"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 6th Nov 2020

Isolation Tips
Multifold spike in domestic violence complaints during lockdown
As soon as schools were shut due to the lockdown, 16-year old Ashi (name changed), who was studying at a Gurukul school in Karimnagar district, was asked to go back to her home. She had never imagined that the four walls of her home will become unsafe for her. After being allegedly sexually and physically harassed by her father for months, in around April, terrified and confused, she mustered the courage to reach out to the police who, with the help of the Sakhi team, rescued her. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, data from the State Women and Child Department shows that domestic violence, including physical and sexual assault against women and girls, has risen.
Significant psychological toll from COVID-19 lockdown
Research published today has confirmed the nationwide Alert Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown had a significant toll on New Zealanders' well-being, especially for younger people—but the results were not all negative. Researchers from the University of Otago conducted a demographically representative survey of adult New Zealanders between 15 and 18 April, corresponding to days 19 to 22 of the 33-day lockdown.
Isolation of elderly at Christmas must form part of lockdown lifting decision
Isolation of elderly people at Christmas must be considered when deciding to ease lockdown restrictions, a leading member of Nphet has said. Dr Colm Henry of the HSE said the Government and public health bosses must consider the “sense of isolation and hopelessness” they feel. While the number of positive Covid-19 cases in Ireland has fallen dramatically, the HSE warned this progress must not be lost.
Nearly a third of New Zealanders felt badly distressed in Covid lockdown
The wellbeing of New Zealanders plummeted during the country’s nationwide lockdown, research has found, with nearly a third experiencing “moderate to severe psychological distress” – especially young people. On 15 March Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, ordered the total closure of the country’s borders and on 26 March the entire population of five million entered a strict lockdown. From an infection point of the view the lockdown worked, but the social toll is continuing to be understood, including higher rates of depression, anxiety, and domestic abuse, as well as widespread sleeping problems.
Hygiene Helpers
Working in an office instead of remotely may double COVID risk: CDC
Employees in office settings may be more likely to become infected with the novel coronavirus if they regularly commute to work rather than work from home, according to a new report. Public health investigators who examined possible exposures to COVID-19 among employed adults found that workers who tested positive for COVID-19 were almost twice as likely to report regularly commuting to work, compared with the employees studied who tested negative, according to research published Thursday as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Minister blames public for second English lockdown
The second national lockdown in England has been caused in part by a lack of public compliance, the justice secretary has said, adding that it will be a “huge challenge” to get the public to follow the strict rules this time. Robert Buckland suggested the public had failed to adhere to the previous system, leading to the need for the four-week lockdown starting on Thursday in England. “That’s one of the reasons we are having to take the measures we are today,” the cabinet minister told the BBC. “Sadly, it’s been difficult frankly regarding the compliance of some people with regard to the quarantine restrictions. “I think it would be very ambitious of me to suggest that somehow we will be able to use the enforcement authorities to intervene in every case I think sadly that’s not possible.”
Lloyds asks its 1400 branches to help find COVID-19 trial volunteers
Lloydspharmacy is encouraging its teams to help find suitable patients for an Oxford University COVID-19 clinical trial, C+D has learned. Lloydspharmacy teams will be asked to display a poster of the PRINCIPLE COVID-19 trial – run by the University of Oxford – in their pharmacies, and “engage with customers and patients where they can about the project”, a spokesperson told C+D last week (October 29). The multiple will use its network of more than 1,400 pharmacies to raise awareness of the trial – which is evaluating whether the use of two common antibiotics, azithromycin and doxycycline, can help people with COVID-19 symptoms recover at home.
Test and trace sinks to 60% of Covid-19 contacts reached in England
A total of 137,180 people in England tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending 28 October, the highest weekly number of cases since NHS test and trace launched in May. It represents an 8% rise in new positive infections on the previous week, according to Public Health England data. The test-and-trace system also reported having one of its worst weeks in terms of its performance in tracing the close contacts of those infected with Covid-19.
Community Activities
Coronavirus: Human rights watchdog investigating impact of COVID-19 on BAME healthcare workers
Britain's human rights watchdog is investigating the impact of coronavirus on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) healthcare workers. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it will consider the "structural issues which have left people from a range of ethnic minorities at greater risk" from coronavirus across England, Scotland and Wales. It comes after a study commissioned by London mayor Sadiq Khan last month found that black people are at almost twice the risk of dying from COVID-19 as their white counterparts.
Working Remotely
Brazil's public-sector employees opt for remote working: survey
A large portion of Brazil's public-sector employees want to have the option of working remotely even after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is over, according to a survey published Thursday by local media. According to the survey carried out by the National School of Public Administration (ENAP) in association with the World Bank and the Economy Ministry, when face-to-face work resumes, 57 percent of employees would like to return to activities in shifts or on alternate days, and only 4.8 percent expect all professionals to return at the same time. Regarding the ability to continue remote working, 45 percent of federal employees said they wanted the option even after the pandemic, with only 12 percent saying they would be comfortable returning to in-person work full time. A significant number of respondents, 38 percent, were strongly against returning to face-to-face work, and 90 percent expressed concern about contracting COVID-19 at work and infecting family members.
Remote working hubs for public servants to be rolled out across rural Ireland - Minister
Remote working hubs specifically designed for public servants will be rolled out in rural towns across Ireland, Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys has told the Dáil. The Minister said the Covid-19 pandemic over the last seven months showed the significant opportunity to develop remote working faciliities that will allow people to work in their home area and provide rural towns with increased trade. She is also encouraging remote working from islands off the coast and said there is no reason why people employed by multinationals could not live on an island and work from there. Ms Humphreys was speaking as she answered a series of parliamentary questions about the development of remote working hubs where people could live near home in rural areas and work in shared facilities or hubs specifically kitted out with desks and ICT services and security, alongside employees of other companies or those running their own businesses.
'Working from home has made childcare easier'
With a great many of us continuing to work from home, is it levelling the playing field for working mothers who previously had to put their children before their careers? Journalist Katherine Latham, herself a mum of three young kids, takes a closer look. Something you don't learn at your antenatal classes is how hard it is to hold down a paid job and be a mum at the same time. You aren't told that you will have to make a choice: to continue on your career path, earn a good living, and realise your ambitions - or prioritise caring for your children. Studies show that it is a widespread issue. A government report last year found that almost a third of women in the UK with a child aged 14 or under had needed to cut their working hours because of childcare issues. For men it was just one in 10.
Is Working Remotely Bad for Your Health?
How can working from the comfort of your own bed, couch or park be bad for anyone’s health? But on the other hand, you would miss the office gossip or that funny guy in the IT department. Get remote writers’ jobs and enhance your financial position to create a relaxing and rewarding career. Whether working remotely is good or bad for your health will depend on what you do while you work remotely. A look at the pros and cons of working remotely will help you understand the good or the bad elements of this approach to work.
How to keep staff motivated remotely
My staff have been working remotely for more than six months now. How can I keep them motivated and productive? A. Remote working can indeed impact the productivity of employees, but this is subjective and so calls for a subjective approach. I say this because the way one employee has adjusted to homeworking will be different from another. Employers may therefore want to consider assessing who may be struggling more at home and who is not. The assessment to determine the former may include those with children, a pre-existing mental health condition (or are predisposed to it), and those who have expressed that they are struggling with the change from working in the office to working at home.
Working remotely from paradise? What it means for your taxes
Bermuda and Barbados are among the nations with programs to attract remote workers. Americans abroad may be eligible for tax breaks on the income they earn while away, but that depends on a range of factors, including how long the are out of the country. Consult an expert in foreign taxes before packing your bags.
Virtual Classrooms
Class sizes were major source of concern when Hamilton school’s reopened. What about online class sizes?
It’s the size of online classes, not in-person classes, that are posing problems for teachers and students, says the head of a local teachers’ union. “All online classes are as big as they can be,” said Jeff Sorensen, president of the public board’s elementary teachers’ union. “Full-day kindergarten classes are around 29 students per class. In Grades 4 to 8, where there are no class caps, we’ve been told that nearly all of them have at least 30 students. “Handling 30 kids in a physical space is difficult enough. It’s virtually impossible to keep track of so many 13-year-old kids online and manage to make sure they’re attentive and doing the work.”
Orange County Public Schools' Medical Advisory Committee urges Florida to extend virtual learning
Orange County Public Schools' Medical Advisory Committee sent a letter to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Wednesday, strongly urging that Orange County's schools be allowed to continue with virtual education as an option through the balance of the 2020-21 school year. The School Board here in Orange County established the Medical Advisory Committee back in July, with 10 members – from areas like nursing, infectious disease, emergency medicine, developmental-behavioral pediatrics and nursing – to advise on district policy as the coronavirus pandemic continued in Florida. And as coronavirus numbers rise throughout the county, this committee is strongly on the side of virtual learning staying on the table, believing it to be "a medical necessity for many of our students, especially those who have underlying medical conditions that would place them at high-risk."
OCPS medical committee asks education commissioner to allow virtual learning in spring
Due to the rising coroanvirus cases throughout the U.S. and in Central Florida, the Orange County Public Schools medical advisory committee wrote a letter Wednesday asking Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to consider allowing the school district to continue offering virtual learning for the rest of the school year. In July, the Orange County school board established a medical advisory committee made up of infectious disease experts, pediatricians and nurses to help the school district evaluate how to deal with the ongoing pandemic.
The Pandemic Hit Education Hard, But Opens the Door to a Bright New Future
Move over New Math and Common Core: some of the most disruptive educational trends of their time have now been dwarfed by our current pandemic issues. As before, we look to our educational professionals to help us adapt. How are teachers helping to manage our collective societal stress while dealing with their own personal impact? What is the role for technology in the equation, and what lies ahead for our teachers, the students and their parents?
Public Policies
Greece orders nationwide lockdown to curb COVID-19 surge
Greece ordered a nationwide lockdown for three weeks on Thursday, its second this year, to help contain a resurgence of COVID-19 after a sharp increase in infections this week. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was forced to act after a spike in cases in the past five days, saying that without a lockdown pressure on the healthcare system would be “unbearable”. “I’ve chosen to take drastic measures sooner rather than later,” said Mitsotakis, who had previously said a nationwide lockdown was a last option. Officials said that in the past week alone, there was a 20% increase in confirmed infections. From next Monday, people arriving by air will require proof of a negative coronavirus test, taken within 48 hours of travel.
Germany adopts loose lockdown despite record-breaking Covid-19 cases
Germany began its second lockdown on Monday but the bustling shopping streets in Berlin suggest locals in the capital are taking a liberal approach – as infections reach a new high. The so-called “lockdown lite” has forced the closure of pubs and restaurants, except for takeaway, as well as gyms, cinemas and all cultural events. Unlike in the spring, however, schools, childcare and hairdressers have remained open. Shops are still trading, with a new rule of one customer per 10 sq m floor space. “We’ve got 6,000 square metres of floor space so no capacity problems,” said a security man in an electronics store as 10 people waited to pay, none 1.5m apart. “It’s slightly quieter than usual now, but not much, and in two hours it’ll be very busy.”
Germany says to distribute November lockdown aid to firms fast
Germany will ensure financial aid gets to firms and individuals hit by a partial coronavirus lockdown in November quickly, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Thursday, outlining further details of the 10 billion euro (9.03 billion pounds) programme. Europe’s biggest economy closed bars, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, theatres and domestic tourism on Monday for a month. The government has said small and medium-sized firms will be able to claim compensation worth 75% of their revenues from November 2019, up to 1 million euros. Aid of more than 1 million euros has to be agreed by the European Union.
Anger as Italy's new 'red zones' prepare for lockdown
taly's newly-designated coronavirus "red zones" braced Thursday for a fresh lockdown as anger rose against the government, accused of penalising some regions while being too lax towards others. At the Scala in Milan, gloom reigned after the prestigious opera house was forced to cancel its opening night next month, and non-essential shops served their last customers before a lockdown Friday set to affect over 16 million people.
Europe's Second Lockdown Wave Risks Double-Dip Recessions
It’s 5:45 p.m., and a small square close to Rome’s Spanish Steps is full of the sounds of alfresco diners and children playing. Twenty minutes later, all that can be heard is the scraping of metal chairs on cobblestones as waiters close up for the night, the piazza darkening as they turn off the lights. To curb the resurgent coronavirus, Italy has locked down a few at-risk regions including Milan, while mandating milder rules for Rome and the rest of the country, including early closing hours for bars and restaurants. It’s not a lockdown—yet—but for Romans it might as well be. It “feels like 2 a.m., not 6 p.m.,” complains Angela Dimauro, pulling her jacket closed and her mask higher as she leaves the square.
Spanish government to wait ‘two or three weeks’ before taking tougher coronavirus measures
The Spanish Health Ministry remains hopeful that the restrictions introduced by regional governments under the state of alarm will be able to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This would avoid the need for a home lockdown like the one seen during the first wave of the pandemic, when millions of Spaniards were confined to their homes. The government wants to avoid this at all costs in order to prevent further damage to the Spanish economy, which lost around one million jobs in March and April due to the strict lockdown. Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Wednesday that “two or three weeks” are needed to see if the current measures have been able to reduce transmission rates.
Muddled messaging fuels backlash against lockdown in France
When he announced a new coronavirus lockdown in France, President Emmanuel Macron said the government had learned lessons from the first wave. But a series of unforced errors from his government is making it a tough sell. Some 73 percent of French people say they find communications over the second lockdown incoherent, according to a YouGov poll published Wednesday. Only 29 percent said they trusted the government to handle the second wave. Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal announced on Tuesday a curfew in Paris that was contradicted within an hour by the prime minister’s office, among other communication blunders.
Rishi Sunak set to unveil new economic boost as England goes into second lockdown
A new economic boost for the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic is later expected to be unveiled by the Chancellor. Rishi Sunak and the Bank of England will announce the measures as England goes into a second lockdown for four weeks, according to reports. Mr Sunak is set to confirm employees on furlough will receive 80 per cent per cent of their salaries if their employers have been made to shut down. The furlough scheme will be expanded after the scheduled end of the lockdown on December 2, the Telegraph reported.
New South Wales to open border to Victoria, New Zealand
After months of remaining closed to Victorian residents, NSW will drop its border restrictions in just three weeks. On Wednesday NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed the border would open on November 23. That is about a month after her Victorian counterpart Daniel Andrews put an end to Melbourne’s tough stage 4 lockdown. The southern state has since recorded five consecutive days of zero cases while NSW announced three new local cases on Wednesday. “As long as a state can demonstrate it can get on top of cases, we are OK with that,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters. “I’m confident other states will have that capacity … they’ve certainly had enough time to prepare for this.”
Australia has almost eliminated the coronavirus — by putting faith in science
The Sydney Opera House has reopened. Almost 40,000 spectators attended the city's rugby league grand final. Workers are being urged to return to their offices. Australia has become a pandemic success story. The nation of 26 million is close to eliminating community transmission of the coronavirus, having defeated a second wave just as infections surge again in Europe and the United States. No new cases were reported on the island continent Thursday, and only seven since Saturday, besides travelers in hotel quarantine. Eighteen patients are hospitalized with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. One is in an intensive care unit. Melbourne, the main hotbed of Australia's outbreak that recently emerged from lockdown, has not reported a case since Oct. 30.
Bank of England pumps extra £150,000,000,000 into economy as lockdown begins
The Bank of England has injected another £150 billion into the economy amid fears the second lockdown will send GDP plummeting and wipe out thousands of jobs. Tighter coronavirus restrictions, including the national shutdown beginning in England today, are expected to push the UK into another downturn. Experts fear it could plunge the UK into a double-dip recession, but the Bank’s latest forecasts suggests the economy will narrowly avoid this as activity recovers at the start of next year. It said gross domestic product (GDP) will pick up in the first quarter of 2021, but warned that activity will still remain ‘materially lower’ than before the coronavirus crisis
Coronavirus France: Paris to see even tighter lockdown restrictions
Paris will be placed under more restrictions on top of France’s second national lockdown, the city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo told BFM TV early on Thursday. More shops will have to shut earlier in the evening in a bid to curb the worsening of the deadly second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the city, Hidalgo said. In addition to the shops that have closed or must shut early under France’s second national lockdown, the new measures will force certain shops selling takeaway food and drink to shut at 10 pm local time. “When you get people who are not playing by the rules of the game and are therefore putting at risk the health of a large number of people, that is when you need to put in place new restrictions,” Hidalgo said.
Denmark to lock down regions after mutated coronavirus traced to minks
Parts of Denmark will face new, tougher lockdown measures after health authorities discovered a mutated coronavirus strain in minks and people in the country’s northern regions. The government said on Wednesday it would cull all minks in the Nordic country to prevent human contagion with a mutated coronavirus, which authorities said could be more resistant against future vaccines for people. The move to cull up to 17 million animals, which could cost the state more than $800 million, has prompted some lawmakers to demand to see the evidence behind the decision.
Maintaining Services
Sweden and Germany removed from England's travel corridors
Britain said on Thursday it was removing Germany and Sweden from its list of countries where travellers would not have to quarantine on arrival in England. “From 4 a.m. Saturday 7th November, if you arrive into the UK from these destinations you will need to self-isolate,” transport minister Grant Shapps said on Twitter. He added no countries were being added to the list of travel corridors. England entered a second countrywide lockdown on Thursday meaning people must stay at home, barring a limited number of exceptions.
Covid-19: Warning over tough fines as new lockdown begins
People who seriously flout new lockdown restrictions in England will face steep fines, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has warned. Under the rules, people have been told to stay at home and non-essential shops, pubs and gyms ordered to close. Households are also banned from mixing indoors or in private gardens, unless in a support bubble. Currently there is a £200 fine for each breach which doubles on every offence up to a maximum of £6,400. And organisers of large gatherings face a £10,000 fine. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give a Downing Street press conference at 17:00 GMT, alongside NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens.
Reluctant last orders as England enters new lockdown
After downing a final round of drinks, queueing outside soon-to-close shops or getting a last haircut, England's 56 million people entered a second coronavirus lockdown on Thursday with more doubts about the stringent policy than the first time around. Prime Minister Boris Johnson abandoned a recently introduced system of regional curbs and announced an England-wide shutdown, after dire warnings that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases. The death toll is hitting six-month highs.
China bans non-Chinese arrivals from UK as England enters lockdown
China has barred non-Chinese travellers from the UK, Belgium and the Philippines, imposing new border restrictions in response to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic. The Chinese embassy in the UK said on Wednesday that China’s borders were now closed to those arriving from the UK, including those with valid visas and residence permits. The measure, a reversal of recently loosened restrictions, comes as England began a month-long lockdown in an effort to stop a resurgent outbreak. The country has the highest death toll in Europe of almost 48,000 deaths. “This is a temporary measure taken by China in response to the current pandemic,” the Chinese embassy in the UK said.
How lockdown is killing restaurants, cafes and bars a second time
Hospitality industry suffering a staff shortage due to lack of international visitors Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert said issue was pronounced in Melbourne He said backpackers or international students filled most jobs prior to COVID-19
Lockdown England: Police attacked as revellers hit streets after pubs call last orders for final time
The final hours before lockdown came into effect across England saw police tackling violent scenes around the country as revelllers gathered for the last night out in what could be more than a month.
Barely back on their feet, UK small businesses face crushing new lockdown
Business has been tough for Mandy Yin, chef and owner of a Malaysian restaurant and takeaway in London, since she tentatively reopened in June after being forced to shut down for two months during Britain’s first national coronavirus lockdown.
U.S. coronavirus cases climb by record for second day in a row, up over 109,000
Coronavirus cases in the United States surged by at least 109,757 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, the second consecutive daily record rise as the outbreak spreads in every region. The tally is expected to push higher still when California’s county-by-county data is added. U.S. cases have risen by over 100,000 for three out of the last seven days, putting pressure on hospitals in several states and causing families to rethink their plans for Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 26. Nineteen out of 50 states reporting record one-day increases on Thursday. Previously, the most states that reported records for new cases in a single day was 16 on Oct. 30, according to Reuters data.
Uzbekistan to test three COVID-19 vaccines, plans no lockdown
Uzbekistan has no plans to impose another lockdown despite the growth in COVID-19 cases globally, and intends to take part in the final trials of Chinese and Russian vaccines, a senior health official said. Tashkent is in talks with China’s Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical, a unit of Chongqing Zhifei, and Sinopharm about stage III trials, as well as the developers of Russia Sputnik V vaccine, deputy health minister Shakhrukh Sharakhmetov said. The country of 34 million has imposed two nationwide lockdowns this year to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but hopes that extensive preparations for a potential second wave will allow it to avoid imposing severe restrictions again.
Healthcare Innovations
Danish Covid-19 mink variant could spark new pandemic, scientists warn
A Danish vaccine specialist has warned that a new wave of coronavirus could be started by the Covid-19 mink variant. “The worst-case scenario is that we would start off a new pandemic in Denmark. There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from the others that we’d have to put new things in a vaccine and therefore [the mutation] would slam us all in the whole world back to the start,” said Prof Kåre Mølbak, vaccine expert and director of infectious diseases at Denmark’s State Serum Institute (SSI). He added, however, that the world was in a better place than when the Covid-19 outbreak began.“We know the virus, have measures in place including testing and infection control, and the outbreak will be contained, to the best of our knowledge.”
Regeneron hopes US will greenlight COVID-19 antibody drug soon
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said United States health regulators were doing a careful analysis of its experimental antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19 and that it was hopeful the drug could be authorised for emergency use in the country soon. The treatment, which was given to US President Donald Trump during his COVID-19 infection, has been under review by the US Food and Drug Administration since last month. “We hope that it will reach a successful conclusion. But we don’t know the timeline,” Regeneron Chief Executive Officer Leonard Schleifer said during a conference call to discuss the company’s earnings. The company has said that clinical trial data shows the drug reduced medical visits in patients with mild to moderate cases. The antibody treatment would be the first drug designed specifically to fight COVID-19 and could become a tool in the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than one million people globally. Based on clinical trials, Regeneron expects emergency use authorisation could be granted for outpatients, a group that it believes would benefit the most from the drug. About 80,000 doses of the treatment could be ready by the end of this month, and 300,000 doses by the end of January, Regeneron said.
AstraZeneca Expects Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Results This Year
The drugmaker said late-stage trials for the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford are on track to produce results “later this year,” with a potential rollout soon after, subject to regulatory approval.
Covid-19 antibodies drop by HALF just three months after infection
Study looked at antibody levels in 3,217 healthcare workers who had Covid Reveals maximum antibody levels occur 24 days after initial infection. 85 days later the concentration of antibodies falls to half this number. Antibodies then drop below detestable levels 52 days after this point
South Korea Approves Single Test to Detect Both COVID-19 and Seasonal Flu
With the onset of winter, and experts round the globe warning of an imminent second wave, South Korean medical authorities decided to approve the use of a single test to detect both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza. The latter, a disease recurring in colder months each year, would also be diagnosed through the same samples that will be collected for testing coronavirus, officials in the South East Asian nation said.
Clots, Strokes And Rashes. Is COVID-19 A Disease Of The Blood Vessels?
Whether it's strange rashes on the toes or blood clots in the brain, the widespread ravages of COVID-19 have increasingly led researchers to focus on how the novel coronavirus sabotages the body's blood vessels. As scientists have come to know the disease better, they have homed in on the vascular system — the body's network of arteries, veins and capillaries, stretching more than 60,000 miles — to understand this wide-ranging disease and to find treatments that can stymie its most pernicious effects. Some of the earliest insights into how COVID-19 can act like a vascular disease came from studying the aftermath of the most serious infections. Those reveal that the virus warps a critical piece of our vascular infrastructure: the single layer of cells lining the inside of every blood vessel, known as the endothelial cells or simply the endothelium. Dr. William Li, a vascular biologist, compares this lining to a freshly resurfaced ice skating rink before a hockey game on which the players and pucks glide smoothly along.
AstraZeneca chief says COVID vaccine on track for year end
AstraZeneca Plc’s coronavirus shot could be ready for large-scale vaccinations as early as this year, Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said, dismissing reports of delays and production snags. The U.K. drugmaker is poised to unveil vaccine test results by year-end even after trials were slightly delayed over the summer as infection rates slowed in the northern hemisphere. A recent resurgence has allowed scientists to gather the clinical data they need, according to Soriot. Astra and the University of Oxford are keeping the vaccine in a frozen bulk state to preserve its shelf life while they await final test results. “At the end of the day, we don’t yet know if the vaccine works,” Soriot said in a Bloomberg Television interview, adding that many questions remain, such as whether it will show results for everyone and for how long. “We would hope that large-scale vaccinations would be possible starting in January next year — possibly even December.”
India-made COVID-19 vaccine likely by February: Gov’t scientist
An Indian government-backed COVID-19 vaccine could be launched as early as February – months earlier than expected – as last-stage trials begin this month and studies have so far shown it is safe and effective, a senior government scientist has told the Reuters news agency. Bharat Biotech, a private company that is developing COVAXIN alongside the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), had earlier hoped to launch it only in the second quarter of next year. “The vaccine has shown good efficacy,” senior ICMR scientist Rajni Kant, who is also a member of its COVID-19 task force, said at the research body’s New Delhi headquarters on Thursday. “It is expected that by the beginning of next year, February or March, something would be available.” Bharat Biotech could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters said.