Antivirus: A weekly digest of the latest COVID-19 research

Antivirus: A weekly digest of the latest COVID-19 research

Antivirus: A weekly digest of the newest COVID-19 analysis

On January eighth, I requested GadgetClock’s science staff to regulate early stories of a brand new virus that had not too long ago emerged in China. After I dropped an article about that new virus from The Washington Publish in Slack, somebody joked that 2020 was off to a robust begin, clearly jinxing your entire 12 months for the remainder of humanity. Whoops.

Jokes apart, this previous decade, 12 months, six and a half months has featured a disturbing flood of horrible, horrible, no good, very unhealthy information. Greater than half a 12 months in and never solely will we nonetheless not know when this can all finish, we’re additionally seeing a tsunami of latest circumstances within the US and record-high hospitalizations.

There’s a lot we nonetheless don’t know, however we do know that that is going to maintain going for an extended, very long time. We’ve obtained to tempo ourselves if we’re going to make it. That’s why we’re beginning with a weekly format for this column as a substitute of bombarding you with a each day dose of reports. Hopefully we can provide you some context for the large headlines and aid you hold observe of our collective scientific progress as we stumble our means towards the longer term. It’s nonetheless an experiment, however these are some things we’ll regulate:

  • Analysis – What we’re studying concerning the virus itself: the way it spreads and what it does within the human physique.
  • Improvement – Notable information from the vaccine and remedy fronts: we received’t hyperlink to each paper, however we’ll hold observe of normal progress and main milestones once they come up.
  • COVID Views – This can be a illness that has profoundly shaken, ended, and wrecked lives. When wanting on the overwhelming numbers, we will generally overlook that every case and loss of life was a human being. These tales remind us that there’s extra to the numbers.

We would additionally throw in a little bit of non-coronavirus information simply to remind you that there are different issues occurring on the earth. Let’s get began.


  • “Of all of the viruses and outbreaks that I’ve been concerned with during the last 4 many years, I’ve by no means seen a virus through which the spectrum of seriousness is so excessive. This illness goes from nothing to loss of life! In order that has actually shocked me,” Anthony Fauci stated in an interview in The New York Occasions this week. For context, a few of the viruses Fauci has confronted embody HIV, Ebola, and Zika. (Jennifer Senior / The New York Occasions)
  • What scientists are studying about how lengthy Covid-19 immunity lasts: If you would like a deep dive into the present state of immunity analysis six months into the pandemic, our colleagues at Vox have you ever lined. There’s nonetheless lots to study, however there’s additionally a whole lot of progress. (Brian Resnick and Umair Irfan / Vox)


  • Research present glimpse at efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca and CanSino: A high COVID-19 vaccine candidate produced a robust immune response and didn’t produce extreme negative effects, based on a research revealed within the medical journal The Lancet. The research targeted on a vaccine candidate made by Oxford College and Astra-Zeneca and concerned practically 1,000 sufferers. One other research, additionally revealed in The Lancet, discovered {that a} vaccine produced by Chinese language firm CanSino Biologics produced an immune response however wasn’t as efficient in folks over age 65. Each medicine will now have to finish section three trials and be examined on tons of, if not hundreds extra folks. (Matthew Herper, Damian Garde, and Helen Branswell / Stat)
  • Some Vaccine Makers Say They Plan to Revenue From Coronavirus Vaccine: Executives from pharmaceutical corporations testified earlier than Congress on Tuesday and 4 of them had been optimistic that the world would have a vaccine by late 2020 or early 2021. Two, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, stated they’d produce the vaccine at value. One other two, Moderna Therapeutics and Pfizer, didn’t. (Katherine J. Wu / The New York Occasions)
  • In associated information: On Wednesday, Pfizer and German firm BioNTech introduced that they had been collectively receiving $1.95 billion from the US authorities to develop 600 million doses of a vaccine. They be part of different corporations who’ve already acquired commitments of federal funding. Moderna is getting $483 million, Johnson and Johnson is getting $456 million, and AstraZeneca is getting $1 billion.
  • Notes of warning — Whereas a lot of the executives put a rosy timeline earlier than Congress, different specialists are extra skeptical. Fauci informed The New York Occasions that households weren’t prone to see a vaccine till subsequent 12 months. “I believe it’s going to be someday in 2021. I don’t know whether or not that’s going to be the primary quarter of 2021, the primary half — it’s tough to say,” Fauci stated.

Immunology specialists have additionally been cautious, and so produce other pharmaceutical executives. “I believe when folks inform the general public that there’s going to be a vaccine by the top of 2020, they do a grave disservice to the general public,” Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier stated in an interview hosted by Harvard Enterprise College final week. “I believe on the finish of the day, we don’t wish to rush the vaccine earlier than we’ve carried out rigorous science.”

  • Vaccine growth cheat sheetRight here’s a rundown from Could of the 4 main completely different vaccine growth methods within the works. (Nicole Wetsman / GadgetClock)

Wish to assist researchers discover a vaccine? The Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH) created a brand new community known as the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Community (COVPN) that can assist join volunteers with a few of the massive medical trials which can be wanted to check potential coronavirus vaccines.

“Every of the Section three medical trials that the COVPN will conduct would require hundreds of volunteers,” NIH director Francis Collins stated in a press release. “Group engagement, significantly with the communities most susceptible to COVID-19’s extreme outcomes, shall be important to the success of this analysis endeavor.”

If you wish to volunteer, you’ll be requested to finish a brief survey of private questions, together with the place you reside. In case you’re a superb candidate for one of many many research occurring throughout the nation, a researcher will attain out to you and provide you with extra info on the research. You’ll be able to then resolve whether or not you wish to take part.


Lopez drives to his fourth cease of the day, a physique within the again, a cigarette in his hand. He’s reflecting on the virus and the way the calls to choose up our bodies began coming unexpectedly, one after the opposite. He takes his job personally. “It may very well be one in all my relations, it may very well be a buddy of mine.”

Shannon Najmabadi and Miguel Gutierrez Jr. report for The Texas Tribune on what it’s prefer to be one in all “final responders” within the Rio Grande Valley, the place deaths and case numbers stay excessive.

Greater than numbers

To the greater than 15,762,392 folks worldwide who’ve examined optimistic, might your highway to restoration be easy.

To the households and mates of the 640,278 individuals who have died worldwide — 145,556 of these within the US — your family members should not forgotten.

Keep protected, everybody.

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