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Covid-19 information: UK opinions vaccine passports for journey and pubs

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Newest coronavirus information as of 5pm on 23 February

Evaluate into “vaccine passports” launched in UK

The UK authorities has begun a evaluate of whether or not to introduce certificates displaying somebody has had a covid-19 vaccine. So-called vaccine passports might be used for worldwide journey and for permitting individuals to enter locations like theatres or pubs, Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned at this time. 


“There are deep and complex issues that we need to explore, about what the role is for government in mandating people to have such a thing or, indeed, banning people from doing such a thing,” Johnson mentioned. “We can’t be discriminatory against people who, for whatever reason, can’t have the vaccine.” Led by cupboard workplace minister Michael Gove, the evaluate’s findings are due earlier than England’s fourth stage of lockdown easing, on 21 June.

Iceland has mentioned they are going to, in future, let individuals with a certificates of covid-19 vaccination enter with out quarantining or taking a coronavirus take a look at, and Greece, whose financial system relies on tourism, can also be pushing the European Union to press forward with organising vaccine passports for this summer season. 

Inside the UK, some corporations have mentioned they plan to insist on new staff having been vaccinated. However there are nonetheless many unknowns concerning the results of vaccination, together with how a lot it cuts transmission, and the way lengthy immunity lasts for. 

Vaccine passports “are feasible, but not all the pieces are in place yet,” says Melinda Mills on the College of Oxford, co-author of a Royal Society report that units out 12 standards that should be glad earlier than they can be utilized.

Different coronavirus information

Japan had barely fewer deaths in 2020 than the earlier 12 months, the primary time the annual dying toll has fallen in 11 years. It was down by 0.7 per cent, based on preliminary data from the Japanese Ministry of Well being, Labour and Welfare. The autumn was most likely on account of a pointy decline in influenza circumstances due to an infection management measures towards covid-19, resembling carrying face masks and handwashing. Japan has recorded solely 7529 deaths from the coronavirus to this point. In England, no circumstances of flu have been detected within the first seven weeks of 2021, based on Public Health England.

Scotland’s roadmap for exiting lockdown was announced today. From the 15 March, all main and extra secondary pupils will return to highschool, and 4 individuals from two households shall be allowed to satisfy exterior. Within the final week of April, non-essential outlets, bars, eating places, gyms and hairdressers can reopen. The plan is much like timings in England, the place all pupils shall be allowed again to varsities on 8 March, two households or as much as six individuals can meet exterior from 29 March, and non-essential outlets will reopen no sooner than 12 April.

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Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 111.8 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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The New York Times is monitoring hospital mattress occupancy in England in an interactive graphic.

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary concerning the inside story of the event of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine towards covid-19.

Race Against the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic by the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Times is assessing the progress of various vaccine candidates and potential drug therapies for covid-19, and rating them for effectiveness and security.

Humans of COVID-19 is a mission highlighting the experiences of key employees on the frontline within the struggle towards coronavirus within the UK, by social media.

Belly Mujinga: Searching for the Truth is a BBC Panorama investigation of the dying of transport employee Stomach Mujinga from covid-19, following experiences she had been coughed and spat on by a buyer at London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is a brief documentary collection inspecting the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to struggle it and methods to handle its psychological well being toll.

New Scientist Weekly options updates and evaluation on the newest developments within the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees professional journalists from the journal talk about the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from know-how and house, to well being and the surroundings.

COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One by Debora Mackenzie is about how the pandemic occurred and why it would occur once more if we don’t do issues in a different way in future.

The Rules of Contagion is concerning the new science of contagion and the shocking methods it shapes our lives and behavior. The creator, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist on the London Faculty of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs, UK, and within the ebook he examines how ailments unfold and why they cease.

Earlier updates

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Lila Blanks holds the casket of her husband, Gregory Blanks, 50, who died of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), forward of his funeral in San Felipe, Texas.

REUTERS/Callaghan O’Hare

22 February

Official US dying toll passes 500,000 and true determine might be 720,000

The official dying toll from covid-19 within the US has handed the five hundred,000 mark. Nonetheless, there is substantial undercounting and the true dying toll might be round 720,000, Andrew Stokes at Boston College in Massachusetts informed New Scientist

The US dying toll is the highest of any nation on the planet. “It’s terrible. It is historic. We haven’t seen anything even close to this for well over a hundred years, since the 1918 pandemic of influenza,” the US president’s chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci told NBC. Brazil is second with practically 250,000 deaths, adopted by Mexico with 180,000, India with 156,000 and the UK with 121,000. Per capita, the UK also has the fourth highest covid-19 death rate on the planet.

Case numbers within the US at the moment are declining quick. Nonetheless, the extra transmissible B.1.1.7 variant, first detected within the UK is now spreading, and there are fears it may result in yet one more wave of infections.

Different coronavirus information

Colleges in England will reopen on 8 March within the first of a collection of steps in direction of easing a lockdown imposed on 5 January. From 29 March out of doors sports activities and out of doors conferences of as much as six individuals, or two households, are on account of be allowed. If all goes to plan, all limits on social contact may finish by 21 June. The UK’s chief scientific advisor Patrick Vallance mentioned the easing ought to proceed slowly to keep away from the danger of a resurgence. “We are not starting all this as of today from a good position. We are not now in a sort of ‘let’s release everything’ [position]. We are in a not very good position that is getting better,” he mentioned at a press briefing at this time. 

Whereas vaccines are anticipated to make a giant distinction on curbing circumstances, Vallance mentioned it was necessary to keep in mind that as restrictions are relaxed, many individuals would nonetheless be unprotected. He identified that not all the inhabitants shall be vaccinated, and the vaccines don’t supply a 100 per cent safety towards an infection.

Vallance mentioned it was necessary to drive circumstances down low and house out relaxations so the impact might be monitored. “The message that comes out of all the modelling is: start from a low baseline, so try and get numbers down before you start releasing. Go slowly. Go in blocks [of relaxation] that you can measure the effect of after 4 or 5 weeks,” he mentioned. 

Even a single vaccine dose drastically reduces the danger of being hospitalised with covid-19, based on a preliminary study done in Scotland. By the fifth week after receiving their first dose, those that had obtained the Oxford/AstraZeneac jab had decreased their danger of hospitalisation by as much as 94 per cent, and people who obtained the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by as much as 85 per cent, the examine estimates.

A second “real world” study by Public Health England exhibits that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine prevented 70 per cent of asymptomatic and symptomatic infections in well being employees in England beneath 65, simply 14 days after vaccination.

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Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 111.5 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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Geoff Holland, 90, and Jenny Holland, 86, obtain their injections of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a former Wickes retailer in Mansfield, UK.

Joe Giddens/Pool through REUTERS

19 February

95 per cent of individuals over 70 in Nice Britain have had a vaccine dose

In Nice Britain, 95 per cent of individuals aged over 70 have had at the least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, based on a survey of 6000 people by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Many of the the rest have been supplied a vaccine and are ready to obtain it. Lower than 1 per cent of individuals aged over 70 years mentioned they declined the supply of a vaccine. Total, 91 per cent of all adults surveyed mentioned that they had both been vaccinated already or would get vaccinated when supplied it. These numbers are higher than anticipated. As an illustration, in a single UK survey performed in December earlier than vaccination started, simply 72 per cent said they were willing to get vaccinated. Nonetheless, the ONS survey didn’t embrace adults dwelling in care properties or different institutions, and due to small pattern sizes, the ONS says the share of individuals saying they’ve declined vaccination needs to be handled with warning.

Different coronavirus new

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doesn’t should be stored ultracold as was beforehand thought when the vaccine was accredited to be used. The businesses say it’s steady at between -25ºC and -15ºC, and have requested regulators to change the terms on which it was approved. New Scientist reported in November that different mRNA vaccines utilizing the identical know-how have been steady at fridge temperatures, and that the identical needs to be true of the Pfizer vaccine.

Japan has reported 91 circumstances of individuals contaminated with a new coronavirus variant called B.1.1.316. It has the E484K mutation additionally discovered within the South African and Brazilian variants, which permits the virus to partially evade immunity from previous an infection or vaccination. Nonetheless, Japan has had decrease ranges of an infection than South Africa or Brazil, and simply 7000 deaths.

Brazil is vaccinating an entire town as an experiment to see what impact it has on coronavirus transmission. Your entire grownup inhabitants of Serrana within the state of São Paulo, estimated to be 30,000, shall be supplied the CoronaVac vaccine made by China-based firm Sinovac.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.44 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 110.4 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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A girl walks by a digital memorial to MTA employees referred to as “Travels Far: A Memorial Honoring Our Colleagues Lost To Covid-19” within the subway station at Union Sq. in New York Metropolis.

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

18 February

Life expectancy fell by one 12 months in 2020, helped by the coronavirus

Life expectancy within the US fell by one 12 months on common within the first half of 2020, based on figures from the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The covid-19 pandemic is more likely to be a major contributor, experts told CNN. US life expectancy is now the bottom it has been since 2006. “Covid is on track to cause more deaths than cancer or heart disease,” Eileen Crimmins on the College of Southern California informed CNN.

The autumn was seen throughout ethnic teams however was most pronounced in minorities. Black People misplaced 2.7 years off their life expectancy, and Hispanics misplaced 1.9 years, whereas white People misplaced 0.8 years. Life expectancy disparities between Black and white individuals within the US had been shrinking in recent times however the pandemic has reversed a few of that progress. Over the previous 40 years, life expectancy had been steadily rising within the US, other than between 2014 and 2017, when it fell by one third of a 12 months. This has been attributed to the epidemic of opioid misuse within the nation, in addition to stagnating decline in deaths from coronary heart illness.

Different coronavirus information

New coronavirus infections in England fell by two-thirds between mid-January and the primary two weeks of February. The autumn exhibits “lockdown measures are effectively bringing infections down”, mentioned Paul Elliott at Imperial Faculty London in a press release. The figures come from one of many largest and most authoritative surveys of infections referred to as REACT. At the moment about one in 200 individuals are contaminated in England, an identical degree to September. The nationwide R quantity – the common variety of individuals one particular person will infect – is estimated to be between 0.69 and 0.76, which means that infections are falling. The findings are primarily based on greater than 85,000 swab checks from randomly chosen individuals. Whereas all areas of England confirmed declining infections, they fell most steeply in London, the South East and West Midlands, and fewer steeply within the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. This might be linked to harder lockdown guidelines being launched earlier in London and the South East, the BBC reported.

Greece has agreed to a trial of permitting vacationers to enter the nation if they’ve been vaccinated towards covid-19, as soon as flights resume. The preliminary trial shall be with guests from Israel, which has given the coronavirus vaccine to a better proportion of its inhabitants than every other nation. Greece’s tourism minister, Haris Theoharis informed BBC Radio 4’s As we speak programme that the nation is in talks with British officers about how an identical scheme would possibly work with the UK.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 110 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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A coronavirus lateral movement system displaying a optimistic take a look at end result.

Thrive Photos/Alamy

17 February

UK authorities plans to ship 400,000 checks a day to properties and workplaces

Fast coronavirus checks will begin being despatched out by submit subsequent month to permit twice-weekly testing of individuals with out covid-19 signs for as much as two-thirds of England’s inhabitants. The pregnancy-test-style lateral movement assays, which search for viral proteins in a swab from the nostril or throat, produce outcomes inside half an hour, however they aren’t as correct because the slower PCR checks utilized in labs and clinics. The lateral movement checks are already getting used for screening individuals with out covid-19 signs in settings resembling healthcare, care properties and in sure faculties and universities. The variety of these checks carried out has elevated massively up to now month. The most recent deliberate enlargement would contain finishing up greater than 400,000 checks a day in properties and workplaces, based on documents seen by The Times. The roll-out would start earlier than faculties open up face-to-face instructing – at present slated for 8 March in England – and the checks could be despatched to schoolchildren, their households and academics, in addition to anybody who can not work from home. It could be accompanied by a marketing campaign to encourage uptake provisionally referred to as “Are you ready? Get testing. Go.”

Utilizing lateral movement checks for mass screening is controversial, as a result of they’ve a increased false-negative charge than PCR checks. Proponents say lateral movement checks discover people who find themselves most infectious. Critics say they miss people who find themselves nonetheless able to transmitting the virus and who’re then falsely reassured they’re freed from the virus, so could behave extra riskily. A spokesperson for the UK’s Division of Well being and Social Care mentioned their plans for increasing testing haven’t but been finalised.

Different coronavirus information

4 extra signs needs to be added to the listing of indicators that folks want a coronavirus test, researchers say. The brand new signs are fatigue, headache, sore throat and diarrhoea. The present signs that point out the necessity for a take a look at are cough, fever or lack of style or odor. The findings come from an evaluation of customers of an app referred to as the Zoe Covid Symptom Study, which tracks covid-19 signs and circumstances. Utilizing these further indicators as a set off for testing would result in many extra individuals being examined who don’t have the virus, however it will additionally decide up 40 per cent extra coronavirus circumstances, the researchers have calculated. 

The world’s first examine that can intentionally infect wholesome volunteers with the coronavirus will begin next month. Initially, 90 individuals aged 18-30 could have a small dose of the virus squirted up their nostril and can then be fastidiously monitored to see how their immune system reacts and to seek out the smallest dose wanted for a light an infection. In future the experimenters will examine how efficient vaccines are towards present and novel variants of the virus, mentioned Chris Chiu at Imperial Faculty London.

South Africa will this week develop into the primary nation on the planet to start giving people the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine. This one-shot jab is efficient at stopping extreme illness from the coronavirus variant prevalent in that nation.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.43 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 109.6 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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A woman wearing a face mask stands on a balcony in a retirement home

A girl in a retirement house seems to be out on the view from her balcony

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16 February

Almost two million extra individuals shall be added to England’s shielding listing

About 1.7 million people in England shall be informed to protect and take further precautions from covid-19 after they have been discovered to be at critical danger of illness or dying. They can even be prioritised for covid-19 vaccination. The addition will convey the entire quantity on the UK authorities’s shielding listing to virtually 4 million, all of whom are being suggested to protect till 31 March. 

The individuals being added to the listing have been recognized utilizing an algorithm to foretell whether or not an individual is prone to extreme illness or dying from covid-19. The algorithm incorporates data on age, ethnicity, physique mass index, different well being situations and postcode (which is indicative of the extent of deprivation). “As we learn more about covid-19, we’re continuously reviewing the evidence,” Jenny Harries, one among England’s deputy chief medical officers, informed a briefing on 16 February. “It was very clear that not all of those individuals who were at risk were identified by the binary approach,” she mentioned. Harries mentioned it is going to be as much as the people to determine whether or not to observe the shielding recommendation or not.

Different coronavirus information

An estimated one in 5 individuals in England had antibodies towards the coronavirus within the 28 days as much as 1 February, suggesting that they had beforehand been contaminated or had obtained a covid-19 vaccine, based on the Office for National Statistics. In Wales and Northern Eire the equal estimate was one in 7 and for Scotland it was one in 9 individuals. Folks have been examined for antibodies as a part of the COVID-19 An infection Survey within the UK. In England, individuals aged 80 and over have been more than likely to check optimistic for antibodies with 40.9 per cent testing optimistic, which might be as a result of excessive vaccination charge on this group. “It could be tempting to assume that quantifying antibody levels like this tells us the level and distribution of immunity to covid-19 in the population, but we do not know what components of the immune system are required for immunity or how long protection will last,” mentioned Simon Clarke on the College of Studying in a statement.

Early knowledge from vaccinations in Israel point out that the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine prevents 94 per cent of symptomatic coronavirus infections. The examine checked out 600,000 absolutely vaccinated individuals and the identical variety of unvaccinated individuals. It is a very comparable degree of effectiveness to that recorded in scientific trials of the vaccine. Israel’s well being fund, Clalit, used coronavirus take a look at outcomes extracted from individuals’s well being information to match numbers of infections between those that had obtained two doses of the vaccine and people who hadn’t obtained any doses. There have been 94 per cent fewer infections amongst those that had been vaccinated. Almost half of Israel’s resident adult population have obtained at the least one dose of covid-19 vaccine to this point.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 109 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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A laboratory technician handles vials in a laboratory

Genome sequencing of the coronavirus and its variants on the Centre Nationwide de Reference in France


15 February

Coronavirus variants carrying comparable mutations detected within the US 

Seven coronavirus variants carrying similar mutations have been detected within the US. All of the variants, reported in a preliminary study, have gained a mutation on the identical location of their genome and seem to belong to the identical lineage as a virus first sequenced on 1 December, which subsequently grew to become extra frequent. “There’s clearly something going on with this mutation,” Jeremy Kamil at Louisiana State College and co-author of the examine, told the New York Times. It isn’t clear if the mutation makes the variants extra transmissible, just like the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first sequenced within the UK, however its location in a gene that influences how the virus enters human cells is regarding. “I think there’s a clear signature of an evolutionary benefit,” mentioned Kamil. The preliminary examine was launched on a pre-print server and has not been peer-reviewed.

Different coronavirus information

UK well being minister Matt Hancock revealed that a third of social care workers in England haven’t had a covid-19 vaccine but, regardless of being among the many first precedence teams. “We’ll keep offering and keep contacting people who work in social care,” Hancock informed the BBC’s Breakfast present. “Obviously the uptake there is very important,” he mentioned. Individually, a preliminary examine discovered lower covid-19 vaccine uptake amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees on the College Hospitals of Leicester NHS Belief in England. “These findings give significant cause for concern, as ethnic minority groups (especially those working in healthcare) are at higher risk of infection with [the coronavirus] and adverse outcome from covid-19,” mentioned the report, which has not been peer-reviewed. Greater than 15 million people have obtained a dose of covid-19 vaccine within the UK to this point, in keeping with the government’s target of providing a primary dose of vaccine to 4 precedence teams by mid-February.

“We’ll do everything we can” to reopen schools in England by 8 March, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has mentioned, including: “But we’ve got to keep looking at the data, we’ve got to keep looking at the rates of infection, don’t forget they’re still very high.” The UK authorities is predicted to set out plans for ending restrictions at a briefing on 22 February. Johnson mentioned the federal government’s plans shall be “cautious but irreversible”.

The first travellers required to remain at quarantine accommodations in England arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on 15 February. Folks arriving within the UK from 33 “red list” international locations at the moment are required to enter obligatory resort quarantine for 10 days on arrival, at their very own expense.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.4 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 108 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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A girl receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid19 vaccine at an NHS vaccination middle in Ealing, west London

NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

12 February

Vaccinations of individuals beneath 70 start in England subsequent week

Vaccinators in England can now start giving covid-19 vaccines to individuals aged between 65 and 69, so long as they’ve already supplied jabs to older and clinically susceptible individuals within the high precedence teams. “We have been told by NHS England that, in exceptional circumstances, where we have reached other groups, we can move on to cohort five [people aged 65 to 69],” an nameless physician informed the Guardian. Throughout the UK, 14 million individuals had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 12 February – equal to about 20 per cent of the entire inhabitants.

Infections fall throughout the UK

Coronavirus infections appear to be falling throughout the UK. The Office for National Statistics estimates that about one in 80 individuals in England had covid-19 within the week as much as 6 February, down from one in 65 individuals the earlier week. In Wales, Northern Eire and Scotland the equal figures for the latest week are roughly one in 85, one in 75 and one in 150 individuals respectively, all down from the earlier week’s figures. The most recent official estimate of the R quantity – the common variety of individuals every particular person with coronavirus infects – places it between 0.7 and 0.9  for the UK as an entire, indicating the nation’s epidemic is shrinking. 

Neil Ferguson at Imperial Faculty London, who advises the UK authorities as a part of the New and Rising Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, mentioned lockdowns have helped drive down circumstances. “They’re basically halving about every 17 days at the moment,” he told Politico’s Westminster Insider podcast. Ferguson mentioned it could be attainable to reopen at the least main faculties in a month’s time. “And if we continue to see then a continued decline without large outbreaks, then perhaps starting to relax other aspects of society the following month,” he added. UK prime minister Boris Johnson has mentioned discussions on reopening faculties will occur within the week beginning 22 February, with faculties probably capable of reopen from 8 March.

Different coronavirus information

Germany is imposing strict new border controls on account of concern over coronavirus variants, with a ban on journey into the nation from the Czech Republic and Austria the place the B.1351 and B.1.1.7 variants of the virus have been discovered to be prevalent. Returning residents and sure important employees shall be exempt. 

French well being authority Haute Autorite de Sante really helpful that individuals who have already had covid-19 and recovered ought to only be offered a single shot of covid-19 vaccine. “The single dose of vaccine will act as a reminder,” it mentioned in a press release.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.37 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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Photo of a person's hand holding a box of medication labelled tocilizumab

A pharmacist in France shows a field of tocilizumab, which is used within the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis

PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS/Alamy Inventory Photograph

11 February

Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab discovered to chop danger of dying amongst sufferers with extreme covid-19

The arthritis drug tocilizumab reduces the risk of death amongst severely unwell covid-19 sufferers, based on findings from the RECOVERY trial, which has been testing a spread of potential therapies for the illness since March final 12 months. The examine discovered that 29 per cent of covid-19 sufferers who obtained tocilizumab died inside 28 days, in comparison with 33 per cent of those that didn’t obtain the drug. Therapy with tocilizumab – bought beneath the model title Actemra by Swiss firm Roche – additionally shortened the time to restoration and decreased the requirement for mechanical air flow. The trial included 2022 covid-19 sufferers randomly allotted to obtain tocilizumab along with their customary care and 2094 sufferers allotted to straightforward care solely, which for 82 per cent of all sufferers within the examine included therapy with a steroid, resembling dexamethasone. Final 12 months, dexamethasone grew to become the first drug discovered to scale back dying charges in covid-19 sufferers. The latest outcomes point out that tocilizumab gives extra advantages when used with steroids, like dexamethasone. “Used in combination, the impact is substantial,” mentioned Martin Landray on the College of Oxford, one of many lead investigators on the trial. “After dexamethasone (steroids), this is the most significant advance in the treatment of covid,” mentioned Athimalaipet Ramanan on the College of Bristol in a statement.

Different coronavirus information

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) issued up to date steerage saying individuals who have been “fully vaccinated” towards covid-19 are no longer advised to quarantine if they’re uncovered to somebody who checks optimistic for coronavirus. This is applicable to individuals who have had each doses of a covid-19 vaccine at the least two weeks in the past. Nonetheless, the CDC mentioned this doesn’t imply that absolutely vaccinated people ought to cease taking precautions and added that individuals who had their photographs three months in the past or extra ought to nonetheless quarantine if they’re uncovered, because it isn’t identified how lengthy safety towards covid-19 lasts.

US well being officers are advising people in the country to consider wearing two masks on high of one another to higher defend themselves towards coronavirus an infection. A CDC report instructed carrying a fabric masks over a disposable surgical masks or bettering the match of a single surgical masks as ways to spice up safety.

It could take six to nine months to provide and deploy covid-19 vaccines that work towards new variants of the coronavirus, based on AstraZeneca. The UK-Swedish firm made this assertion after its present vaccine was discovered to be much less efficient towards the coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa.

The Guardian reported that more than 40 per cent of staff on the UK’s largest care house supplier haven’t obtained any doses of covid-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.35 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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A woman is pictured sitting on a chair, holding a coronavirus test kit

A girl takes a coronavirus take a look at at a short lived testing facility in London, UK

Hollie Adams/Getty Photos

10 February

Chills, lack of urge for food, headache and muscle ache linked to covid-19 in new examine

New symptoms have been linked to covid-19 in sure age teams, together with chills, lack of urge for food, headache and muscle ache, in Imperial College London’s REACT study. The 4 new signs have been recognized by researchers by random swab testing and questioning of greater than 1,000,000 individuals in England, performed between June 2020 and January 2021. The researchers discovered an affiliation between testing optimistic for the coronavirus and reporting any of those new signs or different signs beforehand linked to covid-19, resembling a persistent cough, fever or a loss or change in sense of style or odor. 

The extra signs individuals had, the extra doubtless they have been to check optimistic, though there was some variation in signs throughout completely different age teams. Chills have been linked with an infection throughout all age teams, whereas complications have been reported primarily in kids aged 5-17, urge for food loss in adults over 18 and muscle aches in these aged 18-54. Contaminated 5-17 12 months olds have been additionally much less more likely to report experiencing fever, persistent cough and urge for food loss, as compared with adults.

The REACT examine additionally checked out whether or not reported signs modified earlier than and after the B.1.1.7 variant grew to become the dominant variant within the UK. It discovered that signs have been largely comparable, regardless of the elevated prevalence of B.1.1.7. Nonetheless, loss or change of sense of odor was much less predictive of getting covid-19 in January when B.1.1.7 accounted for about 86 per cent of infections, in contrast with November to December when it was 16 per cent. “As the epidemic progresses and new variants emerge, it’s essential that we keep monitoring how the virus affects people so that testing programmes meet changing needs,” mentioned Joshua Elliott, one of many researchers behind the examine at Imperial Faculty London, in a press release.

Different coronavirus information

Folks within the UK are going to must “get used to the idea of vaccinating and revaccinating in the autumn as we face these new variants”, UK prime minister Boris Johnson told parliament on 10 February. A number of vaccine producers have confirmed that they’re already engaged on new variations of their covid-19 vaccines to ensure they continue to be efficient. The UK authorities not too long ago introduced a partnership with producer CureVac to quickly manufacture new vaccines in response to new coronavirus variants if wanted. “We believe that they may help us to develop vaccines that can respond at scale to new variants of the virus,” mentioned Johnson.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said he doesn’t suppose the B.1351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa “is going to be a dominant issue in the next few months”. Talking on BBC Information, Van-Tam mentioned 90 per cent of circumstances within the UK in the meanwhile are brought on by the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in Kent.

South Africa is considering selling or exchanging its doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, based on the nation’s well being minister. Plans to begin administering the jabs have been placed on maintain this week after a small, preliminary examine indicated it might not defend towards gentle or reasonable covid-19 brought on by the B.1.351 variant.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.34 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 107 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Boosting vaccines: The coronavirus vaccines received’t work for everybody, however there are many issues we all know may help with vaccine success, from sleeping properly earlier than a jab to avoiding doomscrolling afterwards and getting sufficient train.

Trying to find immunity: Not everybody could have unwanted effects resembling a sore arm from a coronavirus vaccine, however that doesn’t imply it didn’t work. Antibody checks can verify your immunity, however they have to be the proper.

Peter Ben Embarek, a member of the WHO-China joint study team, gestures with his hand as he answers a question during a press conference

Peter Ben Embarek solutions questions on the WHO-China joint examine press convention in Wuhan, China on 9 February

Xinhua Information Company/PA Photos

9 February

WHO crew in China is investigating idea that coronavirus was unfold by frozen meals

The World Well being Group (WHO) mission in Wuhan, China has ruled out the possibility that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory, however the crew is investigating whether or not the virus got here from frozen meals, probably from exterior China. The investigation crew chief Peter Ben Embarek mentioned the virus appears to have originated in bats, as initially thought, but it surely was most likely transmitted to people through an unknown intermediate species, probably a useless or frozen animal meals product. Embarek mentioned it’s “extremely unlikely” that the virus escaped from a lab. The WHO mission arrived in China in January and spent 4 weeks researching the origin of the coronavirus with website visits to the Huanan seafood market, initially suspected because the supply of the virus, in addition to the laboratories on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was additionally being investigated as a possible supply. It introduced its preliminary findings at a press briefing in Wuhan on 9 February. 

Different coronavirus information

Folks arriving in England who’re required to quarantine in accommodations shall be charged a fee of £1750 to cowl the price of their keep, transport and coronavirus checks, UK well being minister Matt Hancock introduced. Individuals who fail to quarantine face fines of as much as £10,000, whereas those that lie on their passenger locator varieties about visiting any of 33 “red list” countries resist 10 years in jail. Hancock mentioned comparable measures are being checked out for the devolved nations. “People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk,” he informed parliament on Tuesday. He additionally confirmed that an enhanced testing regime for all arrivals would begin on 15 February, from which level all arrivals shall be required to get examined for the coronavirus on the second and eighth days of their 10-day quarantine interval.

Further covid-19 testing will begin in parts of Greater Manchester within the UK, following the invention of 4 individuals contaminated with a mutated model of the B.1.1.7 variant, first recognized in Kent. The 4 individuals, from two separate households in Better Manchester, have been discovered to be contaminated with a virus carrying the E484K mutation. The mutation is regarding, as there’s proof that some covid-19 vaccines could also be much less efficient towards the B.1.351 variant, often known as the “South Africa variant”, which has the identical mutation.  

The NHS covid-19 app has told 1.7 million people in England and Wales to self-isolate since its launch in September. A preliminary analysis by researchers on the College of Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute signifies 594,000 coronavirus circumstances have been prevented by the app. The app has had about 21.7 million downloads, though inner knowledge suggests about 16.5 million individuals are at present actively utilizing its contact-tracing device, based on the BBC.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.32 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 106 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

South Africa variant: South Africa paused its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because it may not be efficient towards the South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant – however it’s nonetheless more likely to restrict the severity of covid-19.

A person wearing a face mask leans out of a car window to get vaccinated

An individual receives a covid-19 vaccine at a drive-through vaccination centre in St Albans, UK

REUTERS/Paul Childs

8 February

Researchers are investigating methods to change covid-19 vaccines to sort out the South Africa variant and others that emerge

UK ministers say work is underway to tweak existing covid-19 vaccines to tackle new variants of the coronavirus together with the B.1.351 coronavirus variant, generally known as the “South Africa variant”. On 6 February, a small, preliminary examine was reported to show that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine could not defend towards gentle or reasonable covid-19 brought on by B.1.351. At the very least 147 circumstances of this variant have now been detected within the UK. “Our brilliant scientists and medical advisers are now working on the potential for new versions of existing vaccines to offer further protections against covid variants,” Nadhim Zahawi, minister for covid-19 vaccine deployment, wrote within the Telegraph. As a precaution, South Africa – the place the variant accounts for about 90 per cent of recent coronavirus circumstances – has put its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on hold. Nonetheless, the examine, which has not but been revealed or peer-reviewed, was comparatively small and didn’t have a look at the impression of the vaccine on extreme illness or dying.

Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford, one of many lead vaccine researchers on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, mentioned a modified model that’s efficient towards the South Africa variant might be able to deploy within the autumn. “What we’re seeing from other vaccine developers is that they have a reduction in efficacy against some of the variant viruses,” Gilbert informed the BBC’s Andrew Marr Present on 7 February, including that though vaccines could also be much less efficient at lowering circumstances with new variants, they nonetheless look like protecting towards dying, hospitalisation and extreme illness. Different covid-19 vaccine producers are additionally engaged on new variations of their vaccines to ensure they continue to be efficient. “We’re very confident in all the vaccines that we are using, and I think it’s important for people to bear in mind that all of them, we think, are effective in delivering a high degree of protection against serious illness and death, which is the most important thing,” mentioned UK prime minister Boris Johnson, in an interview with Sky News on 8 February. “We will be continuing to study the results, the effectiveness, of the vaccine rollout.”

Different coronavirus information

All individuals dwelling within the UK shall be eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccine no matter whether or not they have the authorized proper to work and reside within the nation, the UK authorities mentioned on 8 February. “Coronavirus vaccines will be offered to everyone living in the UK free of charge, regardless of immigration status,” a authorities spokesperson informed Reuters. The federal government mentioned getting the vaccine wouldn’t set off immigration checks.

Eire mentioned it would crack down on travellers returning to the UK from the Center East through Eire to keep away from not too long ago launched quarantine guidelines. The variety of individuals travelling to Dublin from Dubai has risen for the reason that UK added the United Arab Emirates to its journey ban listing in January.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.31 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 106 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: The strain of the pandemic dangers constructing to burnout, however information that vaccines assist cease individuals catching and spreading the coronavirus provides hope of launch.

Three people wearing face coverings sit on chairs in a waiting area

Folks wait to obtain the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at Copes pharmacy in Streatham, England

Dan Kitwood/Getty Photos

5 February

Early outcomes counsel the Oxford covid-19 vaccine works towards B.1.1.7 virus variant

Preliminary outcomes point out that the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca is effective against the highly transmissible coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected within the UK. Researchers on the College of Oxford analysed swabs from vaccine trial individuals who had examined optimistic for the coronavirus between 1 October 2020 and 14 January 2021, to find out the variant of the virus with which that they had been contaminated. They discovered comparable efficacy charges of the vaccine towards the B.1.1.7 variant (74.6 per cent efficient) and the unique virus (84 per cent efficient). That is even supposing these contaminated with the B.1.1.7 variant produced fewer antibodies that might neutralise the virus. The outcomes have been released online as a pre-print and haven’t been peer-reviewed.

Vaccine researchers are investigating methods to change current covid-19 vaccines quickly to make sure continued safety towards different new variants as properly. “We are working with AstraZeneca to optimise the pipeline required for a strain change should one become necessary,” mentioned Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford in a statement. “This is the same issue that is faced by all of the vaccine developers, and we will continue to monitor the emergence of new variants that arise in readiness for a future strain change,” she mentioned. “All viruses accumulate mutations over time, and for influenza vaccines there is a well-known process of global viral surveillance, and selection of strains for an annual update of the vaccines.”

Different coronavirus information

Coronavirus circumstances appear to be falling in most of the UK. The latest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics point out optimistic checks have been falling in England, Scotland and Northern Eire within the week as much as 30 January. New infections throughout the UK as an entire are estimated to be falling by between 2 and 5 per cent every day, and the newest official estimate for the UK’s R quantity – the common variety of individuals every coronavirus case infects – places it between 0.7 and 1.0. That is more than likely to signify the state of affairs two to 3 weeks in the past, on account of a time lag within the knowledge. The UK authorities mentioned it goals for all people aged 50 and above to have been supplied a covid-19 vaccine by Might, clarifying earlier feedback by a spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson who on 4 February mentioned the federal government’s goal was “spring”.

Johnson & Johnson applied for an emergency use authorisation from the US Meals and Drug Administration for its covid-19 vaccine. The corporate introduced final week that the single-dose vaccine had an efficacy of about 66 per cent in part III trials. If accredited, it will develop into the third covid-19 vaccine authorised for emergency use within the US, after these developed by Pfizer and its associate BioNTech and by Moderna.

Israel introduced it will ease lockdown restrictions from 7 am native time on 7 February however will maintain its borders closed, after a slight discount in coronavirus circumstances. Nearly 80 per cent of people over 50 in Israel have obtained a covid-19 vaccine to this point. The nation is vaccinating its 9 million residents at a better charge than every other nation.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.28 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 105 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

A person wearing personal protective equipment holds a vaccine vial and syringe between their fingers

A health care provider prepares to manage the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, UK

NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

4 February

UK plans to check impact of giving one dose every of the Pfizer and Astrazeneca covid-19 vaccines

A UK trial is aiming to research the impression of giving people two different covid-19 vaccines for his or her first and second doses. With the ability to use both vaccine will create extra flexibility within the supply of doses, and assist cope with disruption in provides, mentioned England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam. He said combining two completely different vaccines on this method may additionally enhance immune responses, probably main to higher safety towards covid-19. The trial, which is being led by researchers on the College of Oxford and funded by the UK authorities’s vaccine taskforce, will recruit 820 volunteers over the age of fifty who haven’t but obtained a covid-19 vaccine. Contributors will then obtain a primary dose of both the vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca or the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. A few of them will get the identical vaccine once more for his or her second dose 4 or 12 weeks later and others will get a second dose of the opposite vaccine, to check the impact of mixing the 2 photographs and of various time intervals between doses. 

UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi mentioned the country is on track to meet its target of vaccinating all individuals within the 4 precedence teams towards covid-19 by 15 February. He informed parliament it has been “an incredible effort” that has “drawn on the hard work of so many”. Final month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the UK authorities goals to have given a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to all these over 70, probably the most clinically susceptible individuals and frontline well being and social care employees by 15 February – equal to about 15 million individuals. Throughout the UK, more than 10.4 million people had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 4 February.

Different coronavirus information

Worldwide travel was associated with increased death rates within the worst-affected international locations in the course of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, based on a examine revealed within the scientific journal BMJ Open. Tiberiu Pana on the College of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues analysed the connection between country-level components – resembling worldwide arrivals, inhabitants density and well being indicators – and the common enhance in every day deaths recorded in early 2020 throughout the 37 international locations with the very best dying charges from covid-19. They discovered that the largest enhance in dying charges was related to worldwide arrivals. A rise of 1,000,000 worldwide arrivals was related to a 3.4 per cent rise within the common every day enhance in covid-19 deaths.

A World Well being Group scientist has mentioned society is unlikely to return to “normal” until 2022. “I think we are going to be well into next year before we see a change – that change is likely to be caused by high coverage of the vaccines,” mentioned Helen Rees, who sits on the WHO’s committee for covid-19. “I think this new normal we all talk about is with us for a very long time,” Rees informed BBC Wales Stay.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.27 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 104 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Tweaking vaccines: The coronavirus is evolving to evade the safety from vaccines and pure immunity – what can we do to struggle again?

Vaccine nationalism: The quickest option to finish the covid-19 disaster is for international locations to place the pursuits of the world forward of their very own, says Seth Berkley.

Royal Navy medics prepare syringes of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre

Royal Navy medics put together syringes of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Bathtub, UK

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP through Getty Photos

3 February

Covid-19 vaccine towards new variants might be deployed quickly, says Oxford vaccine researcher

A model of the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca that may sort out the brand new, extremely transmissible coronavirus variants might be ready to deploy in about 7 months within the UK, based on a researcher on the Oxford vaccine crew. “The actual work on designing a new vaccine is very, very quick because it’s essentially just switching out the genetic sequence for the spike protein,” Andrew Pollard on the College of Oxford informed the BBC. “And then there’s manufacturing to do and then a small scale study. So all of that can be completed in a very short period of time, and the autumn is really the timing for having new vaccines available for use,” he mentioned. Pollard mentioned work is already underway to replace the vaccine and enhance its efficacy towards not too long ago recognized coronavirus mutations, resembling these within the variants first sequenced within the UK and South Africa.

Preliminary outcomes counsel that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may reduce coronavirus transmission, along with lowering symptomatic covid-19 and extreme sickness. UK well being minister Matt Hancock praised the findings of the examine led by researchers on the College of Oxford. The outcomes point out that two doses of the jab scale back coronavirus an infection with or with out signs by 67 per cent. In addition they counsel {that a} single dose of the vaccine is 76 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 for 3 months, with this determine rising to 82 per cent after two doses. Hancock described the outcomes as “absolutely superb” and mentioned they present that “vaccines are the way out of this pandemic”.

Different coronavirus information

A mobile coronavirus testing unit has been arrange within the city of Southport in England to check residents for the coronavirus and determine if they’ve the variant first recognized in South Africa. Firefighters and council employees are additionally delivering 10,000 house testing kits to individuals dwelling within the space.

Denmark introduced plans to introduce a digital “Corona-Pass”, which might enable Danish residents to show they’ve been vaccinated towards covid-19 for the needs of enterprise and leisure journey, based on the nation’s finance ministry.

Israel will begin increasing its covid-19 vaccination programme to everyone over the age of 16, based on its well being ministry.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.25 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 104 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: Because the coronavirus disaster goes on, an rising variety of us are feeling worn out and unable to manage. Right here’s how one can inform if that is burnout, and what you are able to do to guard your self.

Vaccine throughout being pregnant: With little security knowledge accessible on covid-19 vaccines throughout being pregnant, people who’re pregnant should weigh up the dangers and advantages for themselves, whereas proof for many who are breastfeeding is extra clear.

Passengers push luggage on trolleys through a terminal at London's Heathrow airport

Travellers arrive at London’s Heathrow airport

Hollie Adams/Getty Photos

2 February

UK science advisers really helpful introduction of journey restrictions two weeks in the past

The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advised the government to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers arriving into the UK two weeks in the past, based on minutes from a gathering on 21 January that have been leaked to the Instances. On Thursday 21 January, SAGE reportedly warned that “reactive, geographically targeted” journey bans couldn’t be relied on to stop faster-spreading coronavirus variants, resembling these recognized in South Africa and Brazil, from reaching the UK, including that: “no intervention, other than a complete, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the mandatory quarantine of all visitors upon arrival in designated facilities, irrespective of testing history, can get close to fully preventing the importation of new cases or new variants.” 

A Downing Road spokesperson mentioned SAGE didn’t immediately advise UK prime minister Boris Johnson to shut borders. Universities minister Michelle Donelan told Sky News that the federal government “always based our decisions on the best medical and scientific advice” and mentioned “the SAGE advice actually said it would probably be ineffective, in fact, to close the borders, which was the same advice that we got at the time from the World Health Organization”. Johnson introduced geographically focused resort quarantine measures for travellers coming back from 30 international locations, together with Brazil and South Africa, final week.

UK well being minister Matt Hancock urged individuals dwelling in postcodes in England singled out for enhanced coronavirus testing for the so-called South Africa variant to stay at home unless “absolutely essential”. Pressing door-to-door testing for the faster-spreading variant has been deployed after 11 circumstances with no hyperlink to international journey have been recognized in elements of England.

Different coronavirus information

Interim outcomes from part III trials counsel Russia’s covid-19 vaccine is 91.6 per cent efficient, and knowledge on the vaccine is being submitted to the European Medicines Company, based on Kirill Dmitriev, director of the Russian Direct Funding Fund. The outcomes, primarily based on a part III trial together with 21,977 adults, three-quarters of whom obtained the Sputnik V vaccine, are revealed in scientific journal the Lancet. Different individuals obtained a placebo. 

Sweden introduced it would not recommend the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca for individuals aged over 65, hours after Poland mentioned it will not supply the vaccine to over 60s. Final week, medical consultants in Germany and Austria made comparable suggestions, citing a scarcity of information on this age group. The European Medicines Company authorised the vaccine to be used in all grownup age teams throughout the European Union and June Raine, chief government of the UK Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company, last week said: “Current evidence does not suggest any lack of protection against covid-19 in people aged 65 or over. The data we have shows that the vaccine produces a strong immune response in the over-65s.”

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.24 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 103 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Quicker-spreading variants: The faster-spreading UK coronavirus variant has acquired a mutation that can assist it evade immune safety – the identical mutation already discovered within the South African variant.

Article amended on 4 February 2021

We corrected June Raine’s title.

A health worker talks with a man taking a swab test in a park

A well being employee talks with a person taking a swab take a look at in Goldsworth Park, because the South African variant of the novel coronavirus is reported in elements of Surrey, in Woking, UK, 1 February 2021

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

1 February

All adults in elements of England to be examined for South Africa variant after 11 new circumstances recognized

Door-to-door testing for the so-called South Africa coronavirus variant will start in elements of England this week, after 11 circumstances with no identified hyperlinks to journey or to earlier circumstances have been recognized in eight areas of the nation. Pressing testing of adults, no matter signs, will happen in some postcodes in Hertfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Walsall, Sefton and within the London boroughs of Merton, Haringey and Ealing. “We are trying to contain this so it does not spread,” Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at Public Well being England informed the BBC. Any newly recognized infections shall be analysed to see if they’re brought on by the extremely transmissible coronavirus variant first sequenced in South Africa. 

UK well being minister Matt Hancock “has ordered an attempt at eradication of the new variant if at all possible”, with public well being officers beginning to go door-to-door in affected areas this week, based on a briefing seen by the Guardian. “This is a precautionary measure,” mentioned Ruth Hutchinson, director of public well being for Surrey, in a press release. “The more cases of the variant we find, the better chance we have at stopping it from spreading further,” mentioned Hutchinson, including: “It’s really important to say that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, so you don’t need to worry.”

Different coronavirus information

A covid-19 vaccine has now been offered to older residents at every eligible care home in England, the NHS introduced, however vaccination rates of care home staff are lagging behind residents. Fiona Carragher, director of analysis and influencing at Alzheimer’s Society informed the BBC she remained involved that the vaccination rollout for care house employees “has not been nearly so effective”. In January, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the UK authorities goals to vaccinate all these over 70, probably the most clinically susceptible individuals and frontline well being and social care employees by 15 February – equal to about 15 million vaccinations. Throughout the UK, more than 8.9 million people had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 30 January.

The European Union said AstraZeneca has agreed to provide it with 9 million extra doses of its covid-19 vaccine, developed in partnership with the College of Oxford. This brings the entire variety of anticipated doses for the primary quarter of this 12 months to 40 million, which is about half of what the EU was initially anticipating. European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted saying the corporate would broaden its manufacturing capability in Europe, and begin delivering doses every week sooner than scheduled.

Germany’s well being minister Jens Spahn hinted that covid-19 vaccines from China and Russia might be utilized in Europe to compensate for the shortfall of doses provided by Pfizer and its associate BioNTech, and by Oxford/AstraZeneca. “Regardless of the country in which a vaccine is manufactured, if they are safe and effective, they can help cope with the pandemic,” Spahn told German media on Sunday, including that any vaccine will first should be accredited by the European Medicines Company.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.23 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 103 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Can vaccines cease transmission?: A number of research counsel that coronavirus vaccines can considerably scale back transmission of the virus, however not halt it utterly – so social distancing continues to be vital.

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A lab technician working at Janssen Pharmaceutical in Beerse, Belgium

Virginia Mayo/AP/Shutterstock

29 January

Vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax report optimistic trial outcomes

A coronavirus vaccine developed by the US agency Novavax has been proven to be 89 per cent efficient in stopping covid-19 in scientific trials. The trials included individuals within the UK and South Africa, and located the vaccine to be 86 per cent efficient towards the UK variant of the virus, however solely 60 per cent efficient towards the variant in South Africa. Novavax mentioned it would instantly start growth on a vaccine particularly focused to the South African variant.

Janssen, a subsidiary of US agency Johnson & Johnson, introduced that its covid-19 vaccine confirmed 66 per cent efficacy in a world trial. These outcomes are primarily based on a single dose of the vaccine, which makes it simpler to manage than the two-shot vaccines which have already been accredited. The corporate has mentioned it would promote its vaccine on a not-for-profit foundation.

The UK has already ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine and the European Union has ordered 400 million. The UK has additionally ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax jab.

Different coronavirus information

The European Medicines Company has recommended the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for all adults, which can enable mass use of the vaccine within the European Union. Yesterday, a German committee recommended against approving the vaccine for individuals over 65 due to inadequate knowledge within the trials, however the EMA’s consultants mentioned safety might be anticipated on this group and there’s dependable data on security. The vaccine is already the topic of a dispute between AstraZeneca and the EU over the agency’s determination to provide fewer doses to the EU this 12 months than initially agreed. As we speak, the European Fee published parts of its contract with AstraZeneca, which it says obliges the corporate to provide the agreed volumes. The drug-maker says the contract solely obliges it to make its “best effort” to satisfy the EU demand, to not follow a particular timetable. The EU additionally announced export restrictions on vaccines made inside the bloc in response to the deliberate lower in deliveries. 

The coronavirus variant from South Africa – which is extra infectiousness  than the unique variant has been detected within the US for the primary time, with two circumstances confirmed in South Carolina

The New York state authorities has released new figures displaying that it undercounted deaths from covid-19 in nursing house residents by greater than 3800. The state’s total dying toll has not elevated, however the increased tally in nursing properties has fuelled criticism that governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t do sufficient to guard these residents.

Within the UK, covid-19 hospital admissions fell to 33.51 per 100,000 individuals from a charge of 35.64 within the week ending 24 January, figures from the Office for National Statistics present. One in 55 individuals in personal households in England examined optimistic for covid-19 between 17 and 23 January, which is analogous to the earlier week. The an infection charge was roughly one in 70 in Wales, one in 50 in Northern Eire and one in 110 in Scotland. The R quantity for the UK is between 0.7 and 1.1, based on the latest estimate by the federal government’s scientific advisory group. The R quantity is the variety of individuals every particular person with covid-19 will go on to contaminate.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

World vaccine distribution: Whereas mass immunisation programmes are making fast progress in wealthy nations, many middle-income international locations have solely simply begun roll-outs and most low-income ones will take months to get began. These delays enhance the danger of mutations resulting in variants which are extra transmissible,and should render vaccines much less efficient in future.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.19 million. The variety of confirmed circumstances is greater than 101 million, based on Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of circumstances shall be a lot increased.

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