(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Lawsuit consolidation set to give Biden administration a chance to revive COVID vaccine mandate
Lawsuits filed around the United States challenging the Biden administration’s workplace COVID-19 vaccine rule are expected to be consolidated in a single federal appeals court on Tuesday, giving the government a chance to revive a rule that was blocked last week.
More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging the rule, which requires employers with at least 100 workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing combined with wearing a face covering at work.
Pfizer to allow generic versions of its COVID-19 pill in 95 countries
Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it will allow generic manufacturers to supply its experimental antiviral COVID-19 pill to 95 low- and middle-income countries through a licensing agreement with international public health group Medicines Patent Pool (MPP).
The voluntary licensing agreement between Pfizer and the MPPwill allow the United Nations-backed group to grant sub-licenses to qualified generic drug manufacturers to make their own versions of PF-07321332.
Pfizer will sell the pills it manufactures under the brand name Paxlovid.
Delta dominates, scientists watch for worrisome offspring
The Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus now accounts for nearly all coronavirus infections globally and virus experts are closely watching its evolution, looking for signs of mutation.
According to the WHO, Delta makes up 99.5% of all genomic sequences reported to public databases and has “outcompeted” other variants in most countries.
A key exception is South America, where Delta has spread more gradually, and other variants previously seen as possible global threats – notably Gamma, Lambda and Mu – still contribute to a significant proportion of reported cases.
Japan plans to ease quarantine rules – report
Japan intends to ease quarantine rules by the end of November for people inoculated with Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, the Nikkei daily reported on Tuesday.
Last week the country took a first step in its planned phased re-opening of borders, which centers on business travelers.
Germany could make COVID test or vaccine mandatory for public transport
Want to take the bus or train in Germany? You may soon have to provide a negative COVID-19 test, or proof of vaccination or recent recovery, as the country becomes the latest in Europe to consider drastic steps to tackle a new surge in cases in the region.
The center-left Social Democrats, Greens and pro-business FDP said on Monday they would add harsher measures to their draft law under parliamentary consideration to deal with the outbreak.
India’s Dr. Reddy’s open to making Pfizer pill
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, one of a handful of Indian drug companies licensed to make a new COVID-19 pill developed by Merck, said on Monday it was open to making a similar pill from Pfizer thought to be even more effective.
The new drugs, which unlike vaccines can be used to treat patients once they contract coronavirus infections, are expected to have a huge market.
Merck has licensed manufacturers in developing countries to ensure swift global supply, and companies are hopeful that Pfizer will do the same.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh and Ed Osmond; Editing by Jan Harvey)