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Pfizer, and its partner BioNTech, have started clinical trials for a new COVID-19 vaccine that is specifically targeted at the Omicron variant, which they say could be available as early as late March. 

The New York City based pharmaceutical company announced Tuesday that it is recruiting 1,420 participants for a three cohort trial that will determine the safety and effectiveness of the company’s shot.

Albert Bourla, CEO of the company, indicated earlier this month that his company expects to submit data for authorization to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March.

Some of the participants are the same as those who took part in trials for the company’s booster shot and all are between the ages of 18 to 55 – implying the jab will only be available to adults at first.

An Omicron-specific vaccine has been sought after since the variant was first discovered by South African health officials in late-November, and early indicators were discovered that it could evade vaccine protection.

In the time since, scientists have confirmed that the variant can evade vaccine immunity and while boosters can shore up protection, a jab tailored to the new strain could be the most effective at preventing its spread. 

Pfizer has started trials for its Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine. The jab is being tested in one, two and three dose series. The company hopes to make the shot available as early as  March (file photo)

Pfizer has started trials for its Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine. The jab is being tested in one, two and three dose series. The company hopes to make the shot available as early as  March (file photo)

Some experts believe the March rollout of the shots may be too late, as by then the Omicron Covid wave that is already showing signs of receding may be gone altogether. Pictured: A man in Nevada receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine on December 21

Some experts believe the March rollout of the shots may be too late, as by then the Omicron Covid wave that is already showing signs of receding may be gone altogether. Pictured: A man in Nevada receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine on December 21

‘While current research and real-world data show that boosters continue to provide a high level of protection against severe disease and hospitalization with Omicron, we recognize the need to be prepared in the event this protection wanes over time and to potentially help address Omicron and new variants in the future,’ said Kathrin Jansen, head of Vaccine Research and Development at Pfizer, said in a statement.

‘Staying vigilant against the virus requires us to identify new approaches for people to maintain a high level of protection, and we believe developing and investigating variant-based vaccines, like this one, are essential in our efforts towards this goal.’ 

The trial will test three different regimens for the new vaccine. A one shot jab will be given to 615 participants, two shots to 600 participants and a three shot version for 200.

Each of the participants received the Pfizer vaccine for their additional vaccine regimen. Those in the one shot group are not boosted, while those in the two and three shot groups had previously received the Pfizer booster shot. 

‘This study is part of our science-based approach to develop a variant-based vaccine that achieves a similar level of protection against Omicron as it did with earlier variants but with longer duration of protection.’ Ugur Sahin, the CEO and co-founder of German-based BioNTech, said in a statement. 

The vaccine is similar to that of the existing Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine, the most popularly used shot in America and much of the rest of the world. 

Pfizer said in a statement that production of this new shot, if it proves to be effective, will not lead to any diminished capacity for the company to produce its basic Covid jabs.

‘Vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe disease caused by Omicron. Yet, emerging data indicate vaccine-induced protection against infection and mild to moderate disease wanes more rapidly than was observed with prior strains,’ Sahin said. 

BioNTech initially developed the mRNA used to create the vaccine, and had partnered with Pfizer to create a flu vaccine in 2018. The company’s pivoted focus once Covid arrived, and developed what is believed to be the gold-standard vaccine against the virus.

While Pfizer – and their competitor Moderna – may have Omicron-specific shots ready soon, not all are convinced the shots are necessary.

Booster shots have shown the ability to re-establish immunity people have to Covid infection, and even people who are not boosted are still significantly less likely to suffer severe symptoms if they are vaccinated.

The Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition at the World Health Organization asked earlier this month for major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer to pivot away from making vaccines that will need frequent updates, and instead to developing shots that are effective long-term.

The Omicron wave is also coming to an end in some major countries – like the UK – and is showing signs of receding in the U.S.

By the time March rolls around and the shot becomes available, it may not be needed – wasting time and resources that could have gone into research and development of other treatments.

‘By the time we get an Omicron-specific vaccine manufactured, this wave will be over,’ Peter Marks, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA, told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

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The U.S. is seeing even more signs that the Omicron-fueled Covid surge is starting to recede. Cases are now down over the past two weeks in 17 states. While cases were doubling in almost every state only two weeks ago, the number of states that have seen daily infections double over the past 14 days is now all the way down to eight.

Omicron cresting and falling in January was expected by many experts after reviewing trends from the UK, South Africa, and other country that were struck by the variant before it caused its first surges in the U.S.

States that were hit early by the variant are now showing sharp drops in cases as the variant begins to burnout stateside as well. New York, for example, was the first state to deal with Omicron in a large capacity when New York City emerged as a hotspot for the variant in December. 

Cases in the Empire State have now dropped by 66 percent over the past 14 days – though – with 131 of every 100,000 residents recording an infection daily.

Neighboring New Jersey is experiencing the largest case decline in America. The Garden state has experienced a 67 percent case decrease over the past two weeks, down to 118 of every 100,000 residents testing positive every day. 

Both states were largely impacted by New York City at the start of the Omicron surge. Like London across the pond, the dense city erupted with cases once the variant arrived, but then the surge quickly tapered off as the variant burned out.

The states are now even among those with the lowest infection rates in America, showing how quickly their fortunes changed. 

New Jersey is averaging 118 cases per 100,000 residents every day – the third lowest in the U.S. – with New York coming in fifth with 131 of every 100,000 residents recording an infection every day.

Maryland was an early hotspot as well, though cases in the state are now declining by a large margin as well. 

Daily infections have dropped 62 percent over the past two weeks, and the 85 daily infections per every 100,000 residents is the second lowest rate in America.

All across the east coast, cases are either declining, or growing at a much slower rate than last week. From Maine (recording a nine percent decrease over the past two weeks) to Florida (36 percent), the Omicron variant is starting to recede. 

New cases are also falling in Vermont (one percent), Massachusetts (21 percent), Rhode Island (18 percent), Connecticut (39 percent), Virginia (two percent) and Georgia (12 percent). 

Cases in South Carolina are still on an upward trajectory, but the once hard-struck state is seeing things start to level off.  The Palmetto state was recording a case increases of over 500 percent last week. 

That figure has steadily declined, though, all the way down to 54 percent over the past two weeks.

North Carolina has proved to be outlier along the coast, with cases up 83 percent over the past two weeks. 

Only two states east of the Mississippi rivers have recorded an increase of cases of more than 60 percent over the past two months, North Carolina and Wisconsin (127 percent). 

A wide gap has opened between western and eastern states in the U.S. Eight states are recording case growth of more than 100 percent over the past two weeks, including the squarely Midwest Wisconsin and seven other states west of the Mississippi: Minnesota (114 percent), Oklahoma (196 percent), New Mexico (134 percent), Wyoming (141 percent), Montana (114 percent) and Idaho (174 percent).

Wisconsin is also the nationwide leader in Covid infection rate, with 365 of every 100,000 residents testing positive daily. Rhode Island, the longtime leader in this category, is second with 337 of every 100,000 residents testing positive daily.

Only five other states have recorded more than 300 cases per 100,000 residents, with four being out west, Utah (337), Alaska (325), Hawaii (322) and Oklahoma (306). 

Along with Rhode Island, South Carolina is among the leaders as well (312), as some eastern states linger a top the list slowly being overtaken by the fast risers out west.

Ohio is the new leader in Covid mortality rate. The state, where cases are down ten percent, is recording 1.3 deaths per every 100,000 residents every day. 

Ten states are recording more than one death per 100,000 residents every day, including Alaska (1.29), New York (1.17), Connecticut (1.15), Tennessee (1.14), Michigan (1.13), Indiana (1.11), Maryland (1.08), New Jersey (1.08), Illinois (1.03), Pennsylvania (1.03).

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Covid case growth is starting to slow down nationwide as the U.S. finally reaches the peak of its winter Omicron surge. Cases have doubled over the past two weeks in only 15 states, after nearly every state was recording a 100 percent increase or more last week. Cases are either decreasing or flat in eight states and the District of Columbia as well.

Omicron, which first arrived in the U.S. in late November and started fueling major outbreaks in December, is already burning out. States that were leaders in case growth last month are now recording the largest drops in cases.

Massachusetts has joined the ranks of the states recording declining Covid cases, with daily infections down 11 percent over the past two weeks. The Bay State is recording 177 cases per every 100,000 residents at the moment.

New Jersey and New York were the first states struck by the variant, with New York City and the surrounding areas in both states being slammed hard and fast by Omicron in early December. Both immediately took the national lead and infection rate and both had their daily case rates increase more than seven-fold in a matter of weeks.

In New Jersey, 177 of every 100,000 residents are testing positive for the virus every day, down 49 percent over the past two weeks. In New York, a 42 percent drop has the Empire state’s infection rate down to 206 cases per 100,000 residents.  

Maryland is also among the leaders in dropping case rate, with cases in the state dropping 42 percent to 123 infections per every 100,000 residents every day.

Other states recording a contraction of cases over the past two weeks include Florida (cases down 22 percent), Connecticut (17 percent) and Georgia (12 percent). Delaware is recording no change in cases over the past two weeks, though they will likely join the ranks of states with declining cases in the coming days.

All of the states featuring case declines are along the east coast, highlighting the westward movement of the virus over time. Once Omicron arrived, it struck many population centers along the east coast and took an extra few weeks for it to make it across the country. 

Of 15 states that are currently recording case increases of 100 percent or more, 14 are west of the Mississippi river. The lone eastern state suffering a massive surge is South Carolina. The Palmetto state has recorded a 109 percent jump in cases over the past two weeks, which is a far fall from the near 900 percent increase it was recording last week.

Alaska has reemerged as the national leader in case growth this week, with new daily cases up 304 percent over the past two weeks. The state experienced a large surge of cases during autumn, an early indicator of a winter Delta surge to come. Cases burned out there, though, and Alaska actually recorded declining cases for much of late fall and early Winter.

Omicron has finally found its way to the state 1,600 miles from the U.S. mainland, though, causing a second wave in the state during these fall and winter months. It is now among six states to have an infection rate of 300 per every 100,000 residents or higher, at 304.

No other state comes close to matching Alaska’s recent case growth. The state with the next highest change is cases over the past two weeks is Oklahoma, with the state recording a 223 percent increase over the past two weeks. Wisconsin, which held the lead Wednesday, now falls to third in the U.S., experiencing a 211 percent increase over the past 14 days.

No other states have had cases triple or more over the past two weeks, though some states in the great plains – Wyoming (194 percent increase over past two weeks), North Dakota (184 percent) and Montana (183 percent) are starting to see cases climb as well.

Rhode Island is still the national leader in infection rate despite its high vaccination rate. The Ocean state is recording 404 infections per every 100,000 residents daily. The 78 percent of residents who are fully vaccinated is the second highest rate in America.

No other state is recording more than 400 infections per every 100,000 residents, though five are logging more than 300 per day – Wisconsin (398), Utah (341), South Carolina (338), Hawaii (312), Alaska (305).

Maine is the only U.S. state recording less than 100 daily infections for every 100,000 residents – at 68 – and is among the leaders in vaccination rate with 77 percent of residents having received their shots.

Alaska’s case growth has also led to a surge in deaths, with the state now jumping to the top of daily average mortality rate as well. The state is currently logging 1.29 deaths per every 100,000 residents. 

Michigan, a former leader which looked like it had gotten its situation under control, is seeing death counts rise as well. The Great Lakes state is now second in daily mortality rate, with 1.23 of every 100,000 residents dying of Covid daily. 

Tennessee has relinquished the dubious honor of having the nation’s highest death rate, and sits in third place with 1.1 daily deaths per 100,000 residents. 

While cases may be dropping in New York and Maryland, deaths are lagging behind. Both states are also among the leaders in mortality rate, with 1.09 and 1.07 out of every 100,000 residents dying from the virus each day respectively. 

No other state is recording more than one daily Covid death per every 100,000 residents as of Thursday. 

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Pfizer’s new oral Covid treatment showed effectiveness against the Omicron variant in lab tests in what could be a boon to America’s fight against Covid.

The New York City based company revealed data Tuesday showing that it’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized pill to fight Covid, Paxlovid, showed promise in a laboratory environment in three tests.

Nirmatrelvir, the drug’s active ingredient, showed effectiveness is neutralizing the virus in the trials that are still pending peer review.

The highly mutated Omicron variant has displayed the ability to bypass vaccines and Covid treatments since it first emerged last year. Pharmaceutical companies have been working to tweak vaccines and treatments to be effective against the new mutant strain.

Paxlovid (pictured), developed by New York City-based Pfizer, was successful at preventing replication of the Omicron variant in three lab tests, the company announced

Paxlovid (pictured), developed by New York City-based Pfizer, was successful at preventing replication of the Omicron variant in three lab tests, the company announced

The drug has been lauded as the new gold standard Covid treatment due to its effectiveness and ease of administration. In trials, it showed it was 90% effective at preventing hospitalization or death from the virus (file photo)

The drug has been lauded as the new gold standard Covid treatment due to its effectiveness and ease of administration. In trials, it showed it was 90% effective at preventing hospitalization or death from the virus (file photo)

‘We specifically designed PAXLOVID to retain its activity across coronaviruses, as well as current variants of concern with predominantly spike protein mutations,’ Dr Michael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief science officer, said in a statement.

He added that the antiviral pill showed the ability to cut the risk of hospitalization or death from the virus by 90 percent if taken early in infection.

‘These data suggest that our oral COVID-19 therapy can be an important and effective tool in our continued battle against this devastating virus and current variants of concern, including the highly transmissible Omicron,’ Dolsten said.

‘We will continue to monitor the treatment’s activity in real-world settings and believe that these in vitro findings will continue to be validated.’ 

The drug is administered in three pill doses, taken twice a day for five days. A high-risk person is supposed to take it upon finding out they contracted the virus in order to prevent their condition from deteriorating.

Paxlovid, along with Merck’s molnupiravir, have been lauded by health experts for their ease of access when compared to other effective medicines that can keep Covid patients out of the ICU.

A doctor can prescribe an infected person the drug, and they can easily take it at home with little effort or resources expended.

Other treatments, like monoclonal antibodies, require the use of a hospital bed, health care staff and equipment like machines and tubing in order to administer. The drugs are also in short supply and can be very costly.

The research revealed by Pfizer on Tuesday finds that Nirmatrelvir can effectively prevent the virus replicating once it finds a host and stop it from further infecting cells.

Its effectiveness against Omicron is the same as its efficacy against previous strains like the Beta and Delta variants.

‘Omicron is proving itself to be a formidable and highly transmissible variant of an already detrimental virus,’ said Dr Kris White, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology at Icahn Mount Sinai, which performed one of the tests. 

‘We are heartened to see early data showing that this oral treatment is maintaining robust in vitro antiviral activity against it, as well as other variants of concern.’ 

While Paxlovid has been deemed the gold standard of post-infection Covid treatments due to its ease of use and efficacy, manufacturing issues could prevent it from being adopted as a primary treatment worldwide.

In December, Pfizer estimated that it would only have 30 million courses of the drug available for use worldwide by the end of 2020, not anywhere near the hoped for supply in the hundreds of millions.

The company hopes to boost production in France this year, after investing nearly $600 million into the country.

Merck, on the other hand, has established contracts with generic manufacturers around the world and partnered with a United Nations health group to mass produce the drug at little cost.

Like it did with its vaccine, Pfizer opted not to go the generic route with Paxlovid. 

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Here’s one (or 22) for the diary – the influential guide Time Out has named the 22 best new things to do in the world in 2022.  The number one spot goes to Maison Gainsbourg in Paris, a museum dedicated to the life and times of singer and actor Serge Gainsbourg, followed by the House of Hungarian Music in Budapest and Melbourne’s Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto exhibition. 

The list was carefully compiled by Time Out’s global network of ‘over 100 expert editors and independent local writers’, and is made up of the most ‘fun, original and simply unmissable’ experiences, events and new openings on the horizon. 

Caroline McGinn, Time Out’s Global Editor-in-Chief, says: ‘Time Out’s list of the best new things to do in 2022 is our essential guide to the most exciting things happening around the world this year. It includes monumental new museums and attractions, long-awaited comebacks for much-loved festivals, blockbuster theatre productions, and more.’ Scroll down for the list in full…

1. Maison Gainsbourg – Paris

Serge Gainsbourg’s Parisian townhouse is opening as a new museum in Paris - Maison Gainsbourg, pictured

Serge Gainsbourg’s Parisian townhouse is opening as a new museum in Paris – Maison Gainsbourg, pictured 

The No.1 spot on the ranking goes to Maison Gainsbourg, which will offer fans the chance to snoop around the house of musician and cultural icon Serge Gainsbourg.

Time Out says: ‘Closed off to the public since Gainsbourg’s death in 1991, early next year the interior of feted (and controversial) French singer Serge Gainsbourg’s Parisian townhouse will finally open as a museum dedicated to his life and work.’

According to the guide, his daughter, actor and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg, has taken the lead with the project. It adds: ‘The main attraction will surely be Serge’s famously eccentric living area, with its piano, Art Deco bar and huge collection of sculptures.’

2. House of Hungarian Music – Budapest, Hungary

The House of Hungarian Music (pictured above) has been designed with a perforated roof and 'magnificent spiral staircases', according to Time Out

The House of Hungarian Music (pictured above) has been designed with a perforated roof and ‘magnificent spiral staircases’, according to Time Out 

The House of Hungarian Music – described as a ‘stunning new concert hall’ by Time Out – is set to open in early 2022.

The guide says: ‘Sou Fujimoto’s House of Hungarian Music in City Park features a roof perforated with 100 or so cavities that allow natural light, trees and sound to infiltrate the two performance venues, exhibition spaces and library.’

The travel experts note that the building features ‘magnificent spiral staircases and a complete glass exterior’.

3. Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto exhibition – Melbourne

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto (pictured) will run until April 25 at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto (pictured) will run until April 25 at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

According to Time Out, this is the first exhibition in Australia to ‘focus solely on the life and work of 20th-century French designer Gabrielle (AKA Coco) Chanel’.

The display will run until April 25 at the National Gallery of Victoria, in collaboration with Paris’ leading fashion museum, the Palais Galliera.

The guide says: ‘It sees Melbourne become the first city outside of France to host this epic touring show, featuring more than 100 Chanel garments, exploring Coco’s enduring influence on fashion, perfume, jewellery and accessory design – all with a multimedia twist that’s unique to the Aussie museum.’

4. Floriade Expo 2022 – Almere, Netherlands

Time Out says that the Floriade Expo 2022 (rendered above) will revolve around a theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’

Time Out says that the Floriade Expo 2022 (rendered above) will revolve around a theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’

The Floriade Expo 2022 is ‘a once-in-a-decade gardening show’, according to Time Out. The guide reveals that the event, which starts on April 14 and revolves around a theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’, is ‘so huge it only happens once every ten years’.

It says: ‘Known as the world’s ultimate flower show, the new, custom-built waterside site will feature countless pavilions, an arboretum, a magnificent greenhouse complex and a rich arts and culture programme.’

5. Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971 exhibition at Academy Museum – Los Angeles

A preview of the work that is set to be displayed at the Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 - 1971 exhibition at Los Angeles' Academy Museum

A preview of the work that is set to be displayed at the Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971 exhibition at Los Angeles’ Academy Museum

‘Set to debut in the second half of 2022, the Academy Museum’s next exhibition will focus on nearly an entire century of often-overlooked cinema,’ Time Out says.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Academy Museum and Washington DC’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

What can visitors expect from the fascinating new exhibition? The guide reveals that ‘Regeneration dives into the works of black filmmakers from the birth of the motion picture industry through to the Civil Rights era’.

6. National Museum of Norway – Oslo, Norway

Pictured is the new National Museum of Norway, which is set to become the largest museum in the Nordics next summer

Pictured is the new National Museum of Norway, which is set to become the largest museum in the Nordics next summer

Fancy visiting the largest museum in the Nordics? The new National Museum of Norway will claim that title in June 2022, Time Out reveals.

The museum will house a collection of 100,000 objects, with ‘highlights including Munch’s The Scream’ the Norwegian Baldishol tapestry from 1150, and an array of Golden Age Flemish landscapes’.

The guide notes: ‘As well as the art, the building itself will take visitors’ breaths away, with its 2,400-square-metre “Light Hall” made of shimmering marble glass.’

7. Museum of Broadway – New York

A rendering of New York's new Museum of Broadway, which will explore the history of the city's theatre scene

A rendering of New York’s new Museum of Broadway, which will explore the history of the city’s theatre scene 

The brand-new Museum of Broadway is the ‘first institution dedicated to the history of the “Great White Way”, aka Broadway’.

According to Time Out, the new tourist attraction will appeal to hardcore theatre fans, as well as tourists who have come to New York to take in a show.

The guide says: ‘The three sections of the museum will feature a map room showing how the theatre scene migrated across the city over the years, another space illustrating the development of the Broadway art form through various artefacts and works of art, and finally a “backstage” area looking at the professionals that make the shows happen every day.’

8. Detour Discotheque – Westfjords, Iceland

Detour Discotheque will take place in the remote fishing village of Thingeyri (pictured), in the Westfjords of Iceland

Detour Discotheque will take place in the remote fishing village of Thingeyri (pictured), in the Westfjords of Iceland

Dubbed ‘the world’s most remote club night’ by Time Out, Detour Discotheque will take place in the remote fishing village of Thingeyri, in the Westfjords of Iceland, for two nights only.

The guide says: ‘On April 29 and 30, DJs from Iceland, the USA and the UK will be performing to a small crowd of just 160, drawing inspiration from the discos of 1970s New York.’

It adds that the ‘self-styled “party at the edge of the world”‘ will be the first in a series of parties in remote locations around the world, and ‘is sure to be a night out like no other’.

9. Taipei Performing Arts Center – Taipei, Taiwan

According to Time Out, the Taipei Performing Arts Center (pictured above) 'looks like an industrial cake'

According to Time Out, the Taipei Performing Arts Center (pictured above) ‘looks like an industrial cake’

‘Seven years late to the date, the NT$5.4billion (£147million), 59,000-square-metre Taipei Performing Arts Center will no doubt wow visitors when it finally opens in summer 2022.’

So declares Time Out of Taipei’s ‘arresting’ new cultural destination, which ‘looks like an industrial cake with a giant silver sphere bulging towards an adjacent metro station and houses an 800-seat playhouse, a 1,500-seat grand theatre and an 800-seat multipurpose theatre’.

The guide adds: ‘The best thing about this outlandish venue? A looped walkway links all three auditoriums with windows into hidden spaces (and which is freely accessible to the public).’

10. Retrace the Silk Road by train – Tashkent to Khiva, Uzbekistan

Travellers can take to the Silk Road by high-speed rail next year, thanks to the extension of Uzbekistan’s railways

Travellers can take to the Silk Road by high-speed rail next year, thanks to the extension of Uzbekistan’s railways

Next year, the extension of Uzbekistan’s railways means that travellers will be able to ‘retrace the fabled route’ of Venetian merchant Marco Polo by high-speed rail, Time Out reveals.

It adds that the route will take passengers ‘through Uzbekistan, from the capital Tashkent all the way to western Khiva – whose 94 mosques and 63 madrasas make it a Unesco World Heritage Site’.

11. Hans Christian Andersen Museum opening – Odense, Denmark

The new Hans Christian Andersen Hus, pictured, invites visitors to 'escape into the fairytale worlds' of the Danish author

The new Hans Christian Andersen Hus, pictured, invites visitors to ‘escape into the fairytale worlds’ of the Danish author 

The brand-new Hans Christian Andersen Hus is just 90 minutes by train from Copenhagen, in the ‘charming’ city of Odense, Time Out says.

Based on the life’s work of the famed Danish author, the guide says that visitors can ‘escape into the fairytale worlds of The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Pea’ as they wander through the museum.

‘Interactive and inventive biographical exhibits’ and ‘theatrical imaginings of Andersen’s memoirs’ feature among the displays.

12. An 11-day Primavera Sound festival – Barcelona

The 2022 Primavera Sound festival will take place across two weekends for the first time. Above is a crowd at the 2017 edition of the festival

The 2022 Primavera Sound festival will take place across two weekends for the first time. Above is a crowd at the 2017 edition of the festival 

Music lovers are in luck – the Primavera Sound festival is returning to Barcelona next year, and Time Out promises it will be ‘bigger than ever’.

The guide says that the festival ‘that turns Barcelona into a huge, beachside party’ will take place across two weekends for the first time.

It notes: ‘There will be additional concerts scheduled in between and an extra DJ event at the end, making it an 11-day sun-kissed celebration of music’s hottest names, including the Strokes, Dua Lipa, Jamie XX and more.’ 

13. ‘The Burnt City’ – London

A promotional picture for The Burnt City, which will take place across two former military arsenal buildings

A promotional picture for The Burnt City, which will take place across two former military arsenal buildings

The Burnt City is the top-ranking UK experience on the list. Running from March 22 to August 28, the show heralds the ‘return of Punchdrunk theatre’ – the British ‘immersive theatre gods’.

The last major London event by Punchdrunk was the staging of the ‘epic’ The Drowned Man eight years ago.

Time Out says of the theatre company’s new play: ‘Outdoing themselves for sheer scale and ambition, the new show takes place in not one but two former military arsenal buildings, and will be a (sort of) adaptation of two Greek tragedies set during the Trojan War.’

14. Color Factory comes to Chicago – Chicago

‘The eye-catching, kaleidoscopic installations of roving interactive museum Color Factory will land in Chicago in 2022,’ Time Out reveals.

Located in the city’s famous Willis Tower skyscraper, it will be Color Factory’s largest-ever show.

‘Expect a wildly colourful mix of Colour Factory classics and new rooms themed around Chicago itself,’ Time Out says, adding that previous Color Factory exhibits have featured ‘candy pink rooms and Nasa-themed ball pits’.

15. Ghibliland – the Studio Ghibli theme park, Nagoya, Japan

The world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park is set to open in 2022 near the Japanese city of Nagoya (pictured)

The world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park is set to open in 2022 near the Japanese city of Nagoya (pictured) 

Next year will see the opening of the world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park, Time Out reveals.

The amusement park, based on the work of the Japanese animation film studio, will be located near Nagoya, which is around three hours by train from Tokyo.

‘Visitors can explore five areas with rides, shops, exhibitions and gardens themed around hit anime like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away,’ the guide says.

16. Phantom of the Opera in Sydney Harbour – Sydney

A new production of The Phantom of the Opera will play out on the open water of Sydney Harbour (pictured) next year

A new production of The Phantom of the Opera will play out on the open water of Sydney Harbour (pictured) next year

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lauded The Phantom of the Opera is being staged on the open water of Sydney Harbour next year.

The brand-new production will premiere in March and run for one month, Time Out reveals.

‘The bespoke reimagining is the brainchild of director Simon Phillips and set designer Gabriela Tylesova, two of Australia’s most respected theatre-makers,’ the travel experts add.

17. Ride new Regiojet sleeper train across Europe – Prague, Czech Republic, to Brussels, Belgium

The Regiojet network is launching a new batch of sleeper trains in Europe next year. Pictured is a Regiojet train in Strba, Slovakia in 2020

The Regiojet network is launching a new batch of sleeper trains in Europe next year. Pictured is a Regiojet train in Strba, Slovakia in 2020 

Next year a new batch of sleeper trains run by the Regiojet network will take travellers across Europe between Prague and Brussels via Dresden, Berlin and Amsterdam, expanding Europe’s night-train network.

Time Out says: ‘Doze off in magnificent Prague, then wake up 800 kilometres away in EU capital and waffle-and-beer-paradise Brussels.

‘Spurred on by the climate emergency, it’s part of a huge continent-wide drive to revive the good old-fashioned sleeper.’

18. Game of Thrones studio tour – Belfast, Northern Ireland

The coat worn by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in Game of Thrones, pictured above, is one of the props that will feature in the official Game of Thrones Studio Tour

The coat worn by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in Game of Thrones, pictured above, is one of the props that will feature in the official Game of Thrones Studio Tour

The official Game of Thrones Studio Tour – the second UK experience to make Time Out’s list – is opening on February 4 in Linen Mill Studios, just outside Belfast.

Time Out describes the experience, which is based on the hit HBO fantasy series, as ‘Westeros’s answer to London’s Harry Potter studio tour’.

It adds that the tour will feature props, costumes and sets, including the ‘entirety of Winterfell’s Great Hall’.

19. Opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum – Giza, Egypt

When it opens in 2022, the Grand Egypt Museum (GEM) will be ‘the biggest museum in the world dedicated to a single civilisation’, Time Out reveals.

The guide says that the Giza museum has ‘views of the great pyramids’, and is just a 40-minute drive from the capital, Cairo.

It adds: ‘The museum’s rotating display will comprise 50,000 artefacts, with that number again in storage. Most importantly, this will be the first time that all 5,000 pieces of King Tutankhamun’s funerary treasure will be displayed in the same place – death mask included.’

20. Novi Sad: European Culture Capital 2022 – Novi Sad, Serbia

Novi Sad has a reputation for 'gorgeous architecture and unique history', according to Time Out. Pictured is the city's Svetozar Miletic Square

 Novi Sad has a reputation for ‘gorgeous architecture and unique history’, according to Time Out. Pictured is the city’s Svetozar Miletic Square

Novi Sad, Serbia’s second-largest city, will ‘wear the crown’ of the European Capital of Culture next year.

To honour the title, the city has planned more than 1,500 events featuring 4,000 artists, Time Out reveals, including an exhibition in an abandoned pasta factory known as The Mlin Cultural Station.

‘Many have been making the pilgrimage to Exit Festival for years, but 2022 will see Novi Sad’s gorgeous architecture and unique history put it on the map as a major destination-in-waiting,’ the guide notes.

21. Istanbul Modern – Istanbul, Turkey

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, pictured, will host more 'cutting-edge exhibitions' in the future, according to Time Out

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, pictured, will host more ‘cutting-edge exhibitions’ in the future, according to Time Out 

Time Out predicts that the return of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, following its temporary closure, will ‘enliven’ the city’s Karakoy waterfront.

The guide says: ‘The new, expanded Istanbul Modern will have the flexibility to host more cutting-edge exhibitions, and also contain a library, cinema, design store and various event spaces.’

Other attractions in the area include the recently-opened Galataport, ‘a multipurpose development with a long pedestrian promenade along the Bosphorus’, as well as an array of restaurants and shops.

22. Time Out Market Porto – Porto, Portugal

Last but not least, Time Out Market is set to open a second Portuguese location, in Porto, in 2022.

The market will be set across 22,000 sq ft (2,044 sq m) in the city’s ‘iconic and historic’ Sao Bento train station. There, visitors will get the chance to wander through 15 restaurants, four bars, four shops, one café and an art gallery.

‘Time Out Market Porto will bring the city’s best chefs, restaurateurs and cultural experiences together under one roof,’ Time Out promises.

Read the full list at timeout.com/best-things-to-do-in-the-world

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