Coronavirus has claimed lives of more than 3.8M people and infected over 177M globally. Here are the latest Covid-related developments for June 17:
Thursday, June 17
Delta variant fuelled 50% rise in English Covid prevalence
The rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant has driven a 50% rise in infections in England since May, a large prevalence study led by Imperial College London has found after Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed the end of restrictions.
The government said the data supported Johnson’s decision to push back the end of Covid restrictions in England to July 19, citing the threat of the Delta variant first identified in India, and the need to vaccinate more people.
The latest round of the REACT-1 prevalence survey, conducted between May 20 and June 7, found prevalence was 0.15%, compared to 0.10% in the last set of data from late April to early May.
“Prevalence is increasing exponentially, driven by younger ages… and it appears to be doubling every 11 days. Clearly, that is bad news,” Steven Riley, professor of infectious disease dynamics, Imperial College London, told reporters.
The study is one of the largest prevalence surveys in Britain, with 109,000 volunteers tested in its latest round.
Abu Dhabi receives first shipment of coronavirus medication Sotrovimab
UAE’s Abu Dhabi has received its first shipment of the coronavirus Sotrovimab medication, becoming the first city globally to receive it, the media office said.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention approved the emergency use of Sotrovimab in May, saying it ” offers the prospect of reducing hospitalisation for more than 24 hours and fatalities by as much as 85% when administered to patients as an early treatment for Covid-19″, the state news agency reported.
CureVac’s vaccine misses efficacy goal in mass trial
German biotech group CureVac said its vaccine was shown to be 47% effective in a late-stage trial, missing the study’s main goal and throwing in doubt the potential delivery of hundreds of millions of doses to the European Union.
Brazil reports 2,997 deaths in 24 hours -health ministry
Brazil has had 95,367 new cases of coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours, and 2,997 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said.
The South American country has now registered 17,628,588 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 493,693, according to ministry data, in the world’s third worst outbreak outside the United States and India and its second-deadliest.
Pfizer’s rheumatoid arthritis drug shows benefit in pneumonia
Pfizer has said its oral rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz reduced death or respiratory failure in hospitalised Covid-19 patients with pneumonia in Brazil, meeting the study’s main goal.
Results of the study, which tested the drug in 289 hospitalised adult patients with the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Pfizer said the incidence of death or respiratory failure was 18.1 per cent for patients treated with the drug compared to 29 per cent for placebo. Serious adverse events occurred in 20 patients treated with the drug compared to 17 patients on placebo.
EU moves to pre-Covid normal as cases spike in Moscow
The European Union has agreed to lift coronavirus restrictions for US travellers as Western countries move toward a return to pre-Covid life, but in a stark reminder that the global pandemic is far from over, Moscow ordered mandatory jabs over a “dramatic” rise in infections.
The United States was among eight countries and territories added to an EU “white list”, exempting them from Covid-19 travel bans ahead of the busy summer holiday season critical to the economies of many European countries.
EU states will still be able to choose to require travellers from these areas to undergo Covid-19 testing or undergo a quarantine once the new list is approved.
Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Lebanon, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong have also been added to the EU white list, officials said.