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Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 10th Jul 2020

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Coronavirus pandemic is ‘still accelerating’, WHO director-general warns

The coronavirus pandemic is “still accelerating”, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, said the virus was “not under control” in most parts of the world. “It is getting worse,” he said on Thursday. Speaking at a weekly member state briefing, he said more than 11.8 million Covid-19 cases had been reported to the WHO.
10th Jul 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus Vaccine Race: Moderna or Vaxart?

Let's talk about two companies developing COVID-19 vaccines that are much different from the ones we're generally used to. These two aren't going the traditional route of injecting a weakened version of the pathogen into the body. They have new ways of addressing the problem. You've probably heard of Moderna by now. Moderna has taken center stage over the past few months as it became the first company to bring a COVID-19 vaccine into human trials. The biotech company is developing a vaccine that harnesses the power of messenger RNA to instruct the body to make proteins to defend itself.
9th Jul 2020 - Motley Fool

A Coronavirus Vaccine Won’t Work if People Don’t Take It

If a vaccine for the coronavirus is developed tomorrow, will you take it? Many people won’t. According to recent polls, half to three-quarters of Americans intend to get the vaccine if one becomes available — woefully short of what we’ll need to protect our communities. As a pediatrician, I meet with all kinds of parents who have concerns about vaccines generally; many have told me they won’t trust a coronavirus vaccine, and that they and their children won’t take it, at least in the short term. They question the safety of a vaccine developed on an accelerated timeline, and in the shadows of political pressure — a concern that has also been raised by staunchly pro-science, pro-vaccine experts. A few families even buy into the conspiracy theory that microchips will be implanted into the vaccine.
9th Jul 2020 - The New York Times

Here's how to sign up to test the first potential coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials

The leading coronavirus vaccine candidates are weeks away from entering the pivotal phase of testing. To determine if a vaccine actually prevents infection or disease, researchers will soon start recruiting tens of thousands of volunteers into clinical trials. The US National Institutes of Health is coordinating most of this research, launching this week the COVID Prevention Trials Network.
9th Jul 2020 - Business Insider

Up to one third of people in UK may refuse coronavirus vaccine, new poll finds

Almost a third of people in the UK may refuse a coronavirus vaccine if one is developed, according to a new poll. Nearly one in five British adults say they would either probably or definitely turn down a vaccine, according to the YouGov poll of 1,663 adults, and another 15 per cent say they don't know yet how they feel about it. A coronavirus vaccine is seen by many as the only way out of the pandemic, and hundreds are at various stages of development across the globe. However, scientists say that between 70 and 90 per cent of the population will have to get the new vaccine for it to be effective in stopping the spread of Covid-19, which has killed half a million people since erupting in China six months ago. It is hard to put an exact figure on how many will need to get the vaccine, because it depends on how effective it turns out to be - if one can be developed at all. For measles, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that 95 per cent of the population get the jab.
9th Jul 2020 - Telegraph.co.uk

Scots wanted for coronavirus vaccine trial as more than 10,000 volunteers needed

Scots are being urged to volunteer for vaccine tests as health officials continue in their quest to find a cure for coronavirus. The study, which is run by the University of Oxford, is looking to recruit more than 10,000 volunteers to take part in the 12-month long trial.
9th Jul 2020 - Daily Record

Osivax receives funding for universal flu vaccine

Osivax receives public funding to apply its vaccine technology to protect against COVID-19 and future coronavirus strains.
9th Jul 2020 - BioPharma-Reporter.com

COVID-19 cases surge higher in Americas and African regions

At a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) media briefing yesterday, director Carissa Etienne, MBBS, MSc, said cases increased 20% last week compared to the previous week, and about 100,000 cases a day are reported from the region. However, she noted that new patterns are emerging. Two months ago, the United States made up 75% of cases in the region, but this past week it reported under half of the cases, with cases in Latin America and the Caribbean area accounting for about 50% of cases.
9th Jul 2020 - CIDRAP

UK could face second lockdown 'within months'

The UK faces a second wave of coronavirus in as little as a few weeks, according to a professor of global public health. Devi Sridhar, who acts as the public health adviser for Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, warned of “constant outbreaks” as lockdown restrictions ease across the country. She tweeted: “I know that everyone wants the economy to go full steam ahead in the UK. But I fear we will be in another lockdown within months, if not weeks…“Eliminate the virus over the summer then open up safely. Otherwise enter winter & flu season in a dangerous halfway house.”
9th Jul 2020 - Yahoo News UK

Scientists hail 'stunning' results that show areas of New York may have reached 68 percent immunity

Areas of New York have recorded a nearly 70 per cent rate of immunity to Covid-19, in what scientists have described as “stunning” findings that suggest they could be protected from any second wave. Some 68 per cent of people who took antibody tests at a clinic in the Corona neighbourhood of Queens received positive results, while at another clinic in Jackson Heights, 56 per cent tested positive. The results, shared by healthcare company CityMD with the New York Times, appear to show a higher antibody rate than anywhere in the world, based on publicly released data. The next closest is the Italian province of Bergamo, which recorded 57 per cent, followed by Alpine ski resort Ischgl, the site of Austria's biggest coronavirus outbreak, which reported 47 per cent....
9th Jul 2020 - Telegraph.co.uk

Coronavirus: The inside story of how UK's 'chaotic' testing regime 'broke all the rules'

As Britain sought to assemble its coronavirus testing programme, all the usual rules were broken. In their effort to release rapid data to show the increase in testing capacity, officials from Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) "hand-cranked" the numbers to ensure a constant stream of rising test numbers were available for each day's press conference, Sky News has been told. An internal audit later confirmed that some of those figures simply didn't add up
9th Jul 2020 - Sky News

'It's going to happen again,' says former New Zealand PM Clark tasked with WHO COVID-19 review

New Zealand’s former prime minister Helen Clark warned if the world remained “flat-footed” in its response to pandemics it faces future economic, social and political crisis, after she was appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to lead a review of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO announced late on Thursday that Clark and Liberia’s former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will lead a panel scrutinising the global response. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called both women “strong-minded, independent leaders”, aiming to underscore their freedom in assessing his agency’s and governments’ COVID-19 responses.
9th Jul 2020 - Reuters

As Vaccine Skepticism In U.S. Grows, Experts Recommend Strategies For Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign

Experts blamed the influence of "anti-vaxxer" groups, which have capitalised on the fear and uncertainty around the pandemic
7th Jul 2020 - Forbes

COVID-19 trial progresses, as 'cautious optimism' grows for RNA vaccine | Imperial News

More than 300 participants have been screened for Imperial's COVID-19 vaccine trial as its lead speaks of "cautious optimism". Professor Robin Shattock and his team, including chief investigator Dr Katrina Pollock and senior clinician Dr David Owen, have successfully administered first doses to 15 trial volunteers. The group's self-amplifying RNA vaccine technology is cheap, highly scalable and has the potential to deliver many effective doses next year, should the trials succeed. Imperial is continuing to recruit participants for the trial, which will deliver two doses to 300 people in the current phase, with plans for a further efficacy trial involving 6,000 people to start in October. Imperial and Professor Robin Shattock have partnered with Morningside Ventures to launch a social enterprise, VacEquity Global Health, to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine as cheaply and as widely as possible.
7th Jul 2020 - Imperial College London

Lessons in contact tracing from Germany

Germany built on existing local infrastructure to get ahead of the covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic situation in Germany is often compared favourably with that in other European countries, particularly the UK. According to the World Health Organization, the rate of infection reported in Germany by 23 June was almost half the rate reported in the UK (230 cases/100 000 population v 451/100 000), and the reported mortality from covid-19 was a sixth of that in the UK (10.7/100 000 v 63.2/100 000). Care must be taken when comparing data from different countries,1 and various reasons may explain the observed differences.2 But from a public health perspective, experience with SARS3 suggests that Germany’s intensive system of testing, contact tracing, and quarantine were critical to successful control of the outbreak, especially given the role of super spreading events that seem to shape the current epidemic in Germany, with the most recent ones in meat plants.
26th Jun 2020 - The BMJ


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 9th Jul 2020

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Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine Collaboration with Butantan Receives Approval from Brazilian Regulator for Phase III Trial

Sinovac Biotech Ltd, a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in China, today announced an update to its previously announced partnership with Butantan, a leading Brazilian producer of immunobiologic products and vaccines.
8th Jul 2020 - PipelineReview.com

Sprawling Countries Find Coronavirus Hard to Contain

These countries often face several outbreaks to monitor and contain. They often must rely more on local health authorities, making it harder to coordinate nationwide responses. And they require more resources, from tens of thousands of contact tracers to millions of tests, for their large populations. “All other things being equal, it’s harder to manage an epidemic in a large country than a small country,” said Maciej Boni, an epidemiologist and professor at Pennsylvania State University. “In a large country you have multiple epidemics originating from multiple places that are separate from each other,” he said. “It’s a different management problem than Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands or some of these smaller countries.”
8th Jul 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Professor warns of long-term effects of lockdown weight gain

Many more of us could have diabetes and high blood pressure if we don't lose the extra weight we've put on during lockdown, a renowned cardiologist at Keele University has warned. "This is a big ticking time bomb for our nation's health—one that hasn't had as much attention as it should have," he said. "Permanent weight gain will have a long-term impact on our health. If we don't lose this extra weight, or we get into bad habits that continue after lockdown, many more of us could have diabetes and high blood pressure. This, ultimately, makes us more at risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes." Professor Mamas has urged Britons to see the relative easing of lockdown "as an opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle." His comments come after a study showed that 48% of us believe we have put on weight and 20% of us admit to drinking more alcohol during the lockdown.
8th Jul 2020 - Medical Xpress

Has Italy Beaten COVID-19?

Menicanti attributes Italy's success to surprisingly high levels of compliance with social distancing measures from the Italian people. "In the beginning, all of us were shocked by the rules. To be locked in, not being able to travel or meet people, that's very strange for us. Italians love crowded places," Menicanti said. "But the population, incredibly, has followed the rules." Other towns that didn't implement such a strict lockdown right away, such as Bergamo and Cremona, were hit harder, and scenes of coffins piling up in churches were burned into the national psyche. Mario Carminati, a priest in Bergamo, told the BBC that the "sound of ambulance sirens was constant. This was a reminder to be on the lookout, that if you didn't do as they said, you could be next." "We don't want to forget what happened," Carminati said. "We want it to be a reminder of how to live in a certain way."
8th Jul 2020 - MedPage Today

French children traumatised by coronavirus crisis, expert warns

The coronavirus crisis has caused an uptick in stress and anxiety disorders in French children, with some experiencing thoughts of suicide, a leading child psychologist has warned. Benjamin Landman, chief of psychiatry at Paris’s Robert-Debré paediatric hospital, told French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche that lockdown measures and new social distancing norms have had a significant impact on children’s mental health. Young children were experiencing developmental regression, such as bedwetting, difficulty falling asleep and separation anxiety, while older children were showing behavioural problems, signs of agitation, sudden withdrawal and a fear of going back to school.
8th Jul 2020 - RFI English

As Victoria goes into coronavirus lockdown, it's time to consider moving infected people outside the home

Ultimately, governments around the world face the tough choice of being proactive or reactive during the pandemic. Being proactive to small spikes might be perceived as being heavy-handed, especially economically. Victoria, so far, has been more reactive than proactive — but the time has come to consider different approaches. We know many people pick up the virus in their own homes from another family member, even if the infected individual isolates in one room. This is partially because indoor environments often have crowding and poor ventilation. It's also quite difficult to practice good sanitation, cleaning high-touch surfaces properly with detergent or bleach. The best option is to relocate an infected family member to reduce the risk of spread to the rest of the family. An option is to relocate them to hospitals or other suitable purpose-built health facilities. Victoria's numbers will get worse unless infected individuals are relocated. This is a particular risk for crowded high-rise housing. Victorians should also be wearing masks in all public places.
8th Jul 2020 - ABC News

The way in which it was executed, India’s lockdown itself became source of virus’s spread

By having people huddle together, infecting one another, and then having the same people travel hundreds of miles, the pandemic has been made much worse than it need have been.
8th Jul 2020 - The Indian Express

Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms

Scientists at University College London are warning of the risk of brain damage from coronavirus. UCL researchers studied 43 patients who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, stroke, nerve damage or other serious effects on their brain, and say the disease can lead to severe neurological complications including psychosis and delirium. The study found nine of the patients were diagnosed with a rare condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is usually seen in children and can be triggered by viral infections. The team said they would only usually see about one adult patient with ADEM a month, but it had risen to a "concerning" one a week while they were conducting the study. "Given the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," said Ross Paterson, who co-led the study. "Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."
8th Jul 2020 - The Guardian

Risk of airborne coronavirus spread being underplayed, say researchers

Over 200 scientists have called for the world to take more precautions against the airborne transmission of the coronavirus. While the virus is known to spread through the air via large droplets produced when people cough or sneeze, they say it can also be spread by smaller droplets known as aerosols that can linger in the air. Preventing this means ventilating buildings and avoiding overcrowding. “Hand-washing and social distancing are appropriate, but, in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people,” states a letter written by Lidia Morawska at Queensland University of Technology in Australia. It has been signed by 239 researchers. The letter also calls for international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to acknowledge the possibility of this type of airborne spread and suggests precautions against it.
7th Jul 2020 - New Scientist News

FDA Authorizes Becton, Dickinson Portable 15-Minute Coronavirus Test

A new test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that results from it is now available on the market. Healthcare technology specialist Becton, Dickinson (NYSE:BDX) announced Monday that it has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antigen test that can effectively detect the presence of the coronavirus. The test is used in combination with the company's BD Veritor Plus System, a handheld electronic diagnostic machine. The small profile of this device makes it very portable, and thus ideal for situations where testing must occur at the many point-of-care locations now scattered throughout the country. According to Becton, Dickinson, it is also very fast; the company says it can produce results in 15 minutes.
6th Jul 2020 - The Motley Fool


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th Jul 2020

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Sub-saharan Africa 'just at the start' of its coronavirus outbreak, UK aid department warns

"We're expecting the rate of increase to keep going in the next few months and particularly as a lot of countries lift their lockdown measures because of the economic pressures and sustaining those." Dr Watts said estimated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Imperial College London supported by the department estimated that Covid-19 infections would peak in the next two to three months in parts of Africa.
7th Jul 2020 - The Independent

'Silent spreaders' of coronavirus may pose serious threat as cases surge in 32 states

A new study finds asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people may be responsible for half of the United States' COVID-19 cases.
7th Jul 2020 - Live 5 News

Parkinson's Patients in UK Survey Detail Struggles With COVID-19...

Many Parkinson’s disease patients in the U.K. feel challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it has placed on social interaction, reporting problems ranging from canceled appointments and limited exercise to worsening symptoms, according to a survey conducted by Parkinson’s UK and Lancaster University. “Unfortunately this report shows just how hard the Parkinson’s community has been hit by the coronavirus crisis, both physically and emotionally,” Katherine Crawford, director of services at Parkinson’s UK, said in a press release. The survey, done between April and May 2020, was completed by 1,491 people with Parkinson’s (mean age, 67) across the U.K., and by 275 of their caregivers. Respondents were asked a variety of questions about their experiences related to the pandemic and lockdown in the context of this disease.
7th Jul 2020 - Parkinson's News Today

Lack of COVID-19 Lockdown Increased Deaths in Sweden, Analysis Concludes

Sweden’s controversial decision not to lock down during COVID-19 produced more deaths and greater health care demand than seen in countries with earlier, more stringent interventions, a new analysis finds. But Sweden fared better than would be expected from its public health mandates alone, roughly similar to France, Italy and Spain – countries that imposed more stringent measures, but adopted them after the pandemic took hold there. Sweden’s unusual approach also saw fewer patients admitted to intensive-care units than expected. But the country has seen a higher percentage of deaths in older patients outside ICUs than other countries when ICU beds were not limited. That suggests Swedish health authorities have considered patients’ chances of recovery in deciding who receives access to intensive care, the researchers say.
7th Jul 2020 - University of Virginia

Coronavirus: Majority testing positive have no symptoms

Only 22% of people testing positive for coronavirus reported having symptoms on the day of their test, according to the Office for National Statistics. This hammers home the role of people who aren't aware they're carrying the virus in spreading it onwards. Health and social care staff appeared to be more likely to test positive. This comes as deaths from all causes in the UK fell to below the average for the second week in a row.
7th Jul 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Spanish study casts doubt on herd immunity feasibility

A Spanish study has cast doubt on the feasibility of herd immunity as a way of tackling the coronavirus pandemic. The study of more than 60,000 people estimates that around just 5% of the Spanish population has developed antibodies, the medical journal the Lancet reported. Herd immunity is achieved when enough people become immune to a virus to stop its spread. Around 70% to 90% of a population needs to be immune to protect the uninfected. The prevalence of Covid-19 antibodies was below 3% in coastal regions, but higher in areas of Spain with widespread outbreaks, the report said.
7th Jul 2020 - BBC News

WHO acknowledges 'evidence emerging' of airborne spread of COVID-19

The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people. “We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19,” Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO, told a news briefing. The WHO has previously said the virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sink to the ground.
7th Jul 2020 - Reuters

'Silent spreaders' may be responsible for half of Covid-19 cases, study finds

While no one wants to think of themselves as a super spreader of Covid-19, a new study has given support to the idea that "silent transmission" -- the spread of virus by someone with no obvious symptoms -- could be responsible for half of all novel coronavirus cases in the United States. Transmission via people with no symptoms, or during the few days before symptoms are apparent, is a primary driver of Covid-19 spread, the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found. More than one-third of silent infections would need to be identified and isolated to suppress a future outbreak, the study estimated.
7th Jul 2020 - CNN

Blood Test at COVID-19 Diagnosis Can Predict Disease Severity, Study Finds

Doctors can examine COVID-19 patients’ blood to identify those at greatest risk of severe illness and to pinpoint those most likely to need a ventilator, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests. The discovery could lead to new treatments to prevent deadly “cytokine storms” seen in severe cases of COVID-19. It also may help explain why diabetes contributes to worse outcomes in patients with the coronavirus. The UVA scientists found that the levels of a particular cytokine in the blood upon diagnosis could be used to predict later outcomes. Cytokines – proteins produced by immune cells – are responsible for severe overreactions by the immune system, known as cytokine storms, associated with COVID-19 and other serious illnesses.
29th Jun 2020 - University of Virginia


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th Jul 2020

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Spain's coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity

Spain's large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is "unachievable," the medical journal the Lancet reported
6th Jul 2020 - CNN

One in 20 people in Spain have had coronavirus, national survey finds

More than one in 20 people in Spain have had coronavirus, a national survey has found. The nationwide antibody study discovered that 5.2% of Spanish people have been exposed to COVID-19. The study has tested almost 70,000 people across Spain every month for the past three months, and the number of infected has held firm around the 5% mark since May. The figures are backed up by those from Johns Hopkins University, which reports more than 250,000 coronavirus cases out of a population of 47 million people. It says there have been more than 28,385 COVID-19 deaths in Spain, one of the worst-hit countries.
6th Jul 2020 - YAHOO!

Counting the Lives Saved by Lockdowns—and Lost to Slow Action

On May 20, disease modelers at Columbia University posted a preprint that concluded the US could have prevented 36,000 of the 65,300 deaths that the country had suffered as a result of COVID-19 by May 3 if states had instituted social distancing measures a week earlier. In early June, Imperial College London epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, one of the UK government’s key advisers in the early stages of the pandemic, came to a similar conclusion about the UK. In evidence he presented to a parliamentary committee inquiry, Ferguson said that if the country had introduced restrictions on movement and socializing a week sooner than it did, Britain’s official death toll of 40,000 could have been halved.
6th Jul 2020 - The Scientist

Lessons from China: Agency execs discuss impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and its aftermath on pharma

The COVID-19 pandemic placed China in the spotlight, not only because it had the first cases of the disease but because it had some of the earliest reopenings. It’s an unenviable position, but one that can give insight into the impact on the pharma industry across issues such as digital engagement, healthcare access and communications. WPP Health's Claire Gillis, international CEO, and Yi Han, executive vice president of WG Market Access, have had front-row seats to COVID-19 in China. Gillis travels frequently to China for WPP, while Han splits his time between Shanghai and the U.S. Both worked throughout the pandemic with pharma clients and agency teams in China, and more recently have tackled reopening issues. The two spoke to Fierce Pharma about what they’ve learned and how the pharma industry will permanently change—and in some ways already has—because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
6th Jul 2020 - FiercePharma

British consortium ends after making over 13,000 ventilators

A British consortium formed by a group of aerospace, automotive and engineering firms to build ventilators for the country’s health service said on Sunday it would end after delivering over 13,000 devices. VentilatorChallengeUK said its production had more than doubled the stock of ventilators available for use in the National Health Service. The consortium, which was formed on a not-for-profit basis by the likes of Ford, McLaren, Rolls-Royce and Airbus, said in May it was ramping up production in case of a second peak in infections. But Dick Elsy, Chairman of VentilatorChallengeUK, said the NHS was now well-placed for the future.
6th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Regeneron starts Phase 3 trial of Covid antibody drug that might treat and prevent infection, company says

An antibody cocktail is now beginning late-stage clinical trials to evaluate the drug's ability to prevent and treat coronavirus infection. The biotechnology company Regeneron announced the late-stage clinical trials of REGN-COV2, its investigational double antibody cocktail for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19, in a news release on Monday. Specifically the release noted that a Phase 3 trial of the drug will assess its ability to prevent coronavirus infection among uninfected people who have had close contact to an infected person, such as a patient's housemate. The Phase 3 prevention trial is happening at around 100 sites and expected to include 2,000 patients across the United States, according to Regeneron
6th Jul 2020 - CNN

COVID-19 imperils AIDS progress, UN warns

COVID-19 could cause an additional half a million AIDS deaths if treatment is disrupted long term, the United Nations said Monday in a warning that the pandemic was jeopardising years of progress against HIV. At the start of a week of virtual International AIDS Conferences, the UN said the world was already way off course in its plan to end the public health threat even before COVID-19. Although AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 60 percent since the peak of the HIV epidemic in 2004, in 2019 around 690,000 still died from the illness.
6th Jul 2020 - FRANCE 24

Brazil trials of potential Chinese COVID-19 vaccine to begin July 20

João Doria, governor of Brazil’s richest and most populous state São Paulo, said on Monday that trials of a new potential vaccine against COVID-19, developed by China’s SinoVac, will start on July 20. The trials, to be done in partnership with the Instituto Butantan, will involve 9,000 volunteers spread across 12 research centers located in Sao Paulo and four other states as well as the federal district Brasília.
6th Jul 2020 - Reuters UK

UK launches study of Covid-19's long-term health effects

Government SAGE advisers have warned effects of Covid-19 can last for months. Research suggests coronavirus can cause lasting damage to heart and lungs. Even people who only get mildly ill may suffer from long-term symptoms. Top researcher said 'we have much to learn' about lasting effects of Covid-19. NHS is launching online advice and services for long-term recovery this month
5th Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus Australia: AMA recommends pause on lifting restrictions

The head of the Australian Medical Association has called for a pause on the lifting of restrictions after Victoria's surge in cases.
5th Jul 2020 - NEWS.com.au

Study confirms new version of coronavirus spreads faster, but doesn't make people sicker

A global study has found strong evidence that a new form of the coronavirus has spread from Europe to the US. The new mutation makes the virus more likely to infect people but does not seem to make them any sicker than earlier variations of the virus, an international team of researchers reported Thursday. "It is now the dominant form infecting people," Erica Ollmann Saphire of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology and the Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium, who worked on the study, told CNN. "This is now the virus."
3rd Jul 2020 - CNN

How China's CanSino Biologics jumped to the front of the coronavirus vaccine race

In May, CanSino became the first globally to publish a full scientific study on its early human trials, an important step because it allows researchers worldwide to assess a vaccine’s potential. The company — which is yet to generate revenue and logged a $22 million loss last year — has so far kept up with, and occasionally even outpaced, Western pharmaceutical giants with the speed of its initial coronavirus vaccine trials. The research is still too nascent to know if the shot from CanSino, or indeed any company, will provide the magic bullet countries are seeking to open up while the pandemic rages. But CanSino’s inroads show China’s young biotechnology industry is becoming a global contender, and a powerful tool for President Xi Jinping.
2nd Jul 2020 - The Japan Times


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 6th Jul 2020

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The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus

New federal data provides the most comprehensive view to date of how Black and Latino people have been likelier than their white peers to contract the virus and die from it.
5th Jul 2020 - New York Times

Hundreds of scientists say coronavirus is airborne, ask WHO to revise recommendations: NYT

Hundreds of scientists say there is evidence that novel coronavirus in smaller particles in the air can infect people and are calling for the World Health Organization to revise recommendations, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The WHO has said the coronavirus disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks. In an open letter to the agency, which the researchers plan to publish in a scientific journal next week, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined the evidence showing smaller particles can infect people, the NYT said
5th Jul 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Why Singapore turned to wearable contact-tracing tech

Singapore's TraceTogether Tokens are the latest effort to tackle Covid-19 with tech. But they have also reignited a privacy debate. The wearable devices complement the island's existing contact-tracing app, to identify people who might have been infected by those who have tested positive for the virus. All users have to do is carry one, and the battery lasts up to nine months without needing a recharge - something one expert said had "stunned" him. The government agency which developed the devices acknowledges that the Tokens - and technology in general - aren't "a silver bullet", but should augment human contact-tracers' efforts
5th Jul 2020 - BBC News

WHO expects to see first results from coronavirus drug trials within two weeks

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) says it should soon get results from the clinical trials of drugs that might be effective in treating COVID-19 patients. The Solidarity Trial started in five parts looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19: standard care; remdesivir; the anti-malaria drug touted by US President Donald Trump, hydroxychloroquine; the HIV drugs lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopinavir/ritonavir combined with interferon.
4th Jul 2020 - ABC News

WHO urges countries to 'wake up' and halt virus

The World Health Organization on Friday urged countries hit by serious coronavirus outbreaks to “wake up” to the realities on the ground instead of bickering, and to “take control”. “People need to wake up. The data is not lying. The situation on the ground is not lying,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told journalists at a briefing hosted by the UN correspondents’ association in Geneva. Touching almost every country on Earth since it emerged in China late last year, the coronavirus has hit at least 10.8 million people and killed 521,000 worldwide. The Americas are the hardest-hit region, with most cases and deaths registered in the United States, and with numbers skyrocketing in a several countries in Latin America.
4th Jul 2020 - Manila Bulletin

WHO discontinues hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment arms for COVID-19

WHO today accepted the recommendation from the Solidarity Trial’s International Steering Committee to discontinue the trial’s hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir arms. The Solidarity Trial was established by WHO to find an effective COVID-19 treatment for hospitalized patients. The International Steering Committee formulated the recommendation in light of the evidence for hydroxychloroquine vs standard-of-care and for lopinavir/ritonavir vs standard-of-care from the Solidarity trial interim results, and from a review of the evidence from all trials presented at the 1-2 July WHO Summit on COVID-19 research and innovation. These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect.
4th Jul 2020 - World Health Organization

Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in Belgian long-term care facilities

Belgium was the worst-hit country per capita in Europe. They did systematic testing for #SARSCoV2 in long-term care facilities, just reported @TheLancetInfDis No symptoms were reported in 6,244 *(74.8%)* of 8,343 people who tested positive
3rd Jul 2020 - The Lancet

Stroke More Likely in COVID-19 Than Flu Patients

Ischemic stroke rate appears more than seven times higher with coronavirus
2nd Jul 2020 - MedPage Today

Will covid-19 be the catalyst for a "new deal" for the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents?

This week, I joined online with over 1700 delegates from 120 countries for Lives in the Balance: A covid-19 summit to explore ways of improving and increasing investment in health systems and social protection policies for women, children, and adolescents as the world rebuilds in the wake of the pandemic. As we came together, we reflected on the fact that the world had recently hit the grim milestone, of over 500,000 deaths from covid-19. Yet the World Health Organisation warns us that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, and we see the deepening global public health crisis compounded by full blown social and economic crises with implications for global peace and security.
2nd Jul 2020 - The BMJ


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Jul 2020

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People who stayed home before lockdown likely helped slow spread of COVID-19: Researchers

A new study has found that people who were proactive and stayed home even before lockdown orders were implemented in the United States may have helped slow the spread of the novel coronavirus back in March and April. The study, published Wednesday in the Lancet, shows that in the 25 most affected U.S. counties, people started staying home more than would be typical nearly a full week to a month prior to their state's stay-at home policies were put in place. The decrease in movement was strongly correlated with reduced COVID-19 case growth in those counties during March and April. This suggests that social distancing prior to policy enforcement played an important role in controlling the spread of the virus.
2nd Jul 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus: Leicester lockdown 'risks creating uncertainty and disorder', scientists warn

The lockdown in Leicester was imposed too late and "risks creating uncertainty, dissent and even disorder", a group of scientists has warned. Independent SAGE - a rival group that is separate to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies which advises Downing Street - described the local lockdown as a "foreseeable crisis of the government's own making". It said the situation in Leicester was "both predictable and avoidable" and that it expected to see "spikes" of infection in other towns and cities. The group said the Leicester coronavirus outbreak was a consequence of "the premature lifting of lockdown restrictions at a time when the virus is still circulating widely in some areas" and the lack of a functioning test, trace and isolate system in place.
2nd Jul 2020 - Sky News

How lockdown stopped the virus in Italy

Previous studies have shown that many severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cases were tied to asymptomatic carriers or those who do not manifest symptoms of the viral infection. Now, a new study reveals that in the first Italian town hit by the virus, as much as 40 percent of the population had no symptoms of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The researchers at the University of Padua and Imperial College London revealed that many people in the town of Vo, northern Italy, and the first one to be locked down in Europe due to the coronavirus outbreak, had been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but did not display any symptoms. The results add to previous data that the number of those who had contracted the virus may be higher than what the official tally shows.
2nd Jul 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Russian fund steps up production of anti-viral drug approved by Moscow for COVID-19

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund said on Thursday it will step up the production of the anti-viral drug Avifavir, an anti-influenza medicine which the Russian government has granted preliminary approval for treatment of COVID-19 patients. The Russian health ministry gave its approval for the drug’s use under a special accelerated process in May. Its Russian backers say it has shown a benefit in COVID-19 patients in early research. The first 100,000 treatment courses were delivered last month to 35 Russian regions, as well as to neighbouring Belarus, said the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) which has promoted the drug. RDIF said it was now set to produce more than 100,000 courses in July and that a joint venture with pharmaceutical firm ChemRar Group would allow it to increase production threefold to meet growing demand both domestically and internationally
2nd Jul 2020 - Reuters

Locked down and liquored up: Research reveals the truth about Australians' drinking during COVID-19

Researchers at the University of South Australia's Ehrenberg Bass Institute for Marketing Science have found that despite predictions that the lockdown might cause a spike in alcohol consumption, the truth is, there was very little change in people's drinking habits during the restrictions. Not only did overall wine consumption rates remain reasonably stable, but people tended to buy their wine from the same places and drink wine on the same occasions. In a new paper—How has wine and alcohol purchasing and consumption changed during COVID-19 isolation in Australia? – UniSA researchers found that across red and white wine, beer and spirits, only 15 to 18 percent of respondents reported drinking more often than before lockdown. Between 82 and 85 percent of those surveyed were consuming none, less or about the same of all types of alcohol as they were before the lockdown.
2nd Jul 2020 - Medical Xpress

South Africans unhappier than Australians, New Zealanders over lockdown experience

A comparative well-being study between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia has found that South Africans were the least happy with the strict lockdown regulations. Researchers performed the study to explore the effect that lockdown has had on people’s happiness.
2nd Jul 2020 - Independent Online

China urges coronavirus testing capacity ramp-up in preparation for potential outbreaks

China's local governments and medical institutes should ramp up and reserve coronavirus testing capacity in preparation for increased demand amid potential outbreaks, national health authorities said on Thursday. Local authorities should have emergency response plans to be able to swiftly expand nucleic test capacity, the National Health Commission said in a guideline on its website. Nucleic acid test results should be delivered within six hours for patients at fever clinics and within a day for those who volunteer to be tested, according to the guideline.
2nd Jul 2020 - Devdiscourse

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine safe for people with weak immunity says Oxford Professor Sarah Gilbert

Volunteers have begun participating in Brazil's first clinical trial of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. The ChAdOx1 vaccine technology is based on an adenovirus and it is considered very safe, even in people with a weak immune system. "We have removed some of the adenovirus genes, so that when we use it as a vaccine, the adenovirus cannot spread through the body. That makes it very safe, even in people with a weak immune system. But because it is a live virus, it is good at inducing a strong immune response after vaccination," said Professor Sarah Gilbert, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Oxford University. Gilbert gave a short talk while participating in an informal discussion with ambassadors of the UN member states.
1st Jul 2020 - Business Insider India


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Jul 2020

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Covid-19: Evidence of effects on 'many organ systems', long-term damage

Scientists are only starting to grasp the vast array of health problems caused by the Covid-19 virus, some of which may have lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come, according to doctors and infectious disease experts. Besides the respiratory issues that leave patients gasping for breath, the coronavirus attacks many organ systems, in some cases causing catastrophic damage. "We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs," said Dr Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. "We didn't appreciate that in the beginning."
1st Jul 2020 - RNZ

The U.S. largely wasted time bought by COVID-19 lockdowns. Now what?

From March to May, much of the United States pressed pause. In the face of a new, highly transmissible coronavirus, widespread lockdowns and social distancing were the only tools available to prevent an overwhelming surge in infections and deaths that threatened to overwhelm healthcare systems. The strategy largely worked to keep most hospitals functioning. The heavy toll after six months — over 125,000 dead from COVID-19 and more than 2 million Americans infected — almost certainly would have been worse without lockdowns.
1st Jul 2020 - Science News

New Research: Covid testing of entire town in Italy finds 40% cases asymptomatic

A team has studied almost the entire population of a small, quarantined town — Vò in Italy, population 3,200 — and found that 40% of its cases were asymptomatic. The study was published in Nature on Tuesday.
1st Jul 2020 - The Indian Express

Tracking COVID-19’s spread through an Italian town

Italy was one of the countries hit earliest as the COVID-19 pandemic spread beyond its origin in China, and the country struggled with a sudden surge in cases that threatened to overwhelm its health services. But Italy turned into a success story, as an aggressive lockdown reversed its curve, causing new daily cases to drop from a peak of over 6,000 down to a steady flow of about 300. Compared to a number of other industrialized democracies, this was a major success. Now, a team of researchers largely based in Italy is looking more carefully at the pandemic's spread there as well as the impact of control measures. The researchers have gotten most of the population of a small town to agree to testing before and after Italy's lockdown, providing a window into the behavior of the virus and how things changed during the lockdown.
1st Jul 2020 - Ars Technica

Lockdown measures return as covid-19 cases spike in several countries

Local outbreaks across Europe have seen authorities taking new action, such as nearly 300 people who went to a Swiss nightclub being quarantined after one person later tested positive. Meat‑processing facilities, where people work close together, have emerged as the source of case clusters in several countries, including Germany. However, the WHO has made it clear that not all local outbreaks are equal. The agency is less concerned about some clusters in Europe that were controlled with a “rapid and targeted response”, including restrictions and ramped-up testing, than in places where there is no such quick and proportionate reaction. David Heymann at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine says second waves are “not the right way to think about it” because, unlike flu, covid-19 seems to spread in summer. “It may be [better] to think about suppressing and unsuppressing. That’s what the countries are going to have to do: unlock their suppressing activities and if they see suppression isn’t working as they wanted it to do, they’ll have to lockdown again,” he says.
1st Jul 2020 - New Scientist News

Coronavirus Australia: Lockdown 'will NOT stop Victoria spread'

Two experts have expressed concern over effectiveness of partial lockdowns. Victoria issued stay-at-home orders for 36 suburbs in ten postcodes on Tuesday. The decision comes after two weeks of increased coronavirus diagnoses. Residents in impacted suburbs will only be able to leave home for four reasons Work or school, grocery shopping, to provide care or exercise are exceptions
1st Jul 2020 - Daily Mail

WHO warns some countries may have to reinstate lockdowns as coronavirus pandemic accelerates

Some countries might have to reimplement severe restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus such as “lockdowns,” a top World Health Organization official said Wednesday. The outbreak in some countries might seem “overwhelming,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said, urging national leaders to “break down” the problem. Some countries may have not fully committed to their initial coronavirus response, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
1st Jul 2020 - CNBC


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 1st Jul 2020

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If Americans keep ignoring COVID-19 safety precautions, we'll have to shut down. Again.

As I was riding my bicycle around Manhattan last weekend, I encountered too many disturbing examples of people in denial, and not just against COVID-19. While almost all the cyclists wore masks, few wore helmets — as though to say they were only capable of one health safety action at a time. Most of the pedestrians did not wear masks at all and, worse, were huddling close together. At the outdoor restaurants I passed, the waiters wore cloth masks but none of the customers did, as though they believed the myth that this virus could not be spread outside. This was not a city with a consistent protective response against the potential resurgence of COVID-19, but rather one rejoicing in the good weather and having broken free of the restrictions of the past three months. Unfortunately, the viral storm could return here at any time. We are doing well in New York, with only 1% of those tested coming back positive, but things are far worse in the South and West, with almost 15% of Texans and nearly 16% of Floridians who are tested receiving positive results.
30th Jun 2020 - USA TODAY

Coronavirus lockdown 'avoided thousands of deaths' in Scotland

A study has suggested between 7,000 and 40,000 people could have died from coronavirus in Scotland if the country had not gone into lockdown. Scientists have tried to estimate would have happened if Scotland had copied the approach taken in Sweden, where a lockdown was not imposed. Rowland Kao, a professor of epidemiology and data science at Edinburgh University, led the team which carried out the research for BBC Scotland. He said: "An obvious question to ask is if Scotland had done something similar to Sweden, would we have had a similar outcome without all the restrictions." Although there was no lockdown, Sweden relied on voluntary social distancing, banning gatherings of more than 50 people and halting visits to elderly care homes. "We took the relative amount of transmission going on in Sweden, translated that over to Scotland and looked at what the resultant number of deaths would have been had we taken that approach."
30th Jun 2020 - BBC News

40% of virus carriers in Italian town show no symptoms: study

More than 40 percent of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in one Italian town showed no signs of being ill, according to research published Tuesday indicating that asymptomatic carriers may be significant spreaders of the virus. The authors said their research showed how important mass testing and isolating carriers was in containing clusters of the virus. The town of Vo, population 3,200, registered Italy's first death from the disease in late February. It was immediately placed in a two-week lockdown, during which researchers were able to test more than 85 percent of the population for COVID-19. They found that 2.3 percent of Vo was infected at the beginning of quarantine, compared with 1.2 percent at the end of lockdown, and that more than 40 percent of those who tested positive showed no symptoms. The authors of the research, published in the journal Nature, said their findings showed how rapid case isolation and mass testing was able to effectively eliminate the virus from Vo.
30th Jun 2020 - Medical Xpress

Researchers search for SARS-CoV-2 fomites on an operational Italian bus

All surface and air samples proved negative for viral genes. If this is true, this means that the current cleaning and sanitization requirements – alcohol-based sanitizer use at the door of entrance, and wearing gloves - are adequate to keep the surfaces and air inside the bus virus-free. Meanwhile, the use of a facial mask and keeping the windows open during the ride allows free ventilation and prevents the virus from spreading to other passengers through the air. This finding also agrees with earlier studies that show facial masks prevent viral spread by aerosols and droplets emitted by asymptomatic people, as does free ventilation of confined spaces such as within a city bus. The end of a lockdown imposed to combat a viral pandemic is always a tension-fraught period, as growing numbers of individuals re-enter the travel mainstream, among other activities. The current study shows that public buses can be safely used to convey passengers even in the presence of about 30% asymptomatic but infected individuals if safety requirements are observed.
30th Jun 2020 - News-Medical.Net

WHO warns coronavirus pandemic is speeding up as countries ease lockdown rules: 'The worst is yet to come'

“Although many countries have made some progress, globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a virtual news conference. The virus has infected more than 10.1 million people around the world and killed at least 502,634 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. “The single most important intervention is ... tracing and quarantine contacts,” he said. “Six months since the virus started, it could be like a broken record to say exactly the same thing, but the same thing works. Test, test, isolate, quarantine cases.”
30th Jun 2020 - CNBC

China imposes lockdowns as new coronavirus cases surge

China proposes the use of six traditional medicines as treatments for COVID-19. The country reports that 91.6 percent of patients in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak in China, and 92.4 percent across the country have been treated with TCM. The country’s COVID-19 TCM used include three formulas and three medicines, which were claimed to be effective in treating infection. These include the Jinhua Qinggan granule, which was developed during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, the Lianhua Qingwen capsule, a common treatment for flu and colds, the Xuebijing injection, which was developed during the SARS epidemic, the Lung cleansing and detoxifying decoction, which has 21 herbal components to improve fever, cough, and fatigue, the Huashi Baidu formula, a core recipe developed by Chinese herbal experts, and the Xuanfei Baidu granule, which contains 13 potent herbal components.
30th Jun 2020 - News-Medical.Net

Global report: WHO to send team to China to investigate Covid-19 origins

The World Health Organization is planning to send a team to China to investigate the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in the hope of being better able to fight the spread of coronavirus. “Knowing the source of the virus is very, very important,” the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference on Monday. “We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” he said. “We will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that and we hope that that will lead into understanding how the virus started.”
30th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Australia's health experts 'very concerned' about Victorian COVID-19 outbreak

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd has said Victoria's outbreak is a "national problem", and the Commonwealth will supply 800 additional people to help conduct a testing blitz in the state's hotspots. The additional force will be comprised of 200 clinical staff to carry out testing, 100 people for door knocking and community engagement and 500 people who will assist with contact tracing.
30th Jun 2020 - 9News

Dr. Anthony Fauci says new virus in China has traits of 2009 swine flu and 1918 pandemic flu

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said U.S. health officials are keeping an eye on a new strain of flu carried by pigs in China that has characteristics of the 2009 H1N1 virus and 1918 pandemic flu. The virus, which scientists are calling “G4 EA H1N1,” has not yet been shown to infect humans but it is exhibiting “reassortment capabilities,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing Tuesday. The H1N1 swine flu emerged in Mexico in April 2009, infecting 60.8 million people in the U.S. and at least 700 million worldwide. An estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people died from the virus across the globe, according to the CDC.
30th Jun 2020 - CNBC

Fauci says 'no guarantee' US will have effective COVID-19 vaccine

Scores of vaccine candidates using a variety of approaches are being developed and tested at unprecedented speed. Fauci, however, cautioned that "there is no guarantee ... we'll have a safe and effective vaccine," and he urged Americans to work together to contain the virus.
30th Jun 2020 - Al Jazeera English


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 30th Jun 2020

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India's first COVID-19 vaccine candidate approved for human trials

Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for human trials, making it India’s first domestic candidate to get the green light from the government’s drug regulator as cases surge in a country with more than 1.3 billion people. The Drug Controller General of India has approved the company’s application to conduct a Phase I and II clinical trial of Covaxin, which was developed along with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology, the company said in a statement on Monday. Human clinical trials are scheduled to start across the country in July for the vaccine, which was developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s facility at Genome Valley in Hyderabad, India. India, which lags only the United States, Brazil and Russia in total cases, reported close to 20,000 new infections on Monday, according to data from the country’s federal Health Ministry.
30th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Virus re-emergence after lockdown ends

A new report in the journal Nature Human Behaviour in June 2020 reports predictions as to the effects of removing lockdown restrictions on the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and suggests that individual responsibility concerning social distancing and other precautions could avoid the need for lockdowns. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is in different phases in different countries, waning in some former hotspots but rising rapidly in others. Since there are no antivirals to prevent or treat infections, the only preventative measure available is social distancing and lockdowns.
29th Jun 2020 - News-Medical.Net

WHO director: Pandemic 'speeding up' | TheHill

More than 10 million people across the globe have tested positive for the coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday, nearly 180,000 of whom tested positive in the last 24 hours. Almost half a million people have died worldwide. "The reality is this is not close to being over," Tedros told reporters. "Globally, the pandemic is actually speeding up." About half the cases, and nearly half the deaths across the globe, have come in the Americas. The United States, which accounts for about 4 percent of the global population, has nearly a quarter of the total confirmed cases, 2.4 million.
29th Jun 2020 - The Hill

CanSino's COVID-19 vaccine candidate approved for military use in China

China’s military has received the greenlight to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by its research unit and CanSino Biologics (6185.HK) after clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy, the company said on Monday. The Ad5-nCoV is one of China’s eight vaccine candidates approved for human trials at home and abroad for the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. The shot also won approval for human testing in Canada. China’s Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine by the military on June 25 for a period of one year, CanSino said in a filing. The vaccine candidate was developed jointly by CanSino and a research institute at the Academy of Military Science (AMS).
29th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Mexico talking to China, AstraZeneca over coronavirus vaccine -official

Mexico is in talks with the Chinese government and private Chinese laboratories, as well as the University of Oxford and company AstraZeneca about running trials for experimental COVID-19 vaccines, a senior Mexican official said on Monday. More than 100 vaccines against the novel coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and ravaged the global economy, are now being developed and tested by various teams around the world. Martha Delgado, a Mexican deputy foreign minister, told Reuters the government was seeking to collaborate with different countries and laboratories that are working on experimental vaccines.
29th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Temasek-led investor group in $250 million vaccine bet on BioNTech

Singapore's state investor Temasek and other investors are injecting $250 million into German biotech company BioNTech , which is developing an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The investment, which BioNTech said was via a private placement, reflects heightened investor interest in the race to develop an agent that will stop the pandemic and sent shares in biotech firms such as Moderna and Novavax soaring this year. U.S.-listed shares in the German company jumped almost 15% to their highest since March 19 on the news. They have surged more than 80% so far this year against the Nasdaq biotech index's gain of 12%.
29th Jun 2020 - WSAY

Gilead's coronavirus treatment remdesivir to cost $3,120 per U.S. patient with private insurance

Gilead Sciences announced its pricing plans in preparation for it to begin charging for the drug in July. The company has been donating doses to the U.S. government for distribution since it received emergency use authorization in May. The drugmaker said it will sell remdesivir for $390 per vial to governments “of developed countries” around the world, and the price for U.S. private insurance companies will stand at $520 per vial.
29th Jun 2020 - CNBC


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 29th Jun 2020

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Some COVID-19 patients aren't getting better. Major medical centers are trying to figure out how to help.

She was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April, about a month after her symptoms — cough, congestion and extreme fatigue — began. Now, those symptoms have evolved into weeks of low-grade fever and a burning sensation under her skin. Watson's illness was never severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Instead, her symptoms have lurked in the background, never fully resolving. Doctors have had few answers for her.
28th Jun 2020 - NBC News

Coronavirus Or Flu? Scientists Are Developing A Sensor Which Tests For Both Simultaneously

In anticipation of these upcoming challenges, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin are developing a sensor which can differentiate between Covid-19 and the flu by testing a person for both simultaneously. The research is being funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation as a means to urgently roll out the project to benefit public health by the time flu season hits. The sensor, made of graphene, is tiny, about the dimensions of a micro-SD card. The researchers developed the sensor at this size so the results could be read out via laptop or cellphone.
28th Jun 2020 - Forbes

Asymptomatic COVID-19 findings dim hopes for 'herd immunity' and 'immunity passports'

A closer look at people who tested positive for COVID-19 but never developed symptoms has found that such asymptomatic carriers have few to no detectable antibodies just weeks after infection, suggesting they may not develop lasting immunity. There's growing evidence that a significant proportion of people who test positive for COVID-19 never show symptoms, although it's not clear what percentage of people that is and what role they play in spreading the disease. A Chinese study published this week in Nature followed 37 people in Wanzhou District in China who did not show any outward signs of the disease, despite testing positive when their respiratory tracts were swabbed and being kept in hospital for observation.
28th Jun 2020 - CBC.ca

Failing the test: Slow start and flawed decisions in Britain’s coronavirus testing have cost lives, warn health leaders

Investigation: A fatally slow start. An opaque decision to build a new lab network. A High Court battle over ‘flawed’ software. And when the Health Secretary declared success in hitting his testing target, lab staff simply felt ‘upset’ at the blatant boost from home tests. Now this system is being expanded at a cost of billions. Insiders tell Shaun Lintern how failures have already cost lives, and why urgent improvements are needed before a second wave
28th Jun 2020 - The Independent

One Biohacker’s Improbable Bid to Make a DIY Covid-19 Vaccine

Josiah Zanyer is in a rush. As Covid-19 continues its march around the globe, scientists have embarked on an unprecedented campaign to develop a vaccine against the disease. There are more than 125 potential vaccines undergoing tests, with 20 in human trials. And the U.S. program, Operation Warp Speed, has set the ambitious goal of a vaccine for early 2021. But that unheard-of pace in vaccine development isn’t fast enough for Zayner, a one-time NASA scientist who left mainstream science to proselytize the value of do-it-yourself home experiments.
28th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

INTERVIEW: What to know about COVID-19 strains in Nigeria - Molecular Biologist

In this interview with Chiamaka Okafor, Mr Happi, a molecular biologist and Director of the World Bank-funded African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, in Nigeria’s Osun State, discusses the findings of a recent study from an advanced sequencing of the SARS-COV2 which shows that there are 3 lineages or strains of COVID-19 existing in Nigeria. This interview also explored the implications of these findings in containing the virus, as well as other speculations around the mutation of the virus. Excerpts:
27th Jun 2020 - Premium Times

Brazil signs deal to produce experimental virus vaccine

The Brazilian government announced on Saturday an agreement with Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce a promising coronavirus vaccine that is undergoing tests. Brazilian Health Ministry authorities said at a news conference that the country will pay $127 million and receive material to produce 30.4 million doses in two batches in December and January, which would allow it to quickly start inoculation efforts if the vaccine is certified to be safe and effective. They said the total deal is for 100 million vaccines for a country of about 210 million residents. It will be produced by local vaccine maker Fiocruz.
27th Jun 2020 - This is Money

Key U.S. Medical Group Adds Steroids to COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines

The group now suggests dexamethasone, or an equivalent steroid such as methylprednisolone or prednisone, for hospitalized COVID-19 patients who require supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal mechanical oxygenation (ECMO). The IDSA does not recommend steroids for COVID-19 patients who do not require supplemental oxygen. In patients with severe COVID-19, the immune system can overreact, triggering a potentially harmful cascade. Steroids are an older class of drugs used to suppress that inflammatory response, but they can also make it easier for other infections to take hold - and doctors are leery of their use in a hospital setting, or in patients in earlier stages of the illness when they body's immune response needs to be on high alert.
26th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

South Korea Backs Remdesivir for COVID-19, Urges Caution With Dexamethasone

South Korea has added Gilead's anti-viral drug remdesivir to its coronavirus treatment guidelines in its first revision of recommendations since the outbreak began and urged caution in the use of the steroid therapy dexamethasone. South Korea, widely praised around the world for its handling of the pandemic without a full lockdown, has reported 12,602 coronavirus cases as of Thursday midnight, with 282 deaths. Remdesivir is designed to hinder certain viruses, including the new coronavirus, from making copies of themselves and potentially overwhelming the body's immune system. The drug previously failed trials as an Ebola treatment. South Korea's updated guidelines come after a study showed that the cheap and widely used dexamethasone reduced deaths in very sick COVID-19 patients. They advised doctors to take caution until a full study is published.
26th Jun 2020 - New York Times

Coronavirus traces found in March 2019 sewage sample, Spanish study shows

Spanish virologists have found traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the COVID-19 disease was identified in China, the University of Barcelona said on Friday. The discovery of virus genome presence so early in Spain, if confirmed, would imply the disease may have appeared much earlier than the scientific community thought. The University of Barcelona team, who had been testing waste water since mid-April this year to identify potential new outbreaks, decided to also run tests on older samples. They first found the virus was present in Barcelona on Jan. 15, 2020, 41 days before the first case was officially reported there. Then they ran tests on samples taken between January 2018 and December 2019 and found the presence of the virus genome in one of them, collected on March 12, 2019.
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Scientists just beginning to understand the many health problems caused by COVID-19

Scientists are only starting to grasp the vast array of health problems caused by the novel coronavirus, some of which may have lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come, according to doctors and infectious disease experts. Besides the respiratory issues that leave patients gasping for breath, the virus that causes COVID-19 attacks many organ systems, in some cases causing catastrophic damage. “We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs. We didn’t appreciate that in the beginning,” said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. In addition to respiratory distress, patients with COVID-19 can experience blood clotting disorders that can lead to strokes, and extreme inflammation that attacks multiple organ systems. The virus can also cause neurological complications that range from headache, dizziness and loss of taste or smell to seizures and confusion.
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Gilead's remdesivir endorsed as first COVID-19 treatment in Europe

Doctors in Europe will soon be able to treat COVID-19 patients with Gilead’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, after the healthcare regulator’s endorsement put it on track to become the first therapy for the disease on the continent
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Brazil university in talks to test Italian coronavirus vaccine

“We are already in advanced discussions with Italy’s Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute,” Unifesp President Soraya Smaili said in an interview on Wednesday. “We expect to bring it here, the accord is already moving forward and we’ll be able to do a lot of studies with this vaccine.” The Italian researchers want to conduct midstage trials and final Phase III studies involving thousands of subjects in Brazil, Smaili said. Francesco Vaia, the chief medical officer at Lazzaro Spallanzani, said the institute had agreed to do Phase II and III trials in Sao Paulo, once it completes the first phase which is expected to start in Italy in the first half of July. The candidate vaccine is produced by Italy’s ReiThera, he said. Over the weekend, Unifesp began clinical trials of a vaccine developed by Oxford University with support from AstraZeneca Plc. Brazil’s government is nearing an agreement to eventually produce that vaccine.
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Astrazeneca, Moderna most advanced in COVID-19 vaccine race ...

Astrazeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate is probably the world's leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development, the World Health Organization's chief scientist said on Friday. Soumya Swaminathan said that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine candidate was also "not far behind" Astrazeneca's, among more than 200 candidates, 15 of which have entered clinical trials. The WHO is in talks with multiple Chinese manufacturers, including Sinovac, on potential vaccines, she said. Swaminathan, speaking to a news briefing, called for considering collaborating on COVID-19 vaccine trials, similar to the WHO's ongoing Solidarity trial for drugs.
26th Jun 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

A Horrifying U.S. Covid Curve Has a Simple Explanation

Declaring victory too close to the top of the curve appears to be an excellent way to return to new heights. The gap with Europe argues for more restraint from fast-opening states going forward, and in fact, some governors are taking the cue. In Texas, where cases are rising at a dangerous rate, Republican Governor Greg Abbott has called a halt to business reopenings and ordered taverns closed. North Carolina has also frozen it reopening efforts, as have Utah and Nevada. And of course there is the example of New York and New Jersey, both of which waited until their steep curves were tamed before starting reopening efforts; now, even as activities resume in both states, new cases have slowed to a trickle.
26th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

Severe COVID-19 can damage the brain, preliminary study ...

A preliminary study of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 has found the disease can damage the brain, causing complications such as stroke, inflammation, psychosis and dementia-like symptoms in some severe cases. The findings are the first detailed look at a range of neurological complications of COVID-19, the researchers said, and underline a need for larger studies to find the mechanisms behind them and assist the search for treatments. "This (is) an important snapshot of the brain-related complications of COVID-19 in hospitalised patients. It is critically important that we continue to collect this information to really understand this virus fully," said Sarah Pett, a University College London professor who co-led the work. The study, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal on Thursday, looked in detail at 125 cases from across the UK. Co-lead researcher Benedict Michael, from Liverpool University, said it was important to note that it focused on severe cases.
25th Jun 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Why strange and debilitating coronavirus symptoms can last for months

From extreme fatigue to weight loss, numbness, breathing difficulties and chest pain, some people’s covid-19 symptoms are proving very hard to shake
24th Jun 2020 - New Scientist


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th Jun 2020

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French consortium wins further approval for saliva-based coronavirus test

French technology company Vogo said a saliva-based product it was developing with partners to test for the coronavirus had won ‘CE marking approval’, denoting it meets required health standards set out by regulators. Vogo and its partners SKILLCELL and the CNRS SYS2DIAG laboratory aim to place their ‘EasyCov’ saliva-based coronavirus testing product on the market.
26th Jun 2020 - Reuters

CDC chief says coronavirus cases may be 10 times higher than reported

Agency expands list of people at risk of severe illness, including pregnant women. The number of people in the United States who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely to be 10 times as high as the 2.4 million confirmed cases, based on antibody tests, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. CDC Director Robert Redfield’s estimate, shared with reporters in a conference call, indicates that at least 24 million Americans have been infected so far. The antibody tests examine a person’s blood for indicators that the immune system has mounted a response to an infection. The serological surveys are being done around the country as epidemiologists try to measure the reach of the virus to date. Redfield said he believes 5 to 8 percent of the population has been infected so far.
26th Jun 2020 - Washington Post

CDC head warns pregnant women with COVID-19 face greater risks

Pregnant women have increased risk of severe COVID-19 compared to women who are not pregnant, the head of the US Centers for Disease Prevention Robert Redfield told reporters on Thursday, warning that states with rising coronavirus cases need to take action. The CDC has found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and to be put on mechanical ventilators than non-pregnant women, he said. The agency said that pregnant women did not have a higher risk of death. The added it does not have data yet on how COVID-19 affects the outcomes of those pregnancies.
26th Jun 2020 - The Jakarta Post

Brazil university in talks to test Italian coronavirus vaccine

The Federal University of Sao Paulo (Unifesp) is in talks to test a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Italian researchers, the dean of the Brazilian university told Reuters. With the world's worst outbreak outside the United States, Brazil has become a key front in the global race for a vaccine, as vaccine clinical trials are likely to yield results faster in places where the virus is widespread. "We are already in advanced discussions with Italy's Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute," Unifesp President Soraya Smaili said in an interview on Wednesday. "We expect to bring it here, the accord is already moving forward and we'll be able to do a lot of studies with this vaccine."
25th Jun 2020 - MSN

Virus cases surge in Americas as IMF warns of economic carnage

More than 78,000 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the US and in Brazil alone Wednesday, as the IMF laid out the unprecedented economic devastation caused by the global pandemic and the WHO warned the number of infections could reach 10 million worldwide within the next week. As many countries emerged from lockdown hoping to resurrect their economies, US states were reimposing virus restrictions and Brazilian experts were warning the country was sending people "to the slaughterhouse." The International Monetary Fund said that this "crisis like no other" would send the global GDP plunging by 4.9 percent this year and wipe out an astonishing $12 trillion over two years.
25th Jun 2020 - Medical Xpress

With coronavirus fading in UK, Oxford vaccine trial expands into hard-hit South Africa and Brazil

Britain's Prince William went to Oxford University on Wednesday to meet patients taking part in a human trial of a promising coronavirus vaccine. But with cases of COVID-19 plummeting in England, researchers fear the trial involving 10,000 people may not yield results conclusive enough to prove the vaccine works. They needed to test the drug in a place where more people are being exposed to the deadly virus. So, as the trial continues in England, researchers in South Africa and Brazil — where there are many more people contracting the coronavirus on a daily basis — have launched parallel human trials on the same candidate vaccine. The Oxford formula is one of about 120 potential vaccines being worked on by teams around the globe. Based on drugs that have proven successful against similar viruses, the Oxford team's vaccine has moved quickly into the large-scale human trial phase. Already there has been huge investment, including from the U.S., to ensure millions of doses can be available as soon as it's proven safe and effective.
25th Jun 2020 - CBS News

Opinion: What models can and cannot tell us about COVID-19

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has already claimed more than 470,000 deaths worldwide at the time of this writing (1) and is likely to claim many more. Models can help us determine how to stop the spread of the virus. But it is important to distinguish between what models can and cannot predict. All models’ assumptions fail to describe the details of most real-world systems. However, these systems may possess large-scale behaviors that do not depend on all these details (2). A simple model that correctly captures these large-scale behaviors but gets some details wrong is useful; a complicated model that gets some details correct but mischaracterizes the large-scale behaviors is misleading at best. The accuracy and sophistication of a model’s details matter only if the model’s general assumptions correctly describe the real-world behaviors of interest.
25th Jun 2020 - PNAS.org

Lockdown might be easing, but the NHS still needs protecting

This week, many doctors, including myself, were rightly disturbed by the results of the latest BMA survey. It found that more than a third of BAME doctors in the UK are still not being given access to potentially life-saving Covid-19 risk assessments – nearly two months after NHS England issued recommendations that risk assessments should be carried out for all staff as a precautionary measure. For white doctors, 42% said they haven’t had risk assessments yet. Results also showed that BAME doctors are still less likely to feel fully protected from coronavirus compared to their white colleagues, and far more likely to often feel pressured into treating patients without appropriate personal protective equipment, which is incredibly worrying.
25th Jun 2020 - Pulse

Abattoir air cooling systems could pose Covid-19 risks, expert warns

Air cooling systems used at abattoirs could be an overlooked risk factor accounting for Covid-19 outbreaks, according to scientists who have studied conditions at a meat-processing plant at the heart of a cluster of infections in Germany. Martin Exner, a hygiene and public health expert at the University of Bonn, spent two days analysing the Tönnies plant in Gütersloh, a western German city sent back into lockdown this week after around 1,500 employees were infected with coronavirus. At a press conference, Exner said the air filtration system in the slaughter area had contributed to the spread of aerosol droplets laden with the virus, describing it as a “newly recognised risk factor”.
25th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Germany could soon be hit by a second coronavirus wave, according to a top virologist

Germany faces a second coronavirus wave if the country does not act quickly to contain a series of new outbreaks across the country, a top virologist has warned. Christian Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at Berlin's Charité Hospital, said: 'In two months, I think we're going to have a problem if we don't turn on all the alarm sensors again now.' Drosten said that there are already clear signs in several places, including Berlin, that Covid-19 was returning to the population. Germany on Tuesday ordered a western region back into lockdown after a major outbreak of coronavirus infections linked to a slaughterhouse prompted fears of a second wave.
25th Jun 2020 - Business Insider

Coronavirus: Expert warns of second wave risk to Australia

A breakdown in communication around proper quarantine methods could be behind the recent spike in coronavirus cases across Victoria, according to a COVID-19 expert. The recent outbreak in Victoria should mark as a warning to all Australians of the threat of a second wave hitting the nation, COVID-19 Coordination Commission board member Jane Halton said. "The good news is this is a warning sign and I think now we have paid the right attention to it, I'm sure people will get that under control," Ms Halton told Today.
25th Jun 2020 - 9News

Sweden’s anti-lockdown coronavirus expert says he’s ‘willing to reconsider’ face masks

Anders Tegnell has repeatedly made international headlines since advising against a full lockdown of the Scandinavian country. He has so far argued against the WHO’s recommendation to use face masks, saying there’s ‘very little scientific evidence’ that they work
25th Jun 2020 - South China Morning Post

Europe-wide study shows child Covid-19 deaths 'extremely rare'

Fewer than one in a hundred children who test positive for Covid-19 end up dying - although a small but significant percentage develop severe illness, a new Europe-wide study showed on Friday. A team of researchers led by experts in Britain, Austria and Spain looked at the outcomes of nearly 600 children under 18 infected with the novel coronavirus and found that only a quarter had pre-existing medical conditions. This is in sharp contrast to adults, among whom the vast majority of patients have underlying health problems. The team found that more than 60 per cent of Covid-19 positive children required hospital treatment, and that 8 per cent needed intensive care. Of the 582 children studied, just four died. On the other hand, more than 90 children, or 16 per cent, showed no symptoms at all.
25th Jun 2020 - New Straits Times

Lockdown Measures Could Return In Winter As Scientists Warn Of 'Long Haul'

Boris Johnson’s decision to ease the coronavirus lockdown is “absolutely not risk free” and strict measures could return in winter, the top scientists advising government have warned. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty said if people believe “this is all fine now” and the disease has “gone away”, then the UK “will get an uptick” in cases. It came as the PM announced cinemas, galleries, museums and pubs were all set to reopen their doors on July 4, provided social distancing measures were in place. The two-metre rule will be replaced with “one-metre plus” regulation, which means a metre distance is acceptable with another protection or “mitigation” – such as a face covering or screen.
23rd Jun 2020 - HuffPost UK


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th Jun 2020

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Coronavirus: Human trial of new vaccine begins in UK

About 300 people will have the vaccine over the coming weeks, as part of a trial led by Prof Robin Shattock and his colleagues, at Imperial College London. Tests in animals suggest the vaccine is safe and triggers an effective immune response. Experts at Oxford University have already started human trials. The trials are among many across the world - there are around 120 vaccine programmes under way.
25th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Coronavirus: Antibody test lacks 'proper assessment'

Covid-19 antibodies tests for NHS and care staff are being rolled out without "adequate assessment", experts warn. The tests could place an unnecessary burden on the NHS, the 14 senior academics say in a letter in the BMJ, Last month, the government said it had bought 10 million antibodies tests and asked NHS trusts and care homes to make them available to staff in England. Officials say the blood tests - to see if someone has had the virus - will play an "increasingly important role". Some patients and people having routine blood tests in England are being offered them too.
25th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Worst of COVID-19 is yet to come in South Africa: Top scientist

Commenting on the rapid rise in infections and deaths, Karim blamed the relaxing of restrictions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa as part of the five-level lockdown strategy
24th Jun 2020 - The Indian Express

CDC director: Covid-19 has 'brought this nation to its knees'

Covid-19 has "brought this nation to its knees," Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday. The country is probably going to spend about $7 trillion "because of one little virus," Redfield said during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. "We've all done the best that we can do to tackle this virus." Redfield's comments were made as half of US states are seeing spikes in new coronavirus cases -- and it's not just due to increased testing, health officials say.
24th Jun 2020 - CNN

Scientists want UK city to lift lockdown completely to see what happens

Scientists have proposed lifting lockdown completely in a UK city about the size of Southampton to see if coronavirus can be controlled through the weekly testing of residents. A demonstration study is needed on a “medium-sized city” of around 250,000 people to see if regular testing and local quarantines could tackle Covid-19 outbreaks, according to a paper published in the Royal Society Open Science journal. “It is a deep mystery to me why this idea has not gained traction,” said Julian Peto, professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-authored the paper with 10 other experts.
24th Jun 2020 - The Independent

Why New Zealand decided to go for full elimination of the coronavirus

Baker felt “very moved” by the government’s decision, but also anxious, because he didn’t know if it would work. “As a scientist, you feel very worried if you’re giving advice when the evidence base isn’t totally there yet, particularly when it’s something that could be harmful to people,” he says. However, putting the entire country into home quarantine early on extinguished community transmission and gave authorities time to strengthen testing and contact tracing capacities, which were initially “really quite woeful”, says Baker. The country has recorded only 1515 covid-19 cases and 22 deaths to date, and hasn’t had any new, locally acquired cases since 22 May. The current active cases are all citizens in supervised quarantine after returning from overseas. On 8 June, New Zealand lifted all its restrictions except for its border control measures. “There was this amazing sense of relief,” says Baker. He is proud of New Zealand’s success, but says it is important not to become complacent or smug. Baker warns that other countries that have seemingly got on top of the virus, such as China and South Korea, have experienced subsequent outbreaks.
24th Jun 2020 - New Scientist News

Beware second wave of coronavirus, medics warn Britain

A second coronavirus wave is a real risk for Britain and local flare-ups are likely, major health bodies said on Wednesday, in one of the strongest warnings yet to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he eases lockdown to help the economy. Britain has one of the world’s highest death tolls from COVID-19 but infections have fallen. The government plans to lift many restrictions in England from July 4 to help an economy facing the deepest contraction in three centuries. With fears of renewed spikes of infections concerning leaders around the world, some of Britain’s most eminent health leaders want urgent preparations for such a possible scenario. “The available evidence indicates that local flare-ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk,” the medics said in a letter in the British Medical Journal.
24th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Chinese Covid-19 Vaccines Cleared for Final Testing in U.A.E.

A Chinese state-owned vaccine developer secured regulatory approval to test its coronavirus shots in the United Arab Emirates, making it one of the first among a slew of global efforts to get the greenlight for the final stage of human trials. Beijing-based China National Biotec Group Co. was awarded approval on Tuesday to conduct Phase III trials for its Covid-19 vaccines in the Middle Eastern country, the company said in a statement posted on its official WeChat account.
24th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

U.K. Must Prepare for Second Wave of Pandemic, Doctors Warn

Health leaders are calling on the U.K. government to prepare for a possible second wave of the coronavirus, just as Prime Minister Boris Johnson relaxes the country’s lockdown measures. In a letter published in the British Medical Journal, doctors including the presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians warned that local flare-ups are likely and a second wave is a real risk. Preparing for that possibility is now urgent, as is a review of national preparedness, they said. “The review should not be about looking back or attributing blame,” the letter said. “It should be a rapid and forward-looking assessment of national preparedness.”
24th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

Don’t listen to Trump. Mask-wearing is essential.

All Americans, and all businesses, want the country reopened. Mr. Trump has framed the issue falsely, as a choice between economic revival and public health. In fact, the goal is to reopen intelligently, without triggering a fresh tsunami of infections. That will require responsible decision-making by state and local leaders as well as companies and individuals. Wearing masks is an essential place to start.
24th Jun 2020 - Washington Post

First Vaccinations Begin in Africa for Covid-19 Trial

Africa’s first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial started Wednesday as nervous volunteers received injections, while officials said the continent of 1.3 billion people cannot be left behind. The large-scale trial of the vaccine developed at the University of Oxford in Britain is being conducted in South Africa, Britain and Brazil. South Africa has nearly one-third of Africa’s confirmed cases with more than 106,000, including more than 2,100 deaths. The country late Tuesday reported its biggest one-day death toll of 111. “I feel a little bit scared but I want to know what is going on with this vaccine so that I can tell my friends and others what is going on with the study,” one of the vaccine trial volunteers, Junior Mhlongo, said in Johannesburg.
24th Jun 2020 - Courthouse News Service

Herd immunity could develop from just 43% of people catching Covid-19, scientists claim

Government scientists floated the idea at the start of the UK's outbreak, with the 'delay' stage of its original plan based on allowing the virus to spread slowly. But experts warned that half a million people could die if the country didn't go into lockdown to stop the virus in its tracks, and officials have since denied that aiming for herd immunity — which could have seen 40million people allowed to be infected — was ever the plan. The study hinges on people only being able to catch the virus once, then becoming immune to it in future — but scientists still haven't worked out whether this is true.
24th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Social distancing remains vital to our battle against COVID-19

Many of us are guilty of relaxing and wishfully thinking that the coronavirus pandemic is nearing the end. Summer can bring thoughts of family vacations and trips with friends. People are planning these getaways — some responsibly and others less so — because we are tired of quarantining. However, this virus is still dangerous, and the risks of unfettered spread remain. We’ve paid a heavy price for containing this virus; it would be a tragedy to let it run wild now. Our economy will improve. There will be a time again when social distancing is something that lives only in the past. But at this moment, caution and smart thinking remain vitally important.
23rd Jun 2020 - Dallas Morning News

EU goes easy on GMOs in race for COVID-19 vaccine

Brussels is ready to loosen its stance on GMOs in order to avoid bottlenecks in clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine involving multiple countries. Current GMO legislation does not foresee situations of urgency, resulting in very complex and time-consuming procedures, the Commission argues, saying “there is considerable variety across member states in the national requirements and procedures implementing the GMO directives.” Potential vaccines currently under development by pharmaceutical companies such as Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson contain or consist of GMOs. The proposed derogation, which still needs to be voted by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers, will last for as long as COVID-19 is regarded as a public health emergency, the Commission said. The relaxed rules will apply not only for clinical trials on a COVID-19 vaccine but also for treatments, the Commission’s communication reads, although compliance with good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and an environmental risk assessment of the products will still be carried out before their marketing authorisation.
18th Jun 2020 - EURACTIV


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 24th Jun 2020

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S. Africa to start Africa's first coronavirus vaccine pilot

South Africa will roll out the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial this week, the university leading the pilot said Tuesday, as the country grapples with the highest number of cases in Africa. The vaccine, developed by the Oxford Jenner Institute, is already being evaluated in Britain, where 4,000 participants have signed up for the trial. South Africa has set out to vaccinate 2,000 people with the vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. Fifty of the candidates have HIV. “We began screening participants for the South African Oxford 1 Covid-19 vaccine trial last week, and the first participants will be vaccinated this week,” University of Witwatersrand (Wits) vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi told a virtual press conference.
24th Jun 2020 - Manila Bulletin

Easing several lockdown rules at once could boost virus, say UK scientists

The easing of multiple lockdown measures in England at once risks Covid-19 gaining a fresh foothold, scientists advising the government have warned. They raised concerns over the halving of the 2-metre physical distancing rule at the same time as reopening venues, saying the country was currently experiencing up to 4,300 Covid-19 infections a day and had no effective digital track-and-trace system, while highlighting research that showed transmission of the virus was more likely to happen indoors.
23rd Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Economic and social consequences of human mobility restrictions under COVID-19

The lockdown measures introduced in Italy to deal with COVID-19 have produced a mobility contraction which is not homogeneously distributed across Italian municipalities and regions. An examination of the steep fall on the Italian mobility network during the pandemic reveals some counterintuitive results, calling for further analysis.
23rd Jun 2020 - Medical Xpress

Coronavirus: Scotland achieves New Zealand-style testing benchmark as only one Covid case detected for every 200 tests

The ratio of positive to negative test results indicates that Scotland “is on the safe side” in terms of controlling the pandemic, according to a scientific briefing paper that draws comparisons with the performance in New Zealand and South Korea. It has also plunged since April, when more than one in five tests were coming back positive. It came as Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that no deaths from Covid had been reported in Scotland for a second day in a row, with just 15 confirmed or suspected Covid patients in intensive care.
23rd Jun 2020 - Herald Scotland

Serbia Under-Reported COVID-19 Deaths and Infections, Data Shows

Data from the Serbian state’s COVID-19 information system shows that more than twice as many infected patients have died than the authorities announced, and hundreds more people tested positive for the virus in recent days than admitted, BIRN can reveal.
23rd Jun 2020 - Balkan Insight

Inovio gets $71 million from U.S. defense department for COVID-19 vaccine device

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday it has received $71 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to scale up production of the company’s devices that are used to administer its experimental COVID-19 vaccine into the skin. The drug developer’s shares rose nearly 13% to $17.27 before the opening bell. The funding from the DoD will be used to expand the manufacturing of a next-generation version of the company’s Cellectra devices. The company began developing the devices in 2019 and has already begun initial production. Cellectra is a small, hand-held device that can be stockpiled in large quantities without maintenance. Inovio said a previous version of the device has been used in clinical trials to safely dose more than 2,000 patients
23rd Jun 2020 - Reuters

Sweden's Coronavirus Failure Started Long Before the Pandemic

Many countries have criticized the Swedish government’s lax lockdown, but the deadly mistakes of defunding elder care and decentralizing public health oversight were made before anyone had heard of COVID-19.
23rd Jun 2020 - Foreign Policy

Coronavirus tracker: Sanofi corners vaccine tech new and old; Merck series tackles cancer during COVID-19

Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson doesn't share the "need for speed" driving so many other big pharmas in the COVID-19 vaccine race; instead, his company will focus on older, proven tech to bring a shot to market sometime next summer. Still, Sanofi doubled down on a 2018 pact with Translate Bio, currently at work on an mRNA vaccine candidate. A private equity firm nabbed a former Bristol Myers Squibb plant where it hopes to entice drugmakers to ramp up production on U.S. shores. Plus, Indian CDMO Piramal Pharma Solutions continued its U.S. expansion when it snared a former G&W Laboratories site on Monday. Plus, Merck & Co. is expanding its partnership with Katie Couric in a new web series tackling the hurdles cancer patients face during the COVID-19 pandemic
23rd Jun 2020 - FiercePharma

Coronavirus: UK must prepare for second virus wave - health leaders

Health leaders are calling for an urgent review to determine whether the UK is properly prepared for the "real risk" of a second wave of coronavirus. In an open letter published in the British Medical Journal, ministers were warned that urgent action would be needed to prevent further loss of life. The presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians, and GPs all signed the letter. It comes after Boris Johnson announced sweeping changes to England's lockdown. On Tuesday, the prime minister said pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers will be able to reopen from 4 July. The 2m social-distancing rule will be replaced with a "one-metre plus" rule, meaning people should stay at least 2m apart where possible, but otherwise should remain at least 1m apart while taking steps to reduce the risk of transmission, such as wearing face coverings.
23rd Jun 2020 - BBC News

Blood Type May Play a Role in Covid-19 Severity - Type O blood linked to lower respiratory failure in study

A very early study of patients with Covid-19 in Wuhan and Shenzhen, China was among the first to suggest an association between blood type and SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and disease severity. In that study, published ahead of peer review, the type A blood group appeared to be associated with a greater risk for acquiring Covid-19 and the type O blood group was linked to lower risk. Another early study involving cases in New York City, also published ahead of peer review, found a higher prevalence of group A blood type in patients who were SARS-CoV-2 positive and a lower prevalence of infection with group O blood type. And, preliminary data recently reported by the commercial genetic testing site 23andMe also suggested a protective role for type O blood type against the novel coronavirus when compared to other blood types. Blood specialist Parameswaran Hari, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, said while the research suggesting a role for blood type in Covid-19 remains preliminary, the findings appear to be consistent. Hari was not involved with the newly published study, but he talked to BreakingMED about the findings. “The studies are all pointing in the same direction, and that is really intriguing,” he said.
23rd Jun 2020 - Physician's Weekly


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 23rd Jun 2020

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Regional lockdowns 'preferable' to country closing in event of more Covid-19 clusters, says expert

Lockdown could be enforced on a regional basis if clusters of coronavirus break out in certain areas, an infectious disease specialist has said. Professor Sam McConkey said while it is unclear where and when clusters of the virus will occur again, putting the country into full lockdown again would not be the best approach.
22nd Jun 2020 - Irish Examiner

WHO warns of 'accelerating' pandemic as Brazil reaches 50,000 deaths

The World Health Organization sent out a fresh warning on Monday over the dangers of the new coronavirus even as France returned to life by staging an annual music festival and sending millions of children back to school. In spite of numerous European countries further easing their lockdown restrictions, cases around the world are rising especially in Latin America with Brazil now registering over 50,000 deaths. There are also fears of a second wave with Australians being warned against travelling to Melbourne. "The pandemic is still accelerating," WHO's director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the virtual health forum organised by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
22nd Jun 2020 - Medical Xpress

Gilead Sciences to start clinical trials of inhaled remdesivir for COVID-19

Gilead Sciences plans to start clinical trials for an inhaled version of the antiviral remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19, company officials said Monday. The inhaled form is delivered using a nebulizer -- similar to many asthma drugs -- making it easier to administer outside of a hospital at earlier stages of infection, they said.
22nd Jun 2020 - UPI.com

What countries did right and wrong in responding to the pandemic

Why were some countries better able than others to control their outbreaks despite having similar measures? To get an idea, CBC News compared countries' daily COVID-19 numbers with how strict their containment policies were, as measured by the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, which rates countries on a host of factors such as workplace closures, travel controls, restrictions on gatherings, and testing regimens. With the help of experts, CBC News found that successful countries were not only swift to respond, but also applied the three Ts of disease control: testing, tracing and trust.
22nd Jun 2020 - CBC.ca

Telehealth in lockdown meant 7 million fewer chances to transmit the coronavirus

The expansion of telehealth services was a deliberate strategy to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission between practitioners and patients, so is it working? According to our analysis, the answer is that telehealth is indeed reducing the risk. Since March 2020, more than 7 million MBS-funded telehealth consultations have been reported, with the vast majority (91%) being done by telephone
22nd Jun 2020 - The Conversation AU

High risk of coronavirus second wave as Australian shops and workplaces reopen, report says

Workplaces pose a high risk of triggering a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Australia, which means people should continue to work from home as long as they can, a report from public policy thinktank the Grattan Institute says. Published on Sunday evening, the report, Coming out of Covid-19 Lockdown: the Next Steps for Australian Health Care, says schools can safely remain open as long as policies are in place to reduce the risk of outbreaks. It comes as Victoria announced it would extend its state of emergency for at least four more weeks and ramp up its police enforcement of lockdown rules after a spike in Covid-19 cases in recent days. The rise also prompted neighbouring South Australia to reconsider its decision to reopen its border, while Queensland declared all of greater Melbourne a Covid-19 hotspot.
22nd Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Beijing coronavirus cases to see 'cliff-like' drop this week - expert

China’s capital will see a “cliff-like” drop in new cases in a recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus by the end of this week with efforts to cut chains of transmission underway, a disease control expert said. “If you control the source, and cut the chain of transmission, the number will have a cliff-like drop,” Wu Hao, a disease control expert from the National Health Commission, told state television in an interview aired late on Sunday.
22nd Jun 2020 - Reuters UK


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd Jun 2020

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Italy mulls new WHO guidelines on virus patient isolation

Italy’s Health Ministry is asking government advisers to evaluate new World Health Organization recommendations saying that people with COVID-19 can come out of isolation before they test negative for the coronavirus. The WHO last week said patients who spent 10 consecutive days in isolation with symptoms can be released if they are then symptom-free for at least three days. People who don’t develop COVID-19 symptoms can stop isolating 10 days after they first test positive, according to WHO’s revised guidelines.
21st Jun 2020 - Washington Post

Public Health Experts Reject President’s View of Fading Pandemic

Contrary to Trump’s recent comments, specialists say, recent increases are real, and the virus is like a “forest fire” that will burn as long as there is fuel.
21st Jun 2020 - The New York Times

Fergus Walsh: At last some good news about coronavirus

The study that dexamethasone is part of is called Recovery - Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy. Clinical trials usually take months, even years to get under way and involve a few hundred patients. The Recovery trial was set up in nine days, and has recruited 11,500 Covid patients in 175 hospitals across the UK. Speed was vital in order to catch the rising wave of hospital admissions here and to do so before doctors were overwhelmed. The UK has had Europe's worst coronavirus outbreak with a terrible death toll. But that has also meant there were sufficient patient numbers here to create what is the world's biggest trial of Covid-19 treatments. The trial is led by Prof Peter Horby, who had spent recent years looking at how best to prepare for and respond to disease X, an unknown pathogen that could cause a pandemic.
20th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Nigerian researchers announce COVID-19 vaccine

"The vaccine is real. We have validated it several times. It is targeted at Africans, but will also work for other races. It will work. It cannot be faked. This is a result of the determination. It took a lot of scientific efforts," Kolawole told reporters at Adeleke University in Nigeria's Eda state Friday. "The population of those that need vaccines is more than those that need drugs. That is why the research focused on a vaccine," he noted. The study that the vaccine was based on was initially funded by the Trinity Immunodeficient Laboratory and Helix Biogen Consult, Ogbomosho, with roughly 7.8 million Nigerian nairas ($20,000), according to the report. Kolawole went on to say that his team had worked extensively on the virus's genome from samples across Africa to select the best potential vaccine candidates. The researchers of the team had made the possible latent vaccine constructs, Kolawole revealed, without naming the vaccine. He added that it would take a minimum of 18 months to release the vaccine for widespread use, due to a large amount of research, analysis and approvals required by medical authorities.
20th Jun 2020 - Anadolu Agency

Nursing homes represent more than 1 in 4 COVID-19 deaths in US

AP’s analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that nearly half of the more than 15,000 nursing homes have reported suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of June 7. About 1 in 5 facilities — or 21 percent — have reported deaths. Nationwide, nursing homes reported nearly 179,000 suspected or confirmed cases among residents and 29,497 deaths. The latest figures include about 95 percent of nursing homes.
19th Jun 2020 - NBC News

Coronavirus Attacks the Lungs. A Federal Agency Just Halted Funding for New Lung Treatments.

The shift, quietly disclosed on a government website, highlights how the Trump administration is favoring development of vaccines over treatments for the sickest patients.
19th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

Coronavirus was already in Italy by December, waste water study finds

Italian scientists say sewage water from two cities contained coronavirus traces in December, long before the country's first confirmed cases. The National Institute of Health (ISS) said water from Milan and Turin showed genetic virus traces on 18 December. It adds to evidence from other countries that the virus may have been circulating much earlier than thought. Chinese officials confirmed the first cases at the end of December. Italy's first case was in mid-February. In May French scientists said tests on samples showed a patient treated for suspected pneumonia near Paris on 27 December actually had the coronavirus. Meanwhile in Spain a study found virus traces in waste water collected in mid-January in Barcelona, some 40 days before the first local case was discovered.
19th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Rules for Clinical Trials in a Pandemic

A new study finds that adding a simple steroid to the treatment of severe Covid-19 cases can significantly reduce deaths. That’s another milestone in the battle against the virus. It shows a path for reducing Covid deaths faster through medical innovation and for keeping the health-care system from being overwhelmed as the epidemic spreads.The U.S., unlike Europe and Asia, seems to have decided not to crush the virus but try to reduce its spread to a controllable level.
19th Jun 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

CureVac Begins Human Trials of Optimized mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine

CureVac AG (Tübingen, Germany) has received regulatory approval from the German and Belgian authorities to initiate Phase 1 clinical trial of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. CureVac, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of transformative medicines based on optimized mRNA, has received approval from the German Health Authority Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI) and the Belgian Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP) to begin the Phase 1 clinical trial for its vaccine program to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. The trial will be conducted in Germany and Belgium.
19th Jun 2020 - HospiMedica

Glaxosmithkline's coronavirus vaccine starts human trials | Business

A coronavirus vaccine being developed in partnership with Glaxosmithkline has begun human clinical trials. The FTSE 100 drugs company is providing its adjuvant technology as part of a collaboration with Clover Biopharmaceuticals, of China. After promising pre-clinical results in animals, the vaccine has begun a phase one study in Perth, Australia. Glaxo and Clover are planning a more in-depth phase two trial, which it is hoped will start later in the year. The partnership with Clover is one of several Covid-19 vaccine projects involving Glaxo, which also include a venture with Sanofi, of France. Glaxo, based in west London, is a leading player in the global vaccines market, along with Sanofi and the American companies Merck and Pfizer.
19th Jun 2020 - The Times

China Publishes Coronavirus Genome Data After Latest Beijing Outbreak

Details published on China's National Microbiology Data Center website revealed the genome data was based on three samples - two human and one environmental - collected on June 11. That was the same day Beijing reported its first new local COVID-19 infection in months. In the eight days since, the city has reported a total of 183 cases, linked to the sprawling wholesale food centre of Xinfadi in the city's southwest. "According to preliminary genomic and epidemiological study results, the virus is from Europe, but it is different from the virus currently spreading in Europe," Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official Zhang Yong said in an article published on Friday. "It's older than the virus currently spreading in Europe."
19th Jun 2020 - NDTV

You May Have Antibodies After Coronavirus Infection. But Not for Long.

It’s a question that has haunted scientists since the pandemic began: Does everyone infected with the virus produce antibodies — and if so, how long do they last? Not very long, suggests a new study published Thursday in Nature Medicine. Antibodies — protective proteins made in response to an infection — may last only two to three months, especially in people who never showed symptoms while they were infected. The conclusion does not necessarily mean that these people can be infected a second time, several experts cautioned. Even low levels of powerful neutralizing antibodies may still be protective, as are the immune system’s T cells and B cells.
18th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

New Study Casts More Doubt on Swedish Coronavirus Immunity Hopes

Sweden's hopes of getting help from herd immunity in combating the coronavirus received a fresh blow on Thursday, when a new study showed fewer than anticipated had developed antibodies. Sweden's has opted for a more liberal strategy during the pandemic, keeping most schools, restaurants, bars and businesses open as much of Europe hunkered down behind closed doors. While Health Agency officials have stressed so-called herd immunity is not a goal in itself, it has also said the strategy is only to slow the virus enough for health services to cope, not suppress it altogether. However, the study, the most comprehensive in Sweden yet, showed only around 6.1% of Swedes had developed antibodies, well below levels deemed enough to achieve even partial herd immunity.
18th Jun 2020 - The New York Times


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th Jun 2020

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Covid-19 crisis risks UK 'lost generation' of people about to retire

The coronavirus crisis could leave the next generation of retirees significantly poorer and sicker, according to research commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better. The research, carried out by Ipsos Mori, found that the pandemic risks creating a “lost generation” of older people entering retirement in poor health and without enough money to support themselves in retirement. Almost half of people in their 50s and 60s believe their financial circumstances will worsen over the next year, and many report that their physical and mental health has deteriorated during lockdown, according to the research. “These figures are deeply worrying. If this generation continues to be an afterthought in the coronavirus recovery, we will see a lost generation entering retirement in poorer health and worse financial circumstances than those before them,” said Anna Dixon, the chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better.
18th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

How lockdown has affected mental health across UK

Millions of people are experiencing loneliness during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. The charity conducted a survey at the beginning of lockdown which revealed one in four people said they had feelings of loneliness in the previous two weeks. When the same question was asked shortly before lockdown, just one in ten people said they had these feelings. Weeks later, social distancing left millions more people in the UK feeling isolated.
18th Jun 2020 - Belfast Live

Coronavirus: ‘Many unnecessary deaths’ risked by lifting lockdown before contact tracing system effective, scientists warn

The government is risking “many unnecessary deaths” by lifting lockdown before an effective system is in place to track coronavirus sufferers, an influential group of scientists has warned. The Independent Sage group said that the NHS Test and Trace system introduced by Boris Johnson is “not fit for purpose”. The experts also warned that the prime minister’s current programme of relaxation of restrictions is “premature” while evidence suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic is still growing in some parts of the country and a resurgence of the disease is being reported in China, Germany and South Korea.
18th Jun 2020 - The Independent

Coronavirus: Big drop in cancer referrals in Wales

The number of patients referred for cancer treatment in April dropped by more than 51% compared to the previous month, according to official figures. People with possible symptoms have been urged not to put off getting them checked out during the pandemic as part of a new Welsh Government campaign. Swansea Bay health board, where referrals were down 52%, attributed it to a fear of visiting hospitals or GPs. Charities have warned of a cancer "timebomb" due to Covid-19 disruption.
18th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Priority vaccination queue headed by frontline workers and over-50s

Mr Hancock said: “As soon as [a vaccine] comes available, just as we did for testing will be guided by the clinical science prioritising those in most need.” He said advice published yesterday by the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation recommended priority vaccination for two groups: frontline health and social care workers, and those at increased risk of serious disease and death from coronavirus, including adults over the age of 50 and those with heart and kidney disease. Mr Hancock went on: “As we learn more about the virus we will continue to take into account which groups may be particularly vulnerable, including for example those from ethnic minority backgrounds so we can protect the most at risk first should a vaccine become available and get this country back on our feet as soon as we possibly can.” He said the Government’s approach to vaccines “is to throw everything at it as fast as we can and rigorously to test and make sure that they're safe before deployment”.
18th Jun 2020 - Telegraph.co.uk

Latin America Faces a Critical Moment in the Battle against COVID-19

A Pan American Health Organization public health expert shares his views on the outlook for the region, which has more than 1.5 million cases—and growing. Latin America has become the new epicenter of the global COVID-19 pandemic. At a media briefing on June 9 Carissa Etienne, head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), offered a clinical but dire assessment by moving through a chillingly long list that encompasses countries from Mexico to Chile.
17th Jun 2020 - Scientific American

Lockdowns in Europe saved millions of lives, say researchers | News

A research team at Imperial College London estimates that COVID-19 measures averted over 3 million deaths in 11 European countries from March to May. Published in the journal ‘Nature’, the study assessed the impact of restrictions in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The team used data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the recorded deaths in the 11 countries. By early May, about 130 000 people had died from coronavirus.
17th Jun 2020 - Cordis News


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th Jun 2020

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Brazil expected to surpass US COVID-19 cases and deaths by end of July

Brazil could surpass the US in coronavirus cases and deaths by the end of July, according to estimates from the University of Washington. The country recorded a daily record of 34,918 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to Reuters. Despite the growing number of cases, the country has not created a plan to tackle the outbreak.
17th Jun 2020 - Business Insider

Peru's coronavirus deaths surge past 7,000

Peru's health ministry said Tuesday that the hard-hit nation's coronavirus death toll had reached 7,056, the third-highest in Latin America after Brazil and Mexico. Officials said the number of confirmed cases is now beyond 237,000 in Peru, which has been under a nationwide lockdown for three months. With a population of 33 million, Peru has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in Latin America after Brazil.
17th Jun 2020 - Medical Xpress

How Trump's missteps undermined the US's recovery from pandemic

Situation could have been somewhat rescued if president backed his own administration’s efforts, experts say, but instead he has shown little leadership
17th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

UK ministers order urgent vitamin D coronavirus review

Public health officials are urgently reviewing the potential ability of vitamin D to reduce the risk of coronavirus. It comes amid growing concern over the disproportionate number of black, Asian and minority ethnic people contracting and dying from the disease, including a reported 94% of all doctors killed by the virus. A delayed Public Health England review into the reasons why BAME people are disproportionately affected, which pointed to historical racism, did not review the role of diet and vitamin D. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) began this work last month and is considering recent evidence on vitamin D and acute respiratory tract infection in the general population. Evidence will be considered on specific population groups, including those of different ages and BAME groups.
17th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Germany has its Covid-19 app, so where's the UK's?

Around the world, major countries are unveiling new contact-tracing apps as they emerge from lockdown. Germany has just launched a decentralised app based on the Apple and Google platform. Switzerland, Ireland and Austria are testing theirs. And Japan is said to be unveiling something similar, with the help of Microsoft, later this week. So the inhabitants of an island just off the south coast of England could be forgiven for asking - has everybody forgotten about us? Six weeks ago, a trial of the NHS contact-tracing app was launched on the Isle of Wight with great fanfare. Islanders were urged to download it, almost as a patriotic duty - with the prospect that successful testing would lead to a national rollout, at least across England, a couple of weeks later.
17th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Mass testing is the safest way to reopen the economy and society and will cost much less than a hard lockdown, research reveals

Implementing a mass testing policy is the safest way to reopen the economy and society and has much less of a damaging impact on the economy than a hard lockdown, reveals new research from Durham University Business School. Billions of people globally have been called to stay at home. This has reduced the transmission of Covid-19 and saved lives, but brought economies to a standstill. Now countries must provide an exit roadmap that balances reopening the economy and controlling infection.
17th Jun 2020 - India Education Diary

Second wave of COVID-19 a concern, experts say

Australian healthcare workers are being warned about the prospect of another spike in coronavirus cases after a second black lives matter protester in Melbourne tested positive for the virus on Monday. In recent weeks, thousands of people have defied court orders to attend the protests throughout Australia’s major cities and it is not yet known how many people may have contracted the virus as a result. The fears of a second COVID-19 outbreak come as China reports its highest virus tally in months, approximately two months after its strict lockdown measures were eased on 8 April this year.
17th Jun 2020 - Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin

Covid-19 immunity may last just six months, study finds

Amsterdam University researchers followed 10 people for an average 35 years Infected patients enjoyed an 'alarmingly short duration of protective immunity' Antibody levels plummeted by 50% after half a year and 75% after nine months
17th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: 45% of asymptomatic patients may have lung damage

Researchers looked at studies from 16 different groups including prison inmates, cruise ship passengers and nursing home residents. About 45% of people infected with COVID-19 may never have traditional signs such as coughing, fever or shortness of breath. Among the cruise ship passengers, 54% of the 76 those who were asymptomatic had lung damage indicated on CT scans. Specifically that lad hazy, white clouds in their lungs, meaning the organs were full of fluid, bacteria or immune system cells
17th Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

Pandemics result from destruction of nature, say UN and WHO

A WWF report, also published on Wednesday, warns: “The risk of a new [wildlife-to-human] disease emerging in the future is higher than ever, with the potential to wreak havoc on health, economies and global security.” WWF’s head in the UK said post-Brexit trade deals that fail to protect nature would leave Britain “complicit in increasing the risk of the next pandemic”. High-level figures have issued a series of warnings since March, with the world’s leading biodiversity experts saying even more deadly disease outbreaks are likely in future unless the rampant destruction of the natural world is rapidly halted. Earlier in June, the UN environment chief and a leading economist said Covid-19 was an “SOS signal for the human enterprise” and that current economic thinking did not recognise that human wealth depends on nature’s health.
17th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Show me the data: US doctors skeptical of reported COVID breakthrough - The Jakarta Post

"We have been burned before, not just during the coronavirus pandemic but even pre-COVID, with exciting results that when we have access to the data are not as convincing," said Dr. Kathryn Hibbert, director of the medical intensive care unit at Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital. Hibbert said published data would help her evaluate the findings and see which patients benefited the most and at what dose. "I am very hopeful this is true because it would be a huge step forward in being able to help our patients," she said, but added she would not change practice at this point. Steroids can suppress immune systems, warned Dr. Thomas McGinn, deputy physician-in-chief at New York's largest healthcare system, Northwell Health where, he told Reuters, physicians are using steroids on a case-by-case basis.
17th Jun 2020 - Jakarta Post

WHO Sees 'Green Shoots of Hope' Though Pandemic Still Rages

At its regular briefing in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as of Wednesday there have been more than 435,000 deaths in the Americas, Africa and South Asia, with cases still rapidly rising in some areas. But he pointed to encouraging results from drug trials this week as “green shoots of hope” amidst the ongoing pandemic. Trial results announced on Tuesday by British researchers showed dexamethasone, an inexpensive steroid commonly used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation, cut death rates by around a third among the most severely ill COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital.
17th Jun 2020 - Voice of America

Don't blame public for Covid-19 spread, says UK scientist

Prof John Drury, a member of a subgroup to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said evidence shows that rather than mass panic or selfishness in times of emergency, people actually tend to show solidarity and cooperation. “All the government evidence shows widespread adherence to the public health measures [for Covid-19],” said the University of Sussex professor. Images of people crammed into underground trains was not down to psychological factors, Drury said, but because they had to go to work. The findings of surveys suggesting that adherence to lockdown measures in the UK is falling, particularly among younger adults, were unlikely to be down to selfishness, said Drury, noting the drop coincided with a decline in confidence in the government. Drury told the Guardian that public behaviour had often been misrepresented. “It is implicit in some politicians comments, but it was more often commentators, journalistic commentators, saying these kinds of things,” said Drury.
16th Jun 2020 - The Guardian


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 17th Jun 2020

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Why you should close the toilet lid

Study shows flushing creates clouds that can carry viruses.
17th Jun 2020 - Cosmos Magazine

German virus hunters track down corona outbreaks

A team of medical students pressed into service by Cologne's public health office are scrambling to cut off potential new chains of coronavirus infections by endlessly repeating the same questions. "What are your symptoms? Who have you met in the last few days," they ask people with confirmed or suspected cases. Such painstaking detective work is vital to avoid a second wave with more deaths and economic damage, as Germany eases the far-reaching lockdowns imposed in March to control the disease's spread
16th Jun 2020 - Medical Xpress

Italy survey finds irritability, anxiety in locked-down kids

A survey conducted in Italy on the psychological impact of coronavirus lockdowns on children has quantified what many parents observed during weeks cooped up at home: kids were more irritable, had trouble sleeping and for some of the youngest, wept inconsolably and regressed developmentally. Those symptoms were more pronounced in families in which the parents were particularly stressed and in families with elderly relatives at high risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, the national survey by the Giannina Gaslini Pediatric Hospital in Genoa in conjunction with the University of Genoa found.
16th Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

Coronavirus: Lockdowns prevented the worst, researchers say

Two studies show that anti-COVID-19 measures taken by many governments were sensible and effective. Without restrictions on the freedom of movement of their citizens, hundreds of millions more would have fallen ill. Researchers from the University of California/Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and Imperial College London last week published studies in the scientific journal Nature looking into the question of how badly the coronavirus pandemic would have developed if governments had not adopted lockdown measures and social distancing rules.
16th Jun 2020 - DW (English)

New study shows Australians suffering weight gain and emotional hardship due to coronavirus pandemic

A new study by Australia's national science agency has found that weight control and emotional wellbeing have suffered throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. The survey of nearly 4000 CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet online community members found that respondents are emerging from COVID-19 lockdown feeling their exercise (66 per cent), emotional wellbeing (41 percent) and diet (36 per cent) had worsened to some degree. Two in five indicated they have gained weight during the outbreak while 90 per cent of participants reported feeling there have been a negative impact on their social connectivity.
16th Jun 2020 - 9News

Coronavirus Vaccine Makers Are Hunting for Vital Equipment: Glass Vials

The medical quest is hampered by a global shortage of bottles and the special glass they are made from. Frantic efforts to bring coronavirus vaccines to the world are facing a maddening bottleneck: the small glass vials that hold the shots. Drugmakers in the U.S., Europe, China, and elsewhere are pushing ahead to test and manufacture vaccines against the new coronavirus, hoping to distribute billions of shots once they have proven to work safely. Yet hampering the ramp-up, industry officials said, is a shortage of vials and the special glass they are made from.
16th Jun 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 news: Dexamethasone drug saves lives of coronavirus patients

In the trial, 2104 covid-19 patients were randomly selected to receive dexamethasone and 4321 received standard care. The preliminary results suggest that treatment with dexamethasone could save one life for every eight patients receiving ventilation, and one for every 25 requiring oxygen. Researchers suggest the drug could have saved up to 5000 lives in the UK if it had been used to treat patients from the start of the pandemic, the BBC reports. Dexamethasone should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor.
16th Jun 2020 - New Scientist News

Commonly used steroid reduces risk of death in sickest coronavirus patients, preliminary study results suggest

The widely available steroid drug dexamethasone may be key in helping to treat the sickest Covid-19 patients who require ventilation or oxygen, according to researchers in the United Kingdom. Their findings are preliminary, still being compiled and have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal -- but some not involved with the study called the results a breakthrough. The two lead investigators of the Recovery Trial, a large UK-based trial investigating potential Covid-19 treatments, announced to reporters in a virtual press conference on Tuesday that a low-dose regimen of dexamethasone for 10 days was found to reduce the risk of death by a third among hospitalized patients requiring ventilation in the trial. "That's a highly statistically significant result," Martin Landray, deputy chief investigator of the trial and a professor at the University of Oxford, said on Tuesday.
16th Jun 2020 - CNN

Not wearing a facemask 'significantly increases risk of coronavirus infection'

Scientists at Texas A&M University examined the person-to-person spread of Covid-19 as part of a study into preventative procedures and trends in New York City, Italy and the pandemic's epicentre of Wuhan in China. Researchers found that wearing a mask was key to preventing infected droplets reaching healthy people, and also those with the virus from spreading it. The study - titled Identifying airborne transmissions as the dominant route for the spread of Covid-19 - was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
16th Jun 2020 - Evening Standard

Fauci: No Need for a Second Lockdown

With top officials in the Trump White House declaring the mission accomplished in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert is sounding a more ominous note. There’s no need to talk about avoiding a second wave of the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on Tuesday, because the country is still in the first one. “We are seeing infections to a greater degree than they had previously seen in certain states, including states in the southwest and in the south,” Fauci said. “I don't like to talk about a second wave right now, because we haven't gotten out of our first wave.”
16th Jun 2020 - The Daily Beast


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 16th Jun 2020

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Covid-19 can damage lungs of victims beyond recognition, expert says

In findings that he said showed the potential for “real problems” after survival, he told the Lords science and technology committee that he had studied the autopsies of patients who died in Italy after 30 to 40 days in intensive care and discovered large amounts of the virus persisting in lungs as well as highly unusual fused cells. “What you find in the lungs of people who have stayed with the disease for more than a month before dying is something completely different from normal pneumonia, influenza or the Sars virus,” he said. “You see massive thrombosis. There is a complete disruption of the lung architecture – in some lights you can’t even distinguish that it used to be a lung.
15th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus vaccine hope as potentially 'game-changing' government-backed candidate enters human trials

Ministers have also pledged millions of pounds to a separate candidate being developed by Oxford University, with Mr Sharma claiming in May that around half of the UK population could have access to that vaccine by September if trials are successful. The Imperial vaccine will be trialled in 300 healthy volunteers aged between 18 to 70, the Department for Business said, with “rigorous pre-clinical safety tests” showing “encouraging signs of an effective immune response in animal studies”.
15th Jun 2020 - PoliticsHome.com

Sinovac claims progress with early coronavirus vaccine study

Sinovac, a Beijing-based drugmaker, said on Saturday a vaccine it's developing for the new coronavirus spurred immune responses in healthy adults given the shot in an early-stage study, a hint that the experimental candidate could be working as intended. The company offered little supporting data for its claim, indicating only that neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were found in more than 90% of study participants tested two weeks after inoculation. Importantly, no serious side effects occurred among the more than 700 volunteers enrolled in the trial, according to Sinovac. Results from the Phase 1/2 study, which Sinovac conducted in the Jiangsu province of China, will be published in a medical journal, the company said. So far, only one company — China's CanSino Biologics — has detailed coronavirus vaccine study data in an academic publication.
15th Jun 2020 - BioPharma Dive

CDC warns U.S. may reimplement strict coronavirus measures if cases go up 'dramatically'

States may need to reimplement the strict social distancing measures that were put in place earlier this year if U.S. coronavirus cases rise “dramatically,” the CDC said. “Right now, communities are experiencing different levels of transmission occurring, as they gradually ease up onto the community mitigation efforts and gradually reopen,” one CDC official said.
15th Jun 2020 - CNBC

Germany says coronavirus tracing app ready to go, as Italian privacy fears ease

Germany’s smartphone app to trace coronavirus infections is ready to be launched this week, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Sunday (14 June). After delays to ensure the bluetooth technology would work at the correct distance, the government says the app will be a vital tool to help avoid a second wave of infections. “It’s coming this week,” Spahn told ARD television, but he declined to confirm German media reports that the app would be launched on Tuesday. The app uses bluetooth short-range radio to detect and contact people at risk of infection by coronavirus and does not rely on a centralised database. Deutsche Telekom and software company SAP are involved. Spahn urged people wishing to go on holiday after European border controls are eased on Monday to be careful and ask themselves whether their trip was necessary.
15th Jun 2020 - EURACTIV

South Korea crushed a huge coronavirus outbreak. Can it beat a second wave?

It’s taking the same approach again, this time gaining experience from bringing under control a series of potentially dangerous virus flare-ups at nightclubs and retail distribution centers as it gets ready for an expected surge of new infections when the weather cools in the fall. Steps taken include introducing entry registration for nightclubs and gyms, requiring tracking and health-monitoring phone apps for foreign visitors, and installing mask vending machines in parks and subways. “We’ve learned a few things from how the virus has been trending,” said Kwon Jun-wook, deputy director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, referring to recent outbreaks. “If we are thoroughly prepared, we can avoid the explosive resurgence of coronavirus.”
15th Jun 2020 - The Japan Times

Germany and Japan to launch decentralised Covid-19 apps

The German and Japanese governments are expected to launch their Covid-19 contact-tracing apps this week. Both of these apps are based on a privacy-focused API developed by Apple and Google. Covid-19 contact tracing involves identifying and notifying the contacts of an infected person, such that those who have been exposed can take action to prevent further transmission. Many countries consider contact tracing a necessary accompaniment to easing economically damaging lockdown measures while preventing a second wave of infections, along with social distancing, mass testing, and enhanced hygiene. The German Health Minister Jens Spahn has told ARD television that the German contact-tracing app is “coming this week”, although he did not confirm reports that it would be launched on Tuesday. The launch of the app follows some delays to ensure that the Bluetooth technology used to detect nearby users works at the appropriate distance. The app is intended as a supplement for a manual contact-tracing scheme.
15th Jun 2020 - E&T Magazine

Coronavirus Deaths Set to Spike in Coming Weeks Following Surge in Post-lockdown Cases, Experts Warn

The U.S. may be hit by a spike in COVID-19 deaths in the coming weeks, health experts told Newsweek, as over a dozen states have seen cases surge in recent days. As the country's first wave of its COVID-19 outbreak continues, cases have been increasing in 27 states over the past 14 days. This has been largely in the south and west, according to CovidExitStrategy.org, a tracking website run by public health and crisis experts. For instance, Hawaii, Arizona, and Florida, have seen their 14-day trend of COVID-19 cases rise by 456, 147 and 129 percent, respectively.
15th Jun 2020 - Newsweek

Coronavirus vaccine: Chinese biotech says jab produced antibodies in more than 90 per cent of people

Some 743 healthy adults were recruited to two randomised control trials – 600 took part in phase II and 143 in phase I. The larger trial showed that the vaccine induced neutralising antibodies in more than 90 per cent of volunteers, who were tested 14 days after receiving two injections, two weeks apart. There were no adverse events reported in the trials. Weidong Yin, chief executive of Sinovac, said: “Our phase I/II study shows CoronaVac is safe and can induce immune response. Concluding our phase I/II clinical studies with these encouraging results is another significant milestone we have achieved in the fight against Covid-19.” He added that the company, which has developed similar inactivated virus vaccines against hepatitis A and B as well as seasonal and pandemic influenza, has already begun to invest in manufacturing facilities.
15th Jun 2020 - Telegraph.co.uk

AstraZeneca to supply Europe with up to 400 million doses of Oxford University's vaccine at no profit

AstraZeneca has reached an agreement with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, to supply up to 400 million doses of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, with deliveries starting by the end of 2020. AstraZeneca continues to build a number of supply chains in parallel across the world, including for Europe. The Company is seeking to expand manufacturing capacity further and is open to collaborating with other companies in order to meet its commitment to support access to the vaccine at no profit during the pandemic. Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said: “This agreement will ensure that hundreds of millions of Europeans have access to Oxford University’s vaccine following approval. With our European supply chain due to begin production soon, we hope to make the vaccine available widely and rapidly. I would like to thank the governments of Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands for their commitment and swift response.”
15th Jun 2020 - Pharmaceutical Business Review

Coronavirus: Prosecutors grill Italy’s PM over two-week delay to order lockdown

Italian prosecutors are questioning prime minister Giuseppe Conte over the alleged lack of lockdowns in two towns in the north that have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Doctors and virologists have said the two-week delay in quarantining Alzano and Nembro allowed coronavirus to spread in Lombardy’s Bergamo province, which saw a 571 per cent increase in excess deaths in March compared with the average of the previous five years. Lead prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota arrived with a team of aides at the premier’s office in Rome, Palazzo Chigi.
13th Jun 2020 - The Independent


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th Jun 2020

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Repurposing drugs for treatment of Covid-19, Singapore News & Top Stories

As scientists worldwide race to develop vaccines and drugs to prevent and treat Covid-19, some members of the public have resorted to remedies they see on social media which have no basis in science. Accidental injuries have been reported in some countries, where people consumed methanol or snorted disinfectants in the belief that this could prevent infection. There is an urgent need to develop effective and safe drugs against this virus which has wrought havoc around the world. Several existing drugs are now being repurposed and investigated for their antiviral effects. Doing so significantly shortens the notoriously prolonged drug development process. A number of drugs have recently been authorised by health regulatory agencies for the emergency or compassionate treatment of severely ill Covid-19 patients.
13th Jun 2020 - The Straits Times

The Latest: WHO says Brazil's health system still is coping

South Korea — South Korea has reported 49 new coronavirus cases. Most most of them are in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where health authorities have been struggling to slow transmissions linked to entertainment and leisure activities, church gatherings and low-income workers who can’t afford to stay home. The figures released Saturday brought national totals to 12,051 cases and 277 death
12th Jun 2020 - Boston 25 News

Facemasks slow spread of coronavirus by 40 per cent, study shows

The research was able to use the staggered introduction of masks in shops and public transport across Germany as a natural experiment to test how effective they were. By looking at new cases in the days that followed, the researchers concluded that there is “strong and convincing statistical support” that the masks “strongly reduced the number of incidences”. However, other scientists cautioned that the findings were still not robust enough to support the widespread use of masks, arguing that too many other factors could explain the results. The study, published as a discussion paper for the Institute of Labour Economics, addresses one of the most controversial areas of science during the pandemic — one that has led to a split in opinion among researchers.
12th Jun 2020 - The Times

Several Coronavirus Treatments Besides Remdesivir Show Promise : Shots - Health News

Right now, there is only one drug shown by rigorous scientific testing to be helpful for treating COVID-19. That drug is the antiviral medication called remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences. But remdesivir's proven benefits are modest: reducing hospital stays from 15 to 11 days. So there's an urgent need for better therapies. The good news is that there are some on the horizon. Some are being tested now, some will be begin testing soon, and others are in the beginning of the pipeline.
11th Jun 2020 - NPR

EU sets out plans for advance orders of coronavirus vaccines

The European Union has laid out plans to place advance orders for coronavirus vaccines currently under development to ensure supplies for member states. The bloc’s executive body has proposed that its 27 member states negotiate as a united bloc with pharmaceutical companies, and offer upfront financing to speed development and ensure priority access to any successful vaccine. “We pay up front a significant part of the investment needed in exchange for a commitment from the pharmaceutical manufacturer to give us a vaccine when is available,” an EU official explained
11th Jun 2020 - The Irish Times


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th Jun 2020

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Searching for coronavirus clues in single cells

Why it matters: Pinpointing the cells in the body's immune response would help speed the development of treatments and vaccines. It also offers insights into inflammation, which underlies diseases ranging from cancer to arthritis to heart disease. How it works: Different molecules (cytokines and antibodies, for example) and cells (white blood cells, T cells, macrophages and others) in different pathways control the inflammation response that kicks in when the body is injured or infected. But inflammation can also persist due to disease and turn the body's immune system against itself, as in the case of autoimmune conditions like lupus and diabetes, causing damage. "Inflammation is a double-edged sword," says Yuan Tian, a computational immunologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
11th Jun 2020 - Axios

No 'patient zero' as Covid-19 came into UK at least 1,300 times

There was no “patient zero” in the UK’s Covid-19 epidemic, according to research showing that the infection was introduced on at least 1,300 occasions. The findings, from the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium, have prompted further criticism that opportunities to suppress the spread of infection in February and March were missed. The study by the consortium – which was set up to sequence the virus’s genetic code – shows that introduction of the virus into the UK peaked in mid-March at a time when infection rates were surging in European countries, but before the government clamped down on non-essential travel. Had travel restrictions and quarantine requirements been introduced a week earlier, overall case numbers in the UK may have been far lower, critics say. The analysis, which has yet to be peer reviewed, also suggests that very few cases were introduced from China, where the pandemic started, with the vast majority coming from Spain, France and Italy.
11th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: England test and trace system identifies 31,000 contacts

More than 31,000 close contacts of people with coronavirus were identified during the first week of the test and trace system in England, figures show. Of those, 85% were reached and asked to self-isolate for 14 days. This was from 8,000 people testing positive for the virus. Two thirds of them gave details of close contacts. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was the public's "civic duty" to follow instructions given by contact tracers. Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, he added he was not ruling out enforcement measures to make people self-isolate for 14 days if asked to do so. About 25,000 contact tracers were recruited in England and started work at the end of May.
11th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Moderna Set to Test COVID-19 Vaccine in 30000 People Starting in July

Moderna announced it had finalized the Phase III clinical trial structure for its COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273. The company’s messenger RNA vaccine has been generally the furthest ahead in clinical development. It dosed the first patient in its Phase I trial with the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on March 16, with a second dose—the vaccine requires two doses—on April 23. mRNA-1273 is an mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 that encodes for a prefusion stabilized form of the Spike (S) protein. The mRNA vaccine is a new type of technology, where the vaccine contains a section of messenger RNA that codes for a protein associated with the virus. The vaccine is injected into a person and the mRNA moves into the test subject’s cells, where the cells then churn out the protein. The body’s immune system should then treat the protein like the virus and attack it, developing an immune response that it will then use if it comes into contact with the actual virus.
11th Jun 2020 - BioSpace

Regeneron to begin trials for COVID-19 antibody cocktail

Regeneron will conduct placebo-controlled trials of REGN-COV2 at multiple sites in four different populations: hospitalized COVID-19 patients, non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19 symptoms, uninfected people in high-risk groups such as healthcare workers, and uninfected people in close contact with infected patients. The first two trials will focus on virologic, safety, and clinical end points in hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients.
11th Jun 2020 - CIDRAP

Indonesia's hundreds of suspected child virus deaths highlight danger

Paediatricians and health officials in the world’s fourth most populous country said the high number of child deaths from a disease that mostly kills the elderly was due to underlying factors, in particular malnutrition, anaemia and inadequate child health facilities. “COVID-19 proves that we have to fight against malnutrition,” Achmad Yurianto, a senior health ministry official, told Reuters. He said Indonesian children were caught in a “devil’s circle”, a cycle of malnutrition and anaemia that increased their vulnerability to the coronavirus. He compared malnourished children to weak structures that “crumble after an earthquake”. It also recorded more than 380 deaths among 7,152 children classified as “patients under monitoring”, meaning people with severe coronavirus symptoms for which there is no other explanation but whose tests have not confirmed the infection.
11th Jun 2020 - Reuters

EU Plans Advance Purchase of Up to Six Promising COVID-19 Vaccines: Sources

The European Commission is seeking a mandate from EU countries to buy promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates in advance from pharmaceutical firms, as long as they are not produced solely in the United States, officials said. The EU executive wants to pay for up to six potential vaccines in deals where the makers would commit to providing doses when and if they become available. It will ask EU health ministers at a video conference meeting on Friday to back the plan, which has been swiftly devised as the bloc fears it may not have access to enough shots should a vaccine be developed. All vaccines in clinical trial this year are in principle eligible for advance purchases, but not those which are produced exclusively in the United States, because Washington has signalled it will not allow sales abroad before its own needs are met, the EU officials told a news conference.
11th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

Pandemic 'Accelerating' in Africa, Test Kits Needed, WHO Says

The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating in Africa, spreading to rural areas after international travellers brought it to capital cities, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. But the WHO said there was no indication that large numbers of severe cases and deaths were being missed, nor has the virus caused significant infections in refugee camps across the continent. Ten countries are driving Africa's epidemic, accounting for 75% of the some 207,600 cases on the continent, said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Africa regional director. About 5,000 deaths have been reported. South Africa, which last month began a phased easing of the lockdown, is the hardest-hit, accounting for a quarter of all cases, she said.
11th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

Moderna Plans To Start Phase 3 Testing of its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate in July

On June 11, biotech company Moderna announced it had finalized plans for phase 3 testing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The late-stage trial will include 30,000 participants and is expected to begin in July.
11th Jun 2020 - TIME


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th Jun 2020

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Dr. Fauci says coronavirus pandemic is his 'worst nightmare' and 'isn't over yet'

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday the coronavirus pandemic has turned out to be his "worst nightmare" and warned that it's not over yet as 21 states across the country have seen an increase in cases. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation's top infectious disease expert spoke at a BIO Digital virtual health-care conference about the continued spread of the coronavirus across the world four months into the pandemic. "Like oh, my goodness, when is it going to end?" he said. "It really is very complicated. So we're just at almost the beginning of really understanding." Fauci called the virus "highly transmissible" and said that "in a period of four months, it has devastated the world." "That’s millions and millions of infections worldwide," he continued. "And it isn’t over yet. And it’s condensed in a very, very small time frame."
10th Jun 2020 - Today

Singapore to launch TraceTogether Token device for COVID-19 contact tracing

The first batch of these devices will be delivered in the latter half of this month, said Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative.
10th Jun 2020 - MobiHealthNews

Coronavirus: UK could have ‘halved’ deaths by moving a week earlier

The UK could have saved half the lives lost to coronavirus if it introduced lockdown a week earlier, one of Boris Johnson’s top scientific advisers has told MPs. Neil Ferguson, whose modelling at Imperial College London persuaded the prime minister to impose a lockdown on March 23rd, was giving evidence to the Commons science committee. “The epidemic was doubling every three to four days before lockdown interventions were introduced. So had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have reduced the final death toll by at least a half,” he said. “Whilst I think the measures, given what we knew about this virus then, in terms of its transmission and its lethality, were warranted, I’m second-guessing at this point. Certainly had we introduced them earlier we would have seen many fewer deaths.”
10th Jun 2020 - The Irish Times

At least 58 doctors reported dead due to COVID-19 in Egypt | Daily Sabah

The number of Egyptian doctors to have died due to COVID-19 has risen to 58 as the government comes under fire for increasing infections and deaths among health care professionals. In the last 24 hours, three doctors have been reported dead due to the coronavirus, according to the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS). Egypt's top medical union last month warned of a "complete collapse" of the country's health system, accusing the health ministry of negligence in failing to protect health care workers from the coronavirus. "The syndicate is warning that the health care system could completely collapse, leading to a catastrophe affecting the entire country if the ministry's negligence and lack of action toward medical staff is not rectified," the Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) said in a statement.
10th Jun 2020 - Daily Sabah

No new COVID-19 cases after infected Missouri hairstylists worked with over 140. How?

Missouri health officials discovered no new coronavirus cases after two infected hairstylists served dozens of clients at a Great Clips hair salon. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says the incubation period has passed after the hairstylists worked on 140 people at the location in Springfield. Six coworkers also were potentially exposed. “This is exciting news about the value of masking to prevent COVID-19,” Health Director Clay Goddard said in a news release. “We are studying more closely the details of these exposures, including what types of face coverings were worn and what other precautions were taken to lead to this encouraging result.”
10th Jun 2020 - Kansas City Star

Exclusive: Europe to accelerate trials of gene-engineered COVID-19 vaccines - sources

European officials aim to speed up trials for coronavirus vaccines containing genetically modified organisms, two EU sources told Reuters, in a move that could help shots developed by companies like AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. The European Commission is expected to put forward the plans as early as next week. They are part of a wider EU strategy aimed at securing enough doses of a possible vaccine for the bloc as it fears lagging behind the United States and China. The reform is expected to reduce member states’ power to impose extra requirements on drug companies when they conduct clinical trials on medicines and vaccines containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to the sources. In some countries like Italy and France, for example, treatments must receive authorisation from government environment or research departments, as well as from health and drug authorities, under rules that are up to 20 years old and also cover the more publicly sensitive area of GMO crops. This has long caused bottlenecks in a pharmaceutical industry that increasing relies on genetic engineering.
10th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Potential COVID-19 vaccine from China shows promise in animal tests

A potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Chinese researchers showed promise in trials in monkeys, triggering antibodies and raising no safety issues, researchers said, and a human trial with more than 1,000 participants is under way. The vaccine candidate, called BBIBP-CorV, induced high-level neutralising antibodies that can block the virus from infecting cells in monkeys, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits, researchers said in a paper published in online by the medical journal Cell on Saturday. “These results support the further evaluation of BBIBP-CorV in a clinical trial,” researchers said in the paper. BBIBP-CorV, developed by Beijing Institute of Biological Products affiliated to state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), is among five candidates China is testing in humans
10th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Explainer: Summer might slow coronavirus but is unlikely to stop it

While warmer weather typically ends the annual flu season in temperate zones, climate alone has not stopped the COVID-19 pandemic from sweeping any part of the globe. In fact, outbreaks in hot and sunny Brazil and Egypt are growing. Still, recent data about how sunlight, humidity and outdoor breezes affect the virus gives some reason for optimism that summer could slow the spread.
10th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Impact of seasons on coronavirus unclear, WHO's Ryan says

It is unclear how the arrival of winter in the southern hemisphere will impact the novel coronavirus, the head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies programme Mike Ryan said on Wednesday. “We don’t know how the coronavirus is going to be,” Ryan said during a virtual press conference. “Right now, we have no data to suggest that the virus will behave more aggressively or transmit more efficiently or not,” Ryan said, adding that the impact of summer’s arrival in the northern hemisphere was also unclear. “We cannot rely on an expectation that the season or the temperature will be the answer to (the disease’s spread),” he said.
10th Jun 2020 - Reuters UK

Fujifilm plots $928M infusion at Danish biologics plant to double production capacity

Fujifilm made a massive investment in a former Biogen biologics facility in Denmark last year to help realize its global CDMO expansion plans. With that nearly $1 billion check behind it, Fujifilm is shelling out an almost equally gigantic infusion to double capacity at the Danish plant. Fujifilm will dole out a whopping $928 million at a former Biogen site in Denmark it acquired in August for $890 million, the Japanese drugmaker said Tuesday. The company's major capital outlay for its Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies CDMO site will dramatically expand the facility's bulk drug manufacturing capacity, finish/fill capabilities and packaging output by fall 2023. Fujifilm's infusion into its Denmark site comes weeks after the Japanese drugmaker agreed to set aside manufacturing space at the site for the Bill Gates-funded COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. In late April, Fujifilm agreed to dedicate room at the Hillerød, Denmark, facility and "work with a selected pharmaceutical partner in supporting the swift manufacture and dedicated supply for patients with COVID-19 in lower-income countries," the drugmaker said in a release.
10th Jun 2020 - FiercePharma

World faces worst food crisis for at least 50 years, UN warns

The world stands on the brink of a food crisis worse than any seen for at least 50 years, the UN has warned as it urged governments to act swiftly to avoid disaster. Better social protections for poor people are urgently needed as the looming recession following the coronavirus pandemic may put basic nutrition beyond their reach, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, said on Tuesday. “Unless immediate action is taken, it is increasingly clear that there is an impending global food emergency that could have long-term impacts on hundreds of millions of children and adults,” he said. “We need to act now to avoid the worst impacts of our efforts to control the pandemic.”
9th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

The coronavirus survives longer on surfaces when temperatures are low and humidity is high. That could explain why New York was hit so hard, while Singapore was not.

The coronavirus survives longer on surfaces when temperatures are low and humidity is high. That could explain why New York was hit so hard, while Singapore was not.
9th Jun 2020 - Business Insider

Coronavirus cases have not gone away. And neither has doctors' emotional trauma.

Underneath all the PPE (personal protective equipment), these health care heroes are suffering. As scores of them work extended hours to provide care daily for suffering patients, they also harbored fears about their personal health and the health of their colleagues and families. This psychological distress is compounded by co-workers who become critically ill or die.
8th Jun 2020 - NBC News


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 10th Jun 2020

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'More than 3 million lives saved' by European lockdown

The British study by researchers at Imperial College London, was published in the journal Nature on June 8. It found that major measures taken in 11 European countries - including the banning of public events, stopping travel, and closing shops and schools - had enabled 3.1 million lives to be saved. The countries studied were: France, the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The researchers compared the number of deaths - based on official figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) - with the number of deaths that there would have been without these measures, according to mathematical modelling. They concluded that the measures had saved 3.1 million lives.
10th Jun 2020 - The Connexion

Coronavirus Test And Trace Scheme 'Not Fit' To Help UK Out Of Lockdown, Say Scientists

The UK’s Test and Trace system is “not fit for purpose”, scientists critical of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic have said. The group of 12 experts – led by former government chief scientific adviser Sir David King – has urged ministers to overhaul the system designed to help the UK out of the coronavirus lockdown. King said this is the “critical moment for the government to act now or risk further spikes” and the group believe a tracing and isolating system led by local health bodies would be more effective. The scientists say that Covid-19 will only be contained if 80% of the contacts of infected people are traced and contacted, but they think this is “impossible” under the current centralised system using 25,000 contact tracers.
9th Jun 2020 - Huffington Post UK

Covid-19 lockdown has negatively impacted kids’ diet, sleep and physical activity: Study

“The tragic COVID-19 pandemic has collateral effects extending beyond direct viral infection,” said Myles Faith, PhD, childhood obesity expert and co-author of the study.
9th Jun 2020 - The Indian Express

Covid-19 lockdowns saved millions of lives and easing curbs risky, studies find

The Imperial team estimated that by early May, between 12 and 15 million people in total in Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland - around 4% of their combined population - had been infected with COVID-19. By comparing the number of deaths counted with deaths predicted by their model if no lockdown measures had been introduced, they found some 3.1 million deaths were averted.
9th Jun 2020 - FRANCE 24 English

'We could have waves of infection, waves of lockdown' says professor of genetics

A professor of genetics has warned that there is every possibility of a resurge in Covid-19 and that Ireland could be facing waves of infection and waves of lockdown. Professor David McConnell of Trinity College, Dublin called for a vigorous, centralised testing system on a massive scale similar to that employed in South Korea. Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Sarah McInerney show he said: “People think we're out of the woods, it's really quite dangerous. Today we are in the same position as we were on 12th March. What happened on that date - we went into an epidemic. Everything is there for us to resurge to have an equally vigorous epidemic. We could have waves of infection, waves of lockdown.”
9th Jun 2020 - Irish Examiner

Coronavirus destroys jobs and worsens inequality, with or without full lockdown

Coronavirus plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many governments are trying to revitalise their economies by gradually lifting lockdown measures, including the UK. But reopening may not rescue their economies to the degree they hope. Evidence from South Korea, which never shut private businesses, tells a cautionary tale. Rushing to reopen without the proper measures in place may not only jeopardise public health, but economic recovery may also be limited. UK consumer spending has already stalled since the gradual lifting of lockdown measures in May. And earlier evidence from other countries shows people spend less in the midst of a pandemic – lockdown or no lockdown. For example, Sweden decided against a severe lockdown, but still experienced economic contractions of similar magnitudes to its European neighbours.
9th Jun 2020 - The Conversation UK

Lockdown ‘prevented nearly half a million deaths in the UK’

Britain’s coronavirus lockdown prevented almost half a million deaths, according to researchers warning that precautions are ‘necessary’ to prevent a second wave of coronavirus. The researchers from Imperial College London forecasted that from the beginning of the pandemic up until May 4 there would be 29,
9th Jun 2020 - Metro

Coronavirus: Satellite traffic images may suggest virus hit Wuhan earlier

The BBC's John Sudworth in Beijing says there were limits on the data set used by researchers - for example, they could not always compare satellite images taken on the same day in consecutive years due to cloud cover in some of the photos. But if the infection was present - undetected perhaps - some people could have been leaving Wuhan and travelling abroad and that fits with some of the other evidence we have begun to see in other parts of the world suggesting early cases of Covid-19, our correspondent says. The mystery of early 'Covid' cases However it may be unfair to use the study as evidence of a cover-up or delay in China's response, because with a previously unknown illness taking root in a community it is quite possible that there was some undetected spread before it was noticed officially, our correspondent adds.
9th Jun 2020 - BBC News

US coronavirus lockdowns prevented millions of infections: study

New research from the University of California at Berkeley estimated that the US's coronavirus lockdowns and other measures prevented about 60 million infections from March 3 to April 6. China's preventive measures helped avoid an estimated 285 million infections, based on data from January 16 to March 5. At the same time, researchers at Imperial College London estimate that coronavirus measures averted 3.1 million deaths in 11 European countries from March to May.
9th Jun 2020 - Business Insider

Face masks helped Japan avoid a coronavirus disaster

Mask-wearing has become an anathema to many parts of the US (and some parts of Europe) — but it may be a good part of why Japan and several other Asian countries are faring so well comparatively. When you look at the coronavirus mortality rate, it is substantially lower in several Asian countries than the US or many countries in Europe. Japan is a particularly striking example. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ended the national state of emergency last week as Japan has by far the lowest coronavirus figures in the group of seven major economies. Even as Japan wobbled as it took a hit from a second wave of infections, it is still standing.
9th Jun 2020 - ZME Science

New Zealand hits zero active coronavirus cases. Here are 5 measures to keep it that way

Today, for the first time since February 28, New Zealand has no active cases of COVID-19. According to our modelling, it is now very likely (well above a 95% chance) New Zealand has completely eliminated the virus. This is in line with our Te Pūnaha Matatini colleagues’ modelling. Today is also the 17th day since the last new case was reported. New Zealand has a total of 1,154 confirmed cases (combined total of confirmed and probable cases is 1,504) and 22 people have died. This is an important milestone and a time to celebrate. But as we continue to rebuild the economy, there are several challenges ahead if New Zealand wants to retain its COVID-19-free status while the pandemic continues elsewhere.
9th Jun 2020 - Australian Times

New Study Shows The Effectiveness Of Lockdown Measures On Preventing COVID-19 Spread

A New Zealand economist joined an international team of researchers to produce the first peer-reviewed analysis of local, regional and national policies implemented in six countries in efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research economist Dr Kendon Bell says the study, which appeared this week in the journal Nature, showed non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as travel restrictions, business and school closures, and lockdown orders, averted roughly 530 million COVID-19 infections across the six countries in the study, China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States, for the period ending April 6. Of these infections, 62 million would likely have been “confirmed cases,” given limited testing in each country.
9th Jun 2020 - Scoop.co.nz

WHO Expert Walks Back Remarks on Asymptomatic Transmission of Coronavirus

Van Kerkhove's remarks on Monday raised confusion and questions among outside experts and health officials who have recommended and in some places required that people wear masks to try to prevent the virus from spreading
9th Jun 2020 - NBC New York


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 9th Jun 2020

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Lockdowns may have averted 3 million deaths in Europe by curbing Covid-19: Study

In a modelling study of lockdown impact in 11 nations, Imperial College London scientists said the draconian steps, imposed mostly in March, had “a substantial effect” and helped bring the infection’s reproductive rate below one by early May. The reproduction rate, or R value, measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth. The Imperial team estimated that by early May, between 12 and 15 million people in the 11 countries - Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland - had been infected with COVID-19. By comparing the number of deaths counted with deaths predicted by their model if no lockdown measures had been introduced, they found some 3.1 million deaths were averted.
8th Jun 2020 - Times of India

Vietnam's Richest Man Plans Ventilator Exports for Covid-19 Cases

Vuong believes his company, Vingroup JSC, can do it faster and for less money. Using an open-source design from device maker Medtronic Plc, Vingroup submitted a working ventilator for regulator approval in mid-April. While the company waits for Vietnam’s regulators to give the go-ahead, ventilators are rolling off the assembly line. Vingroup’s ventilators cost around $7,000 in Vietnam, 30% less than Medtronic’s own model. The company also says it could produce as many as 55,000 a month as soon as the government approves them and plans to export them wherever there’s demand. Vingroup says it’ll donate several thousand to Ukraine and Russia, where Vuong has long-standing business ties.
8th Jun 2020 - Bloomberg

Brazil 'driving in the dark' on COVID-19 as data scandal deepens

Brazil drew further criticism for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday after it published contradictory figures on fatalities and infections, deepening a scandal over the country’s COVID-19 data. The discrepancy followed recent decisions to remove from a national website a trove of data about the country’s outbreak, and to push back the daily release of new numbers late into the evening and after the country’s main television news program. “By changing the numbers, the Ministry of Health covers the sun with a sieve,” Rodrigo Maia, speaker of the lower house, said on Twitter. “The credibility of the statistics needs to be urgently recovered. A ministry that manipulates numbers creates a parallel world in order not to face the reality of the facts,” he added.
8th Jun 2020 - Reuters

Coronavirus: Situation ‘worsening’ says WHO chief, urges world not to let up on fight

New coronavirus cases had their biggest daily increase ever as the pandemic worsens globally and has yet to peak in central America, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday, urging countries to press on with efforts to contains the virus. “More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online briefing.
8th Jun 2020 - Alarabiya

EU watchdog assessing Gilead application for COVID-19 ...

The European health regulator said on Monday it had received an application from U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc for approval of its antiviral drug, remdesivir, as a potential COVID-19 treatment in Europe. "The assessment of the benefits and risks of remdesivir is being performed under a reduced timeline and an opinion could be issued within weeks," the European Medicines Agency said in its statement.
8th Jun 2020 - Thomson Reuters Foundation

Coronavirus update: Experts watch cases in India, Brazil, South Africa

I asked a handful of public health experts Monday to identify some of the international hot spots they are concerned about. There was a lot of overlap in their responses, which indicates to me there is a clear group of places that we should be keeping a close eye on for the foreseeable future. Data for each country’s stats pulled from Our World in Data on Monday, June 8.
8th Jun 2020 - Vox.com


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th Jun 2020

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Vietnamese Covid-19 test kit eligible to be sold in Europe

A new Covid-19 test kit developed by researchers of Hanoi University of Science and Technology has been granted a certification that allows the biological product to be sold in the European market. According to the university, the test kit is one of the very first in the world that uses RT-LAMP to detect SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19. Led by Dr Le Quang Hoa, a lecturer of the university’s School of Biotechnology and Food Technology, and Dr Nguyen Le Thu Ha from Innogenex International Science and Technology Ltd Company, the research team found the reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) technique could be used to detect the novel coronavirus.
7th Jun 2020 - The Star

Asean’s response to Covid-19: A report card

On the whole, I think Asean, led ably by Vietnam, has responded quite well to the pandemic. What we need to remember is that Asean is an inter-governmental organisation. It is not a supranational institution. The response of the region to Covid-19 depends less on Asean than on the member states themselves. The response of the member states has been uneven, given the disparities among them. Some member states like Singapore have world-class healthcare systems. Others do not. Some member states, like Vietnam, responded promptly and decisively to Covid-19. Others did not. Some member states had the financial means to procure masks, test kits, PPE and ventilators. Others did not have such means. On future steps; I refer to an article, written by my good friend Nicholas Robinson and Christian Walzer: “How do we prevent the next outbreak” in the Scientific American on March 25.
7th Jun 2020 - The Star

Coronavirus: 'Pharmacy of the world' India in overdrive

Last month, Gilead Sciences, an American pharmaceutical firm, signed a non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreement with four generic pharmaceutical firms based in India, allowing them to manufacture remdesivir for distribution in 127 countries and territories. It also permits them to set the price for their products. The drug has been authorised for emergency use to treat Covid-19 patients, including in the United States and India. As of January, the firm had remdesivir stocks to treat 5,000 patients. Backed by manufacturers in India and elsewhere, it hopes to increase its availability to more than a million treatment courses by December, assuming a 10-day treatment course. There is also a good chance that any eventual vaccine against the coronavirus will be mass-produced in India if it has to be widely available. Among the front runners is the Pune-based Serum Institute, the world's largest vaccine-maker by number of doses, which exceed 1.5 billion a year.
6th Jun 2020 - The Straits Times

Coronavirus: WHO advises to wear masks in public areas

The global body said new information showed they could provide "a barrier for potentially infectious droplets". Some countries already recommend or mandate face coverings in public. The WHO had previously argued there was not enough evidence to say that healthy people should wear masks. However, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that "in light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments".
6th Jun 2020 - BBC News

Britain halts trial of hydroxychloroquine as 'useless' for Covid-19 patients

British scientists halted a major drug trial on Friday (June 5) after it found that the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, touted by US President Donald Trump as a potential “game changer” in the pandemic, was “useless” at treating Covid-19 patients. “This is not a treatment for Covid-19. It doesn’t work,”Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the Recovery trial, told reporters. “This result should change medical practice worldwide. We can now stop using a drug that is useless.
5th Jun 2020 - The Straits Times

Oxford vaccine clinical trials to take volunteers from Brazil

The clinical trial for a vaccine conducted by experts at the University of Oxford will soon recruit 2,000 volunteers in Brazil The university said that on Tuesday, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency approved the inclusion of Brazil in the clinical trials.
5th Jun 2020 - Hindustan Times

Analysis | The Health 202: Protecting U.S. nursing homes would have significantly slashed coronavirus deaths

The full picture of the coronavirus’s toll on U.S. nursing homes is finally becoming clear. It is enormous. Data updated yesterday by the federal government now show that nearly 32,000 American nursing home residents have died of the virus — a figure certain to grow, with 12 percent of all facilities yet to report their totals. Nearly 700 nursing home employees have also died. As of Thursday, more than 106,000 Americans overall had died of the disease.
5th Jun 2020 - The Washington Post

WHO interview: 'If our behaviour returns to normal Europe risks new waves of Covid-19'

The Local sat down with the man at the forefront of the World Health Organisation's quest for a coronavirus treatment to ask whether reopening our societies will create a second wave and what happens when populism meets science. In the world of science, John-Arne Røttingen is somewhat of an international superstar. In 2015, the Norwegian epidemiologist led the steering group of the groundbreaking study that helped produce a vaccine for Ebola at record speed. If the stakes were high back then, they are even higher now. Røttingen, who heads the Norwegian Research Council, is directing the WHO's international study into Covid-19 treatments and an eventual vaccine.
5th Jun 2020 - The Local Europe

Scientists Link Covid-19 Risk to Genetic Variations

Why do some people infected with the coronavirus suffer only mild symptoms while others become deathly ill? Geneticists have been scouring our DNA for clues. Now, a study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Variations at two spots in the human genome are associated with an increased risk of respiratory failure in patients with Covid-19, the researchers found. One of these spots includes the gene that determines blood types. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.
4th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

‘Like Trash in a Landfill’: Carbon Dioxide Keeps Piling Up in the Atmosphere

Levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide reached another record in May, the month when they normally peak.
4th Jun 2020 - The New York Times

What Will It Take to Reopen the World to Travel?

Australia — After months of locked-down borders, countries that have stifled the coronavirus are trying to choreograph a risky dance: how to bring back visitors without importing another burst of uncontrolled contagion.
3rd Jun 2020 - The New York Times

China withheld data on coronavirus from WHO, recordings reveal

The World Health Organization struggled to get needed information from China during critical early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to recordings of internal meetings that contradict the organisation’s public praise of Beijing’s response to the outbreak. The recordings, obtained by the Associated Press (AP), show officials complaining in meetings during the week of 6 January that Beijing was not sharing data needed to evaluate the risk of the virus to the rest of the world. It was not until 20 January that China confirmed coronavirus was contagious and 30 January that the WHO declared a global emergency. “We’re going on very minimal information,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and the WHO technical lead for Covid-19, according to the AP. “It’s clearly not enough for you to do proper planning.”
2nd Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Thai researcher eyes affordable, accessible coronavirus vaccine for SE Asia

A researcher leading Thailand's push to manufacture a coronavirus vaccine says its aim is to make it cost-effective and accessible to Southeast Asia, and play a part in preventing a supply shortage globally.
25th May 2020 - YAHOO!


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 5th Jun 2020

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Cleaner air during UK lockdown relieves asthma for millions

Two million people in the UK with respiratory conditions such as asthma have experienced reduced symptoms during the coronavirus lockdown, according to the British Lung Foundation. A survey by the charity of 14,000 people with lung conditions found one in six had noticed improvements in their health. Among children, the figure was higher, with one in five parents saying their child’s condition had been alleviated. Asthma sufferers in particular reported benefits, with one in four noting relief.
4th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

After coronavirus, another hidden respiratory disease lurks in the buildings we left behind

Global outbreaks of coronavirus have forced the closing of schools, gyms, offices and other buildings at a scale never seen before. Now, as countries start reopening after lockdown, those previously abandoned buildings could have become a breeding ground for another infection – Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by inhaling water droplets that contain the Legionella pneumophilia bacteria. It’s quite rare, but the long periods of inactivity in buildings during lockdown greatly increases the risk of outbreaks.
4th Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

Brazil to test vaccine as Europe emerges from lockdown

The UN body also said it would resume trials of hydroxychloroquine a week after halting them following a study in The Lancet medical journal that suggested the drug could harm COVID-19 patients. The U-turn came after The Lancet itself cast doubt on the study after it was widely contested by scientists. Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday suggested that taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-19 does not help prevent infection in a statistically meaningful way, however. The WHO has been holding clinical trials to find a treatment for COVID-19, which has killed more than 382,000 people and wrought vast economic damage since emerging in China late last year.
4th Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

4 ways Australia’s coronavirus response was a triumph, and 4 ways it fell short

Australia’s response to the coronavirus outbreak so far has been among the most successful in the world. From a peak of more than 400 cases a day, the rate has fallen to fewer than 20 new cases a day.
4th Jun 2020 - Australian Times

Four ways Australia's coronavirus response was a triumph – and four ways it could have done better

Australia’s response to the coronavirus outbreak so far has been among the most successful in the world. From a peak of more than 400 cases a day, the rate has fallen to fewer than 20 new cases a day. Australia has avoided the worst of the pandemic, at least for now. Comparable (albeit larger and more densely populated) countries, such as the UK and US, are mourning many thousands of lives lost and are still struggling to bring the pandemic under control. The reasons for Australia’s success story are complex, and success may yet be temporary, but four factors have been important.
4th Jun 2020 - RACGP

Face coverings to be made compulsory on public transport in England

Passengers face fines from 15 June for flouting new rule to stop spread of coronavirus
4th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Vaccines group raises $8.8 billion for immunisation plans for poor countries

The GAVI vaccines alliance said on Thursday it had raised $8.8 billion from international donor governments, companies and philanthropic foundations to fund its immunisation programmes through to 2025. At a funding summit in London, GAVI said the pledges had exceeded its target of $7.4 billion, and would “help immunise 300 million more children in the world’s poorest countries against diseases like measles, polio and diphtheria”. The vaccines alliance also said it had raised $567 million towards an initial goal of $2 billion from international donors for an Advanced Market Commitment to buy future COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries.
4th Jun 2020 - Reuters

AstraZeneca lays out plans to produce 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine

The drug giant AstraZeneca said Thursday that it has found partners to manufacture and distribute 2 billion doses of the experimental Covid-19 vaccine created by Oxford University, inking a series of deals with non-government organizations and another manufacturer. AstraZeneca said that CEPI and Gavi, public-private partnerships aimed at developing and distributing vaccines, would spend $750 million to manufacture and make available 300 million doses of the vaccine to distribute by the end of the year — assuming the vaccine is shown to be safe and effective. It also reached a licensing agreement with SII, previously known as the Serum Institute of India, to supply 1 billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries. SII committed to provide 400 million doses before the end of 2020.
4th Jun 2020 - STAT News

COVID-19 Can Last for Several Months

The disease’s “long-haulers” have endured relentless waves of debilitating symptoms—and disbelief from doctors and friends.
4th Jun 2020 - The Atlantic

Remdesivir: Ebola drug endorsed as a coronavirus treatment in Australia

The antiviral drug remdesivir has been recommended for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in Australia, by the national taskforce bringing together the country’s peak health groups. The National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce said Australian doctors treating adults with moderate, severe or critical Covid-19 should consider using the drug to aid recovery times. The antiviral drug is the first medication to be recommended as a considered treatment for patients treated in hospital after contracting coronavirus.
4th Jun 2020 - The Guardian

COVID-19 lockdowns worsen childhood obesity, study finds: Research finds obese kids under lockdown in Italy ate more junk food, watched more TV at expense of physical activity

Lockdowns implemented across the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively impacted diet, sleep and physical activity among children with obesity, according to new research.
3rd Jun 2020 - Science Daily


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 4th Jun 2020

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Coronavirus in Wales: New lockdown measures 'may be needed in winter'

Some lockdown measures may have to be reintroduced in the winter, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has warned. A top Welsh Government official said there was a "real prospect" of a resurgence of the virus later in the year. Mr Gething said it will depend on the prevalence of coronavirus. Meanwhile the minister announced NHS health boards are looking at how they can restart planned NHS operations and cancer services.
3rd Jun 2020 - BBC News

Strict lockdown needed for the next year to control coronavirus, UK study finds

A strict lockdown would be needed in the UK for the next year to control coronavirus, save lives and prevent UK hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, a new study has suggested. Researchers said "extreme measures" are likely required to prevent "very large" numbers of deaths and intensive care units from filling up. The measures could include social distancing, school closures, shielding by the elderly and vulnerable, and self-isolating at home, the study said. It comes as the Governement gradually eases lockdown restrictions in England after 10 weeks amid fresh signs that more Britons are ignoring social distancing rules.
3rd Jun 2020 - Mirror Online

Earlier lockdown could have cut virus deaths by more than 85pc says UEA expert

If the UK had entered lockdown 10 days earlier it could have reduced the number of coronavirus cases and deaths by up to 85pc, a University of East Anglia professor has said.
3rd Jun 2020 - Eastern Daily Press

Sweden Admits Light Lockdown Was Wrong Approach To Fighting Coronavirus

The scientist behind Sweden’s decision to impose one of the lightest coronavirus lockdowns of any European country has admitted the approach has not been effective and has led to one the highest death tolls per capita in the world. Per capita, the Scandinavian country has the 7th highest Covid-19 death toll in the world.
3rd Jun 2020 - Huffington Post UK

England had the chance to prepare for lifting lockdown, but our leaders wasted it

Until a vaccine or effective treatments become available, we face the prospect of living with coronavirus and the risks it presents. Public health experts are clear that testing and contact tracing offer the best hope of managing these risks. But as the lockdown is relaxed, England seems ill-prepared to undertake the testing and tracing that will be necessary to avoid a second peak in cases and deaths.
3rd Jun 2020 - The Guardian

'Professor Lockdown' Neil Ferguson warns Covid-19 cases are continuing to spill out of care homes and Britain's outbreak will continue at a stable rate until SEPTEMBER

Epidemiologist said he was ‘shocked’ by how badly sector had been protected Said R rate would hover around 1 because staff keep taking virus out of homes But warned of second wave in winter when the disease transmits much better
3rd Jun 2020 - Daily Mail

The ‘Japan model’ that tackled coronavirus

Much public debate in Japan had turned on cultural factors — such as high standards of hygiene, obedience to government requests and even claims that the lack of aspirated consonants in the Japanese language reduces the spread of virus droplets. But local experts do not believe their country has any magic power to defeat the virus. Instead they point to three more prosaic factors: a special contact-tracing strategy, early awareness that brought a positive reaction from the Japanese public and the timely declaration of a state of emergency.
3rd Jun 2020 - Financial Times

Chief scientist warns coronavirus is 'not coming down fast' and R is almost 1

Sir Patrick Vallance said the number of deaths was also coming down "but it is not coming down as fast as we would like it to come down"
3rd Jun 2020 - Mirror Online


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 3rd Jun 2020

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You shouldn't worry about people filling parks during lockdown

The weekend’s hot weather saw crowds of people flow to beaches and parks to bask in the sun and have picnics. Britons can sit outside for as long as they like, and since June 1, they are allowed to meet with up to five other people outdoors as long as they keep two metres apart. But coronavirus fear strikes many people seeing crowds in the park or queuing up for ice cream and public toilets next to strangers.
2nd Jun 2020 - Wired.co.uk

This is how German politicians talk about COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, governments across the world have been using military comparisons and metaphors to describe their containment of the coronavirus outbreak. Germany, unlike most other countries, has avoided using any such language. Dagmar Paulus, from University College London, explores why this might be and what impact it's having on Germany's coronavirus outbreak.
2nd Jun 2020 - World Economic Forum

WHO warns of pressure on Latin American health systems

With nearly 30,000 dead in Brazil and more than 10,000 dead in Mexico, the novel coronavirus epidemic threatens to shatter hospital systems across Latin America -- while France, which is emerging from a similar nightmare scenario, begins on Tuesday a gradual return to normalcy. Four of the 10 countries showing the greatest number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours were in Latin America, the World Health Organization's emergencies director Michael Ryan said.
2nd Jun 2020 - Yahoo News Australia

Pakistan document shows experts wanted lockdown

A leaked government document reveals authorities ignored experts who wanted a monthlong lockdown in Pakistan’s Punjab province and who estimated 670,000 might have been infected in the provincial capital of Lahore. After media published the experts’ report Tuesday, residents criticized the government for easing the restrictions last month instead of heeding the recommendation. The report was based on a sample survey done in Lahore, which had 245 deaths through May 15. Since then, Punjab has reported nearly 200 more fatalities related to COVID-19.
2nd Jun 2020 - Republic World

Coronaprofile: Can we predict who will get COVID-19? At Japan's RIKEN, researchers study the data

Information scientist Kazuhiro Sakurada wants to use large numbers of medical records to predict who is high-risk for coronavirus
2nd Jun 2020 - Science Business

The secret of Japan's success in combating COVID-19

Through its strategic “cluster-focused approach,” the government was able to identify environmental risk factors and risk behavior that cause clusters. The easy-to-understand slogan that cautioned the public against “closed, crowded spaces with close-contact (the three Cs)” was also an effective communication strategy. These efforts may have prevented clusters from forming and delayed the exponential growth in cases without damaging the economy by legally restricting the movement of people. The cluster-focused approach also enabled the government to detect signs of exponential growth of cases at a very early stage, thereby allowing it to provide the public with an effective early warning.
2nd Jun 2020 - The Japan Times

Countries around the world could learn from NZ's social bubble strategy, research shows

The research led by the Auckland University of Technology, titled Living in Bubbles during the Coronavirus Pandemic, found that other countries may find New Zealand’s “bubbles” effective in encouraging compliance with social distancing. While New Zealand is now in Level 2 with Kiwis able to socialise with friends and family, many countries around the world are still in lockdown, confined to their houses and the people they live with. AUT’s research gives recommendations to overseas policy makers on how bubbles could positively impact their time in lockdown.
2nd Jun 2020 - TVNZ

These Scenarios Show What a Second Wave of COVID-19 Could Look Like

With the relaxation of the lockdown rules, warnings are being sounded about a possible resurgence of COVID-19 cases – a so-called second wave. The second wave of the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-20 was particularly devastating, as was the second wave of the H1N1 epidemic in 2009-10. So what can be done to avoid a second wave of COVID-19?
2nd Jun 2020 - ScienceAlert

Exclusive: Government censored BAME covid-risk review

An earlier draft of the review which was circulated within government last week contained a section which included responses from the 1,000-plus organisations and individuals who supplied evidence to the review. Many of these suggested that discrimination and poorer life chances were playing a part in the increased risk of covid-19 to those with BAME backgrounds.
2nd Jun 2020 - Healthservice Journal

Novel coronavirus losing potency, top Italian doctor says

Head of a Milan hospital tells RAI TV that recent swab tests show less viral load compared with previous findings.
1st Jun 2020 - Al Jazeera English


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 2nd Jun 2020

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WHO warns overuse of antibiotics for Covid-19 will cause more deaths

The increased use of antibiotics to combat the Covid-19 pandemic will strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them.
1st Jun 2020 - The Guardian

Health officials ‘not confident’ UK can cope with second coronavirus spike amid fears lockdown being eased too quickly

A senior public health official said she does not feel “confident” that the UK is ready to deal with a second spike in coronavirus cases. Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, president of the Association of Directors of Public Health [ADPH], warned that ministers are “misjudging” the balancing act and lifting “too many of the restrictions too quickly”. It comes as pupils start to return to school today as major changes are made to coronavirus lockdown restrictions. People in England will be allowed to meet up with up to six people from separate households outdoors, while more than two million clinically vulnerable people who have been shielding from the virus for the past 10 weeks will also be allowed to go outside.
1st Jun 2020 - Evening Standard

Covid-19 testing at lowest rate since lockdown

A total of 2,729 tests took place – 42 per cent fewer than the previous Sunday, despite capacity for 15,000 per day in Scotland. At the end of April Nicola Sturgeon said the government was expanding testing capacity at pace, and wanted to carrying out 10,000 a day. However the latest statistics show th number of tests for Covid-19 fell from 5,472 last Thursday to 4,325 on Friday, 3,229 on Saturday and just 2,729 on Sunday, less than 18 per cent of the country’s capacity.
1st Jun 2020 - The Scotsman

U.K. government's impatience with lockdown risks a second wave of the coronavirus, scientist warns

Britain’s government is putting the country at risk of a second wave of Covid-19 by rushing out of lockdown, a leading scientist has warned. Speaking to CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Monday, David King, who served as the U.K. government’s chief scientific advisor between 2000 and 2007, said he “absolutely” believed policymakers were moving too quickly to ease lockdown measures. The U.K. is still at coronavirus alert level 4, meaning transmission is high or rising exponentially. Government policy states that social distancing must remain in place at this level, with “gradual relaxing of restrictions and social distancing measures” not supposed to happen until the country moves down into alert level 3.
1st Jun 2020 - CNBC

UK’s infection rate ‘is too high’ for lifting lockdown, top scientist warns

Sir David King, who has formed an independent scientific advisory group (SAGE), told Good Morning Britain: ‘The sooner we can undo the lockdown the sooner we can get our economy back into play, but we cannot undo the lockdown at a point where we are today, which is roughly the same point as when we went into lockdown…which is 8,000 new infections a day which has been stable for the last three weeks. ‘If we were going into lockdown at this point, surely that’s a very good reason to hang onto lockdown’.
1st Jun 2020 - Metro

UK and Italy seek to further ease lockdowns as scientists urge caution

The European Commission predicts coronavirus will produce a GDP hit of 7.7 per cent in 2020. And it predicts the UK economy will shrink by 8.3 per cent. Some schools and outdoor markets are set to reopen today in line with social distancing measures in the UK. And competitive horse racing events are set to restart, while 2m vulnerable people at higher risk from coronavirus are now being allowed outside. Non-essential shops like clothing retailers and bookshops are set to be able to reopen from 15 June under UK guidelines. Meanwhile, the Premier League will return from 17 June. “We’ll have to take further restrictive measures if we find any uptick in the virus,” foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC yesterday. He added that “we can’t just stay in lockdown forever”.
1st Jun 2020 - City A.M.

Coronavirus: what a second wave might look like

As the new coronavirus was rapidly spreading in February and March 2020, many governments introduced stringent lockdown measures. Through a massive public effort, these countries have been successful at slowing the pandemic. Combining various public health approaches, countries such as Slovenia and New Zealand have eradicated the virus within their borders. Other countries, including the UK, achieved significant progress in arresting the spread of the disease. Yet the lockdown has led to substantial economic and social loss in countries where stringent social distancing measures have been applied. Governments, as well as the public, are now keen to start removing the restrictions and return to normal life.
1st Jun 2020 - YAHOO!

Israeli expert's recipe to prevent a second coronavirus lockdown

Eli Waxman, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, said there are three steps to stopping the country’s next closure: Test, trace, isolate. And it all has to be done within two days.
1st Jun 2020 - The Jerusalem Post

35,000 infections: the cost of a one-week delay in COVID clampdown

Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions came just in time to avert disaster, with new modelling showing waiting just one more week risked infections ballooning to 35,000. Waiting another to introduce border closures and social distancing measuring could have led to a five-fold increase in Australia’s current infections.
1st Jun 2020 - Sydney Morning Herald

Russia to roll out its first approved COVID-19 drug next week

Russia will start giving its first drug approved to treat COVID-19 to patients from June 11, its state financial backer, RDIF sovereign wealth fund head Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters. The antiviral drug, Avifavir, known generically as Favipiravir, was first developed in the late 1990s by a Japanese company. Mr Dmitriev said Russian scientists had modified the drug to enhance it, and said Moscow would be ready to share the details of within two weeks. Japan has been trialling the same drug, known there as Avigan. It has won $US128 million in Government funding, but has yet to be approved for use. Mr Dmitriev said clinical trials on 330 people had shown it successfully treated the virus in most cases within four days.
1st Jun 2020 - ABC News

Coronavirus tracked: Charting Sweden’s disastrous no-lockdown strategy

Sweden has taken the ignominious title of the country with the world’s highest death rate from Covid-19. The title, which was was briefly held by the UK late last month, comes after Swedish officials decided to ignore the lockdown advice of countless health experts and kept the country largely open during the pandemic. The number of deaths per capita in Sweden is now more than four-times that of its Nordic neighbours.
1st Jun 2020 - The Independent

Health officials make last-minute plea to stop lockdown easing in England

Senior public health officials have made a last-minute plea for ministers to scrap Monday’s easing of the coronavirus lockdown in England, warning the country is unprepared to deal with any surge in infection and that public resolve to take steps to limit transmisson has been eroded. The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said new rules, including allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors and in private gardens, were “not supported by the science” and that pictures of crowded beaches and beauty spots over the weeks
31st May 2020 - The Guardian

Australian Health Authorities Urge Caution as Lockdowns Ease

Australian state health authorities have urged residents to exercise caution with lockdown measures set to be relaxed across the nation on Monday. The two most-populous states will lift several restrictions as they continue to grapple with isolated coronavirus outbreaks. New South Wales reported three new cases on Sunday, all of who were travelers in hotel quarantine; while Victoria extended its state of emergency to allow the chief health officer to keep issuing safety directives.
31st May 2020 - Bloomberg

How New Zealand Used Evidence-Based Policies to Beat The Pandemic

"Here in New Zealand, we are all very aware of how lucky we are, and we connect with colleagues overseas and really feel for them," Auckland City Hospital intensive-care specialist Chris Poynter previously told Business Insider. Experts say it's more than luck, but rather early lockdown efforts, citizen's adherence to the rules, widespread testing and contact tracing, and good communication that are the keys to its success.
29th May 2020 - ScienceAlert


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 1st Jun 2020

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Coronavirus update: United States sends Brazil 2 million hydroxychloroquine doses, UK brushes aside criticism of early reopening

The United States has sent Brazil millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic for frontline health workers and a treatment for patients with COVID-19, even though scientific evidence has not backed up those uses.
31st May 2020 - ABC News

UK govt advisors sound warning on easing virus lockdown

Senior advisors to Boris Johnson's government on Saturday warned it was too early to lift the lockdown, just two days before the UK further relaxes coronavirus restrictions. As people revelled in soaring temperatures by flocking to beaches and parks, several members of the government's own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told ministers they risked a second wave of infection. One -- epidemiologist Professor John Edmunds -- said the move was "a political decision". Another prominent scientist, Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and also a member of Sage, warned explicitly on Twitter that the government's was wrong on its timing. Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England," wrote Farrar.
31st May 2020 - YAHOO!

Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift UK lockdown – Sage adviser

Government advisers have voiced unease over the decision to lift England’s lockdown while thousands of people a day are still becoming infected with the coronavirus, warning that loosening restrictions could easily lead to a second wave. “We cannot relax our guard by very much at all,” said John Edmunds, a professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who attends meetings of Sage, the scientific advisory group on emergencies. There are still 8,000 new infections every day in England without counting those in hospitals and care homes, Edmunds said. “If you look at it internationally, it’s a very high level of incidence.” World Health Organization statistics suggest it is the fifth highest in the world.
29th May 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: Germany 'can avoid second wave'

One of Germany's top virologists, Christian Drosten, says the country could avoid a second wave of coronavirus infections. With more known about the virus, it may be possible to keep COVID-19 limited to local flare-ups.
29th May 2020 - Deutsche Welle

Coronavirus: Early testing and swift lockdowns prevented 'up to 100000 deaths' in Germany

Germany’s early response to the virus in terms of developing and deploying coronavirus tests at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the government’s quick response to scientists’ recommendations has prevented thousands of deaths in the country, according to a leading virologist. In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine (link in German), Christian Drosten, director of the Virology Institute at Berlin’s Charité hospital, said that without his lab’s work developing a coronavirus diagnostic test in January, Germany would have been less well-prepared for the outbreak. “In mid-February we were able to routinely test for Sars-CoV-2 in Germany,” Drosten said. “If we hadn't been able to test so early, if we scientists hadn't informed politicians, I believe we would now have 50,000 to 100,000 more deaths in Germany.”
29th May 2020 - Yahoo Finance UK

'We are losers in this crisis': research finds lockdowns reinforcing gender inequality

Life during the coronavirus lockdown has reinforced gender inequality across Europe with research emphasising that the economic and social consequences of the crisis are far greater for women and threaten to push them back into traditional roles in the home which they will struggle to shake off once it is over. Throughout the continent, campaign groups are warning that the burdens of the home office and home schooling together with additional household duties and extra cooking, has been unequally carried by women and that improvements made in their lives by the growth in equality over the past decades are in danger of being rolled back by the health crisis.
29th May 2020 - The Guardian

Can we apply these lessons from South Korea to vanquish COVID-19?

South Korea is a standout in the current battle against COVID-19, largely due to its widespread testing and contact tracing; however, key to its innovation is publicly disclosing detailed information on the individuals who test positive for COVID-19. These measures prove more effective at reducing deaths among than comprehensive stay-home orders, according to new research from University of California San Diego, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago.
29th May 2020 - Medical Xpress

France Bans Malaria Drug for Coronavirus Treatments

France on Wednesday revoked the authorization allowing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19 patients, a day after halting the use of the malaria drug in clinical trials. Both steps come on the back of moves by the World Health Organization to temporarily remove the drug from global trials over safety concerns.
29th May 2020 - The New York Times

What these medical experts want you to know about Australia's coronavirus response — and the dangers of complacency

A team of health and medical experts assembled on The Drum on Thursday night had a clear message: Australia made the right choice. The consequences, they warned, could have been far worse. "There is no doubt we had to do serious things, because even without the modelling, it was obvious what was happening in other countries already," said the Australian National University's Peter Collignon.
29th May 2020 - ABC News


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 29th May 2020

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UK weeks behind where it ought to be with testing and tracing – NHS Providers

The UK is “weeks behind” where it should to be with coronavirus testing and tracing, the chief executive of NHS Providers has claimed amid reports of major problems with the service. The NHS Test and Trace system – seen as key to easing lockdown restrictions – has been rolled out across England with the help of 25,000 contact tracers.
28th May 2020 - Evening Express

How late a country imposed COVID-19 lockdown links to excess deaths

A Financial Times analysis of the excess death rates of 13 countries compared to when they imposed a lockdown has shown a close correlation between the two factors. The data suggests that the less widespread the virus was when a country locked down, the lower the excess death rates. For example, the UK waited until later in the severity of its outbreak before locking down, and now shows a high excess death rate. The opposite is true of Germany. The FT used excess deaths — the difference between the current number of deaths from the expected number of deaths at this time — instead of countries' reported coronavirus death numbers
28th May 2020 - Business Insider

Coronavirus: Italy envoy rejects remark by Sweden's chief epidemiologist

Italy's ambassador to Sweden has defended his country's healthcare system after the chief Swedish state epidemiologist questioned Italy's capacity to tackle the coronavirus. Anders Tegnell suggested in a radio interview that Italy had "fewer resources" than Sweden to fight it. Ambassador Mario Cospito issued a defiant statement in response. "Everyone outside of Italy should express only praise and solidarity to our country and our people," he wrote. The spat comes days after Mr Tegnell's predecessor as state epidemiologist criticised him, arguing the country should have imposed a lockdown.
28th May 2020 - BBC News

AstraZeneca locks up COVID-19 vaccine supply with Oxford BioMedica production deal

AstraZeneca is on the hook for millions of doses of the University of Oxford's front-runner COVID-19 vaccine candidate, assuming it proves effective. To fill those orders, the British drugmaker has agreed to a short-term manufacturing deal that will help it bridge the gap. AstraZeneca and Oxford BioMedica inked a one-year deal covering "multiple batches" of the University of Oxford's adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, as part of a consortium aimed at speeding production of the shot. As part of the agreement, AstraZeneca will have access to Oxford BioMedica's 84,000-square-foot OxBox commercial manufacturing center in Oxford, England. The agreement will turn out most of the clinical and commercial supply in 2020 with the possibility of expansion in the future, Oxford BioMedica said in a release.
28th May 2020 - FiercePharma


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 28th May 2020

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Dangerous blood clots pose a perplexing coronavirus threat

Tiny clots that can damage tissue throughout the body have been seen in hospitalized patients and in autopsies. This feature of the disease is confounding doctors' understanding of what was once considered mainly a respiratory infection. It's also raising questions about prevention and treatment. Some conditions that make some COVID-19 patients vulnerable to severe complications, including obesity and diabetes, can increase clot risks. But many authorities believe how the virus attacks and the way the body responds play a role.
27th May 2020 - North Country Public Radio

Blood markers discovered for COVID-linked syndrome in children

Findings from a large, multinational study could help speed development of an accurate diagnostic blood test for the mysterious inflammatory illness.
27th May 2020 - NBC News

Coronavirus tracked: UK's daily death rate is now the highest in the world

The UK now has the highest rate of confirmed deaths from Covid-19 worldwide, averaging close to 5 in every million people per day. Figures from the last seven days show that the average death rate in the UK is now more than that of France and Italy combined. The second highest death rate over the last seven days is in Sweden, where the government decided against imposing a lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
27th May 2020 - The Independent

Asymptomatic COVID-19 cases may be more common than suspected

New estimates of the number of asymptomatic people with the coronavirus suggest that "silent" COVID-19 is much more prevalent than once thought, according to two studies published Wednesday. The first study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that 42 percent of cases from a group of people in Wuhan, China, were asymptomatic. The second study, published in Thorax, found much higher rates of asymptomatic individuals: 81 percent of cases on a cruise to Antarctica.
27th May 2020 - NBC News

Public disclosure of COVID-19 cases is more effective than lockdowns, study shows

South Korea is a standout in the current battle against COVID-19, largely due to its widespread testing and contact tracing; however, key to its innovation is publicly disclosing detailed information on the individuals who test positive for COVID-19. These measures prove more effective at reducing deaths among than comprehensive stay-home orders, according to new research from University of California San Diego, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago.
26th May 2020 - Science Daily

WHO warns that 1st wave of coronavirus pandemic not over

As Brazil and India struggle with surging coronavirus cases, a top health expert is warning that the world is still very much in the middle of the outbreak, dampening hopes for a speedy global economic rebound and renewed international travel. "Right now, we're not in the second wave. We're right in the middle of the first wave globally," said Dr. Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's executive director. "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up." Ryan pointed to case loads in South America, South Asia and other parts of the world.
26th May 2020 - CBC.ca


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 27th May 2020

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Merck in collaboration to develop coronavirus vaccine, with clinical trials to start this year

U.S. drugmaker Merck plans to work alongside nonprofit scientific research organization IAVI to develop a potential vaccine against the coronavirus. Most experts agree that it could take 12 to 18 months for a safe vaccine to be rolled out to the market. Even if an effective vaccine becomes available, many have warned of significant logistical challenges around distributing enough doses for the global population.
27th May 2020 - CNBC

Japan delays approval of Fujifilm drug for treating coronavirus

Japan has delayed the approval of an anti-flu drug as a potential coronavirus treatment after interim results from its first randomised clinical trial provided no solid evidence of its effectiveness. The decision has cast doubt on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s early enthusiasm for Fujifilm Holdings’ Avigan, which was touted as a promising treatment even before the completion of randomised clinical trials. Mr Abe had indicated the drug, which has the generic name favipiravir, could be approved this month but government officials admitted on Tuesday that more clinical research was required.
26th May 2020 - Financial Times

Coronavirus: WHO suspends hydoxychloroquine trial over safety

Hydroxychloroquine is most typically used to treat malaria, lupus and arthritis. The WHO had been testing the drug as part of its Solidarity trial looking at the safety and efficacy of four medications against coronavirus. But a study on Friday revealed higher mortality rates among COVID-19 patients who took the drug On Monday, the WHO announced it was suspending the hydroxychloroquine arm of its trial over safety concerns. President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that he finished taking his two-week prescription of the drug, which he had used as a prophylactic
26th May 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus: UK authorises anti-viral drug remdesivir

A drug treatment called remdesivir that appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus is being made available on the NHS. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began. Remdesivir is an anti-viral medicine that has been used against Ebola. UK regulators say there is enough evidence to approve its use in selected Covid-19 hospital patients. For the time being and due to limited supplies, it will go to those most likely to benefit.
26th May 2020 - BBC South East Wales

Coronavirus: Sports events in March 'caused increased suffering and death'

Just 24 hours before Cheltenham opened its gates to 250,000 spectators on 10 March, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden rebuffed growing calls for a ban on mass outdoor gatherings. He told the BBC: "There's no reason for people not to attend such events or to cancel them at this stage." But Prof Spector from King's College London said "people will have probably died prematurely" because of the decision.
26th May 2020 - BBC News

Public disclosure of COVID-19 cases is more effective than lockdowns

South Korea is a standout in the current battle against COVID-19, largely due to its widespread testing and contact tracing; however, key to its innovation is publicly disclosing detailed information on the individuals who test positive for COVID-19. These measures prove more effective at reducing deaths among than comprehensive stay-home orders, according to new research from University of California San Diego, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago.
26th May 2020 - Medical Xpress

Covid 19 coronavirus: Call for NZ clinical trials after Govt's $37m vaccine spend

Scientists have hailed a just-announced $37m Government spend toward a Covid-19 vaccine – and now a major clinical research organisation has called for trials to be carried out here. This afternoon, ministers revealed the fund would be sending $10m toward local vaccine research and $5m for exploring manufacturing a vaccine here. Up to $15m would also be steered toward global research collaborations and $7m would go to Gavi - an alliance that distributes vaccines to developing nations.
26th May 2020 - New Zealand Herald

Coronavirus: Dr Ashley Bloomfield urges New Zealand to have some perspective as impatience grows about alert level restrictions

New Zealanders should have a little perspective as impatience grows about alert level restrictions, the Director-General of Health says. Gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed from Friday but alert level 2 will likely remain in place for another month. New Zealand moved to alert level 2 on May 14. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the expansion of mass gatherings on Monday but said the country would not move to alert level 1 for at least another month when Cabinet will reassess the situation.
26th May 2020 - Newshub

Front-line coronavirus workers could be vaccinated as soon as this year, Novavax CEO says

Workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic will be first to receive a vaccine and that could come as soon as later this year, Stanley Erck, CEO of vaccine development company Novavax, said Tuesday. Novavax announced Monday that it has launched clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate and it expects preliminary results in July. Erck said his company plans to price its potential vaccine on a tiered approach based on affordability.
26th May 2020 - CNBC

Merck Leaps Into COVID-19 Development Fray With Vaccine, Drug Deals

Merck & Co Inc, which has largely kept to the sidelines of the race for COVID-19 treatments, said it was buying Austrian vaccine maker Themis Bioscience and would collaborate with research nonprofit IAVI to develop two separate vaccines. It also announced a partnership with privately held Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to develop an experimental oral antiviral drug against COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
26th May 2020 - New York Times

Bill Gates Funds a Crucial COVID-19 Vaccine Human Trial, Merck Adds 2 Candidates

Novavax’s vaccine effort is backed by $388 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI), a nonprofit founded by Bill Gates. The billionaire philanthropist created the organization in 2015 to prepare the world for “a global respiratory epidemic,” which he prophetically warned about in a TED talk the same year. The Novavax project is the CEPI’s largest investment to date. The funds are supposed to cover up to phase 2 clinical trial and production of millions of doses by the end of 2020, CEPI said in a funding announcement earlier this month.
26th May 2020 - Observer

WHO warns of 'second peak' in areas where COVID-19 declining

The world is still in the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, WHO emergencies head Dr Mike Ryan told an online briefing, noting that while cases are declining in many countries they are still increasing in Central and South America, South Asia and Africa. Ryan said epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided. There was also a chance that infection rates could rise again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon.
26th May 2020 - Reuters


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 26th May 2020

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Dr Deborah Birx refuses to rule out a second lockdown

Dr Deborah Birx on Sunday refused to rule out a second US lockdown in the fall saying, 'it's difficult to tell.' 'We're trying to understand during this period of coming out of the closure: How do we maintain openness and safety? And I think that's what we're going to be learning through May, June and July,' Birx said. During the interview, Birx also reminded beachgoers to socially distance and wear masks while outside. 'You can go to the beaches if you stay 6 feet apart,' she said, stressing importance of wearing face coverings. Crowds gathered on beaches across the country to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. Americans enjoyed some leisurely time on the shore after spending weeks on lockdown. States across the country have gradually started reopen their economies and allow people into public spaces Despite the lifting of the lockdown, authorities are reminding crowds to observe social distancing guidelines
25th May 2020 - Daily Mail

New coronavirus outbreaks in Spain inevitable, warn experts

The new normality that Spain is moving toward as it leaves the worst of the coronavirus epidemic behind it will be a demanding place. The use of face masks will continue to be necessary, as will maintaining social-distancing measures, even when no dangers are evident. At the same time, citizens will have to be very flexible and change their plans when the virus rears its head once more. “There will be new outbreaks with the deescalation, it’s inevitable,” explains Pere Godoy, the president of the Spanish Epidemiological Society (SEE). “We will have to adapt to them and the measures that will be taken to control them.”
25th May 2020 - EL PAÍS in English

Coronavirus: German doctors warn of second wave ahead of holiday season

As European countries prepare to reopen to tourists, two leading German doctors on Sunday warned that the mass movement of holidaymakers could prompt a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Max Geraedts, a doctor and health researcher at the University of Marburg, told the dpa news agency that large gatherings could lead to "another sharp increase" in infections. "If you walk alone on the beach, no matter where in the world, then, of course it doesn't matter," he said. "But when you go to a bar where there are lots of people, that can have unpleasant results." Geraedts said that tourist destinations could be responsible for a second phase of exponential growth in cases which are then brought back to visitors' home countries.
24th May 2020 - DW (English)


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 25th May 2020

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Global partner to help manufacture one billion doses of Moderna’s mRNA coronavirus vaccine

Scaling up millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine is a huge step in knocking down the pandemic, and a 10-year strategic plan between Cambridge biotech company Moderna and Swiss company Lonza aims to accomplish that goal. Moderna’s mRNA coronavirus vaccine has shown promise in early studies, and the company announced in early May it will partner with Lonza to enable manufacturing of up to one billion doses per year of the vaccine. The first batches of the messenger ribonucleic acid vaccine, called mRNA-1273, are set to be manufactured at Lonza’s United States suites in June, according to Moderna. Over time, more production sites at Lonza’s many worldwide facilities will be established to make up to a billion doses a year.
24th May 2020 - Boston Herald

Pa. doles out 3rd round of remdesivir, which might help coronavirus recovery; these hospitals received it

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has distributed the third shipment of the investigational antiviral medication remdesivir to treat patients in the hospital with COVID-19. The medication was sent to the department by the federal government on Thursday and 8,928 doses of medication were shipped to 81 hospitals on Friday. “The department is working to give our hospitals every opportunity to treat patients with COVID-19,” Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said. “It is important to note that there is limited information on the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19. However, it was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the recovery time in some people, which is why the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of the medication for treatment.”
23rd May 2020 - Middletown Press and Journal

Early results from Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial show participants developed antibodies against the virus

Volunteers who received Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine had positive early results, according to the biotech company, which partnered with the National Institutes of Health to develop the vaccine. If future studies go well, the company's vaccine could be available to the public as early as January, Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna's chief medical officer, told CNN. "This is absolutely good news and news that we think many have been waiting for for quite some time," Zaks said.
23rd May 2020 - CNN

CDC publishes new pandemic guidance for religious worship

Religious institutions should provide soap and hand sanitizer, encourage the use of cloth masks and clean their facilities daily if they want to open while coronavirus is still spreading, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in newly released guidance Friday. Churches, synagogues, mosques and other institutions should also promote social distancing and consider limiting the sharing of objects such as books and hymnals, the CDC said. The new guidance comes at the urging of the White House, which has been in a tug-of-war with the CDC over pandemic guidance.
22nd May 2020 - CNN


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 22nd May 2020

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At Least 54,000 U.S. Deaths Could Have Been Avoided If Lockdown Had Come Two Weeks Earlier

Around 54,000 coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. could have been avoided by early May if states issued coronavirus restrictions on March 1, 2020, according to a new Columbia University model that starkly demonstrates how early action might have curtailed the growth of the virus.
21st May 2020 - Forbes

Coronavirus: 'Tackle harmful lockdown drinking,' BMJ editorial warns

Tackling harmful drinking during the lockdown will be "an integral part of the nation's recovery", an editorial in the BMJ says. With supermarket sales of alcohol having risen, it warns cases of alcoholic liver disease could increase too. And the writers fear drinking could be fuelling a rise in calls to domestic violence charities. They say greater investment in alcohol treatment services is needed. "Many people reacted to the closure of pubs and restaurants by stocking up to drink at home in isolation," says the article, by Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, who chairs Alcohol Health Alliance UK, and Ilora Finlay, who chairs the House of Lords Commission on Alcohol Harms.
21st May 2020 - BBC South East Wales

36K Lives Could Have Been Saved If US Implemented Lockdown Earlier: Researchers

Thousands upon thousands of lives lost to the coronavirus could have been saved had the United States implemented a lockdown just a week before it did, according to new data by Columbia University researchers. As of Wednesday, May 20, more than 91,000 Americans died from COVID-19, but researchers estimate that nearly 36,000 fewer people would have died by early May if social distancing rules had been announced a week earlier. Some 54,000 people would've been saved if measures were taken two weeks earlier, the New York Times first reported.
21st May 2020 - NBC Connecticut

How can countries know when it's safe to ease coronavirus lockdowns?

It is unlikely that any country exiting lockdown will return to how things were before the outbreak. Social distancing, regular handwashing and, in some places, face masks may become a new normal. “There’s an assumption that we can get to a point and then relax,” says Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia, UK. “That’s a false assumption.”
21st May 2020 - New Scientist

Lockdown Delays Cost at Least 36,000 Lives, Data Show

And if the country had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than most people started staying home, the vast majority of the nation’s deaths — about 83 percent — would have been avoided, the researchers estimated. Under that scenario, about 54,000 fewer people would have died by early May.
21st May 2020 - The New York Times

Inactivity due to the coronavirus lockdown is putting vulnerable people with obesity, hypertension and lung disease at risk of further health complications, study shows

Brits with obesity, lung disease and hypertension have increased their risk of suffering from chronic conditions by cutting down on exercise during lockdown. UK scientists fear people who are already vulnerable to COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions are in a 'no win' situation as they cut down on vital exercise and stay indoors. People with medical conditions who perceived themselves or others in their home to be at risk had more frequently changed towards a more inactive lifestyle, they found.
21st May 2020 - Daily Mail on MSN.com


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 21st May 2020

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UK government scientists looking at how to ease coronavirus lockdown faster for remote areas

The government’s top scientists are looking at ways of lifting the lockdown at a faster rate in remote parts of the UK that have very few or no coronavirus cases. The chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence Dame Angela Maclean today said location “was a huge focus” for government scientists when looking at lockdown restrictions and that the UK’s islands were “particularly interesting”.
20th May 2020 - City A.M.

Coronavirus lockdown should not be eased until 'track and trace' is a success, say government advisers

Boris Johnson should resist calls to ease the lockdown including reopening schools until a new system to trace the spread of coronavirus is a proven success, according to two members of the government's scientific advisory council. The prime minister must decide in the next 10 days whether to reopen schools and allow those in non-essential jobs to return to work at the start of June, something he set as an ambition in an address to the nation 10 days ago. However Sky News understands that the government has been warned by its scientific advisers not to proceed until the "contact tracing" system is up and running and, importantly, is a proven success.
20th May 2020 - Sky News

How can countries know when it's safe to ease coronavirus lockdowns?

Even when new case numbers are low, lifting restrictions will always carry a risk of a second wave of infections. South Korea brought its outbreak under control with a stringent policy of testing, isolation and contact tracing. In recent weeks, the country was reporting only around 10 new cases per day. However, following eased restrictions from 6 May, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week confirmed 102 new cases linked to nightclubs in Seoul. As a result, some clubs and bars have been ordered to close again.
20th May 2020 - New Scientist

Coronavirus: Scientists suggest rolling cycle of 50 day lockdown followed by 30 days of ‘normality’

Scientists have suggested a rolling cycle of 50 days of lockdown followed by 30 days of “normality” to help manage the coronavirus outbreak. Britons have spent weeks cooped up indoors as government officials work to protect the NHS and save lives. With the weather warming up and other countries opening their borders, “lockdown fatigue” has set in for many. Severe concerns have also been raised about how the “stay at home” message is impacting the economy, with a huge rise in the number claiming unemployment benefits.
20th May 2020 - YAHOO!


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 20th May 2020

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Coronavirus: UK risks fresh pandemic by easing lockdown further before ‘test-and-trace’ scheme, health chief warns

Government plans to further ease the lockdown before the ‘test-and-trace’ scheme to catch infections finally starts risks a fresh pandemic, a health chief is warning. Greg Fell, the director for Public Health Sheffield, hit out after No 10 suggested more restrictions could be lifted on 1 June – including schools reopening – even if the programme is hit by further delays. “I think we need to have the test and trace system working before we start to fundamentally reopen society,” Mr Fell said.
19th May 2020 - Independent

Study projects US COVID-19 deaths to triple by end of year

"COVID-19 infection is deadlier than flu — we can put that debate to rest," said Anirban Basu, a health economist at the University of Washington who authored the study. If the infection fatality rate is accurate, and if the coronavirus continues spreading at current rates even before most states open their economies and relax social distancing restrictions, COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, could claim between 350,000 and 1.2 million American lives by the end of this year, Basu found. "This is a staggering number, which can only be brought down with sound public health measures," Basu said in a press release announcing the study, which appears in the journal Health Affairs.
19th May 2020 - The Hill

Coronavirus: Dundee medical expert believes UK lockdown has saved almost one million lives

It is only a month since we were seeing 1,000 coronavirus deaths a day in the UK, with the numbers doubling every four days. If that had continued we would probably be around the peak of the epidemic by now, and have hundreds of thousands of bodies to bury. While 30,000 deaths is awful, the difference is a huge achievement and this is largely due to changes in our behaviour.
19th May 2020 - The Courier

Italian doctor at ARI shares experience of watching UK enter lockdown, a fortnight after Italy

An Italian doctor working in Aberdeen says she felt “calm and prepared” as the coronavirus crisis loomed in Scotland, having learned about the hardship from quarantined family and friends in her homeland. She said although there are a number of differences between how Italy and the UK has handled the pandemic, the situation has been managed admirably by staff at the north-east’s flagship hospital. She added: “I had really hoped we would be prepared, and certainly I must say that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has been very prepared.”
19th May 2020 - Press and Journal

To prevent a second coronavirus wave, we need to look beyond the R number

In Germany, where shops and restaurants have tentatively reopened, the reproduction number R has risen to 1.1. In Seoul, a recent outbreak of at least 170 infections has been linked to five bars and nightclubs. Even in South Korea, one of the most successful countries at controlling the virus, there’s no room for complacency. As a veterinary epidemiologist, I study how viruses spread between animals and animal populations. The principles of viral transmission are much the same in humans (indeed, many scientists work on both). The concept of a second wave in public health is often linked to factors outside of human control. This might include the birth of infants who are susceptible to a particular disease causing the wavelike patterns we see in childhood illnesses, or environmental factors that influence the seasonality of influenza. But for Covid-19, the anticipation of a second wave has more to do with actions within our control.
19th May 2020 - The Guardian

China's Top Medical Advisor Warns The Country May Now Face a Second Wave of COVID-19

"The majority of... Chinese at the moment are still susceptible of the COVID-19 infection, because (of) a lack of immunity," Zhong Nanshan, the public face of government's response to the pandemic, told CNN. "We are facing (a) big challenge," Zhong added. "It's not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment." Zhong, who helped expose the scale of the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), also said authorities in ground-zero Wuhan had under-reported cases during the early days of the pandemic. "The local authorities, they didn't like to tell the truth at that time," said Zhong, who was part of a team of experts sent to Wuhan to investigate the outbreak.
19th May 2020 - ScienceAlert

Coronavirus: Parliament told there is 'no evidence' virus came from Wuhan laboratory

An expert says there is "really no evidence" the virus was engineered in a laboratory, But speaking to the House of Lords science and technology committee on Tuesday, Professor David Robertson dismissed the conspiracy theory as "unlikely".
19th May 2020 - Sky News

Coronavirus will 'settle into human population and become normal', expert says

COVID-19 is "so successful" that it will never be eradicated, a virus expert has claimed, as fears of a second spike continue to grow. Professor David Robertson, head of viral genomics and bioinformatics at the University of Glasgow, believes the highly infectious respiratory infection is "almost uncontrollable". "It is so transmissible, it's so successful, we're so susceptible, that actually it's a little bit of a red herring to worry about it getting worse, because it couldn't be much worse at the moment in terms of the numbers of cases," he told the House of Lords Science and Technology committee on Tuesday.
19th May 2020 - Sky News

World faces risk of 'vaccine nationalism' in COVID-19 fight, says CEPI chair

It's a problem Jane Halton, a former WHO board member, calls "vaccine nationalism." "I worry that some countries will see that there is strategic advantage in the use of any developed vaccine, if they are successful. I also think that there is, in some cases, a need to deal with domestic concerns," Halton said. "And I understand that being able to balance a need for domestic distribution, particularly for the vulnerable, but at the same time acknowledging that all countries are in this together — I think there's a middle line to be struck here." Halton, who is chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and former head of Australia’s health and finance departments, tells The World's host Marco Werman that vaccine production should be globally distributed and initially target the most vulnerable in all nations.
18th May 2020 - PRI.org


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 19th May 2020

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Vaccine could train body to fight coronavirus, say scientists

A vaccine could train the immune system to fight coronavirus, according to US scientists. Neutralising antibodies have been found in the first eight people who took part in safety trials for the experimental mRNA-1273 vaccine. The drug, being tested by firm Moderna, injects a small sample of Covid-19’s genetic code into patients.
19th May 2020 - ITV News

WHO special envoy for Covid-19 says proper 'test, track and trace and isolate strategy' system needed in UK to 'reduce lockdown'

A senior doctor in the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that "test, track and trace and isolate strategy" is key for the UK to emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown. Dr David Nabarro, special envoy for the director-general of the WHO for the Covid-19 pandemic, said that being able to properly identify and track cases of Covid-19 is key to easing restrictions.
18th May 2020 - iNews


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 18th May 2020

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Breakthrough hope as doctors find blood-thinning drugs can help save Covid-19 patients

Doctors at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London have found that most critically ill coronavirus patients suffer blood clots, raising hopes that blood-thinning drugs could save lives
17th May 2020 - Mirror Online

More than one million people infected with covid-19 in Mexico

Mexican scientists specializing in mathematics, statistics, and infectious diseases warned that there could be up to 25 times more cases of Covid-19 in the country than those confirmed by laboratory tests. This would mean between 881,000 and 1.27 million people infected, many without symptoms but with the capacity to infect. The data come from estimates made by scientists consulted by EL UNIVERSAL. Alejandro Macias, considered the expert on the H1N1 epidemic in 2009, when he was the National Commissioner for the Prevention and Control of the SSA, explained that until laboratory tests are carried out to look for antibodies in people’s blood, as was done in New York, it will not be known precisely how many people were infected with Covid-19.
17th May 2020 - The Yucatan Times

Reviving the US CDC

According to The Washington Post, Deborah Birx, the head of the US COVID-19 Task Force and a former director of the CDC's Global HIV/AIDS Division, cast doubt on the CDC's COVID-19 mortality and case data by reportedly saying: “There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust”. This is an unhelpful statement, but also a shocking indictment of an agency that was once regarded as the gold standard for global disease detection and control. How did an agency that was the first point of contact for many national health authorities facing a public health threat become so ill-prepared to protect the public's health?
16th May 2020 - The Lancet

French boy dies of coronavirus-linked Kawasaki disease

Nine-year-old from Marseille had been ‘in contact with’ virus before dying in hospital
16th May 2020 - The Guardian

Voluntary collective isolation as a best response to COVID-19 for indigenous populations? A case study and protocol from the Bolivian Amazon

Voluntary collective isolation as a best response to COVID-19 for indigenous populations? A case study and protocol from the Bolivian Amazon
15th May 2020 - The Lancet

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adolescents with COVID-19

Recently, however, reports from Europe and North America have described clusters of children and adolescents requiring admission to intensive care units with a multisystem inflammatory condition with some features similar to those of Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Case reports and small series have described a presentation of acute illness accompanied by a hyperinflammatory syndrome, leading to multiorgan failure and shock.13-15 Initial hypotheses are that this syndrome may be related to COVID-19 based on initial laboratory testing showing positive serology in a majority of patients. Children have been treated with anti-inflammatory treatment, including parenteral immunoglobulin and steroids.
15th May 2020 - World Health Organization

Yet another study shows hydroxychloroquine doesn't work against Covid-19

A new study -- the largest of its kind -- shows that hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by President Trump, does not work against Covid-19 and could cause heart problems. The study was published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It follows a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine that also showed the drug doesn't fight the virus. Even before these reports were published, the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health issued warnings about using the drugs for coronavirus patients.
11th May 2020 - CNN


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 15th May 2020

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France slams pharma giant Sanofi for saying US will get first access to coronavirus vaccine

The French government warned Thursday that it would be "unacceptable" for pharmaceutical giant Sanofi to give any COVID-19 vaccine for the United States first, after the firm's chief said he would give preference to the American market. "To us, it would be unacceptable for there to be privileged access for such and such country for financial reasons," deputy finance minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio. The French government official reacted to Sanofi's British CEO Paul Hudson statement on Wednesday that if its efforts to find a vaccine pan out, he would supply the US government first because "it's invested in taking the risk," after it expanded a partnership with his company earlier this year. "That's how it will be because they've invested to try and protect their population, to restart their economy," he told Bloomberg News.
15th May 2020 - The Local France

Coronavirus: A quarter of COVID-19 patients who died in England had diabetes

NHS England said of the 22,332 people who died since 31 March, 5,873 (26%) of them had diabetes as an underlying health condition.
14th May 2020 - Sky News

When will UK lockdown end? Why we don't know yet - but the new Government coronavirus plan gave us some idea

The UK Government issued a 50-page document detailing how coronavirus lockdown restrictions could be eased - but the dates are not confirmed
14th May 2020 - iNews

University research claims a quarter of UK already infected with COVID-19

A team of researchers from The University of Manchester, Salford Royal and Res Consortium, have shown that a significant proportion of people in the UK- more than 25% – is likely to have been infected already by the COVID-19 virus.
14th May 2020 - The Business Desk

Coronavirus antibody test with 100% accuracy approved for use in UK

The blood test checks for antibodies to help determine if a patient has been exposed to the virus, even if they never developed symptoms. Their detection could help experts gauge how far the infection has spread and indicate how many may have gained immunity against the disease. Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously called antibody testing a ‘game-changer’ as any reliable test may help speed up measures to ease the lockdown because people could return to work confident they are not likely to get it again.
14th May 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Record drop in A&E attendance in England 'a ticking timebomb', say doctors

The number of people waiting for hospital care in England could double to more than 8 million within a few months as a result of the coronavirus crisis, a leading health expert has warned. Measures that hospitals will have to put in place to tackle the infection as they seek to get back to normal after the pandemic would limit the number of patients who could have a planned operation, said Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust thinktank.
14th May 2020 - The Guardian

What is the R number? Why the UK's coronavirus reproduction rate is so important to plans to end lockdown

The higher the R value, the more infectious the virus. R3 means one person can pass Covid-19 to three people while R10 means it can be transmitted to 10. Dr Yuliya Kyrychko, a reader in mathematics at the University of Sussex, tells i: “The higher this number is, the more likely it is that an epidemic will develop, and as soon as it goes over one, that’s a clear sign that there will be an outbreak.
14th May 2020 - iNews

Coronavirus: Scientists only have ‘low confidence’ school children will spread virus less than adults as lockdown eased

This government is playing Russian roulette with the lives of our school support staff and children in England,' union official says. The government’s scientific advisory group only has a “low degree of confidence” that children may spread coronavirus less effectively than adults, MPs have ben told, as ministers move to reopen schools as part of easing lockdown. Osama Rahman, chief scientific adviser at the Department for Education (DfE), went on to say that the decision to reopen schools to reception-age children as well as years one and six was not made by his branch of the government.
14th May 2020 - Independent


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 14th May 2020

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Coronavirus: Experts warn 100,000 people could die if UK lockdown lifted early

The UK death toll could surpass 100,000 if lockdown restrictions are eased too soon, leading academics have warned. As many as 73,000 excess deaths could happen in the next year as a direct or indirect result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report published in the Lancet. The UK’s COVID-19 death toll now exceeds 40,000, which is the worst in Europe, and the government has just eased restrictions. Dr Amitava Banerjee, from University College London (UCL), is the lead author on the new study.
13th May 2020 - YAHOO!

Lockdown ease in Europe gains pace as Fauci warns of danger if US re-opens too soon

Austria announced its border with Germany would be unlocked following a two-month shutdown and Britons were allowed unlimited outdoor exercise, despite a global death toll closing in on 300,000. Curbs that have confined billions to their homes continued easing but the death toll spiked in some of the world's most populated countries, with Brazil, Russia and the US all reporting bad news. It came as US government expert Anthony Fauci issued a stark warning to Congress about the dangers of resuming normal life too soon, saying a run of 14 days with falling cases was a vital first step.
13th May 2020 - Geo News

Italian hospital sees 30-FOLD increase in children admitted for rare inflammatory condition - with 80% of those testing positive for coronavirus - suggesting the diseases are linked

In Lombardy, Italy, over the last 5 years, 19 children were admitted to a hospital with an inflammatory syndrome with symptoms resembling Kawasaki Disease. Between February 18, 2020 and April 20, 2020, 10 children were admitted with the same symptoms such as a full body rash. 80% of the 10 tested positive for coronavirus bodies and 60% had more severe complications such as heart issues. Researchers say this is evidence the mysterious condition is linked to COVID-19 and that it should be classified as 'Kawasaki-like Disease.' On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed 15 US states are investigating a link between coronavirus and the syndrome
13th May 2020 - Daily Mail

Coronavirus UK: Thousands of coronavirus test results 'disappear'

The results of tens of thousands of Covid-19 key worker testing kits have reportedly gone missing, it has emerged. Data from essential workers’ home testing and drive-through kits have been ‘disappearing into a black hole,’ according to NHS sources, reported the HSJ. Without the information, local authorities and organisations do not know exactly how many people in their area have tested positive for the virus. A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson has denied that tests have been lost and said there was a ‘technical error relating to postcode data, but this has now been fixed’.
13th May 2020 - Metro.co.uk

Abbott's rapid coronavirus test misses nearly half of positive cases, study finds | TheHill

A rapid coronavirus diagnostic test manufactured by Abbott may miss nearly half of all positive infections, according to a pre-published study from New York University. The analysis of Abbott's ID NOW system, which has not been peer-reviewed, found the test to be "unacceptable" in a clinical setting. But Abbott said it's not clear if the researchers used the samples correctly. A spokesperson said the company's own rate of false negatives that it has shared with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is .02 percent.
13th May 2020 - The Hill

In France, Covid-19 is said to have contaminated less than 5% of the population, far from collective immunity

Even in the most affected regions, less than 10% of the inhabitants have been infected, according to this updated study by French epidemiologists.
13th May 2020 - Le Monde

Moscow defends reporting of low coronavirus death statistics

Deaths of those infected with coronavirus were ascribed to other causes following post-mortem exams, said officials.
13th May 2020 - AlJazeera


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 13th May 2020

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UK coronavirus lockdown: Former top Government scientist Sir David King says it's 'foolhardy to go back to work now'

'I think we should be considerably more cautious about undoing the lockdown' the Government's former chief scientific officer said
12th May 2020 - iNews

Mass coronavirus testing plans unrealistic, warns Italian biotech boss

The mass testing that is central to lockdown exit plans in many countries is unrealistic because of high costs and lack of production capacity, according to the boss of an Italian biotech company that supplies tests around the world. Carlo Rosa, chief executive of DiaSorin, which sells Covid-19 diagnostic and antibody tests, said demand far exceeded supply and the percentage of people who had contracted the virus globally was too low to hope for mass immunity as another way out of restrictive lockdown measures.
12th May 2020 - Financial Times

WHO warns summer heatwaves pose greater risks for vulnerable in lockdown

A summer of heatwaves is expected to hit many European cities, according to the World Health Organization. Every year, high temperatures affect the health of many people, particularly older people, infants, people who work outdoors, and the chronically ill, the WHO said. With the coronavirus in play, the extreme heat can be even more dangerous as it can aggravate existing conditions. Experts have previously dismissed the idea that warmer weather can automatically stop or slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
12th May 2020 - Business Insider

Coronavirus lockdowns could spark rise in HIV infections, experts warn

The CDC said it is expecting a drop in the number of STIs being diagnosed in the short term, “but an increase in the long term once restrictions lift and more people are screened and tested again.” It said that for HIV, “the decrease in the availability of testing and limited access to treatment and prevention services may result in more infections and poor health outcomes in the long run.” In San Francisco, Dr. Matthew Spinelli worries about the homeless, or those who lack the connectivity to take part in the videoconferences that have replaced in-person visits to health centers. “People are just scared of a hospital right now, so I’m pretty worried,” said Spinelli, who practices at the city’s largest hospital.
12th May 2020 - The Japan Times


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 12th May 2020

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Mexican border town uses ‘sanitizing tunnels’ to disinfect US visitors from Covid-19

The Mexican border city of Nogales, Sonora, has set up ‘sanitizing tunnels’ to disinfect people leaving the US through Nogales, Arizona. On the Mexican side of two major border crossings, drivers coming from Arizona must exit their vehicles and step into an inflatable tunnel that sprays them with a cleansing solution. The border city’s mayor has told Mexican news outlets that a majority of the people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in Nogales, Sonora, had recently returned from the US
12th May 2020 - The Guardian

Doctors and police warn of new coronavirus wave as UK lockdown weakens

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Police officers will continue to do their best, but their work must be based on crystal clear guidance, not loose rules that are left open to interpretation – because that will be grossly unfair on officers whose job is already challenging. If the message of what is expected of the public is not clear then it will make the job of policing this legislation almost impossible.”
11th May 2020 - The Guardian


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 11th May 2020

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Early Covid lockdown in China could have reduced cases: Study

Published in the science journal Nature, this week, the researchers said – in a rare argument based on a mathematical model -- that earlier implementation of “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (NPIs) could have also reduced the “geographical range of the outbreak”.
8th May 2020 - Hindustan Times

‘It's painful but it's worth it' - editor of The Lancet says lockdown shouldn't be lifted until June 1

The editor of the medical journal The Lancet has urged the government not to end lockdown too early, saying it should continue until June 1. Richard Horton, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said while an extra few weeks of lockdown would be “painful” they would be worth it. Horton’s comments on the BBC’s Political Thinking with Nick Robinson, in which he was questioned about his stance on the handling of the virus in the UK, come just days before Boris Johnson is expected to set out a roadmap for the easing of lockdown restrictions.
8th May 2020 - YAHOO!

Global report: Madrid told not to ease lockdown as Italy warns rule-breakers

The Spanish government has refused the Madrid region permission to loosen its coronavirus confinement, as angry officials in Italy issued a warning that they would not hesitate to reimpose strict lockdown restrictions if distancing rules were flouted. The Spanish health ministry said the area in and around the capital was not yet ready to move to the next phase of de-escalation, 24 hours after the regional public health director resigned over the regional government’s bid to loosen the lockdown from Monday.
8th May 2020 - The Guardian

'Now it starts again': new coronavirus outbreaks spark unease in China

Cases rise in Shulan, near the Russian border, and in Wuhan, where stringent lockdown measures had been eased in recent weeks
11th May 2020 - The Guardian

Coronavirus: PM's plan to reopen primary schools by 1 June 'reckless', says teaching union

The prime minister's suggestion that some children could start returning to schools in England from 1 June has been described as "reckless" by the largest teaching union. In a pre-recorded address to the nation on Sunday, Boris Johnson said the start of next month was the earliest possible date to consider sending pupils back to class.
11th May 2020 - Sky News


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 8th May 2020

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Easing French coronavirus lockdown will ‘spark second wave of cases’

France has been warned it faces an inevitable “second wave” of coronavirus as the country prepares to take its first significant steps out of lockdown. President Emmanuel Macron has already announced that schools and nurseries will progressively be reopened from Monday as part of a phased revival of activity. But Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus department at France’s Pasteur Institute, issued a word of caution. “There will be a second wave, but the problem is to which extent. Is it a small wave or a big wave? It’s too early to say,” he said.
7th May 2020 - Evening Standard

COVID-19 surges in Russia, Brazil; WHO warns of huge death toll in Africa

With an ongoing surge of COVID-19 activity, Russia's total is now the world's fifth highest, as cases soared in parts of Brazil, another pandemic hot spot. And in another development, the World Health Organization (WHO) today warned that smoldering uncontained outbreaks in the first pandemic year in Africa could kill as many as 190,000 people.
7th May 2020 - CIDRAP


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 7th May 2020

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WHO warns of new lockdowns if transition not managed carefully

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus listed a series of steps needed before countries lift measures designed to control the spread of the Covid-19 respiratory disease
6th May 2020 - Hindustan Times

6 criteria for relaxing #COVID19 measures recommended by @WHO

6 criteria for relaxing #COVID19 measures recommended by @WHO 1. Strong surveillance system 2. Health system has necessary capacities 3. Minimized outbreak risks 4. Preventive measures in place 5. Importation risks are manageable 6. Communities are educated, engaged & empowered
6th May 2020 - @UNGeneva

Doctor Who Treated First COVID-19 Patient in U.S. Worries About Second Wave As Lockdown Is Lifted

The doctor who treated the first COVID-19 patient in the United States has expressed his concern that a second wave of the disease could emerge as lockdown measures are gradually eased. George Díaz, infectious diseases chief at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, told journalists on Monday in a video briefing: "What worries me is that when the economy starts to reopen, we are going to see a second outbreak that is perhaps as big as the first, and the first one was very difficult for us and for the whole world. "And more than anything, I am concerned that I don't know if we are going to have the resources to handle a second outbreak," he said, AFP reported.
6th May 2020 - Newsweek

Structural Basis for Potent Neutralization of Betacoronaviruses by Single-Domain Camelid Antibodies

VHHs isolated from a llama immunized with prefusion-stabilized coronavirus spikes. Structural characterization of VHHs reveals conserved mechanism of neutralization. SARS-CoV-1 S-directed VHH cross-reacts with SARS-CoV-2 S. Bivalent VHH neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses.
5th May 2020 - Cell.com


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 6th May 2020

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Countries lifting coronavirus lockdown too early will increase deaths and cause economic meltdown, a top scientist warns

Yaneer Bar-Yam, from EndCoronavirus.org, a group made up of scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said America was not ready to open up because it was slow off the mark with its lockdown. Tweeting a graphic comparing countries that crushed the infection curve, he said: "Overwhelming data says opening prematurely will increase cases, escalate loss of life and economic harm. "Countries that acted late to impose social distancing and testing are suffering. "Countries that acted early soon will safely restart economies. "Don’t play with fire."
5th May 2020 - The Sun

Workers should work 'four days on, 10 days off' to ease coronavirus lockdown

The government should tell businesses to enact a “four days on, 10 days off” policy for workers once the coronavirus lockdown is eased, according to one of the UK’s leading chemical biologists. Chair of chemical biology at Imperial College London Professor Keith Willison, writing for the neoliberal think tank Adam Smith Institute, said this cyclical plan would help avoid a second peak while getting the economy moving again.
5th May 2020 - City A.M.

Coronavirus lockdown should continue for elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, academics say

“Segmentation and shielding recognises that, although social distancing impacts on the whole of society, the public health burden of Covid-19 is concentrated in a subset of vulnerable people,” said Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. “By targeting protection to those that need it most, the strategy helps to ensure that the health system is not overwhelmed by severe cases, while giving policy makers greater leeway to partially relax social distancing measures for the majority of the population,” he said. The academics have modelled a range of scenarios to illustrate how different restrictions could be applied to different groups. They have sent their findings to the UK and Scottish Governments.
5th May 2020 - iNews

New report models Italy's potential exit strategy from COVID-19 lockdown | Imperial News

It finds that if the country returns to just 20% of mobility levels before the lockdown – mobility being a measure of people going to work, shops, visiting friends and family etc. – then deaths could rise again within just three weeks. The authors warn that some social distancing measures will need to remain in place, along with testing, contact-tracing and isolation of people infected with Covid-19, to keep transmission in check and prevent a resurgence of the outbreak.
5th May 2020 - Imperial College London

Coronavirus: Italy 'could be heading for deadlier second peak' after easing lockdown, scientists warn

Italy could be set for a “second peak” of deaths after easing its lockown measures, researchers tracking the coronavirus outbreak have predicted. According to analysis carried out by Imperial College London, the country could be set for a large increase in deaths within three weeks of partially lifting its social-distancing restrictions. Currently, Italy has the second highest-death rate in Europe, with 29,315 deaths, behind 29,502 in the UK. But researchers from Imperial have forecast a second spike will take place if the country returns to just 20 percent of its pre-lockdown mobility levels – a measure of how much people leave the home.
5th May 2020 - YAHOO!


Scientific Viewpoint - COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis - 30th Apr 2020

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When Can We Lift the Coronavirus Pandemic Restrictions? Not Before Taking These Steps

With much of the country grinding to a halt in a desperate attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, many people are wondering when the U.S. will be able to “reopen.” The American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank, recently released a report co-written by former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb that offers a four-phase “road map to reopening.” Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health—and an expert on pandemic preparedness—provided input for the report and helped to review it.
30th Apr 2020 - Scientific American

When coronavirus restrictions will be lifted if Australia tries to eliminate coronavirus

Coronavirus measures could be eased as early as next month, or Australians can wait until June for restrictions to be fully lifted to benefit from economic growth, according to new research. Researchers from eight leading Australian universities prepared Health Minister Greg Hunt with the 'Roadmap to Recovery' report this week, which outlines when life in Australia could return to normal. The government has been presented with two options; 'controlled adaptation' which would mean restrictions are eased sooner, or wait for elimination of the virus and keep measures in place until June and experience greater economic activity. 'Any choice between these two options entails a delicate trade-off between protecting health, supporting the economy and societal well-being,' the report read
30th Apr 2020 - Daily Mail Australia

Italy Was Once The Epicentre Of The Coronavirus. But A Report Says It’s Far Too Early To Lift Lockdown Restrictions.

Lifting all coronavirus restrictions to pre-lockdown levels would overwhelm Italy's intensive care unit capacity within a month, according to modelling by the group of experts that advises the Italian government. The technical scientific committee (CTS) estimates there would be a peak of more than 150,000 people requiring admission to ICUs by June if daily life returned to how it was pre-crisis, with the total figure surpassing 430,000 by the end of the year. The CTS report, which was published by major Italian media outlets this week, lays out three baseline and 46 detailed scenarios assessing the rate of transmission of the virus in different areas of the economy, places of social contact, and age groups, as well as the impact of factors such as social distancing and the use of face masks.
30th Apr 2020 - BuzzFeed

Covid-19 is ‘just as deadly as Ebola’ for those who end up in hospital – UK expert

Covid-19 is just as deadly as Ebola for people admitted to hospital in the UK, a leading expert has said as his team published a major British study of almost 17,000 patients. The research found almost half of people admitted to hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales with coronavirus have no underlying health conditions, while obese people are almost 40% more likely to die than those who are not.
30th Apr 2020 - YAHOO