By RICARDO CASTILLO
Covid Vaccine Trials
Mexico will soon launch phase 3 trials of the Canadian-Chinese covid-19 vaccine called CanSino Biologics developed by Janssen Labs, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
The vaccine trials will be held in Mexico City, the Pacific Coast states of Michoacán, Guerrero and Oaxaca, and the northern border states Coahuila and Nuevo León, accross from Texas.
The announcement was made Tuesday, Nov. 9. by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who said the vaccine presented by Janssen has already been approved.
Another vaccine producer that has applied for approval from Mexico’s medicine watchdog agency, Cofepris, is the Maryland-based Novavax corporation, which requested permission to carry out phase 3 tests in Mexico on Nov. 2. Likewise, Russia’s Sputnik V will be tested in Mexico.
Ebrard, who has been the nation’s international business representative for the purchase of vaccines, added that Mexico has also signed agreements with the U.S, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German pharmaceutical transnational BioNTech labs to receive “millions” (he did not mention how many) of their “90 percent effective” vaccine to prevent covid-19.
Previously, the Mexican government said it would be buying 126 million units of effective vaccines through the multi-lateral alliance Covax Facility, headed by the United Nations World Health Organization.
“We are very optimistic because the results these potential vaccines are showing, which are very good, according to international health organizations,” Ebrard said.
Ebrard, who spoke during the daily press conference of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), was joined by the nation’s undersecretary of health for the prevention and promotion of health, Hugo López-Gatell, who warned that the results of the vaccine announced by Pfizer and BioNTech should be taken “caution.”
“It’s definitely encouraging news,” he said, “but we still have to see results. A preliminary analysis is not enough. The studies have to be complete. What we now is a press release. We have yet to see the results published in a scientific publication claiming it (the vaccine) has met with all quality standards.”
Cabal Leaves Interjet Grounded
Entrepreneur Carlos Cabal Peniche announced Tuesday, Nov. 10, that he would be withdrawing as the main financer of a rescue buyout of the apparently bankrupt airline Interjet, which stopped carrying passengers last week.
Cabal’s move leaves Interjet in the hands of the Miguel Aleman family alone with entrepreneur Alejandro del Valle as its last hope to avoid bankruptcy.
Cabal withdrew his capital from HBC, the leading investor in Interjet.
Interjet’s public relations department confirmed the break, noting that the remaining partners will “take care of the commitments they have with their workers, authorities and suppliers.”
It’s Only Gossip, But…
The Mexican daily El Heraldo claimed that it had “news from Washington” that projected U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will include former Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson in his diplomatic “dream team,” made up of Democrats.
Granted, the info stemmed out of a gossip column, but … could it happen?
Tortillas Roll up
As of Tuesday Dec. 1, the kilo of Mexico’s staple food, cooked tortillas. will go up by one peso, the government announced on Monday, Nov. 9.
Tortillas are sold at some 110,000 tortillerías (tortilla factories) throughout the nation.
The president of the National Tortilla Council, Homero López García, said that the price hike is only fair due to the rate of inflation, which keeps climbing month-over-month.
On this issue, the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (Inegi) announced on Monday, Nov. 10, that inflation had climbed to 4.09 percent in October, up from its 4.07 percent high in September.
Fixed-wage working families will feel the tortilla hike pinch, López García said.
Three Good News Items
On Tuesday, Nov. 10, AMLO was elated over three economic news items that had him enthusiastically claiming, “The economy is just fine.”
The first item was that the peso-dollar parity on Monday, Nov. 9, reached its most favorable in the two years of his mandate, with the peso selling at 20.05 to the dollar, although by Tuesday it was being bought at 20.30 and sold at 20.80 per dollar.
He was also happy that the price of the state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) heavy crude has shot up to $37.46 a barrel from its previous Monday quote of $34.83.
Finally, yet importantly, AMLO was thrilled that the Mexican Stock Exchange (Bolsa de Valores) index, like most stock markets around the world, catapulted by the announcement on Monday of initial covid-19 vaccine successes, rose to 40,199, the highest also during the two years he has been in power.
When AMLO won the election in July 2017, the index was at about 52,000, but his victory created an aura of fear that sent the Bolsa index plummeting to as low as 32,000 a year ago.
For sure, AMLO has reason to grin.
…Nov. 11, 2020