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"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 13th Oct 2020

Isolation Tips
COVID lockdown 'fatigue' is rapidly developing
Recent polls have shown a “real lockdown fatigue” is developing across the nation with people becoming more disillusioned with the pace of restrictions being eased, according to Sky News contributor Catherine McGregor. A Newspoll conducted exclusively for The Australian shows “the once strong support for stopping the spread of the virus as a priority over economic recovery has swung significantly over the past few months,” The Australian’s Simon Benson writes. Falling from 76 per cent, now only 54 per cent of voters claim to be “most concerned” about governments moving “too quickly” to relax state-imposed restrictions.
Hygiene Helpers
Covid-19: China's Qingdao to test nine million in five days
The Chinese city of Qingdao is testing its entire population of nine million people for Covid-19 over a period of five days. The mass testing comes after the discovery of a dozen cases linked to a hospital treating coronavirus patients arriving from abroad. In May, China tested the entire city of Wuhan - home to 11 million people and the epicentre of the global pandemic. The country has largely brought the virus under control. That is in stark contrast to other parts of the world, where there are still high case numbers and lockdown restrictions of varying severity.
Failures at Austrian ski resort ‘helped speed up spread' of Covid-19 in Europe
An independent commission has found that Austrian national and local authorities made “momentous miscalculations” by first hesitating and then rushing to evacuate an Alpine ski resort that has been described as the “ground zero” of the coronavirus first wave in Europe. Ischgl, a town of 1,600 inhabitants in the Tirolean Paznaun valley and one of Europe’s premium skiing destinations, has been in the spotlight since the middle of March, after thousands of tourists, including at least 180 Britons, caught the virus there during the spring holidays and carried it back to their home countries.
Covid-19 forecasting app for colleges launched
A new app that forecasts the spread of Covid-19 in colleges has been launched. Developed by the University of Exeter in collaboration with colleges, the free online tool is said to analyse individual college data according to various inputs such as class-based bubbles, larger year group bubbles and attendance on different days. It also allows the user to input community infection rates as well as information about how they are running their college to forecast how many people may need to self-isolate and other steps they can take to minimise disruption.
Herd immunity as coronavirus solution ‘simply unethical’: WHO
The head of the World Health Organization warned against the idea that herd immunity might be a realistic strategy to stop the coronavirus pandemic, dismissing such proposals as “simply unethical.” At a media briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity by vaccination. Tedros noted that to obtain herd immunity from a highly infectious disease such as measles, for example, about 95% of the population must be immunized.
Resistance to lockdown rules is not just ‘fatigue’
The use of the term “pandemic fatigue” in the World Health Organization report is misleading (While Sturgeon takes decisive action on Covid, Johnson just blusters, 8 October). The report is concerned with the increase in non-compliance with regulations designed to counter Covid-19. It lists many putative reasons for non-compliance, including reduced trust in authorities, decreases in perceptions of risk, increased complacency and changes in values (eg, an increased emphasis on libertarianism). This matters because different reasons for non-compliance must be countered with different policies: increased libertarianism requires government information to emphasise our interdependence, increased complacency requires incentives to abide by regulations, errors in risk perception require better risk communication. Referring to every one of these very different phenomena as fatigue implies that the same policy is appropriate for dealing with them all.
Novel coronavirus can last 28 days on glass, currency, Australian study finds
The virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on banknotes, glass and stainless steel for up to 28 days, much longer than the flu virus, Australian researchers said on Monday, highlighting the need for frequent cleaning and handwashing. Findings from the study by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, appear to show that in a very controlled environment the virus remained infectious for longer than other studies have found. CSIRO researchers found that at 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit), the SARS-CoV-2 virus remained infectious for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as plastic banknotes and the glass found on mobile phone screens. The study was published in Virology Journal.
Community Activities
How to make the hybrid workforce model work
Even before the coronavirus pandemic made homeworking commonplace, Automattic’s 1,277-workforce was entirely remote, with perks that include reimbursing expenses to set up workers’ home offices. Yet despite its remote ethos, the group, which owns and operates web design company WordPress, does not expect its employees to work in isolation every day. It offers a monthly stipend to be used towards co-working spaces (day passes or ongoing membership) or coffee shops (WiFi costs, coffees). The social highlight of the year is the GM — or Grand Meet-up — where staff from 76 countries speaking 95 different languages, get together for a week of keynote sessions, workshops, team sessions, socialising focused on strategy, learning and team bonding. Employees are encouraged to eat with different colleagues every night to meet people outside their teams.
The coronavirus pandemic: A threat to food security
For years, the Global Hunger Index has shown global advances in combating malnutrition. But the coronavirus pandemic could undo them, according to the latest report for German aid organization Welthungerhilfe.
Working Remotely
Tracksuits and laundry service: Companies are getting creative with remote employee perks
Keeping employees engaged and happy while they are working remotely has become a challenge for companies. "There is remote work, and then there is pandemic work," said Doug Merritt, president and CEO of San Francisco-based Splunk, a data platform company. "I am so much more tired at the end of the day, even though my hours are relativity consistent. The end of an office day is so different then the end of a Zoom day." Corporate leaders realize that a big part of the company's culture is tied to the experience of being in the office: the amenities, the food, the social gatherings. And replicating these things is hard when employees are working from home.
Working From Home Is Here to Stay, So Let’s Get It Right
The Covid-19 pandemic has crushed the economy, sent joblessness soaring, and killed over a million people worldwide. But there are a few ways in which the pandemic may prompt society to improve, and one is remote work. Though it was initially necessary to keep employees from getting sick, remote work promises to make people more productive and happier while helping the environment and preserving infrastructure. When the coronavirus struck, those who could do their jobs remotely often did. The number has gradually declined as our understanding of safety measures increased, but it's still substantial:
80% of companies anticipate remote work as the new norm on the labour market
Most companies (80%) respondents to PwC’s global survey ”The future of remote work” shows that adopting remote work is the new norm on the labour market, and over 53% currently have created and implemented arrangement policies in this respect. Of the remainder (47%), more than 50% of companies anticipate that they will refine or implement a remote work arrangement policy by the end of 2020. The top three priorities for enabling remote work arrangements are health and safety of employees (70%), enhancing the employee experience (65%) and attracting and retaining key talent (60%).
Remote work requires us to reconsider how to evaluate and pay employees
Remote work is about more than just working from home — it means working differently. Because working from home may become much more prevalent even after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, it’s time to adapt employee evaluation and compensation schemes to address the new reality. Performance evaluation systems have a long history, dating back to the United States military’s rating system during the First World War. Since then, profit-driven employers have implemented employee assessments with the ultimate goal of aligning worker motivation with organizational objectives. Decades of research have tried to map out best practices in this area.
How Covid-19 is changing the European workplace
Nearly 70% of European employers responding to the survey plan to continue remote work for employees unless their jobs really require them to be in the workplace. Additionally, 80% of respondents are – either somewhat or to a great extent – requiring or considering requiring more employees to work remotely. Those employers say they are considering this shift to achieve greater productivity (41%), address the difficulty and cost of implementing new safety measures (38%) and allow for the closure of offices (25%). The function of offices may change from working spot to meeting place. This shift is remarkable on its own and will likely become more pervasive as reluctant employers follow suit to compete for talent in a post-pandemic environment. These changes will obviously also have legal consequences for employers.
Virtual Classrooms
Teaching has changed - and it's nothing to be afraid of
Information technology is a foreign country to many people, especially those of a certain age. During the lockdown, when I was being trained by relatively young adults in using Microsoft Teams for meetings and holding online training workshops, I was a little apprehensive as to how I would cope in a world of burgeoning technology. So many people – especially the savvy IT generation – seem so apt in paving and navigating their way in what is essentially a digital world. So, I’d be the first to admit that surrounded by mass communication modes, I have often felt like an immigrant trying to make sense of the rising complexity and sophistication of social media and the growing possibilities for artificial intelligence.
How PBS Kids Is Making Remote Learning More Accessible To All Children In The Coronavirus Age
The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on so many facets of life this year. Education has been one of the hardest hit—teachers, parents, and students alike have struggled in adjusting to virtual classrooms. It isn’t merely that homes have been transformed into de-facto classrooms; this way of remote learning has cast a spotlight on socioeconomic discrepancies like who gets access to computers and a speedy, reliable internet connection, and who doesn’t. It’s a lesson for everyone that remote learning isn’t even remotely easy.
Weston College launches UK's first virtual classroom for further education
@WestonCollege, the lead organisation for the West of England Institute of Technology (#IoT), has launched a virtual classroom in a first for further education (FE) in the UK. The project, developed with support from the education and technology not-for-profit, Jisc, and technology supplier Barco, includes innovations such as mobile extending cameras, and provides the opportunity for enhanced remote-access education.
Reimagining education to beat the constraints of lockdown
Firki, an initiative by Teach For India, is a blended online and offline learning model. It recently launched inspirED 2020, the first of its kind virtual conference that brought together students, educators, policymakers, parents, and investors under one roof to reimagine education. For Bharath, the event developed a unique platform for all voices – teachers, students, and parents – to share their perspectives on the NEP and map the possibilities on the ground.
India’s schoolchildren pay the price for coronavirus lockdown
Outside the locked and deserted Vidya Sagar Public School, the eight-year-old daughter of a snack vendor sits forlornly on her father’s disused pushcart. Before coronavirus, Rachna Kashyap was one of 200 pupils whose working-class parents paid Rs400 ($5.40) in monthly tuition to send their children to the no-frills, English-medium private school instead of overcrowded and underperforming state schools. But the school, which employed nine teachers, collapsed during India’s lockdown that cost millions of jobs. Parents could no longer afford the fees and the school lacked the wherewithal to transition to online learning.
Public Policies
Italy prepares new restrictions to fight spike in coronavirus cases
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Sunday (October 11) that Italy needed to add restrictions after having eased them for several weeks, as it aims to avoid a new national lockdown. Italy on Friday (October 9) topped 5,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day for the first time since March. Daily infections remained over 5,000 both on Saturday and Sunday. Deaths linked to COVID-19 are far fewer, however, than at the height of the pandemic in the country in March and April. Speranza said he proposed a ban on private parties, involving both children and adults, while Rome would also target hours for bars and restaurants to reduce people's contagion risks.
UK PM Johnson sets out three-tier system of lockdown measures
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out on Monday a three-tier system of local lockdown measures in England, including a ban on households mixing indoors in some areas, designed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
New lockdown will be 'very challenging' for furloughed staff, minister concedes
The UK culture secretary has conceded it will be “very challenging” for staff from hospitality businesses closed down under new lockdown rules to live on two-thirds of their wages, as leaders in Liverpool called for more generous support. Ahead of a Commons statement by Boris Johnson on Monday, where the prime minister will set out restrictions targeted particularly at parts of the north of England, Oliver Dowden defended the government’s new wage-support scheme for areas under new lockdown measures. Under plans unveiled by the Treasury on Friday, a replacement furlough scheme will pay two-thirds of workers’ wages in hospitality firms ordered to close their doors.
Slovakia imposes new COVID-19 restrictions following surge in daily cases
Amid a huge surge in COVID-19 cases, Slovakia announced imposing new restrictions on Sunday, October 11. According to the reports, from Thursday, it will be mandatory to wear masks in the outdoors in all cities, towns, and villages. In addition, the Slovakia government has banned all public events including religious services in churches. Only weddings, funerals, and baptisms with a limited number of attendees have been exempted, as per reports.
Coronavirus: Germany's confusing patchwork of restrictions
Residents from Germany's increasing number of high-infection areas are banned from staying in hotels in parts of the country — but not everywhere. The patchwork of regulations is leading to more and more confusion.
Germany's BioNTech signs deal with New Zealand for 1.5 million vaccine doses
New Zealand is the latest country to pre-order bulk doses of the COVID-19 vaccine currently under development by Germany-based BioNTech (BNTX) and its partner Pfizer (PFE). The German biotech company, one of the frontrunners in the race to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, has signed an agreement to supply New Zealand with 1.5 million doses of its vaccine, which should be available in the first quarter of 2021.
Health Minister warns next days are 'crucial' as national lockdown for Wales is considered
The Wales Health Minister has warned that the next days are "crucial" as they look at whether to introduce a national lockdown. Vaughan Gething said that Welsh Government might have to "make a different decision to what we are doing" as coronavirus rates continue to rise. Latest figures released on Sunday, October 11, show there were 467 confirmed cases of coronavirus reported in the last 24 hours, and two more deaths. For the third day in a row the overall infection rate in Wales is above 100 cases per 100,000 population over a rolling seven-day period. Some areas are far higher than that, with Merthyr Tydfil having 220.5 new cases per 100,000. First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Sunday that Wales is close to a 'tipping point' with coronavirus as cases continue to rise.
France Must Avoid General Lockdown by All Means, Castex Says
France must avoid another general lockdown by all means possible in the face of a “very strong” resurgence of Covid-19, said Prime Minister Jean Castex. Speaking Monday on France Info radio, Castex urged the public to wear face coverings as much as possible, keep contacts to a minimum and take other basic sanitary measures to avoid infection. “I’m not asking anything revolutionary,” Castex said. It’s essential for companies to keep working, and children to keep going to school, he said. France has emphasized local measures to combat a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks after a two-month national lockdown in the spring devastated the economy. With new infections spiking to fresh highs, there’s little evidence the piecemeal approach is working.
WHO doctor says lockdowns should not be main coronavirus defence
Recent commentary from the World Health Organization's (WHO) special envoy on COVID-19 has sparked questions about the legitimacy of lockdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus. "We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus." This statement from Dr David Nabarro has also prompted questions about whether the WHO has backflipped on its advice, months after the pandemic was declared. So, when should lockdowns be considered, what is the WHO's advice on them and how does this affect Australia?
Victoria's premier says Melbourne roadmap out of Covid lockdown likely to be redrawn
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews concedes Melbourne’s roadmap out of lockdown will likely be redrawn, suggesting case numbers could reach a point where they are “as good as they are going to get”. Victoria recorded 15 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the latest in a stream of stubborn double-digit days. The state’s death toll remains at 810 and the national figure at 898. This brings Melbourne’s rolling 14-day average to 9.9, still significantly above the five daily cases average notionally required to lift restrictions on Sunday. This date was originally set at 26 October, but was brought forward when Melbourne was racing ahead of schedule in the battle to bring down case numbers.
New Zealand Signs Deal To Secure 1.5 Mn Doses Of Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The New Zealand government has reportedly signed a deal with Pfizer Inc and Germany’s BioNTech to secure 1.5 million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccine. Research, Science & Innovation Minister Megan Woods said in a statement that the government is in talks with other drug companies as well to ensure sufficient COVID-19 vaccines for the whole population. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, BNT162b2, is one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the race to get regulatory approval in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The UK government had announced on July 20 that it has signed a binding agreement with BioNTech/Pfizer to secure 30 million doses of vaccine. The vaccine candidate is based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology and supported by Pfizer’s global vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities. The vaccine candidate is being evaluated in a global Phase 3 study which is currently underway at more than 120 clinical sites worldwide. The trial has enrolled around 37,000 participants with more than 28,000 volunteers have received their second vaccination.
Covid-19: 'Near extinction' of influenza in NZ due to lockdown - epidemiologist
Mask wearing and social distancing for Covid-19 has all but cut influenza cases in New Zealand this year, with only six flu isolates detected in this country from April to August. Public health physician and epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker offered RNZ National’s Sunday Morning programme his analysis on the flu season numbers and why masks continue to be so important. He said there has been "near extinction of influenza in New Zealand following our very effective Covid-19 response", as numbers vanished from the two standard systems for surveillance - resulting in a 99.8 percent reduction in flu cases.
Confidential data shows many Illinois coronavirus outbreaks have been undisclosed: report | TheHill
Outbreaks of coronavirus in schools, workplaces and other facilities are driving the surge of new COVID-19 cases in Illinois, some of which have not been publicly identified, according to a new study. The study from journalists at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published in USA Today indicates that individual clusters of coronavirus infections are primarily responsible for the latest wave of new COVID-19 cases vexing public health officials in the state, with several outbreaks occurring at correctional facilities and a major military base. The second-largest outbreak identified by the study, which until now has not been reported to news organizations, is occurring at the Great Lakes Naval Base in Lake County, Ill., where 228 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified over the past month according to confidential data recorded by Illinois officials and obtained by the study.
Coronavirus will cost the US $16 TRILLION - 90% of the GDP - study predicts
Researchers predict that the coronavirus pandemic will cost the US an estimated $16 trillion, or about 90% of the annual GDP. About $4.4 trillion will be due to the economic cost of 625,000 premature deaths. An estimated $2.6 trillion will be spent treating those who survived COVID-19 but have long-term complications and damage. Mental health treatment, for those dealing with the loss of a loved one or feelings of isolation, will cost $1.6 trillion. The remaining $7.6 trillion will be due to the economic toll of lost jobs and those filing new unemployment claims
Coronavirus pandemic has exposed global leadership deficit, says report
Over 70 per cent of citizens around the globe say they are experiencing the lowest point in their nation's history, while nearly two-thirds say their leaders are out of touch
Czech Republic goes from model Covid-19 response to brink of second lockdown
The Czech Republic could be set for a second lockdown following a dramatic rise in Covid-19 infections that has transformed it into Europe’s fastest growing outbreak just months after being hailed as one of the continent’s success stories in managing the pandemic. A new peak of 8,618 cases was recorded on Friday in the country of 10.7 million, up more than 3,000 on the previous day and significantly more per capita than any other European state. Spain, with a population of just under 47 million and currently the second worst-affected country, documented 12,788 infections on the same day.
Leo Varadkar says 'short, hard lockdown' may be needed 'to knock the virus on the head again'
Leo Varadkar says a “short, hard lockdown” or circuit break is being considered by the government in an attempt “to knock the virus on the head again”. The Tánaiste made the suggestion in an article for the Sunday Independent in which the Fine Gael leader insisted any and all options would be explored before a second lockdown was implemented. Varadkar’s comments come a week on from the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (NPHET) recommendation that Ireland go into a Level 5 lockdown – the strictest level of lockdown – to help curb Covid-19 case numbers. However, the government opted to implement Level 3 restrictions, with Varadkar later telling RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live he didn’t believe the recommendations had been “thought through”.
Spain's PM defends Covid emergency lockdown in Madrid
The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has said he hopes to bring the coronavirus outbreak in the capital under control within the next two weeks, as he defended the government’s decision to declare a state of emergency to keep the Madrid region in partial lockdown. Sánchez’s Socialist-led coalition invoked emergency powers on Friday after the Madrid regional government failed to respond to an ultimatum and a court struck down the central government’s original lockdown order. “We have always put public health and saving lives above any other consideration and we’ve asked regional governments to do the same,” he told reporters during a visit to Portugal on Saturday.
Maintaining Services
Number of COVID patients in French intensive care units highest in nearly five months
The number of people being treated in French intensive care units for COVID-19 exceeded 1,500 on Monday for the first time since May 27, authorities said, raising fears of local lockdowns being imposed across the country. The new figure of 1,539 is still almost five times lower than an April 8 high of 7,148 but also four times higher than a July 31 low of 371. And as there are normally more people hospitalised with varios illnesses in the autumn than in the spring, health experts fear the hospital system will be quickly overwhelmed if nothing is done to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
Most people try to avoid Covid-19. But thousands are signing up to be deliberately exposed
As most of us obsess with avoiding Covid-19 at all costs, a rapidly growing group of people around the world say they are prepared to deliberately take on the virus. Tens of thousands of people have signed up to a campaign by a group called 1 Day Sooner to take an experimental vaccine candidate and then face coronavirus in a controlled setting. Among them is Estefania Hidalgo, 32, a photography student in Bristol, England, who works at a gas station to pay the bills.
Covid: Nightingale hospitals in northern England told to get ready
NHS Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate are being asked to get ready to take patients. Government advisers say admissions are rising, with more elderly people needing urgent treatment for Covid. More people are now in hospital with Covid than before restrictions were announced in March. It comes as a new three-tier system of lockdown rules for England has been announced.
Major regional discrepancies in Covid-19 response, report finds
EU regions were unevenly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report published on Monday (12 October) by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). The most economically hard-hit regions were those under strict lockdown measures for the longest - not necessarily those with the highest death-rates or most cases detected, it finds.
Some U.S. doctors flee to New Zealand where the coronavirus outbreak is under control and science is respected
Some U.S.-based doctors and nurses are fleeing the country because the lack of PPE and coordinated U.S. response made them feel unsafe during the coronavirus pandemic. Some have been feeling burned out for years due to the complex U.S. health system. New Zealand, which led with science, has declared victory over Covid-19 yet again and hasn’t reported a positive case in more than a week.
Australia in travel talks with Japan, Korea as coronavirus cases ease
Australia is in talks with Japan, South Korea, Singapore and South Pacific nations on reopening travel as coronavirus infections ease, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday. Australia shut its borders in March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and is looking to revive tourism to help pull the country out of its first recession in nearly three decades. While Australia has managed to contain the outbreak better than others, it is facing a second wave in the state of Victoria, where Melbourne remains under a tight lockdown. But infections there have been falling since early August. Morrison said he had spoken to his counterparts in Japan, South Korea and some Pacific nations, while Foreign Minister Marise Payne had held talks in Singapore this week on resuming travel.
English pub, night club group plans legal action over any new shutdowns
A group of English pub and night club owners have paused plans for a legal challenge against new COVID-19 shutdowns after the government limited closures to the Merseyside region. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out new measures on Monday, but so far Liverpool and the surrounding area is the only one that will have to close pubs, clubs, gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos. Britain’s pub, restaurant, night club and event industry has been hammered by the coronavirus crisis and after months of lockdown in the spring, a second wave and new measures limiting socialising now threaten hundreds of thousands more jobs.
Covid-19: Worldwide airport passenger numbers plummeted 58% in the first half of 2020, says report
Data was released by Airports Council International in its airport traffic report. In the first half of 2020, overall aircraft movements globally fell by 41.6 per cent. Atlanta, the world's busiest airport, saw passenger numbers drop 56.6 per cent
Healthcare Innovations
Soon Covid-19 will be treatable, but it shouldn't just be the rich who benefit
We all want a cure for Covid-19, but it won’t come in a single drug. Neither can we expect to escape this global crisis if treatments, tests or vaccines are not made available to those most vulnerable worldwide. There’s a long way yet to go. Robust research has shown that hydroxychloroquine, the drug once heavily promoted by Donald Trump, doesn’t work as a treatment. We wait in hope for the first vaccines but must be realistic: they may only provide partial protection, important as that will be. Now, as the US president pins his hopes on Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, it must be made clear: life can only return to normal with a range of clinically proven, effective treatments, tests and vaccines; the resilient health systems to deliver them; and the trust of the public.
Johnson & Johnson pauses Covid-19 vaccine trial after 'unexplained illness'
Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson said Monday it has paused the advanced clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. "Following our guidelines, the participant's illness is being reviewed and evaluated by the ENSEMBLE independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as well as our internal clinical and safety physicians," the company said in a statement. ENSEMBLE is the name of the study. "Adverse events -- illnesses, accidents, etc. -- even those that are serious, are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies."
Coronavirus: COVID-19 survivors may have protective antibodies for up to four months, study suggests
People who recover from COVID-19 may have protective antibodies for up to four months, according to a new study. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital aimed to determine how long immunity lasts in coronavirus survivors, and whether those infected with COVID-19 will develop lasting protection from the virus. The study, published in Science Immunology, also focused on the body's immune response to COVID-19 and the team's findings suggested antibodies can be an accurate tool for tracking the spread of the infection in the community.
E-Therapeutics boasts 'encouraging results' for Covid-19 treatment
Work to find new drugs that can be used to treat coronavirus has yielded good results, according to a Tyneside drug discovery company. Earlier this year Newcastle's e-Therapeutics turned its computer modelling technology towards the Covid-19 pandemic, with the aim of finding drugs that could help treat the virus. The company specialises in discovering new drugs in silico (using computers) and in the past has used its technology to find compounds that can protect human cells from influenza. It now believes its technology could help the fight against coronavirus. Speaking in the company's interim results, CEO Ali Mortazavi said: "Our project to find compounds for the treatment of Covid-19 using our proprietary NDD (Network-drive Drug Discovery) platform has generated encouraging results. "We await the final read outs in SARS-COV2 assays from WuXi AppTec to decide next steps.
BCG: Can a vaccine from 1921 save lives from Covid-19?
Scientists in the UK have begun testing the BCG vaccine, developed in 1921, to see if it can save lives from Covid. The vaccine was designed to stop tuberculosis, but there is some evidence it can protect against other infections as well. Around 1,000 people will take part in the trial at the University of Exeter. But while millions of people in the UK will have had the BCG jab as a child, it is thought they would need to be vaccinated again to benefit. Vaccines are designed to train the immune system in a highly targeted way that leaves lasting protection against one particular infection.
Spotlight on COVID-19 antibody therapies after Trump's recovery -
The spotlight remains on the potential of antibody therapies as a possible way out of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, with the US government investing millions in a hopeful from AstraZeneca and president Donald Trump recovering from coronavirus after receiving a rival therapy from Regeneron. Thanks to a drug cocktail including Regeneron’s antibody therapy, Trump says he is back on his feet after becoming infected with the virus around the end of last month. Trump has hailed the Regeneron therapy as a cure for the virus, but the company’s CEO Leonard Schleifer was quick to point out that the scientific evidence is not there to support the claim.