UK to roll out Covid-19 antiviral drug trial this month – latest updates

Covid-19 has infected more than 250M people and killed over 5M worldwide. Here are coronavirus-related developments for November 7:

Britain became the first country in the world to approve the potentially game-changing Covid-19 antiviral pill developed by Merck. (AFP)

Sunday, November 7, 2021

UK to roll out Covid-19 antiviral drug trial this month

Britain will start to roll out Merck’s molnupiravir Covid-19 antiviral pill through a drug trial later this month, Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at the UK Health Security Agency said.

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Last week Britain became the first country in the world to approve the potentially game-changing Covid-19 antiviral pill, jointly developed by US-based Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

The government said in October it had secured 480,000 courses of the Merck drug, as well as 250,000 courses of an antiviral pil l developed by Pfizer Inc.

Asked about the molnupiravir approval, Hopkins told BBC television: “That is great news and it will start to be rolled out through a drug trial in the end of this month/the beginning of December.”

Hopkins said all the trials so far had been done with the unvaccinated, so this would help understand how it will work in the wider vaccinated population.

Sydney to further ease Covid-19 curbs as vaccinations pick up

Australia’s largest city of Sydney will further ease social distancing curbs on Monday, a month after emerging from a coronavirus lockdown that lasted nearly 100 days, as close to 90 percent of people have got both doses of vaccine, officials said.

Although limited to people who are fully inoculated, the relaxation in the state of New South Wales, home to Sydney, lifts limits on house guests or outdoor gatherings, among other measures.

“We’re leading the nation out of the pandemic ,” said state premier Dominic Perrottet, as he called for a “final push” to reach, and even surpass, a milestone of 95 percent vaccinations.

Several hundred people held an anti-vaccine protest in the state’s capital of Sydney, but such opposition is slight in Australia, where polls show vaccination opponents number in the single digits.

Russia reports 1,178 Covid deaths

Russia has reported 39,165 new coronavirus cases in past 24 hours and 1,178 new deaths raising the country’s tally to 8.79, according to the federal anti-coronavirus crisis centre.

In particular, 2,551 new coronavirus cases were identified in the past day in St Petersburg, 1,695 in the Samara Region, 796 in the Voronezh Region, 790 in the Nizhny Novgorod Region and 783 in the Republic of Crimea, the crisis center reported.

Coronavirus recoveries in Russia grew by 26,806 in the past day to 7,651,978. The share of patients discharged from hospitals upon their recovery dropped to 86 percent of all coronavirus cases, the latest data show.

Airlines gear up for travel surge as US reopens

Airline reservations to the United States took off immediately after the White House announced the country would reopen to all vaccinated international voyagers starting next week, compelling a welcome – if challenging – industry pivot.

The long-awaited US move to welcome back international travelers follows 18 months of restrictions for 33 countries during the worst of the pandemic that separated families, impeded business travel and frustrated tourists.

Big carriers including Air France, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines are scrambling to meet the sudden surge in demand, adding flights, swapping in bigger planes for smaller ones and redoubling efforts to hire and retain staff.

Mexico reports 3,574 new coronavirus cases

Mexico has reported 261 new coronavirus fatalities and 3,574 additional cases, bringing the country’s overall death toll from the pandemic to 289,674 and total infections to 3,825,404.

Officials have said the health ministry’s figures likely represent a significant undercount of both cases and deaths.

Germany records continued rise in covid-19 cases

Germany has confirmed 23,543 coronavirus cases over the past twenty-four hours, with 4,767,033 in total, giving rise to concerns about a winter surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) institute also confirmed 37 coronavirus related deaths.

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