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Shipping Gets Underway For U.S. Coronavirus Vaccine; Project Aims To Turn Barren Land Into Fertile Farmland; New Study On Manmade Mass. Aired 4- 4:10a ET
Aired December 14, 2020 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Happy Holidays and welcome to CNN 10. My name is Carl Azuz. This is our last week on the air in 2020. After this Friday`s
show, we will be off for Christmas and New Years and we`ll see you again on January 4th. Less than 11 months after the first coronavirus diagnosis was
made in America, shipping has begun for the nation`s first coronavirus vaccine.
The approval was given by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday. The vaccine is made by the American drug company Pfizer. It`s
received an emergency use authorization which means the vaccine has gotten special approval from the FDA to be used during an emergency.
Full approval has to be obtained through a separate application process. The leader of the FDA says he hopes the shot will start being given to the
public on Monday. For that to happen, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control had to first accept the FDA`s recommendation that it be used.
A second COVID vaccine made by the American drug company Moderna could also get the green light in the days ahead and U.S. health officials say it`s
possible that doses for 20 million Americans could be available by the end of the year. The Pfizer vaccine is given as two shots. The second one
coming 21 days after the first. The drug company says that when its given this way, it`s 95 percent effective in preventing coronavirus infections.
Healthcare workers and people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will have priority in getting it, but the vaccine has not
been approved for pregnant women or anyone under the age of 16. Health officials say there`s not enough data to know whether it`s safe for these
groups. There are also concerns about allergies to the vaccine.
Two health care workers in the United Kingdom who got it and who had a history of allergic reactions both had a dangerous allergic response to
Pfizer`s COVID vaccine. So the FDA says people with a history of serious allergic reactions to any of the vaccine`s ingredients, shouldn`t get the
Side affects like discomfort or a fever lasting a day or two after getting the shot are also possible. Health officials say this is normal. The COVID
vaccine is the first of its kind that`s been approved for use. It`s also the fastest as health experts say no other vaccine has ever been developed
in less than four years. Doctor Sanjay Gupta explains what makes this shot unique.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Two-hundred and forty-eight days from an idea to now, applying for the vaccine to be authorized. That`s just
eight months. For context, eight years would have been considered speedy. But the truth is, the story I`m about to tell you actually began more than
two decades ago and to really understand it you first have to understand how most vaccines work.
Since the first vaccine for small pox back in 1796, they`ve all relied on the same basic concept give a little piece of the virus, also known as
antigen, to someone not enough to make them sick and their body will be taught to make antibodies to it.
Those are the proteins that neutralize the virus if it ever tried to invade again. That`s what makes you immune. But what if the body could be taught
to do the whole thing? Not must make antibodies but also to make the antigens as well to essentially become its own vaccine making machine. It`s
why in the 2000s` Dr. Drew Weissman started focusing on this tiny strand of genetic material that our cells make all the time. It`s known as mRNA.
DR. DREW WEISSMAN, ALLERGIST-IMMUNOLOGIST: Back then we were thinking of using it for vaccines, for therapeutic proteins, for gene editing, for lots
of different applications.
GUPTA: mRNA stands for messenger RNA. It carries the instructions for making whatever protein you want.
WEISSMAN: Once you`ve got the sequence, it`s a one-step reaction to make RNA and that reaction is identical for every vaccine that we make.
GUPTA: If this sounds more like code in a computer rather than medicine from a lab, that means you`re getting it. This is an entirely new way of
thinking about vaccines. It`s also the basic technology behind Pfizer and Moderna`s COVID-19 vaccines.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: Vaccines are close by, they`re coming. You know I said help is on the way.
GUPTA: It`s truly bio meets tech. The vaccine is not the virus as all. It`s essentially just a genetic code for a portion of the virus, this portion,
the spike protein. Why the spike protein? Because it`s the key the virus uses to enter the human cell but if you create antibodies to the spike
protein, it`s then blocked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. About 33 percent of the Earth`s land area is permanently covered by what? Desert, Freshwater, Rainforests or Ice and
Snow. Desert is the answer. While up to a third of our land mass can be covered by ice and snow, that can change with the seasons.
Desertification occurs when fertile farmland turns into desert. This can happen when forests are cut down, drought settles in or farmland is managed
badly. There`s a material called liquid NanoClay that aims to reverse desertification turning wasteland into fertile soil. One downside according
to some environmentalists, is that most farmers simply can`t afford it.
Covering the average sized farm in America which is about 444 acres, would cost anywhere between $3.5 and $9 million. But the soil is more fertile in
parts of the states than it is in the desert of the United Arab Emirates.
This nation has to import more than 90 percent of its food and even if it manages to turn barren land into fertile farmland, a soil scientist
interviewed by CNN says it could change a fragile desert ecosystem with something that doesn`t there before suddenly is. But if this technology is
funded and managed effectively --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every year nearly 30 million acres of fertile soil degrades into unusable desert land. A process known as desertification. But
what if you could turn that desert land back into fertile soil in a matter of hours. Norwegian start-up Desert Control claims it can do just that. So
what`s the real invention here for desert control?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, what we have invented is a way to turn clay into a liquid nearly as thin as water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mixing clay into soil has long been used to restore dry farmland but the process can take seven to 15 years to complete. By
turning clay into liquid, the process is dramatically shortened. The company simply sprays what they call liquid NanoClay onto dry land. It
seeps below the surface and begins working in just seven hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) stick to every sand and grain that exists throughout that soil and then form this structure that enables the soil to
retain water and nutrients just like a sponge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In an early trials run by a non-profit in Dubai, grain, zucchini and watermelon needed 50 percent less water to grow. Some
plants even thrived.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had zucchini increases of yield up to 62 percent. Very impressive results.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But liquid NanoClay isn`t cheap. Between $8,000 to $20,000 dollars an acre. But desert control expects costs will come down as
the company scales up. Next year there are plans to test the technology in the U.S. in dry states like California, Nevada and Arizona.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With, you know, increasing temperatures, extended drought periods, to be able to ensure that the little water that we have
actually is retained in that soil is going to be extremely valuable and important for farmers moving forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: OK. Here`s an interesting idea. Take the weight of every living thing on Earth and compare it to the weight of everything people have made,
buildings, roads, plastic. What weighs more? A new analysis recently published in the scientific journal "Nature" estimates that the stuff
people have made may now be heavier than the stuff that`s here naturally.
Both weights are estimated to be somewhere around 1.1 trillion tons but researchers at Israel`s Weizmann Institute of Science say the combined
weight of all of our concrete, gravel, bricks, asphalt, plastic, metal, paper and glass may now weigh more than the Earth`s biomass. Scientists say
this is something to keep in mind as society`s grow that people should consider how much stuff we actually need to make to live a good life.
In the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and Norway, a pretty amazing traffic circle is about to open up in the Faroe Islands and it`s not just
amazing because it`s pretty. It`s located more than 600 feet beneath the ocean`s surface. It`s made out of natural rock and illuminated by blue,
green and yellow lights and it will help people get around the 17 inhabited islands there.
It`s part of a tunnel network who`s estimated cost is around $170 million dollars. But many residents are glad they got "a roundabout" to building it
because now that the project`s come "full circle". It`s making people want to both "stop and go" for a drive and an undersea adventure keeping their
eyes "traffixed" on both the road and a head spinning, "car spinning", "tire spinning" intersection of land and sea.
I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10. We want to make a stop in Dresden, Tennessee. Dresden High School, you guys are fantastic. It`s great to have you
watching on You Tube. We hope everyone circles back for tomorrow`s show.