Health News Roundup: WHO official cites AIDS as guide to addressing coronavirus pandemic; U.S. coronavirus cases rise by record for third day in a row, up over 62,500 and more
Florida recorded 11,433 new coronavirus cases, the state health department said, more evidence that the virus is still spreading largely unchecked throughout parts of the country. The Geneva-based World Health Organization acknowledged this week that the novel coronavirus can spread through tiny droplets floating in the air, a nod to more than 200 experts in aerosol science who publicly complained that the U.N. agency had failed to warn the public about this risk.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
WHO official cites AIDS as guide to addressing coronavirus pandemic
Healthcare systems worldwide need to upgrade to control disease transmission and cope with large numbers of sick people during the coronavirus pandemic as well as future outbreaks, the head of the World Health Organization's emergency program warned on Friday. Dr. Michael Ryan of WHO, speaking during a video panel session organized by the International AIDS Society, said world leaders grappling with the current pandemic "need to take a leaf out of the HIV/AIDS activist book" and make sure access to healthcare is equitable and evidence-based.
U.S. coronavirus cases rise by record for third day in a row, up over 62,500
The United States reported at least 62,500 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, a record daily increase for the third day in a row, according to a Reuters tally. Seven states reported record increases in cases on Friday: Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin. Pfizer,
BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine expected to be ready for approval by year end: WSJ
BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine candidate is expected to be ready to seek regulatory approval by the end of 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing the German biotech firm's chief executive officer. The experimental vaccine, which showed promise against the fast-spreading respiratory illness in early-stage human testing, is expected to move into a large trial involving 30,000 healthy participants later this month, pending regulatory nod.
WHO says airborne COVID transmission a concern but droplets appear dominant
Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO, said on Friday that airborne transmission of the new coronavirus had always been a concern but that droplets appeared to be the most common infection route. "Aerosol transmission is one of the modes of transmission that we have been concerned about since the beginning, particularly in healthcare settings ... where we know these droplets can be aerosolized which means can stay in the air longer," she told an online briefing from Geneva.
Tuberculosis vaccine may be limiting COVID-19 deaths; dormitory screening urged
The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Tuberculosis vaccine may limit COVID-19 deaths.
Florida confirmed its place as an emerging epicenter of the COVID pandemic in the United States on Friday by reporting its second sharpest daily rise in cases, while Walt Disney Co. prepared to reopen its flagship theme park in Orlando to the chagrin of some employees. Florida recorded 11,433 new coronavirus cases, the state health department said, more evidence that the virus is still spreading largely unchecked throughout parts of the country.
Australia's Victoria state records another day of high coronavirus infections
Australia's second-most-populous state on Saturday reported one of its highest daily increases in new coronavirus infections and warned the numbers would get worse before they got better as it began its first weekend under a six-week lockdown. Victoria state recorded 216 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the 24 hours to Saturday morning, down from a record 288 cases the previous day but still one of the biggest daily increases in any part of the country since the pandemic arrived.
Exclusive: Lonza expects EPA approval 'very soon' to make COVID-killing claims for surface disinfectants
Lonza Group AG is in the "last step" of discussions with U.S. regulators for approval to claim that its formulation is effective in killing the novel Coronavirus on surfaces, an executive at the pharmaceutical and chemical giant told Reuters. Earlier this week, Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc became the first company to win the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's approval to market two of its Lysol disinfectant sprays as household COVID-19 killers.
Pandemic exposes scientific rift over proving when germs are airborne
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed a clash among medical experts over disease transmission that stretches back nearly a century - to the very origins of germ theory. The Geneva-based World Health Organization acknowledged this week that the novel coronavirus can spread through tiny droplets floating in the air, a nod to more than 200 experts in aerosol science who publicly complained that the U.N. agency had failed to warn the public about this risk.
HHS allocates Gilead's COVID-19 drug remdesivir to four hardest hit states
The U.S. government has allocated more than 11,000 courses of Gilead Sciences Inc's COVID-19 treatment remdesivir to the four states now being hardest hit by the fast-spreading outbreak in the United States. The remdesivir is being distributed to Texas, Florida, California, and Arizona on Friday and Monday, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website.
(With inputs from agencies.)