1) While some Covid-19 infected people required intensive care and struggle to live, others only get sick with something akin to the flu to recover without any complications. This has raised suspicions that there might be a genetic factor that makes some people much more susceptible to sever illness and threatening of life. Researchers have found five key genetic issues that might favor severe Covid-19 illness, which in turn could lead to the discovery of new therapies that specifically target the types of genetic imbalances that can lead to life-threatening complications, which include genes involved in antiviral immunity and lung inflammation. The black plague of medieval times has been found to have a genetic factor that allowed some people to survive the plague, while many others died. Scientist have discovered key differences in these five genes: IFNAR2, TYK2, OAS1, DPP9, and CCR, that may partially explain why some people become severely sick with Covid-19, while others are not affected. This research will most likely lead to better treatment programs with a higher survival rate.
2) The Japanese research capsule, which returned from the asteroid Ryugu has yielded a black sandy dust from the distant asteroid Ryugu. The black dust was found in the capsule’s outer shell, with more substantial samples expected to be found when the inner container is opened. These results comes a week after the Hayabusa-2 space probe dropped off its capsule, which entered the atmosphere to land in the Australian desert and then was transported to Japan. The black sand-like particles are believed to be derived from the asteroid Ryugu about 200 million miles from Earth. The asteroid probe collected both surface dust and pristine material from below the surface that was stirred up by firing a projectile into the asteroid. But work is not over for the probe, which now begins an extended mission targeting two new asteroids.
3) The first U.S. Covid-19 vaccinations outside of clinical trials has began, starting the most urgent mass immunization campaign since polio shots were rolled out in the 1950s. The newly authorized vaccine was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE. The Pfizer vaccine was shipped out Sunday, with hospitals and health departments receiving them early Monday. A total of 55 sites nationwide have received vaccine shipments Monday. A total of 636 locations are scheduled to receive vaccines by Wednesday and an additional 581 between Thursday and Sunday, for a distribution of an initial 2.9 million doses. The vaccines are given in two doses several weeks apart. Public health officials are counting on a vaccine to help bring an end to the deadly pandemic, which has killed 300,000 Americans and infected 16.25 million since the start of the pandemic.
4) Stock market closings for – 14 DEC 20:
Dow 29,861.55 down by 184.82
Nasdaq 12,440.04 up by 62.17
S&P 500 3,647.49 down by 15.97
10 Year Yield: unchanged at 0.89%
Oil: up at $46.98