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Business News Roundup, March 22, 2021

The potential for a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the United States, the priorities for the new head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, a federal digital currency, and a revived submarine contract are among the top items in business news this morning.


A COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca was 79 percent effective in a large-scale trial, and it could potentially add a fourth vaccine option in the United States if it receives emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. However, the vaccine likely wouldn’t be made available until May if approved, by which point it is anticipated that the three currently approved vaccines will be distributed widely enough to be available to the U.S. adult population.

Isabel Guzman, who was recently confirmed as the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, recently did an interview with the Associated Press about her priorities for the office. Guzman said her immediate focus will be launching the small business initiatives set up in the American Rescue Plan, after which she will pursue other efforts such as improving SBA technology.

The Federal Reserve is developing prototypes for a digital currency and could release its “Fedcoin” research as early as July. While a U.S. digital currency likely wouldn’t be put into place for years, the development is raising some concerns on Wall Street due to its potential for disruption.


The U.S. Navy has announced a $2.4 billion contract for General Dynamics Electric Boat to construct a second Virginia class attack submarine. The contract formally resolves a dispute over submarine funding that has been simmering since President Donald Trump cut funding for the second boat in February 2020.

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