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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Workers in protective suits disinfect the compound of a primary school before schools reopen for the upcoming semester, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, China August 25, 2021. China Daily via REUTERS

Aug 25 – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:



*Cover your face with masks to prevent transmission of droplets carrying coronavirus
*Exercise social distancing
*Wash your hands frequently
*Sanitize your hands



Vaccine protection wanes within six months

Protection against COVID-19 offered by two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines begins to fade within six months, underscoring the need for booster shots, according to researchers in Britain.

After five to six months, the effectiveness of the Pfizer jab at preventing infection in the month after the second dose fell from 88% to 74%, an analysis of data collected in Britain’s ZOE COVID study showed.

For the AstraZeneca vaccine, effectiveness fell from 77% to 67% after four to five months. read more

J&J says booster dose increased antibodies in studies

A booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine sharply increased levels of antibodies, according to interim data from two early-stage trials, the company said on Wednesday.

A second dose of the J&J single-dose vaccine resulted in binding antibody levels nine times higher than the levels 28 days after people received their first dose.

Unlike neutralizing antibodies, which destroy the virus, binding antibodies attach to the virus but do not destroy it or prevent infection. Instead, they alert the immune system to its presence so white blood cells can be sent to destroy it. read more

Sydney’s daily infections hit record

Sydney’s COVID-19 infections hit a daily record on Wednesday, putting parts of the health system under pressure, officials said, calling for vaccinations to be stepped up to stem the tide of hospital admissions.

Despite two months of lockdowns in Sydney, New South Wales state reported 919 new cases amid a growing Delta variant outbreak, taking Australia’s daily case numbers to a new pandemic high just below 1,000. A total of 113 people in the state are in intensive care, with 98 of those unvaccinated. read more

New Zealand recorded 62 new cases on Wednesday, taking the total number of infections in the latest outbreak to 210 as the government scrambled to scale up vaccinations amid growing criticism. read more

Top Japan adviser criticises visit by IOC’s Bach

Japan’s top medical adviser sharply criticised International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on Wednesday for visiting Tokyo again when the country is expanding emergency curbs to contain the pandemic.

Japan will expand states of emergency to eight more prefectures from Friday, taking the total to 21 regions from Hokkaido in the north to the southern island of Okinawa and covering nearly 80% of its population.

In an unusually blunt statement from a Japanese official, Dr Shigeru Omi suggested Bach’s decision to fly into Japan again for this week’s Paralympics opening ceremony had undermined efforts to persuade people to avoid travel and work from home. read more

Thailand develops system to squeeze out more vaccine doses

As Thailand struggles with its worst coronavirus outbreak yet, researchers in the country have developed a machine to draw out vaccine doses more efficiently and optimise lower-than-expected supplies.

Using a robotic arm, the “AutoVacc” system can draw 12 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in four minutes from a vial, according to researchers at Chulalongkorn University, who made the machine that has been used at the university’s vaccination centre since Monday.

That is up 20% from the standard 10 doses drawn manually, they said. read moreCompiled by Linda Noakes


AUGUST 25, 2021

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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