Mondays have become Good Vaccine News days. This week it was the turn of the UK-produced Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, which reported efficacy of up to 90% depending on the dosage used. This vaccine can also be stored at normal fridge temperatures and is being produced cheaply, meaning it offers sight of a reasonably quick solution to the Covid-19 crisis globally, and not just in rich countries. The race for a vaccine has been a triumph of global science and it offers – with the development of the mRNA technology used in the Pf izer and Moderna vaccines – exciting possibilities in the fight against other diseases.
The news from the US that the transition to the Joe Biden presidency could now formally begin suggested that even Donald Trump knows his attempts to cling to power are doomed. While Trump sulked in the White House, Biden went about his business naming key members of his cabinet and White House team. This week, David Smith looks at the dying embers of the Trump administration as the outgoing president does something he’s not done in years: stay out of the limelight. Julian Borger also profiles the incoming secretary of state, Antony Blinken, who will have many challenges on his hands, not least the plight of the Palestinians who are being rapidly left behind by a nexus of new alliances in the Middle East, as epitomised by this week’s meeting between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Martin Chulov looks at what comes next.
Another president is back in the news, too, as Barack Obama closes in on record sales of his new memoirs. David Smith looks at how Obama’s relationship with his former Veep will continue once Biden is in the White House. Also in this week’s edition, Jonathan Freedland interviews Obama in depth about his renewed outlook on the United States after the fall of Trump.
We also feature Hadley Freeman’s great interview with Michael J Fox, who continues to try and keep optimistic while living with Parkinson’s. And Samira Shackle reports on the strange case of the western travel influencers who have risen to prominence in Pakistan.