Coronavirus Global Roundup, April 29: Vietnam squashes COVID-19 curve, preliminary Remdesivir data released
There are now over 3.16 million cases of COVID-19 across the world, and close to 219,000 people have lost their lives.
There are now over 3.16 million cases of COVID-19 across the world, and close to 219,000 people have lost their lives. The US also crossed over 100,000 cases. Here is a roundup of the major developments of the day.
Vietnam appears to have squashed its COVID-19 curve
Vietnam, which shares a border with China, has waged an astonishingly successful battle against the pandemic that has brought the virus to its knees. So far, only 270 cases have been reported, 222 of which have recovered. There have been no fatalities in the Southeast Asian country.
Further, no new cases have been reported in the last five days, and there have been no reports of local transmission in 13 days.
Russia nears 100,00 confirmed cases
Russia registered over 5,000 cases in the last 24 hours, taking its cumulative number to 99,399. It has now outstripped China and Iran in terms of caseload to become the 8th most-affected country. However, the death rate is still on the lower side with 972 fatalities confirmed so far.
In the last 24 hours, 108 people have died which is a record high for the country. President Vladimir Putin has warned that the worst still lies ahead and the coming several weeks will be a difficult time. The country has been in lockdown since mid-March and announced today that it would extend the ban on foreigners until the virus is brought under control.
China gradually emerging from the pandemic
Beijing announced that it will downgrade its emergency response level from II to I. This means that travellers coming from other low-risk regions will not need to undergo compulsory quarantine. These measures are likely to be made official on Thursday.
Further, the government announced that China would begin its annual session of Parliament on the 22nd of May, signalling a gradual transition to normalcy.
Tokyo Olympics could be cancelled, not further postponed if the crisis continues
Japan initially kept a brave face and waited until it was abundantly clear to announce that the Olympics would not be happening this year. Now, Dr Yokokura, who heads the Japan Medical Association, has said that it is unlikely the Olympics will happen next year unless a vaccine or effective treatment is developed.
Yoshiro Mori, the president of Japan’s organizing committee said that if the situation does not change next year, then the games will have to be cancelled altogether like they were during the World Wars.
Preliminary Remdesivir data released
Gilead Sciences released preliminary reports on its drug Remdesivir's performance. According to the study, 65% of those on a 5-day treatment plan recovered, and 60% were discharged within 14 days.
The study consisted of 397 participants - half got a 5-day dose, whereas the other half got a 10-day dose of the drug. About 54% of patients in the 10-day regimen recovered as well. Gilead said that this was a positive development as even a smaller dose seemed to work.
This was a 'single-arm' study meaning that no control group was present - so further studies are required to understand the drug's actual effects on the disease. Gilead also shared that another trial carried out by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases met its target but did not provide further information - a more detailed report is shortly expected. The final report is expected by mid-May.
For more information, read our article on Why is taking so long to develop a COVID-19 vaccine?
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The active cases comprises 0.10 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has increased to 98.72 per cent, the health ministry said
The sensor used in the mask can respond to as little as 0.3 microlitres of liquid containing viral proteins, about 70 to 560 times less than the volume of liquid produced in one sneeze and much less than the volume produced by coughing or talking
"During our study, we couldn't detect viral particles in the cardiac tissues of COVID-19 patients, but what we found was tissue changes associated with DNA damage and repair,"