By Ciara Linnane
Ocugen Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208160861/composite OCGN +3.25% said the Food and Drug Administration has lifted its clinical hold on Ocugen’s Phase 2/3 trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin.
“We’re extremely pleased that we can proceed with our clinical trials for COVAXIN(TM), our whole virus inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The need for delivering an additional, differentiated vaccine option, we believe, remains a priority,” said Dr. Shankar Musunuri, CEO and co-founder of Ocugen, in a statement.
The company plans to restart the trial immediately. The hold came after a World Health Organization inspection of a facility of Bharat Biotech, the Indian company that developed the vaccine.
Other COVID-19 news you should know about:
• Beijing extended orders for workers and students to stay home and ordered additional mass testing Monday as cases of COVID-19 again rose in the city, the AP reported. Numerous residential compounds in the Chinese capital have restricted movement in and out, although conditions remain far less severe than in Shanghai, where millions of citizens have been under varying degrees of lockdown for two months. Beijing on Monday reported an uptick in cases to 99, rising from a previous daily average of around 50.
• A large number of North Koreans including leader Kim Jong Un attended a funeral for a top official, state media reported Monday, as the country maintained the much-disputed claim that its suspected coronavirus outbreak is subsiding, the AP reported separately. Since admitting earlier this month to an outbreak of the omicron variant, North Korea has only stated how many people have fevers daily, and has only identified a few of the cases as COVID-19. Its state media said Monday that 2.8 million people have fallen ill due to an unidentified fever but only 68 of them had died since late April, an extremely low fatality rate if the illness is COVID-19 as suspected. State media photos showed an unmasked Kim carrying the coffin of Hyon Chol Hae, a Korean People’s Army marshal who reportedly played a key role in grooming him as the country’s next leader before Kim’s father died in late 2011.
• Health officials remain perplexed by mysterious cases of severe liver damage in hundreds of young children around the world and are questioning whether it is linked to COVID, according to an AP report. The best available evidence points to a fairly common stomach bug that isn’t known to cause liver problems in otherwise healthy kids. That virus was detected in the blood of stricken children but — oddly — it has not been found in their diseased livers
Here’s what the numbers say
The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 525.7 million on Monday, while the death toll rose above 6.27 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University .
The U.S. leads the world with 83.3 million cases and 1,002,219 fatalities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tracker shows that 220.9 million people living in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, equal to 66.5% of the total population. But just 102.8 million have had a first booster, equal to 46.5% of the vaccinated population.
Just 12.4 million of the people aged 50 and over who are eligible for a second booster have had one, equal to 19.9% of those who had a first booster.