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World news roundup: 12-18 March

This week: WHO reassures over vaccine safety, Russia and China seek lunar alliances and more

In depth: Researchers based in Africa have reacted with dismay to the news that the United Kingdom is cutting its development research budget.

Full storyUK aid cuts send tremors through African research


Also this week from Research Professional News

International group to analyse pharmaceutical company mergers—Regulators to look into whether mergers cause higher drug prices, lower innovation or anticompetitive conduct


Here is the rest of the world news this week…

WHO seeks to allay concerns over AstraZeneca vaccine

The World Health Organization has sought to reassure the public about the safely of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, after several EU countries suspended its use due to fears over blood clots. “It is routine for countries to signal potential adverse events…this does not necessarily mean that the events are linked to vaccination itself, but it is good practice to investigate them,” the WHO said on 17 March. Five days previously, the organisation gave approval for emergency use to a vaccine developed by Johnson and Johnson, which has already been deployed in the US. 

Russia and China open lunar plans to ‘broad participation’

The head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has said its plans to create a lunar research station with China are “open to broad international participation”, in response to an article in the Washington Post that suggested they constitute an alliance against the west. “The idea is not about confrontation but is about cooperation in lunar exploration,” said Dmitry Rogozin in a 16 March post to social media, Russia’s Tass state news service reported.

Cepi invests another $4.8m into nasal vaccine

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations has said it will expand its partnership with the University of Hong Kong to develop a vaccine candidate for Covid-19 that can be delivered nasally. It is investing an additional $4.8 million that will go towards funding clinical trial materials and a first-phase clinical trial to test the treatment’s safety in a small group of participants. The funding builds on CEPI’s initial investment of $620,000 one year ago, which supported pre-clinical testing.