"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 21st Jul 2020

Isolation Tips
Lockdowns could have long-term effects on children’s health
This may seem a foolish time to stage a gigantic volleyball tournament in Florida, a covid-19 hotspot. Yet this week several thousand young athletes turned up in Orlando to smash balls back and forth over a net. At least they will get some exercise. Many of their peers will not. The pandemic is harming children’s health. Not that they are dying in large numbers of the virus itself, which seems to affect them only mildly. And not only because of a growing body of evidence suggesting that lockdowns harm their mental health. It is also because life under confinement in rich countries has been making children fatter and more sedentary. These effects may well last much longer than the restrictions designed to curb the disease.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental and Physical Health of Older Adults
Increased loneliness reported in older adults over 70 years according to study by ALONE and TILDA. Increased loneliness linked to public health measures like social distancing and cocooning. ALONE’s helplines provide support for the elderly A future study by TILDA and ALONE to observe the impact of the pandemic on the older adults.
Hygiene Helpers
How to make masks that everyone will want to wear
National Geographic contacted engineers, physicists, psychologists, and fashion designers to find out the best tips for building better masks.
Social distancing and gatherings: Advice and tips
For many people, missing large gatherings, such as weddings, funerals, musical performances, and parties, is one of the hardest things about life during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown. However, large gatherings remain one of the highest risk activities in which a person can participate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to express concern about “superspreader” events, which are large events where many people catch the virus before passing it to others at home or in their communities. There is no way to make gatherings fully safe, but people can weigh the risks and benefits and take certain steps to reduce their chances of getting the virus.
Coronavirus: Social distancing for the visually impaired in Italy
Italian photographer Stefano Sbrulli documented the difficulties of blind and visually impaired people as they adapt to a world of social distancing. Italy faced one of the strictest and longest-running Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe. Those with visual disabilities often need companions or assistance services to go about their day-to-day lives, which can make social distancing a challenge. Here are some of Sbrulli's portraits and stories, gathered between March and June.
Coronavirus: Masks mandatory in France amid fresh outbreaks
France has made face masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces amid a fresh bout of Covid-19 outbreaks. Masks were already mandatory on public transport, but from Monday they must also be worn in places like shops. Health Minister Oliver Véran warned that France had between "400 and 500 active clusters" of the virus. President Emmanuel Macron declared a "first victory" over the virus in June and has ended the national state of emergency, but local outbreaks remain. There are a rising number of cases in the north-west and in eastern regions, in particular in the north-western department of Mayenne. France, one of Europe's hardest-hit countries, has recorded more than 200,000 infections and over 30,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
'It makes sense': French shoppers take compulsory masks in their stride
From Monday, shoppers entering the bakery in Paris where Kalil Gaci works are required by law to wear a mask, but his customers are taking the new rule in their stride. “There’s no problem in wearing one, I’m completely for it,” said Elina Outh, a 22-year-old business student who called in to buy some of Gaci’s pastries. “What’s happening makes sense and I think it should have happened a long time ago.” Government edicts about wearing face coverings to curb the spread of COVID-19 have touched off fierce debate in the United States and elsewhere about civil liberties. On France, most people accept them as a necessary tool to fight the epidemic.
Italy’s capital Rome facing possibility of return to lockdown as COVID cases rise
The Italian region of Lazio, which includes the capital Rome, has warned residents that local lockdowns may have to be reimposed if there continue to be new clusters of coronavirus cases. Lazio’s Health Commissioner Alessio D’Amato reported 17 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, 10 of which were foreign residents who had returned to Italy from abroad. Rome has recently seen clusters of coronavirus infections among its Bangladeshi residents who have been returning from working in Bangladesh. Italy has banned arrivals from 13 at-risk countries, including Bangladesh, after the rise in cases.
How to Reopen the Economy Without Killing Teachers and Parents
All classes should be online, but school buildings could still serve an important purpose for the kids who need them most.
What does life in a 'post-lockdown' world look like?
After months of imposing strict restrictions or lockdown rules, many countries across the world have started easing these control measures. What has this meant at a global level?
Community Activities
COVID-19: BAME communities need targeted health messaging, scientists warn
Academics at the University of Leicester found that COVID-19 cases continued to rise in BAME groups in certain parts of Leicester in the three weeks after the announcement was made, while rates in white groups “dropped off very sharply”. They said the findings, published recently in the journal EClinicalMedicine by The Lancet, raise “serious questions” on whether lockdown on its own is effective for a diverse population.
Two thirds of readers think lockdown is being eased too soon, M.E.N. survey finds
Two thirds of people think the coronavirus lockdown in England is being eased too soon, according to the M.E.N's Lockdown survey. We asked our readers how they feel about the changes set to happen in the coming weeks and months after the Prime Minister's announcement on Friday. Speaking from Downing Street, Boris Johnson revealed a four-month plan for a “significant return to normality” from as early as November. On August 1, most remaining leisure venues, including casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, will be allowed to reopen, and close-contact beauty services permitted. Indoor performances with live audiences will also resume, with trials beginning for larger events at sports and football stadiums “with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn”. And it's good news for engaged couples as wedding receptions of up to 30 guests can also resume next month. But how do the people of Greater Manchester really feel about the easing of measures? More than 2,200 readers responded to our lockdown changes survey, this is what they think:
Starving and sleeping on the streets: The reality of life for women seeking asylum in lockdown Britain
Women who have sought asylum in the UK have been forced to go without food and sleep outside or on buses during the coronavirus crisis, a report has found. The study, carried out by a coalition of women’s organisations, warned that the public health emergency has made asylum-seeking women more at risk of hunger and ill health. The coalition Sisters Not Strangers, which includes organisations working with refugee women around the UK, found that three-quarters of women seeking asylum went hungry during the Covid-19 crisis, including mothers who found it difficult to find food to give their children.
Working Britons used to have less time for leisure but pandemic is changing work-life balance
In March, when Covid-19 began to spread rapidly in Britain, everyone at the bank’s headquarters, like millions of other British office workers, was ordered home. Mr Ramsey experienced “teething problems” for a week, but he soon replicated his office set-up. When the office reopens, he will mostly stay at home, perhaps going in once or twice a week for meetings. He misses the camaraderie of the office, but that is outweighed by the time he saves on commuting and the flexibility to walk the dog at lunchtime. “It’s not going to go back to the way it was,” he says.
Young artists prepare for college during COVID-19 upheaval
In May the school planned for in-person learning, but as coronavirus cases continued to spike around the country, the school sent a June update saying it was still evaluating how to proceed. During an online orientation a few days ago, SUNY Purchase outlined its plan for both in-person and online learning during the fall semester. “I will only be having two dance classes in person in the studio, and the teacher would either be there or on a screen,” Carson said, adding that the rest of her classes will be remote. Dealing with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has been tough, she said. “Just to think about me not being able to be onstage and perform with a live audience, it breaks my heart because that’s been my dream.”
Tips, tests and take-out: Local groups help Spanish-speakers stay informed on COVID-19
If you go onto the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s website and click on the globe icon at the top of the page, you’ll be greeted with a drop down list of 81 different languages, everything from A (Afrikaans) to Z (Zulu). Spanish is, of course, one of the available languages in which visitors can access COVID-19 testing site information and case numbers by county and ZIP code, among other items. Community health worker Yajaira Benet is helping lead the effort to bring more Spanish-language resources to Lowcountry Latinos so they know how and where to get help during the global pandemic that has disproportionately affected Latinos.
Working Remotely
Work-From-Home Culture Will Cut Billions of Miles of Driving
Working from home and online shopping have become the new normal and that will reduce driving in the U.S. by up to 270 billion miles a year, according to new study. The research conducted by consultant KPMG International finds the cocoon culture Covid-19 has created is not going away -- even if a vaccine is made widely available -- and that will have potentially dire consequences for the auto industry. For starters, the decline in commuting will remove 14 million cars from U.S. roads, the KPMG study forecasts.
One in three office workers want to continue working from home after coronavirus threat is over
The study showed a demand for more flexible working, up from a tenth in 2019 The survey found 32% of people expecting to at least partially work from home It comes as Boris Johnson on Friday urged Brits back to deserted High Streets
Virtual Classrooms
America wants to reopen schools? Here’s how to learn from Israel’s mistakes
Rushing to get kids back into the classroom this spring was one of the reasons infection rates skyrocketed in Israel – offering a teaching moment to the world
'Ethically troubling.' University reopening plans put professors, students on edge
Academics across the country are dismayed. At Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), for instance, faculty published an open letter decrying the “limited amount of input faculty, staff, and graduate employees have had on decisions related to our safety.” At Georgia Tech, faculty released a similar letter saying the university’s reopening procedures “do not follow science-based evidence”—and that “no faculty, staff, or student should be coerced into risking their health and the health of their families by working … on campus when there is a remote/online equivalent.”
Khan Academy founder explains how to keep kids learning even when schools are closed
The founder of Khan Academy told CNBC that online instruction cannot fully replace in-person class — but said there are ways to maximize the benefit for students. “We’re not going to be replicate school, even when the school is doing a perfect job so people shouldn’t expect that,” Sal Khan said on “Closing Bell.” But for core subjects such as math, Khan said interactive video lessons and the right digital programs can provide real benefits to learning.
Covid-19 impact: How coronavirus crisis opened gates to new educational opportunities in India
In mid-February, when the coronavirus was penetrating into the roots of our country, all the organizations and companies permitted their employees to work from home. Meanwhile, educational institutions became ambiguous about their regularity and started pondering over to manage their students and other academic stuff. As every difficulty is an opportunity to learn something new, online teaching emerged as a solution in this cumbersome time. Why are online classes so important for India? According to All India Survey on Higher education 2018-19 by Ministry of Human Resource development, there are 993 Universities, 39931 Colleges and 10725 Stand Alone Institutions in India. Therefore, in a country with a maximum of young population, keeping them engrossed with productive work was very challenging. Soon the institutions figured out the ways to train and equip their teachers with software for online teaching.
Teachers have concerns on returning to classrooms, virtual classes
What will East Texas school classrooms look like when teachers and students eventually do return? Some educators have worries about continuing with virtual classes and the learning atmosphere for students, as well as the possible dangers to teachers and students returning to classrooms. With the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly getting a second wind, educators and relatives of students worry about returning to classrooms , even under safety protocol. "We don't want our children and our teachers to be exposed to this virus," said retired Longview teacher Jann Salyer. "As an educator and a parent I understand that challenges and concerns schools districts, teachers and parents are facing," said Port Arthur teacher Tatiana Morales. It's a balance of teachers plying their profession, educating young minds, against the current risks of returning.
Public Policies
Coronavirus: Hong Kong reports biggest one-day rise in cases
Hong Kong has recorded its highest one-day increase in cases since the pandemic began, the territory's Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said. At a Sunday press conference, Ms Lam said there had been more than 100 new infections, and announced new restrictions to contain the spread. She described the situation as "really critical" and said there was "no sign" it was coming under control. Non-essential civil servants must work from home and testing will increase. The chief executive promised that authorities would carry out 10,000 tests a day, and also made wearing face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces. Face coverings were already mandatory on public transport. There were 108 new cases, 83 of them local and 25 imported, the health authorities said.
China coronavirus: 'Wartime state' declared for Urumqi in Xinjiang
A "wartime state" has been declared in Urumqi, the capital of China's western Xinjiang region, after a spike in cases of coronavirus. Officials on Saturday said 17 new cases had been recorded and strict measures on movement had been imposed. Although the figure appears low, China has recorded very few significant outbreaks since Covid-19 emerged in the city of Wuhan late last year. China is now not in the top 20 in terms of either infections or deaths.
Flu vaccines could be delivered at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine, government says
The government is exploring the possibility of co-administering the flu vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine during the 2020/2021 flu season.
HHS unveils new public coronavirus data system
The Trump administration has restored public access to coronavirus data reported by hospitals to the federal government, after an outcry over missing data and controversy over a change in the agency that collects it. The information is now being published on the Department of Health and Human Services's (HHS) site, HHS Protect, instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network. The change was necessary, officials said, because they believed the CDC's system was too slow, and wasn't able to keep up with the constantly changing information about the virus.
Chile eyes gradual reopening after coronavirus infections slow in some areas
Chilean government officials presented a plan on Sunday to gradually relax lockdown restrictions after the coronavirus infection rate improved in some regions of the country. The plan, called “Step by Step,” includes five stages that range from total quarantine to advanced opening and will be applied according to epidemiological criteria, the capacity of the healthcare system and the ability to trace cases, officials said. “These five weeks of improvement allow us to start a new stage today ... This plan, which will be step by step, cautiously, prudently, will be applied gradually and flexibly,” said President Sebastian Pinera in the announcement, adding that 12 regions in the country had improved in recent weeks.
EU struggles to agree virus recovery deal as global deaths surge
EU leaders battled to save a beleaguered 750 million euro ($860 million) virus recovery package at a summit on Sunday, as global deaths soared past 600,000 and Hong Kong raised the alarm about its growing outbreak. The United States -- the worst-affected country by far -- ended a week in which it registered its highest figures for new cases for three days running, taking its total towards 3.7 million infections and 140,00 deaths. The virus has now infected more than 14 million people worldwide.
New York City enters final reopening stage; L.A. on 'brink' of new lockdown
New York City, which was at one time the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, entered the fourth and final phase of the state's reopening plan on Monday. The city entering the last stage means low-risk outdoor facilities, like zoos and botanical gardens, can open at 33% capacity. The rest of New York state has already begun the fourth phase of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reopening plan.
Britain secures 90 million possible COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer/BioNTech, Valneva
Britain has signed deals to secure 90 million doses of two possible COVID-19 vaccines from an alliance of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech and French group Valneva the business ministry said on Monday. Britain secured 30 million doses of the experimental BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, and a deal in principle for 60 million doses of the Valneva vaccine, with an option of 40 million more doses if it was proven to be safe, effective and suitable, the ministry said. With no working vaccine against COVID-19 yet developed, Britain now has three different types of vaccine under order and a total of 230 million doses potentially available. “This new partnership with some of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical and vaccine companies will ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk,” business minister Alok Sharma said.
Russian Elite Given Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine Since April
Scores of Russia’s business and political elite have been given early access to an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the effort, as the country races to be among the first to develop an inoculation. Top executives at companies including aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, as well as billionaire tycoons and government officials began getting shots developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow as early as April, the people said. They declined to be identified as the information isn’t public.
Coronavirus: Boris Johnson insists he can avoid second England-wide lockdown
Boris Johnson has insisted he can avoid imposing another England-wide lockdown this winter, describing it as a “nuclear deterrent” that he hopes never to use. Despite chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance saying “national measures” might be necessary if there are fresh waves of the virus in the coming months, the prime minister said he “certainly” did not want to have to order the public to “stay at home” again. “I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent – I certainly don’t want to use it.
Coronavirus: Germany eyes tougher lockdown measures during local outbreaks
Germany's federal and regional governments have agreed to pursue stricter and more targeted lockdown measures to contain localized outbreaks of the novel coronavirus
Maintaining Services
Europe Said It Was Pandemic-Ready. Pride Was Its Downfall.
Held in high esteem for its scientific expertise, Europe, especially Britain, has long educated many of the best medical students from Asia, Africa and Latin America. On a visit to South Korea after a 2015 outbreak of the coronavirus MERS, Dame Sally Davies, then England’s chief medical officer, was revered as an expert. Upon her return home, she assured colleagues that such an outbreak could not happen in Britain’s public health system. Now South Korea, with a death toll below 300, is a paragon of success against the pandemic. Many epidemiologists there are dumbfounded at the mess made by their mentors. “It has come as a bit of a shock to a number of Koreans,” said Prof. Seo Yong-seok of Seoul National University, suggesting that perhaps British policymakers “thought that an epidemic is a disease that only occurs in developing countries.”
Virus was direct cause of death for 89% of Italian COVID-19 victims - The Jakarta Post
The new coronavirus has directly caused the death of 9 out of 10 of Italian COVID-19 victims, a study released on Thursday said, shedding new light on the epidemic which mainly struck the country's northern regions. Since discovering its first infections in February, Italy has reported some 35,000 COVID-19 fatalities. However, health authorities said many of those who died were also affected by other ailments and this provoked a fierce debate on whether the virus was the actual cause of death.
Covid-19 impact on ethnic minorities linked to housing and air pollution
The severe impact of Covid-19 on people from minority ethnic groups has been linked to air pollution and overcrowded and poor-standard homes by a study of 400 hospital patients. It found patients from ethnic minorities were twice as likely as white patients to live in areas of environmental and housing deprivation, and that people from these areas were twice as likely to arrive at hospital with more severe coronavirus symptoms and to be admitted to intensive care units (ITU). Minority ethnic groups were known to be disproportionately affected by Covid-19: they account for 34% of critically ill Covid-19 patients in the UK despite constituting 14% of the population. But the reasons for the disparity remain unclear.
Spanish study concludes herd immunity is not feasible to stop COVID-19
“Despite the high impact of COVID-19 in Spain, prevalence estimates remain low and are clearly insufficient to provide herd immunity.“This cannot be achieved without accepting the collateral damage of many deaths in the susceptible population and overburdening of health systems.
Spain's coronavirus rate triples in three weeks after lockdown easing
The prevalence of the novel coronavirus in Spain has risen three-fold over the last three weeks as authorities struggle to contain a rash of fresh clusters, mainly in the Catalonia and Aragon regions, Health Ministry data showed on Monday. After registering thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths per day during an early April peak, Spain succeeded in slowing the number of new infections to a trickle. But since restrictions on movement were lifted and Spaniards relaxed back into daily life, some 201 new clusters have appeared, with heavy concentrations in and around the Catalan cities of Barcelona and Lleida. The occurrence of the novel coronavirus has jumped from eight cases per 100,000 inhabitants at the end of June, when the country’s state of emergency ended, to 27 per 100,000, deputy health emergency chief Maria Sierra told a news conference on Monday.
Impact of UK coronavirus lockdown may cause 200,000 extra deaths, report finds
Coronavirus lockdown could kill more than 200,000 Brits due to delays to healthcare and an impending recession, a government report shows. Experts from the Department of Health, the Office for National Statistics, the Actuary's Department and the Home Office fear one million years of life lost in the long term. They calculated up to 25,000 could die from delays to treatment in the first six months since March 23 and another 185,000 in the medium to long-term. Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance revealed the existence of the report - published in April - at a science and technology select committee last week.
Fears of HIV spike in Jamaica as pandemic hits prevention efforts
For about a month, John was woken by bad dreams, a side effect of missing his antiretroviral medication from late May, when he was unable to collect his prescription drugs due to COVID-19. John, 32, works in the liquor industry and has lived with HIV for 14 years. This has compromised his immune system, so he went into self-isolation after the coronavirus emerged in Jamaica in March. “During the nights, it makes you jump out of your sleep with nightmares ... (but) you have to isolate yourself,” said John - not his real name - who ran out of medicine because he could not afford private transport to take him to the pharmacy. Clarence did not miss any treatment, but sometimes struggled to get the medication that he has used for many years after contracting HIV 25 years ago.
Chinese cinemas fret over muted reopening
Chinese cinema operators have said restrictions to prevent the spread Covid-19 as the industry reopens after six months of closure and heavy losses mean they will struggle to survive. Movie theatres reported Rmb3.3m ($472,200) in box office takings on Monday following Beijing’s announcement last week that the industry could reopen in “low risk” areas. China’s cinemas earned an average of Rmb174m a day last year, according to Wind, a financial data provider. Cinemas that have reopened have done so with limited seating, a ban on food and drinks, and a shortage of new releases. Audiences and staff must wear masks, and are subject to temperature checks. Operators say the rules have crippled cinemas even as the government has allowed the industry to reopen.
Healthcare Innovations
Vaccine Studies Offer New Hope As Who Warns On Africa
One trial among more than 1,000 adults in Britain found that a vaccine induced "strong antibody and T cell immune responses." Two studies offered new hope of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus on Monday, as the World Health Organization warned about a possible acceleration of the disease in Africa. Seven months after COVID-19 was first identified in China and has since killed more than 600,000 people worldwide and battered economies, there is growing alarm over fresh outbreaks of the disease. Until recently, Africa had remained relatively unscathed by the pandemic compared to other parts of the world. But the situation has become increasingly worrying, particularly in South Africa, where the death toll passed 5,000 mark and the number of infections reached 350,000 at the weekend. The WHO's emergencies chief Michael Ryan told a virtual news conference in Geneva that the situation in South Africa could be seen as "a warning" for what the rest of the continent might have in store. "I am very concerned right now that we are beginning to see an acceleration of disease in Africa," he said.
Immunosuppressant drug shows promise for Covid-19 patients
An initial trial showing that an immunosuppressant drug can significantly increase the likelihood of recovery among patients hospitalised by Covid-19 sent the share price of biotech company Synairgen soaring on Monday. In a study involving 101 patients from nine UK hospitals, those who were given interferon beta — which is commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis and thyroid dysfunction — were more than twice as likely to recover and were 79 per cent less likely to develop a more severe version of the disease. Their breathlessness was also “markedly reduced”, the company said.
Quest coronavirus test becomes 1st with FDA OK for sample pooling
A Quest Diagnostics coronavirus test is the first authorized by FDA for sample pooling, a method meant to screen more people using fewer resources, the agency announced Saturday. The product OK'd for use with the technique, Quest's SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test, first got emergency use authorization by FDA on March 17. The company said it will begin leveraging the method at labs near Washington, D.C. and Boston by the end of this week, planning to expand it to other sites later. Although the pooling technique may help stretch testing resources, "it is not a magic bullet," Quest's chief medical officer Jay Wohlgemuth said in a statement Saturday, adding that "testing times will continue to be strained as long as soaring COVID-19 test demand outpaces capacity."
Oxford coronavirus vaccine safe and promising, according to early human trial results published in the Lancet
A University of Oxford group and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca reported Monday that their coronavirus vaccine candidate, on which the U.S. and European governments have placed substantial bets, was shown in early-stage human trials to be safe and to stimulate a strong immune response. The study, published in the British medical journal the Lancet and involving 1,077 volunteers, was described as promising. A second report in the same publication on a Chinese vaccine showed what researchers not involved in the study described as modest positive results.
AIIMS to start human trials of Covaxin today
The AIIMS Ethics Committee on Saturday gave its nod for a human clinical trial of the indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin following which the premier hospital to begin the exercise by enrolling healthy volunteers from Monday. AIIMS-Delhi is among the 12 sites selected by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting phase I and II human trials of Covaxin. In phase I, the vaccine would be tested on 375 volunteers and the maximum of 100 of them would be from AIIMS.
What happens when flu meets Covid-19?
Optimists had hoped Covid-19 might not withstand the blistering heat of a British summer. However those hopes have faded: the virus staged a recent resurgence in Iran amid actual blistering temperatures, and has had no trouble persisting in sultry Singapore. But what happens to Covid-19, and us, when the rain and chill – and flu and sniffles – of autumn set in? Especially, how will the annual winter flu epidemic play out amid a Covid-19 pandemic? One thing is a given. “We can expect waves of Covid in the fall,” says virologist Ab Osterhaus of the Research Centre for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses in Hanover. By then, he hopes, we might be better at treating severe cases, and more countries might be able to test, trace and quarantine all cases and their contacts, and contain the virus, better than they can now.
‘Game changer’ protein treatment 'cuts severe Covid-19 symptoms by nearly 80%'
A “groundbreaking” new coronavirus treatment dramatically reduces the number of patients suffering severe symptoms, according to preliminary trial results. The treatment, developed by Southampton-based biotech Synairgen, uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it contracts a viral infection. Covid-19 patients inhale the protein into the lungs using a nebuliser, with the aim of stimulating an immune response. Initial findings, published on Monday, suggest the treatment cuts the chances of a hospitalised coronavirus patient developing severe symptoms of the disease by 79 per cent.
Large analysis of 170 countries shows that lockdown measures did reduce Covid-19 mortality
New research from the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh suggests that, in the absence of a vaccine, early, strict government measures and non-pharmaceutical interventions may have resulted in significantly fewer Covid-19 deaths. The aim of this study, published on medRxiv as a pre-print version, was to create a comprehensive database to track the response of 170 governments to the coronavirus, stretching from the period 1 January to 27 May 2020.
Over a million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine possible by September - researcher
Early estimates of the production a million doses of the University of Oxford’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine by September could be an underestimate depending on how quickly late-stage trials can be completed, a researcher said on Monday. “There might be a million doses manufactured by September: that now seems like a remarkable underestimate, given the scale of what’s going on,” Adrian Hill of University of Oxford said, referring to the manufacturing capability of partner AstraZeneca. “Certainly there’ll be a million doses around in September. What’s less predictable than the manufacturing scale-up is the incidence of disease, so when there’ll be an endpoint.” He added it was possible that there would be vaccines available by the end of the year
How Long Does COVID-19 Immunity Last?
A new study from King’s College London inspired a raft of headlines suggesting that immunity might vanish in months. The truth is a lot more complicated—and, thankfully, less dire.
Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford 'safe and induces an immune reaction'
The Covid-19 vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford is safe and induces an immune reaction, findings of the first phases of the study suggest. Scientists and medical researchers across the UK have welcomed the results, with tests revealing the jab could provide double protection against Covid-19. The tests have shown the vaccine induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system – provoking a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination, and an antibody response within 28 days. It did cause minor side effects more frequently compared with the control group of those given a meningitis vaccine, according to the study, but researchers added that there were no serious adverse events from the vaccine. Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford vaccine group said the results were "very encouraging" but cautioned that much work lies ahead.
Why those most at risk of COVID-19 are least likely to respond to a vaccine
A July 17 analysis of more than 50,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. found that 80 percent were people 65 or older. Second, the ageing thymus may also complicate vaccine development for the pandemic. Vaccines provide instructions for our immune system, which T-cells help pass along. By age 40 or 50, the thymus has exhausted most of its reserve of the kind of T-cells that can learn to recognise unfamiliar pathogens—and ‘train’ other immune cells to fight them. Many vaccines rely on such T-cells. Because of COVID-19, researchers are having to pay more attention than ever to how vaccines perform in older people. Moderna Therapeutics, for example, which published the first results this week from the phase-one trial of its novel mRNA vaccine, is running a phase two trial specifically for adults aged 55 and older.
Coronavirus | Seven Indian pharma players in race to develop COVID-19 vaccine
At least seven Indian pharma companies are working to develop a vaccine against coronavirus as they join global efforts to find a preventive to check the spread of the virus that has already infected more than 14 million globally. Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Biological E are among the domestic pharma firms working on the coronavirus vaccines in India. Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within months because of the pandemic.
Opaganib, a Sphingosine Kinase-2 (SK2) Inhibitor in COVID-19 Pneumonia
This is a phase 2/3 multi-center randomized, double-blind, parallel arm, placebo- controlled study with an adaptive design that will utilize a futility assessment. The study is planned be performed in Italy, other EU countries, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and the US in up to approximately 40 clinical sites. After informed consent is obtained, patients will enter a screening phase for no more than 3 days, to determine eligibility. Approximately 270 eligible patients will be randomized and receive either opaganib added to standard of care, or matching placebo added to standard of care, in a randomization ratio of 1:1. Treatment assignments will remain blinded to the patient, investigator and hospital staff, as well as the sponsor. As the approval and/or guidance for treating COVID-19 are evolving, for this protocol, standard of care will be defined by the recommended schemes of treatment according to the severity of the disease based on local diagnostic and guideline documents such as the Temporary Methodic Recommendations: Prophylactic, Diagnostics and Treatment of New Corona Virus Infection (COVID-19) (Appendix 10); the EU Commission, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Heads of Medicines Agency (HMA) and FDA, and as updated to the most current version of the recommendations.
Intravenous Aviptadil for Critical COVID-19 With Respiratory Failure (COVID-AIV)
Novel Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2) is known to cause Respiratory Failure, which is the hallmark of Acute COVID-19, as defined by the new NIH/FDA classification. Approximately 50% of those who develop Critical COVID-19 die, despite intensive care and mechanical ventilation. Patients with Critical COVID-19 and respiratory failure, currently treated with high flow nasal oxygen, non-invasive ventilation or mechanical ventilation will be treated with Aviptadil, a synthetic form of Human Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP) plus maximal intensive care vs. placebo + maximal intensive care. Patients will be randomized to intravenous Aviptadil will receive escalating doses from 50 -150 pmol/kg/hr over 12 hours.