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Chinese officials say chicken wings imported from Brazil tested positive for Covid-19
Chinese officials say chicken wings imported from Brazil tested positive for Covid-19
Credit: unsplash.com / Erik Mclean

A sample of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, authorities said Thursday, the latest in a series of reports of contaminated imported food products.

The coronavirus was detected Wednesday on a surface sample taken from a batch of chicken wings during screening of imported frozen food in Longgang district of Shenzhen, the municipal government said in a statement. Officials did not name the brand.

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Russia approves Covid-19 vaccine without completing phase three clinical trials
Russia approves Covid-19 vaccine without completing phase three clinical trials
Credit: Screenshot of the website for the Russian Covid-19 vaccine

According to an announcement from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the country has registered and approved the world's first Covid-19 vaccine.

Multiple experts have stated that it is still unclear if the vaccine is safe, as phase three clinical trials are still underway. These phase three trials have the goal of determining if the vaccine is safe and works in the general population.

Multiple experts from around the world have voice their concerns and criticism of this rushed approval process including the executive director of the Russian nonprofit Association of Clinical Trials Organizations, Svetlana Zavidova. She has asked "why are all corporations following the rules, but Russian ones aren’t? The rules for conducting clinical trials are written in blood. They can’t be violated" and added that "this is a Pandora’s Box and we don’t know what will happen to people injected with an unproven vaccine".

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World's largest vaccine manufacturer sets $3 ceiling price per dose of Covid-19 vaccine
World's largest vaccine manufacturer sets $3 ceiling price per dose of Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Serum Institute

The Indian company Serum Institute has announced that its Covid-19 vaccine once developed and approved will have a ceiling price of $3 per dose for India and low-and-middle-income countries. Serum is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume and has now received at-risk funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. The money will be used to produce possible candidates for vaccines.

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Canada permits psilocybin therapy for terminally ill patients
Canada permits psilocybin therapy for terminally ill patients
Credit: Erik Fenderson (Public Domain)

The Canadian government has announced that the usage of psychedelic mushrooms will be permitted as part of a "psilocybin therapy" for terminally ill patients. The intended benefit is to help people to ease their fear of death and end-of-life anxiety.

Four patients had previously appealed to the Canadian Minister of Health Patty Hajdu in order to get an approval for exemption in order to obtain and consume the substance which became illegal in Canada in 1974.

Laurie Brooks, one of the four patients, has stated: "I want to thank the Health Minister and Health Canada for approving my request for psilocybin use. The acknowledgement of the pain and anxiety that I have been suffering with means a lot to me, and I am feeling quite emotional today as a result. I hope this is just the beginning and that soon all Canadians will be able to access psilocybin, for therapeutic use, to help with the pain they are experiencing, without having to petition the government for months to gain permission."

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Scientists have developed a synthetic blood-thinner without bleeding side-effects
Bleeding wound on finger
Bleeding wound on finger Credit: Crystal (Crystl) from Bloomington, USA (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne have developed the first synthetic blood-thinner. Together with three other laboratories, the Laboratory of Therapeutic Proteins and Peptides of Professor Christian Heinis has developed an inhibitor that stays in the blood plasma for over 120 hours and shows high potency, stability and selectivity.

Together with the University Hospital of Bern (Inselspital) and the University of Bern they've shown that the new blood-thinner can efficiently block coagulation in a thrombosis model without the increased risk of bleeding side effects present in currently used blood-thinners.

Professor Christian Heinis has stated that "our collaboration found that it is possible to achieve bleeding-free anti-coagulation with a synthetic inhibitor". According to him, the "inhibitor is a promising candidate for safe thromboprotection in artificial lungs" and will undergo further studies and optimizations.

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300,000 Seafarers stranded at sea, banned from ports
300,000 Seafarers stranded at sea, banned from ports
Credit: Ville du Havre / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The International Transport Workers' Federation estimates that around 300,000 seafarers are currently trapped at sea, unable to leave their cargo ships or dock due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Seafarers have been om board for months, some for over a year. The staff is being forced to remain aboard to keep shipping going as shipping firms are having are a hard time find new staff even though another 300,000 seafarers are onshore and unemployed.

The ITF called the situation a "humanitarian crisis". One of the ITF's surveys found that 70% had to involuntarily extend their contract and 5% of the workers weren't paid. Crew members spoke of mental health problems, supply shortages and suicidal thoughts. Several governments promised to speed up the crew change process but haven't delivered yet. The ITF said it would support seafarer strikes.

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Vietnam reports first ever Covid-19 death amid new outbreak
Vietnam reports first ever Covid-19 death amid new outbreak
Credit: Mehr News Agency / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Vietnam has recorded the country's first Covid-19 death on Friday. Patient 428 was a 70-year-old man from Danang, where the virus had reemerged after the country had not seen any cases in 100 days.

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Scientists have developed a blood test to diagnose prostate cancer
Scientists have developed a blood test to diagnose prostate cancer
Credit: Dotodot (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Scientists from the Monash University School of Clinical Science, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse and Predicine, a biotech company from California have developed a blood test for the diagnosis of prostate cancer in men.

The test is able to profile circulating DNA and RNA shed by cancer cells out of 10ml of blood. This procedure gives insight if cancer has developed and how it is composed, enabling conclusions on which treatment could possibly be the best.

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Modified cannabis could potentially kill cancer cells according to research at University of Newcastle
Modified cannabis could potentially kill cancer cells according to research at University of Newcastle
Credit: unsplash.com / Christina Winter

The University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Insitute in Australia have tested a modified strain of cannabis for its abilities to kill or inhibit cancer cells.

Dr Matt Dun researched for three years on the potential treatment of cancer with cannabis containing high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of the plant. The research was in collaboration with the Australian biotech company ANTG (Australian Natural Therapeutics Group).

Dr Dun has states that they "initially used leukaemia cells and were surprised by how sensitive they were" while the substance speared normal bone marrow cells and healthy white blood cells.

Comparing THC and CBD strains Dr Dun stated that "the CBD variety looks to have greater efficacy, low toxicity and fewer side-effects, which potentially makes it an ideal complementary therapy to combine with other anti-cancer compounds".

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China reports 57 local Covid-19 cases on Sunday, highest number since March 6
People wearing masks in Guangzhou City
People wearing masks in Guangzhou City Credit: zhizhou deng / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

China has reported 57 confirmed locally transmitted Covid-19 cases on Sunday, marking the highest case count since March 6. Of those cases, 41 were recorded in the western region Xinjiang which had its first Covid-19 cases on July 15 after almost five months of no new infections.

An additional 44 asymptomatic and four imported cases were recorded, though China is not counting asymptomatic cases to the country's total numbers.

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Covid-19 cases have doubled over the past 6 weeks
Burial of deceased COVID-19 patient during pandemic in Ukraine. Chernivtsi, Ukraine.
Burial of deceased COVID-19 patient during pandemic in Ukraine. Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Credit: Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to the World Health Organisation, Covid-19 cases have roughly doubled over the past six weeks, nearing 16 million confirmed cases and 640,000 deaths globally.

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First German Covid-19 patient states he has no antibodies anymore since three months after infection

The officially as first considered German Covid-19 patient stated that he does not carry protecting antibodies in his blood anymore since three months after his infection.

The to this day unnamed man stated in an interview published by his employer Webasto that "Since April I have had no more neutralizing antibodies" but added that he has no long-term effects from the virus and is now at full health again. He had previously spent 19 days in the hospital.

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21 existing drugs identified that could possibly treat Covid-19, study
21 existing drugs identified that could possibly treat Covid-19, study
Credit: unsplash.com/ThisisEngineering RAEng

A global team of scientists has researched through one of the largest databases for existing drugs and identified 21 potential substances that could potentially safely induce an antiviral reaction in patients against SARS-CoV-2.

Out of these four substances work synergistically with the already for Covid-19 approved remdesivir drug. Further studies and research are still underway.

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Swiss government says plastic face shields are inadequate protection
Swiss government says plastic face shields are inadequate protection
Credit: unsplash.com/engin akyurt

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health warns of the usage of plastic face shields – or visors – over face masks. A spokesperson said that "the visors do not serve as an alternative to hygiene masks. Visors can be worn with masks to further enhance your own protection." Health officials recommend wearing a visor in tandem with a face mask.

After an outbreak in a hotel in the canton of Graubünden, health officials found that all those who wore plastic face shields were infected with the novel Coronavirus while those who wore face masks were not.

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Brazilian study shows that hydroxychloroquine has no effect against Covid-19
Brazilian study shows that hydroxychloroquine has no effect against Covid-19
Credit: Marcelo Casal/Agencia Brasil

A new study concluded that among patients hospitalised with mild-to-moderate Covid-19, the use of hydroxychloroquine did not improve clinical status at 15 days as compared with standard care. The study was conducted by Brazilian researchers and published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

President Jair Bolsonaro advocates the drug as a form of treatment for Covid-19.

Health
California registers highest number of Covid-19 cases, surpassing New York
A series of white circles 10 feet (3.0 m) in diameter, spaced 8 feet (2.4 m) apart, are painted on the grass at Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A series of white circles 10 feet (3.0 m) in diameter, spaced 8 feet (2.4 m) apart, are painted on the grass at Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco to encourage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Christopher Michel from San Francisco, USA / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

California has reported over 413,000 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, surpassing New York as the state with the most infections in the United States. New York's case rate per 100,000 residents is twice as high as California's.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said California's case count was "a sober reminder of why we are taking things as seriously as we are."

Health
Study suggests that one million people in the United Kingdom have quit smoking since start of pandemic
Study suggests that one million people in the United Kingdom have quit smoking since start of pandemic
(Public Domain)

The charity organisation Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) has surveyed 10,000 people in the United Kingdom between mid-April and mid-June about their smoking habits and calculated that an estimated amount of one million people have quit smoking since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the surveying started over a decade ago quitting numbers have never been so high with 7,6% of the surveyed people giving up smoking in until June 2020.

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AstraZeneca to distribute 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine at no profit
AstraZeneca Manufacturing
AstraZeneca Manufacturing Credit: AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca, which will produce the promising Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, announced Tuesday that it will distribute 2 billion doses at cost.

The announcement was made by Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of the company, in a virtual meeting before an investigative subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the US Congress.

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Austria reinstates mandatory masks in grocery stores, banks and post offices
Austria retailer Interspar
Austria retailer Interspar Credit: Herzi Pinki / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Starting Friday, masks and face coverings will be mandatory in Austrian supermarkets, banks and post offices amid rising Covid-19 cases. The mandate had been lifted in mid-June for most public indoor places except in public transport, medical facilities and small spaces such as hair salons.

The country has reported between 80-130 daily cases for the past week, its highest numbers since mid-April.

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Study: Oxford Covid-19 vaccine triggers immune response

Researchers from Oxford have published new results from their ongoing trails of a possible Covid-19 vaccine. During the last trial that involved 1,077 people, it showed that the experimental vaccine not only leads the patients to develop antibodies but also T-cells that are able to fight the virus.

The United Kingdom has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine. Further trials are still underway to determine if patients develop a long term immunitiy.

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Cuba reports first day without local Covid-19 transmission in 130 days
Cubans using masks in Havana
Cubans using masks in Havana Credit: Abel Padrón Padilla/Cubadebate

The head of epidemiology at the Ministry of Public Health in Cuba, Francisco Duran, has announced that Cuba has not recorded a single locally transmitted Covid-19 case. The last new case has been reported in the capital city of Havanna on Saturday.

Duran has reminded people to keep up social distancing as the capital remains in the first stage of reopening.

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1 million new Covid-19 cases recorded in past 100 hours
1 million new Covid-19 cases recorded in past 100 hours
Credit: Adam Nieścioruk

The globally recorded number of Covid-19 infection has passed the 14 million mark. The latest increase from 13 million to 14 million has been recorded in only four days, while the time from the first infection to 1 million cases took around three months.

The United States is currently the country with the most infections and a total number of over 3.6 million recoded Covid-19 cases.

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Studies: 57% of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in Spain have developed neurological problems

The Spanish Neurology Association (SEN) has evaluated multiple studies conducted on Covid-19 patients in Spain. Following the results of the research registry Albacovid out of 841 patients that had been hospitalized due to Covid-19, 57% have developed one ore multiple neurological symptoms. The most common were myalgia, headaches and dizziness. Almost 20% and mostly elderly people also developed some form of consciousness disorder.

Of all patients 20% developed problems such as psychosis, anxiety and insomnia. Other and more severe symptoms were also developed in a number of patients, such as dysautonomia a dysfunction that affects the autonomic nervous system. According to the studies this research indicates that Covid-19 not only affects the respiratory, but also the nervous system.

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CVS, Target make face masks mandatory for customers
CVS, Target make face masks mandatory for customers
Credit: Screenshot via cvshealth.com

Target and CVS announced on Thursday that they would require all customers to wear a mask or face covering when entering their stores, following other large retailers such as Walmart, Costco and Apple.

"With the recent spike in COVID-19 infections, we're joining others in taking the next step and requiring all customers to wear face coverings when entering any of our stores throughout the country effective Monday, July 20," so CVS on Twitter.

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U.S. reaches over 3.5 million Covid-19 cases and more than 130,000 deaths
U.S. reaches over 3.5 million Covid-19 cases and more than 130,000 deaths
Credit: CDC (Public Domain)

The United States reports a total of over 3,512,700 confirmed Covid-19 cases since March, at least 137,000 have died from the novel Coronavirus so far, according to the New York Times's database.

41 U.S. states have reported increasing numbers over the past two weeks, seeing at least 50,000 daily cases for the past ten days.

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Second Ebola vaccine receives approval by European Commission
Second Ebola vaccine receives approval by European Commission
Credit: Government of Prince Edward Island (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The medical and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has received approval for their Ebola vaccine by the European Commission.

Both components of the two-dose vaccine for the prevention of the virus have been approved and the company hopes that this will lead to "accelerated registration" in African countries. J&J is the second company to receive approval for an Ebola vaccine after Merck.

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U.S. sees a decrease in child vaccinations amid pandemic, C.D.C. reports
U.S. sees a decrease in child vaccinations amid pandemic, C.D.C. reports
Credit: unsplash.com/CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a significant decrease in childhood vaccination rates since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in March. The study shows a decline in vaccination rates of around 17% in 5-month-year-old children in May 2020, resulting in only approx. 50% of children being vaccinated. "The avoidable suffering and death caused by children missing out on routine immunisations could be far greater than Covid-19 itself," warns Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general.

"With lower than normal vaccination coverage among all age groups, children may be at higher risk for vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, whooping cough, chickenpox, and more," said CEO of Magnolia Health Aaron Sisk, adding that "even during these uncertain times, it’s important that we continue to encourage everyone to protect themselves, including getting immunizations to protect children from preventable health complications."

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Immune response induced by Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in first phase
Immune response induced by Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in first phase
Credit: Moderna

In a first phase study, a possible Covid-19 vaccine developed by the biotech company Moderna together with the National Institutes of Health has induced immune responses in all of the patients. While the vaccine had mild side effects such as chills, headache or muscle pain, it is the first vaccine candidate from the United States to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

A large phase three trial will be started this month after which, depending on the results, regulators will decide of it'll made available to the public.

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40% of Covid-19 infections asymptomatic, according to CDC
Table 1. Parameter Values that vary among the five COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios
Table 1. Parameter Values that vary among the five COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

According to the CDC's "COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios", approximately 40% of Covid-19 infections are asymptomatic. The agency has now included an "Infection Fatality Ratio", predicting that around 0.65% of people infected with Covid-19 could die.

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United States surpass European Union in number of Covid-19 deaths

The United States has recorded 134,814 Covid-19 deaths and surpassed the death count of the European Union that stands at 134,309 Covid-19 deaths. The number of total recorded cases in the United States had already surpassed the total number of the European Union on the 26th of April. Both have 3,25 million and 1,28 million confirmed Covid-19 respectively.