What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Nov 16 (Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Delta dominates, scientists watch for worrisome offspring
The Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus now accounts for nearly all of the coronavirus infections globally and virus experts are closely watching its evolution, looking for signs of mutation.
According to the WHO, Delta makes up 99.5% of all genomic sequences reported to public databases and has “outcompeted” other variants in most countries. A key exception is South America, where Delta has spread more gradually, and other variants previously seen as possible global threats – notably Gamma, Lambda and Mu – still contribute to a significant proportion of reported cases. read more
Germany could make COVID test or vaccine mandatory for public transport
Want to take the bus or train in Germany? You may soon have to provide a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination or recent recovery, as the country becomes the latest in Europe to consider drastic steps to tackle a new surge in cases in the region.
The centre-left Social Democrats, Greens and pro-business FDP said on Monday they would add harsher measures to their draft law under parliamentary consideration to deal with the outbreak. So-called 3G rules requiring a negative COVID-19 test, or proof of recovery or vaccination should apply to public transport and workplaces, according to a policy document by the three parties. It was unclear how they would be enforced. read more
Safe to get COVID-19 vaccine, flu shot together
It is safe to administer COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccines to patients at the same time, and doing so might increase vaccination rates, according to a report published on Thursday in The Lancet.
Researchers randomly assigned 697 adult volunteers to receive their second dose of either the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or the viral-vector vaccine from AstraZeneca/Oxford, along with one of three influenza vaccines for the 2020-2021 season or a placebo.
Most reactions to the shots were mild or moderate, and antibody responses to the vaccines were not adversely affected by getting two shots at once, the study found.
Giving both vaccines at a single appointment “should reduce the burden on health-care services for vaccine delivery, allowing for timely vaccine administration and protection from COVID-19 and influenza for those in need,” the research team concluded. read more
India’s Dr. Reddy’s open to making Pfizer pill
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, one of a handful of Indian drug companies licensed to make a new COVID-19 pill developed by Merck, said on Monday it was open to making a similar pill from Pfizer, thought to be even more effective.
The new drugs, which unlike vaccines can be used to treat patients once they contract coronavirus infection, are expected to have a huge market. Merck licensed manufacturers in developing countries to ensure swift global supply, and companies are hopeful that Pfizer will do the same. read more
Germany’s Merkel says world needs to improve virus origins research
Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that the world needs to be better prepared to probe the origins of diseases and welcomed the creation of a new World Health Organization advisory group on dangerous pathogens.
In the same speech, she also voiced her support for more reliable financing of the U.N. health body and said she supported the creation of an international pandemic treaty. read moreCompiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Sam Holmes
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This article was originally published by Reuters.