World coronavirus dispatch: First human trial of Covid-19 drug underway

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

FILE PIC: Healthcare workers walk outside NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan in New York City. Photo: Reuters
A UK woman on Thursday became the first volunteer to participate in the human trial for a coronavirus vaccine, an event that marks a new stride in the world’s fight against the pandemic. Elisa Granato was one of the two volunteers injected with the drug developed at the Oxford University. A larger trial, of about 5,000 volunteers, will start in the coming months. Read more here.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 2,736,979

Change over previous day: 84,900

Total deaths: 192,125

Total recovered: 4,692,797

Nations hit with most cases: US (870,468), Spain (219,764), Italy (189,973), France (159,495) and Germany (153,584).

Trump recommends disinfectant injections, sends medical fraternity into a tizzy: US President Donald Trump on Friday suggested a research into whether coronavirus infection could be treated by injecting disinfectants into the patient’s body. However, the suggestion was soon rubbished by the medical fraternity on social media. Doctors termed ingesting disinfectants as highly toxic for the human body. Read more here.

Immigrants, hit hard by economic fallout, adapt to new jobs: The coronavirus crisis has forced some immigrants in the US — many of them in a dire economic situation — to branch out to new jobs or adapt skills to meet the demands generated by the pandemic. Several sectors which are dominated by immigrant labour – restaurants, hotels, office cleaning services, in-home childcare and hair and nail salons – are disrupted by the pandemic. Read more here

US deaths cross 50,000 mark: The US suffered more than 3,000 deaths in 24 hours, but it still has a lower mortality rate than most European nations based on the current count of cases. Recent rises are also partly due to the inclusion of "probable" virus deaths. The US has by far the highest death toll and case count in the world. Read more here.

US banks pull back from lending to European companies: US banks are pulling back from lending to European companies during the coronavirus pandemic, fuelling concerns that Wall Street might be withdrawing to its home market in a repeat of the last financial crisis. Bankers, advisors and company executives said American lenders had become more cautious in underwriting bilateral and syndicated loans to large corporate clients across the region in recent weeks. Read about the instances here.

Domestic flights resume in Vietnam: Vietnam Air will start operating up to 13 flights per day between the capital and the nation's largest city, marking a return to about 30 per cent of normal routes. The connection had been limited to just one daily flight during the lockdown. Read more here.

Boris Johnson will return to work next week: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson might return to work as soon as Monday, according to government officials who say he is making a rapid recovery. On April 12, Johnson was discharged from the hospital where he had been admitted after testing positive for the coronavirus. Read more here.


Chinese coronavirus cases could be four times the official tally: A new study shows that infections in China would have been 232,000 as of February 20 if the calculation of cases confirmed by “clinical diagnosis” had been applied throughout the outbreak, against 55,508 cases announced at the time by the Chinese government. The study’s authors say seven versions of the coronavirus case definition were used by the NHC in China from January 15 to March 3 and changes should be considered when estimating growth rates. Read more here.

Coronavirus vaccine update: In the race to create a vaccine, some researchers are testing new approaches that they hope would ultimately produce vaccines in months rather than years. Experts estimate it might take 12-18 months for a vaccine to be widely available, with glimmers of hope for some limited availability sooner. The current state of play: There are at least 92 vaccines under development for Covid-19. Read here to get up to date on coronavirus drug development.

Can I get coronavirus from my pet? There is no evidence pets are spreading the virus to people. However, there have been a few cases worldwide where animals likely got the virus from humans. If you are sick, it is best to stay away from your pet. Read the official advisory here.

Long Reads

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the world’s richest man, has penned down a longish blog post on his reading of the pandemic situation. “The disease is disproportionately hurting poorer communities and racial minorities. Likewise, the economic impact of the shutdown is hitting low-income, minority workers the hardest. Policymakers will need to make sure that, as the country opens up, the recovery doesn’t make inequality even worse than it already is.” Read his blog post here.


Contact tracing – Balancing public health and individual privacy: How much data are people willing to share and what is considered a breach of privacy and freedom? AP global science and environment reporter Christina Larson explains in this podcast.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel