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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New drug has potential to stop Covid-19 without a vaccine

Jack Burton

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New drug has potential to stop Covid-19 without a vaccine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CNBC
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Scientists at China’s prestigious Peking University say a drug being tested at a Chinese laboratory could not only shorten recovery time for those infected with Covid-19, but perhaps even offer short-term immunity. They believe it could “bring the coronavirus pandemic to a halt”. The director of the university’s Beijing Advanced Innovation Centre for Genomics told AFP that the drug has been successful at the preliminary animal testing stage.

“When we injected neutralising antibodies into infected mice, after 5 days the viral load was reduced by a factor of 2,500. That means this potential drug has a therapeutic effect.”

The new medication uses neutralising antibodies produced by the human immune system and isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients to prevent the virus infecting cells. A study on the team’s research, published Sunday in the scientific journal ‘Cell’, suggests that using the antibodies provides a potential “cure” for the disease and could shorten recovery times. ‘Cell’ is a peer-reviewed scientific journal publishing research papers across a broad range of disciplines since 1974.

“Our expertise is single-cell genomics rather than immunology or virology. When we realised that the single-cell genomic approach can effectively find the neutralising antibody we were thrilled.”

It’s hoped that the drug could be ready for use later this year and in time for any potential winter outbreak of the virus, which has infected nearly 5 million people around the world and killed more than 324,000. Human testing is expected to be carried out in Australia and other countries since cases have dwindled in China, offering fewer opportunities for testing.

“Planning for the clinical trial is underway. The hope is these neutralising antibodies can become a specialised drug that will stop the pandemic.”

China already has 5 potential coronavirus vaccines at the human trial stage, but the World Health Organisation has warned that developing a safe, cable vaccine could take 12 to 18 months.

Scientists point to the potential benefits of plasma from recovered individuals who have developed antibodies to the virus enabling the body’s defences to attack it. In China, more than 700 patients have received plasma therapy, a process which authorities say shows “very good therapeutic effects,” although such plasma remains in limited supply.

Incorporating antibodies in drug treatments is not a new approach, and has been successful in treating several other viruses such as HIV, Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Ebola drug Remdesivir was considered a hopeful early treatment for Covid-19 but the difference in death rate was not significant.

More than 100 vaccines for Covid-19 are in the works globally, but as the process of vaccine development is more demanding, China is hoping that the new drug will be a faster and more efficient way to stop the global march of the coronavirus.

SOURCE: AFP

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Jack Burton is a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and his works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bank report predicts extended timeframe for Thai tourism recovery

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bank report predicts extended timeframe for Thai tourism recovery | The Thaiger

As the severity of the current situation facing Thailand’s lucrative tourism industry starts to sink in, Kasikorn Bank Research Centre have released a report with some stark predictions.

Thailand’s tourism and hospitality industry faces losses of 1.69 trillion baht in 2020 and recovery “may not be clearly evident” next year. The report also foreshadows strict ‘new normal’ procedures as government measures will control the entry and exit of foreign tourists, actually all foreigners, to prevent further outbreaks of Covid-19.

It has been clear, as restrictions continue whilst the number of new daily cases hovers in single-digits, that Thailand will paint itself as the zero-risk destination. Exactly how that may unfold, and the list of restrictions imposed, has not yet been announced. But the immigration doors are unlikely to be thrown open any times soon.

The impact of Covid-19 on travel demand and the weak purchasing power of future tourists has Kasikorn Research Centre predicting difficult times ahead for the country’s key tourism industry that contributes up to 18% of Thailand’s GDP.

“Even in 2021, recovery will probably not return. Therefore it will be a difficult period for businesses in the chain of the tourism sector.”

“Until a vaccine is found, tourism and hospitality operators will need to adjust their services and the content they offer to ensure they deliver safe distancing and comply with strict health measures.”

The research paper goes through a number of other key points…

• Health regulations will dictate the travel experience

• Touch-points will have to be removed as much as possible

• Safe distancing will need to be practised at popular tourist spots as well as when travelling or staying in hotels or transferring to and from airports

Tour operators face the challenge of offering safe bus transportation throughout Thailand guaranteeing social distancing, which will be required on all transfers. This will increase the cost of transfers and tours, and more buses will be required to transfer tour groups.

For tour groups visiting water or theme parks, flower gardens and museums will need to be carefully managed to prevent further Covid-19 outbreaks.

Even on planes, the option to reduce passenger load, in efforts to impose socially-distant seating, will make it impossible for airlines to operate profitably unless air fares prices substantially increase.

The entire tourism supply chain will be radically different if the ‘risk-free’ Thailand model is to be rolled out effectively. The report suggests that hotels will be invited to join certification schemes.

Tourist-fed economies like Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui will be the hardest hit and have a number of years ahead with a long timeframe for recovery reaching beyond the end of next year.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26)

Anukul

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3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26) | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: reuters.com

Today, in the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily press conference, Dr. Taweesilp confirmed 3 new cases of coronavirus in Thailand, of which all were recorded as quarantined overseas repatriates. This brings Thailand ‘s total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 3,045. The death toll remains at 57 fatalities with no additional deaths reported today.

Dr. Taweesilp says from the new cases all 3 patients either had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic. They are all in quarantine and under supervision.

“The first case is a 51 year old Thai masseuse, who had previously returned from Russia on May 12 and was quarantined in Chon Buri province. She had no symptoms but tested positive for the disease yesterday.”

“The two others are Thai men who returned from Kuwait on May 24 after a business trip and were quarantined in Samut Prakan province. They were coughing and tested positive yesterday.”

Of the total accumulated cases, 2,929 have recovered, including 1 patient who was released in the past 24 hours and 59 patients remain in hospitals.

Dr Taweesilp said that, in the past 4 weeks, in most of the country (65 provinces), no new Covid-19 cases have been recorded.

“The situation is improving thanks to public cooperation. Now we are heading towards the third stage of easing business and activity that were closed during lockdowns. It is likely to cover some higher-risk businesses and activities. They may resume with strict disease control measures.”

Chonburi, where Pattaya is located, has had no new confirmed cases in over a month. Phuket has also reported 0 new cases today but with 9 patients still receiving medical care.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News| Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Dozens of plastic containers per person in state quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth

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Dozens of plastic containers per person in state quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/Henryandpartners

…and the rest of us haven’t been helping the plastic problem either.

Thailand started the year eco-friendly by banning single-use plastic bags. All good, but with “stay at home” orders and mandated quarantines, plastic waste has been increasing. One Thai artist, who stayed in a state quarantine facility, added up all the plastic containers and bottles he used during his isolation. He had more than 100.

“I thought of this trash being multiplied by the thousands of people that had to go in state quarantine,” Henry Tan told Khaosod English.

“Just my flight alone resulted in 200 people in quarantine.”

If all 200 used just as much waste as Tan, that’s more than 20,000 pieces of plastic waste.

Tan had to be quarantined after arriving back to Thailand from Japan. He stayed at the Palazzo Bangkok hotel. Meals were left outside his door 3 times a day, usually in a plastic box with plastic cutlery and condiments in plastic. Han took photos of the plastic containers and bottles laid out on the floor, as well as many of his meals served in plastic containers, and posted the photos on Facebook.

Plastic waste has been increasing since the pandemic, with a surge in delivery and takeaway orders. The director of Thailand Environment Institute said last month that the amount of plastic pollution has increased to 6,300 tonnes per day, Coconuts Bangkok reported last month that it was 1,500 tonnes per day before the pandemic.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | Coconuts Bangkok

คนบ้ากักตัว 14 วัน

Posted by Henryandpartners on Sunday, 24 May 2020

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