(LONDON) #Coronavirus New Rapid Testing NudgeBox Report: Rolled out that can detect #COVID19 in 90-minutes w ill enable machines that process the tests come in desktop and palm versions and will be used in ‘ c are homes and pop-up labs’ as well as in existing facilities to test DNA next week #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Aug.03: New rapid tests that can detect coronavirus in just 90 minutes will start to be used in care homes and labs from next week: The two new types of test do not require trained health staff to operate them and can also pick up other winter viruses: Currently most results from tests carried out in-person are returned the following day, while home kits take longer:

#Coronavirus Report: New LamPore tests which detect #COVID19 in 90 minutes to be rolled out next week

It comes after the prime minister said he wants 500,000 coronavirus tests to be available every day by October.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The fact these tests can detect flu as well as COVID-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others.”

Boris Johnson says he wants 500,000 coronavirus tests to be available every day by October amid fears of possible further waves in the winter: 450,000 LamPORE tests will be made available to care homes and labs in England from next week, with millions more to come later in the year: The machines that process the tests come in desktop and palm versions and will be used in ‘pop-up labs’ as well as in existing facilities.

A new DNA test will also be rolled out with 5,000 Nudgebox machines given to hospitals across the UK from September: Eight London hospitals are already using the machines which analyse DNA in nose swabs to detect the virus.

#AceHealthDesk report ……………Published: Aug.03: 2020:

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(WORLDWIDE) #Coronavirus #WHO Report: New cases of #COVID19 increase to a record of 259,000 it was reported on Saturday with a global death toll of over 600,000 according to the latest tally by John Hopkins University (JHU) the highest jump observed in US, Brazil, India, Russia and now South Africa becoming the 5th most afflicted country #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.19: The highest jumps in new confirmed infections were observed in the US, Brazil, India and South Africa: The Americas remain the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for more than half of the world’s 14 million infections: The US and Brazil are the most severely-hit countries with Washington reporting a new record increase of more than 74,000 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to over 3.5 million. More than 140,000 people have also lost their lives to the virus in the US: Infections are soaring in U.S. states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, fuelled by the haphazard lifting of lockdowns and the resistance of some Americans to wearing masks: The virus has also accelerated in Brazil and India where more than 2 million and 1 million cases have been reported respectively:

#Coronavirus Report: #WHO reports record rise of more than 259,000 new cases and over 600,000 deaths

1./ A record 24-hour surge of 38,902 new cases has taken India’s coronavirus total to 1,077,618 with the Health Ministry on Sunday also reporting 543 additional deaths for a total of 26,816.

2./ South Africa is now the fifth most-afflicted country in the world with more than 350,800 cases, which accounts for more than half of the total infections recorded on the African continent.

According to the WHO, there has been a 27 per cent increase in the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the African region in the week ending July 14. The vast majority — 76 per cent — were reported in South Africa: “The simple fact is that many South Africans are sitting ducks because they cannot comply with World ./ Health Organization protocols on improved hygiene and social distancing,” the foundation of former South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and his wife, Leah, warned in a statement.

Several European countries have meanwhile imposed lockdown measures in some parts fo the country following localised surges: In Spain, four million people in the region of Catalonia have been asked to stay at home and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Neighbour Portugal has extended a local lockdown in parts of Lisbon.

#AceHealthDesk report ………..Published: July.19: 2020:

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#covid19

(JOHANNESBURG, S.A.) #Coronavirus Report: #COVID19 pandemic is reaching “full speed,” with over 500,000 cases the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention chief said Thursday, while an official who said a single province is preparing 1.5 million graves but officials flatly deny that saying the province has enough land for that many #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.11: Just a day after confirmed coronavirus cases across Africa surpassed the half-million milestone the total was over 522,000 and climbing, with more than 12,000 deaths: With testing levels low, the real numbers are unknown: South Africa has the most confirmed cases with over 224,000, and for the first time Gauteng province — home to Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria — has the country’s most cases with over 75,000, or 33%……………..Provincial official Bandile Masuku, a medical doctor, startled South Africans when he told reporters Wednesday that Gauteng is preparing over 1.5 million graves. “It’s a reality that we need to deal with,” he said, and it’s the public’s responsibility “to make sure that we don’t get there.

#Coronavirus Report: #COVID19 cases rise to more than 500,000 South Africa on Thursday with officials saying they are preparing many graves flatly denied by officials:

But the province in a statement Thursday sought to calm fears, saying it “does not have over a million already open dug graves” and clarified that the official was saying the province has enough space for that many: It also said six members of Gauteng’s COVID-19 War Room have tested positive for the virus:

Modelling has shown that South Africa will have nowhere close to that many deaths in the months ahead. Several models forecast between 40,000 and 80,000 by the end of the year: Asked about the graves, Africa CDC chief John Nkengasong said “there’s absolutely no harm to think ahead” and prepare for the “worst-case scenario.”’We’ve crossed a critical number here,” he said of the half-million milestone. “Our pandemic is getting full speed.”He called for more mask-wearing, saying “this battle will be won or lost at the community level.” He also called for more testing, as just 5.7 million tests for the new virus have been conducted across the continent of 1.3 billion people.With painful memories of many people dying in Africa while waiting for accessible HIV drugs years ago, the Africa CDC on Thursday launched a consortium aimed at securing more than 10 late-stage COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials on the continent as early as possible.“We want to be sure we don’t find ourselves in the 1996 scenario where HIV drugs were available but it took almost seven years for those drugs to be accessible on the continent,” Nkengasong said.With any COVID-19 vaccine, a “delay in Africa of even one year would be catastrophic,” he said.

He said the new consortium of African institutions will engage with the GAVI vaccine alliance and other entities outside the continent amid efforts to ensure that a vaccine is distributed equitably from the start: Those efforts are challenged by the United States and others assertively making deals with vaccine makers to secure supplies in advance.The African Union last month said governments around the world should “remove all obstacles” to swift and equitable distribution of any successful COVID-19 vaccine, including by making all intellectual property and technologies immediately available.Africa in recent days has begun taking part in COVID-19 vaccine trials in the face of increasing misinformation on the continent.

Trials have begun in South Africa and Egypt, but Nkengasong said a “continent of 1.3 billion people deserves more than just two countries participating.”A vaccine “is the only weapon to allow our lives to return to normal,” he said.Conducting clinical trials in Africa is crucial to see how a vaccine performs in a local context — “extremely important,” the World Health Organization’s Africa chief, Matshidiso Moeti, told reporters Thursday.

Many life-saving vaccines have lagged between five and 20 years from the time they become available in high-income countries to when they’re available in low-income ones: That’s in part because local data is lacking, said Shabir Madhi, principal investigator of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial in South Africa.Africa has some 17% of cases

#AceNewsDesk reports, [Jul 9, 2020 at 21:31] https://t.me/acenewsgroup/1022992

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(TEXAS) #Coronavirus Social Distancing Report: Texas Medical Association Report: Ranks activities of people that poses a much higher risk of contracting #COVID19 than opening the mail or getting takeout, according to a list of 1-10 ranked doctors #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.08: The Texas Medical Association, which is made up of 53,000 physicians and medical students across the state, released the list that ranks how risky an activity is regarding #COVID19 on a scale of one to 10:

Daily Mail: Click here to read more: Churches Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases

According to the list, going to a bar, attending a religious service with 500 plus people or going to a large music concert or sports event are the most high risk activities for exposure to #coronavirus

Visiting a movie theater, amusement park, a gym or eating at a buffet follow closely behind.

Hugging or shaking hands with a friend falls into the moderate-high risk category.

Also in that category is traveling on a plane, going to a wedding or funeral, visiting a hair salon or barber and eating inside a restaurant.

At the other end of the scale, opening the mail, getting takeout and pumping gas are considered low risk.

Grocery shopping, sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, eating at an outdoor restaurant and spending an hour at a playground would be a low-moderate risk, according to the list.

The medical professionals who compiled the list ranked each activity based on the ability to social distance.

#AceHealthDesk report ………………Published: July.08: 2020:

(CAIRO, Egypt.) #Coronavirus FreeSpeech Report: Its not just journalists that have to fear el-Sisi rule in the country but EFF has been monitoring latest developments and since the #pandemic bloggers and activists trying to get the #truth have been harassed, detained, arrested and jailed without trial as Supreme Council for Media Regulation has banned the publishing of any data that contradicts the Ministry of Health’s official data #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – July.04: For years, EFF has been monitoring a dangerous situation in Egypt: journalists, bloggers, and activists have been harassed, detained, arrested, and jailed, sometimes without trial, in increasing numbers by the Sisi regime: Since the #COVID19 pandemic began, these incidents have skyrocketed, affecting free expression both online and offline: 

Egypt has confirmed 1,566 new coronavirus cases and 83 new deaths today, raising the country’s total to 66,754 with 2,872 confirmed deaths: DataTrackers Covid19 Coronavirus Updates, [Jun 30, 2020 at 06:09] https://t.me/datatrackers/19457: 

Despite the WHO’S dire warning of the Middle East’s “critical threshold”, Egypt has restarted international flights and reopened major tourist attractions including the Great Pyramids of Giza after more than three months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic Reuters reports: 
The country closed its airports to scheduled international flights and shut famous historical sites in mid-March as the government looked to curb the spread of the virus 12.41am BST: The Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19, and is at a “critical threshold”, the World Health Organisation has warned: https://clck.ru/PPQUT 

#Coronavirus Report: Egypt’s    Crackdown on ‘ Free Expression Will Cost Lives ‘ during the #pandemic and revealing the #Truth including number of cases, deaths or situation is banned: 

As we’ve said before, this crisis means it is more important than ever for individuals to be able to speak out and share information with one another online: Free expression and access to information are particularly critical under authoritarian rulers and governments that dismiss or distort scientific data: But at a time when true information about the pandemic may save lives, instead, the Egyptian government has expelled journalists from the country for their reporting on the pandemic, and arrested otherson spurious charges for seeking information about prison conditions. Shortly after the coronavirus crisis began, a reporter for The Guardian was deported, while a reporter for the The New York Times was issued a warning.. Just last week the editor of Al Manassa, Nora Younis, was arrested on cybercrime charges (and later released). And the Committee to Protect Journalists reported today that at least four journalists arrested during the pandemic remain imprisoned. 

Social media is also being monitored more closely than ever, with disastrous results: the Supreme Council for Media Regulation has banned the publishing of any data that contradicts the Ministry of Health’s official data. It has sent warning letters to news websites and social networks’ accounts it claims are sharing false news, and has arrested individuals for posting about the virus. Claiming national security interests, the far-reaching ban, which also limits the use of pseudonyms by journalists and criminalizes discussion of other “sensitive” topics, such as Libya, is being seen (rightfully) as censorship across the country. At a moment when obtaining true information is extremely important, the fact that Egypt’s government is increasing its attack on free expression is especially dangerous.

The government’s attacks on expression aren’t only damaging free speech online: rather than limiting the number of individuals in prison who are potentially exposed to the virus, Egyptian police have made matters worse, by harassing, beating, and even arresting protestors who are demanding the release of prisoners in dangerously overcrowded cells or simply ask for information on their arrested loved ones. Just last week, the family of Alaa Abd El Fattah, a leading Egyptian coder, blogger and activist who we’ve profiled in our Offline campaignwas attacked by police while protesting in front of Tora Prison. The next day, Alaa’s sister, Sanaa Seif, was forced into an unmarked car in front of the Prosecutor-General’s office as she arrived to submit a complaint regarding the assault and Alaa’s detention. She is now being held in pre-trial detention on charges of “broadcast[ing] fake news and rumors about the country’s deteriorating health conditions and the spread of the coronavirus in prisons” on Facebook, among others—according to police, for a fifteen day period, though there is no way to know for sure that it will end then. 

All of these actions put the health and safety of the Egyptian population at risk: We join the international coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations demanding both Alaa and Sanaa be released, and asking Egypt’s government to immediately halt its assault on free speech and free expression. We must lift up the voices of those who are being silenced to ensure the safety of everyone throughout the country. 

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: July.04:2020: 

(LONDON) #Coronavirus Latest Report: 9am on 1 June, there have been 4,484,340 tests, with 128,437 tests on 31 May: 276,332 people have tested positive: As of 5pm on 31 May, of those tested positive in the UK, 39,045 have died including all deaths in all settings not just in hospitals @DHSCgovuk June.02: @ONS reports lowest levels in England and Wales since March, figures show #AceHealthDesk reports

#AceHealthReport – June.02: Editor says as of June.01: these are the number of tests carried out and those that were tested positive and sadly the number of deaths up to and including 17:00hrs on 31:May: God Bless Friends, Followers & Readers 🙏’s 

#Coronavirus Report: Number of #COVID19 cases and risk in the UK: As of June.01:

The number of people dying each week linked to #coronavirus has dropped to its lowest levels in England and Wales since March, figures show: The Office for National Statistics review of death certificates showed 2,589 cases where the virus was mentioned in the week ending 22 May: Overall there were nearly 12,300 deaths in that week – 2,300 more than normal at this time of the year: At the peak of the #pandemic double the number were dying than expected.

Overall, there have been 286,700 deaths this year – 51,400 above what would be expected: Some 43,800 have been attributed to coronavirus.

Nick Stripe, of the ONS, said despite the number of overall deaths falling, we were effectively seeing the same number of deaths we would expect in winter: He also said there were considerable regional variations with the north east currently seeing the highest rates of excess deaths.

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: June.02: 2020: 

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(WORLDWIDE) FEATURED: #Coronavirus EFF Report: Governments Shouldn’t Use “Centralized” Proximity Tracking Technology As This Can Lead To Privacy & Exposure Of Data To Third Parties & Decentralised Apps Should Be Considered Looking Towards The Future Use Of Health Care Data #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – May.17: Companies and governments across the world are building and deploying a dizzying number of systems and apps to fight #COVID19 Many groups have converged on using Bluetooth-assisted proximity tracking for the purpose of exposure notification. Even so, there are many ways to approach the problem, and dozens of proposals have emerged:

 #Coronavirus Report: Centralised OR Decentralised Apps Used To Track & Trace Vary According To How Data Is Shared To Third-Parties Now & In The Future EFF.Org/

One way to categorize them is based on how much trust each proposal places in a central authority. In more “centralized” models, a single entity—like a health organization, a government, or a company—is given special responsibility for handling and distributing user information. This entity has privileged access to information that regular users and their devices do not. In “decentralized” models, on the other hand, the system doesn’t depend on a central authority with special access. A decentralized app may share data with a server, but that data is made available for everyone to see—not just whoever runs the server. 

Both centralized and decentralised models can claim to make a slew of privacy guarantees: But centralized models all rest on a dangerous assumption: that a “trusted” authority will have access to vast amounts of sensitive data and choose not to misuse it. As we’ve seen, time and again, that kind of trust doesn’t often survive a collision with reality. Carefully constructed decentralized models are much less likely to harm civil liberties. This post will go into more detail about the distinctions between these two kinds of proposals, and weigh the benefits and pitfalls of each.

Centralized Models

There are many different proximity tracking proposals that can be considered “centralized,” but generally, it means a single “trusted” authority knows things that regular users don’t. Centralized proximity tracking proposals are favored by many governments and public health authorities. A central server usually stores private information on behalf of users, and makes decisions about who may have been exposed to infection. The central server can usually learn which devices have been in contact with the devices of infected people, and may be able to tie those devices to real-world identities. 

For example, a European group called PEPP-PT has released a proposal called NTK. In NTK, a central server generates a private key for each device, but keeps the keys to itself. This private key is used to generate a set of ephemeral IDs for each user. Users get their ephemeral IDs from the server, then exchange them with other users. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they upload the set of ephemeral IDs from other people they’ve been in contact with (plus a good deal of metadata). The authority links those IDs to the private keys of other people in its database, then decides whether to reach out to those users directly. The system is engineered to prevent users from linking ephemeral IDs to particular people, while allowing the central server to do exactly that.

Some proposals, like Inria’s ROBERT, go to a lot of trouble to be pseudonymous—that is, to keep users’ real identities out of the central database. This is laudable, but not sufficient, since pseudonymous IDs can often be tied back to real people with a little bit of effort. Many other centralized proposals, including NTK, don’t bother. Singapore’s TraceTogether and Australia’s COVIDSafe apps even require users to share their phone numbers with the government so that health authorities can call or text them directly. Centralized solutions may collect more than just contact data, too: some proposals have users upload the time and location of their contacts as well.

Decentralized Models

In a “decentralized” proximity tracking system, the role of a central authority is minimized. Again, there are a lot of different proposals under the “decentralized” umbrella. In general, decentralized models don’t trust any central actor with information that the rest of the world can’t also see. There are still privacy risks in decentralized systems, but in a well-designed proposal, those risks are greatly reduced.

EFF recommends the following characteristics in decentralized proximity tracking efforts:

The goal should be exposure notification. That is, an automated alert to the user that they may have been infected by proximity to a person with the virus, accompanied by advice to that user about how to obtain health services. The goal should not be automated delivery to the government or anyone else of information about the health or person-to-person contacts of individual people.

A user’s ephemeral IDs should be generated and stored on their own device. The ephemeral IDs can be shared with devices the user comes into contact with, but nobody should have a database mapping sets of IDs to particular people. 

When a user learns they are infected, as confirmed by a physician or health authority, it should be the user’s absolute prerogative to decide whether or not to provide any information to the system’s shared server. 

When a user reports ill, the system should transmit from the user’s device to the system’s shared server the minimum amount of data necessary for other users to learn their exposure risk. For example, they may share either the set of ephemeral IDs they broadcast, or the set of IDs they came into contact with, but not both.

No single entity should know the identities of the people who have been potentially exposed by proximity to an infected person. This means that the shared server should not be able to “push” warnings to at-risk users; rather, users’ apps must “pull” data from the central server without revealing their own status, and use it to determine whether to notify their user of risk. For example, in a system where ill users report their own ephemeral IDs to a shared server, other users’ apps should regularly pull from the shared server a complete set of the ephemeral IDs of ill users, and then compare that set to the ephemeral IDs already stored on the app because of proximity to other users.  

Ephemeral IDs should not be linkable to real people or to each other. Anyone who gathers lots of ephemeral IDs should not be able to tell whether they come from the same person.

Decentralized models don’t have to be completely decentralized. For example, public data about which ephemeral IDs correspond to devices that have reported ill may be hosted in a central database, as long as that database is accessible to everyone. No blockchains need to be involved. Furthermore, most models require users to get authorization from a physician or health authority before reporting that they have COVID-19. This kind of “centralization” is necessary to prevent trolls from flooding the system with fake positive reports.

Apple and Google’s exposure notification API is an example of a (mostly) decentralized system. Keys are generated on individual devices, and nearby phones exchange ephemeral IDs. When a user tests positive, they can upload their private keys—now called “diagnosis keys”—to a publicly accessible database. It doesn’t matter if the database is hosted by a health authority or on a peer-to-peer network; as long as everyone can access it, the contact tracing system functions effectively.

What Are the Trade-Offs?

There are benefits and risks associated with both models. However, for the most part, centralized models benefit governments, and the risks fall on users.

Centralized models make more data available to whoever sets themselves up as the controlling authority, and they could potentially use that data for far more than contact tracing. The authority has access to detailed logs of everyone that infected people came into contact with, and it can easily use those logs to construct detailed social graphs that reveal how people interact with one another. This is appealing to some health authorities, who would like to use the data gathered by these tools to do epidemiological research or measure the impact of interventions. But personal data collected for one purpose should not be used for another (no matter how righteous) without the specific consent of the data subjects. Some decentralized proposals, like DP-3T, include ways for users to opt-in to sharing certain kinds of data for epidemiological studies. The data shared in that way can be de-identified and aggregated to minimize risk.

More important, the data collected by proximity tracking apps isn’t just about COVID—it’s really about human interactions. A database that tracks who interacts with whom could be extremely valuable to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Governments might use it to track who interacts with dissidents, and employers might use it to track who interacts with union organizers. It would also make an attractive target for plain old hackers. And history has shown that, unfortunately, governments don’t tend to be the best stewards of personal data.

Centralization means that the authority can use contact data to reach out to exposed people directly. Proponents argue that notifications from public health authorities will be more effective than exposure notification from apps to users. But that claim is speculative. Indeed, more people may be willing to opt-in to a decentralized proximity tracking system than a centralized one. Moreover, the privacy intrusion of a centralized system is too high.

Even in an ideal, decentralized model, there’s some degree of unavoidable risk of infection unmasking: that when someone reports they are sick, everyone they’ve been in contact with (and anyone with enough Bluetooth beacons) can theoretically learn the fact that they are sick. This is because lists of infected ephemeral IDs are shared publicly. Anyone with a Bluetooth device can record the time and place they saw a particular ephemeral ID, and when that ID is marked as infected, they learn when and where they saw the ID. In some cases this may be enough information to determine who it belonged to. 

Some centralized models, like ROBERT, claim to eliminate this risk. In ROBERT’s model, users upload the list of IDs they have encountered to the central authority. If a user has been in contact with an infected person, the authority will tell them, “You have been potentially exposed,” but not when or where. This is similar to the way traditional contact tracing works, where health authorities interview infected people and then reach out directly to those they’ve been in contact with. In truth, ROBERT’s model makes it less convenient to learn who’s infected, but not impossible. 

Automatic systems are easy to game. If a bad actor only turns on Bluetooth when they’re near a particular person, they’ll be able to learn whether their target is infected. If they have multiple devices, they can target multiple people. Actors with more technical resources could more effectively  exploit the system. It’s impossible to solve the problem of infection unmasking completely—and users need to understand that before they choose to share their status with any proximity app. Meanwhile, it’s easy to avoid the privacy risks involved with granting a central authority privileged access to our data.

Conclusion

EFF remains wary of proximity tracking apps. It is unclear how much they will help; at best, they will supplement tried-and-tested disease-fighting techniques like widespread testing and manual contact tracing. We should not pin our hopes on a techno-solution. And with even the best-designed apps, there is always risk of misuse of personal information about who we’ve been in contact with as we go about our days.

One point is clear: governments and health authorities should not turn to centralized models for automatic exposure notification. Centralized systems are unlikely to be more effective than decentralized alternatives. They will create massive new databases of human behavior that are going to be difficult to secure, and more difficult to destroy once this crisis is over.

#AceHealthDesk report ……………..Published May 12, 2020 at 11:10PM

#acenewsdesk

(WORLDWIDE) #Coronavirus Vaccine Trials Report: Scientists across the world in a search for a vaccine are looking at deliberately infecting people with #COVID19 as an answer in vaccine development and calling it ethically justified despite the potential risks to volunteers according to new #WHO guidance #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – May.09: Controversial trials in which volunteers are intentionally infected with Covid-19 could accelerate vaccine development, according to the World Health Organization, which has released new guidance on how the approach could be ethically justified despite the potential dangers for participants: So-called challenge trials are a mainstream approach in vaccine development and have been used in malaria, typhoid and flu, but there are treatments available for these diseases if a volunteer becomes severely ill. For #Covid19 , a safe dose of the virus has not been established and there are no failsafe treatments if things go wrong:

#Coronavirus Report: #WHO conditionally backs #Covid19 vaccine trials that infect people ‘ Challenge’ studies would deliberately give #coronavirus to healthy volunteers Hannah Devlin – Last modified on Fri 8 May 2020 20.30 BST: Guardian.Com/

Scientists, however, increasingly agree that such trials should be considered, and the WHO is the latest body to indicate conditional support for the idea: “There’s this emerging consensus among everyone who has thought about this seriously,” said Prof Nir Eyal, the director of Rutgers University’s Center for Population-Level Bioethics in the US.

The prospect of infecting healthy individuals with a potentially deadly pathogen may sound counterintuitive, but according to Eyal the risk of death from Covid-19 for someone in their 20s is around one in 3,000 – similar to the risk for live kidney donation: In this case, the potential benefits would extend not to a single individual, but to thousands or millions who could be protected by a vaccine………………..“Once you give it thought, it is surprisingly easier to approve than dispatching volunteers as part-time medical workers and other practices that we’ve already accepted,” he said.

In new guidance issued this week, the WHO said that well-designed challenge studies could accelerate Covid-19 vaccine development and also make it more likely that the vaccines ultimately deployed will be effective: The WHO lists eight criteria that would need to be met for the approach to be ethically justified, including restricting participation to healthy people aged 18-30 and fully informed consent. Strikingly, the guidelines do not rule out challenge trials in the absence of an effective treatment, instead stating that the risk could fall “within acceptable upper limits” for such research: “The big news is that WHO doesn’t say challenge trials are forbidden. It specifies reasonable steps on how they can be deployed,” said Eyal.

Vaccines are typically tested using a large group of people whose infection rates are compared with a separate group of unvaccinated controls: Waiting for enough people to be exposed to an illness, however, can take months and require thousands of participants. In a fast-moving pandemic situation, there is a risk of trials grinding to a standstill as infection rates fall in some regions. Challenge trials sidestep this problem, allowing efficacy to be established within weeks using just 100 or so volunteers.

A safe dose for Covid-19 would need to be established – enough to cause illness, but not severe illness, which could be a very fine line – through initial dose escalation studies: Such studies would need to be conducted in secure facilities to avoid unintentionally infecting anyone outside the trial and would pose uncertain levels of risk to participants.

Prof Andrew Pollard, who is leading the trial of the vaccine developed by the team at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, said there is “huge interest” in the possibility of challenge trials among those working on vaccines against coronavirus: “At the moment, because we don’t have a rescue therapy we have to approach challenge studies extremely cautiously,” said Pollard. “But I don’t think it should be ruled out because, particularly in a situation where it’s very difficult to assess some of the new vaccines coming along because there’s not much disease around, it could be one of the ways we could get that answer more quickly.”

Others are more cautious and say it would be impossible to launch such a trial in the absence of robust treatments…..

#AceHealthDesk report …………Published: May.09: 2020:

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(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) Coronavirus Report: Los Alamos National Scientists Say a Now-Dominant Strain of the #Coronavirus Appears To Be More Contagious Than Original: The new strain appeared in February in Europe, migrated quickly to the East Coast of the United States and has been the dominant strain across the world since mid-March, the scientists wrote #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – May.05: Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that has become dominant worldwide and appears to be more contagious than the versions that spread in the early days of the #COVID19 pandemic, according to a new study led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory:

#Coronavirus Report: Scientists say non-dominant strain of #coronavirus appears more contagious than original and a large-scale: Drug Repositioning Survey for SARS-CoV-2 Antivirals:

From a report: In addition to spreading faster, it may make people vulnerable to a second infection after a first bout with the disease, the report warned: The 33-page report was posted Thursday on BioRxiv, a website that researchers use to share their work before it is peer reviewed, an effort to speed up collaborations with scientists working on COVID-19 vaccines or treatments:

That research has been largely based on the genetic sequence of earlier strains and might not be effective against the new one: The mutation identified in the new report affects the now infamous spikes on the exterior of the coronavirus, which allow it to enter human respiratory cells.

The report’s authors said they felt an “urgent need for an early warning” so that vaccines and drugs under development around the world will be effective against the mutated strain: Wherever the new strain appeared, it quickly infected far more people than the earlier strains that came out of Wuhan, China, and within weeks it was the only strain that was prevalent in some nations, according to the report.

The new strain’s dominance over its predecessors demonstrates that it is more infectious, according to the report, though exactly why is not yet known:
#AceHealthDesk report …………………Published on May 05, 2020 at 07:45PM

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(NEW YORK STATE) #Coronavirus Report: Gov.Cuomo Orders Nursing Homes to accept infected patients and allows employees infected with #coronavirus to continue to work and to treat residents at the Hornell Gardens facil ity in rural Steuben County, according to a New York Post report #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Apr.30: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come under increasing scrutiny for a March 25 directive ordering nursing homes to accept #coronavirus patients: The text of the directive stated (original emphasis): “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalised resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for #COVID19 prior to admission or readmission.”

#Coronavirus Report: Gov.Cuomo orders nursing home to take infected patients after recently allowing employees to work and treat residents with #cornavirus at Hornell Gardens

“Cuomo has since said that nursing homes could tell the state Department of Public Health they could not accept such patients, or transfer them to other facilities: However, some homes have said that the state was unresponsive when they reached out, and that they felt intense pressure to accept the patients — despite the unique risk coronavirus generally poses to elderly people.”

The state Health Department allowed nurses and other staff who tested positive for the coronavirus to continue treating COVID-19 patients at an upstate nursing home, The Post has learned: State officials signed off on the move during an April 10 conference call that excluded local officials from Steuben County, who protested the move, according to a document provided by the county government’s top administrator, Jack Wheeler. At least 15 people have died at the Hornell Gardens nursing home in the tiny town of Hornell since the outbreak, according to county tallies. State records show just seven deaths across the county and include no data about this home.

“Roughly one third of the staff and residents at the home have contracted the virus, the New York Post added.”

#AceHealthDesk report …………..Published: Apr.30: 2020:

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#pandemic

(WASHINGTON) #Coronavirus CDC Report: Announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in two pet cats in New York State both had mild respiratory illness and expected to make a full recovery: No persons were found to be infected in the household #AceHealthDesk reports

#AceHealthReport – Apr.22: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) today announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in two pet cats. These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

#Coronavirus Report: Two pet cats have tested positive for #COVID19 in New York State CDC.Gov/

At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended: Should other animals be confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, USDA will post the findings. State animal health and public health officials will take the lead in making determinations about whether animals should be tested for SARS-CoV-2.

SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with #COVID19: At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended: In the NY cases announced today, a veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. No individuals in the household were confirmed to be ill with COVID-19:

The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home: Samples from the second cat were taken after it showed signs of respiratory illness: The owner of the cat tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the cat showing signs.
Another cat in the household has shown no signs of illness: Both cats tested presumptive positive for SARS-CoV-2 at a private veterinary laboratory, which then reported the results to state and federal officials.

The confirmatory testing was conducted at NVSL and included collection of additional samples: NVSL serves as an international reference laboratory and provides expertise and guidance on diagnostic techniques, as well as confirmatory testing for foreign and emerging animal diseases: Such testing is required for certain animal diseases in the U.S. in order to comply with national and international reporting procedures.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) considers SARS-CoV-2 an emerging disease, and therefore USDA must report confirmed U.S. animal infections to the OIE: Public health officials are still learning about SARS-CoV-2, but there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States.

#AceHealthDesk report ……………Published: Apr 22, 2020 at 19:26: Read Full CDC Report Here:

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