1. PFIZER: Pfizer Inc plans to ask U.S. regulators to authorize a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine within the next month, the drugmaker’s top scientist said on Thursday, based on evidence of greater risk of reinfection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, however, in a joint statement that Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster COVID-19 shot at this time.
Some scientists have also questioned the need for booster shots.Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, Mikael Dolsten, said the recently reported dip in the vaccine’s effectiveness in Israel was mostly due to infections in people who had been vaccinated in January or February. The country’s health ministry said vaccine effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease fell to 64% in June.
“The Pfizer vaccine is highly active against the Delta variant,” Dolsten said in an interview. But after six months, he said, “there likely is the risk of reinfection as antibodies, as predicted, wane.”
Pfizer did not release the full set of Israeli data on Thursday, but said it would be published soon.
“It’s a small data set, but I think the trend is accurate: Six months out, given that Delta is the most contagious variant we have seen, it can cause infections and mild disease,” Dolsten said.
2. TOYOTA:-Toyota Motor Corp’s political action committee will halt donations to U.S. members of Congress who voted against President Joe Biden’s election certification in January, the company said on Thursday.
The largest Japanese automaker has faced harsh criticism for donations to some lawmakers – members of then-President Donald Trump’s Republican Party – who voted against certification of Biden’s win in some U.S. states.
“We are actively listening to our stakeholders and, at this time, have decided to stop contributing to those members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election,” the company said.
More than 535 people have been arrested and charged with joining a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an unsuccessful attempt to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory over Trump.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported on June 23 that Toyota made $56,000 in total donations to 38 of the 147 Republican lawmakers who voted against Biden’s electoral certification and said it was the most any company directly contributed to lawmakers who opposed certification.
That disclosure and subsequent media coverage prompted a frenzy of criticism of Toyota, which had earlier defended the donations.
The Lincoln Project, a group largely of Republicans that are critical of Trump, on Thursday posted an ad calling out Toyota’s donations to those Republicans.
3. FACEBOOK:-Facebook “misplaced” guidance on an important exemption to its rules on dangerous individuals and organizations for three years, the company’s independent oversight board said on Thursday.
The board, which was created by the company to rule on a small slice of contentious content decisions, said it had overturned Facebook’s original removal of an Instagram post encouraging people to talk about the solitary confinement of Abdullah Ocalan, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
It said the content should never have been removed, but it also said that after it selected the case, Facebook found a relevant piece of its internal rules had “inadvertently not transferred” to a new review system in 2018.
This guidance made an exception to Facebook’s rules, which prohibit support or praise of individuals or organizations it designates as dangerous, to allow discussion on the conditions of confinement.
Facebook has long been under scrutiny over what is allowed on its platforms and has been criticized by the board for a lack of transparency around its rules. The board said it was “concerned” that Facebook had lost an important policy exemption for this time and that this could have led to other posts being wrongly taken down.
4. MORGAN STANLEY :-Morgan Stanley has disclosed that personal data of some of its corporate clients was stolen in January in a data breach that involved a third-party vendor and hackers accessed information, including social security numbers.
Files stolen also included client names, addresses, date of birth and corporate company names.
The bank’s vendor, Guidehouse, which provides account maintenance services to its StockPlan Connect business, informed it about the breach in May, Morgan Stanley said in a letter dated July 2.
The bank said attackers accessed information by exploiting a vulnerability in the vendor’s server, Accellion FTA. While the exposure was patched within five days, the attackers obtained decryption key even though the files were encrypted.
Guidehouse informed the bank it had found no evidence that the stolen data had been distributed online.
A person familiar with the matter said the files have been recovered and the bank is monitoring the dark web for any evidence of posting of client information.
The vendor, meanwhile, has engaged credit firm Experian to offer free credit monitoring services for 24 months for clients that may have been impacted by the breach, the person said.
“The protection of client data is of the utmost importance and is something we take very seriously. We are in close contact with Guidehouse and are taking steps to mitigate potential risks to clients,” a bank spokesperson said.
5. BMW –BMW said on Thursday it had agreed to a settlement proposed by the European Commission to end an antitrust investigation, saying it had been cleared of suspicion of using illegal ‘defeat devices’ to cheat emissions tests.
The carmaker said it had paid a 373 million euro ($441 million) fine over collusion on setting standards for the Adblue additive used in diesel cars, but other charges related to emissions technology were dropped.
“This underlines that there has never been any allegation of unlawful manipulation of emission control systems by the BMW Group,” the company said in a statement.
BMW said the Adblue talks took place 10 years ago and “had no influence whatsoever on the company’s product decisions