What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

  • In US
  • 2020-11-03 05:49:02Z
  • By Reuters
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now  

(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

New mass testing approach to be piloted in Liverpool

Britain will launch a COVID-19 mass testing pilot scheme in Liverpool on Friday, offering everyone in the city tests whether or not they have symptoms, aiming to find a better way to use testing to limit the spread of the coronavirus. PCR swab tests, the default testing method to date, will be used as well as new lateral flow tests aimed at delivering faster results without the need for laboratory processing.

The pilot will also make use of "LAMP", or loop mediated isothermal amplification, which the government described as a new type of testing technology able to deliver significant volumes of tests. The method will be used to test National Health Service staff working at Liverpool University Hospitals.

Some 2,000 military personnel will be deployed in Liverpool from Thursday to help deliver the tests.

T-cell study adds to debate over duration of COVID-19 immunity

A small but key UK study has found that "cellular immunity" to the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus is present after six months in people who had mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 - suggesting they might have some level of protection for at least that time.

"(Our) early results show that T-cell responses may outlast the initial antibody response," said Shamez Ladhani, a consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England who co-led the work, which has not yet been peer-reviewed by other experts but was published online on bioRxiv.

The study also found the size of T-cell response differed, and was considerably higher in people who had had symptomatic COVID-19 than those who had no symptoms when infected.

The researchers said this could mean that higher cellular immunity might give better protection against re-infection in people who had symptoms, or equally, that asymptomatic patients are better able to fight off the virus without the need to generate a large immune response.

India turns to truckers to keep virus patients breathing

With India's COVID-19 infections surging since March and many patients struggling to breathe, India has relied on its truckers to help supply hospitals scrambling to secure medical oxygen.

Demand for medical oxygen has jumped four times to about 2,800 tonnes a day and the government says getting supplies to critical patients has helped keep India's deaths-per-million ratio from coronavirus to around 88, one of the lowest in the world among hard hit countries.

For truckers like Subhas Kumar Yadav, it meant fighting hunger and deadlines to get supplies from a factory in the foothills of the Himalayas to hospitals as far away as 680 km (420 miles), a two-day drive. "We were on duty," said the 33-year-old driver. "It's not like we could just give up and go home."

Viral load predicts need for ventilator, death risk

When COVID-19 patients are admitted to the hospital because of pneumonia, doctors can estimate their risk of needing mechanical breathing support or dying based on their "viral load" - the amount of virus genetic material obtained by swabbing the back of the nose and throat, a new study suggests.

"This risk can be predicted regardless of how sick they are when they are admitted, what other comorbidities they may have, their age or how many days they had symptoms," coauthor Dr. Ioannis Zacharioudakis of NYU School of Medicine told Reuters.

His team studied 314 patients, dividing them into three groups according to viral load upon hospital admission. The group with highest viral levels had 59% higher odds of becoming critically ill or dying than the lowest viral load group. The data was published on Friday in Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

(Compiled by Karishma Singh; editing by Richard Pullin)


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