November 30, 2020

Coronavirus live news: warning that Diwali could be ‘super spreader event’; world record 136,000 daily US cases

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Israeli’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said he is working “around the clock” to make a deal with the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, following promising preliminary results from its Covid-19 vaccine trial.

Fearing Israel could be left without an early vaccine, the country’s leader said he had held two phone calls with Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla – one at 2am local time on Thursday – in the hopes of signing an agreement.

Netanyahu said in a statement that the call was “very warm and cordial” but did not announce an agreement had been signed. “The whole world wants to get [Pfizer’s] medicines. We are negotiating with them,” he said.

Interim results from Pfizer this week suggested that its two-shot vaccine, developed with the German firm BioNTech, was 90% effective.

Local media in Israel, a country of 9 million people, reported the prime minister was looking to source about 6m doses. Pfizer has not commented on any deal.

Israel has deals in place with at least two other pharmaceutical firms for vaccines and is developing its own, but officials do not expect to start vaccination drives with those unreleased products for several months.

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