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More than half of French nurses approaching burn-out: survey

More than half of French nurses are close to burning out, according to a survey of nearly 60,000 of them published on Sunday, which found they were struggling with cancelled holidays and increased work due to coronavirus.

The survey carried out by the national French nursing union found that 57 percent of respondents reported being in a “state of professional exhaustion”, up from 33 percent before the global Covid-19 pandemic struck France early in 2020.

The findings underline the strains being felt in the healthcare sector in Europe, which came under unprecedented pressure during the first wave of infections and now faces another surge in admissions.

The results are also likely to increase pressure on the centrist French government of President Emmanuel Macron, with more than a third of nurses saying their departments were understaffed compared to normal, and two thirds saying working conditions have deteriorated since the start of the pandemic. 

One in five nurses said they had been unable to take a holiday since March.

“While there are 34,000 vacant nurses’ positions at this time in 2020… the degraded working conditions mean we risk seeing even more nurses throwing in the towel,” the union said in its statement.

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Danger Is Approaching for Coronavirus Vaccine Stocks

The Covid-19 vaccine race appears to be entering the home stretch. For biotech investors, the trouble could be just beginning.

Despite a recent pullback, biotech investors are pricing in multiple Covid-19 vaccine breakthroughs in the near future.

Pfizer


PFE -0.60%

and its partner

BioNTech


BNTX 0.54%

could have late-stage clinical data as soon as the end of October, while data from

Moderna


MRNA -0.04%

is expected soon after.

Johnson & Johnson


JNJ -0.03%

and

Novavax


NVAX -2.91%

have also recently begun their own late-stage trials and could have data within a few months.

Optimism abounds: Moderna’s shares have more than tripled so far this year, while Novavax stock has surged more than twentyfold. The so-called “vaccine trade” has become very popular with retail investors. After all, the federal government has opened its checkbook to companies trying to develop vaccines. What’s more, the total addressable market includes all of humanity, at least in theory.

That euphoria belies the volatile nature of drug development: The vast majority of drug candidates never reach the market. Those that do often suffer unpredictable bumps in the road. Potential safety or efficacy issues can emerge at any point in the development process.

For the vaccine trade, this isn’t just a theoretical risk:

Inovio Pharmaceuticals


INO -6.84%

on Monday said a planned vaccine trial would be delayed due to questions from regulators. Earlier this month,

AstraZeneca


AZN 0.66%

paused its vaccine trials after a patient became ill, though it has since resumed some of them. Such snags are commonplace, but can be very painful: Inovio shares fell 28% on Monday and have lost about two-thirds of their value in three months.

The risks to investors don’t necessarily evaporate even with successful results. The massive vaccine funding effort, which has been a boon for the sector, could become less advantageous for individual stocks as competition comes into focus. Differentiation among vaccine candidates has yet to harm stock prices, but investors should look for that dynamic to change. Without late-stage data to evaluate, it is impossible to say who is winning or losing the race.

A drug that is sufficiently safe and effective to receive emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration won’t necessarily be widely distributed if a competitor has superior data. Then there are important drug delivery issues to consider: for instance, both the Moderna and the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine require a booster shot, but the Johnson & Johnson treatment doesn’t

The risks don’t vanish even for the winner of the race, should one emerge. While the federal government will control any vaccine distribution effort at first, it is unclear how many people will actually take the vaccine once it’s available for average consumers. It will be incumbent on any manufacturer to persuade the public that the shot is worth getting.

Spreading bets around could help, but that strategy also has limits. Some smaller developers have no product sales and would benefit greatly from a blockbuster sales opportunity. But for larger companies, that benefit is