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Aug. 24, 2020, 1:53 p.m. EDT

Coronavirus update: WHO says plasma treatment touted as breakthrough by Trump is unproven, advises caution

AstraZeneca stock climbs on reports Trump may fast track its COVID-19 vaccine candidate; company says speculation is ‘premature’

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By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch

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• New Zealand and South Korea imposed new restrictions on movement for their citizens on Monday amid fresh infections of COVID-19. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardem urged people living in Auckland to wear face masks in public, and made them mandatory in the rest of the country for people traveling on buses, planes, trains, ferries and ride-sharing cars, the New Zealand Herald reported.

In South Korea, residents of the capital Seoul have also been ordered to wear face masks in public. South Korea counted 266 new cases on Monday, an 11th straight day of more than 100 new cases, the Washington Post reported. Seoul is home to roughly half of the country’s 51 million people.

Latest tallies

There are now 23.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, and at least 809,958 people have died. At least 15.2 million people have recovered.

The U.S. has the highest number of cases in the world by a wide margin at 5.7 million and the highest number of deaths at 176,978. The U.S. counted 32,340 new cases on Sunday and at least 446 deaths, the data show. Cases are falling, however, and averaged about 42,000 a day for the last seven days, down 22% from the average two weeks earlier, according to a New York Times tracker.

Brazil is second with 3.6 million cases and 114,744 deaths.

India is third, measured by cases, at 3.1 million, followed by Russia, with 959,016, and South Africa, with 609,773.

Mexico has 560,164and 60,480 deaths, the third highest in the world.

India now has 57,542 deaths, putting it ahead of the U.K. That country has 328,617 cases and 41,519 fatalities, the highest in Europe and fifth highest in the world.

China, where the illness was first reported late last year, has 89,704 cases, and 4,711 fatalities.

What’s the latest medical news?

Shares of AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN +1.06%   /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN -0.23%  rose about 4% on Monday, after reports that Trump is considering fast-tracking the drugmaker’s coronavirus vaccine candidate, in a bid to make it available to Americans before the November election. The Financial Times said the Trump administration is reviewing an emergency use authorization for the vaccine in October, which is expected to come before the full results of a Phase 3 trial are known.

AstraZeneca is one of many drug companies developing a vaccine, and is working with the University of Oxford, whose scientists began human trials in April. The team of scientists reported the vaccine produced a “strong immune response” in Phase I/II trial results in July. The vaccine is now in large-scale Phase II/III trials, which includes a trial of 30,000 people in the U.S., a pediatric study and trials in low-to-middle income countries, such as Brazil and South Africa. The company said it did not expect efficacy results until later this year.

A spokesperson for the London-listed pharma giant said: “AstraZeneca has not discussed emergency-use authorization with the U.S. government and it would be premature to speculate on that possibility.”

Read on: COVID-19 turned the hotel industry upside down, but it won’t change what people want

/zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 54.38
+0.57 +1.06%
Volume: 8.36M
May 10, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
35.72
Dividend Yield
2.52%
Market Cap
$141.94 billion
Rev. per Employee
$365,423
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/zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
7,717.00 p
-18.00 -0.23%
Volume: 1.62M
May 10, 2021 4:35p
P/E Ratio
33.73
Dividend Yield
2.68%
Market Cap
£101.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
£282,763
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Ciara Linnane is MarketWatch's investing- and corporate-news editor. She is based in New York.

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