Our weekly update of the Corona news wordwide
6-12 April 2020
Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus, lifted its lockdown on Wuhan on April 8th, allowing residents to finally leave the city limits after 11 weeks of quarantine. However, the choice to end the lockdown is met with some hesitation. While Wuhan reports no new cases of symptomatic coronavirus, the public is urging for continued testing to ensure this claim.(https://time.com/5817251/wuhan-coronavirus-lockdown-reopens/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_term=world_covid-19&linkId=86055163)
Is Wuhan really ready to reopen? On April 5th, mainland China reported 39 new cases of asymptomatic coronavirus, an increase from the 30 cases the day before. Movement into the country is thought to be a reason for this surge in cases, so the government plans to tighten borders even though Wuhan is allowing free movement now that the lockdown is over. The Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, accounted for almost half the new asymptomatic cases.
Globally, researchers have used wastewater (used water that goes through the drainage system to a treatment facility) surveillance to track coronavirus particles; virus traces have been found in the United States, Sweden and the Netherlands. Microbiologist Gertjan Medema at KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein, the Netherlands, notes that tracking wastewater can provide estimates for people infected with coronavirus that did not receive testing or are asymptomatic, supplying better measurements for how extensive the disease has spread. Regular surveillance of wastewater can act as a non-invasive early-warning method according to Ana Maria de Roda Husman, an infectious-disease researcher at the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. Earlier tracing of COVID-19 can aid in determining early prevention and control methods that need to be implemented, such as a social distancing or a lockdown, which can limit the health and economic burdens.
While the COVID-19 did not seem to discriminate against who gets infected, African-Americans are disproportionately affected. In the US, African-Americans are at a higher risk of being infected because they have more underlying medical conditions, limited access to healthcare, and economic instability.
According to CDC findings, children and teenagers are less likely to suffer from severe coronavirus symptoms. However, they are still not immune to COVID-19. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2020/04/07/coronavirus-less-severe-in-children-in-new-study-corroborating-past-findings/#16583ba936f7
The World Health Organization now supports governments that have implemented that the public should be wearing cloth masks guidelines. Surgical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers, while the general population uses cloth or homemade masks.
International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the World Health Organization announced the One World: Together At Home, a globally televised and streamed special in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The special will broadcast live on Saturday, 18 April 2020 at 5:00 p.m. PDT/8:00 p.m. EDT/12:00 a.m. GMT airing on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, iHeartMedia and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada.
- On March 15, the Greg Mortimer cruise ship left for a voyage to Antarctica and South Georgia. Of the 217 passengers tested, 128 tested positive for asymptomatic coronavirus. Currently, the plan is to get passengers safely back to their home country and quarantine them for 14 days.
While the coronavirus pandemic has taken quite a devastating toll on public health, the Global Carbon Project predicts that coronavirus could cause a significant decrease in emissions since World War II. Based on current data, the organization predicts that the decrease could be as much as a five percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. However, this change in emissions is most likely temporary once people resume a more normal lifestyle.
Coronavirus Pandemic happened due to environmental degradation:
Research & Technology:
The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s Dr Kylie Wagstaff, who led the study, said the scientists showed that the drug, Ivermectin, stopped the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture within 48 hours.
Scientists are looking into the potential of the BCG tuberculosis (TB) vaccine to prevent severe symptoms of coronavirus. Children who have received the BCG vaccine suffer less from respiratory illnesses so researchers will test the ability of the TB vaccine to reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus or if it can reduce the severity of coronavirus symptoms. Many international researchers have already started clinical trials involving this vaccine. INSERM in France has begun a clinical trial and hopes to collaborate with four Spanish hospitals to compare results. In the Netherlands, Professor Mihai Netea of experimental internal medicine at Radboud University has begun a clinical trial with Utrecht University with hundreds of healthcare workers participating. According to Netea, the BCG vaccine does not directly inhibit coronavirus, but the vaccine boosts the immune system to reduce COVID-19 symptoms. Australia and Germany have also launched clinical trials using the BCG vaccine and newly engineered TB vaccines to test against coronavirus.
A small biotech company in Pennsylvania (Inovio Pharmaceuticals) has created a potential vaccine for coronavirus funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The first volunteer will receive the vaccine candidate called INO-4800 on Monday (6 April). Inovio will recruit up to 40 healthy adults to take part in the study, and each volunteer will take two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. Inovio has scaled up its production capabilities and hopes to produce 1 million doses by the end of 2020.
The pandemic has stimulated a new time for innovation. New gadgets have been created to fight the coronavirus. Many have created hands-free door openers to slow down the spread of COVID-19: the “hygienehook” by London-based designer Steve Brooks and Welshman Wyn Griffiths created a 3D-printed hands-free door opener design for people with access to a 3D printer. To combat the shortage of medical supplies, Virustatic Shield patented a new snood mask with an antiviral coating, and Dr. Rhys Thomas of Glangwili Hospital in Wales designed a basic ventilator that is simple yet robust enough to kill COVID-19.
Apple, Inc. and Google have partnered to create a contact-tracing app to be ready by mid-May. The app will be run by public health authorities and be accessible to iOS and Android smartphone users.
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine believe that they can train dogs to smell asymptomatic people to diagnose for coronavirus. https://www.citylab.com/life/2020/04/coronavirus-no-symptoms-dogs-smell-detect-covid-19-infection/609403/