"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 1st Sep 2020
Coronavirus Australia: Free mental health and wellbeing support during the COVID-19 pandemic
When we’re not coping, it’s not always possible to see a psychologist for help. Sometimes there are barriers to professional support services – cost, distance, availability and, more recently, coronavirus lockdowns. If you’re struggling during COVID-19, there are a number of free and accessible tools available.
Payments for English self-isolating on low incomes to be trialled
Regional leaders in England have called on the government to increase the level of support under a new scheme launched on Thursday for people on low incomes who are required to self-isolate and are unable to work from home. Health secretary Matt Hancock announced plans to trial the scheme in some parts of the north-west of England lockdown area. Those who test positive will be entitled to access £130 over their 10-day self-isolation period, while members of their household will be entitled to a payment of £182 when they self-isolate for 14 days. Any non-household contacts reached via the government’s NHS test-and-trace programme will be able to claim a similar amount, depending on the length of their isolation period.
Covid vaccine rush could make pandemic worse, say scientists
The rush to immunise populations against Covid-19 could lead to the rollout of a vaccine that is not very effective and risk worsening the pandemic, leading scientists have said. Politicians and commercial companies are competing to be the first to license a vaccine, but experts say the world would be better served by waiting until comprehensive results showed at least 30-50% effectiveness. Ministers announced on Friday that the UK would take emergency powers to push any vaccine through the regulatory processes with unprecedented speed before the end of the year. Donald Trump wants to be able to announce the US has a vaccine before tthe presidential election on 3 November. A vaccine is vital to stopping the pandemic, but Prof Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University and an adviser to the World Health Organization, said the first vaccine would be bought and used all over the world even if it had low efficacy. Even if it protected only a minority of the population, it would be regarded as the standard by which later vaccines would be measured. That could even lead to inferior vaccines being approved, because they would not have to show that they were any better.
New Zealanders wear face masks as Auckland lockdown lifted
Schools and businesses reopened in Auckland on Monday after the lifting of a lockdown in New Zealand’s largest city to contain the resurgence of the coronavirus, but face masks were made mandatory on public transport across the country. The Pacific nation of 5 million people had appeared to have succeeded in halting community transmission of COVID-19, but a fresh outbreak in Auckland prompted the government to place the city back in lockdown earlier this month. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern scaled back the restrictions in Auckland on Sunday, but made masks compulsory on public transport.
France Covid-19: Paris compulsory face-mask rule comes into force
Wearing a face mask in public has become mandatory across Paris and several surrounding areas, amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in France. On Friday the country recorded 7,379 new infections - its highest number since early May. The number of "red zones" where the virus is in active circulation has risen from two to 21. Announcing new local curbs on Thursday, PM Jean Castex said he wanted to avoid another general lockdown. He said the coronavirus was "gaining ground" across France, and that if the government did not act fast infection growth could become "exponential". Despite a sharp rise in cases in recent weeks, daily death tolls have remained low. Overall, more than 3
Refusal to wear a facemask linked to sociopathy | News
People who refuse to follow rules on wearing facemasks are more likely to have malevolent sociopathic traits, a study suggests. Individuals who showed signs of the so-called dark-triad of personality traits — narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy — were also more likely to trivialise the risks posed by Covid-19 and to avoid regular hand-washing and social distancing. Researchers from Brazil asked about 1,600 volunteers to fill in two questionnaires often used by psychologists to assess empathy and expose personality disorders. They also asked them about their attitudes on rules and guidelines designed to contain the virus. They then divided their subjects into two groups. About 1,200 people qualified for an “empathy group”: those who had displayed an interest in underrstanding other people’s feelings and motivations.
Coronavirus: Masks now mandatory for secondary pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland
Pupils in Scotland and Northern Ireland now have to wear face masks in school corridors and communal areas to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. The new rules, which kick in today, apply to all children over 12 in Scotland - and on school transport for primary pupils five and above. In Northern Ireland, post-primary pupils and teachers will also have to wear face coverings in corridors and communal areas. Masks on school buses are strongly recommended but not mandatory.
New guidance says Kentucky students should wear masks at all times, even if 6 feet apart
Kentucky’s students and staff should wear masks at all times while they are in school, even if they are at least 6 feet apart, according to updated #HealthyAtSchool guidance from Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration. The updated mask guidance for public school students and staff was discussed Monday during a Kentucky Department of Education Superintendents' Advisory Council meeting. "The use of cloth face coverings (masks) should be required by all students and staff at all times while in the building or on the bus, unless medically waivered," the new #HealthyAtSchool guidance says. "Students and staff should only lower their masks while actively eating or drinking."
Face mask sales surge in Sweden after country warned it may advise people to wear them in
Sweden's public health agency director said on Aug. 18 there were some instances - such as on public transport - that wearing a mask could be beneficial. Face mask sales at have soared by more than 100% at some pharmacists. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell had said they can do more harm than good
China's offer of coronavirus tests for all in Hong Kong meets with public distrust
A Chinese government offer to test all Hong Kong residents for the novel coronavirus is meeting scepticism from the city’s medical community and public and is emerging as a politically charged issue ahead of the launch of the plan next week. A 60-person mainland Chinese team will carry out tests and build temporary hospitals in the first direct help from Chinese health officials for the semi-autonomous city in its battle with the epidemic. But it comes at a sensitive time for the former British colony, with anxiety running high about what many of its 7.5 million residents see as Beijing’s efforts to rein in their freedoms, in particular with a national security law imposed in June. Against this background, some democracy activists have suggested that people’s DNA will be collected and abused under the cover of testing. The city government has dismissed that saying no samples would be taken out of the city.
‘They saved us’: how English schools support students during Covid-19
The children’s commissioner has called for grieving children to be given access to counselling and mental health support in school, but Selda, who runs Singalong with Selda and was a primary school teacher for two decades, says she believes this support should be available in all schools, and not just for grieving children. “The school has been so nurturing that I really think they will be looked after. The kids will be on their radar and we’ve had excellent communication with them.”
Musicians try to lift spirits in COVID-hit Brazilian favela
Musicians have been trying to lift spirits in COVID-hit Brazil. They played in Sao Paulo's largest favela, Heliopolis, which is home to more than 200,000 people and has been badly affected by the virus. The musicians, from Heliopolis, are part of the Baccarelli Institute, a non-profit organisation that has been promoting the social inclusion of children and young people in the community. While the string quartet played, residents returning from work stopped to listen on the street or from their windows and balconies.
Australian Religious Leaders Criticize ‘Immoral’ COVID-19 Vaccine Deal
A coronavirus deal signed by Australia with an international drug company is raising ethical concerns among prominent church leaders. Australia has signed a deal with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce and distribute a vaccine being developed by Britain's Oxford University... if the treatment works. But three of Australia's most senior archbishops have written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging him to reconsider the agreement, saying the use of "fetal tissue” in the research is “deeply immoral.” “To use that tissue then for science is reprehensible,” said Glenn Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. “Once I know something that is morally compromised, it is my job to speak out about it.” The Oxford University study uses embryonic kidney cells harvested from a female fetus in the Netherlands in 1973.
Voluntary work comes under spotlight in UK’s virus recovery
A group of economists led by a former head of the civil service and the Bank of England’s chief economist are launching a commission to examine how best to utilise civic society in Britain’s recovery from coronavirus. Gus O’Donnell and Andy Haldane are using significant additional philanthropic funding for the charity they founded, Pro Bono Economics, to examine how volunteering and the charitable sector can play a more important role in the economy, helping the country turn buzz phrases such as “levelling up” and “build back better” into reality. Speaking to the Financial Times, Lord O’Donnell said the charitable sector was facing a “double whammy” resulting from Covid-19. “Needs have gone up and funds have gone down with the possible exception of charity shops,” he said.
Get back to work: UK government to tell millions of Brits to return to offices
The UK government is preparing to launch a campaign to coax workers back to offices as businesses in deserted City centres struggle to remain afloat during the Covid-19 crisis. The strategy, dubbed “All in, all together”, will inform the public of how to return safely to work with the right health and safety measures in place. It will be launched next week. It will highlight the social and productive benefits of working in an office environment and the benefits of travelling via alternative means, such as walking and cycling, according to a person familiar with the matter. According to July 2015 government census statistics, 18% of people who work in London commute from outside the capital and the average commute is 9.1 miles.
Capita plans to shut offices as staff work from home
One of Britain’s leading government contractors is planning to close more than a third of its 250 offices after concluding that staff are working just as effectively from home. Almost 100 sites are set to be closed as Capita, which has 45,000 staff in the UK, prepares to transform its operations permanently.
Kiss the office goodbye: Remote work is winning the hearts of employees
While tens of millions of U.S. workers have been forced to figure out how to navigate their jobs from home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, this grand experiment instigated by a relentless virus may be leading to a profoundly altered business reality. What if they never return to the office? That’s a question now on the minds of many employees who have found that the hassle of getting ready for, and commuting to, their collective office hustles may be a burden best left in the pre-pandemic world. For those lucky enough to have jobs that can translate to remote locations, crowded trains and freeway congestion have been replaced with workdays that start instead with logging in to a Zoom meeting and, perhaps, an outfit that translates a “business casual” vibe only from the waist up.
Poll: COVID-19 has Americans working many more days from home
Americans are now working many more days remotely than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived months ago, Gallup said in a new survey Monday. The poll showed that there's been a slight increase of the number of U.S. workers who say they have worked remotely before, but a substantial increase in the number of days they're working away from the office.
Warnings of 'ghost towns' if staff do not return to the office
City centres could become "ghost towns" if the prime minister does not do more to encourage workers to go back to the office, the head of the CBI says. Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said allowing staff to work from home had helped keep firms afloat during the pandemic. But as offices stood empty, thousands of local businesses that relied on the passing trade were suffering, she said. It comes as a BBC study found 50 major UK employers had no plans to return all staff to the office full time.
'My shop is dead': The city centre newsagents fighting to survive as office staff work from home
"My shop is dead. I'm doing a quarter of my usual taking". This is the bleak situation newsagents owner Yasin Matadar faces. His shop, Matadar News and Souvenirs, sits in what could be thought of as the perfect location in Manchester city centre. It's on Mount Street, just metres away from St Peter's Square, and would usually be bursting with customers. But Yasin, 42, is starved of his most valued and regular customers - Manchester's army of office staff.
Capita to close over a third of offices permanently
The firm, which is a major government contractor, is to end its leases on almost 100 workplaces. Business lobby group CBI has warned that the fall in office working is damaging city centre economies. It comes as the government prepares to launch an advertising campaign encouraging more people to return to workplaces. The BBC understands that Capita, which manages London's congestion charge, has been looking at various measures to help it simplify its business for some time, such as embracing more flexible working, which is supported by its employees.
No in-person classes at Chico State due to spike in COVID-19 infections
California State University, Chico canceled its limited number of in-person classes Monday and told students in an urgently toned message to vacate campus housing by the weekend after nearly 30 people tested positive for the coronavirus days after the fall semester started. University President Gayle Hutchinson announced in a statement Sunday that the in-person classes it offered when the semester started last week will switch to virtual-only for the duration of the fall semester. She asked students to leave on-campus housing by the coming Sunday because nearly all on-campus residences have at least one positive case and "there is concern the numbers will only increase."
Back To School Butterflies, Anxiety Turning Into Excitement As Students Begin Virtual Classes
The butterflies were flying in the classrooms and in the bedrooms as teachers and students gathered for the new school year in the Carlynton School District. A week later the butterflies have moved on and, “From what I’ve heard back from teachers and from students, even though it’s a virtual environment they are excited to see their friends, they are excited to see their teachers, and they’re excited to learn,” says Carlynton Superintendent John Kreider, Ph.D..
Salisbury University Classes Back in Session Online and In-person
"Today is the first day of school and it is one of the best days of the year always," said Salisbury University President Charles A. Wight. As of last week, Salisbury University had a positivity rate of less than one percent. School leaders say they want to keep it that way. "Our classrooms have been reconfigured to keep all the students six feet apart, all the h fac systems have been reconfigured to add high-efficiency filters to keep the air nice and clean and safe," added Wight. Before heading back to campus students faculty and staff had to undergo a COVID-19 test. To stop the spread of the virus, students received a safety kit which includes a mask and thermometer.
Pupil distancing hits teaching quality, teachers warn
Nearly three-quarters of teachers have said they could not teach to their usual standard when schools opened more widely in July, according to a new report. The study, The challenges facing schools and pupils in September 2020, carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NfER), found that 74 per cent of teachers did not feel able to teach to their usual standard in July. Distancing means teachers are unable to set group work, move around the classroom or help pupils fully, report warns.
UM-Flint starts year mostly online with limited in-person classes to fight coronavirus
University of Michigan Flint students returned to class Monday, Aug. 31 -- most of them in front of a computer screen. The majority of courses will be taught remotely, with some in-person classes taking place on a limited basis, according to the university’s plan for the start of school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees are encouraged to work remotely if at all possible, and events and activities will mostly occur in a virtual format.
An unusual model to bring virtual learning ‘to life’
For most students, the virtual learning experiment forced on schools in the spring, when schools closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, was less than successful. Most school districts weren’t ready to move from in-person learning to online lessons virtually overnight. And now that the 2020-2021 academic year is starting again with remote instruction for most students, it’s an open question about if and how much online offerings have improved. In this post, David Kirp, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, writes about an unusual approach to bringing virtual learning “to life.”
Canada to buy millions of doses of Novavax and Johnson & Johnson's potential Covid-19 vaccines
Canada reached an agreement in principle on Monday (Aug 31) with both Novavax and Johnson & Johnson for millions of doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccines, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. Canada's two agreements follow separate deals with Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc announced weeks ago, and are the latest example of countries rushing to secure access to vaccines. Last week, Canada's National Research Council said it had ended its partnership on a coronavirus vaccine with China's CanSino Biologics because the company lacked the authority to ship the vaccine. Novavax said it expects to finalize an advance purchase agreement to supply doses of the vaccine, beginning as early as the second quarter of next year. Novavax has agreed to supply up to 76 million doses of its experimental vaccine, while Johnson & Johnson will supply up to 38 million doses of its vaccine candidate. Both agreements are subject to the vaccines obtaining licenses from Health Canada, the companies said
Opening up without control of COVID-19 is recipe for disaster, says WHO
Countries with significant active spread of coronavirus must prevent amplifying events, as opening up without the virus being under control would be a “recipe for disaster”, the World Health Organization said on Monday. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recognised that many people are getting tired of restrictions and want to return to normality eight months into the pandemic. The WHO fully supported efforts to reopen economies and societies, he told a news conference, adding: “We want to see children returning to school and people returning to workplaces, but we want to see it done safely.” “No country can just pretend the pandemic is over,” he said. “The reality is this virus spreads easily. Opening up without control is a recipe for disaster.”
Australian diplomatic cables from China detail early confused weeks of coronavirus emergency
Previously unseen diplomatic correspondence has given new insights into how little Australian officials knew of the COVID-19 emergency as it unfolded in China's Hubei province at the beginning of the year. The partly redacted cables suggest Australia's missions in China did not begin sending detailed situational reports back to Canberra until late January, with the updates largely based on local official statements.
FDA head says he is willing to fast-track Covid-19 vaccine
The head of the US Food and Drug Administration has said he is willing to bypass the normal approval process to authorise a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible — but has insisted he will not do so to please President Donald Trump. In an interview with the Financial Times, Stephen Hahn said his agency was prepared to authorise a vaccine before Phase Three clinical trials were complete, as long as officials believed the benefits outweighed the risks. But he defended his embattled organisation against accusations that it was rushing the process to boost Mr Trump’s re-election prospects. “It is up to the sponsor [vaccine developer] to apply for authorisation or approval, and we make an adjudication of their application,” Dr Hahn said. “If they do that before the end of Phase Three, we may find that appropriate. We may find that inappropriate, we will make a determination.”
Canada confirms Chinese vaccine trial has been scrapped
CanSino Covid-19 vaccine candidate doses to Canada and as CanSino has now completed phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials elsewhere, this specific opportunity is over and the NRC is focusing its team and facilities on other Covid-19 priorities.”
UK to fast-track Covid-19 vaccine approval if sought before end of Brexit transition
UK health officials suggested that, should a vaccine’s developers be ready to seek approval before the end of the year, the MHRA might be able to give a faster verdict than its European counterpart. The health department said: “If a vaccine is discovered before 2021, the proposals will bolster existing powers that allow the MHRA to consider approving its use, before a full product licence is granted, provided it is proven to be safe and effective during robust and extensive clinical trials.” The measures were necessary because during the transition period, a new potential Covid-19 vaccine must be granted a licence by the EMA, it said.
Here's how the U.S. could release a COVID-19 vaccine before the election—and why that scares some
Peter Marks, who runs the FDA division that oversees vaccine approval, has vowed that he would resign if the Trump administration pushed through a vaccine that was not clearly safe and effective. And he insists that FDA will consult with the Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), which Offit sits on, to publicly discuss data related to any approval request. “Approval should be something that we can make transparent, and to do anything less than that is really a disservice to people,” Marks says. VRBPAC’s next meeting is scheduled for 22 October, 12 days before the presidential and congressional elections. Science spoke with a range of researchers and regulators about how a COVID-19 vaccine approval might be accelerated and the potential consequences.
Merkel Calls on Germans to Avoid Virus-Hit Areas Like U.S.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans to refrain from non-essential travel to areas with severe coronavirus outbreaks, including the U.S. Merkel’s warning to people in Europe’s biggest economy reflects growing concern among European leaders faced with a summer surge of Covid-19. Paris is expanding its mask-wearing mandate to public spaces citywide, Spain reported the most new infections since late April and Italy had the most since early May.
Coronavirus: Vaccine front-runner China already inoculating workers
Earlier this month, the head of a well-known, privately-owned Chinese conglomerate told his staff that a vaccine for Covid-19 was expected to come to market by November. The boss, whose firm has a healthcare division, said that he saw it as a portent of economic recovery; a chance for his firms to sell more, according to a person privy to the comments. Within a few weeks the Chinese government was forced to go public with its apparent progress. The novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 originated in humans in China, before it spread ceaselessly across the world. Now China is using its global footprint in a relentless effort to win the race to develop and deploy an effective vaccine. Last week one of the developmental vaccines was pictured in state-run media; a small branded box was shown, held up by a smiling woman in a lab. Sinopharm said it hopes to have it ready to go on sale by December. It even named a price, equivalent to about $140 (£106).
France coronavirus rates quadruple as authorities urged: 'Act quickly'
France’s coronavirus cases are surging, with the government declaring that the country’s rate of infection has quadrupled in a month. On Wednesday, France recorded 5,429 new cases of coronavirus, the country’s highest daily total since March and third-largest since the pandemic began. The nation’s R rate has also risen to 1.4, which is higher than the rate of 1 required to keep the curve of infection constant. Prime Minister Jean Castex has now changed Paris’ guidance on face coverings, with masks to become mandatory in the city from Friday morning. He warned that regional lockdowns could be on the horizon if the infection rates continue to climb.
'The reversal of gentrification': how Covid-19 could remake Australia's cities
Office buildings in Australian CBDs could be converted into residential living spaces, as a tanking commercial property market leads to a potential reversal of gentrification. The prediction of drastically different city centres, made by property experts and architects, follows the Covid-19 shift in work habits that have forced employers to allow staff to work from home, with expectations the flexibility afforded to them as a result of coronavirus will remain in some capacity into the post-pandemic future. Urban planning thinktanks believe that as businesses require less floor space and less commercial property is used, state and local governments will have to do more to draw people into the city centres in which they have already invested heavily.
Brazilian island reopens just for tourists who’ve had Covid-19
Fernando de Noronha has reopened for visitors after a five-month shutdown, but with one stipulation. Tourists have to have contracted and recovered from Covid-19 before being allowed on the island
36 states report a total of 8,700 Covid-19 cases at colleges and universities; country nears 6 million
Since classes started on August 19, 1,200 students at the University of Alabama have tested positive for the virus, the university system's website showed Saturday. Classes at the University of Dayton will continue online for at least two weeks after the school reported 116 case on Thursday and then another 148 on Friday, according to the university's website. Outbreaks have been identified at four different sororities at Kansas State University, according to news releases from the college and the Riley County Health Department. Providence College in Rhode Island has implemented policies to prevent the virus' spread, but 17 students have been placed on "interim suspension" for violating those measures, meaning they will not be allowed on campus or in classes until they attend a hearing, college spokesperson Steven Maurano told CNN Saturday.
Pandemic exposes 'severe stress' in commercial property financing
The fate of the property is not only emblematic of the severity of the crisis emerging for the hotel industry but also of the pressure building across the commercial real estate sector — from small-town malls to sky-high office blocks — hitting one of its primary sources of financing; the $1.4tn market for commercial mortgage-backed securities. “I don’t think anyone foresaw the devastation that Covid would wreak on commercial real estate and the CMBS market,” says Lea Overby, an analyst at Wells Fargo who has covered the sector for almost two decades.
'You just feel disconnected': how Covid has upturned uni students' lives
University students are returning to (mostly virtual) class at a time of tumult and disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has hit Australian universities hard, with a slew of academic institutions recently announcing severe job cuts – among them the University of Sydney, RMIT University, the University of Melbourne, and the University of New South Wales. The staff cuts, coupled with distant learning, have dramatically altered the university experience for tens of thousands of Australian students. Unions and academics have sounded the alarm that this could lead to degrees of lower quality. Enrolments for next year are set to balloon, which could result in a challenging environment of more students and fewer teachers. Guardian Australia spoke to several students – some at universities that have announced staff cuts, others learning under lockdown – about their experiences during the pandemic.
China's Wuhan says all schools to reopen on Tuesday
Wuhan, Ground Zero for the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese city hardest hit by the coronavirus, will reopen all its schools and kindergartens on Tuesday, local authorities said. As many as 2,842 educational institutions across the city are set to open their doors to almost 1.4 million students when the autumn semester gets underway, the local government announced on Friday. Wuhan University reopened on Monday. The city said it has drawn up emergency plans to switch back to online teaching should risk levels change. It advised students to wear masks to and from school and avoid public transportation if possible. Schools have been ordered to stock up on disease control equipment and to carry out drills and training sessions to help prepare for new outbreaks. They must also restrict unnecessary mass gatherings, and submit daily reports to health authorities
Reopening schools: how different countries are tackling Covid dilemma
Research on the ability of children of different ages to catch and transmit the virus is contradictory, and differences in education systems and social conventions make comparisons difficult. One complicating factor is what epidemiologists call contact matrices: the degree to which different age groups mix, particularly within extended multigenerational families, which can vary from society to society and from group to group within a society. Countries have taken different approaches but some of the questions are broadly familiar. Should all children and staff be required to wear masks, or only some age groups? Should children be tested for the virus? How should social distancing be managed in the classroom and playground? And finally, should schools be reopening at all?
Spanish health authorities support reopening of schools despite surge in coronavirus cases
The Spanish Health Ministry reported on Thursday that 9,658 new coronavirus cases had been detected by the regions. This is the largest spike in infections that Spain has seen since it entered a second wave of the virus, and confirms the upward trend of Covid-19 transmission, which has been rising since the beginning of August. The news came on the same day that Spain’s 17 regions and the Health and Education ministries met to establish protocols for how to safely reopen schools in September. According to Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, students will be able to return to class even if there is “community transmission” of the virus in Spain.
Gottlieb says "full approval" of coronavirus vaccine for general population unlikely before 2021
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday he does not believe there will be "full approval" of a coronavirus vaccine for the general population until early 2021. "We're likely to see a stepwise progression of authorization of this vaccine for certain select populations that are at higher risk of either contracting it or having a bad outcome before we see a full approval for the general population," Gottlieb said on "Face the Nation." "I think, again, full approval for the general population, where people can go to CVS and get a shot — that's really a 2021 event, maybe the first quarter of 2021, probably more likely the first half."
Australian coronavirus antibody therapy aims for trial in early 2021
Australian researchers hope to start human trials of a coronavirus antibody therapy in early 2021, while a large-scale trial of a vaccine could begin by the end of this year, scientists said on Wednesday.
Covid-19 vaccine diplomacy in India’s outreach plan
The Union government is working on at least five distinct ways, ranging from free vaccines to guaranteed supply, in which it can help its immediate neighbours as well as countries in West Asia, Africa and even Latin America, officials familiar with the plan said on condition of anonymity. The idea is to leverage the country’s standing as the world’s vaccine factory to consolidate diplomatic ties. Indian companies are working on two vaccines which are currently in clinical trials. Though the arrangement will be largely for these vaccines, it might also include vaccines manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker, which has partnerships with three companies, including AstraZeneca.
Indonesia: Chinese vaccine being tested as COVID-19 cases rise
Advanced trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in China are under way in Indonesia. More than 2000 Indonesians signed up for the trial of the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturer Sinovac. This week, some candidates were given a second dose of the trial vaccine - as Jessica Washington reports from Bandung, Indonesia.
U.S. Will Revive Global Virus-Hunting Effort Ended Last Year
A worldwide virus-hunting program allowed to expire last year by the Trump administration, just before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, will have a second life — whatever the outcome of the presidential election. Joseph R. Biden Jr. has promised that, if elected, he will restore the program, called Predict, which searched for dangerous new animal viruses in bat caves, camel pens, wet markets and wildlife-smuggling routes around the globe. The expiration of Predict just weeks before the advent of the pandemic prompted wide criticism among scientists, who noted that the coronavirus is exactly the sort of catastrophic animal virus the program was designed to head off.
Obese, diabetics over 3 times more likely to die of COVID: Study
COVID-19 patients hospitalised with high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes were over three times more likely to die from the viral disease, say researchers. The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, looked at the impact of metabolic syndrome on outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of at least three of five conditions - hypertension, high blood sugar, obesity, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol - that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. "Together, obesity, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels are all predictive of higher incidents of death in these patients," said the study lead author Joshua Denson from the Tulane University in the US.
Mutated coronavirus strain found in Indonesia as cases jump
A more infectious mutation of the new coronavirus has been found in Indonesia, the Jakarta-based Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology said on Sunday, as the Southeast Asian country's caseload surges. Indonesia reported 2,858 new infections on Sunday, data by the health ministry showed, below the previous day's record 3,308 but above the past month's daily average. Its total number of cases was 172,053, with 7,343 Covid-19 fatalities. The "infectious but milder" D614G mutation of the virus has been found in genome sequencing data from samples collected by the institute, deputy director Herawati Sudoyo told Reuters, adding that more study is required to determine whether that was behind the recent rise in cases.
Spain to participate in clinical trials of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine
The Spanish Agency for Medicine and Health Products (AEMPS) has authorized the first clinical trial in Spain of an experimental vaccine against the novel coronavirus. That’s according to Health Minister Salvador Illa, who made the announcement on Friday at a government press conference. The testing will involve a vaccine from Janssen, a company that is owned by the US multinational Johnson & Johnson, with 190 healthy volunteers from Spain. There will be a further 400 participants of the trial in Germany and Belgium. The recruitment of volunteers – who will be aged between 18 and 55, and over 65 – will begin “immediately,” Illa stated, with three Spanish hospitals – La Paz and La Princesa in Madrid, and Marqués de Valdecilla in Santander – taking part.
Bangladesh's Beximco in coronavirus vaccine pact with India's Serum Institute
One of Bangladesh’s largest drugmakers, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, announced on Friday that it will invest with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to ensure Bangladesh gets access to vaccines it is developing for the novel coronavirus. The deal comes after Bangladesh said this month it was ready to hold trials of candidate vaccines developed by India as both countries seek to curb the spread of the virus. “The investment amount will be treated as an advance and once the vaccine receives regulatory approvals, SII will include Bangladesh among the countries who will be the first to receive an agreed quantity of this vaccine from SII on a priority basis,” Beximco said in a statement, citing the heads of both organisations. Beximco will also be the exclusive supplier for Bangladesh for a vaccine developed by the Serum Institute, it said.
Covid-19 could be with us for next two to four years, expert warns
One of China’s leading experts on Covid-19 has told ITV News that the virus is likely to be with us for at least the next two to four years. In his first foreign television interview Dr Zhang Wenhong, the Director of Infectious Diseases at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, predicts we will be living with this for some time to come and he believes there is a high chance of a second international outbreak this autumn or winter. His forecasts are based on his knowledge of the virus as one of the first to face it and the current situation in the rest of the world, not in China where this week, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, there were no local infections. Dr Zhang points to the fact that the United States and India are still struggling to contain their first wave of the virus, and other parts of South America and Africa are only just at the beginning of their battle.
India's use of less accurate coronavirus tests raise concerns
Health experts are concerned about the Indian government's decision to implement rapid tests - which screen for antigens, or viral proteins - as authorities ramp up coronavirus tests amid surging infections. India crossed the three-million-case milestone on Sunday, 17 days after it crossed the two-million mark. It is the worst-affected country in Asia, and third behind the United States and Brazil globally. In June, the world's second-most populous nation began using cheaper, faster, but less accurate tests to scale up testing - a strategy that the US is now considering.