Germany ‘optimistic’ for coronavirus vaccine in months

  • UN chief Antonio Guterres warns the coronavirus pandemic not only threatens gains in fighting poverty and building peace, but also risks exacerbating old conflicts and generating new ones.

  • President Vladimir Putin says Russia has developed the first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus, but the WHO says it does not have enough information to evaluate it.

  • Worldwide coronavirus cases have surpassed 20.4 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 12.7 million have recovered, and more than 745,000 have died,

    Thursday, August 13

    09:00 GMT – Hong Kong reports 69 new coronavirus cases

    Hong Kong reported 69 new coronavirus cases, of which 65 were locally transmitted, as authorities cautioned the global financial hub still faced a critical period to control the virus, which has seen a resurgence since early July.

    Since late January, more than 4,200 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 65 of whom have died. Thursday’s figure was up slightly from Wednesday’s 62 cases.

    08:30 GMT – Nearly 6% of people in England may have had COVID-19

    Nearly 6 percent of people in England were likely infected with COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic, researchers studying the prevalence of infections said, millions more people than have tested positive for the disease.

    A total of 313,798 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Britain, 270,971 of which have been in England, or just 0.5 percent of the English population.

    However, a study that tested more than 100,000 people across England for antibodies to the coronavirus showed that nearly 6 percent of people had them, suggesting that 3.4 million people had previously contracted COVID-19 by the end of the June.

    Prevalence of infections appeared to be be highest in London, where 13 percent of people had antibodies, while minority ethnic groups were two to three times as likely to have had COVID-19 compared to white people.

    08:15 GMT – Philippines reports 4,002 more infections, 23 deaths

    The Philippines’ health ministry reported 4,002 more novel coronavirus infections and 23 additional deaths in the country.

    In a bulletin, the ministry said total number of confirmed cases in the Philippines had risen to 147,526, the highest in Southeast Asia, while confirmed deaths had reached 2,426.

    The Philippines plans to launch clinical trials for a Russian coronavirus vaccine in October after Russia became the first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, drawing safety concerns over the frantic pace of its development.

    08:00 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus cases surpass 907,000

    Russia reported 5,057 new cases of the novel coronavirus bringing its nationwide tally to 907,758, the fourth largest caseload in the world.

    Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said 124 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing its official death toll to 15,384.

    The United States, Brazil, India, and Russia are currently the worst-hit countries in the world.

    07:50 GMT – Thai scientists catch bats to trace virus origins

    Researchers in Thailand have been trekking through the countryside to catch bats in their caves in an effort to help trace the origins of the coronavirus.

    The closest match to the coronavirus has been found in horseshoe bats in Yunnan in southern China. Thailand has 19 species of horseshoe bats but researchers said they have not yet been tested for the new coronavirus.

    The team from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Center took saliva, blood, and stool samples from the bats before releasing them.

    The team was headed by Supaporn Wacharapluesadee, the centre’s deputy chief, who has studied bats and diseases associated with them for more than 20 years.

    Supaporn said it is likely the researchers will find the same virus that causes COVID-19 in Thailand’s bats.

    07:25 GMT – Limited testing? Researchers in Rwanda have an idea

    Like many countries, Rwanda is finding it impossible to test each of its citizens for the coronavirus amid shortages of supplies. But researchers there have created an approach that is drawing attention beyond the African continent.

    They are using an algorithm to refine the process of pooled testing, which tests batches of samples from groups of people and then tests each person individually only if a certain batch comes back positive for COVID-19. Pooled testing conserves scarce testing materials.

    Rwanda’s mathematical approach, researchers say, makes that process more efficient. That is an advantage for developing countries with limited resources, where some people must wait several days for results. Longer waits mean a greater chance of unknowingly spreading the virus.

    Those behind the algorithm have expressed pride that a potential solution to a dogged problem in the global crisis is coming from Africa.

    07:15 GMT – Brazil state signs deal to make Russian vaccine

    The Brazilian state of Parana signed a deal to test and produce Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine, though officials stressed they would have to be sure of its safety and effectiveness first.

    The vaccine would have to receive Brazilian regulatory approval and complete Phase 3 clinical trials, or large-scale testing in humans, before being produced in Brazil, said officials from the southern state.

    Production, if it goes ahead, would likely only start in the second half of 2021, said Jorge Callado, head of the state-run Parana Technology Institute, which signed the deal with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

    06:55 GMT – Germany: Optimistic we’ll have a vaccine in coming months

    German Health Minister Jens Spahn told ZDF television he expects there would be a COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months and definitely next year.

    “I’m optimistic that in the next months, and certainly in the next year, there can be a vaccine,” Spahn said.

    He declined to give a specific month and said it was not yet possible to say how often people would need to be vaccinated or how long-lasting the immunity it conferred would be.

    “But one thing we can say is that thanks to us all working together – researchers, scientists, the public – we will probably have a vaccine faster than ever before in the history of humanity.”

    06:25 GMT – India’s coronavirus cases jump by 67,000 in daily record

    India reported another record daily rise in novel coronavirus infections, while the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 47,000.

    Infections grew by 66,999 on Thursday from a day earlier to reach a total of nearly 2.4 million to date, India’s health ministry said.

    The country, with the world’s biggest case load behind the United States and Brazil, has now reported a jump of 50,000 cases or more each day for 15 straight days.

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