Largest initiative director accelerates vaccines versus COVID - 19 in the United States believes there will be a return to normal in the second half of 2021

The director of the US government's coronavirus Vaccine Initiative says advanced clinical trials were progressing "very well" and anticipates results by the end of this year.

In an interview with Business Insider, Moncef Slaoui asserts that recruitment in the Moderna essay was going "according to the plans we have developed." Moderna has said he expects to finish recruiting 30,000 volunteers in the United States sometime next month.

Since mid-May, Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical executive, has served as senior advisor to Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government's initiative to accelerate the progress of a coronavirus vaccine.

But venturing exactly when we will know if a candidate works is very difficult to say, warns.

"It is frankly impossible to predict," he also says about when the crucial data on the most advanced vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer will arrive.

That's because the studies depend on two crucial unknowns, explains Slaoui. First, if the candidate ends up being extremely effective, the results should come sooner; a vaccine that is only moderately useful will require more time to show a benefit. In addition, trials should have sufficient volunteers to record coronavirus infections to see if there is a statistically significant difference between the groups receiving experimental injections and placebos.

Largest initiative director accelerates vaccines versus COVID

Even with uncertainty about the exact timing, Slaoui says he anticipates the results coming this year.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we had data before the end of the year," says Slaoui.

Pfizer and Moderna executives have been more aggressive in their timelines. Pfizer's scientific director recently said that the first look at the data could come in late September or early October. The CEO of Moderna noted that October is the best scenario for the arrival of data.

A widely available vaccine should be here between April and June 2021

Warp Speed has endorsed six candidates, developed by Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline. These companies have secured some $ 10 billion in agreements to pay upfront for clinical trials, manufacturing and stockpiling millions of doses.

The development of a vaccine usually takes several years, often more than a decade. The premise of Warp Speed is that the U.S. government takes the financial risk of these companies, allowing them to conduct studies while simultaneously producing mass doses.

It increases the chance that the U.S. is ready to start vaccinating people once tests discover that a candidate works in humans. It also increases the potential for billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted by funding pharmaceutical companies that produce a vaccine that does not meet safety and efficacy requirements.

The ambitious program should lead to a vaccine widely available to Americans in April, May or June 2021, Slaoui adventure. He says he anticipates that before that, 70 or 80 million high-risk people will be immunized.

To be sure, that will depend on whether approximately two-thirds of Warp Seed-backed projects are able to demonstrate effectiveness.

"I have confidence that we will succeed," he adds.

While state—of—the-art testing is underway for Moderna and Pfizer-and is scheduled to begin in a matter of weeks for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson-logistics on how to distribute doses are still being discussed and designed, Slaoui acknowledges.

Slaoui believes the United States will be able to return to normal in the second half of 2021, but that will also depend on people agreeing to get vaccinated.

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New record in the sector of transparent solar panels: already exceed 8% efficiency

A group of researchers from the University of Michigan has managed to increase the efficiency of transparent solar panels for placement in Windows to 8.1%, from the 3% achieved so far.

These are made of an organic material made of coal, instead of the traditional silicone, with which a transparency of 43.3% is achieved.

The effect would be like wearing sunglasses, says the website of the University of Michigan.

"Windows, which are on the facade of all buildings, are an ideal place to place solar panels because they offer something that silicone cannot do: combine very high efficiency and transparency," explained Professor Stephen Forrest, who led the research.

Buildings with glass facades often have a layer that reflects and absorbs light to reduce clarity and heat within the building. With solar plates, instead of expelling that energy, it is used for the needs of the building.

"The material we have developed and the structure we build have to balance multiple issues: good absorption of sunlight, high voltage, high current, low resistance and transparency of a neutral color, all at the same time," explains another researcher, Yongxi Li.

The University of Michigan website explains that with a silver electrode efficiency would rise to 10.8% and transparency, to 45.8%, but this version may not fit well with all Windows.

The Forrest team is now working on several improvements to this technology, such as achieving a utilization efficiency of 7% and extending the life of the solar plate to 10 years. They also investigate the cost of implementing this technology in new buildings and in others already built.

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