Promising research in fighting against the virus
- Two more life-saving drugs were discovered that can reduce by a quarter the number of deaths in intensive care patients. The supplies are already available across the UK and can be used immediately to save hundreds of lives, say experts.
- Pfizer Inc and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine appeared to work against the UK mutation of the coronavirus, according to a laboratory study conducted by Pfizer. The study is awaiting peer review, and its findings are limited because it does not look at the full set of mutations found in either of the new variants of the rapidly spreading virus. But results are promising as they were concluded in tests against 15 other mutations of the virus.
- A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention offers two new insights on coronavirus immunity. The first is that people diagnosed with asymptotic or mild COVID-19 develop antibodies for at least 6 months. The second is that researchers have now proved existing antibody tests can accurately measure COVID-19 immune response, thus help to predict herd immunity.
Quick fact: 'Herd immunity' is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a virus stops spreading throughout a population either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection. The percentage of people who need to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity varies depending on how infectious it is. Estimates on the level of population-wide immunity to achieve Herd Immunity for COVID-19 varies with many experts predicting 65% to 85% requiring vaccination or previous infection.
Vaccines roll-out continues and opinions on the after-pandemic
- UK High street pharmacies are set to start offering vaccines this week, as part of the government’s push to immunize more than 13 million by mid-February. 200 sites will have for goal to deliver more than 1,000 shots per week each. So far, the UK are on course for their COVID-19 vaccination target with over 2 million of the most at-risk citizens already being vaccinated and 200,000 more being vaccinated daily. In addition, the EU commission agreed last Friday to buy an extra 300 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
- McKinsey & Co estimates the US will likely reach epidemiological end to the pandemic or herd immunity by Q3 or Q4 of 2021. This prediction is shared by the Financial Times journalists, who expect most part of the developed world should get back to normal “by the middle of the year”.
- BBC correspondent shares his hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic could be a turning point in the fight against climate change. Indeed, not only the health crisis shook everyone’s sense of invulnerability, but it also represents an opportunity for “build back better”. Besides, record low interest rates can foster cheap funding for governments to take on major green investments. This is supported by the perceived improved government’s responsiveness to change brought by the pandemic, according to survey data from the World Economic Forum (see page 53).