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Antibody that prevents the COVID-19 virus from infecting living cells is identified by scientists

Scientists say they’ve discovered an antibody that blocks infection by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus behind the current global health crisis.
The antibody, known as 47D11, targets the deadly virus’s infamous ‘spike protein’, which it uses to hook onto cells and insert its genetic material.
Tests in mice cells showed that 47D11 binds to this protein and prevents it from hooking on – effectively neutralising it.
The breakthrough offers hope of a treatment for the respiratory disease COVID-19, which has killed more than 235,000 people to date.
Researchers said the antibody, if injected into humans, could alter the ‘course of infection’ or protect an uninfected person exposed to someone with the virus.   

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Scientists say they’ve discovered an antibody that blocks infection by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus behind the current global health crisis.

 

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Antibody tests could be ready in a month

Effective coronavirus antibody tests could be available in a month to six weeks, it has been suggested. National testing coordinator for the government, Professor John Newton, said he is ‘optimistic’ the tests could be ready by the end of May or early June. As more tests are being rolled out for those with symptoms of Covid-19, Professor Newton confirmed antibody tests – which detect whether a person has had coronavirus – are also in the pipeline. Speaking on the BBC, he said: ‘There has been a lot of work in antibody testing. We are optimistic that we will have a good antibody test when we need it.
Not many people would test positive for an antibody test right now. ‘There are antibody tests available now but we think there will be better tests, and we are not testing people until we have those.’ It comes as it was reported on Sunday the government has ordered 50 million new coronavirus immunity tests which could let Brits work and socialise as normal by June.

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Effective coronavirus antibody tests could be available in a month to six weeks

 

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UK pledges £1,650,000,000 to support global push for coronavirus vaccine

The UK Government has pledged more than £1.5 billion over the next five years as part of international efforts to find a Covid-19 vaccine. First Secretary Dominic Raab told the Downing Street coronavirus briefing that the equivalent of £330 million a year will be donated to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, over the next five years. He said the Government will seek to ‘both protect British people’ and ‘immunise millions of the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world’. International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan earlier told MPs the pledge demonstrates the UK’s ‘leadership and commitment to global health security’.

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Government will seek to ‘both protect British people’ and ‘immunise millions of the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world

 

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Death toll jumped to 26,907 after government forced to add care homes figures

The UK coronavirus death toll has jumped to 26,097 after the Government started counting deaths in care homes and the wider community for the first time. Previously, the Government only counted people who had died in hospitals after testing positive for coronavirus. Yesterday, the official figure on hospital deaths stood at 21,678 – some 4,419 lower than today’s figure. Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed the new method of reporting includes an additional 3,811 deaths since the start of the outbreak. Of these, around 70% were outside hospital settings and around 30% were in hospital.
During the daily briefing from Downing Street, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: ‘As of today there have now been 818,539 tests for the virus across the UK including 52,429 tests that took place yesterday. Coronavirus latest news and updates
‘165,221 people have tested positive and that’s an increase of 4,076 cases on yesterday’s number. ‘Those figures show that up to yesterday on the new measure we have recorded an additional 3,811 deaths in today. And I think it’s just important to say that those additional deaths were spread over the period from the 2nd of March – the 28th of April.

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Yesterday, the official figure on hospital deaths stood at 21,678 – some 4,419 lower than today’s figure.

 

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Boris Johnson officially back at the controls on Monday

Boris Johnson is planning to return to No 10 as early as Monday to take back control of the coronavirus crisis amid Cabinet concerns the lockdown has gone too far.
The Prime Minister has told aides to schedule catch-up meetings with individual Cabinet ministers next week to get fully up to speed.
He will return at a critical time, with the country more than a month into lockdown, and ministers are relying on him to inject fresh impetus into plans for an exit strategy.
Senior Cabinet ministers are concerned that a prolonged shutdown will lead to tens of thousands of companies collapsing and inflict irreparable damage to the economy.

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Boris Johnson is planning to return to No 10 as early as Monday to take back control of the coronavirus crisis amid Cabinet concerns the lockdown has gone too far.

 

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Government announces new study 20,000 UK resident to provide swabs

The government announces a new study to track COVID-19 in the population in a bid to understand the current rate of infection
Tens of thousands of households in England are being asked to take part in a new study to track the spread of COVID-19.
The research is aimed at understanding the current rate of infection and how many people have developed antibodies to the coronavirus.
The first part of the study will involve around 20,000 households in England, chosen to be representative of the UK population in age and geography. People will provide nose and throat swabs and answer questions during a home visit by a healthcare worker.
The tests will show whether the person has the virus and they will be asked to take further tests each week for five weeks and then every month for a year.
There are plans to involve around 300,000 people in the study over the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, adults from around 1,000 households will also give a blood sample to help determine how many people have developed antibodies to COVID-19. They will be asked to give samples each month for a year.

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Tens of thousands of households in England are being asked to take part in a new study to track the spread of COVID-19. 

 

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Boris Johnson “absolutely needed” to be in ICU

The Prime Minister “absolutely needed” to be in intensive care, the nurse who helped saved him has said. 
Jenny McGee from Invercargill, New Zealand was thanked by name by Mr Johnson in a social media video he posted after he left hospital earlier this month.
In her first interview since looking after the Prime Minister for two nights, Ms McGee has said Mr Johnson did not receive preferential treatment. 
She told TVNZ: “Absolutely not. We take it very seriously who comes into intensive care, these patients who come into us. It’s a very scary thing for them so we don’t take it lightly and he absolutely needed to be there.” 

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Ms McGee has said Mr Johnson did not receive preferential treatment. 

 

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Hospital suspends NHS worker for refusing to work on coronavirus ward without proper PPE

A medical student says her shifts have been cancelled after refusing to work in an area for confirmed coronavirus patients without a gown, visor and respiratory mask. A suspended healthcare assistant (HCA) claims several NHS staff at Eastbourne District General Hospital became involved in a standoff with the on-duty sister over a lack of adequate PPE on Tuesday, April 14. She says seven workers stood in the corridor and refused to go into the Covid-19 bay because they did not feel safe with only aprons and standard surgical masks. She says she was ‘flabbergasted and appalled’ when she was asked ‘why are you fighting?’ for raising guidelines saying staff can refuse to work if they have not been given adequate equipment. After one of the nurses fell ill and was sent home with a temperature of 38.9C, the HCA says she went to see the site matron who gave her the equipment they needed. The following day the agency worker received an email from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and told she had been ‘restricted’ from working for ‘refusing to wear PPE in line with national guidance’. She told the Metro newspaper: ‘I just thought it was very irresponsible working as someone in a managerial position to put me in that position where I might have contracted it and it could be detrimental to my health and I could pass it onto someone else.

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seven workers stood in the corridor and refused to go into the Covid-19 bay because they did not feel safe with only aprons and standard surgical masks.

 

Ken Uwotu

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UK test patients offered ‘up to’ £625 to take part in coronavirus vaccine trials

Britons are being urged to take part in a trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine and could be paid up to £625 for their time. Imperial College London and University Hospital Southampton has asked people to take part in some of the first human tests to discover whether a potential inoculation is effective in tackling the deadly disease. Yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that one Covid-19 vaccine developed at the University of Oxford will be trialled on humans in the UK from tomorrow. Imperial said tests for its separate vaccine will take place in the weeks ahead and anyone who is healthy and aged between 18 and 55 can take part at Imperial College London, University Hospital Southampton or Bristol Children’s Vaccine Centre.

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Britons are being urged to take part in a trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine and could be paid up to £625 for their time.

 

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Millions of pieces of PPE are being shipped from Britain

EXCLUSIVE (TELEGRAPH)
Millions of pieces of vital protective equipment are being shipped from British warehouses to Germany, Spain and Italy despite severe shortages in this country, The Telegraph can disclose.
Lorries are being packed with masks, respirators and other PPE kit before heading back to supply hospitals in the EU, it has emerged.
On Monday night, UK firms said they had “no choice” but to keep selling the lifesaving gear abroad because their offers of help had been repeatedly ignored by the Government.
It comes as the Government faces growing criticism over the PPE crisis with hospitals close to running out of critical equipment, and doctors forced to choose between exposing themselves to the virus or “letting a patient die on their watch”.

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PPE shipped from British warehouses to Germany, Spain and Italy despite severe shortages in this country. 

 

Ken Uwotu

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