The Netherlands – First Antibodies discovered to fend Coronavirus

A team of ten scientific researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and Utrecht University say they are the first in the world to discover an antibody capable of fending off infection by the COVID-19 variant of coronavirus. The discovery could lead to an antiviral medication and the ability for people to test themselves at home for the presence of the virus.

“I am too old to jump on a table,” said cellular biology professor Frank Grosveld to Erasmus Magazine. Their article is undergoing a peer review by other researchers on the online platform BioRxiv, and they believe it will then be published by the top science journal Nature.

“Here we report a human monoclonal antibody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 (and SARS-CoV),” the researchers state in their academic paper’s abstract. This is the SARS-2 virus, which causes coronavirus induced disease 19, or COVID-19 for short.

They claim the antibody they found “neutralizes” the virus, and “offers the potential to prevent and/or treat COVID-19, and possibly also other future emerging diseases in humans caused by viruses from the Sarbecovirus subgenus.”

“As far as we know, this is the very first antibody that blocks the infection,” Grosveld explained to the magazine. “Finding something like this is very rare,” he said.

Their research would not necessarily lead to a vaccine, but rather a new medicine that could be used to treat those infected with the current coronavirus strain. It could be developed far faster than a vaccine, but would need months of testing, he stated, adding that it would also be more expensive to produce than a vaccine.

“We are now trying to get a pharmaceutical company on board – which is looking promising, by the way – that can produce the antibody on a large scale as a medicine,” Grosveld said.

“If you were to take this as a patient, it is expected – only an expectation right now – that the infection will be stopped. And so it can give the patient an opportunity to recover,” he told the magazine. 

First Human Trial for Coronavirus vaccine begins in the US

Supported by a global coalition founded by India and Norway, the US has begun the phase one clinical trial of an investigational vaccine designed to protect against the coronavirus disease which has claimed the lives of over 7,000 people globally.

The trial began at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle as the first participant received the investigational vaccine.

“I’m pleased to report today that a vaccine candidate has begun the phase one clinical trial. This is one of the fastest vaccine development launches in history. Not even close. We’re also racing to develop antiviral therapies and other treatments,” Trump told reporters at a White House news conference on Monday.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is funding the trial. The open-label trial will enrol 45 healthy adult volunteers aged 18 to 55 years over approximately six weeks.

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” said NIAID Director Anthony S Fauci.

“This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step towards achieving that goal,” he said.

The Mortality Rate of COVID-19 could be just 1%!

Another good news about COVID-19 is coming from www.express.co.uk when compared to SARS which has a mortality rate of up to 11%, or MERS with a mortality rate of 34%, COVID-19 only has 1%. Although it is not as extreme, losing a loved one is still painful. However, infected patients have high hopes for recovery. “Current estimates indicate that 99 people infected with COVID-19 will recover,” stated Dr Shmerling

Quarantine aids the Environment

Reported by goodnewsnetwork.org, satellite readings of air pollution levels in China and Italy, two countries that suffered the most severe COVID-19 attacks, apparently showed a significant decrease in air pollution levels. Some reports estimate that quarantine in China has saved more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere, equivalent to what is produced by Chile in a year.

Air pollution in parts of India has dropped to record lows following the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Of the 30 most polluted cities in the world, 22 of them are in India. However, following a country-wide lockdown in a bid to slow down the spread of COVID-19 pollution levels have begun to significantly decrease. 

On March 22, millions of residents went into lockdown, and on the same day, parts of India recorded the lowest average levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution ever recorded in the Spring season.

As shown on the Real-Time Air Quality Index, in Delhi, particulate matter (PM2.5) dropped from 165µg/m3 on March 21, a level which is considered unhealthy to everyone, to 64µg/m3 on March 29, a level which is considered moderate or acceptable.  

Similarly in Jaipur, on March 21 PM2.5 levels averaged 139µg/m3, by March 29 levels had decreased to 48µg/m3. This is classified as ‘good’, meaning that air quality is satisfactory and poses little or no risk. This is the first time in 2020 that PM2.5 has been recorded as this low. 

Researches in Australia are having Trials for the Virus

The University of Queensland Clinical Research Center and the scientists within it have discovered two different drugs, both of which have been registered and are available in Australia. This drug also managed to eliminate the disease in a test tube test.

Reported by goodnewsnetwork.org, both of these drugs have also been tested in some of the first few COVID-19 patients in Australia and have succeeded in eliminating the virus and recovering completely from infection. Now the university is testing nationally with drugs to evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of each drug that is given separately, also simultaneously.

The Internet keeps us Connected

Before the internet, isolation would have been extremely lonely. But thanks to the advent of modern technology, it is easy to video call our loved ones, making us feel more connected.

Dr Shmerling said: “We currently have ways to practice social distancing that preserve at least some social and medical connections. People in isolation or quarantine can ask for help, visit friends, ‘see’ family and doctors virtually and provide updates on their condition.”

Three Cured in Rajasthan by a Combination of Medicines

While the entire world is grappling with ways and means to contain and cure coronavirus, Indian doctors have succeeded in curing coronavirus patients with a mix of HIV, swine flu, and Malaria, drugs. This combination was recently used for the first time to treat the coronavirus disease amid a growing number of cases in India.

Three of the four patients in Rajasthan have now been declared coronavirus-free.

Doctors at the hospital said that their experience in treating swine flu patients — which spread widely in Rajasthan two years ago — was quite useful in treating the Italian couple. Swine flu is a similar pulmonary pneumonia disease. As they were aware of viral pneumonia behaviour, they decided to treat the patients with a combination of swine flu, anti-malarial, and HIV drugs.

The doctors have updated the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) about their success. ICMR is the premier body in India for the formulation, coordination, and promotion of biomedical research. However, more trials are required to scientifically establish this prescription as a line of treatment for coronavirus.

Social Distancing has amped up Social Harmony

Though almost every business took a big hit that can lead to bankruptcy, there are still many who are willing to reach out to others. News reports are coming in to announce that several hospitals are giving free lunch or snacks for their employees. Elle.com has also reported that there is a mysterious man who bought up all the flowers in a shop just hours before the entire store was forced to close to suppress the spread of Coronavirus or COVID-19. COVID-19 has unintentionally made people more human and close to each other.

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