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FDA issues EUA for Impella heart pumps

Abiomed has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its left-sided Impella heart pump. The pump can now be used to provide left ventricular unloading and support to Covid-19 patients who are undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and develop pulmonary edema or myocarditis.

University of Pennsylvania surgical director Christian Bermudez said: “The superior clinical outcomes from the combination of Impella and ECMO are likely the result of reducing the stress on the myocardium and work required of the left ventricle, also reducing secondary lung injury due to pulmonary congestion.”

This is the second EUA Abiomed has received concerning the Impella pump. The device has been approved since April to include patients suffering from Covid-19-related right ventricular complications, including right ventricular dysfunction associated with pulmonary embolism.

3:18 pm

Older adults struggle to connect in pandemic-driven telehealth boom

Research from UC San Francisco (UCSF) has found that more than a third of US adults over 65 face potential difficulties seeing their doctor via telemedicine, which could be making it harder for them to access routine care during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Overall the researchers estimated that 38% of all older Americans were not ready for video visits, and 72% of those 85 or older were not, primarily due to inexperience with technology, followed by physical disability. These difficulties were particularly pronounced for patients who were older, male, unmarried, Black or Hispanic, lived rurally, and had less education, lower income and poorer self-reported health, the researchers said.

UCSF clinical fellow in geriatrics Dr Kenneth Lam said: “Telemedicine is not inherently accessible, and mandating its use leaves many older adults without access to their medical care. We need further innovation in devices, services and policy to make sure older adults are not left behind during this migration.”

2:27 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 18.3 million – South America and India struggle to contain spread

4 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 18,317,000 with more than 694,000 deaths and 10,930,000 recoveries.

Globally, cases continue to rise as the US, Brazil, and India remain the top three most affected countries, while South America also continues to see increasing numbers of new cases at a high rate.

However, the US may have reached a turning point with the number of daily new cases declining for the last four days.

India seems unable to slow the spread of disease with around 50,000 new cases being confirmed each day for the past ten days.

South Africa on the other hand appears to have passed the point of peak infection with new cases declining each day since 24 July.

Topias Lemetyinen, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

10:12 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 infections near 18.3 million – Trump rejects US lockdown as cases pass 4.7 million

4 August

Global: Covid-19 cases have reached almost 18.3 million with more than 693,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.

Latin America: Latin America broke through five million confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Monday according to a Reuters tally, underscoring the region’s position as the area of the world hardest hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Brazil has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the world after the US, with more than 2.75 million and 94,665 deaths, according to health ministry data.

US: The United States has added 48,395 new coronavirus cases pushing the total number to 4.73 million, according to a Reuters tally. The news agency also reported another 582 deaths, adding to the total of almost 156,000.

China: China reported 36 new cases of Covid-19 (including 6 imported cases). Of the 30 local cases, 28 are in the western province of Xinjiang, and two in the eastern province of Liaoning.

For the first time in two weeks, Hong Kong reported fewer than 100 new cases of Covid-19 in a day. The city is experiencing its third and worst wave of the outbreak since the virus first appeared there in January.

Brazil: President Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, General Walter Souza Braga Netto is the seventh Brazilian minister to have contracted Covid-19. Last week, Bolsonaro’s wife tested positive, following her husband’s infection.

Iran: One person is dying from Covid-19 every seven minutes in Iran, state television said on Monday, as the country’s health ministry reported 215 new deaths from the disease. The combined death toll in Iran rose to 17,405 on Monday while the number of confirmed cases rose by 2,598 to 312,035. Of those, 270,228 have recovered.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded no new cases of Covid-19. There are 22 cases of the disease in the country, all in managed isolation. The country’s health director general, Ashley Bloomfield, warned that a single case outside of quarantine facilities could turn into a wider outbreak if people were not vigilant.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 34 more cases of the coronavirus, with the number of imported cases almost twice that of local infections, Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday. The 21 imported cases and 13 local infections raised country’s total Covid-19 infections to 14,423, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Italy: The number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Italy has fallen below 200 for the first time in a week, with 159 new cases registered, according to AP news agency quoting the health ministry. That brings the total number of cases in Italy to 248,229 and deaths to 35,166 as of the end of Monday.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry has reported 4,767 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 266 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 443,813 cases and 48,012 deaths, according to Reuters news agency.

Vietnam: Vietnamese authorities issued a stay-at-home order for Bien Hoa, the capital city of Dong Nai province bordering the nation’s commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City, the nation’s fourth municipality to undergo such a home lockdown.

Vaccine News

The World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has warned that there may never be an effective Covid-19 vaccine.

Lockdown updates

Global: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the world faces a “generational catastrophe” because of school closures amid the coronavirus pandemic and said that getting students safely back to the classroom must be “a top priority”, according to Reuters.

US: President Trump has rejected a national lockdown to bring the coronavirus pandemic in the US under control and insisted the US had done “very well” fighting the virus. The US has recorded in excess of 4.7 million cases and more than 155,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner instructed police in the fourth-largest US city to begin issuing warnings and citations to anyone not wearing a mask in public. The mayor said in a tweet that people meeting certain criteria will be exempted.

Blow-out parties and rising cases nationally prompted New Jersey to lower crowd caps and New York to call for stricter distancing enforcement or risk resurgence of the coronavirus in the pandemic’s early US epicenter.

UK: The UK’s plans to block further spikes in coronavirus allow for ministers to lock down London, Boris Johnson’s spokesman said, as officials prepare for a resurgence of Covid-19 in the months ahead.

Australia: The state of Victoria has declared a state of disaster and imposed strict lockdown following the surge in cases of the disease, and the reporting of at least 439 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. The state also said that it will deploy its military and that anyone who has contracted Covid-19 and caught outside their home in breach of isolation orders will face fines of as much as A$20,000 ($14,250),

Philippines: The Philippines has begun a lockdown of 27 million people, imposing stricter measures in an attempt to halt the country’s spiralling coronavirus case numbers. The measures were reintroduced on Tuesday after the country’s infection tally topped 100,000 and a coalition of health groups issued a “distress signal” urging President Rodrigo Duterte to act.

Economic updates

Singapore: Singapore plans to expand the range of business visitors to boost its hard-hit tourism sector, with the return of mass travel still a long way off amid the pandemic, according to the head of the country’s tourism agency.

9:45 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Co-Diagnostics tech to be used in CRL Covid-19 saliva test – Macrogen receives CE-IVD certificate for its Covid-19 test kit

US-based molecular diagnostics company Co-Diagnostics has announced that its partner, Clinical Reference Laboratory (CRL), has secured FDA Emergency Use Authorization for CRL Rapid Response. The saliva-based Covid-19 test can be self-administered at home, or any other setting, and then tested using Co-Diagnostics’ CoPrimer technology.

South Korea-based biotech firm Macrogen has secured the CE marking for In-Vitro Diagnostic (CE-IVD) devices for its Covid-19 test kit, Axen COVID-19 RT. The CE-IVD is an important certification in Europe for the distribution of in-vitro diagnostic reagents. The test kit uses RT-PCR, and can confirm whether the person is infected with Covid-19 in just two hours, allowing large numbers of tests to be conducted quickly and efficiently. Given that the kit identifies ORF1ab and E genes, the two genes related to Covid-19, it is claimed to have a high level of accuracy and target detection.

Decision Diagnostics, through its subsidiary Pharma Tech Solutions, has announced its support for the FDA Covid-19 At-Home Use Template recently issued. The firm stated that it “contains much of what was in our May 1st At-Home Application to the FDA.” The firm added that is now preparing to amend its first EUA submission PEUA200947 for its GenViro! Blood Swift Kit for at-home use. Soon after that, the company expects to file a separate EUA application with the FDA for its GenViro! Saliva Swift Kit for home use.

7:45 am

How the US government can help families in need at no extra cost

4 August

The next stimulus package in the US is one of the most debated issues as to what should be included and what should be avoided.

Continuation of the $600 weekly payments, reopening of schools, and ensuring adequate child care facilities is important to ensure economic recovery.

However, journalist Pedro da Costa  shared an article on how emergency financial assistance can be released more quickly to the American population if the government changes a simple rule.

The current method of direct payments as part of the stimulus package took nearly three weeks to reach the people and is not helping the families in need.

Further, the overdraft fees and bank interest rates cut into the money provided by the government.

Incorporating changes to the Expedited Funds Availability Act of 1987, which covers how long a bank can hold money will help address this issue.

The changes can help in releasing funds immediately and does not cost anything for the government.

Read more

12:28 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases continue to rise past 18 million – US, Brazil and India most affected

3 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 18,093,000 with more than 689,000 deaths and 10,700,000 recoveries.

Globally, cases continue to rise as the US, Brazil, and India remain the top three most affected countries.

South America also continues to see increasing numbers of new cases at a high rate.

Incidence rates in South America remain very high with Brazil, Peru, and Chile, all having infection rates of over 13,000 cases per 1,000,000 population.

Sao Paolo has seen the highest number of confirmed cases of any region in the World, putting it ahead of California, Florida, and South Africa.

Topias Lemetyinen, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

10:15 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases exceed 18 million with more than 689,000 deaths – widespread lockdown extensions

3 August

Global: Covid-19 cases have passed 18 million with more than 689,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.

Herd immunity against the coronavirus may take years to develop, Jaap Goudsmit, adjunct professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at Harvard, said in an interview with Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

US: The United States reported a record 1.87 million cases of Covid-19 in July, more than twice the figure for the previous record month, April, when 860,000 new cases were reported, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. May saw 690,200 new infections, while June saw 820,000 cases. US infections are approaching 5 million, with 4,667,957 confirmed.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry has reported 4,853 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 274 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 439,046 cases and 47,746 deaths, according to Reuters news agency.

Brazil: Brazil has recorded 25,800 additional confirmed cases and 541 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to Reuters. The country has registered more than 2.73 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 94,104 as of the end of Sunday, according to the ministry data.

India: India reported nearly 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, down from the previous day’s record of 57,118. At least 37,364 people have died in India during the pandemic so far.

Vietnam: Vietnam is rushing to build a 700-bed makeshift hospital to cope with an outbreak in the central city of Da Nang, as the health minister warned the current strain of the virus is more contagious than those previously seen in the country.

China: The number of new Covid-19 cases in China’s far north-western region of Xinjiang continue to fall, with 28 reported on Monday. China reported 43 new cases nationwide, seven of them imported and eight in the north-eastern province of Liaoning.

Seven Chinese health officials arrived in Hong Kong on Sunday, the first of a 60-person team that will carry out widespread Covid-19 testing in the territory as it races to halt another wave.

UK: Millions of Covid-19 tests – which can offer results in 90 minutes and do not need to be administered by a health professional – will be rolled out to British hospitals, care homes and laboratories in the coming months, Reuters quoted health secretary Matt Hancock as saying.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 509 to 210,402, Reuters reported on Monday, quoting the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. The reported death toll rose by seven to 9,148, the tally showed.

South Korea: South Korea has confirmed 23 new cases – 20 from overseas and three local transmissions – amid a downward trend in the number of locally infected patients, AP reported. The cases announced on Monday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the country’s total to 14,389 cases and 301 deaths.

Italy: The number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Italy nudged lower to 239 in the last 24 hours, while eight deaths were recorded in Lombardy, the epicentre of the country’s epidemic.

Singapore: Singapore’s Ministry of Health confirmed an additional 75 cases of Covid-19 infection, of which six are imported and 69 are local cases who have no recent travel history abroad.

Sweden: Sweden must expect to count its dead from the coronavirus in the “thousands,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in an interview in Dagens Nyheter. The biggest Nordic economy, which has opted for less restrictive measures than many countries in the fight against the pandemic, has had more than 330 deaths after confirmed cases topped 6,000 this week.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Residents in the city of Melbourne will be subject to an overnight curfew for the next six weeks, and be banned from travelling more than 5km to go shopping or to exercise, as Victoria attempts to get the number of new coronavirus cases under control. Premier Daniel Andrews announced that from 6pm on Sunday, residents in the Melbourne metropolitan area would be under curfew for six weeks until 13 September.

Spain: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced plans to extend the country’s lockdown by two weeks until 25 April. “I understand it’s difficult to extend the effort and sacrifice two more weeks,” Sanchez said in a televised speech. “These are very difficult days for everyone.” A longer lockdown would be subject to cabinet and legislative approval.

UK: A major incident has been declared in Greater Manchester in England in response to increases in coronavirus infection rates across “multiple localities”.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson is considering new lockdown measures in England should there be a second wave of coronavirus infections. Plans are being assessed after a rise in Covid-19 cases forced the prime minister to slow the lockdown easing on Friday, with proposed relaxations for the leisure and beauty sectors delayed.

Greece: Greece is extending its national lockdown, with restrictions on movement, until early April 27, Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Chardalias said. The country introduced a total lockdown on 22 March after moving quickly to put in place restrictions following the first confirmed case on 26 February. Greece so far has 1,673 cases and 68 deaths.

Singapore: Singapore will make some incoming travellers wear an electronic monitoring device to ensure compliance with coronavirus quarantines as the city-state gradually reopens its borders.

Honduras: Honduras will extend its curfew for another week in an effort to curb the pandemic. Honduras first imposed a curfew, which is in effect daily between 5pm and 7am, in March.

UAE: Dubai imposed further restrictions on the movement of people and halted metro services as the Middle East’s business hub seeks to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

9:28 am

Covid-19 vaccines must be distributed globally to tackle the pandemic

3 August

Development efforts towards Covid-19 vaccines are going at a fast pace but doubts remain on the worldwide availability of them.

Hoarding of vaccines and lack of cooperation to distribute them may further complicate the efforts to control the pandemic. A coordinated effort towards distribution of vaccines is needed.

Chad P. Bown, senior fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared a video on the need for cooperation when it comes to vaccination.

As pharmaceutical companies continue to carry out research into the development of a vaccine for Covid -19, uncertainty remains on the availability once a viable vaccine is discovered.

Every country in the world may not be able to produce these vaccines particularly developing countries.

Further, sufficient doses of vaccines may not be available in the beginning leading to hoarding of vaccines.

The video highlights the need for a coordinated effort to distribute vaccines equally to curb the spread of the disease.

With all the countries interdependent on one another for their economic growth, it is essential to distribute the vaccines and reduce the economic damage caused by the disease.

Read more

8:58 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UK to roll out rapid Covid-19 tests – Brain Navi develops a swab testing robot

3 August 2020 

The UK Government has announced that it plans to roll out two new rapid Covid-19 tests that can detect the presence of the virus in 90 minutes. The tests will be available to the NHS hospitals, care homes and labs and can identify Covid-19 as well as the other winter viruses which includes flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The tests can be administered at non-clinical health settings too.

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has included OraSure Technologies’ OMNIgene ORAL (OM-505) saliva collection device in the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) awarded to Clinical Reference Laboratory (CRL). CRL is the said to be one of the biggest privately held clinical testing laboratories in the US for Covid-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Brain Navi has developed a new robot that can autonomously perform nasal swab tests to avoid cross infections in a bid to save the medical system and re-establish economies. Large-scale testing of Covid-19 is said to be important to restart the economy amid the ongoing pandemic. Brain Navi’s Nasal Swab Robot is expected to test safely patients while safeguarding health care workers from the high-risk environment.

Ginkgo Bioworks has received approximately $40m contract from the NIH‘s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Advanced Technology Platforms (RADx-ATP) programme to increase its automated technology for SARS-CoV-2. The contract deals with the expansion of operational capacity for large-scale testing in Ginkgo’s facilities.

The FDA has given the authorisation for the first two Covid-19 serology tests that show the estimated quantity of antibodies in the blood.The tests, the ADVIA Centaur COV2G and Atellica’s COV2G, both by Siemens, are called ‘semi-quantitative’ tests that do not provide the precise measurement but an estimation of the antibodies.

Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research scientists have developed a model to predict the healthcare inventory requirements amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The model uses adaptive strategy and the early Covid-19 phase as an example. It can also be used to estimate the important parts of the medical inventory requirements which is necessary to increase the testing capabilities and the critical care facilities.

1:30 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 17.3 million – daily incident rates rising in India

31 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 17,322,000 with over 673,000 deaths and 10,155,000 recoveries.

The Central and South American region remains a global hotspot for Covid-19, with five countries in the region among the top ten highest daily incident rates globally.

Mexico has consistently reported over 6,500 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 per day.

In addition, Panama is ranked number one in terms of per capita daily incident rates globally.

India has surpassed Brazil in terms of daily incident rates and is now ranked second globally behind the United States.

India reported over 49,000 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 yesterday and overall has over 1,638,000 confirmed cases to date.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology  at GlobalData

9:54 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 17.3 million – infections rising in US mid West – US deaths pass 152,000

31 July

Global: World wide Covid-19 cases have passed 17.3 million, with more than 673,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University. US cases are nearing 4.5 million.

The World Health Organization has warned that spikes in coronavirus transmission in a number of countries were being driven by young people “letting down their guard”. “Young people are not invincible,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva on Thursday.

Countries have made “a deep under investment in public health infrastructure,” said Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program. Ryan said he was surprised by countries’ unpreparedness for the contact tracing and testing that would be necessary.

US: Coronavirus infections appear to be picking up in the Midwestern United States, the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said. According to Fox News, the coronavirus outbreak is “moving up” into Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska from the south “because of vacations and other reasons for travel.

California recorded 194 new virus deaths, second only to the 197 reported Wednesday and above the 14-day average of 112. Total fatalities now number 9,026.

India: India’s death toll climbed to 35,718, surpassing fatalities in Italy, the former European epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry posted 639 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday bring the country’s toll to 46,000, almost the same as the United Kingdom which has the third-highest death toll worldwide from the pandemic.

Argentina: Argentina posted a record daily increase of 6,377 new cases, bringing the country’s total to 185,373. There were 130 new deaths, taking the death toll to 3,441.

Japan: Japan does not need to reimpose a state of emergency chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said on Friday, reiterating the government’s stance amid a surge in new infections across the country. The country reported a record high for new cases for the second day in a row on Thursday with at least 1,274 cases, including a record 367 in Tokyo.

Vietnam: Vietnam has reported 45 new coronavirus infections in the city of Danang, marking the country’s biggest single-day jump in cases, as the health ministry sent more health experts to the central city in a bid to combat the outbreak.

China: Hong Kong reported a new daily record of coronavirus cases, logging 149 more infections by Thursday end. Amid the rise in cases, authorities reversed a ban on indoor dining, along restaurants to operate under limited hours and with limited capacity.

Iran: Iran’s government ignored repeated requests from senior prison officials for help in containing coronavirus in the country’s overcrowded jails, according to Amnesty International.

Australia: Victoria reported 627 new cases in the past 24 hours, a day after suffering a record 723 additional infections. There were eight more deaths.

Lockdown updates

UK: New restrictions have come into force in the north of England, including people not being able to mix with other households. The measures apply in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire after an increase in cases. Households may go to hospitality, for instance, bars and pubs, but new guidance will make clear that two households should not go to hospitality together.

France: Some French cities are expected to introduce additional face mask requirements. From Friday in Orleans, in central France, masks will be required in open-air markets and after 9:00pm along the Loire river, where crowds of people have been gathering in the evenings. The mayors of Bayonne and the nearby Atlantic resort of Biarritz also announced that face masks would be compulsory in their city centres starting next week.

China: China tightened travel restrictions in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, requiring people arriving in the city from regions deemed to have high infection risks to undergo a two-week quarantine.

Philippines: President, Rodrigo Duterte, says restrictions in the capital Manila will remain until mid-August. He also announced free vaccines to combat a surge in infections that has overwhelmed health care workers and facilities. President Duterte extended quarantine restrictions, limiting movements of the elderly and children, and the operations of businesses from restaurants to gyms.

Indonesia: The resort island of Bali has reopened to domestic tourists after an almost four-month lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic.

Botswana: Botswana’s capital city Gaborone has returned to a two-week lockdown to stem its latest surge in coronavirus infections.

Economy updates

US: The US economy shrank by an annual rate of 32.9% between April and June, its sharpest contraction since demobilisation following WW2, government figures revealed on Thursday.

Southeast Asia: Is on the brink of a “socio-economic crisis” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that could reverse decades of poverty reduction, the United Nations has warned.

9:39 am

Coronavirus company news summary – FDA expands EUA awarded to Seegene – Qualigen commences sale of Covid-19 test

Precipio has entered into an agreement with ADS Biotec for the distribution of its FDA-authorised Covid-19 serology antibody tests. The products will be distributed in the US and other markets around the world. Initially, Precipio plans to roll out the antibody tests as CLIA test run in its laboratory following which it will be distributed as POC (point-of-care) test after further authorisation from the FDA. Finally, it will distribute it for at-home, direct-to-consumer use.

Seegene has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) for the Allplex 2019-nCoV Assay, an RT-PCR test for Covid-19 coronavirus. The expansion of the EUA will increase the number of nucleic acid extraction/isolation systems, extraction kits and PCR instruments avaliable.

BD has announced an investment of $24m from the US Department of Defence in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services. The investment is expected to aid the increase in the manufacturing capabilities in the US for the BD Veritor Solution for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Qualigen Therapeutics has commenced commercial shipments of the FastPack SARS-CoV-2 IgG diagnostic test for Covid-19 coronavirus antibodies. The company has submitted the test to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for EUA. Earlier this month, Qualigen provided an official notification to inform the FDA regarding its plans to exercise its right to start sales amid the pending EUA.

8:32 am

Covid-19 may need multiple vaccinations

31 July

Several pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus that has wreaked havoc on the world economy.

While one shot of the vaccine was initially thought to provide immunity against the virus, reports are now emerging that two or more annual vaccinations may be required.

Daniel Lacalle, an economist and author, shared an article on AstraZeneca CEO’s concerns that the unpredictable nature of the Covid-19 virus may require annual vaccinations.

AstraZeneca is currently working on a vaccine in partnership with the Oxford University, which has produced a positive immune response in early stage human clinical trials.

Based on the technology used for developing a vaccine for SARS 1, the immunity provided by the vaccine may last for only 12 to 18 months.

The exact required vaccination period is not known due to the unpredictable nature of the virus.

In other news, Ludovic Subran, chief economist at Allianz, shared an article on a surge in insolvencies in the second quarter of 2020 across the world.

Approximately 147 companies with a turnover of more than €50m ($56.2m) went insolvent during the quarter.

Read more

1:36 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 deaths pass 667,000 – daily infection rates falling in US

30 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 17,054,000 with over 667,000 deaths and 9,964,000 recoveries.

The United States fell to ranking seventh globally in terms of per capita daily incident rates, however, the United States is still ranked number one in terms of cumulative incidence.

Florida has surpassed New York and is now ranked as the second state with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, reporting over 451,000 confirmed cases.

South Africa reported over 7,200 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 yesterday and over 7,000 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday.

These are the two lowest daily incident rates reported by South Africa since the beginning of July.

However, South Africa still remains as ranking fourth in cumulative incidence rates globally.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData

9:45 am

International Update: World wide Covid-19 cases pass 17 million – second wave hits Japan – surge continues in Latin America

30 July

Global: World wide Covid-19 cases have passed 17 million, with more than 667,000 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University. US cases now exceed 4.4 million while Brazil now has more than 2.5 million infections.

US: The United States continues to have by far the highest number of Covid cases and deaths in the world, as the country passed 150,000 fatalities late on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University figures. California, Texas and Florida each reported record daily increases in deaths from Covid-19 Wednesday.

With US cases and deaths continuing to climb, researchers at Johns Hopkins University are calling for a “reset” of the country’s coronavirus response.

Mexico: Mexico reported 5,752 more Covid-19 infections, according to Health Ministry data, as cases continue to surge in Latin America. The country’s death toll rose by 485 to 45,361 – with Mexico set to overtake the UK as the hot spot with the third-highest number of deaths worldwide from the virus.

Australia: Australia has reported a record rise in coronavirus infections and deaths, with the state of Victoria announcing more than 700 new cases and 13 deaths, as the state continues to battle significant outbreaks in the aged care sector and among healthcare workers.

Brazil: Brazil’s outbreak set a national daily record on Wednesday with 69,074 new confirmed cases and 1,595 related deaths.

Ukraine: Ukraine reported a record daily high of 1,197 new coronavirus cases on July 30, the country’s council of security and defense said.

Japan: Japan is bracing for a surge in the number of coronavirus infection after fresh cases exceeded the 1,000 mark for the first time. Tokyo confirmed 367 new coronavirus infections, national broadcaster NHK said, topping the previous record of 366 cases on 23 July.

Vietnam: Authorities in Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, say they will test some 21,000 people who recently returned from Danang where an outbreak of coronavirus was confirmed last weekend.

Papua New Guinea: An Australian medical emergencies team has been deployed to Papua New Guinea where the outbreak has deteriorated in recent days. AFP news agency says the country’s pandemic response centre was closed yesterday after a senior adviser was diagnosed with the virus, and the health minister is also being tested.

China: China has reported 105 new coronavirus cases in the mainland, up from 101 cases a day earlier. The National Health Commission says 96 of the new cases were confirmed in the far western region of Xinjiang, while five were in the northeastern province of Liaoning, one in Beijing, and three imported cases.

Germany: Germany recorded the highest number of new coronavirus cases in about six weeks, while the country’s infection rate remained just above the key threshold of 1.0.

Pakistan: Pakistan announced that it had added 1,063 new cases, for a total of 276,288. Its Health Ministry said the country’s death toll had reached 5,892. In South-East Asia, Thailand reported six new cases, bringing its total to 3,304.

Lockdown updates

Italy: The Italian Government extended the duration of the Covid-19 emergency decree to from 31 July to 15 October, according to an emailed statement.

Economy updates

US: It seems that talks between United States congressional leaders and the White House on a next round of coronavirus spending have stalled as the clock ticks down on measures that banned evictions and boosted unemployment benefit payments.

Denmark: Danish firms have been reluctant to tap a government aid package that provides funds to cover fixed costs for those hurt by virus-induced lockdown, the Berlingske newspaper reported. So far they have only tapped 3.1 billion kroner ($500 million) of the 65.3 billion kroner allotted, the report said, citing government data.

9:42 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Veracyte and MAVIDx to develop Covid-19 test – PharmaCyte Biotech Covid-19 tests receive CE mark

Veracyte has partnered with MAVIDx for the development of an ultra-high throughput genomic test for Covid-19. MAVIDx will develop, validate, secure regulatory approvals for and commercialise its SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious disease tests, including for influenza, on Veracyte’s diagnostics platform, the nCounter Analysis System. The companies expect to enable Covid-19 testing at around 40,000 samples each day on use nCounter instrument.

Truvian Sciences has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Easy Check COVID-19 IgM/IgG antibody test. The company is producing the Easy Check test at a mass scale at a manufacturing facility in the US.

PharmaCyte Biotech has announced the Covid-19 tests it has licensed from the Hai Kang Life Corporation have received the CE mark. This mark was awarded to the RT-PCR and ERT-PCR tests. The Declaration of Conformity for the Covid-19 tests has verified that the tests adhere to the Essential Requirements of the European Community’s In-Vitro Diagnostic Medical Device Directive.

Opto Circuits has received orders to deliver pulse oximeters and thermometers from global customers amid the increased demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Opto Circuits is currently manufacturing the pulse oximeter, multi para monitor systems and digital thermometers for domestic and global markets under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

8:19 am

The US needs to borrow – but lenders may be hard to find

30 July

The global economy earlier lent money to the US enabling the country to manage its public debt.

However, with the majority of the countries facing economic turmoil due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the US may not find lenders so easy to come by.

Brian Riedl, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute shared an article on the rising national debt.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent stimulus packages has led to the increase in national debt in 2020 to $4tn.

By 2030, the national debt held by the public is expected to reach $41tn without accounting any additional stimulus packages planned to be announced.

The article questions as to who will lend the government the trillions of dollars, which is expected to create an unprecedented burden.

The Federal Reserve may have to continue buying government debt in the future.

In other news: The US government is considering a proposal to reduce the $600 per week unemployment benefits to $200 per week until October.

Read more

3:59 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Eastern Mediterranean region a hotspot as global coronavirus cases near 16.8 million

29 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 16,770,000 with over 658,000 deaths and 9,769,000 recoveries

The Eastern Mediterranean region remains a hotspot for Covid-19, particularly in terms of per capita daily incident rates.

Oman is currently averaging more than 250 new cases per day per million population. Many countries in the region are reporting more than 1,000 new cases per day including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Colombia reported over 8,100 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 yesterday, its third highest daily incident rate to date.

The country remains ranked as number fifth globally in terms of daily incident rates.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology  at GlobalData

10:51 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 16.7 million as deaths exceed 660,000 – vaccine expected by December

29 July

Global: Global coronavirus infections passed 16.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins university. Global deaths from Covid-19 now exceed 660,000.

The WHO says the Covid-19 pandemic is “one big wave”, not seasonal. It warned against complacency in the northern hemisphere summer since the infection does not share influenza’s tendency to follow seasons.

US: Florida reported another record one-day rise in coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, and cases in Texas passed the 400,000 mark, fuelling fear that the United States is still not taking control of the outbreak and adding pressure on Congress to pass another massive economic aid package.

China: China’s National Health Commission has reported 101 new cases – up from 68 previously – the highest since mid-April. Of the new cases, 89 were found in the far western region of Xinjiang where mass testing is underway.

Australia: Victoria recorded 295 new cases of coronavirus and nine more deaths. It was a reduction of 89 from yesterday’s figure of 384, which in turn was 150 fewer than were recorded in the record high numbers on Monday. Nine people have died, which is close to the national record ten deaths reported in the state last week.

India: Over half the people living in Mumbai slums have had Covid-19, according to a city-commissioned study. Blood tests on 6,936 randomly selected people found that 57% of slum-dwellers had virus antibodies.

Germany: An urgent track and trace operation is underway in Berlin after a couple tested positive for coronavirus after returning from Manchester. 50 people who have had contact with the couple since their return are in quarantine, of whom 13 have so far tested positive.

Vietnam: The Vietnamese government is warning authorities in Hanoi to prepare for a potential coronavirus outbreak. The warning follows local media reports that a person working at a pizza restaurant in the capital had tested positive for the virus.

Japan: Mortality across Japan dropped by 3.5% in May from a year earlier, with the nation recording a total of 108,380 deaths from any cause, data released Tuesday by the nation’s Health Ministry show.

Vaccine news

US: “It’s a reasonable statement to make that by December we’re going to have a safe and effective vaccine,” Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert, said on a webcast with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

Lockdown updates

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has sounded an alarming warning over the city’s health system. With the new wave of mostly locally transmitted infections, Hong Kong was “on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly”, she said. This came as the city’s strictest anti-virus measures yet came into force today, as it recorded its seventh consecutive day with case numbers in the triple figures and the government faced backlash over its extensive quarantine exemptions.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s government announced it will start charging some travellers for the cost of their two-week stay in quarantine. The announcement comes as the country recorded two new cases of Covid-19, both diagnosed in returning travellers to the country who are quarantined in managed isolation facilities.

New Zealand’s national airline, Air New Zealand, has frozen all new ticket bookings to Australia until 28 August. In a statement, the airline said the hold was due to Australian government restrictions on the number of passengers arriving in the country.

Spain: Spain insisted it was still a safe destination for tourists despite tackling 361 active outbreaks and more than 4,000 new cases. Several countries have nonetheless imposed quarantines on people returning from Spain, including its biggest tourist market, Britain.

Italy: Italy extended its state of emergency until October. This means the prime minister will continue to have the power to impose a lockdown and other safety measures without needing the approval of parliament.

Economy updates

Global: Global air travel is recovering more slowly than expected and it will take until 2024 to return to pre-pandemic levels, the trade association for the airline industry has said.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) is urging the US diagnostics firm Cepheid to “refrain from profiteering off of the pandemic” and cut the price of its Covid-19 tests (Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2) to $5 per test, from the nearly $20 it currently charges in the world’s poorest countries.

US: Republicans and Democrats in the United States Congress are divided over a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package that Republicans announced on Monday.

9:12 am

Coronavirus company news summary – NOWDiagnostics antibody test receives CE mark – Organisation De Scalene secures approval for device to neutralise coronavirus

NOWDiagnostics has received the CE mark approval for the ADEXUSDx Covid-19 antibody test, for use in moderate or complex laboratory settings in the 28 countries of the European Union (EU). The company applied for CE marking mid-last month. ADEXUSDx is a rapid serology, self-contained assay that can detect the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and provide ‘accurate and reliable’ results in 15 minutes.

India-based Organisation De Scalene has secured approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the EU for a device that can help contain the spread of coronavirus. The Shycocan- Scalene Hypercharge Corona Canon looks like a small drum and can be fixed in any indoor area for disinfecting surfaces. The company claims it is 99.9% effective in neutralising the Spike-Protein or S-protein present in the virus. However, the device cannot cure an infected person.

Atomo has signed an agreement with Access Bio to supply the company with its unique, integrated rapid diagnostic test devices to Access Bio for use with its rapid test strip for detection of Covid-19 antibodies.The completed products are commercialised under the agreement and will include a Covid-19 rapid antibody test for professionals and another rapid antibody test for self-test use.

QDX HealthID Incorporated, along with its parent company Quantum Materials, has signed an agreement with MIG USA to include MIG’s test kits and those of its affiliates in the QDX HealthID ecosystem. The agreement also permits MIG USA to provide QDX HealthID to those who use the test kits. The QDX HealthID is a SaaS-based platform that permits companies and individuals to check and choose a Covid-19 test kit, verify and record the test results securely.

The US Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have formed a Covid-19 Insights Partnership. This initiative was formed to coordinate and share health data along with the research and expertise to support the fight against Covid-19. As per the partnership, HHS and VA will be able to use DOE’s high performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence resources to carry out research related to Covid-19 and analyse health data.

7:50 am

Why economic stimulus packages need to focus on future growth

29 July

As the US government deliberates on the next stimulus package, experts urge the need for a sustainable fiscal policy that can promote economic growth.

Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, shared an article on his outlook for the US economy.

He noted that policy makers should not repeat the same solutions to deal with the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The solutions should rather focus on promoting economic growth in the future.

The US economy showed signs of recovery in June as retail and home sales increased but later flattened out as lockdown restrictions were re-imposed.

El-Erian noted that the government should offer more money to states to cover the revenue lost due to the pandemic.

He also noted that testing and healthcare should be improved to bring the infection rate under control.

In other news: Unemployment levels have been rising across the world impacting the earnings of the future generations.

Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, shared an article on how the pandemic is expected to impact the earnings of future generations in Canada.

The unemployment rate for youth increased from 10.3% in February to a historical high of 29.4% in May.

The current year’s high school, college and bachelor degree graduates are expected to lose approximately $25,000 or more over the next five years.

Read more

2:12 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 16.5 million – five day average increases in Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa

28 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 16,500,000 with over 654,000 deaths and 9,590,000 recoveries.

The five day average of daily confirmed Covid-19 cases has decreased in the United States, Peru, Colombia and Russia.

However, the five day average of daily confirmed Covid-19 cases has increased in Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa.

Iran has reported over 293,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, ranking tenth globally for the highest number of confirmed cases.

The number of deaths per day has been steadily increasing throughout July, and yesterday Iran reported 216 deaths, a 10.77% increase in deaths from the day prior.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData

9:41 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 deaths pass 650,000 – infections near 16.5 million – Google to keep work from home in place until July 2021

28 July

Global: Global coronavirus deaths passed 650,000 as new surges prompt fresh curbs. More than 100,000 deaths have been recorded since 9 July, and the global toll has doubled in just over two months. Infections are rapidly nearing 16.5 million world wide.

The UN says nearly seven million more children will suffer growth stunting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic affecting food supplies. Writing in The Lancet, a team of experts modelled the impact on 118 poor and middle-income countries. They found the prevalence of moderate or severe wasting among children under five would increase by 14.3 percent, which works out to an extra 6.7 million cases.

Philippines: The Red Cross in the Philippines is urging people to be more vigilant as Covid-19 cases in the country jump by more than a thousand each day.

China: Mainland China has reported 68 new cases of coronavirus, with 64 of them locally transmitted. 57 of the local cases were diagnosed in the far western region of Xinjiang, according to state media.

Australia: The state of Victoria has reported 384 new cases of coronavirus and six deaths in the past 24 hours. On Monday, the state reported a record 532 cases.

Lockdown updates

US: Google employees will keep its employees home until at least July 2021, the Wall Street Journal reported, marking the largest tech firm to commit to such a timeline in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

UK: Britain’s decision to impose a two-week quarantine on people travelling from Spain is unfair, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez said. He added that the Spanish government is in touch with British authorities in a bid to get the country to reconsider its position.

Lebanon: Lebanon re-imposed severe Covid-19 restrictions for the next two weeks. It has shut places of worship, cinemas, bars, nightclubs, sports events and popular markets, after a sharp rise in infections.

Economy updates

South Africa: The International Monetary Fund approved $4.3bn in aid to South Africa to help it fight the coronavirus pandemic. The country’s finance minister, Tito Mboweni, in June predicted the economy would shrink 7.2% in 2020, its deepest slump in 90 years.

9:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – DoD and HHS awards $7.6m to Hologic – FDA grants EUA to Color for at-home Covid-19 test

28 July 2020 

Color has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the company to provide Covid-19 testing without clinical monitoring. The test now aids the unmonitored testing at-home and onsite for congregate settings. This EUA update is part of its strategy to boost the access to Covid-19 testing.

Todos Medical has entered a $1.4m contract to provide Best Supply with Covid-19 equipment and reagents to enter the Covid-19 testing field. NJ-based Best Supply aims to receive CLIA/CAP certification to commence Covid-19 testing.

Bruker Corporation has launched the FluoroType SARS-CoV-2 and next-generation 6-plex PCR assay that is designed for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19. The assay is CE-IVD labelled as per the European IVD Directive (98/79/EC). It is validated for respiratory samples with available laboratory real-time PCR thermocyclers.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have awarded a $7.6m contract to Hologic to expand the production of custom sample collection and processing consumables for testing. The investment will allow Hologic to expand the production of consumables to aid the production and availability of Covid-19 tests for the US.

7:50 am

US fiscal aid delays could make 28 million homeless – countries struggle to control second wave of Covid infections

28 July

Rising unemployment rates, end to unemployment benefits and surge in Covid-19 cases may soon leave people homeless in the US.

Sudeep Reddy, managing editor at Politico, shared an article on how the recession induced by the Covid-19 pandemic is causing a housing crisis that is worse than the 2008 crisis.

Approximately 50% of tenants in the US have been burdened by rent during pandemic.

The situation has mainly resulted because fiscal aid applications for unemployment benefits are not being cleared quickly.

As a result, one third of US households have not been able to make their full housing payments for July.

By October, more than 28 million people in the US may be evicted if action is not taken.

In other news, economist Christophe Barraud, shares an article on how the several countries are struggling to control a second wave of Covid-19 infections and are imposing fresh lockdowns.

Read more

1:50 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 deaths near 650,000 – US records more than 65,000 infections in a day

27 June

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 16,264,000 with over 648,000 deaths and 9,407,000 recoveries

The United States, Brazil and India are ranked as the top three countries globally with the highest daily incident cases.

The United States reported over 65,000 new confirmed Covid-19 cases yesterday and over 900 deaths.

Brazil reported over 51,000 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 cases yesterday and over 1,200 deaths.

India reported over 48,000 new confirmed Covid-19 cases yesterday and over 700 deaths.

Russia continues to report a steadily declining daily rate of incident cases.

However, Russia is still ranked as the seventh highest number of daily incident cases globally and the fourth highest confirmed Covid-19 cases globally, reporting over 811,000 confirmed cases.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData

9:49 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 16.2 million – US suffers 1,000 Covid related deaths for five straight days as cases pass 4.2 million

27 July

Global: Global Covid-19 cases passed 16.2 million. Cases climbed by over 250,000 for four straight days, with the total deaths currently 648,937, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: The US has suffered more than 1,000 deaths a day from Covid-19 for five days running, as cases surge in southern and western states, the national caseload nears 4.2 million and the death toll approaches 150,000.

Brazil: Brazil has registered an additional 555 deaths attributable to the novel coronavirus over the last 24 hours and another 24,578 confirmed cases, Reuters reported, quoting the country’s health ministry.

India: India has for the first time recorded over 50,000 cases in one day. The Times of India reported that India’s one-day case total was higher than 50,000 for the first time on Sunday, taking the country’s total to 1.4 million cases – the third-highest worldwide.

Mexico: Mexico’s Health Ministry has reported 5,480 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 306 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 390,516 cases and 43,680 deaths.

China: China recorded 61 new coronavirus cases on Monday – the highest daily figure since April, propelled by clusters in three separate regions that have sparked fears of a fresh wave. The bulk of 57 new domestic cases were found in the far northwestern Xinjiang region, where a sudden outbreak in the regional capital of Urumqi occurred in mid-July.

Australia: Australia saw its highest one-day case increase of the pandemic so far, after the state of Victoria recorded 532 new cases, along with six more deaths of people aged in their 50s to 90s. In addition, New South Wales recorded 17 new cases, about average for the last week. Of the new cases, eight are international travellers in hotel quarantine.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported another day with no new cases of Covid-19 – the third day in a row. All of the country’s 21 active cases of the virus were diagnosed in travellers returning to the country, all of whom are quarantined in government-managed isolation facilities.

Papua New Guinea: Coronavirus cases in Papua New Guinea have nearly doubled in a weekend, with the emerging pandemic threatening to overwhelm the country’s already-fragile healthcare system.

Afghanistan: The number of confirmed infections to Covid-19 has passed 36,000 in Afghanistan as the death toll in Kabul topped 500, amid rising concerns about a second wave of the pandemic over the upcoming Eid celebration.

Spain: Spain’s Covid-19 death toll could be 60% higher than the official figure. An investigation by Spanish newspaper El País, in which reporters counted regional statistics of suspected, as well as confirmed fatalities, reached a total of 44,868 deaths.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 340 to 205,609, Reuters reported on Monday quoting data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

South Korea: South Korea’s new coronavirus cases have fallen back to below 30 as imported cases dwindled from a record high over the weekend, according to Yonhap news agency.

Serbia: Serbia has reported a record number of daily cases of the new coronavirus, according to AP news agency. Health authorities said that 467 people have tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the outbreak. They said eight people have died.

Lockdown updates

US: The co-ordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force, Dr Deborah Birx, told reporters in Kentucky on Sunday that that federal health officials recommend that five US states – Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia – “close their bars, cut back indoor restaurant capacity and limit social gatherings to ten people,” the Louisville Courier Journal reports, as well as recommending that “100%” of people wear masks when they are in public.

Spain: Spain is in talks with the UK about exempting the Canary and Balearic Islands from strict quarantine rules.

UK: From midnight on Sunday, travellers returning from Spain to the UK have been forced to quarantine for 14 days, following a surge of cases in the country.

Germany: Some 500 workers are in quarantine on a large Bavarian farm to contain a mass coronavirus outbreak, German officials said, as they announced free Covid-19 tests for local residents. A total of 174 seasonal workers have tested positive for the virus since Friday.

Morocco: Morocco will stop people entering and leaving some of its biggest cities from midnight to contain a surge in coronavirus cases, the interior and health ministry said on Sunday.

North Korea: North Korea has declared a state of emergency in a border town over a suspected coronavirus case. State news agency KCNA said leader Kim Jong Un also imposed a lockdown in Kaesong after a person who illegally crossed the border from South Korea displayed symptoms of the virus.

Vietnam: Vietnam will evacuate 80,000 tourists from the city of Danang, the government announced in a statement, following the discovery of four locally transmitted coronavirus cases over the weekend – the first cases in the country for 99 days.

Austria: The popular resort town of St Wolfgang, Austria, has ordered restaurants and clubs to close early and urged people to avoid going out as it grapples with a new outbreak of the coronavirus.

Economy updates

Japan: Japan’s economy minister says the government will urge businesses to aim for 70 percent telecommuting and enhance other social distancing measures amid a rise in coronavirus cases among workers, some infected during after-work socialising, Reuters news agency reported.


9:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – MP Biomedicals Asia Pacific develops Covid-19 antibody test – FDA expands use of LabCorp Covid-19 RT-PCR Test for asymptomatic people

MP Biomedicals Asia Pacific, in partnership with Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has developed a rapid antibody test kit for Covid-19 coronavirus. The ASSURE SARS-CoV-2 IgG/IgM rapid test identifies antibodies produced by the immune system in response to SARS-CoV-2 using a lateral flow mechanism. The test can provide results in 15 minutes.

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur researchers have developed a portable rapid diagnostic device to detect Covid-19. It uses extracted RNA from saliva samples to test for the virus and is expected to make testing for Covid-19 affordable for the under-served communities, as it can be carried out in a low-cost portable enclosure. The university has stated that it has not produced false results and offers accuracy and sensitivity comparable to standard RT-PCR tests.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reissued the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) of LabCorp‘s Covid-19 RT-PCR Test to include two new indications. The FDA has added the testing for asymptomatic people and those who have no reason to suspect infection. Additionally, it has also included pooled sample testing in the EUA.

MediPines has won the Covid-19 edition of the ‘Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!’ competition, which is presented by the US National Capital Consortium for Paediatric Device Innovation. The competition focused on innovations in paediatric medical devices related to Covid-19 which would boost children’s healthcare. The MediPines Gas Exchange Monitor, AGM100 is a respiratory monitoring system that will be used to quickly assess respiratory status in a non-invasive manner.

8:00 am

US needs additional financial stimulus to recover from Covid-19 downturn

27 July

Additional stimulus to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US will be required over the next few years.

Sectors such as child care have been impacted by the pandemic leaving parents vulnerable to lower incomes in the future.

John Van Reenen, professor at MIT Economics, shared an article on the next stimulus package being considered by the US government.

Although politicians project that the US economy may require $3tn in stimulus, macroeconomists highlight the need to incorporate automatic fiscal stabilisers.

Unemployment benefits under the CARES Act are set to end in July although experts have called for an extension of the benefits.

As jobs are yet to return to normal levels, unemployment benefits are essential to protect households from bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Anthony DeRosa, a journalist, shared an article on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the child care system in the US.

The article notes that the economic impact of the collapse of the system will be visible for the next 20 to 30 years, and that more stimulus was injected to save airlines rather child care.

Read more

1:29 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 15.5 million – numbers rising in South Africa – increasing infections in nine US states

24 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 15,526,000 with over 633,000 deaths and 8,873,000 recoveries

In the United States, Florida and Texas are both now averaging more than 100 deaths per day and Arizona is averaging more than 80 deaths per day.

Notably, Arizona is reporting more than 1.1 daily deaths per 100,000 population which is more than double the current rate in Florida and Texas.

Other states that continue to report an increase in incident cases are Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

South Africa remains as ranking fifth for the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases globally, reporting over 408,000 cases.

Additionally, South Africa is ranked fourth globally for total daily incident cases.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology  at GlobalData

9:48 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 15.5 million – US infections exceed 4 million – more than 633,000 deaths world wide

24 July

Global: There now more than 15.5 million known Covid-19 cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, and over 633,000 deaths.

US: The US surpassed four million coronavirus cases on Thursday, after more than 1,100 new Covid-19-related deaths were reported in a single day on Wednesday for the first time since late May.

UK: Former UK prime minister Tony Blair believes coronavirus will not be eliminated. He urged the UK government to focus on containment measures to see the country through a second wave.

South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country’s coronavirus cases have risen to over 400,000.

Australia: The state of Victoria has reported 300 new coronavirus cases and six deaths, a record one-day number of fatalities for the state. Yesterday’s numbers were 484 new cases and five deaths, three of which were connected to aged care clusters.

China: China reported 21 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for July 23, down from 22 cases a day earlier. Of the new infections, the National Health Commission said 13 were in the far western region of Xinjiang and two were in Dalian city in the northeastern province of Liaoning. The remaining six were imported cases.

Lockdown updates

China: The port city of Dalian in Liaoning province, home to nearly six million people, will introduce a wave of coronavirus testing to stamp out a small cluster of cases, authorities said, with state media reporting communities will be locked down.

South Africa: President Ramaphosa said the cabinet has decided that all public schools should be closed for the next four weeks from Monday with some exceptions.

Japan: Senior Olympic official John Coates has reiterated that Tokyo must stage a simplified summer Games next year with the health and safety of athletes the most important consideration in the planning, Reuters reports.

Economy updates

Global: The devastating economic toll the coronavirus crisis is taking around the world could spark huge waves of fresh migration once borders reopen, the head of the Red Cross warned in an interview with AFP.

Costa Rica: The Central American Bank for Economic Integration approved a $300m loan to Costa Rica to help stabilise the local economy, which has been hit hard by restrictions aimed at containing the new coronavirus.

Turkey: Turkey’s parliament approved a law allowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to extend a layoff ban imposed to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


8:05 am

Unemployment rising in US as bankruptcy threats increase

24 July

The US government is yet to decide on the whether to continue the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

Lack of aid from the government may push companies into bankruptcy and increase unemployment rates, macroeconomic influencers share their views on the Covid -19 impact.

Prof. Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on an expected surge in bankruptcy cases in the US due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Decline in consumer demand, social distancing rules and lack of government support is hurting the operations of small and medium businesses.

More than 3,400 companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection during the first half of the year, with economists warning of more to come once the federal Paycheck Protection Program aid ends.

A Goldman Sachs survey among more than 1,100 businesses has found that 84% of them will not have sufficient cash flow to keep operations going.

Meanwhile, Heather Long, economics correspondent at Washington Post, tweeted about unemployment statistics in the US.

She added that 1.4 million new unemployment aid applications were filed during the last week of July, which is an increase of 109,000 from the previous week.

Long noted the surge in the number of unemployment applications filed is an indication that layoffs are on the rise.

Read more

2:05 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 15.26 million – five day new case averages for Argentina and Colombia increasing

23 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 15,256,000 with more than 624,000 deaths and 8,670,000 recoveries

Central and South America remain an epicenter for Covid-19.

However, the five day average of new confirmed Covid-19 cases in Brazil, Mexico and Chile has decreased.

The five day average of new confirmed Covid-19 cases in Colombia and Argentina, on the other hand, has increased.

Pakistan is ranked eleventh globally for number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, reporting over 269,000 confirmed cases.

However, the five day average of new confirmed Covid-19 cases in Pakistan has decreased.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData

12:37 pm

New device protects against Covid-19 during endoscopy

A team of researchers at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan has developed a disposable device to provide an additional layer of protection against Covid-19 for healthcare workers performing esophagogastroduodenoscopies (EGDs).

An EGD is an endoscopic procedure done to examine a patient’s oesophagus, stomach and upper intestine. The procedure causes the sedated patients to cough or retch, exposing workers to body fluids or aerosol droplets.

To reduce the spread of coronavirus, the new device comprises of a mouthpiece equipped with a fixing belt and a nonwoven fabric to cover the patient’s face, capturing any aerosol droplets. The fabric is attached to the tips of the mouthpiece with an x-shaped incision at the centre to act as a sleeve for the endoscope, minimising interference to the device.

9:53 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 15.2 million – Hong Kong facing third wave of infections – Kashmir introduces strict lockdown

23 July

Global: The number of coronavirus cases worldwide passed 15.2 million on Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data. Known coronavirus deaths number 623,507.

US: The state of California recorded its highest number of new cases in a single day, as the state surpasses New York for the greatest total of cases in the country.

South America: Brazil and Argentina have both registered new daily records for confirmed coronavirus cases. Brazil confirmed 67,860 cases on Wednesday, while Argentina recorded 5,782 cases. Both countries also reported more deaths from the disease, while Peru added 3,688 previously uncounted people to its death toll lifting the total to 17,455.

South Africa: South Africa on Wednesday announced a record 24-hour increase of 572 coronavirus deaths, bringing its total number of fatalities to 5,940, AFP reports. The country is the worst-affected in Africa and among the top five in the world in terms of confirmed cases, with 394,948 infections reported to date.

Australia: Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews says the state has recorded 403 new cases overnight and five new deaths. The cases figure is down from yesterday’s record increase of 484.

China: China’s National Health Commission has reported 22 new cases of coronavirus on the mainland, most of them in the far western region of Xinjiang where mass testing is underway.

Three cases linked to a seafood processing plant have emerged in Dalian, China, weeks after traces of the virus were found on shrimp packaging in the city. The local government has quarantined and tested employees from two related companies amid concern about virus transmission on food packages.

Hong Kong reported a record 113 new cases for Wednesday, in a continuing third wave of Covid-19 infections, including a large proportion of which are unsourced. In addition, Hong Kong’s government issued a statement on Wednesday correcting the number of imported cases to 11 from eight, making the number of local infections 102 rather than 105.

Papua New Guinea: Papua New Guinea has called on the WHO for help citing a “high likelihood of expanded community transmission”.

Japan: Around 360 new coronavirus cases were found in Tokyo on Thursday, a record for a day, TV Asahi and other Japanese media reported, as a long holiday weekend began in Japan.

Vaccine News

China: China will offer a $1 billion loan to make any coronavirus vaccine it develops available to countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Lockdown Updates

Kashmir: Indian-administered Kashmir imposed a strict lockdown for a week, as authorities warned of rising coronavirus cases, one day after cancelling a major annual Hindu pilgrimage.

Israel: Israel’s parliament approved a bill that allows the cabinet to declare a state of emergency and impose new restrictions with little to no parliamentary supervision.

Philippines: The Philippines is suspending a decision to allow non-essential overseas travel after just one company agreed to provide health insurance to outbound passengers. The country had 72,269 virus cases, including 1,843 deaths, as of Wednesday.

Economy Updates

Global: The United Nations Development Programme proposed the immediate introduction of a temporary basic income that could stem the spread of the virus by allowing the world’s poorest people to stay at home.

South Korea: South Korea’s economy recorded its worst performance in more than 20 years in the second quarter, the central bank said Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic hammered its exports.

US: The New York state legislature on Wednesday passed the Healthy Terminals Act, requiring employers at the largest airports in the state to provide additional wages that can be used to acquire health insurance.

China: Cathay Pacific Airways received another blow as Hong Kong unveiled a policy that threatens to eliminate nearly all travel from the US.

9:46 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Luminex submits EUA request for expanded NxTAG Respiratory Pathogen Panel – Megna Health secures EUA for Rapid COVID-19 IgG and IgM Combo Test Kit

Luminex has submitted an Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an expanded version of its NxTAG Respiratory Pathogen Panel (RPP) to now include the SARS-CoV-2 virus for high-throughput testing of Covid-19. The new test is a mix of the firm’s original NxTAG RPP, an FDA-cleared in vitro diagnostic for syndromic respiratory infection testing and the circulating pathogen today, SARS-CoV-2.

Avacta Group has commenced work with the UK government’s COVID-19 National Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Platform (CONDOR) programme to analyse and clinically validate the high throughput Covid-19 bead-assisted mass spectrometry (BAMS) laboratory assay, which has been developed with US-based Adeptrix.

Megna Health has secured EUA from the FDA for its Rapid COVID-19 IgG and IgM Combo Test Kit. Claimed to be a lateral flow based immune assay, this kit tests both IgM and IgG antibodies against coronavirus with a drop of blood sample, of less than 5uL. It provides result in less than 15 minutes. Besides studies in 411 patients, the test kit has been validated by NIH/NCI independently.

7:37 am

How removing unemployment benefits could expose more people to Covid-19

23 July

As economies start to reopen, unemployment benefits announced during the start of the pandemic will soon come to an end.

The abrupt ending of these unemployment benefits along with high unemployment rates could further damage economic recovery.

Paul Krugman, Nobel laureate, shared an article on how ending the unemployment benefits scheme in the US may push millions of workers into poverty.

The $600 per week in unemployment benefits helped workers to meet their expenses.

The benefits scheme is scheduled to expire at the end of July, which economists fear will further damage the US economy.

Without these benefits, workers will cut their spending and may even be evicted from their homes.

Additionally, without unemployment benefits, workers will be forced to look for jobs that may expose them to the virus.

Read more

1:32 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 14,974,000 – Eastern Mediterranean region remains a hotspot

22 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 14,974,000 with over 617,000 deaths and more than 8,486,000 recoveries

The Eastern Mediterranean region remains a hotspot for Covid-19 with four countries- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar- reporting more than 100 daily cases per million population.

Saudi Arabia is ranked number eleven globally in terms of total daily incident cases.

Bangladesh has reported over 213,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and is ranked number nine in active cases globally out of countries that report this statistic.

The number of new confirmed cases reported yesterday in Bangladesh was over 2,900, a 16% increase in new cases from the day prior.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData

10:20 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases near 15 million – concerns over US reporting – Europe could approve first vaccine this year

22 July

Global: The number of coronavirus cases worldwide passed 14.9 million on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data. Known coronavirus deaths number 616,764.

US: California on Tuesday became the second US state after New York to report more than 400,000 Covid-19 cases, according to a Reuters tally of county data. Reuters reports that California has a total of 400,166 Covid-19 cases.

The United States is failing to report vital information on Covid-19. The data would help authorities track the spread of the disease and prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans, according to the first comprehensive review of the nation’s coronavirus data.

President Donald Trump rebooted his coronavirus briefings with a warning about a surge in US cases even as he sought to reassure Americans that his administration has the crisis under control.

A new study by the University of Nebraska suggests that Covid-19 can spread through normal speaking and breathing, and travel further than two metres, according to a report by AFP.

Brazil: Brazil has confirmed 41,008 more cases in the past 24 hours, as well as 1,367 related deaths, the country’s health ministry has said.

India: India reported 648 new deaths on Wednesday to take its total to 28,732, passing Spain to rank seventh globally in deaths, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University. The country already ranks third in the number of infections.

Mexico: Mexico reported 6,859 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 356,255, according to data released by the Health Ministry Tuesday night. Deaths rose 915 to 40,400.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported the highest-ever one-day new case total for an Australian state, with 484 in a single day. The rise is higher than Australia’s previous record one-day total, which means Wednesday also marked Australia’s highest cases over the course of the pandemic so far.

China: China has reported 14 new cases of coronavirus, five of them imported and the rest in the far western region of Xinjiang. There have been no new cases of community transmission in Beijing for 16 days, according to state media.

South Korea: South Korea reported 63 more Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,879, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Vaccine News

Europe: European regulators could approve the first vaccine against Covid-19 this year, after a flurry of trials by drugmakers leading the race showed promising results.

Lockdown updates

Zimbabwe: President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday imposed a curfew and reinstated strict measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus following a spike in cases in recent weeks. The number of cases recorded in the country rose by nearly a third over the past week to a total 1,713 cases. The number of deaths climbed from 18 to 26.

Qatar: Qatar is relaxing its coronavirus travel restrictions from the beginning of next month. From 1 August, citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to travel overseas and return, while residents will be allowed to return.

Indonesia: Two out of three Indonesians oppose continuing strict social-distancing orders, according to a survey. The government should prioritize efforts to revive the economy rather than tackling virus spread, a majority of participants told pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia.

Japan: Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told residents to avoid unnecessary trips outdoors during an upcoming four-day weekend, as the total number of coronavirus cases in the city topped 10,000. The capital had another 230 or more cases Wednesday, Koike said earlier.

Singapore: Singapore is preparing for the resumption of business events such as meetings, conventions, exhibitions and trade shows as economic activities restart, according to a statement by the Singapore Tourism Board.

Austria: Austria is again tightening measures against the virus, dialling back part of its easing in the past few weeks as new infections have surged in various clusters.

Economy updates

Europe: The euro hit an 18-month high and stock markets gained ground after the EU agreed on a €750bn pandemic recovery fund, in a deal closely following reports that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready within months.

US: Senate Republicans are considering whether to cut the unemployment insurance subsidy to 70% of the $600 weekly addition to state-run unemployment programs provided by the last round of economic aid, or pushing for 70-75% of prior wage replacement, a smaller benefit.

China: Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said it reached an agreement with Airbus SE to defer aircraft deliveries as part of its move to preserve cash amid slowing business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

9:07 am

Coronavirus company news summary – BD receives additional orders for 177 million injection devices – AXIM develops Covid-19 test for neutralising antibodies

ndd Medical Technologies has launched single patient-use, inline filters for its lung function testing devices. The filters are expected to offer additional safety amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The filters complement the EasyOne spirometry range, which includes the EasyOne Air, Pro, and Pro LAB.

BD has received additional orders for needles and syringes from the US and Canada that totals 177 million injection devices. In total, the company has received orders of 330 million needles and syringes from the US, Canada and the UK. Most of the orders are expected to be delivered by the end of this year, in expectation of the vaccine being approved later this year or early next year.

Medical Marijuana has announced that its investment company AXIM Biotechnologies has developed a rapid diagnostic test that measures the levels of functional neutralising antibodies that are said to prevent SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) infection. AXIM’s test takes ten minutes and measures the certain subpopulation of antibodies to prevent the coronavirus from attacking the body. The company has submitted the application for pre-Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

PerkinElmer has launched a dry blood spot (DBS) based test for SARS-CoV-2 IgG that uses its GSP/DELFIA platform that enables the processing of around 5,000 samples daily. The test is marketed as a CE-IVD test and PerkinElmer aims to submit its application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

8:28 am

Covid-19 driven GDP contractions projected for US and Eurozone

22 July

The US GDP is projected to contract by 6% due to the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Foreign direct investment inflows from the US into China continue to rise despite these projections.

Robin Brooks, chief economist at Institute of International Finance, shared a chart on the expected GDP contraction in the US by 6%.

He added that the Eurozone GDP is expected to contract by 9%.

Brooks noted that a larger output gap and deflationary momentum is expected in the Euro zone as a result of the GDP contraction.

Read more

9:48 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Luminex Corporation receives FDA’s EUA for Covid-19 antigen assay – UK to boost production of face coverings for NHS staff

Luminex Corporation has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its xMAP® SARS-CoV-2 Multi-Antigen IgG Assay. The test can be operated on any of its xMAP-based high-throughput, gold-standard multiplex platforms which provides a better and reliable evaluation of immune response.

The Linux Foundation has launched a new initiative to use open-source technologies to support the public health authorities (PHAs) to tackle Covid-19 and future epidemics. The new Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) initiative is joined by seven permier members; Cisco, doc.ai, Geometer, IBM, NearForm, Tencent, and VMware. It also includes COVID Shield and COVID Green, two hosted exposure notifications projects deployed in Canada, Ireland, and many states in the US.

Inland Empire Health Plan has secured, packaged and coordinated donations of over 2.4 million units of personal protective equipment (PPE), amid the Covid-19 pandemic which has led to a shortage of PPE. This initiative is said to have taken more than three months of planning. PPE was distributed to 15 local agencies.

The UK government has worked with suppliers in Port Talbot and Blackburn to secure production of high-quality face coverings. In the coming weeks, another site in Livingston, Scotland will begin manufacturing of face coverings. These sites will help address the need for higher-grade face masks for NHS front line staff.

9:43 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 14.7 million – Brazil to commence mass testing of vaccine

21 July

Global: Global Coronavirus cases have reached 14,707,451 while deaths have increased to 609,986 according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased to more than 3.8 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Deaths rose 0.2% to 140,909.

The US will have to come up with alternative ways to detect Covid-19 infections as the current swab testing capacity won’t be able to meet demand during the fall flu season, the Financial Times reported, citing Quest Diagnostics Inc.

South Africa: WHO warned that South Africa’s growing numbers could be a “precursor” for outbreaks elsewhere on the continent. South Africa has 373,000 cases – around half the continent’s cases. By comparison, numbers in Kenya had increased by 31%, Madagascar by 50%, Zambia by 57% and Namibia by 69%.

Brazil: Brazil’s health ministry has reported the country’s death toll has passed 80,000 and the number of cases is now 2.1 million. It comes as two more Brazilian government ministers said on Monday they had tested positive for Covid-19.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry on Monday reported 5,172 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 301 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 349,396 cases and 39,485 deaths.

Australia: Australia’s southern state of Victoria reported 374 new coronavirus cases. The state has introduced mandatory face coverings from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported one new case of Covid-19 in a returned traveller. The woman in her 30s arrived in the country on 16 July from London via Doha and Sydney. She has been transferred to an Auckland quarantine facility.

Japan: The organisers of the Tokyo Olympic Games are preparing a day of celebrations to mark a year to the start of the event, which is now due to be held in July 2021 after a year-long delay because of the coronavirus. In addition, the city reported 237 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, in comparison to 168 reported cases on Monday.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 45 new cases of coronavirus. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 20 of the cases were locally acquired, and nine of them came from a nursing home in western Seoul.

China: China is providing free Covid-19 tests to residents of Urumqi in the far western region of Xinjiang after a sudden spike in coronavirus cases there, according to state media. The testing is designed to “effectively lower the risk of the virus spreading,” the Global Times reported the city’s anti-epidemic group as saying.

All air travellers to China are required to provide results of coronavirus tests conducted within five days of their departure, according to a joint government statement on the Civil Aviation Administration website.

Vaccine News

Brazil: Brazil is to start mass testing of a vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac on medical workers from six states, starting at the Clinical Hospital of Sao Paolo.

Lockdown updates

US Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to close down all New York bars and restaurants if large street gatherings continue and his social distance and mask regulations aren’t enforced.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police to intensify arrests and detentions of those who violate government rules on wearing masks and social distancing, as coronavirus cases continue to surge.

Economy updates

Europe: Europe agrees on Covid-19 recovery plan. European council president Charles Michel said the agreement was a “pivotal moment” as heads of state finally thrashed out a deal on day five of their summit. It set out a €750bn pandemic recovery fund and long-term spending plans.

UK: Government borrowing soared to almost £130 billion ($165 billion) in the first three months of the fiscal year amid the towering cost of supporting the economy through the coronavirus crisis. The Office for National Statistics said Tuesday that the budget deficit stood at £35.5 billion in June alone, leaving debt at almost 100% of GDP.

Australia: Prime minister, Scott Morrison, has extended Covid-19 job support payments but reduced the size of the payments.

7:30 am

Failure of US lockdowns could lead to double dip recession – offshore financial centres have drained resources needed to fight pandemic

21 July

Strict lockdown measures may be needed to control the surge in cases in the US as the country faces the risk of a double dip recession.

Rafael Domenech, head of economic analysis at BBVA Research, shared an article on how a surge in Covid-19 cases may lead to a double dip recession in the US.

Additional federal funding, severe lockdowns and increased spending on Covid-19 testing may be needed to address the surge in cases.

Compared to other countries, lockdowns in the US have not been effective in controlling the surge in cases posing a threat to economic recovery.

Further, the delay in testing with a seven day wait for results is proving ineffective in curbing the spread of infections.

A double-dip recession maybe the worst case scenario if the virus is not brought under control.

In other news, as macroeconomic influencers share their views on the Covid -19 impact, offshore financial centres (OFCs) have contributed to financial instability and drained countries of the resources needed to fight crises such as the pandemic.

Read more

2:12 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: US Covid-19 cases approaching 4 million – infections in India pass 1 million

20 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 14,508,000 with more than 606,000 deaths and 8,134,000 recoveries

The United States remains number one for the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases globally with over 3,773,000 confirmed cases.

The top five states with the highest total number of cases per million population are New York, California, Florida, Texas and New Jersey.

The top five states with the highest number of deaths per million population are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Illinois.

India now has over one million confirmed Covid-19 cases, the third highest globally.

Russia has the fourth highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases globally with over 770,000 confirmed cases. However, the five day average for new confirmed Covid-19 cases has decreased.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData

9:32 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 14.5 million – Trump seeks to block funds for testing and tracing as infections soar in US

20 July

Global: More than 14.5 million people have been tested positive for coronavirus worldwide so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data. The current total stands at 14,508,892. The death toll is 606,195.

US: Donald Trump is seeking to block billions of dollars in funding for coronavirus testing and contact tracing efforts as cases soar across the US, where around 70,000 people are testing positive each day.

Some of the NFL’s biggest names took to social media on Sunday to express their concerns and anger over the lack of Covid-19 safety protocols as teams prepare to open training camps this week.

Brazil: Brazil reported 23,529 new cases and 716 deaths, both declines from the day before. The Latin American nation, with the second-worst outbreak after the U.S., now has almost 2.1 million cases and 79,488 deaths.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry reported 5,311 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 296 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 344,224 cases and 39,184 deaths, according to Reuters early on Monday.

China: China reported 22 new coronavirus cases, according to the People’s Daily, with 17 of these community transmission cases from Xinjiang. China launched mass health screenings in the western Xinjiang province late last week after a spike in cases raised fears of a fresh outbreak.

A record 100 new cases were confirmed in Hong Kong, the territory’s leader said on Sunday, as she tightened social distancing measures, including mandating the wearing of masks in public indoor spaces, to tackle the sudden rise in the number of infections.

South Africa: South Africa registered 85 new deaths from the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 5,033. A total of 13,449 new infections were also officially diagnosed, taking the number to 364,328, figures released by the health ministry showed.

Melanesia: Papua New Guinea recorded its first Covid-19-related death – the first Pacific island fatality outside US territories and the first in Melanesia – as it seeks to contain an outbreak in the main hospital in its capital, Port Moresby.

Cyprus: Health minister Constantinos Ioannou says there’s concern that coronavirus-infected migrants could be seeping through the ethnically divided island nation’s porous ceasefire line, the Associated Press news agency reported.

South Korea: Imported coronavirus cases continue to rise by double-digit figures, according to the latest figures on Monday. The country identified 26 new cases, raising the total caseload to 13,771, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Of the newly added cases, just four were local infections, and 22 were imported.

Vaccine News

UK: The UK said it has secured early access to 90 million doses of “promising” coronavirus vaccine candidates, according to a statement.

Russia: Scores of members of Russia’s business and political elite have been given early access to an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the effort, as the country races to be among the first to develop an inoculation.

Lockdown updates

China: Global banks, including Citigroup Inc. and UBS Group AG, are suspending their return-to-office plans in Hong Kong after the city reported a daily record of more than 100 new coronavirus cases.

Italy: Rome and its surroundings could go under lockdown again, a regional health commissioner warned, after 17 new cases were reported, including ten from other countries, according to the Associated Press reported.

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted he can avoid imposing another England-wide lockdown this winter, describing it as a “nuclear deterrent” that he hopes never to use.

Luxembourg: Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said he would impose new restrictions after an emergency meeting on rising cases, saying the nation is not respecting measures to curb Covid-19.

Australia: Authorities in Australia are stepping up their battle against coronavirus with the second biggest city of Melbourne announcing the introduction of mandatory face coverings from Wednesday when leaving the house.

France: France will issue €135 fines to people flouting new mask rules. The French government has announced that it will fine people who flout its decree to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

Thailand: A meeting led by Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha on Monday will discuss the possible extension of emergency rules beyond the end of the month, as well as the next stage of easing, said Somsak Rungsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council.

Economy updates

EU: The four European Union governments that have been holding up negotiations over a massive stimulus package to reboot the bloc’s economy are ready to agree on a key plank of the deal, two officials said.

Sudan: The United Nations has made an urgent appeal for $283m to help Sudan tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences, as millions in the country face hunger.

Japan: Most people in Japan are against government plans to kickstart domestic tourism with a subsidised campaign, according to newspaper surveys published on Monday, as fears grow over the number of new coronavirus cases, particularly in Tokyo, according to Reuters news agency.

Salvador: President Nayib Bukele has announced that he will postpone the second phase of the country’s economic reopening, slated to begin Tuesday, after evaluating inputs from experts and the health ministry, Reuters news agency reported.

9:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UK may roll out free finger-prick Covid-19 antibody tests – Monash University launches Covid-19 blood test that provides results in 20 minutes

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to Quest Diagnostics to use specimen pooling with its molecular diagnostic test for Covid-19. In pooling method, the samples from the patients are collected in separate vials and are then combined into batches, which are tested. This method is said to be effective in regions where there is a low rate of infection.

EDM Medical Solutions has launched its computed tomography (CT) scanner drapes and other medical equipment covers, as part of an initiative to reduce the spread of infections such as Covid-19 in the medical environment. These covers are single-use and sterile and are the latest addition to a suite of infection control supplies. UK to roll out free finger-prick Covid-19 antibody tests

The British government has planned to roll out millions of free finger-prick Covid-19 antibody tests that provide instant results, according to the Telegraph. The tests were developed by University of Oxford consortium that is said to have shown 98.6% accuracy in human trials which were carried out in last month.

A test developed at Monash University in Australia has detected positive Covid-19 cases using blood samples in around 20 minutes. This is expected to advance the effort to decrease the Covid-19 community spread using robust contact tracing. Researchers could detect recent Covid-19 cases using 25 microlitres of plasma.

8:14 am

Education may face funding shortfalls due to Covid-19 pandemic

20 July

State and local governments are expected to face budget shortfalls due to rising healthcare costs and widespread unemployment rates due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Governments may soon be forced to consider cutting spending allocations in other areas, such as education.

Macroeconomic influencers share their views on the Covid -19 impact.

Konstantina Beleli, an economist, shared an article on how the Covid-19 pandemic may impact government budgets at the state and local levels.

The article notes that government may be forced to cut budget allocations to areas such as education and infrastructure.

Lockdown measures and social distancing have led sharp decline in sales taxes, which is one of the biggest source of revenue for state governments.

The pandemic is expected to result in a budget shortfall of $650bn over the next three years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

Education and infrastructure investments are expected to the worst affected due to the shortfall.

In other news, US Federal Reserve measures to support companies through the Covid-19 pandemic are drawing criticism, according to Edward Harrison, a banking and finance specialist.

Read more

1:50 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Covid-19 infections climbing rapidly in Peru and South Africa – global deaths near 591,000

17 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have exceeded 13.8 million with over 590,000 deaths and 7,735,000 recoveries.

Peru has surpassed Mexico in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, and now has the second highest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in Central and South America behind Brazil.

Central and South America remains an epicenter for Covid-19, with four countries being among the top ten countries with the highest confirmed number of Covid-19 cases.

The number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa yesterday was over 12,000.

South Africa has moved up from the eighth highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases globally to the sixth highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases globally.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology  at GlobalData

1:28 pm

How a persistent pandemic and prolonged lockdowns will slow economic recovery

17 July

Macroeconomic influencers tracked by GlobalData share their views on Chinese Q2 gross domestic product (GDP), rising unemployment in Australia and the UK threatening recovery, and how Covid-19 remains to be the biggest risk to the global economy.

Stephen Tapp, Deputy Chief Economist and Trade Research Director at Export Development Canada (EDC) tweeted that a prolonged Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest among the top ten risks facing Canadian businesses in 2020.

US-China trade war, global protectionism, and increasing government and corporate debt are among other significant risks EDC has identified.

Covid-19 has inflated the majority of the other business risks facing Canada, adds EDC which suggests Canadian exporters be wary of default risks in emerging markets, especially those already reeling under massive debts.

In other news, lockdowns to fight the second wave of coronavirus infections will be detrimental to economic recovery, opines Ludovic Subran, Chief economist at insurance and asset management services provider Allianz.

Subran expects global gross domestic product (GDP) to fall by 4.7% during the year, but to grow by 4.8% in 2021.

Stimulus measures, both fiscal and monetary, announced so far exceed 1.3 times Chinese GDP, at $1.8t.

In its latest economic outlook, Allianz doesn’t expect global trade to return to pre-Covid levels before 2023 and anticipates the subdued capacity utilisation situation to persist until Q4 this year.

Read more

9:50 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 13.8 million – record daily rise in US – Trump pushes to re-open schools

17 July

Global: There are 13,810,534 known coronavirus cases worldwide. The number of deaths stands at 590,005, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker.

Coronavirus support to poor countries has been so far “grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously short-sighted”, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said, as he asked wealthy countries for billions of more dollars in assistance.

US: The US reported 68,428 new infections in the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, setting yet another record for a single-day rise in coronavirus cases.

An official with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the most recent count shows 342 US children and teens have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to Covid-19 infections.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported a record 428 new cases, ten days into the lockdown of Melbourne. The neighbouring state of New South Wales tightened restrictions on pubs, restaurants and gatherings, as it reported eight new cases, six of which were from community transmission.

Brazil: Brazil has passed the two million confirmed coronavirus cases mark, with little sign that the rate of increase is slowing as anger grows over President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the outbreak.

China: Hong Kong’s coronavirus outbreak is expected on Friday to surpass the magnitude of its earlier waves of infections, in a cautionary tale that the worst may be yet to come in the pandemic.

Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region of Xinjiang, cancelled hundreds of flights on Friday after the report of its first coronavirus case in about five months fuelled concerns of a potential new outbreak.

South Korea: South Korea reported 60 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,672, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UK: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to invest £3bn ($3.77bn) into England’s National Health Service (NHS) to try to ward off any resurgence of the coronavirus.

Vaccine News

India: Researchers from the Indian government have been given the green light to study the century-old BCG vaccine’s ability to prevent the severe incidence of Covid-19 in the high-risk elderly population.

Johnson & Johnson is in discussions with multiple countries and a charitable foundation to determine how much of its experimental coronavirus vaccine will be needed. Chief financial officer Joseph Wolk said they are in talks with the European Union, Japan and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

UK: The UK has accused Russian state intelligence of hacking international pharmaceutical and academic research in a bid to win the race to secure a vaccine against Covid-19. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said vaccine and therapeutic sectors in multiple countries have been targeted, declining to list the names and number of institutions affected on security grounds.

Lockdown updates

US: Anthony Fauci said many states rushed too quickly to reopen without bringing the virus adequately under control, leading to the resurgence in states across the U.S. south and west.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: ‘The science should not stand in the way’ of reopening schools. She defended President Trump’s push to reopen schools, despite concerns about the spread of coronavirus in the classroom. “And when he says open, he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school,” McEnany noted during her White House briefing.

A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says President Trump’s European travel ban was enacted too late to protect New York residents. “Although travel restrictions are an important mitigation strategy, by the time the European restrictions were implemented, importation and community transmission of Sars-CoV-2 had already occurred in NYC,” the report said.

US Democrats have urged elected leaders and party delegates to skip the national convention in August as coronavirus cases surge, the New York Times reported, in what the paper says is “a sign of the ever-shrinking aspirations for their big campaign event in the face of the spreading virus”.

New York City will not open malls and museums on Monday even if the city is allowed to move into the next phase of reopening, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, promising more crackdowns on bars and restaurants.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a ban on cruise ships through the end of September as coronavirus infections rose across the country, including in the state of Florida.

Mexico: Authorities imposed local restrictions on mobility, commerce, and leisure, particularly in popular tourist destinations, even as the government seeks to revive the battered economy. The country has 317,635 Covid-19 cases and 37,574 deaths.

Spain: Officials said on Thursday that residents in three districts in the Barcelona suburb of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat must stay indoors amid a resurgence in cases. Wednesday saw residents told to stay at home in an area in and around the north-eastern city of Lerida, a measure affecting around 160,000 people. They are allowed to leave to go to work, buy food or medication, or to exercise.

Colombia: Doctors are calling for a return to a strict city-wide quarantine to slow coronavirus infections in the capital, warning that medical services are close to collapsing. The country has reported over 165,000 cases of the coronavirus and around 6,000 deaths.

Denmark: Denmark’s foreign ministry has updated its travel guidelines in response to its latest assessment of the risks posed by Covid-19. The new list includes an easing of guidelines for several regions in Sweden, namely Halland, Kalmar and Värmland.

Israel: The government imposed a new weekend shutdown on Friday and tightened a series of coronavirus curbs to lower infection rates, amid growing public anger over the government’s handling of the crisis, Reuters reports.

India: New restrictions have been introduced in the western city of Pune and other states, including Uttar Pradesh, home to 200 million people, as well as badly hit Tamil Nadu and Assam. The northern Indian state of Bihar, with a population of around 125 million people, started a 15-day lockdown from 16 July.

Indonesia: Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta will remain under social-distancing measures for two more weeks after new coronavirus cases surged since the easing of a partial lockdown a month ago.

Puerto Rico: The governor has announced major rollbacks including the closure of bars, gyms, marinas, theatres and casinos and restricted the use of beaches as the US territory is hit by a spike in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

Economy updates

Japan: Japan’s agriculture ministry has decided to suspend bids seeking contractors for its “Go To Eat” campaign aimed at supporting eating establishments hit by the coronavirus outbreak, Jiji reports without attribution.

Canada: Canada’s federal government will give the 13 provinces and territories more than C$19bn ($14bn) to help pay for the costs of restarting the economy after several months of Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – CDC adds Promega Maxwell RNA Extraction System for emergency use – DiaCarta receives approval for Covid-19 test in India and Mexico

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added Promega‘s Maxwell RSC 48 Instrument and Maxwell RSC Viral Total Nucleic Acid Purification Kit (Maxwell Extraction System) to its Covid-19 diagnostic protocol for emergency use. The Maxwell RSC 48 Instrument and Maxwell RSC Viral Total Nucleic Acid Purification Kit are combined and act as an automated sample preparation solution that can extract RNA and DNA from samples.

DiaCarta has received approval to distribute its QuantiVirus SARS-CoV-2 test in Mexico and India. The Ministry of Health in Mexico via the Institute of Diagnostic and Epidemiological Reference evaluated the test and gave the approval. Following the approval, COFEPRIS, the Mexican Government’s regulatory body has given its authorisation for immediate marketing in Mexico. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also evaluated the test which has shown 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity and is cleared for sale in India.

Age Labs has partnered with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Lab for Dynamic Gene Regulation at Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet and the Department of Acute Medicine at Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, and the Department of Medicine at Bærum Hospital, Vestre Viken for the development of novel test that will improve the outcomes of the SARS-CoV-2 infected patients.

El Milagro Clinic, along with CVS Health, has launched a rapid Covid-19 testing at its Rio Grande Valley clinic. The testing operation will be carried out by CVS Pharmacists and pharmacy employees and will be offered to patients at no cost.

2:10 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases approach 13.6 million – India records more than 32,000 infections in a day

16 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 13,578,000 with over 584,000 deaths and 7,597,000 recoveries.

India and Russia have the third and fourth highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases globally, behind the United States and Brazil.

The number of new confirmed cases yesterday in India was over 32,000 and the number of new confirmed cases in Russia was over 6,400.

Iran has the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Middle East and the tenth highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases globally.

The death toll has increased from the previous few days with over 199 deaths so far today.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData

12:00 pm

Iceni Diagnostics to release ‘flu or coronavirus’ test

Iceni Diagnostics is developing a test to rapidly differentiate between flu and Covid-19 infection.

The lateral flow test is designed to identify the presence of a live virus from a throat swab and give a clear diagnostic response within 15 minutes. It is also being developed to be mass-produced, with ambitions that it be used in non-medical settings like pubs and airports to ensure everyone is infection-free upon entry.

Iceni Diagnostics chairman Dr Berwyn Clarke said: “We are anticipating the tests being ready for trialling this autumn ahead of the clinical validation that is required to meet the stringent standards that are demanded by the NHS and other bodies. We hope it will be available early in the New Year in time for the higher incidence of flu.”

Iceni Diagnostics already offers a point-of-care technology that can differentiate between different types of flu.

11:34 am

Economic crisis looms for US due to Covid-19 driven unemployment

16 July

Economic crisis looms in the US, the UK is set to suffer a major GDP decline, and the Eurozone recovery will be impacted by the end of subsidised jobless schemes.

Macroeconomic influencers tracked by GlobalData share the latest updates on the Covid-19 impact on global economies.

Claudia Sahm, a policy analyst, opines that the US government must continue Covid relief measures to the unemployed until they find work and adds that jobless benefits must be enhanced.

Sahm also says that funding for the CARES Act needs to be increased three-fold because economic crisis looms in the US, causing income loss to 40% of American families, some 20% of which have lost the major income earner due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more

11:32 am

Virginia Tech surface coating inactivates Covid-19 in an hour

Virginia Tech chemical engineering professor William Ducker has developed a surface coating that deactivates the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.

When the coating is painted on glass or stainless steel, the amount of virus is reduced by 99.9% in one hour, compared to an uncoated sample. The coating does not peel off, even after being slashed with a razor blade, and retains its ability to inactivate the virus even after multiple rounds of exposure. It still works even after being submerged in water for a week.

Ducker said: “Everybody is worried about touching objects that may have the coronavirus. [The surface coating] would help people to relax a little bit.”

10:52 am

Study highlights variability in accuracy of Covid-19 antibody tests

A peer-reviewed study by researchers at NSF International and Novateur Ventures has found significant variability in the accuracy of commercially available Covid-19 antibody tests.

Published independent performance data of five chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA), 15 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and 42 rapid diagnostic (RD) antibody tests that are currently on the market were reviewed for this study to understand their limits and potential. Overall, 13 top-performing antibody tests were identified based on independent evaluations of their sensitivity and specificity data (>95% accuracy).

Novateur Ventures advisor in scientific affairs Abdi Ghaffari said: “Granting FDA Emergency Use Authorization to several companies to accelerate the manufacturing of diagnostic tests was a good move, but it must be accompanied by informed and clear guidelines on preferred and minimally acceptable profiles of the Covid-19 antibody tests designed for a specific indication.”

10:35 am

Enter the voicebot: an unlikely solution to the elderly care crisis?

In the UK, adult social care has long been the awkward sibling of the NHS. Approximately 1.5 million older people have to struggle each day without help and support, while those who can access care often have to pay enormous bills for it. Campaigners have been calling for reform of the system for decades. But governments have tended to push the glaring problems under the carpet.

That isn’t going to be possible anymore. During the Covid-19 crisis, the social care issue has been well and truly exposed. It’s never been more obvious that the sector has been overlooked and many countries have failed to protect their senior citizens. The virus has spread rapidly in the care homes older adults are using their life savings to pay for. Between 13 March and 8 May 2020, 39,404 people died in care homes in England and Wales – more than twice the average mortality rate for that period, according to the Office for National Statistics.

At the same time, loneliness which was already a huge problem for older people before the pandemic is only worsening in lockdown. Sources of community support that were once lifelines for the elderly have largely been scrapped to limit face-to-face contact and infection risk.

But the health tech industry is working hard to ensure older adults are not forgotten during this challenging time. A focus on remote monitoring is likely to be important in the aftermath of the crisis. On 12 May, the UK Government published a Covid-19 recovery roadmap, which suggested: “using more telemedicine and remote monitoring to give patients hospital-level care from the comfort and safety of their own homes.” The NHS has also recently announced it is supporting care homes to deliver medical appointments via video conference to protect healthcare workers and residents.

Spot subtle clues

In April, the Aging Life Care Association in the US announced a new programme to combat social isolation for older adults during the Covid-19 crisis. It has partnered with machine-learning health tech start-up MyndYou, which has developed a remote calling and voice-analytics platform that can identify when older people are in need of more support.

“We soon realised that brain activity is a major basis for detecting and understanding changes and healthcare needs in a population,” reveals Ruth Poliakine Baruchi, CEO and co-founder of MyndYou.

She calls this analysis of speech and day-to-day activity patterns ‘cognitive complexity’. By detecting the really subtle changes in senior citizens’ behaviour that might be missed by carers, cognitive decline associated with conditions such as dementia can be identified as early as possible.

Baruchi started the company four years ago in Tel Aviv, Israel, with the goal of maintaining independence and improving quality of life in senior adults. Most people want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, rather than going into a care home. MyndYou was designed to extend that window and also reduce healthcare costs. Baruchi could never have foreseen a pandemic, but she cannot deny how important remote monitoring technology appears to be at the moment. “Now more than ever, remote and personalised care management is key to ensuring the health and safety of older adults in the community,” she says.

The healthtech market for seniors has been bursting with remote-monitoring tools for a while. Many companies provide voice and activity remote monitors which alert carers to anomalies and potential accidents. What’s sometimes forgotten though is that some older adults don’t feel particularly comfortable with smart technology. Not all of them want (or have the means) to download the apps that promise to protect them. This was something Baruchi and the team were concerned about. Their platform needed to work for technophobes too.

If the senior has a smartphone, they can download the MyndYou For You app. This uses sensors from the phone to passively monitor and analyse patterns in daily activities such as movement, driving and speech from phone calls. Changes over time or anomalies in the usual activity pattern could indicate a physical or cognitive problem and the app will alert the care manager if this might be the case.

Talk to the robot

If the person doesn’t have a smartphone, that’s not a problem. MyndYou’s main feature is a voicebot called MyEleanor – named after occupational therapy pioneer Eleanor Clarke Slagle. It can call an individual on their mobile or landline to ask open-ended questions (such as what they’ve been up to during the day) to assess risk and manage symptoms. It will then analyse voice changes in the older person using its machine-learning platform. Carers will be alerted to any potentially worrying changes and are able to see all the details of the automatic calls and the transcriptions of the conversations.

During the pandemic, MyEleanor has been used for Covid-19 screening. The voicebot asks the person about symptoms such as shortness of breath or a continuous cough and will follow up each day to see if their symptoms have worsened. A human care manager could then call the individual and get them to seek medical help if necessary.

Even though the individual is well-aware MyEleanor is not a real person, Baruchi says many older people really look forward to the call. More than 40% of American seniors regularly experience loneliness, according the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Many live alone and can go days without speaking to or hearing from someone. “It’s surprisingly amazing,” she reveals. “We questioned whether people would engage with the voicebot. But we’re seeing very, very impressive results where people say they’re content with Eleanor from the first call.”

The platform isn’t designed to replace human interaction though. Baruchi sees features like MyEleanor as ore of an adjunct to the care provided by professionals. She hopes remote, non-intrusive AI tools will be seen as legitimate solutions to isolation and later life care in future. “Our vision is to position cognitive complexity as a health measure,” she says. “It will allow people to continue their lives independently and get the relevant care that they need at the right time.”

9:40 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US HHS to purchase BD Covid-19 tests – Sensible Medical to distribute safe surgery systems

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has planned to buy BD diagnostic solutions to boost the access to rapid point-of-care testing for Covid-19 via a broad, decentralised testing instrumentation network. HHS has given its commitment to buy 2,000 BD Veritor Plus Systems and 750,000 SARS-CoV-2 antigen test kits, which will be distributed next week.

Medical Innovation Xchange has collaborated with the Ontario Government to fight against the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic. Under the collaboration, MIX will provide free advisory services to Ontario Together Fund recipients and companies that received purchase orders from the province to increase efficiency.

Lam Research India has provided funding to local organisations to address the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) kits for Covid-19 testing. Additionally, a part of the funds provided by Lam will be used to set up ‘Suraksha’ kiosks that eliminate the need to wear full-body PPE kits, as the kiosks offer a protective physical barrier between the patient and the health professional.

Sensible Medical has received exclusive distribution rights of Toul Meditech’s innovative Operio Mobile and SteriStay Clean Air Zone Systems in the US and Canada. The systems are used during surgery and special procedures. They are equipped with ultraclean H14 filtration system, which protects the patient, staff and the instruments from airborne particulate matter, which may contain Covid-19 and other types of bacteria and virus.

8:58 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 13.5 million – US nears 3.5 million cases – rapid rise continues in Brazil

16 July

Global: More than 13.5 million people around the world have now been confirmed to have had the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. US has 3,499,291 cases while Brazil is rapidly approaching 2 million with 1,966,748 cases.

Overall mortality of Covid-19 patients treated in intensive-care units fell to just under 42% at the end of May from almost 60% in March, according to the first systematic analysis of two dozen studies involving more than 10,000 patients in Asia, Europe and North America.

US: California reported a record 11,000 daily cases. California recorded its largest number of coronavirus infections in a single day on Tuesday, amid efforts to halt reopening statewide.

Brazil: President, Jair Bolsonaro, has again tested positive for Covid-19, he told reporters on Wednesday in Brasilia, suggesting he has yet to recover from an infection first diagnosed last week, Reuters reports.

Japan: Tokyo is likely to see coronavirus cases exceed 280 on Thursday – a daily record for the Japanese capital – according to the governor, Yuriko Koike.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported two more deaths and 317 cases on Thursday, the largest daily increase in cases for an Australian state since the start of the pandemic.

Canada: Canada’s efforts to flatten the curve have put the country on the brink of zero deaths for the first time since March, but officials see worrying signs of a new spike as provinces lift restrictions.

South Africa: South Africa surpassed 300,000 confirmed coronavirus cases late on Wednesday. The country’s 311,049 cases make up close to half of Africa’s total.

Vaccine News

Global: Eight world leaders, including President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, issued a call for “global solidarity” for fairness in distributing any Covid-19 vaccine that may be developed.

US: Dr Anthony Fauci predicted on Wednesday the country would meet its goal of a vaccine by year’s end, he told Reuters in an interview, saying, “I feel good about the projected timetable.” Fauci’s comments came as US cases increased by a world daily record of more than 67,400, taking the total to nearly 3.5 million confirmed infections.

Lockdown updates

Ireland: Prime minister, Micheal Martin, said on Wednesday night the government continues to advise against non-essential overseas travel, as he announced that a planned move to “phase 4 reopening” had been postponed to 10 August because the country’s reproduction rate – the number of people infected by a virus carrier – had increased to more than 1.

Japan: Officials in Japan are questioning the government’s plans to boost domestic tourism amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the capital.

Spain: authorities on the island of Majorca have ordered bars on popular party streets in Magaluf and Palma to close, for fear that hard-drinking tourists will trigger a surge in coronavirus cases.

Canada: Air Canada tried to persuade the government of Justin Trudeau to ease restrictions on travel, pointing to policy shifts in other nations where the Covid-19 pandemic has shown signs of improvement.

Indonesia: the government plans to fine violators of social distancing rules under a new law as President Joko Widodo steps up efforts to contain the biggest outbreak of coronavirus in Southeast Asia.

Economy updates

China: China’s economy returned to growth in the second quarter, rebounding more strongly than expected from a historic contraction caused by the coronavirus outbreak, official data showed Thursday. Gross domestic product expanded a surprise 3.2% in April-June, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

1:06 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 deaths approach 580,000 – South Africa, US, Brazil and India report highest infection rises

15 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 13,324,000 with over 579,000 deaths and 7,399,000 recoveries

Countries in Central and South America continue to represent four out of the top ten countries with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Brazil and Mexico still hold the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the region, although the five day average of confirmed Covid-19 cases has decreased.

Meanwhile, the five day average of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Colombia and Peru has increased.

South Africa has the highest number of cases in Africa as well as the eighth highest number of cases globally, and is alongside the US, Brazil and India in reporting the biggest rise of recent Covid-19 cases.

Isobel Lloyd, BSc and Kasey Fu, MPH, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData

10:48 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 13.3 million as cases rise by 200,000 a day – encouraging results as vaccine nears final testing

15 July

Global: Global cases have passed 13.3 million, as cases continue to rise by around 200,000 every 24 hours. There have been 578,628 deaths so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

The blood from seriously ill coronavirus patients on ventilators was found by researchers to be highly inflammatory and harmful to the body, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday, citing a study by Dutch scientists.

Japan: Tokyo is considering raising its alert for coronavirus infections to the highest of four levels, officials said on Wednesday, after a spike in cases to record numbers in the city.

Australia: The state of Victoria has recorded 238 new cases of Covid-19 and the death of a woman in her 90s and New South Wales has recorded 13 new cases, including ten linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in south-west Sydney which has now affected 34 people.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that New Zealand must prepare for new coronavirus outbreaks as the pandemic spreads globally, but will not drop its elimination strategy if community transmission was discovered.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 351 to 199,726, Reuters reported on Wednesday citing the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

China: China’s National Health Commission said Wednesday that it received reports of six new confirmed Covid-19 cases on the Chinese mainland as of the end of Tuesday, and all of them were imported.

Mexico: Mexico’s Health Ministry has reported 7,051 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 836 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 311,486 cases and 36,327 deaths, according to Reuters news agency.

South Korea: South Korea’s new coronavirus cases stayed below 40 for the second day in a row on Wednesday, but imported cases continued to rise, hampering the country’s efforts to contain the disease, according to Yonhap state news agency.

Ghana: More than 300 students and tutors have tested positive for coronavirus at high schools in the West African nation of Ghana, AP news agency reported.

Cyprus: Cyprus is doubling the number of random coronavirus tests that will be carried out on arriving passengers at its two main airports each day, AP news agency reported.

Vaccine News

US: The first Covid-19 vaccine tested in the United States revved up people’s immune systems just the way scientists had hoped, researchers reported – as the shots are poised to begin key final testing.

Lockdown updates

Global: Cities and states around the world returned to tighter coronavirus restrictions to battle recurring outbreaks, including India’s IT hub Bangalore which was set to go into a new week-long lockdown on Tuesday as the number of coronavirus cases surged.

India: 133 million people re-enter lockdown in India as Covid-19 cases top 900,000. Late on Tuesday, India’s coronavirus cases, the third-highest in the world, passed 900,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The current total stands at 906,752, with 23,727 known deaths.

US: President Donald Trump said in an interview on Tuesday that it was a “mistake” for the two largest California school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, to keep schools closed in the fall.

Venezuela: Venezuela’s capital Caracas will go into a strict lockdown on Wednesday, in a bid to slow its coronavirus outbreak. Much of Venezuela has been shut down since its first case was reported in early March.

France: In France, masks will become mandatory in all enclosed public spaces within the next few weeks, President Emmanuel Macron has said in a major Bastille Day interview. The country is also aiming to reopen all schools for the new academic year under as “normal” conditions as possible.

China: Renewed restrictions took effect in Hong Kong on Wednesday, with restaurants limited to takeout after 6pm, as the Asian financial centre battles a resurgence of the coronavirus, Reuters news agency reported.


9:36 am

Coronavirus company news summary – TrioMed Active mask confirmed to deactivate Covid-19 virus – 3M and MIT test rapid Covid-19 detection test

Doctor Evidence has announced that its new tools for automated network meta-analysis will be used to find the most effective Covid-19 treatments. The DOC Analytics platform can be used to aggregate the continuously emerging clinical trial data in real time. According to the World Health Organization’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, there are around 1,798 Covid-19 treatment trials ongoing around the world, as of 12 July.

A team of University of Toronto scientists have tested and confirmed that the Covid-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus cannot be recovered after it is applied to i3 BioMedical‘s TrioMed Active mask. The external surface of the mask reportedly deactivates over 99% of the coronavirus suspension within minutes.

Genalyte has announced the availability of the SARS-CoV-2 Multi-Antigen Serology Panel. The serology test can identify the antibody types present in the blood of the patient following which it can be determined if it is an active or past infection. Based on the type of antibodies present, the test may indicate the presence of an active or past infection. The antibody testing is available at the Toyota Center in Houston.

3M has partnered with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers to test a new rapid Covid-19 detection test. The teams are currently carrying out accelerated research to explore if a simple-to-use, diagnostic device can offer results with high accuracy in minutes. The team will also test if the device can be mass manufactured.

9:16 am

Economic stimulus plans could slow post Covid recovery

15 July

Global debt levels have been increasing due to the Covid crisis, with those of the G20 economies expected to grow by 120% more than the level seen post World War II.

Daniel Lacelle, Chief Economist at investment services provider Tressis, tweeted his views on the increasing global debt levels due to Covid-19.

He suggests that an increase in public spending through stimulus plans combined with a fall in output could drive the global debt to approximately 105% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Government and private debt together increased by more than 35% of GDP, much higher than the 20% witnessed following the 2008 crisis.

Lacelle opines that the new debt will not help economic recovery but will result in a prolonged recovery since most of it is meant for a cyclical boom rather than targeting the new crisis caused by Covid-19.

He adds that countries that have not fallen into the massive government spending trap have recovered faster.

Read more

2:55 pm

Promising results for Volition Covid-19 triage test

Epigenetics company Volition has announced the results of two proof-of-concept clinical studies for its Nu. Q assays. The studies aimed to confirm whether circulating nucleosomes could serve as a potential prognostic marker for Covid-19 disease severity.

Researchers tested two independent cohorts of Covid-19 patients with quantitative nucleosome immunoassays, and found that nucleosomes were highly elevated in plasma of severe Covid-19 patients relative to healthy control subjects. They also found that both histone 3.1 variant and citrullinated nucleosomes increased with disease severity.

The highest levels of nucleosomes were found in patients requiring ventilation and other oxygen therapies, leading the researchers to believe that nucleosomes could serve as a biomarker for disease severity in Covid-19 patients.

Volition CEO Cameron Reynolds said: “Nu.QTM has shown correlation with more severe Covid-19 cases implying strong prognostic potential, and we are now focused on the completion of larger longitudinal studies that would be needed to support a potential Covid-19 product launch. If we continue to see positive results in these longitudinal studies, we aim to have a CE-marked product available on multiple platforms in 2020 and will look to launch a low-cost product that could be used in any laboratory worldwide as soon as possible thereafter.”

1:52 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 13.1 million – infections still on the rise in the Americas

14 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 13,113,000 with over 573,000 deaths and 7,268,000 recoveries.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths continues to rise in the US, as it remains the country with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths continues to rise in Central and South America, especially in Brazil and Peru.

Both countries are currently included in the top ten countries with highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths.

The UK has the seventh highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and the third highest number of Covid-19 deaths.

However, both the number of daily confirmed cases and deaths have been decreasing.

Nanthida Nanthavong, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

12:59 pm

Singapore researchers develop novel nasal swabs

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed three new nasopharyngeal swabs for Covid-19 test kits.

One NUS team 3D-printed a swab, called the Python, using a double helix structure for the swab tip as it has excellent fluid adsorption and causes minimal discomfort to patients. Another team at the university then developed an injection-moulded swab called IM2, a process that can be faster than 3D printing as multiple units can be produced in a given manufacturing cycle. They also redesigned the Python swab to allow it to be injection-moulded rather than 3D-printed, calling it the IM3.

The designs have proven comparable to current commercially used swabs in initial trials.

Since the outbreak of the disease there has been a global surge in demand for swabs, which are often out of stock due to supply chain disruptions.

11:07 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 13 million – cities and states returning to tighter restrictions worldwide

14 July

Global: More than 13 million people around the world have now been confirmed to have had the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The five most affected countries include United States (3,361,042), Brazil (884,967), India (878,254), Russia (732,547) and Peru (330,123).

Australia: In the Australian state of Victoria, 270 new cases of the virus were identified overnight. Staff from the private sector including airlines, telecommunications companies and banks, as well as 1,000 additional Australian defence force personnel, will be deployed to help efforts to contain Covid-19 in the state.

UK: Britain must start “intense preparations” for a second wave of coronavirus that has the potential to kill as many as 120,000 hospital patients in a worst-case scenario, experts have warned. In addition, the British government will announce on Tuesday that people will have to wear masks when they go into a shop from July 24.

US: More than 880 employees of private contractors running US immigration detention centres have tested positive, according to congressional testimony given by company executives.

Japan: Health officials in Tokyo, Japan, appealed on Tuesday for more than 800 theatregoers to get tested after a production starring a Japanese boy band was found to be the source of at least 20 cases.

DRC: Ebola is spreading in the western Democratic Republic of the Congo, with nearly 50 known cases across a region bordering the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

China: The wave of coronavirus cases connected with Beijing’s wholesale market that began in June appears to have been brought under control with no new cases of the disease reported in the Chinese capital for eight successive days.

Lockdown updates

Global: Cities and states around the world returned to tighter coronavirus restrictions to battle recurring outbreaks, as global infections passed 13 million and the World Health Organization warned there were “no shortcuts out of the pandemic”.

US: California’s governor Gavin Newsom ordered all bars to close statewide and all restaurants, cinemas and museums to halt indoor operations, in a dramatic rolling back of reopening efforts as cases continue to surge. The US has reported roughly 60,000 new cases a day for almost a week, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

China: Hong Kong will impose strict new social distancing measures from midnight on Tuesday, the most stringent there since the start of the pandemic, as authorities warned the risk of a large-scale outbreak was extremely high. Hong Kong has also introduced fines for anyone refusing to wear a mask on public transport.

Australia: As cases passed 10,000 on Tuesday, the state of New South Wales also introduced restrictions on bars. The measures are partly in response to a new cluster at a Sydney pub called The Crossroads. New South Wales recorded 13 new cases as of Monday evening, in addition to ten cases connected to the pub.

Philippines: In the Philippines, a quarter of a million people in Manila will return to lockdown in an attempt to stall the infection rate there. With just over 57,000 cases, the Philippines has the second-highest number of infections in south-east Asia. Nearly 1,600 people have died in the country over the course of the pandemic so far.

Mexico: An entire hospital in Mexico’s southern Oaxaca state has been put in quarantine, after 68% of its remaining staff tested positive.

Malaysia and Singapore: are to ease border restrictions between the two countries to support essential business and official traffic, as well as residents who have long-term work permits for the other country.

Economic updates

US: The New York Times reported that about 5.4 million Americans lost health insurance in the pandemic, more than have ever lost coverage through job losses in a year, according to a new study, as the Trump administration ramped up its war with Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top public health expert, over the handling of the crisis.

Singapore: Singapore’s economy suffered a coronavirus-induced record contraction in the second quarter, putting it on course for its worst-ever slump this year. Gross domestic product (GDP) plunged by a record 41.2% in the three months ended March, on a quarter-on-quarter annualised basis, preliminary data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed on Tuesday.

China: Intensive testing of meat, seafood and other products for the coronavirus has tripled customs clearance times at some major Chinese ports, raising concerns the delays could ensnare global trade flows.

9:35 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Vela Diagnostics’ Covid-19 test receives CE mark – FDA issues EUA for gammaCore Sapphire nVNS

Vela Diagnostics has received the European CE mark for in vitro diagnostic use of the ViroKey™ SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Test v2.0, a Covid-19 detection test. The test also received Provisional Authorisation from the Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority. It is a probe-based reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that specifically targets the ORF1a and N genes of the SARS-CoV-2 genome to detect infection.

National Tsing Hua University Institute of Biomedical Engineering’s Professor Cheng Chao-Min has developed a new Covid-19 test that enables a physician to offer treatment on time to high-risk patients. The test was developed in partnership with the Tri-Service General Hospital and the prototype is undergoing the clinical validations at different medical centres.

Helix has partnered with San Diego County to increase the availability of Covid-19 testing across the county for those who require it the most. Under the public-private partnership, San Diego County will be provided with around 2,000 Helix Covid-19 Test, a RT-PCR test, daily.

electroCore has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of gammaCore Sapphire CV non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (nVNS) to treat adult patients who are confirmed or suspected to have Covid-19. The nVNS will be used for patients who are suffering from asthma-related dyspnea and reduced airflow and drug therapies do not offer symptom relief.

8:39 am

UK house prices could crash by 30% during ‘Covid crunch’

14 July

As Covid-19 is expected to cause the worst global recession since the World War II according to the World Bank’s analysis, the UK housing prices could crash by 20%-30%, opined Jonathan Davis sharing an article published by Anthony Codling, CEO at property platform twindig.

The article highlights that the current situation in housing is different from that during the credit crunch.

Anthony Codling, a former Executive Director at JP Morgan Cazenove, articulated the housing situation during ‘Covid crunch’ as seller drought and that during the credit crunch as buyer drought.

Despite the seller drought, Codling feels downward pressure on housing prices due to growing fear of unemployment and mortgages getting more expensive and limited as banks step up to protect their balance sheets.

Read more

9:27 am

International Update: Record 24 hour increase in Covid-19 cases – US state of Florida records more than 15,000 infections in one day

13 July

Global: The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were recorded in the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa.

A new report by Oxfam warns that the hunger crisis worsened by the pandemic could potentially kill more people each day than the infection itself, which has claimed more than half a million lives so far.

US: The state of Florida has registered 15,300 new infections on Sunday, the biggest daily increase in recorded coronavirus cases in any US state since the beginning of the pandemic.

Current hospitalisations in the US state of Texas rose by 327 to a new high of 10,410, a record high for the 14th day in a row.

New York City, once the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak, reported its first day with zero confirmed or probable virus deaths on Sunday since the pandemic began, according to initial data from the city’s health department.

Japan and the United States are sharing information about coronavirus cases at US military bases in Okinawa prefecture, a government spokesman said on Monday, after 62 new cases were confirmed at three bases.

Brazil: Brazil, the world’s number-two coronavirus hot spot after the United States, has registered 631 new deaths, with a new total of 1,864,681 confirmed cases, Reuters news agency reported quoting the country’s health ministry.

Mexico: Mexico’s coronavirus death toll passed Italy’s on Sunday, AFP reports, becoming the fourth-highest globally, with at least 35,006 fatalities over the course of the pandemic so far.

Argentina: Argentina has exceeded 100,000 cases of novel coronavirus infections as it struggles to contain spiralling case rates despite a strict quarantine imposed on the capital Buenos Aires and its surroundings.

Australia: The Australian state of New South Wales has recorded 14 new cases of coronavirus in the 24-hours to 8pm last night. Eight of the new cases are connected to a cluster at a restaurant and pub, the Crossroads Hotel. They include five people who had attended the hotel and three of their close contacts.

Philippines: The Philippines’ health ministry on Monday confirmed 162 new coronavirus deaths, the country’s biggest single-day increase in casualties, as a health ministry official said authorities validated some earlier cases included in the tally.

South Korea: One in three South Korean patients seriously ill with Covid-19 showed an improvement in their condition after being given Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral remdesivir, Reuters news agency reported on Monday quoting health authorities.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 159 to 198,963, Reuters news agency reported on Monday citing data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

UK: The UK said 650 more people tested positive, in line with the average 0.2% increase in the previous seven days, bringing the total to 289,603. The death toll climbed by 21 to 44,819.

Lockdown updates

US: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pushed the administration’s position of opening schools in the fall, despite a heavy rate of Covid-19 infections in many states, in two Sunday-morning interviews.

Spain: Regional authorities in northeast Spain have tightened a health lockdown and confined over 140,000 people to only leaving their homes for work and other essential activities, the Associated Press news agency reported.

South Africa: President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has reinstated a ban on the sale of alcohol to reduce the volume of trauma patients so that hospitals have more beds to treat Covid-19 patients.

State of Palestine: The Palestinian Authority on Sunday imposed a night-time and weekend curfew on the occupied West Bank for the coming 14 days to try to rein in rising coronavirus numbers.

Singapore: Singapore can return to tackling Covid-19 and “other urgent challenges” with the general election over, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post. The country’s cinemas are reopening Monday as part of a plan to ease restrictions.

China: The Hong Kong government will decide on Monday whether it will tighten social distancing measures, Radio Television Hong Kong reported, without saying where it got the information. Any decision would be announced as soon as Monday.

9:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Todos Medical partners with 3D Medicines for Covid-19 testing – Sri Lankan la receives ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation

Todos Medical has extended its agreement with 3D Medicines Corporation for testing products for Covid-19 coronavirus. As per the newly signed Medical Device Contract Manufacturing Agreement, Todos has received the rights to apply for US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for 3D Med’s SARS-CoV-19 along with exclusive rights for branding and distribution of 3D Med’s qPCR test kits in the US.

Beroni Group has announced its collaboration with Forsitech and Standard Capital to supply its SARS-CoV-2 total antibody detection kit in Japan. The company first plans to supply around 100,000 test kits to these two Japanese partners. Standard Capital’s ALLEX platform will be used for smooth and quick delivery of the test kits.

Bureau Veritas has announced that the Katubedda laboratory in Sri Lanka has received ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for ‘new scope related to medical or surgical face masks’. With this accreditation, face mask buyers and suppliers around the world can test medical masks including the entire EU market entry scope in the laboratory.

The FDA has granted new EUA for Covid-19 tests developed by University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) and BioSewoom. UCSF’s Health Clinical Laboratories-UCSF Clinical Labs at China Basin received the EUA for its molecular-based SARS-CoV-2 RNA DETECTR Assay while BioSewoom was granted the EUA molecular-based Real-Q 2019-nCoV Detection Kit.

8:40 am

EU post Covid-19 economic recovery mirage will fade, says US economist

13 July

As the recession induced by Covid-19 affects the world economies, economists recall the situation caused by the 1918 flu pandemic.

Although the June economic data suggests that the US economy has improved, emerging trends suggest that the situation is getting worse again.

However, Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis Gestion, is upbeat about the recovery in the US compared to the Eurozone.

In one of his latest live shows, Lacalle opined that the economic recovery in the US will be better than that of Eurozone, where the mirage of recovery will fade as ‘demographics, high taxes, and bloated government spending’ work to a disadvantage.

Lacalle believes that US will outperform the Eurozone over the long run despite the temporary setbacks caused by Covid-19.

Read more

3:38 pm

Siemens antibody test outshines rivals in UK study

The Covid-19 antibody test developed by Siemens Healthineers has outperformed those developed by Abbott, DiaSorin and Roche, according to an evaluation by Public Health England (PHE).

PHE worked with the University of Oxford to collect and analyse 536 samples taken from adults with laboratory-confirmed infections more than 20 days after the onset of Covid-19 symptoms. They also tested 994 research specimens taken between 2015 and 2018. Immunoassays from Siemens, Abbott, DiaSorin and Roche were then used to analyse the samples.

While all four tests were able to meet PHE’s specificity criterion of ≥98%, only the Siemens test was able to meet the sensitivity criterion of ≥98%, with a sensitivity of 98.1%. In contrast, the sensitivity of the other tests ranged from 92.7% to 97.2%, meaning they were more likely to deliver a false positive. None of the tests performed as well as they did in company-run studies.

12:11 pm

Insilico and Arctoris partner on Covid-19 AI

Drug discovery biotech Insilico Medicine has announced a partnership with automated drug discovery platform Arctoris, using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify potential Covid-19 treatments.

They have utilised their technologies to discover, synthesise and profile a set of inhibitors for Covid-19 treatment. Insilico identified novel small molecules using its AI capabilities, with Arctoris rapidly evaluating the intended biological actions on its robotic platform. This has enabled them to profile a set of potent inhibitors that can help patients by modulating the life-threatening cytokine storm caused by Covid-19.

Arctoris co-founder and CEO Martin-Immanuel Bittner said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, time is of the essence, and this project demonstrates that together, we are able to accelerate the drug discovery process, and create and progress new drug candidates faster and cheaper.”

10:58 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global cases of Covid-19 over 12,270,000 – record rise in South Africa – further spike in Hong Kong

10 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 12,270,000, with over 555,000 deaths and 6,740,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

This is primarily driven by high number of cases reported in North and Latin America, and South Asia.

More specifically, the US, Brazil, and India contribute approximately 45% of cases to the global confirmed case burden, and over 40% of deaths to the global death toll.

Cases are rising in Africa driven by record rise in daily new cases in South Africa.

Hong Kong kept the Covid-19 cases under control in the first wave of this pandemic.

However, a spike in new cases caused by local transmission have been reported in recent days, and Hong Kong is planning to suspend all the schools to control the outbreak.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:46 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases near 12.3 million – US cases rise by almost 62,000 in a day

10 July

Global: There are 12,272,098 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data, and 554,989 deaths.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US rose by 61,791 from a day earlier to 3.08 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. It was the first time the number of reported new cases exceeded the 60,000-a-day mark.

Texas reported a record number of deaths for the third straight day, topping 100 for the first time. Total fatalities rose 3.7%, to 2,918. The sharp increase in deaths this week follows a similar upturn in cases about three weeks ago.

The US state of California filed a lawsuit seeking to block a Trump administration rule that could force tens of thousands of international students to leave the country if their schools hold all classes online amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mexico: Mexico on Thursday posted a fresh record for new coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 7,280 cases, bringing its overall tally of infections to 282,283, health ministry data showed.

Australia: The Australian state of Victoria recorded 288 new cases – the highest one-day total for an Australian state since the outbreak began. The Australian government decided to cut incoming international passengers, including citizens, by half as well as charging them for their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

South Africa: South Africa announced on Thursday its highest daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases with 13,674.

UK: The UK has turned down the chance to join a European Union coronavirus vaccination program after ministers expressed concern about “costly delays,” the Telegraph reports, citing unidentified people in the government.

Lockdown updates

Japan: Japan is forging ahead with further steps to re-open the economy even as daily coronavirus cases continue to climb, with local media reporting Tokyo posted a daily record of over 240 infections on Friday.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s government has revealed that a third person has absconded from a managed isolation facility, saying a man cut through a fence so that he could go to buy some alcohol.

Singapore: Singaporeans voted in a general election Friday as the city-state struggles to recover from a coronavirus outbreak. The country has 45,423 active cases. At least 26 people have died.

UK: Recreational team sports are resuming in England, starting with cricket on Saturday, the same day that outdoor swimming pools can reopen. Beauticians, salons and spas can reopen on Monday, followed by gyms and indoor pools on July 25, according to UK government announcements.

China: Hong Kong is set to announce the suspension of all schools after a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus cases, the South China Morning Post reported.

China’s embassy in Kazakhstan has warned its citizens to take precautions against an outbreak of pneumonia in the country that it says is more lethal than Covid-19.

Algeria: Algeria will reimpose travel restrictions on Friday and increase testing in a bid to stop a rise in coronavirus infections, the government said.

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Applied DNA Sciences establishes subsidiary for Covid-19 tests – Royal Philips launches 3D facial scanning solution for mask selection

Applied DNA Sciences has formed a subsidiary named Applied DNA Clinical Labs, which will develop tests for the detection of Covid-19. The newly formed subsidiary will also explore development of test for detection of invasive Circulating Tumor Cells (iCTCs). The company plans to increase its market reach with the development of value-added services in addition to the portfolio of diagnostic assays.

Royal Philips has launched the Philips Respironics Mask Selector, a clinically validated, 3D facial scanning solution that helps providers to fit nine out of ten patients with the right mask. The Mask Selector algorithm is expected to aid in improving efficiency of businesses by decreasing the costs related to fitting time and waste of masks.

EpiGentek has released a series of SARS-CoV-2 research assays to aid in the fight against the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic. The two kits focus on studies of SARS-CoV-2 targeted furin or proprotein convertase (PC) cleavage activity. The tools are expected to detect SARS-CoV-2 targeted PC and facilitated proteases with biological samples. They can also screen for these enzyme inhibitors.

Chapters Health Foundation has secured funding to procure 2,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits with the help of a $50,000 grant from Regions Bank. The kit is made of one N95 mask, isolation mask, disposable isolation gown, shoe covers, cap, face shield and disposable gloves. These kits are expected to aid its team members, patients and families.

7:18 am

FDI projected to contract by at least 30% due to Covid-19

10 July

The Covid-19 pandemic has undone years of economic globalisation as foreign direct investments have been disrupted like never before.

Developing countries are the most affected as foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows are expected to drop below the global average.

As the recovery from the pandemic prolongs and FDI inflows drop, developing countries are expected to lose export revenues consequently impact employment opportunities.

Stephany Griffith-Jones, an economist, shared an article on how the Covid-19 pandemic is impacting the flow of global FDI.

The article notes that developing countries are expected to be the worst affected due to this disruption of FDI.

The pandemic led to a capital outflow of $83bn in late March from developing countries, which is the largest ever recorded.

Further, global FDI flows are projected to contract by 30%-%40 between 2020 and 2021.

All sectors are expected to be affected particularly airlines, leisure, and restaurants.

Read more

9:43 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Smiths Detection to produce Covid-19 antibody test – UROCAM’s Covid-19 test receives Health Canada approval

Smiths Detection has partnered with Attomarker to produce a blood-based Covid-19 antibody test. UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already given its approval for Attomarker’s Triple Antibody Test for use by the NHS in the UK. The Smiths Detection team has been working alongside Attomarker since April to develop the design and performance of the device and has manufactured 10 pre-production units, with the ability to ramp up volume according to demand.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to Diazyme for its Diazyme DZ-Lite SARS-CoV-2 IgG CLIA test. The test runs on the completely automated DZ-Lite 3000 Plus chemiluminescence analyser. The assay uses S and N proteins of the Covid-19 causing SARS-CoV-2 virus to detect the IgG antibody.

Republic Services has announced that it will donate 100,000 N95 masks for frontline service providers in Atlanta, Georgia and in Rutherford County, Tennessee. The donation will aid healthcare workers at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and to safeguard the health of first responders in Rutherford County.

UROCAM has received approval from Health Canada for its COVID-19 GeneFinder Test Kit and plans to make the test available for distribution in the country. The Gene-Finder Test is used in the United States, South Korea, Italy and other countries in Europe. Around 15 million tests have been sold in more than 35 countries. The test identifies the RNA of Covid-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 from a respiratory specimen using PCR.

9:37 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases total 12,043,922 – record daily rises in Mexico and Argentina

9 July

Global: Covid-19 infections have passed 12 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with 12,043,922 currently confirmed.

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw US membership from the World Health Organization (WHO) could have life-threatening consequences for people around the globe, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders, or MSF.

US: The US has surpassed three million confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. It said there have been 132,309 deaths among the total of 3,055,101 cases.

US Vice-President Mike Pence urged schools to reopen despite the pandemic, echoing comments from Trump. During a White House coronavirus task force briefing at the US department of education, Pence said: “It’s time for us to get our kids back to school.” But many school officials are expressing doubts about their ability to safely reopen their doors.

President Trump threatened to withhold funding from schools that don’t reopen. The president also criticised the school reopening guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “very tough” and “expensive.”

Brazil: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro vetoed provisions of a law requiring government to provide drinking water, disinfectants and guaranteed hospital beds to indigenous communities amid the pandemic.

Mexico: Mexico has posted a fresh record for new coronavirus cases reported on a single day, with 6,995 infections, overtaking Spain to register the world’s eighth highest case count, according to a Reuters news agency tally.

Argentina: Argentina has posted a daily record of 3,604 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The sharp rise, the first time daily cases have surpassed 3,000, took the total number to 87,030, fivefold the number at the start of June, though still well below caseloads in Brazil, Chile and Peru.

Chile: The number of coronavirus cases has passed the 301,000 mark in Chile, according to the Johns-Hopkins University tracker. The figure is currently 301,019, which is the sixth-highest in the world after the US, Brazil, India, Russia, and Peru.

Iran: Iran’s coronavirus death toll exceeded 12,000 on Wednesday, the health ministry said, with 153 deaths in the past 24 hours, amid a sharp rise in the number of daily infections and deaths in the past week as lockdown measures have eased.

Japan: Tokyo has recorded 224 new cases of coronavirus infection on Thursday, according to the public broadcaster NHK, surpassing the Japanese capital’s previous record of 206 infections on April 17.

Nigeria: Nigeria’s confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed passed 30,000, Reuters reported quoting the country’s disease control centre, as the virus spreads in Africa’s most populous country amid an easing of restrictions put in place to curb the disease.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 50 new cases of the coronavirus as new clusters continue to emerge across the country, AP news agency reported.

China: China says it has nine new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of them brought from outside the country, and no new deaths, AP news agency reported.

The Chinese Government has announced that it is seeking international cooperation to conduct research projects on drugs, vaccines, test kits, and even traditional Chinese medicine to fight the coronavirus.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong has found at least 47 new locally-transmitted virus cases as of 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, HK01 reported. That topped the previous record of 28 daily local cases set in March. At least ten of the latest batch of cases were of unknown origin, HK01 said, indicating that authorities may struggle to contain the current outbreak.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has re-entered lockdown, as the state of Victoria struggles to contain a coronavirus outbreak that has seen daily cases rise by over 100 for several days.

Italy: Italian authorities stopped 125 Bangladeshi people from entering the country today after they landed at Rome’s Fiumicino airport on a flight from Qatar. Yesterday, Italy suspended flights from Bangladesh for a week after 36 people who arrived in Rome on a flight the day before tested positive for coronavirus.

Austria: Austria’s government has announced travel restrictions for fellow EU members Romania and Bulgaria after a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in both countries.

Economy updates

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned the European Union not to waste time in agreeing on a recovery plan to pull the continent out of a historic recession caused by the coronavirus lockdown. Merkel said she hoped to see a deal before the summer break on a proposed €750bn recovery plan.

UAE: Business conditions in Dubai showed signs of picking up in June as the city reopens after a lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.



8:28 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 12 million – numbers rising fast in US, India and Brazil

9 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 12,042,000, with over 550,000 deaths and 6,590,000 recoveries.

Daily confirmed cases continue to rise rapidly across the world driven mainly by the US, Brazil and India which are reporting high number of daily new cases.

Latin and North America remains the most affected region as Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico and the US contribute roughly 47% to the total confirmed case burden in the world.

Cases are in gradual decline in the majority of European countries.

South Asia which includes countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is one of the most populous areas in the world.

As these countries are reporting high numbers of new daily cases, with no indication that cases will decline in the near future, South Asia could be the next global pandemic hotspot after Latin America.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

7:28 am

Covid-19 pandemic could shift the balance of economic power

9 July

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses of various countries in responding to a disaster of such as a viral outbreak.

China has been quick in controlling the outbreak, while other countries are yet to bring it under control.

The quick spread of the pandemic and inability to bring it under control led a series of blame games and rivalries among some of the biggest nations.

As China quickly recovers, the balance of power may shift post-pandemic.

Konstantina Beleli, an economist and consultant, shared an article on how the Covid-19 pandemic is aggravating existing rivalries and blame games between nations.

The article notes that in the differences in economic and demographic growth is expected to shift the balance of power from the west to the east.

The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in the European Union (EU), while intensifying the rivalries between the US, China and Russia.

Read more

11:29 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases increasing by 200,000 a day – US deaths pass 131,000 – UK to reveal mini budget

8 July

Global: There are nearly 11.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The WHO says coronavirus cases are increasing by 200,000 a day, doubling from April and May. The WHO emergencies chief said that the number of Covid-19 deaths appeared to be stable for the moment, but he cautioned that there is often a lag time between when confirmed cases increase and when deaths are reported due to the time it takes for the coronavirus to run its course in patients.

The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people.

US: Known US coronavirus cases stand at almost three million, with 2,911,888 currently confirmed on the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The country’s death toll has passed 131,000 following a massive surge of new cases that has derailed efforts to restart the economy.

The US state of California has reported a record daily rise in confirmed cases of coronavirus – some 10,201 cases.

The US will withdraw the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 6 July 2021 under a 1948 joint resolution of the US Congress, which also obliges Washington to pay financial support. Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger for the presidency, said he would return the US to the WHO once elected.

Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19. He said he began feeling ill on Sunday and has been taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug with unproven effectiveness against Covid-19. In addition, the country has recorded another 1,312 deaths and more than 48,000 new cases.

UK: Scientists at University College London are warning of the risk of brain damage from coronavirus. UCL researchers studied 43 patients who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, stroke, nerve damage or other serious effects on their brain, and say the disease can lead to severe neurological complications including psychosis and delirium.

India: Mumbai will no longer require a doctor’s prescription from people seeking a test for coronavirus, as India’s largest city and the epicenter of its outbreak seeks to catch more cases early.

Japan: Tokyo has confirmed more than 100 virus cases for six straight days, yet there’s no sign a new state of emergency will be announced.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Australia’s coronavirus emergency cabinet will consider limiting the number of its citizens and residents returning home from overseas, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday. The prime minister added there were no plans to reimpose restrictions across the country, after Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state, enforced stay-at-home rules in metropolitan Melbourne and one regional area due to a spike in infections.

New Zealand: Officials are reviewing security at mandatory quarantine hotels after a man who tested positive for Covid-19 escaped and spent an hour wandering city streets.

Israel: Israel’s public health director has quit amid a spike in new coronavirus cases, saying the country had been too hasty to reopen its economy and had lost its way in dealing with the pandemic.

Economy updates

UK: Britain is to unveil a mini-budget to kickstart the UK economy, hoping costly infrastructure investment will help build its way out of the crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Finance minister Rishi Sunak is due to deliver his spending plans at 1130 GMT, having already flagged £3 billion ($3.7 billion, €3.3bn) of green investment.

Malaysia: Auditors for AirAsia, Southeast Asia’s biggest low cost carrier, have warned there is risk to the airline’s ability to continue in business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

11:14 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 11.8 million – US infections reach 2.99 million as the rise continues

8 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 11,840,000, with over 544,000 deaths and 6,340,000 recoveries.

Daily confirmed cases continue to rise across the world.

The total confirmed cases in the US cases have now reached nearly three million and  will continue to rise rapidly in the near future.

Brazil and India which are the second and third most affected countries are also reporting high number of daily new cases.

In the majority of countries in Europe, cases are in decline although localized outbreaks have been reported in some countries.

Israel was one of the few countries which kept the Covid-19 cases under control in the first wave of this pandemic.

However, cases have started to spike in the recent days cancelling the earlier achievement and the country has re-imposed a lock-down.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

9:40 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Royal Philips launches mobile ICUs for India – LabCorp launches digital service to aid doctors

Veeva Systems has announced that its Veeva Vault QMS was used by VentilatorChallengeUK to boost ventilator production. The consortium of companies from different sectors in the UK is working to meet the demand for additional ventilators to aid Covid-19 patients.

Royal Philips has launched mobile Intensive Care Units (ICUs) to meet patient’s needs in India amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Each unit can accommodate nine beds and will be locally produced. Philips expects that each unit will be deployed in one day. India is currently the third-most affected country in the world with regard to the confirmed cases.

LabCorp has launched the LabCorp At Home COVID-19 Test Collection Service, the first digital service to aid doctors in testing patients for Covid-19 before surgeries. The service received US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) on 1 July. The company plans to initially pilot the service with select providers and will make it more widely available to further health systems, hospitals, and surgical centres in the future.

7:33 am

Pandemic driven job losses ten times times higher than 2008 banking crisis

8 July

Unemployment rates have reached unprecedented levels globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The impact of the pandemic on jobs is ten times higher than the 2008 global financial crisis.

Despite the job retention schemes and unemployment benefits offered by governments, unemployment rates are not expected to recover until after 2021.

Miles Corak, professor of economics at The Graduate Center, shared statistics related to the job retention schemes implemented across various countries from an article published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The article details how the Covid-19 pandemic is leading to a collapse in economic activity and increasing unemployment rates, which is expected to reach 12% globally and 10% for OECD countries by the end of 2020.

Corak noted that these job retention programmes have not succeeded in Canada as businesses have not adopted them.

He added that temporary layoffs are turning into permanent layoffs resulting in an increase in the duration of unemployment and decline in earnings.

In other news, Fausto Panunzi, professor of economics at the University of Bocconi, shared an article on the revival of pawnshops in Italy.

With banks declining to extend loans and government aid packages set to end next month, Italians are turning to pawnshops for loans.

Read more

2:00 pm

Perspectum Diagnostics: the biggest start-up you’ve never heard of

For patients with abnormalities of the liver, the journey to a diagnosis can take months. They face a deluge of appointments, blood tests and ultrasounds, before finally undergoing a liver biopsy to decipher the problem. The whole process can take between 16 to 32 weeks. Not only is this hugely disruptive to a person’s life, but on top of it all, the eventual liver biopsy is a fairly gruelling procedure.

Medical imaging specialist Perspectum Diagnostics’ flagship technology LiverMultiScan aims to cut the road to diagnosis down to just two to six weeks. Using multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the software characterises liver tissue by providing quantitative measures of fat and correlates of iron, fibrosis and inflammation. This information is then used to diagnose liver disorders, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It’s been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, CE marked and is available at 290 sites globally, including via a number of UK NHS pathways.

“In healthcare there are lots of pictures, CT scans, MRI scans, endoscopies, slides, and we’re getting better and better at analysing them with computers,” says Perspectum CEO Dr Rajarshi Banerjee. “What our company specialises in is products and services to enable better diagnosis and monitoring, by using computer aided vision.”

Perspectum is now using its imaging expertise to conduct a clinical study into the long-term impacts of Covid-19 on the internal organs. While there’s evidence of recovered Covid-19 patients sustaining a certain degree of organ damage, it’s too early to say what this could mean for public health in five to ten years’ time – and if the impact is set to be serious, it’s vital that healthcare providers are prepared.

How does LiverMultiScan work?

MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body. Just as blood, bone and skin will all absorb microwaves differently and produce different images on an MRI scan, the same is true of different healthy and unhealthy variants of liver tissue.

LiverMultiScan enables clinicians to examine the entire liver so they can consistently quantify evidence of liver disorders in a comprehensive visual format. Unlike conventional MRI, LiverMultiScan uses a series of images to build quantitative parametric maps of the liver, which allow clinicians to see regional variation of factors like cirrhosis or swelling throughout the entire organ.

Banerjee says: “It’s the difference between holding up two pieces of fruit and saying one is heavier than the other, and weighing and measuring them and saying one weighs 250g and the other weighs 200g.”

As well as helping patients to find a diagnosis, the technology has been used to chronicle the impact of a new drug on their liver condition over time, ascertaining its effects in a matter of weeks instead of months. This has been done individual patient care settings, as well as in clinical trials.

Perspectum has fingers in multiple pies

LiverMultiScan isn’t the company’s only offering. The company has also received FDA clearance and CE marking for its magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) technology, MRCP+.

MRCP+ uses a quantitative artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm for MRCP images of the bile ducts and pancreas, to provide improved visualiszation of intra-hepatic ducts and measure the widths of bile ducts, biliary tree volume and gallbladder volume.

Banerjee says: “About 10% of us will get gallstones in our lifetime, and the number is growing. So MRCP+ is actually a really nice technology for that part of the population. LiverMultiScan is a little bit more mature, it’s got more commercial traction. MRCP+ is just a younger brother.”

In addition to its two commercially-approved technologies, Perspectum has two other projects on the go. HepaT1ca, a surgical planning tool for resections in liver cancer patients to improve post-operative morbidity. The project has received £1.1m government grant from Innovate UK to run whole genome sequencing study, to see if imaging can work in conjunction with genome sequencing to improve outcomes for patients.

“Liver cancer is one of those cancers where there’s actually a lot of treatments available,” says Banerjee. “You can cut it out, burn it, you can ablate it, you can inject it with stuff that will kill the tumour, you have drugs for cancer, you can transplant. Trying to work out which one will work best in one patient is hard, and HepaT1ca helps the surgeon and the multidisciplinary team decide what’s best.”

Alongside HepaT1ca, Perspectum’s Digital Pathology project is dedicated to generating a vial to file service for standardised and more accurate reads in NASH trials.

Banerjee says: “Lots of poor decisions have been made both clinically and commercially based on pathology. Drugs which probably can work in liver disease have been written off because some pathologists didn’t think they worked.”

What does this have to do with Covid-19?

Covid-19 is known to play havoc on the kidneys, lungs and liver, as well as the immune and haematological systems, but the extent of any long-term damage this could cause has not been characterised.

Perspectum is now working with the University of Westminster’s life science team to map how the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease impacts multiple organs over time. Known as COVERSCAN, its primary objective is to determine the prevalence and degree of lung, heart, kidney, pancreas and spleen injury in recovered Covid-19 patients.

Taking place over two years, the trial aims to recruit over 500 patients and assess the health of their organs over time. The research team is also hoping to find out whether different genetic traits may influence recovery, using MRI, blood tests, basic physical measurements and questionnaires.

“The study serves two purposes,” says Banerjee. “One, it will tell us if these patients need ongoing follow-up, because if they do we need to factor that into demand forecasting for the NHS. Secondly, it will inform the modelling, because decisions about lockdown will change if it turns out that coronavirus is horrible when you get it, but afterwards you’re fully recovered. That’s a very different world from if you get it and you lose 20% – 30% of your kidney function.”

A world in which coronavirus causes long-term damage to the body is indeed a very different one to a world in which it does not. Banerjee mentions conditions like polio and post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, where the burden of the disease is the long-term disability that can follow it, rather than the short-term infection.

“We just don’t know whether coronavirus causes long term damage to your kidney, your liver, your heart,” he says. “But if it does, then that’s worrying.”

While the study will run for 24 months, it is hoped that preliminary results will be able to give some indication as to the long-term impact of severe Covid-19 on internal organs as early as August 2020.

Emerging from the shadows

Perspectum has kept a relatively low profile since it was founded in 2012, with some describing the firm as “Oxford’s best-kept secret”. It seems the company was too busy developing an industry-standard software that is now used in a third of all commercial liver trials to focus on its media presence.

Banerjee says: “It’s not that it’s not been very high-priority, but it’s a personality thing. When you look like a scarecrow and dress like a scarecrow you kind of hide in the shadows a bit.”

Despite this, the company now employs 210 people across three continents, a figure which has trebled over the course of two years, and is one of the fastest-growing life sciences companies in the UK. It has successfully won 18 different grants at a total value of $100m, and has been awarded $11m in direct funding.

The impact of Covid-19 will inevitably last longer than the pandemic itself, as global society attempts to recover from this once-in-a-generation disaster. Whether that impact will also live on inside of the bodies of those once infected remains to be seen, but if it does then the COVERSCAN study could be what puts Perspectum on the map.

10:38 am

Surveillance systems could help identify Covid-19 risk factors

Research published in Microbial Genomics has detailed how existing public health monitoring systems in the UK could be linked with the UK Biobank (UKB) to improve understanding of the risk factors associated with severe Covid-19.

The researchers linked UKB with Public Health England’s Second-Generation Surveillance System (SGSS), a centralised microbiology database used for national disease surveillance in England, which holds data on test results for Covid-19.

The new system will provide a weekly linkage of tests results to UKB and its cohorts. UKB will also release data relevant to Covid-19 such as mortality records, hospital episode statistics and primary care data.

Researchers hope that this data can reveal additional risk factors for severe infection and improve understanding of the disease.

Big Data Institute associate professor Dr Danny Wilson said: “By providing information about Covid-19 to large cohorts including UK Biobank, INTERVAL, COMPARE, Genes & Health, Genomics England and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biorepository, this work facilitates research into lifestyle, medical and genetic risk factors.”

10:16 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 11.6 million as infections continue to rise – UK most heavily affected in Europe

7 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 11,620,000, with over 538,000 deaths and 6,303,000 recoveries.

Daily confirmed cases continue to rise across the world.

Of the top ten most affected countries, five countries are in North and Latin America. Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico and the US contribute roughly 45% to the total confirmed case burden in the world.

In Asia, India is continuing to report the high number of daily confirmed cases.

In the majority of countries in Europe, daily confirmed cases continue to decrease.

The UK has been the most heavily affected country in Europe with highest number of Covid-19 deaths.

The number of cases and deaths in the UK are in sharp decline in recent days.

However, localized outbreaks have been reported which may be an indicator of a potential resurgence of cases.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:58 am

International Update: US Covid-19 cases near three million – infections in India pass 700,000 – Israel re-imposes restrictions

7 July

US: Known US coronavirus cases stand at almost three million, with 2,911,888 currently confirmed on the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The country’s death toll passed 130,000 on Monday, following a massive surge of new cases that has derailed efforts to restart the economy.

India: India has reported 467 new deaths on Tuesday, taking the toll to 20,160. It also recorded 22,252 new infections, increasing the total to 719,665. The country on Monday overtook Russia as the third most affected country globally, behind the United States and Brazil.

Australia: The state of Victoria, which is fighting a worsening coronavirus outbreak, has confirmed 191 new cases overnight, breaking yesterday’s record of 127 cases.

UK: Nearly one in six Britons will refuse a coronavirus vaccine if and when one becomes available, and a similar number are unsure whether they will get one, according to a survey. The findings come amid a significant rise in anti-vaccination sentiment on social media, and represent a threat to efforts to contain the disease.

South Africa: South Africa’s coronavirus cases have passed 200,000, the highest total in Africa. There are currently 205,721 cases and 3,310 deaths recorded, making it the 15th worst-affected country worldwide.

DRC: The Democratic Republic of Congo extended its coronavirus health emergency on Monday for 15 days, the sixth extension since March, with some lawmakers voicing concern about the effect on the economy.

China: Beijing has reported no new cases of coronavirus for the first time since an outbreak emerged at the Chinese capital’s main wholesale market last month.

Lockdown updates

New Zealand: New Zealand’s government will limit the number of citizens flying home with the national airline to reduce pressure on its overflowing quarantine facilities.

Israel: Israel has re-imposed certain restrictions after a surge in cases, to avoid a wider lockdown that could devastate the economy. Bars, nightclubs, gyms and event halls have been closed.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – FDA provides EUA for Covid-19 antigen test – Centogene and OESIS to screen for Covid-19 at schools

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a Covid-19 antigen diagnostic test, the BD Veritor System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus. This approval marks the second antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection to have received EUA from FDA.

Julius Group has partnered with Noble Biomaterials for the production of reusable  antiviral/antibacterial gloves and masks. This partnership will enable Julius Group to produce PPE using Ionic+ antimicrobial technology of Noble Biomaterials. The reusable antimicrobial gloves and masks will be produced from fabric that has 99.9% pure silver which is expected to reduce the virus infectivity on soft surfaces.

Chembio Diagnostics plans to submit applications for EUA to the FDA for a revised version of the DPP COVID-19 IgM/IgG System and DPP COVID-19 Antigen System. The DPP COVID-19 IgM/IgG System is a Covid-19 point-of-care serology system while the DPP COVID-19 Antigen System is a new Covid-19 point-of-care antigen system.

Centogene has partnered with OESIS Network to carry out Covid-19 screening of schools in the US. With this partnership, RT-PCR testing will support schools to restart classes on campus in the fall and for continued screening to avoid a resurgence of Covid-19 outbreak.

7:23 am

Orthodox economics ineffective during Covid-19 pandemic

7 July

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the already deepening crises facing the world.

Traditional economic theories did not provide the solutions needed to address these problems as it is limited to cost-benefit analysis and mathematical models.

Post Covid-19, economists should focus on precautionary action that can help the world cope with unforeseen disasters.

Richard Murphy, professor of international political economy at the University of London, shared an article on how orthodox economics is proving ineffective during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The article notes that the world was already facing a number of crises before the pandemic including climate change, inequality and robots replacing humans.

Conventional economic theories have not been helpful in addressing these problems as solutions were often disregarded as being unaffordable and counter-productive.

The article notes that the traditional cost-benefit way of decision making should be avoided and a bottom-up approach to economics must be adopted.

Read more

1:10 pm

Cell membrane on a chip could speed up Covid-19 drug screening

Researchers have developed a human cell ‘membrane on a chip’ that allows continuous monitoring of how drugs and infectious agents interact with cells, which may soon be used to test potential drug candidates for Covid-19.

The devices, which were developed by researchers from the University of Cambridge, Cornell University and Stanford University, have been formed on electronic chips while preserving the orientation and functionality of a cell membrane. The chips measure changes in an overlying membrane extracted from a cell, allowing scientists to understand how it interacts with the outside world. Because they don’t rely on live cells, which can be technically challenging to keep alive, measurements can be taken over an extended time period.

The technology has been used to successfully monitor the activity of ion channels, a class of protein in human cells that is targeted by more than 60% of approved pharmaceuticals.

Cornell University researcher Dr Han-Yuan Liu said: “With this device, we are not exposed to risky working environments for combating SARS-CoV-2. The device will speed up the screening of drug candidates and provide answers to questions about how this virus works.”

12:12 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 11.45 million – South Africa struggles to control surge of new cases

6 July

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 11,450,000, with over 535,000 deaths and 6,180,000 recoveries.

Cases have been rising rapidly in North and Latin America, with the US and Brazil contributing to the most of in the increase in the daily new cases.

In the majority of countries in Europe and Asia, daily confirmed cases continue to decrease.

However, cases in India are rising at the fastest pace in Asia with a record number of daily new cases.

South Africa has been the most heavily affected country in Africa by Covid-19.

Given that it is one of the most developed countries in Africa, its struggle to control the surge of new cases does not bode well for other African countries with far fewer resources than South Africa.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

10:06 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 11.4 million – infections rising by one million a week

6 July

Global: There are currently 11,419,638 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, as infections continue to rise by around one million per week. There are 15 countries with over 200,000 known cases each.

US: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 52,228 new cases, and said the number of deaths had risen by 271 to 129,576.

Brazil: Brazil has recorded 26,051 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours as well as 602 deaths, pushing cumulative deaths to a total of 64,867.

Mexico: Health authorities reported 4,683 confirmed new infections of Covid-19 on Sunday, pushing its tally to a total of 256,848, and 273 more deaths to a total of 30,639. In addition, Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopex Obrador refused to compare Mexico with European countries as the country’s coronavirus death toll mounted.

India: India reported just under 25,000 cases and 613 deaths in 24 hours – the biggest daily spike since the first case was detected in late January.

Iran: The latest figures published by the Iranian health ministry on Sunday showed a record 163 had died in the past 24 hours, higher than any daily figure in the country over the course of the pandemic so far.

Peru: Peru on Sunday jumped past 300,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the fifth-highest in the world, as the nation of nearly 33 million people slowly reopens its battered economy.

UK: The Department for Health and Social Care reported that the UK had another 516 positive cases on Saturday, down from 624 the day before and taking the total to more than 285,000. There were 22 new deaths from the virus.

Australia: The state of Victoria recorded its largest jump in cases at any point in the coronavirus crisis, with 127 cases reported on Monday, as the premier announced the border with neighbouring New South Wales would be closed from midnight on Tuesday.

Germany: Germany’s coronavirus infection rate rose slightly while remaining below the key threshold of 1.0 for a 12th day, and the number of new cases held far below the level at the height of the outbreak.

South Africa: South Africa reported a record 173 deaths, bringing the total to 3,199. The number came after four consecutive days of record rises in cases. Cumulative infections rose to 196,750 with 8,773 new cases in the latest daily report.

Lockdown updates

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia announced health protocols to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in the 2020 hajj season, banning gatherings and meetings between pilgrims, the state news agency said on Monday.

Spain: A lockdown has been ordered for a region of Galicia in north-western Spain, restricting travel in and out of A Marina for about 70,000 residents. The five-day measure was ordered after cases started to rise from two different outbreaks.

Greece: Greece has announced it will prohibit Serbian tourists from entering the country as of 6am tomorrow. The ban, due to last until at least 15 July, follows a surge in incidents of coronavirus in the Balkan state.

Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan on Sunday imposed a second round of nationwide restrictions that are to last at least two weeks, in a bid to counter a huge surge in coronavirus cases which has overwhelmed the country’s healthcare system.

India: India has withdrawn a planned reopening of the Taj Mahal, citing the risk of new coronavirus infections spreading in the northern city of Agra from visitors, as the country’s infections are rising at the fastest pace in three months.

Philippines: Coronavirus cases in the Philippines rose by a record on Sunday, which authorities attributed to increased contact among the population as quarantine measures are eased.

Economic updates

UK: Prime minister Boris Johnson will inject £1.57bn into Britain’s beleaguered arts and heritage sectors in a long-awaited coronavirus rescue package described by the government as the biggest one-off investment in UK culture.

Hong Kong: Business conditions in Hong Kong showed further signs of stabilization in June, as the government eased social-distancing restrictions with coronavirus infection rates largely under control.

US: A House Democratic spending bill will set aside $10 billion for the coronavirus response and require the US to send funds to the World Health Organization, an agency targeted by President Donald Trump over its handling of the pandemic.

9:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – BD to provide 65 million needles and syringes to the UK – NHS England to provide online rehab recovery service for Covid-19 patients

BD has received an order from the UK Government for the delivery of 65 million needles and syringes by mid-September to aid the country’s efforts for vaccination against Covid-19. The first shipments arrived in the country on 18 June.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Nagpur, India has received the delivery of the Biofire FilmArray Torch which is a multiplex assay capable of detecting 22 respiratory pathogens that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI). This technology is expected to aid in SARI patients who are not infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus. The Times of India reported that this equipment is only present at AIIMS, Nagpur in the entire state of Maharashtra.

Led by Indian scientist Manu Prakash, a group of researchers have developed a low-cost centrifuge that can operate without electricity to isolate components in saliva samples to detect Covid-19. This invention is expected to boost the availability of Covid-19 diagnostics in poorer parts of the world. BloombergQuint quoted the Stanford University scientists as saying that the ‘Handyfuge’ can be assembled at a cost of around $5 per unit, with easily available components.

NHS England has launched an on-demand recovery service for patients who are suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19. The patients will have access to nurses and physiotherapists either as an online or over-the-phone service. The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service will aid those who have recovered from the virus, but still experience issues with breathing, mental health problems or other side-effects.

6:58 am

Low demand could stall oil prices until 2030

6 July

Oil demand witnessed an unprecedented shock in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill.

Lockdown measures and decline in mobility is expected to lead to the largest fall in oil demand in history in 2020.

Although demand returned in the second quarter, oil demand may not return to peak before 2030.

Daniel Lacalle, an economist and chief economist at Tressis SV, shared an article on the forecasts on oil demand made by Goldman Sachs.

Demand for oil is expected to return to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels by 2022, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.

The article adds that global demand for oil is expected to decline by 8% in 2020 and rebound by 6% in 2021.

Further, Goldman Sachs analysts predict that oil prices are not expected to peak before 2030.

Read more

10:41 am

UK government orders 65 million injection devices

Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), the world’s largest manufacturer of injection devices, has announced that the UK government has ordered 65 million needles and syringes to support its Covid-19 vaccination effort.

The needles and syringes will all be delivered by mid-September 2020, with the first shipments arriving in the country on 18 June. The UK government is one of the first in the world to secure vaccine injection devices to prepare for a national inoculation program.

While many annual vaccines come ready-to-deliver in prefilled syringes, rapid production needs mean that the new vaccine is anticipated to be made available initially in single or multidose vials. These require the use of separate needles and syringes to draw the vaccine from the vial and administer it to patients.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Centogene’s Covid-19 test receives EUA from FDA – UK-RTC Covid-19 tests to be mass produced

Centogene has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test. The SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test is based on the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect Covid-19 causing SARS-CoV-2 virus. Samples from upper respiratory tract that are collected from patients will be used for the test.

Fluxergy has announced that it will collaborate with Mass General Brigham (MGB) to explore Fluxergy’s Research Use Only (RUO) Covid-19 testing platform. This platform is expected to provide PCR test results within one hour. The company has sent a request to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) which will permit certified laboratories to use the tool.

The FDA has issued an EUA for the third diagnostic test to detect and differentiate the viruses that lead to flu and Covid-19 in patients who may have Covid-19. Previously, the FDA has issued EUAs to BioFire Diagnostics and QIAGEN for their Covid-19 tests.

The UK-Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) has announced that it has reached ‘design freeze’ for its Covid-19 antibody test. The consortium was set up in April this year in order to develop and manufacture Covid-19 antibody tests which will identify if the immune system of a person has responded to the Covid-19 infection. With this milestone, the test kits can now be mass produced for distribution.


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