- This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top stories: WHO recommends booster shot for immunocompromised people; AstraZeneca antibody cocktail study shows success treating COVID-19; Thailand set to end some quarantine rules for some travellers.
1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 238.2 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.85 million. More than 6.54 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
Merck has applied for US emergency use authorization for its oral antiviral medication. If approved, it would be become the first such drug approved for use against COVID-19.
New Zealand expects to administer a record 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in a single day during a mass immunization drive on 16 October, as the country seeks to accelerate inoculations.
A European study has found an elevated risk of a life-threatening blood clot in patients with mild or moderate COVID-19. The clot, called venous thromboembolism, had previously been associated with severe COVID-19.
Delaying England’s first COVID-19 lockdown was a serious error based on groupthink that went unchallenged, a joint report from the Parliamentary health and science committees has said.
Thailand is set to end COVID-19 quarantine rules for vaccinated visitors from 10 low-risk countries from 1 November, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Monday.
Turkey has reported its highest one-day rise in new confirmed COVID-19 cases since 30 April, with 30,563 logged on Monday.
Sydney’s COVID-19 cases have fallen to the lowest level in two months.
Developing nations and UN Secretary-General António Guterres have called for a fairer distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
2. WHO recommends booster shot for immunocompromised people
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that immunocompromised people be given an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, due to their higher risk of breakthrough infections after standard immunization.
WHO Vaccine Director Kate O’Brien, referring to people with lower immunity due to other conditions, told a news briefing: “The recommendation is for a third vaccination, an additional vaccination in the primary series, and again that is based on the evidence showing that the immunogenicity and evidence on breakthrough infections is highly disproportionately represented by those people.”
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts of Immunization also recommended that people over 60 receive an additional dose of the shots made by Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac.
3. AstraZeneca antibody cocktail study shows success treating COVID-19
AstraZeneca’s antibody cocktail against COVID-19, which had previously shown success at preventing infection, has also been shown to save lives and prevent severe disease when given as a treatment within a week of the onset of symptoms.
The drug, which is a combination of two different antibodies, reduced the risk of severe COVID-19 or death by 50% in non-hospitalized patients who have had symptoms for seven days or less.
It joins a number of other treatments that have been shown to prevent deterioration in patients with mild disease when given soon after diagnosis.
AstraZeneca’s Mene Pangalos said in a media call that the treatment results would mainly underscore the potential future use as a non-vaccine prevention option.
“If and when this is approved it will be used in the treatment setting as well. But the real differentiator for this antibody is going to be in the prophylactic setting,” he said.
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