesia; India asks China to control skyrocketing API prices.

The conflicting data regarding the Sinovac vaccine continues to paint a confusing picture of its efficacy. This time, data appears to show stellar protective capacity. Per the Japan Times, “Indonesia tracked 25,374 health workers in Jakarta for 28 days after they received their second dose and found that the vaccine protected 100% of them from death and 96% from hospitalization as soon as seven days after, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in an interview Tuesday. The workers were tracked until late February.” If true, this is welcome news. We need all of the vaccines produced around the world to be effective.

Officials in India are asking China to help control prices of drug-making raw materials. According to the South China Morning Post, “India’s drug manufacturers have seen the price of some raw materials they import from China skyrocket in recent weeks, industry groups say, as the country struggles to contain a second wave of Covid-19. Ingredients for paracetamol, which helps reduce fever, and some antibiotics, including Azithromycin, have gone up by 30 to 40 per cent since the start of the second wave, according to the heads of two trade associations. Ashok Kumar Madan, executive director of the Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association, said the price of raw materials for drugs used to treat Covid-19, like ivermectin, had risen by as much as 300 per cent.” There are a number of factors that have contributed to the spike in prices such as logistical problems limiting the number of shipments possible.

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There is an amazing story about how under certain conditions, wildfires can cause localized storms that actually rain down fire. Here’s an excerpt from the long read: “Using global satellite imagery and data, Fromm suspected the large cloud – now appearing over the middle of the country – was a pyrocumulonimbus, or “pyroCb”. It was a first for Western Europe since records began, although it would take months longer to confirm it with the help of Portuguese meteorologists. A pyroCb is a thunderstorm generated by fire that creates its own positive feedback loops, including winds, lightning and sometimes deadly downdrafts that spread the fire outwards.”

The controversy surrounding the origin of the COVID-19 virus continues to simmer. According to the New York Times, “A group of 18 scientists stated Thursday in a letter published in the journal Science that there is not enough evidence to decide whether a natural origin or an accidental laboratory leak caused the Covid-19 pandemic. They argued, as the U.S. government and other countries have, for a new investigation to explore where the virus came from.” This sounds reasonable enough. It isn’t a question of the natural origin being incorrect as much as it is just keeping lines of inquiry open.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there. Have a great weekend.

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