World Coronavirus Dispatch: Rapid vaccine production the real challenge

As coronavirus batters economies around the world, the poorer countries have been suffering the most
US states to get vaccine within 24 hours of nod

In final late-stage trials, the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine proved to be 95 per cent effective, and the makers said they would move to get approval "within days". The vaccine was almost as effective in people over 65, who are more vulnerable to disease. As the world waits for the shots, the US states are likely to get the first taste of the medicine. An army official indicated that states will get the vaccine shipments within 24 hours of approval from the drug regulator.

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 56,250,764

Change over yesterday: 672,079

Global deaths: 1,349,402

Total recovered: 36,146,977

Countries with most cases: US (11,529,802), India (8,958,483), Brazil (5,945,849), France (2,115,717), Russia (1,975,629)  

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Covid-19 shakes up world’s most expensive cities

The pandemic has reshuffled world's most expensive cities, according to a new cost of living report. Hong Kong, Zurich and Paris are now the top three most expensive cities. Singapore and Osaka, which were on top along with Hong Kong last year, have slipped down. Singapore fell below on the back of exodus of foreign workers due to the Covid pandemic. While cities in the America, Africa and Eastern Europe have become less expensive since last year, Western European cities have become costlier. Read more

Everything's open in Canada’s atlantic bubble, but few are sick

While the rest of Canada is bearing the brunt of pandemic with cases hitting record highs, shutdowns and grim death rates, four provinces have formed what they call the sealed atlantic bubble. They've barred outsiders so that those inside it can travel, stuck to health guidelines and the result is a death rate a 10th of the country’s. The geographical advantage may be helping. Atlantic Canada comprises islands, peninsulas, and uninhabited swaths where physical distancing is a way of life. But it’s more a culture with people who live here are incredibly compliant with the precautions. Read on...

Brutal second wave exposes Italy's shortage of ICU staff

Italy has reported its highest daily deaths since early April and the hospitals are struggling with shortage of intensive care specialists. Beds and ventilators in hospitals have increased, but the staff almost remained same since pandemic struck the country. The patients are unable to find anaesthetists, or nurses who able to work in critical care. The one reason is that many medics have chosen to leave the profession or take early retirement after the trauma experienced in the first wave. And to worsen the situation, those working have become targets of violence as some people vent their anger at the healthcare system over the ongoing pandemic. Read more..

Immunity against Covid can last more than six months

Adding to the loads of research on Covid-19, a new study has found that the immune response against coronavirus could last at least for six months and possibly even more longer. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, found antibodies in blood samples anaylsed six months after the infection. In almost all the samples, memory B-cells were also detected. However, the study comes with many limitations and more research is needed to reinforce the findings. Read on...

Making a vaccine fast will be the harder part

The trials of two vaccines have given hope to the world that there is an end in sight to the pandemic devastating country after country. But, here's the catch. Even if vaccine makers get the regulatory authorisations for use, the companies developing them are staring at an arduous task of making millions of shots at a rapid pace. In all likelyhood, only a tiny group of Americans will be able to get the shot by the end of the year. The vaccine developers are slowly, but surely are accepting the reality of not meeting the estimated targets in producing shots, reflecting just how difficult and unpredictable the manufacturing process has been and will be. Read more...

G20 nearing IMF funding to poorer nations

As coronavirus batters economies around the world, the poorer countries have been suffering the most. The Saudi Arabia's finance minister Mohammed al-Jadaan in an exclusive interaction said the G20 block is nearing a consensus on funding boost to help nations tackle the crisis. While staying silent on the scale of the fund, he added: “definitely we need it for certain countries and i am quite optimistic that we will find a way to do it very soon, particularly to countries in need.” Read more...


Meet the power couple who developed Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine

Ugur Sahin (55) and Ozlem Tureci (53) are veterans in the world of medical achievements. They are listed among Germany's 100 richest people and spent years pioneering personalised immunotherapy treatments for cancer. But the couple's ethos and fidelity to academia and science appear to have kept them grounded as they catapulted a vaccine breakthrough that could well be "the greatest medical advance" in a century. Their Covid-19 vaccine approach uses never-before-approved technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to trick cells into producing bits of protein that look like pieces of the virus. The immune system learns to recognise and attack those bits and, in case of any actual infection, response would be faster. Read more

Fighting the second wave of coronavirus

The recent Covid surge tearing through European nations and US reveals the second wave is more deadlier and ruthless than the first one. A member of the Biden-Harris transition team’s Covid-19 advisory board talks about how health care workers should approach their messaging this winter, the importance of “flattening the curve,” and the challenges of planning the coronavirus response. Read on...

Long read: The world's young are anxious, angry and dissatisfied

"No boys, no play dates, nowhere to go, except home and the liquor store." When two sisters left their apartment to return to their parents' home in March, they packed enough clothes that would last for two weeks. Now their stay extended into months. They are among millions of young adults around the world who have moved back in with their parents since Covid struck. As the pandemic worsened and universities closed, students and young workers are suffering from the economic fallout more harshly than any other groups. And the most troubling part is that the distress is manifesting itself in growing resentment towards older generations. Read on....

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