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"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 11th Dec 2020

Isolation Tips
Coronavirus: NHS Covid-19 app starts offering self-isolate payments
An update to England and Wales's NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app is adding a way to apply for a £500 grant if it gives a self-isolation order. Until now, those on low incomes were only offered the payment if they had been told to stay at home by human Test and Trace operators. The move comes at a time when the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus is on the rise again. Experts have suggested following the app's guidance could help reverse that.
Student mental health remains a priority as pandemic lingers
Whether you call it virtual, digital or non-traditional, one aspect of learning remotely in the middle of a pandemic is constant. It can be stressful. JCPS Counseling Support Specialist Michelle Sircy said some students in the district are experiencing high levels of chronic stress and loneliness. She said their peers across the country are seeing that, too. Fear and anxiety are still present for many, even as positive developments about the fight against COVID-19 arise. “Our increased level of supports will have to continue,” Sircy said. “(Counselors) will have to shift and pivot as we see the climate change from going into an area of isolation to where we’re trying to transition back to some sense of normalcy.” Sircy said school counselors are meeting with virtual classrooms, small groups and individuals.
Hygiene Helpers
Coronavirus vaccine: your questions answered | British Heart Foundation
We explain the latest news on the coronavirus vaccine, including when it will be available and who will get it.
Covid-19: The mask-wearing US city that bucked the trend
A major factor in the decision was keeping the university - South Dakota State - open for teaching and therefore retaining the large student population during the autumn, adds Mr McMacken. The requirements for mask use were brought in by the city of Brookings but they don't apply across the entire county of the same name. Our data is for the county, not the city, so it has its limitations. Brookings County now has the lowest infection rate out of the five most populous South Dakota counties.
Studies find Covid testing, exit strategies key to efficacy
As local administrations in India prepare for a second wave, infections, two new studies that evaluated interventions such as lockdowns and travel restrictions in containing Covid-19, found that proper testing and exit strategies are crucial. “Imposing a lockdown during the first wave was a good decision, but the health care system wasn’t prepared to handle the exit then. We found that exit strategies played a major role in the increase in the number of cases. The study showed that aggressive measures like lockdowns may be inherently enough to suppress an outbreak, however other measures need to be scaled up as lockdowns are relaxed. Premature withdrawal of lockdowns without adequately planned interventions for the post-lockdown phase may lead to the second wave,” Giridara Gopal, co-author of the study told TNIE.
South Korea study shows how coronavirus spreads indoors
The study — adding to a growing body of evidence on airborne transmission of the virus — highlighted how South Korea’s meticulous and often invasive contact tracing regime has enabled researchers to closely track how the virus moves through populations. “In this outbreak, the distances between infector and infected persons were ... farther than the generally accepted 2 meter [6.6-foot] droplet transmission range,” the study’s authors wrote. “The guidelines on quarantine and epidemiological investigation must be updated to reflect these factors for control and prevention of COVID-19.”
Community Activities
This Was the Year When Everything Became TV
All of this further bonded us to TV and blurred the definition of the genre. To some extent, the pandemic accelerated changes that were already underway, be it the separation of movies from cinemas or the shift of recreational time to mobile devices. (We all drew the line at Quibi, though.) This wasn’t limited to entertainment. Thanks to FaceTime and texting and virtual spaces, our social lives were already growing more digital and mediated. I remember speaking on a panel at the Park Slope Food Co-op in late February (on the shopping floor, the panic-buying of beans and rice was just beginning), and the moderator worrying aloud about how much time young people today socialized on-screen, instead of having “real” physical interactions.
Stealing to survive: More Americans are shoplifting food as aid runs out during the pandemic
Early in the pandemic, Joo Park noticed a worrisome shift at the market he manages near downtown Washington: At least once a day, he’d spot someone slipping a package of meat, a bag of rice or other food into a shirt or under a jacket. Diapers, shampoo and laundry detergent began disappearing in bigger numbers, too. Since then, he said, thefts have more than doubled at Capitol Supermarket — even though he now stations more employees at the entrance, asks shoppers to leave backpacks up front and displays high-theft items like hand sanitizer and baking yeast in more conspicuous areas. Park doesn’t usually call the police, choosing instead to bar offenders from coming back.
No, the COVID-19 Vaccine is not made from aborted babies…
You may have seen a story doing the rounds on social media about the new Covid-19 vaccine being made from the cells of aborted babies. Like most rumours on social media, it is just not true. A simple way to check if a story is true is to look it up on Snopes – the fact-checking site
Covid: 'How a picture of my foot became anti-vaccine propaganda'
Patricia is suffering from an unexplained skin condition - but a misunderstanding about what might have caused it set off a chain of events that turned her foot into fodder for anti-vaccine activists. The picture showed purple and red sores, swollen and oozing with pus. "Supposedly this is a [vaccine] trial participant," read the message alongside it. "Ready to roll up your sleeve?" Within a day, those same feet had been mentioned thousands of times on Instagram and Facebook. The picture went viral on Twitter as well.
Scammers targeting elderly with promise of coronavirus vaccine
Scammers are trying to use the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to take elderly people’s money in one part of Wirral. Older residents in the New Ferry area are being targeted by con artists who ring them with an automated voice telling them they have been selected to receive the coronavirus vaccine and to press a number to arrange a booking. On its Facebook page, Wirral Council said elderly people with 0151 645 numbers were being targeted and scammers were calling them from the number 075374 00307. The authority’s post added: “This is a scam. Pressing the number will allow them to charge your phone company and take a sum of money from your account. Please warn elderly vulnerable residents to be on their guard to avoid being scammed.”
Air pollution roars back in parts of UK, raising Covid fears
Air pollution in many towns and cities across the UK now exceeds pre-pandemic levels, exacerbating the risk of Covid-19 and putting the health of millions of people at risk. A study published on Thursday says that although air quality improved dramatically in the first half of the year as the country went into lockdown, pollution now meets or exceeds pre-Covid levels in 80% of the 49 cities and large towns that were analysed. There is growing evidence that exposure to toxic air increases the risks from Covid-19 and the authors of the study say their findings underscore the need for local councils to do more to reduce car use and improve air quality by prioritising walking and cycling.
Pope's Midnight Mass to start early to respect COVID curfew
Pope Francis will celebrate Midnight Mass earlier than usual to comply with Italy’s anti-coronavirus curfew and will deliver his Christmas and New Year’s blessings in ways that aim to prevent crowds from forming. The Vatican on Thursday released the pope’s COVID-19 Christmas liturgical schedule. It said the pope’s Dec. 24 Mass — which for years hasn’t been celebrated at midnight at all but at 9:30 p.m. to spare pontiffs from the late hour — would begin at 7:30 p.m. this year. Italy has imposed a 10 p.m. nationwide curfew, as well as restaurant closures and other restrictions, to try to prevent crowds from forming following a surge of COVID-19 infections and deaths this fall.
Italians Will Be Frozen in Place This Christmas
If U.S. states’ lockdowns are too onerous for you, be thankful you’re not in Italy. In November Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte promised that “if we respect the rules, we’ll have a serene Christmas.” Italians largely complied but didn’t get their reward. Now Mr. Conte says it’ll be “a different Christmas, but not less authentic.” Covid-19 hit Italy early and hard. With more than 60,000 deaths and a case-fatality rate of 3.5% (compared with 1.95% in the U.S., 2.57% in Sweden and 2.4% in France), it is clearly a country where things went wrong. In the spring, when the epidemic was concentrated in the North, the country implemented the strictest lockdown in the Western world. It seemed to succeed, and Italians had an uneasy summer, with enclaves of normalcy. Some went to the beach; some hiked mountains; some even went clubbing. In October infections began to rise again.
French to find out if virus surge will ruin Christmas holidays
With just two weeks to go until Christmas, French people were on Thursday nervously awaiting news by the Prime Minister on whether lockdown restrictions will be relaxed as planned. Failure to adequately stem the number of coronavirus cases has fuelled fears that Jean Castex will scupper end-of-year festivities at a press conference set for 6pm. Under plans laid out in November, cinemas and theatres are due to reopen on 15 December, with a night-time curfew replacing a nationwide lockdown – allowing people to travel to see loved ones over the holidays.
Alarming levels of hunger in India even post-lockdown, says survey
In India, the hunger situation remains grave among the marginalised and vulnerable communities even five months after the lockdown has ended, with a large number of families going to bed without food, showed a ‘Hunger Watch’ survey conducted across 11 states. About 56 per cent of the respondents never had to skip meals before lockdown. In September and October, 27 per cent respondents went to bed without eating. About one in 20 households often went to bed without eating.
Working Remotely
Dubai remote-working protocols for govt employees
Government employees in Dubai will now be allowed to work outside their offices - either fully or partially - as new Remote Working Protocols have been approved. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, on Thursday announced the roll-out of the new protocols, which seek to enhance corporate agility, efficiency and talent retention and promote work-life balance. It was part of the overall vision to harness technologies and create a flexible environment for the next generation of jobs.
Working from home: Not all that glitters is gold
According to a recent survey by the digital association Bitkom, more than 10 million employees — or about a quarter of Germany's working population — have been working from home. Many have gotten used to this new situation and come to appreciate the upsides. But the drawbacks have also become clearer. Klaus Dörre is an economic sociologist at the University of Jena. He's convinced working from home will have negative consequences in the long run, for three main reasons. Not all is bad, of course. Both Dörre and Gerlmaier agree there is a lot to be learned from the current situation, as we certainly won't go back to square one once the pandemic is over. Gerlmaier believes there is a lot of potential in working from home that currently remains untapped. Businesses and policymakers need to think outside of the box, she says.
Cabo Verde: Country wants to attract foreigners to stay, work remotely from archipelago
Cabo Verde intends to seduce European, American and Portuguese speaking citizens to work remotely from the archipelago through a programme that allows six-month stays with a temporary work visa. The “Remote Working Cabo Verde” programme emerged when the archipelago, currently with a low incidence of Covid-19, but virtually no tourism since March, tried to revive international interest as a sun and beach destination, reinforced by the safe environment in the face of the pandemic, after strengthening laboratory capacity to detect the disease and already with internationally certified health units.
Technicity GTA 2020: Stop worrying if workers are working remotely and focus on creating a healthier experience, says Microsoft
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is foremost in the minds of CIOs and other business leaders as they consider what comes next. Jason Brommet, head of modern workplace and security for Microsoft Canada, says that heading into 2021, the mental well-being of employees, most of whom are working extended hours from home, is a critical issue that must be addressed. “We know now that even when we aren’t watching closely, people can do their best work and we can trust them. That being said … it’s not this notion of whether or not they can be productive, but whether or not they’re working in sustainable ways,” Brommet told virtual attendees of Technicity GTA 2020.
Now that virtual court hearings have been conducted successfully, they should become the norm
in India, when the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus was announced in March, it came as a huge disruptive shock. Most offices and activities were brought to a sudden halt. But enterprises soon began to use internet and e-platforms to allow employees to work from home. The Supreme Court also started hearings using the internet and e-platforms. Considerable work on this had been done by an e-committee headed by Justice DY Chandrachud. However, virtual proceedings were mostly restricted to urgent hearings in High Courts and Supreme Court. There was also a very selective, arbitrary method for deciding what constituted an urgent matter. In addition, most subordinate courts did not adopt this practice. As a consequence, the backlog of cases has been mounting.
Virtual Classrooms
Bowling Green Schools Reach Out to Students Who Drift Away from Virtual Learning
Educators across Kentucky, and the nation, are facing the challenge of keeping students engaged during virtual learning. The Bowling Green Independent School District has staff members who reach out to make sure students stay connected during the pandemic. “We have a lot of adults who are going out in the community every day, knocking on doors, tracking down students and families and trying to figure out where they’re living and why they’re not participating in virtual learning,” said Gary Fields, superintendent of the Bowling Green School District.
Camden Sees a Drop In Virtual Learning Participation Amid Pandemic
School leaders in Camden, New Jersey, are trying to encourage students to attend their virtual classes after noticing a decline in student participation amid the coronavirus pandemic. NBC10’s Cydney Long talks to Camden superintendent about possible solutions.
Skills HR will need in 2021: Delivering classroom training online
Most practised face-to-face trainers can spot if someone isn’t paying attention. Foot tapping, fidgeting and other tell-tale signs alert the facilitator to a dip in engagement, allowing them to react swiftly and re-engage the group. But how can you keep an eye on your attendees when you can’t see them? This is just one of the many skills virtual trainers have had to develop in the new world of virtual learning brought about by the Covid crisis, where you’re more likely to understand the idiosyncrasies of your learners through online chats and polls than via body language and facial expressions, and trainers have had to relearn their craft to make sure it’s fit for an online classroom.
Public Policies
Brazil health regulator sets rules for COVID-19 vaccine emergency use
Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa decided on Thursday to allow temporary emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines and set rules for companies to apply for the option that did not exist in the country now facing the world’s third worst coronavirus outbreak. The decision will potentially allow emergency use of vaccines that are being tested in Brazil by AstraZeneca, Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen, and China’s Sinovac Biotech.
U.S. FDA advisory panel meets on Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine
Pfizer Inc said on Thursday it planned to file for full U.S. approval of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by April next year, even as the vaccine awaits emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The remarks were made by Pfizer executive William Gruber at a meeting of independent U.S. FDA advisers that are weighing emergency authorization of the vaccine made by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE.
Saudi registers Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for import, use - SPA
Health authorities in Saudi Arabia have registered the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for import and use in the country, state news agency SPA said on Thursday. Saudi Arabia’s Food and Drug Agency registered the vaccine. Procedures necessary for its import and use will begin, the statement said.
Nigeria Plans to Approve Covid-19 Vaccine Early Next Year
Nigeria expects to license by April one of the vaccines under development globally for Covid-19, the West African nation’s drugs regulator said. “We are looking at the end of the first quarter of next year or the beginning of the second quarter” to approve a shot for use in Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Director-General Mojisola Adeyeye said in an interview on Wednesday.
Developing nations are first in line for China's Covid vaccines. Analysts question Beijing’s intent
As the vaccine race heats up, China has promised countries in Southeast Asia and Africa that they will be first in line when Beijing’s home-grown vaccines are ready to be distributed — a move that’s raised questions about China’s intent. From Malaysia and the Philippines to a number of African countries, China has granted some developing nations priority access to the coronavirus vaccines it’s currently developing. Chinese companies have also signed agreements with some of these developing nations to test and manufacture the vaccines. Experts say the moves could put pressure on some of these countries to support Beijing’s commercial and political interests.
Europe can’t ignore Global South in coronavirus vaccine race
The news of ground-breaking vaccines that could spell the end of the global coronavirus pandemic was met with a collective sigh of relief in the West. But in the Global South, the overwhelming feeling was one of dread and anger at the new social chasm on the horizon: between the vaccine haves and have-nots. We know that vaccinating populations that are most at-risk will be key to meeting the challenges of the long year ahead and getting the pandemic under control. But under current vaccine distribution mechanisms such as the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative, which are commendable, there simply will not be enough vaccine doses to go around by the end of 2021. This is not only a moral issue. Failure to provide equitable access to the vaccine will have dire and long-lasting consequences for human health and make it more difficult to end the pandemic. The virus may even have a chance to mutate and become vaccine resistant, raising the possibility of new waves of infection.
EU regulator rejects need for emergency authorization of coronavirus vaccine
The head of the European Medicines Agency is standing by the EU's decision to wait for a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) before using coronavirus vaccines on the public. "While speed is of the essence, safety is our No. 1 priority," Emer Cooke, the agency's new executive director, told the European Parliament's health committee today. "These vaccines will be given to millions of people in the EU, and we are keenly aware of the huge responsibility we have to get these recommendations right to protect the European population." She noted the agency is "aware of" the decisions by the U.K. and Canada to approve the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine with the faster process of an emergency authorization. The U.S. could follow suit later today.
Covid-19 could 'run out of control' over winter without caution, Sturgeon warns
The First Minister has come in for fierce criticism for keeping the city under Level 3 restrictions – the second toughest level available in Scotland’s five-tier system. She argued if the Scottish Government does not apply “real caution” when considering these issues there is a risk Covid-19 infections could rapidly spiral. Both Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie challenged the First Minister on the failure to move Edinburgh to Level 2 – something many had expected to happen this week. Ms Sturgeon warned going down a level and easing restrictions “gives the virus more opportunity to spread”.
More California Counties on Lockdown as COVID-19 Explodes
California's coronavirus surge has caused so many hospitalizations and deaths that the numbers brought usually stoic public health officers in major metropolitan areas to pleas — and even near to tears — as they urged people to heed safety rules. Los Angeles County, the nation's largest with 10 million residents, had a “devastating increase in deaths" from about a dozen a day in mid-November to an average of 43 a day this week, the county's health director, Barbara Ferrer, said Wednesday. “Over 8,000 people who were beloved members of their families are not coming back,” Ferrer said in a choked voice. She called the deaths “an incalculable loss to their friends and their family and the community.”
Berlin seeks tighter lockdown to rein in pandemic
Berlin wants to close shops and extend the school Christmas holidays to try to get the coronavirus pandemic under control, the mayor of the German capital said on Thursday as the country reported a new record number of cases of COVID-19. Berlin’s mayor Michael Mueller said he would seek the approval of the city’s parliament next Tuesday to close stores apart from supermarkets until Jan. 10, and also to extend the school break until that date or put lessons online for a week. Germany’s coronavirus cases rose by 23,679 on Thursday to 1,242,203, setting a new record daily rise, while the death toll increased by 440 to 20,372, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases (RKI).
Compromise lockdown struggles to subdue Germany's Covid second wave
In the spring, Germany was praised as a pandemic role model for its Covid-19 crisis management: its low fatality and high testing rates and efficient hammering of the curve were the envy of much of the rest of the world. But this winter the virus is exposing the weaknesses as well as strengths of Germany’s consensus-based federal system, as its “compromise lockdown” struggles to subdue the second wave. While the German infection rate remains below the EU average, the numbers have taken a “worrying” turn for the worse, as Lothar Wieler, the head of the country’s disease control agency, warned on Thursday.
Japanese medical community despairs at public's lack of concern for mounting virus wave
The air has shifted -- and many in the medical community are concerned by the changes in attitudes toward the coronavirus they're seeing in society at large. Compared to the first wave of infections, in which the whole country got in the mood to limit its activities, now people are more relaxed, with some shops even refusing to comply with requests to reduce their business hours. Disparities in the way ordinary people and medical professionals perceive the threat are widening.
Covid-19 Surge Hits South Korea and Japan, After They Had Contained Virus
Some Asian countries that have been among the world’s most successful at containing Covid-19 are now struggling to beat back a winter resurgence, a sign of how elusive sustained progress can be until a vaccine gets rolled out widely. On Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened an emergency meeting after the country saw a nine-month peak of 686 cases that has forced officials to use shipping containers to address a hospital-bed shortage. Japan on Wednesday recorded 2,810 new cases, the government said, its highest daily total yet. Vietnam reported community infections for the first time in around three months, prompting authorities to suspend all inbound commercial flights. Hong Kong, which had taken daily infections down to single digits, has seen cases surge past 100, requiring the reintroduction of limits on dine-in restaurant service and gym closures. Several regions of Malaysia went into lockdown after cases doubled within a month.
Coronavirus: Ministers to meet before NI lockdown eases
Stormont ministers have appealed to people in NI not to "get caught up in the Christmas spirit" with Covid-19 lockdown restrictions set to be eased. A two-week lockdown ends at 23:59 GMT, meaning hairdressers, shops and some hospitality businesses can reopen. First Minister Arlene Foster urged people to be "sensible" about limiting their social contacts. She said the executive was "disappointed" that transmission of the virus had not reduced significantly. Another 14 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded by Northern Ireland's Department of Health on Thursday.
Denmark widens coronavirus lockdown after record infections
Denmark said on Thursday it will expand lockdown measures announced earlier this week to more cities, placing almost 80% of the population under the tight restrictions after registering its highest number of new daily infections yet. “There is widespread infection throughout society and incipient pressure on the hospital system,” Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told reporters, adding a further rise in infections in the coming days is expected.
Ukraine will introduce tight lockdown restrictions in January
Ukraine will introduce tight lockdown restrictions in January, hoping to stop the rapid spread of coronavirus infection, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Wednesday. The measures, which include the closure of schools, cafes, restaurants, gyms and entertainment centres and a ban on mass gatherings, will be in force from Jan. 8 to 24, Shiygal told the televised government meeting. The government last month introduced a lockdown at weekends, closing or restricting most businesses except essential services such as grocery shops, pharmacies, hospitals and transport. It lifted the restrictions on Dec. 2
ECB unleashes $600 billion in new stimulus to prop up Europe's economy
The European Central Bank is expanding its huge money-printing program by hundreds of billions of euros, an attempt to prop up the economy as another wave of coronavirus rips through the region and threatens to derail its fragile recovery. The central bank said in a statement on Thursday that it would increase its asset purchases by €500 billion ($605 billion), bringing the total stimulus program to €1.85 trillion ($2.24 trillion). It also plans to extend purchases to at least the end of March 2022 and grant more subsidized loans to banks to stimulate lending.
Healthcare Innovations
Biogen conference in Boston likely linked to 330,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide, researchers say
It likely took just one of the 175 people gathered in February at a Biogen conference at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf hotel to ignite a COVID-19 wildfire. Within a week, attendees began falling ill. More than 99 would ultimately test positive. By then, many of them had hopped aboard planes to head home or even attend other conferences. And the spread only exploded from there. Researchers now believe roughly 330,000 COVID-19 cases across the nation and around the world can be traced back to the two-day Boston conference, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science. The study estimates some 96,360 of the cases with a genetic link to the Biogen conference were discovered in Florida, several hundred miles from the waterfront lobby and banquet rooms in Boston that served as the perfect incubator for an eager virus to multiply.
How does Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine work and how is it different to Pfizer and Moderna’s?
Results showing the effectiveness of the University of Oxford's coronavirus vaccine are expected to be released in the coming weeks. In the meantime, phase two trial data released on Thursday suggested the jab produces a strong immune response in older adults. And according to the researchers, volunteers in the trial demonstrated similar immune responses across all three age groups (18-55, 56-69, and 70 and over).
Moderna begins study of COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents
Moderna Inc said on Thursday it had dosed the first participants in a mid-to-late stage study testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in adolescents aged 12 to less than 18, and aims for data ahead of the 2021 school year. The trial will enroll 3,000 healthy participants in the United States and will assess the safety and effectiveness of two doses of the company’s vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, given 28 days apart. Moderna has submitted applications seeking emergency use authorization (EUA) in the United States and EU after full results from a late-stage study showed the vaccine was 94.1% effective in adults with no serious safety concerns. Rival Pfizer/BioNTech have also sought EUA after their coronavirus vaccine’s two-dose regimen proved 95% effective against COVID-19 and had no major safety issues.
COVID-19 vaccine not advised for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
The new Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has “not yet been assessed in pregnancy”, according to Public Health England.
Coronavirus vaccine: Expert addresses Warfarin concerns
Patients who take blood thinning drugs for heart problems have been reassured that the Covid-19 vaccine should not cause adverse effects if their condition is stable. Anti-coagulant treatments including Warfarin are prescribed to patients at increased risk of strokes or those who have a metal heart valve or those with conditions including Atrial Fibrillation. Like most vaccines, the coronavirus vaccine is injected into the muscle of the upper arm and may bleedmore than injections that are given under the skin but less than those that are administered into a vein.
Covid vaccine from China's Sinopharm is 86% effective, says UAE
The United Arab Emirates, the first foreign country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm, said it had 86 per cent efficacy, according to interim results of a phase 3 trial. The announcement is a boost for Beijing’s ambitions to establish its pharmaceutical companies as global leaders in developing and distributing vaccines and comes after the release of final stage results from western frontrunners Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford. Chinese developers were forced to carry out phase 3 trials overseas because the virus is now almost fully under control in China.
Novavax Covid vaccine trial recruits in Oxfordshire
People in Oxfordshire are among volunteers recruited for another promising Covid vaccine. US biotech company Novavax is running trials in Oxford as part of more than 15,203 participants recruited across the UK. It is the largest double blind, placebo-controlled Covid-19 vaccine trial to be undertaken in the country so far. It comes as the first Pfizer vaccinations against coronavirus were carried out in the city this week and new analysis of the Oxford University candidate showed it was 'safe and effective'.
Three groups of people urged to avoid the coronavirus vaccine
Three types of people who have been urged not to have the coronavirus vaccine have been revealed as hospital innoculations continue. The news of three groups unable to be vaccinated come as England's Chief Medical Officer attempts to dispel anti-vax myths. Professor Chris Whitty has said he will take any Covid-19 vaccine offered to him, adding it is a "society" and "political" decision as to when restrictions are lifted. England's chief medical officer told MPs he would be keen to have a jab to protect himself, as the NHS vaccination programme continues across the UK.
Even people with moderate cases of Covid-19 can suffer STROKES and seizures, study suggests
Moderate cases of Covid-19 which do not require treatment in intensive care can still lead to strokes and seizures, according to a new study. Researchers looked at the cases of 921 people who were admitted to a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, between April and July. Seventy-four had both Covid-19 and also underwent a neurologic examination. The study reveals symptoms such as stroke and seizures as well as inflammation may be more common than previously believed, irrespective of Covid-19 severity.
New study shows boy, 4, had Covid in Italy in November 2019
Researchers say an Italian boy tested positive for coronavirus in November 2019 – a revelation which has dramatic implications for the timeline of when the virus was spreading. The Covid-19 outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December last year – although Chinese authorities now admit there were cases dating back to November, amid global scepticism about whether the country has been open about what it knew and when. The study in Italy adds to evidence that the virus may have been spreading far earlier than initially thought and even around Europe in autumn 2019 – months before the first official Italian case in February 2020.
How kids’ immune systems can evade COVID
Young children account for only a small percentage of COVID-19 infections1 — a trend that has puzzled scientists. Now, a growing body of evidence suggests why: kids’ immune systems seem better equipped to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 than are adults’. “Children are very much adapted to respond — and very well equipped to respond — to new viruses,” says Donna Farber, an immunologist at Columbia University in New York City. Even when they are infected with SARS-CoV-2, children are most likely to experience mild or asymptomatic illness2.