Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageCoronavirus update: Round up of positive news stories

By Tim Sandle     Mar 19, 2020 in Science
The general preoccupation of the media is with the more concerning aspects of the coronavirus pandemic (such as the mounting death count). While this needs reporting, there are positive developments as well. Digital Journal provides an overview.
Considerable progress has been made, in a relatively short time (given that SARS-Cov-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, only came to be reported widely in December 2019). This includes the commencement of a vaccine trial, rapid tests, and combinations of antivirals that seem to be effective.
We summarize the key developments:
Vaccine development
An experimental vaccine (named mRNA-1273) developed by Moderna Inc.,began the first stage of a clinical trial on March 16, 2020, with testing on 45 healthy adults (aged between 18 and 55 years) in Seattle. The trial will run for six-weeks. However, despite near record progress, even if the vaccine is proved safe and effective against the virus, it will not be available for at least a year due to the time taken for further assessment and the need to manufacture to scale.
China is struggling to produce enough equipment to deal with the coronavirus outbreak
China is struggling to produce enough equipment to deal with the coronavirus outbreak
STR, AFP
In addition, a team of over fifty scientists in Israel (Israel Institute for Biological research) are also working to develop a vaccine and antibody for COVID-19. Also, the San Diego biotech company Arcturus Therapeutics is developing a COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with Duke University and National University of Singapore.
Antivirals
Medics in India (at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital, Jaipur) have successfully treated two Italian patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 by administering a combination of established drugs: Lopinavir and Ritonavir, alongside Oseltamivir and Chloroquine. Several of the patients responded well. The medics are now recommending the same treatment regime, on a case-by-case basis, be applied to patients displaying the most serious of conditions.
The United States is now facing a potential coronavirus epidemic
The United States is now facing a potential coronavirus epidemic
Frederic J. BROWN, AFP
Antibody treatment
Scientists based at the Erasmus Medical Center claim to have found an antibody that can fend off infection by COVID-19. This is a human monoclonal antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2.
The antibody still has to be tested on humans (and this will take several months); the research is also pending peer review by the science journal Nature.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavir...
Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020.
governortomwolf (CC BY 2.0)
Rapid test method
Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center has developed a COVID-19 test that can now deliver results in just two hours, much faster than the standard eight hours from PCR assays (as per the U.S. CDC's diagnostic tool to detect the virus). The new test looks at the viral genetic code where researchers take a sequence of primers (material that will match up with that genetic code), which are put through a series of assay steps where the primers will match the genetic code if the virus is present.
Plasma therapy
Trials using human plasma, taken from newly recovered COVID-19 patients (involving the harvesting of virus-fighting antibodies) looks like it holds promise for treating others infected by the virus. This is based on the notion of transfusing a so-called 'convalescent serum'; in essence, harvesting virus-fighting antibodies from the blood of previously infected patients and transfusing these to someone with the illness.
Pharmaceutical companies specializing in blood products are also looking to the feasibility of using hyperimmune globulins to develop plasma derived-therapies, such as Takeda.
More about coronavirus, Covid19, sarscov2
 
Latest News
Top News