Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and the drug giant AstraZeneca generated an immune response in a study of roughly 1,000 patients, according to interim results published Monday. [Related Study] [Another article on AstraZenica vaccine from MIT Tech Review here] [another article from MedPageToday here]
As I predicted, a surge in deaths associated with COVID-19 was widely reported last week by the Washington Post, New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and others. The key question is what happens next? As every statistician and data journalist knows, extrapolation (going outside of the range of observation) is risky, fraught with pitfalls and assumptions. That said, we have some things in our favor.
Several U.S. states reported new record-breaking coronavirus case counts over the weekend as the nationwide death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 140,000 and President Trump insisted again that the virus would “disappear.” States such as Florida, California and Kentucky were reporting record or near-record numbers of new cases, and in Texas a hospital official told NPR that funeral homes and morgues were overflowing from the bodies of COVID-19 victims.
Since early in the pandemic, there’s been an interest in learning whether blood type has anything to do with who is more likely to get infected by the coronavirus or how bad the effects will be. Here’s what we know so far:
Let me start by making one thing clear: at the time of this writing, we don’t have a scientifically validated vaccine for COVID-19. But more than 150 vaccines are being developed around the world, and many of them are already in advanced stages of testing.
hey were the most depressing headlines I’d read all year. And that’s saying a lot’ ”Immunity to COVID-19 Could Be Lost in Months,” The Guardian declared last week, drawing on a new study from the United Kingdom. Forbes grimly accelerated the timeline: “Study: Immunity to Coronavirus May Fade Away Within Weeks.” And the San Francisco Chronicle took things to a truly dark place: “With Coronavirus Antibodies Fading Fast, Vaccine Hopes Fade, Too.”
Researchers have been trying to figure out whether you can get infected by the Covid-19 coronavirus more than once. After all, who wants a sequel to a bad experience, like watching Grown Ups 2 after the movie Grown Ups? Plus, the answer to this question can help address so many other things such as whether it’s safe to return to regular activities, how effective a vaccine may be, and how long this stinking pandemic may last.
Half the Covid-19 patients who go to the hospital in Mexico’s border state of Baja California die, an alarming rate that experts attribute to people waiting too long to seek admission because they fear the poor conditions of hospitals.
The crisis that shocked the world: America’s response to the coronavirus
As scientists study the burden of COVID-19 around the globe, it’s pretty clear that despite some cases of serious illness, kids tend to get infected with the coronavirus less often and have milder symptoms compared to adults.
Official Reporting for July 20, 2020
World Health Organization
Confirmed Cases: 14,043,176
Confirmed Cases: 14,476,729
Confirmed Cases: 14,598,455
Total deaths: 140,157
USA: Florida Virus ‘Out of Control,’ Los Angeles Is on the Brink – Bloomberg
Texas: 85 Infants Test Positive For Covid-19 Coronavirus In Texas County – Forbes
Alaska: 85 crew members aboard factory trawler in Unalaska test positive for COVID-19 – Anchorage News
Kentucky: Kentucky announces single-day high of new coronavirus cases – Kentucky ABC
Los Angeles California: Los Angeles County Reports Highest Daily Coronavirus Hospitalizations, Surge In Cases Among Younger People – Channel 2 News
Los Angeles, California: At least 15 LA County children sickened by inflammatory syndrome related to COVID-19 – ABC News
California: Military teams sent to five California hospitals amid coronavirus staffing shortages – LA Times
Maryland: Maryland reports 925 new coronavirus cases Sunday, its highest total since late May – Baltimore Sun
Florida: For fifth day in a row, Florida logs more than 10,000 coronavirus cases – Tampa Bay Times
Venezuela: As coronavirus explodes in Venezuela, Maduro’s government blames ‘biological weapon’: the country’s returning refugees
Scotland: Scotland sees second daily jump in Covid-19 cases – BBC
Brazil: Health Workers May Have Spread Coronavirus to Indigenous People – NYT
China: Covid-19 outbreak in Xinjiang spreads to second Chinese city – Guardian
Hong Kong: Hong Kong reports biggest one-day rise in cases – BBC
Science and Tech
A majority of mutations that have occurred to date have only mild effects on the virus, and none are thought to have led to a novel or more dangerous strain at present. This gives great hope for successful vaccinations and treatments. It is not unexpected, that in the future, the virus will evolve to different strains like influenza.
Much of the effort to develop remedies and vaccines to fight COVID-19 has centered around the spike protein that the culprit virus, SARS-CoV-2, uses to invade healthy cells. Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute believe they’ve found a way to block the spike protein’s ability to infect cells. The drug is heparin, which is widely used to treat and prevent blood clots. The RPI team discovered that SARS-CoV-2 binds tightly to heparin, making the drug a potential “decoy” that could serve as a way to neutralize the virus before it can infect healthy cells. They reported the finding (PDF) in the journal Antiviral Research. [Related Study]
The treatment from Southampton-based biotech Synairgen uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it gets a viral infection. The protein is inhaled directly into the lungs of patients with coronavirus, using a nebuliser, in the hope that it will stimulate an immune response.
These antiviral proteins are produced by the body as a natural defense against viral infections and synthetic interferons might help prevent or treat the beginning stages of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Characterization of heparin and severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike glycoprotein binding interactions – Antiviral Research
Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)
Coping in Quarantine
Kids at home for summer? Try this coronavirus coloring book from St Jude
On May 4, a slick, 26-minute video was released, alleging that the coronavirus was actually a laboratory-manipulated virus deployed to wreak havoc so that a resulting vaccine could be used for profit. None of that was true, and Plandemic’s claims were thoroughly, repeatedly debunked. Still, it went viral, getting liked on Facebook 2.5 million times. Soon after, another conspiracy theory took hold: Bill Gates’s plan was to control vaccination efforts that would include tracking people via implanted microchips activated by 5G cellular towers. Again, obviously not true.