People should not go to non-urgent dentist appointments, World Health Organization warns 

People should not go to non-urgent dentist appointments until ‘unknown’ Covid-19 risk is better understood, World Health Organization warns

  • There is no data on how coronavirus could spread from a dentist’s chair  
  • Fears that common procedures could create tiny infected floating particles 
  • Procedures include air/water spray and ultrasonic cleaning and polishing 

Patients shouldn’t go to dentist appointments unless they are urgent until the risk factor from coronavirus is better understood, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. 

A WHO dental officer, Benoit Varenne, said the risk posed by procedures used by dentists is too poorly understood for people to start going to non-urgent appointments.

Procedures including air and water sprays, ultrasonic cleaning and polishing could all send coronaviruses airborne out of a patient’s mouth, he said.  

Mr Varienne said: ‘WHO guidance recommends in case of community transmission to give priority to urgent or emergency oral cases, to avoid or minimise procedures that may generate aerosol, prioritise a set of clinical interventions that are performed using an instrument and of course to delay routine non-essential oral health care.’

There is currently no data on how easily coronavirus could spread in a dentist’s chair and many surgeries were closed to all but the most urgent appointments in lockdown in the UK.

The WHO said more research is needed to understand the risk, and that patients and dentists should avoid non-urgent appointments until this is completed. 

Patients shouldn’t go to dentist appointments unless they are urgent until the risk factor from coronavirus is better understood, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced 

Mr Varenne added: ‘The likelihood of COVID-19 being transmitted through aerosol, micro-particles or airborne particles … today I think is unknown, it’s open to question at least. This means that more research is needed.’

The WHO last month released general guidelines on the transmission of the coronavirus which acknowledged some reports of airborne transmission, but stopped short of confirming that the virus spreads through the air.

Dental facilities must have adequate ventilation to reduce the risk of the virus spreading in closed settings, it said on Tuesday.

‘We think that the most pressing issue is related to the availability of essential personal protective equipment, PPE, for all health care personnel undertaking or assisting in the clinical procedures,’ Mr Varenne said.

Dentists in Britain have been allowed to offer non-urgent appointments since June 8 under Government lockdown rules.

They had been permitted to do urgent work throughout lockdown.

But many surgeries face a dramatic change to normality as they welcome patients back.

Sara Hurley, the Chief Dentistry Officer (CDO) for England said in May that dentists need to offer online consultations and surgeries may have to be modified depending on their layout. 

Waiting rooms may need to be partitioned with perspex glass, magazines and children’s toys could be removed, and chairs will need to be set in line with the two-metre rule.   

The British Dental Association (BDA) welcome reopening plans at the time but warned that expectations need to be managed adding that infection control and social distancing could reduce capacity by up to two thirds.

The dental trade union added that the availability of PPE may limit the speed that dental care is restored, with different practices likely to vary.

BDA chair Mick Armstrong said: ‘A return of high street dentistry we will be welcome news to millions of patients left with few options during lockdown, but key questions remain.

‘It is right to allow practices to decide themselves when they are ready to open.

‘Dentists will be keen to start providing care as soon as safely possible, but we will need everyone to be patient as practices get up and running.’   

NHS must not stop normal care when a second wave of Covid-19 hits – or tens of thousands of patients may die, leading medics warn 

Tens of thousands of patients may die if the NHS shuts down normal care during a second coronavirus wave, leading medics warned today.

Health service bosses are being urged not to leave non-virus patients ‘stranded and in pain’ once again after cancelling millions of appointments during the first epidemic.

In early March the NHS told hospitals to scrap as many operations as possible and turf out patients on their wards to make way for an influx of Covid-19 patients. 

The move was successful and hospitals were not overwhelmed by the effects of the virus. But cancer charities fear tens of thousands more patients will die in the next year because they had their tumours diagnosed too late or missed completely.

Official figures show that 12,000 more people than average died in England during lockdown from illnesses unrelated to Covid, including heart attacks and strokes.  

Professor Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said the NHS ‘must never again be a Covid-only service’.

He told the Guardian: ‘There is a duty to the thousands of patients waiting in need and in pain to make sure they can be treated.’

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of council at the British Medical Association (BMA), warned patients who need urgent care should never be left ‘stranded’ again.

It comes amid reports that NHS England has scrapped its £400million-a-month deal with private hospitals to keep their beds in reserve in case of a virus resurgence.

The move will fuel fears that the health service is under-prepared for a second epidemic, which many experts have expressed concern about in recent months.

Dr Nagpaul told the newspaper: ‘We cannot have a situation in which patients are unable to access diagnostic tests, clinic appointments and treatment which they urgently need and are simply left stranded.

‘If someone needs care – for example for cancer, heart trouble, a breathing condition or a neurological problem – they must get it when they need it.

Coronavirus: WHO urges young people to help control spread

‘Do you really need to party?’ WHO urges young people to help control the spread of coronavirus as global death toll tops 700,000

  • Younger generations have been contributing to recent resurgences of Covid-19
  • Proportion of those infected aged 15-24 has risen three-fold in just five months
  • Young people also reticent in disclosing details to coronavirus contact tracers

Young people must curb their party instincts to help prevent new coronavirus outbreaks, officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) pleaded on Wednesday.

It is thought that younger generations have been contributing to recent resurgences of Covid-19 by gathering again for parties, barbecues and holidays amid the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The proportion of those infected aged 15-24 has risen three-fold in about five months, WHO data shows.   

The warning comes after the global death toll topped 700,000. 

It is thought that younger generations have been contributing to resurgences of Covid-19 by gathering again for parties, barbecues and holidays. Pictured: Young people queuing for a night club in Helsinki, Finland, last month after the coronavirus restrictions eased

‘Younger people also need to take on board that they have a responsibility,’ said WHO emergencies chief and father-of-three Mike Ryan in an online discussion. 

‘Ask yourself the question: do I really need to go to that party?’

Young people are less likely to suffer a severe form of the respiratory disease than their parents or grandparents.

But the proportion of those infected aged 15-24 has risen three-fold in about five months, WHO data shows.

Mr Ryan said young people were often also reticent in giving their details or disclosing friends’ names to contact tracers. 

‘It’s tough but it is what is needed to stop the virus,’ he said.

The proportion of those infected aged 15-24 has risen three-fold in about five months, WHO data shows. Pictured: People standing in queue to enter a restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida, amid the pandemic

The proportion of those infected aged 15-24 has risen three-fold in about five months, WHO data shows. Pictured: People standing in queue to enter a restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida, amid the pandemic

Even in Geneva, where the global U.N. health body is based, cabarets and clubs were closed last week after evidence that nearly half of new cases were coming from there. 

Swiss newspapers said that in one night club in Zurich, from which several coronavirus cases emerged recently, partygoers had given fake names including ‘Donald Duck’.

WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said that as well as reducing risks to others young people should be more careful as even a mild version of the disease might have long-term consequences.

It was announced earlier today that the global Covid-19 related death toll had topped 700,000 as dozens of countries reintroduced tighter regulations in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

Big and small coronavirus droplets can travel further than thought through air

Air transmission of Covid-19 is being underestimated – which could impact guidelines on social distancing, ventilation systems and shared spaces, warns new research.

Researchers at Heriot-Wyatt University and University of Edinburgh found evidence that both small and large droplets can travel relatively long distances through the air – and not always in predictable directions with airflow.  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned aerosol transmission of Covid-19 is being underestimated as a study reveals droplet spread from humans does not always follow airflow.

Researchers say the new findings on droplet migration may have important implications for understanding the spread of airborne diseases such as COVID-19.

 It comes after top US infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci admitted during a Monday JAMA interview that there is much unknown about how coronavirus spreads through the air and that he himself needs to ‘study’ papers that suggest big droplets can travel further than six feet. 

Scientists of the study at Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland echoed his sentiments that a better understanding of different droplet behaviors and their spread based on droplet size is also needed.

Scientists in the UK found that both small and large droplets from people coughing or just breathing can travel far distances and unpredictable directions, suggesting the airborne danger of coronavirus – but they invented a device to ‘extract’ tiny infectious particles not stopped by masks from the air (file)  

Government guidelines will need to be considered if air transmission is proven to be significant.

Dr Cathal Cummins, an assistant professor at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, said: ‘The flow physics of someone coughing is complex, involving turbulent jets and droplet evaporation.

‘And the rise of Covid-19 has revealed the gaps in our knowledge of the physics of transmission and mitigation strategies.’

One such gap in the physics is a clear, simple description of where individual droplets go when ejected.

Dr Cummins added: ‘We wanted to develop a mathematical model of someone breathing that could be explored analytically to examine the dominant physics at play.’

The team created a mathematical model that clearly shows small, intermediate and large-sized droplets.

They found simple formulas can be used to determine a droplet’s maximum range.

This has important implications for understanding the spread of airborne diseases such as Covid-19 because their tests revealed the absence of intermediate-sized droplets, as expected.

As a person breathes, they release droplets of different sizes that do not necessarily follow the airflow.

Dr Cummins said: ‘We represent breathing as a point source of both air and droplets and include a point sink to model the effect of extraction of air and droplets.

‘To take their size and density differences into account, we use the Maxey-Riley equation, which describes the motion of a small but finite-sized rigid sphere through a fluid.’

This work gives researchers a general framework to understand the droplet dispersion.

The model shows that bimodality, or having two modes, could actually be a property of the droplets themselves.

Researchers provided formulas to predict when such droplets will have short ranges and say both large and small droplets can travel further than medium-sized ones.

A diagram from the study shows the varied and far trajectories that simple heavy breathing can send both small and large particles

A diagram from the study shows the varied and far trajectories that simple heavy breathing can send both small and large particles 

Co-author Dr Felicity Mehendale, an academic surgeon at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Our study shows there isn’t a linear relation between droplet size and displacement, with both small and large droplets travelling further than medium-sized ones.

‘We can’t afford to be complacent about small droplets. PPE is an effective barrier to large droplets but may be less effective for small ones.’

As a solution, Dr Mehendale came up with the idea of creating an aerosol extractor device.

The team is working on plans to manufacture the product to keep clinicians safe during a wide range of aerosol-generating procedures routinely performed in medicine and dentistry.

Extraction units placed near the droplet sources can effectively trap droplets, if their diameters fall below that of a human hair.

Dr Cummins said: ‘This has important implications for the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Larger droplets would be easily captured by PPE, such as masks and face shields. But smaller droplets may penetrate some forms of PPE, so an extractor could help reduce the weakness in our current defence against Covid-19 and future pandemics.’

Dr Mehendale said a better understanding of the droplet behavior will help ‘inform the safety guidelines for aerosol-generating procedures.

She added: ‘It will be relevant during the current and future pandemics, as well as for other infectious diseases.

‘This mathematical model may also serve as the basis of modelling the impact on droplet dispersion of ventilation systems existing within a range of clinical spaces.’

Findings were published in the Physics of Fluids journal from AIP Publishing. 

Big and small coronavirus droplets can travel further than thought through air

Air transmission of Covid-19 is being underestimated – which could impact guidelines on social distancing, ventilation systems and shared spaces, warns new research.

Researchers at Heriot-Wyatt University and University of Edinburgh found evidence that both small and large droplets can travel relatively long distances through the air – and not always in predictable directions with airflow.  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned aerosol transmission of Covid-19 is being underestimated as a study reveals droplet spread from humans does not always follow airflow.

Researchers say the new findings on droplet migration may have important implications for understanding the spread of airborne diseases such as COVID-19.

 It comes after top US infectious disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci admitted during a Monday JAMA interview that there is much unknown about how coronavirus spreads through the air and that he himself needs to ‘study’ papers that suggest big droplets can travel further than six feet. 

Scientists of the study at Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland echoed his sentiments that a better understanding of different droplet behaviors and their spread based on droplet size is also needed.

Scientists in the UK found that both small and large droplets from people coughing or just breathing can travel far distances and unpredictable directions, suggesting the airborne danger of coronavirus – but they invented a device to ‘extract’ tiny infectious particles not stopped by masks from the air (file)  

Government guidelines will need to be considered if air transmission is proven to be significant.

Dr Cathal Cummins, an assistant professor at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, said: ‘The flow physics of someone coughing is complex, involving turbulent jets and droplet evaporation.

‘And the rise of Covid-19 has revealed the gaps in our knowledge of the physics of transmission and mitigation strategies.’

One such gap in the physics is a clear, simple description of where individual droplets go when ejected.

Dr Cummins added: ‘We wanted to develop a mathematical model of someone breathing that could be explored analytically to examine the dominant physics at play.’

The team created a mathematical model that clearly shows small, intermediate and large-sized droplets.

They found simple formulas can be used to determine a droplet’s maximum range.

This has important implications for understanding the spread of airborne diseases such as Covid-19 because their tests revealed the absence of intermediate-sized droplets, as expected.

As a person breathes, they release droplets of different sizes that do not necessarily follow the airflow.

Dr Cummins said: ‘We represent breathing as a point source of both air and droplets and include a point sink to model the effect of extraction of air and droplets.

‘To take their size and density differences into account, we use the Maxey-Riley equation, which describes the motion of a small but finite-sized rigid sphere through a fluid.’

This work gives researchers a general framework to understand the droplet dispersion.

The model shows that bimodality, or having two modes, could actually be a property of the droplets themselves.

Researchers provided formulas to predict when such droplets will have short ranges and say both large and small droplets can travel further than medium-sized ones.

A diagram from the study shows the varied and far trajectories that simple heavy breathing can send both small and large particles

A diagram from the study shows the varied and far trajectories that simple heavy breathing can send both small and large particles 

Co-author Dr Felicity Mehendale, an academic surgeon at the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘Our study shows there isn’t a linear relation between droplet size and displacement, with both small and large droplets travelling further than medium-sized ones.

‘We can’t afford to be complacent about small droplets. PPE is an effective barrier to large droplets but may be less effective for small ones.’

As a solution, Dr Mehendale came up with the idea of creating an aerosol extractor device.

The team is working on plans to manufacture the product to keep clinicians safe during a wide range of aerosol-generating procedures routinely performed in medicine and dentistry.

Extraction units placed near the droplet sources can effectively trap droplets, if their diameters fall below that of a human hair.

Dr Cummins said: ‘This has important implications for the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Larger droplets would be easily captured by PPE, such as masks and face shields. But smaller droplets may penetrate some forms of PPE, so an extractor could help reduce the weakness in our current defence against Covid-19 and future pandemics.’

Dr Mehendale said a better understanding of the droplet behavior will help ‘inform the safety guidelines for aerosol-generating procedures.

She added: ‘It will be relevant during the current and future pandemics, as well as for other infectious diseases.

‘This mathematical model may also serve as the basis of modelling the impact on droplet dispersion of ventilation systems existing within a range of clinical spaces.’

Findings were published in the Physics of Fluids journal from AIP Publishing. 

Top WHO official warns life can carry on on if Covid-19 test and trace works better

The world must ‘learn to live’ with the coronavirus, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official insisted today.

Dr David Nabarro, a Covid-19 envoy for the UN agency, warned the virus isn’t going away’ for the foreseeable future because it ‘doesn’t get bored’.

But he claimed life ‘can go on’ with robust test and trace systems, designed to stop clusters of cases before they spiral out of control. 

Dr Nabarro, however, warned of ‘very bad’ spikes in Covid-19 cases that will lead to ‘economic challenges’ if it’s ‘not done properly’. 

He called on countries to do ‘everything’ to control the virus, encouraging people to wash their hands, wear masks and social distance. 

His comments follow a major study last night which showed the UK’s test and trace system is currently ‘not good enough’ to prevent a second wave.

Scientists said reopening schools in the UK would result in another crisis that peaks in December — but could be avoided by improving the existing scheme. 

Ministers today admitted the struggling coronavirus contact tracing system must improve. 

Dr David Nabarro, the UN body’s COVID-19 envoy, said the virus isn’t going away in the foreseeable future, and so we ‘must learn to live with it’

Dr Nabarro told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘This virus isn’t going away for the foreseeable.

‘This virus is really dangerous and as humanity, as society, we’ve all got to learn to live with it.

‘And if I sound like a really dull person, then too bad, because that’s my message and that’s the message of the WHO.

‘Let’s all work on it together and do it as a community, as society, then we can get on. 

‘Otherwise we’ll constantly be pushed back with local lockdowns, other problems, new instructions from authorities and I think that will be more damaging to the future of society than everybody levelling with each other and doing it together.’ 

Dr Nabarro said it was clear the virus was capable of a resurgence, pointing to spikes in cases in countries that appeared to had recovered.

COVID-19 CASES IN LATIN AMERICA TIP 5MILLION 

Latin America broke through five million confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Monday, according to figures.

The region is now the world’s hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus was initially slower to reach Latin America — home to about 640 million people — than much of the world. 

But health experts say it has been hard to control the virus due to the region’s poverty and densely packed cities.

The more than 10,000 new cases reported by Colombia’s health ministry on Monday pushed the region past the five million mark, a day after the nation reported a record 11,470 cases.

Latin America has now topped 200,000 deaths. 

Brazil’s total approached 96,000 on Monday and Mexico surpassed 48,000. The two countries have the world’s second and third highest death tolls, after the US.

North America is the region with the second highest number of cases, with 4.8million infections, according to a Reuters tally, followed by Europe and Asia, which have around three million infections each.

Latin America is particularly vulnerable to the virus due to high levels of poverty, urbanization and labor informality, according to a July 30 report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Pan American Health Organization.

More than 100million people across Latin America and the Caribbean live in slums, according to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. 

Many have jobs in the informal sector with little in the way of a social safety net and have continued to work throughout the pandemic.  

Latin America has also a high death rate from the virus, likely due to a number of factors, including high levels of underlying conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

Parts of Europe, including the UK, Spain and Germany, are all reporting more cases than usual — following a steady decline in infections over May and June.

Dr Nabarro said: ‘As it surges back, the way you stop outbreaks developing is through having well functioning contact tracing linked to testing with isolation of people who have symptoms or who’ve been in contact. 

‘And, if we can do that, and do it well, then the surges are kept really small, they’re dealt with quickly and life can go on. 

‘If, on the other hand, this testing and tracing and isolation just is not done properly, then you get very bad surges occurring and this will lead to economic challenges.’

Contact tracing involves identifying people who have Covid-19 and interviewing them to find out who they came in contact with.

Those contacts are ideally traced down and told to self-isolate to interrupt the chain of spread.

It relies on rapid testing, the ability to reach all cases and their contacts, and the public abiding by self isolation rules. 

Dr Nabarro stressed that the process of testing, tracing and isolation, involves a joint effort between the public and authorities.

He acknowledged that people globally are tiring of restrictions and becoming complacent, which is a concern for controlling the disease.

He said: ‘I hear about people in Berlin protesting at the weekend about being fed up about restrictions. I hear about people in many parts of other European countries saying we’ve had enough of this. And I so understand it. 

‘I think all of us are just thinking “when is this going to end?”

‘We have absolutely no choice but to take it seriously and we must not compete with each other about it.’

The UK’s contact tracing system uses call-handlers who were hired by the government. 

An NHS smartphone app, considered a key part of the tracing system, was also supposed to be rolled out in May. But it is not yet ready.

Dr Nabarro’s sobering comments come after a major study said British children returning to school in September will trigger a devastating second wave of Covid-19 — unless the test and trace scheme improves.

Twice as many people could be infected than the first wave which would peak in December, scientists said. 

But it could be avoided if testing is dramatically ramped up and the contact tracing system becomes better.  

Experts found that, to prevent a second wave when schools reopen, the NHS contact tracing system must reach 68 per cent of cases and their contacts.  

IS THE TEST AND TRACE SCHEME GETTING WORSE? 

Figures last week revealed some 4,242 people infected with coronavirus were referred to the test and trace scheme during the week of July 16-22.  

But just 2,809 (77 per cent) agreed to provide details of people they had come into close contact with recently, meaning thousands of potential patients went missed.

A total of 646 with the virus could not be reached at all by the tracers, who phone, text and email someone up to 10 times a day to get hold of them.

The contact tracing figures, released by the Department of Health, also found the programme failed to reach almost a fifth of people who tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

Little over 81 per cent of infected people were actually tracked down by tracers — marking the first time the system had caught more than 80 per cent of patients since it launched on May 28.

One in four people who came into close contact with someone infected with coronavirus could not be reached by the NHS Test and Trace service.

Only 75.1 per cent (13,974) of contacts were reached and asked to self-isolate. This was down from the 78.4 per cent reached in the previous week, and the 90.8 per cent reached in the first week of Test and Trace.

Scientists have previously said eight in 10 Covid-19 sufferers need to be reached and their contacts isolated for the system to be effective.

But the current NHS system is ‘not good enough’, according to researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

It reaches half of contacts and only a fraction — around 14 per cent — of symptomatic cases are tested, they said. 

It emerged last night that ministers are drawing up plans for testing squads to enter classrooms in areas with a high infection rate to avoid closing down the how school. 

The authors said without improvements in testing it will be ‘absolutely essential’ to introduce other measures in September to ‘mitigate’ the effects of schools opening. 

This could mean pubs are forced to shut or greater restrictions are placed on people meeting indoors — an idea which has been floated by other scientists.  

A different study published last month found contact tracers need to catch 80 per cent of infections and test suspected patients within three days to keep coronavirus epidemics squashed.

Researchers from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands said the reproduction R rate can be kept under one as long as only two in 10 patients slip under the radar.

Any more than that risks driving the R — the average number of people each coronavirus patient infects — to the point at which the crisis could spiral again.

And people need to be swabbed and given results within three days to ensure they aren’t tempted to go outside and mingle with others when results don’t come back.   

The UK’s contact tracing system is only finding 77.6 per cent of patients who test positive.

And since the launch of Test and Trace, 83 per cent of close contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have been reached through the tracing system and asked to self-isolate.

One in four people who were tested for Covid-19 in the week ending July 22 at a regional site or mobile testing unit have to wait more than 24 hours for their test result.

This is despite the Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging that, by the end of June, the results of all in-person tests would back within 24 hours.  

The Government’s own scientific advisers have been banging the drum about the need to catch 80 per cent of infections throughout the crisis. 

Scientist warns gloves achieve ‘nothing in the way of safety’

Wearing gloves may not protect people from Covid-19 because they give a false sense of security, an expert has warned.

Dr Allison Bartlett, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago, said they offer ‘nothing in the way of safety’.

World Health Organization chiefs says that regular handwashing is the best way to stop the virus spreading.

But many people anxious about the virus use gloves in a similar way as masks, which studies have shown can cut the risk of transmission.

This is pointless, according to Dr Bartlett, because the virus can survive on gloves if they touch contaminated surfaces. 

She added wearing gloves can give people a ‘false sense of security’ their hands are protected when ‘that’s not the case at all’.

Wearing gloves provides ‘nothing in the way of safety’ and may be dangerous because they give wearers a false sense of security, a scientist has warned

Discussing the effectiveness of wearing gloves, she said: ‘You might feel protected because your skin is not touching a surface.

‘But as soon as you move from touching that surface to touching your mask or face, that’s contamination, even if you are wearing gloves.’

In a warning to people relying on gloves to protect them from Covid-19, Dr Bartlett added: ‘You’ve accomplished nothing in the way of safety.’ 

People can get infected with the coronavirus if the have the virus on their hands and touch their eyes, nose or mouth. 

HOW LONG CAN COVID-19 SURVIVE ON SURFACES?

In the air: Infectious disease researchers have found COVID-19 remains infectious in contaminated airborne respiratory droplets for at least three hours, however they have not determined whether humans produce enough of the disease in a single cough or sneeze to infect another person.

On soft, porous surfaces: COVID-19 can survive on porous surfaces like cardboard, paper, clothing and soft furnishings like pillows and Doonas for up to 24 hours. Porous surfaces allow air and water to pass through, which makes them much less likely to hold infectious volumes of the virus compared to non-porous objects like door handles, taps and phone covers.

On hard, shiny surfaces: COVID-19 has been proven to stay active on hard surfaces like glass, plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours. Hard, shiny materials are non-porous which means water, air and vapour cannot pass through and instead rest and accumulate on the surface.

World Economic Forum researchers have confirmed the virus does degrade over time, reducing the likelihood of infection the longer contaminated droplets have sat on a surface, but you should still avoid touching handles, buttons and other objects in public spaces. If unavoidable, you should avoid touching your face until you have thoroughly washed your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. 

Frequently touched household surfaces like taps, door handles, computer keyboards and toilets should be cleaned using bleach or alcohol solutions of at least 70 percent alcohol.

On hair: There is no evidence to suggest coronavirus can be carried in strands of beards or facial hair.

Dr Bartlett said it is easy to contaminate hands while removing gloves because once one glove is removed, the other free hand could easily touch the other glove while taking it off. 

And she added that a widespread use of gloves by the general public could end up draining the supply for doctors.

Doctors are made to follow specific procedures to ensure that used gloves do not contaminate their hands. They also wash their hands before and after wearing gloves and will only use one set of gloves per patient. 

They use gloves when they might come into contact with blood and other bodily fluids from patients. 

The World Health Organisation also states that even though doctors follow strict procedures to use gloves properly, they ‘do not provide complete protection against hand contamination’. 

The organisation’s website adds: ‘Pathogens may gain access to the caregivers’ hands via small defects in gloves or by contamination of the hands during glove removal. 

‘Hand hygiene by rubbing or washing remains the basic to guarantee hand decontamination after glove removal.’  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US and the European CDC have released guidelines which state that gloves ‘will not necessarily protect you from getting Covid-19 and may still lead to the spread of germs’.   

Although the CDC states that reusable gloves can be used while cleaning, this is in order to protect hands rather than prevent transmission. 

Dr Bartlett added that because gloves are single use there is also an environmental aspect to consider. 

She said: ‘The only thing that irks me more than seeing people out and about in the grocery store with gloves is on my walk home from the hospital when I see new Covid garbage on the ground’.   

She added that to stop the spread of coronavirus it’s more helpful to do things ‘we know are really impactful’ such as staying home.

Dr Bartlett also argued wearing a mask in public can also help, as well as regularly washing hands and frequently-touched surfaces. 

Back in April, a researcher who advises the WHO on outbreaks of infectious diseases cautioned against wearing gloves in the supermarket. 

Mary-Louise McLaws, an infection control expert and professor of epidemiology at the University of New South Wales, said gloves carry germs more effectively than skin and cause people to become more relaxed about washing their hands.

Professor McLaws told Daily Mail Australia that hands, wrists and fingernails should still be washed for 20 seconds before wearing gloves and after taking them off, so it’s ‘best not to rely on them for protection at all’.

She said frontline healthcare workers are the only people who need to wear gloves, and reiterated official guidance that using hand hygiene stations in public places, practicing social distancing and staying at home are the best defences against coronavirus.  

While it’s no harm to disinfect baskets and trolleys, Professor McLaws said there is ‘very little risk’ of contracting SARS-CoV-2 from supermarket surfaces. 

Covid-19 has been shown to survive on glass, plastic and stainless steel for up to three days. 

Nearly 40 nations report record single-day rises in Covid cases as public lose faith in governments


Almost 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections, as the World Health Organisation warns there is no return to the ‘old normal’.

The rate of cases has been rapidly increasing in the United States, Brazil, India, Japan and Australia, among others. 

Hong Kong, Bolivia, Sudan and Ethiopia have also seen rises in cases, according to a Reuters tally. 

The data, compiled from official reports, shows a steady rise in the number of countries reporting record daily increases in coronavirus cases across the past month. 

Almost 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections this month. Pictured: Total confirmed coronavirus cases in countries with rapidly increasing infection rates

Bulgaria, Belgium, Uzbekistan and Israel have also seen record single-day rises across the past month, according to Reuters.

Three weeks ago, at least seven countries had reported record increases, which rose to at least 13 countries two weeks ago. 

After rising to at least 20 countries last week, the number of countries that have reported record daily increases has now reached 37. 

A new daily record figure has been recorded in Spain, which is said to be likely to deter tourists from visiting one of the continent’s most popular destinations.

A separate survey has also shown that the world has set a new record for the highest daily increase in coronavirus infections.

More than 280,000 new cases were recorded globally on both Thursday and Friday, the highest daily rises since the virus emerged, according to an AFP count based on official sources. 

India is among countries who have reported rapid increases in coronavirus cases this month, as more than 280,000 new cases were recorded globally on both Thursday and Friday

India is among countries who have reported rapid increases in coronavirus cases this month, as more than 280,000 new cases were recorded globally on both Thursday and Friday

The data, compiled from official reports, shows a steady rise in the number of countries reporting record daily increases in coronavirus cases across the past month, including Brazil

The data, compiled from official reports, shows a steady rise in the number of countries reporting record daily increases in coronavirus cases across the past month, including Brazil

Friday’s tally of 282,042 was marginally down on Thursday’s single-day record 284,661 but still shows an alarming uptick in the spread of the virus. 

This comes after the WHO has warned everyone to treat their behaviour amid the coronavirus pandemic as ‘life-and-death decisions’.

‘We will not be going back to the ‘old normal’. The pandemic has already changed the way we live our lives,’ World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week. 

‘We’re asking everyone to treat the decisions about where they go, what they do and who they meet with as life-and-death decisions – because they are.’ 

A separate report has also showed that governments are quickly losing support for their handling of the pandemic.

A survey, released on Saturday, showed that faith in authorities in dwindling across six nations, as governments worldwide have struggled to contain the virus. 

People widely believe that death and infection figures are higher than recorded in France, Germany, Britain, Japan, Sweden and the US widely believed death and infection figures to be higher than recorded, according to a study which polled 1,000 people in each nation.

‘In most countries this month, support for national governments is falling,’ the report by the Kekst CNC communications consulting group said.

A new daily record figure has been recorded in Spain, which is likely to deter tourists from visiting one of the continent's most popular destinations. Pictured, Barcelona on July 19

A new daily record figure has been recorded in Spain, which is likely to deter tourists from visiting one of the continent’s most popular destinations. Pictured, Barcelona on July 19 

Spain was among 37 countries to record a new daily record figure in coronavirus cases this month, according to a Reuters tally

Spain was among 37 countries to record a new daily record figure in coronavirus cases this month, according to a Reuters tally

The United States has this week passed more than 4 million cases and recorded more than 1,000 deaths for four consecutive days. 

Brazil and India, which epidemiologists say is still likely months away from hitting its peak, have also exceeded one million cases. 

In Australia, officials enforced a six-week partial lockdown and made face masks mandatory for residents in the country’s second-largest city, Melbourne, after a fresh outbreak. 

After Mexico posted a daily record this week, officials warned that a downward trend in case numbers that began in mid-June could reverse.   

Based on the rate of hospital admissions over the past week, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said hospitalisation levels by October could exceed those registered in June.

She said: ‘It is important to recognise that if we do not change the trend, there could be exponential growth.’ 

Kenya recorded a high daily case number less than two weeks after reopening domestic passenger flights.   

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who had announced international flights would resume on August 1, has called officials to an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the surge in cases.   

Authorities in China announced that they would introduce a new wave of testing in the city of Dalian (pictured), after fresh infections were detected there

Authorities in China announced that they would introduce a new wave of testing in the city of Dalian (pictured), after fresh infections were detected there

On Saturday, South Korea reported its highest infections figure in nearly four months, and in Vietnam the first locally-transmitted case in nearly 100 days was detected. 

This comes after authorities in China said, on Friday, that they would introduce a new wave of testing in the port city of Dalian, home to about six million people, after fresh infections were detected there. 

The local government’s health commission said the city must ‘enter wartime mode’ to prevent further any spread. 

It also announced on-the-spot nucleic acid tests for people using the subway system and will impose new lockdowns for some communities. 

The WHO’s European chapter has expressed concern about the rise in cases on the continent in the past two weeks and warned tighter restrictions may be needed. 

‘The recent resurgence in COVID-19 cases in some countries following the easing of physical distancing measures is certainly cause for concern,’ a WHO Europe spokeswoman told AFP.

‘If the situation demands, reintroduction of stricter, targeted measures with the full engagement of communities may be needed.’ 

Nearly a third of the world’s 15.8 million infections have been registered since July 1, while the total death toll nears 640,000. 

A coronavirus vaccine will NOT be available this year, World Health Organization warns


Hopes for a coronavirus vaccine before Christmas have been dashed by a World Health Organization expert. 

Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said the first use of a Covid-19 vaccine cannot be expected until early 2021. 

He noted that several vaccines are now in phase three trials and none have failed so far in terms of safety or ability to generate an immune response.  

His comments come after Oxford University — one of the frontrunners in a race for a vaccine —  claimed there was still a chance it could deliver its experimental jab by Christmas if tests keep going according to plan.   

One of the researchers working on the project had said that people in the most at-risk groups could get the first jabs in the winter.  

Hopes for a coronavirus vaccine before Christmas have been dashed by a World Health Organisation expert 

Mike Ryan (pictured), head of WHO's emergencies programme, said the first use of a Covid-19 cannot be expected until early 2021

Mike Ryan (pictured), head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said the first use of a Covid-19 cannot be expected until early 2021

A vaccine is considered crucial for getting out of the coronavirus pandemic because it would be the only way to secure protection against catching it.

It would work by injecting either a tiny piece of the virus into the body — which would not make someone sick — or a clone of its DNA.

This triggers an immune response which has long-term memory, so if a person is exposed to the coronavirus in real life, their body knows how to fight it quickly.  

RESULTS FROM OXFORD UNIVERSITY VACCINE ARE ‘PROMISING’

Results from the first phase of clinical trials of Oxford’s vaccine were published on Tuesday in the British medical journal, The Lancet. 

They revealed that the Covid-19 vaccine had been given to 543 people out of a group of 1,077. 

The other half were given a meningitis jab so their reactions could be compared and scientists could be sure the effects of the coronavirus jab weren’t random.   

Researchers wanted to find out whether the vaccine boosted either of two types of immunity — antibodies, which are disease-fighting substances; and T-cell immunity, with T cells able to produce antibodies and also to attack viruses themselves.

The vaccine produced ‘strong’ responses on both accounts, the study found.

It showed that the T cell response aimed at the spike protein that appears on the outside of the coronavirus was ‘markedly increased’ in people who had had the jab, in tests of 43 of the participants. These responses peaked after 14 days and then declined before the end-point of the trial at 56 days. 

Antibody immunity, on the other hand, peaked after four weeks and remained high by day 56, the point at which the last measurement was taken, meaning it may well last for even longer. 

After 28 days, up to 100 per cent of a group of 35 people still had a strong enough ‘neutralising’ immune response to destroy the virus, researchers found.

A neutralising response means the immune system is able to destroy the virus and make it unable to infect the body.

The researchers could not test this on more people because they didn’t have enough time, they explained.

Scientists had to wait a month after vaccinating people, with many of them vaccinated in late May. And Sir Mene Pangalos, a vice-president of research and development at AstraZeneca, said the tests used were ‘very laborious’ so the team weren’t able to get more data in time for the paper.

Sir Mene added that the researchers were ‘veering towards a two-high-dose strategy’ because that seemed to be producing the strongest immune response. 

But until a jab is proven to be safe and effective, controlling cases relies on social distancing, regular hand washing and face mask wearing.

Governments globally know this is not a long term solution to the disease because prevention measures and lockdowns have crippled economies. 

Scientists are racing to find a vaccine that will protect millions, with 24 already being tested in humans and more than 140 in pre-clinical trials. 

Dr Ryan said: ‘We’re making good progress. Realistically it’s going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated’. 

The WHO is working to expand access to potential vaccines and to help scale-up production capacity. 

Dr Ryan said: ‘We need to be fair about this, because this is a global good. Vaccines for this pandemic are not for the wealthy, they are not for the poor, they are for everybody.’ 

Dr Ryan also cautioned schools to be careful about re-opening until community transmission of Covid-19 is under control.  

‘We have to do everything possible to bring our children back to school, and the most effective thing we can do is to stop the disease in our community,’ he said. 

‘Because if you control the disease in the community, you can open the schools.’ 

It comes after results from the first phase of clinical trials of Oxford’s vaccine were published on Tuesday in the British medical journal, The Lancet. 

The vaccine produced a ‘strong’ antibody and T cell immune response in volunteers.

Researchers said ‘the early results hold promise’ but added much more is still needed.

Infectious disease scientists warned ‘there is still a long way to go’ before any vaccine is rolled out. 

The vaccine  — called AZD1222 — is already being manufactured by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the UK Government has ordered 100million doses ahead of time.

Professor Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the Oxford team, said she is still confident the jab could be ready for the most vulnerable people by the end of the year.

The Oxford team initially hoped it would be ready by September when they began trials in April. However, there are a number of hurdles to get through first, including proving the vaccine actually works.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday, Professor Gilbert said: ‘The end of the year target for getting vaccine rollout is a possibility but there’s absolutely no certainty because we need three things.’

Those three things are the results from phase three trials, the ability for manufacturers to produce large quantities of the virus, and regulators to approve the vaccine. 

Data from the Oxford study show that Covid-19 antibody responses were greater in people who had been given two doses of the vaccine (third column from left, the higher dots represent a greater number of antibodies. Second from left was one dose, and far left was a placebo. Some people had antibody responses in the placebo group, which scientists said was likely because they had Covid-19 without knowing before joining the trial)

Data from the Oxford study show that Covid-19 antibody responses were greater in people who had been given two doses of the vaccine (third column from left, the higher dots represent a greater number of antibodies. Second from left was one dose, and far left was a placebo. Some people had antibody responses in the placebo group, which scientists said was likely because they had Covid-19 without knowing before joining the trial)

The share price of AstraZeneca, which is manufacturing Oxford's vaccine, fell today as the results of the early trial were announced, suggesting they did not live up to the hype investors had been expecting

The share price of AstraZeneca, which is manufacturing Oxford’s vaccine, fell today as the results of the early trial were announced, suggesting they did not live up to the hype investors had been expecting

Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, also said ‘it’s possible there’ll be a vaccine being used by the end of the year’ after the publication of the first results. 

WHAT ARE THE LEADING COVID-19 VACCINE CANDIDATES? 

University of Oxford

Oxford University academics began developing the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine in January. It is now named AZD1222, after the researchers signed a manufacturing partnership with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

Human trials started on April 23 and they are now in the final phase, with trials being carried out in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. 

Lead of the project Professor Sarah Gilbert told The Times she is ’80 per cent’ confident of its success.

The science behind Oxford’s vaccine attempt hinges on recreating the ‘spike’ proteins that are found all over the outside of the Covid-19 viruses.

It is made from a weakened version of an adenovirus from chimpanzees that has been genetically changed so it is impossible for it to grow in humans. 

Imperial College London 

Fifteen volunteers have already been given Imperial’s trial jab and testing is expected to ramp up to include as many as 200-300 participants in the coming weeks. A second trial, with 6,000 people, will come later. 

But Professor Robin Shattock, lead researcher, said the vaccine won’t be available until at least 2021 even if everything goes according to plan. 

If the jab works, the team want to make it as cheap as possible so the entire British population could be vaccinated for the ‘really good value’ of just under £200million.

Imperial’s vaccine also attempts to mimic the spikes on the outside of the Covid-19 virus. However, it will work by delivering genetic material (RNA) from the virus, which programs cells inside the patient’s body to recreate the spike proteins.

Pfizer/BioNTech

US drug giant Pfizer — famous for Viagra — and German firm BioNTech have been working on a number of potential Covid-19 vaccines under the ‘BNT162 program’. 

It reported positive preliminary results from the ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial of one called BNT162b1 on July 1. Tests on 24 volunteers showed that it was well tolerated and produced dose dependent immunity.

Dr Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development, said the vaccine ‘is able to produce neutralizing antibody responses in humans at or above the levels observed’ in Covid-19 survivors.

Pfizer received fast track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two of their four potential Covid-19 vaccines this month. 

The vaccine is one which injects RNA – genetic material – which codes the body to produce proteins that look like the spike proteins that would be found on the outside of the real coronavirus.

Valneva

French firm Valneva have yet to begin human trials of their Covid-19 vaccine, called VLA2001. Company bosses hope to scale up testing by the end of this year.

The jab is currently only in pre-clinical studies — meaning it is being tested in the lab and on animals.

If proven successful, the vaccine will be manufactured at its facilities in Livingston, Scotland and in Solna, Sweden. 

Valneva’s jab is based on injecting people with dead versions of the coronavirus.

This is called an inactivated whole virus vaccine and works by injecting the virus itself but versions that have been damaged in a lab so that they cannot infect human cells. They can be damaged using heat, chemicals or radiation.

Even though the viruses are inactivated the body still recognises them as threats and mounts and immune response against them which can develop immunity.

Moderna 

Massachusetts-based Moderna was the first US company to start human trials of its potential Covid-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, on March 16.

The jab has proven to trigger an immune response in all 45 injected volunteers, according to a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine on July 14.

Moderna’s shot showed early promise in its phase 2 human tests last month. The company reported that it triggered antibody production on par with that seen in recovered coronavirus patients. 

CanSino 

Chinese vaccine Ad5-nCoV, made by CanSino, was the very first shot to enter clinical trials earlier this year and is a leading candidate.

A trial of 108 healthy volunteers in China showed it safely triggered an immune response in participants.

Results published May 22 in The Lancet showed most of the people dosed with the vaccine had immune responses, although their levels of antibodies thought to neutralize the virus were relatively low. Researchers saw a stronger ramp-up of other immune compounds, called T-cells, that might also help fight the infection off.   

Johnson & Johnson 

The drug giant started work on the vaccine in January, two months before Covid-19 was labelled a global pandemic. 

A vaccine trial spearheaded by Johnson and Johnson will start recruiting people in September, with clinical data available by the end of the year.

An ’emergency use’ batch of the vaccine is anticipated to be authorised as early as 2021, which would likely be prioritised for vulnerable people.

CureVac

CureVac, a German company, secured permission last month to begin first phase clinical trials of its attempt at a coronavirus vaccine.

The vaccine, named CVnCoV, works by injected RNA designed to force the production of coronavirus-like proteins in the body and trigger an immune response.

The first trials will involved 168 people between the ages of 18 and 60 in Germany and Belgium.

And vaccine researcher Dr Sandy Douglas added: ‘I think the vaccine may be available for some people in high risk groups in the UK by the end of the year. But it won’t be made available to everybody immediately.

‘It’s likely to be given to the people who have the most to gain from it earliest, then gradually introduce it for other people.’      

However Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to temper expectations when he admitted he wasn’t totally confident there would even be a vaccine by the end of next year.

Speaking on Sky News on Monday, Mr Johnson said: ‘I wish I could say that I was 100 per cent confident we’ll get a vaccine for Covid-19.

‘Obviously I’m hopeful — I’ve got my fingers crossed — but to say I’m 100 per cent confident that we’ll get a vaccine this year, or indeed next year is, alas, just an exaggeration — we’re not there yet.

‘If you talk to the scientists they think the sheer weight of international effort is going to produce something. They’re pretty confident that we’ll get some sort of treatments some sort of vaccines that will really make a difference.

‘But can I tell you that I’m 100 per cent confident? No.

‘That’s why we’ve got to continue with our current approach – maintaining the social distancing measures… we’ve got to continue to do all the sensible things; washing our hands. All those basic things.’

Mr Johnson added: ‘It may be that the vaccine is going to come riding over the hill like the cavalry but we just can’t count on it right now.’ 

A deal has also been secured for a further 90million doses of two types of experimental jab being developed in France and Germany.

Agreement has been reached for 30million doses from German firm BioNTech and the US company Pfizer, 60million doses from France’s Valneva, and an unrevealed amount from Imperial College London which started human trials in June.

It is not clear exactly how much the Department of Health has paid for the vaccines, but it announced in May a £131million fund to develop vaccine-making facilities.

And it has given Valneva — the French company supplying 90million doses — an undisclosed amount of money to expand its factory in Livingston, Scotland.  

Kate Bingham, chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, revealed she was still ‘hopeful’ it would be ready by the end of 2020 but admitted that academics are unlikely to get enough data to prove it works until the end of the year.

Ms Bingham, who is a high-profile health technology investor and has a degree in biochemistry, explained on BBC Radio 4 that the deals with BioNTech and Valneva was part of a spread-betting approach to make sure the UK has stocks of the working vaccine if one is found. 

She said: ‘The announcements show that the UK is on the forefront of global efforts to source and develop vaccines and we are doing so across a range of different technologies with a range of different companies around the world.

‘It’s important because we have no vaccines against any coronavirus, so what we’re doing is identifying the most promising vaccines across the different types of vaccine so that we can be sure that we do have a vaccine, if one of those proves to be safe and effective…

‘We just need to wait and see what the clinical trials tell us but I think again it’s important to recognise that it’s unlikely to be a single vaccine for everybody. We may well need different vaccines for different groups of people.’   

The vaccine made by BioNTech, has shown good results in early trials which proved it could produce a safe immune response in a group of 45 people.   

A first-phase study on 45 adults, nine of whom received a placebo, found that the vaccine was well-tolerated and didn’t produce serious side effects.

It also triggered the immune system in the right way in all of those who it was given to. The immune reaction was dose-dependent, meaning people who received larger doses produced a larger immune response.  

Another vaccine made by the Chinese company CanSino has also had promising results published in The Lancet.

That jab, which works in the same way as Oxford’s- by piggybacking coronavirus genes onto a common cold virus – has also produced both antibody and T cell immunity.

The study involved 508 people, of whom 253 received a high dose of the vaccine, 129 received a low dose and 126 were given a placebo. 

In a group who were given a high dose of the vaccine, 95 per cent of people still had immune responses 28 days after receiving the jab.

More than half of them (56 per cent) still showed what is called a ‘neutralising’ antibody response, meaning their immune system could destroy the virus completely. And 96 per cent of them had a ‘binding’ antibody response, meaning their antibodies could latch onto the viruses and prevent them getting into the body but did not destroy them completely.

In the low dose group, 47 per cent of people had a neutralising response after four weeks and 97 per cent had a binding response. 91 per cent still had some form of immune reaction a month after the jab.    

The speed at which Covid-19 vaccines are being developed has been described as ‘unprecedented’ and a marvel of modern science.

Normally it takes years or even decades to get one into human trials but international collaboration, huge amounts of funding and the instantaneous publishing of scientific research online has allowed scientists to do it in record time.

The Oxford jab, for example, took just 103 days to get from being designed on a computer to entering human trials.

Long, repeated testing means it takes, on average, 10 years to develop a vaccine, according to the Wellcome Trust,  

A coronavirus vaccine will NOT be available this year, World Health Organization warns


Hopes for a coronavirus vaccine before Christmas have been dashed by a World Health Organization expert. 

Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said the first use of a Covid-19 vaccine cannot be expected until early 2021. 

He noted that several vaccines are now in phase three trials and none have failed so far in terms of safety or ability to generate an immune response.  

His comments come after Oxford University — one of the frontrunners in a race for a vaccine —  claimed there was still a chance it could deliver its experimental jab by Christmas if tests keep going according to plan.   

One of the researchers working on the project had said that people in the most at-risk groups could get the first jabs in the winter.  

Hopes for a coronavirus vaccine before Christmas have been dashed by a World Health Organisation expert 

A vaccine is considered crucial for getting out of the coronavirus pandemic because it would be the only way to secure protection against catching it.

It would work by injecting either a tiny piece of the virus into the body — which would not make someone sick — or a clone of its DNA.

This triggers an immune response which has long-term memory, so if a person is exposed to the coronavirus in real life, their body knows how to fight it quickly.  

But until a jab is proven to be safe and effective, controlling cases relies on social distancing, regular hand washing and face mask wearing.

Governments globally know this is not a long term solution to the disease because prevention measures and lockdowns have crippled economies. 

Scientists are racing to find a vaccine that will protect millions, with 24 already being tested in humans and more than 140 in pre-clinical trials. 

Dr Ryan said: ‘We’re making good progress. Realistically it’s going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated’. 

The WHO is working to expand access to potential vaccines and to help scale-up production capacity. 

Dr Ryan said: ‘We need to be fair about this, because this is a global good. Vaccines for this pandemic are not for the wealthy, they are not for the poor, they are for everybody.’ 

Ryan also cautioned schools to be careful about re-opening until community transmission of COVID-19 is under control.  

‘We have to do everything possible to bring our children back to school, and the most effective thing we can do is to stop the disease in our community,’ he said. 

‘Because if you control the disease in the community, you can open the schools.’ 

Oxford University’s vaccine — called AZD1222 — is already being manufactured by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the UK Government has ordered 100million doses ahead of time.

Researchers said ‘the early results hold promise’ but added much more is still needed.’ Infectious disease scientists warned ‘there is still a long way to go’ before any vaccine is rolled out.   

Results from the first phase of clinical trials of Oxford’s vaccine were published on Tuesday in the British medical journal, The Lancet.

They revealed that the Covid-19 vaccine had been given to 543 people out of a group of 1,077. 

The other half were given a meningitis jab so their reactions could be compared and scientists could be sure the effects of the coronavirus jab weren’t random.   

Mike Ryan (pictured), head of WHO's emergencies programme, said the first use of a Covid-19 cannot be expected until early 2021

Mike Ryan (pictured), head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said the first use of a Covid-19 cannot be expected until early 2021

Researchers wanted to find out whether the vaccine boosted either of two types of immunity — antibodies, which are disease-fighting substances; and T-cell immunity, with T cells able to produce antibodies and also to attack viruses themselves.

The vaccine produced ‘strong’ responses on both accounts, the study found.

It showed that the T cell response aimed at the spike protein that appears on the outside of the coronavirus was ‘markedly increased’ in people who had had the jab, in tests of 43 of the participants. These responses peaked after 14 days and then declined before the end-point of the trial at 56 days. 

Antibody immunity, on the other hand, peaked after four weeks and remained high by day 56, the point at which the last measurement was taken, meaning it may well last for even longer. 

After 28 days, up to 100 per cent of a group of 35 people still had a strong enough ‘neutralising’ immune response to destroy the virus, researchers found.

A neutralising response means the immune system is able to destroy the virus and make it unable to infect the body.

The share price of AstraZeneca, which is manufacturing Oxford's vaccine, fell today as the results of the early trial were announced, suggesting they did not live up to the hype investors had been expecting

The share price of AstraZeneca, which is manufacturing Oxford’s vaccine, fell today as the results of the early trial were announced, suggesting they did not live up to the hype investors had been expecting

Data from the Oxford study show that Covid-19 antibody responses were greater in people who had been given two doses of the vaccine (third column from left, the higher dots represent a greater number of antibodies. Second from left was one dose, and far left was a placebo. Some people had antibody responses in the placebo group, which scientists said was likely because they had Covid-19 without knowing before joining the trial)

Data from the Oxford study show that Covid-19 antibody responses were greater in people who had been given two doses of the vaccine (third column from left, the higher dots represent a greater number of antibodies. Second from left was one dose, and far left was a placebo. Some people had antibody responses in the placebo group, which scientists said was likely because they had Covid-19 without knowing before joining the trial)

The researchers could not test this on more people because they didn’t have enough time, they explained.

Scientists had to wait a month after vaccinating people, with many of them vaccinated in late May. And Sir Mene Pangalos, a vice-president of research and development at AstraZeneca, said the tests used were ‘very laborious’ so the team weren’t able to get more data in time for the paper.

Sir Mene added that the researchers were ‘veering towards a two-high-dose strategy’ because that seemed to be producing the strongest immune response. 

Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, said: ‘It’s possible there’ll be a vaccine being used by the end of the year.

‘What that needs is enough cases in the probably about 50,000 people who will be in trials by six weeks’ time, including the very large US trial, and to have an adequate incidence.

‘But of course the vaccine has to work. Even if it worked by early November, it might be a little before that, you might have emergency use authorisation in a month and then you would be deploying in December.

‘So it’s possible but we certainly can’t guarantee it – that depends on incidence of the disease, as I said earlier.’ 

And vaccine researcher Dr Sandy Douglas added: ‘A really important part of the question of when the vaccine will be available is “Who will it be available to?”

‘I think the vaccine may be available for some people in high risk groups in the UK by the end of the year. But it won’t be made available to everybody immediately.

‘It’s likely to be given to the people who have the most to gain from it earliest, then gradually introduce it for other people.’      

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the update on the vaccine was ‘very encouraging news’.

Congratulating the Oxford team and praising the ‘leadership’ of AstraZeneca, he tweeted: ‘We have already ordered 100 million doses of this vaccine, should it succeed.’  

Boris Johnson tweeted: ‘This is very positive news. A huge well done to our brilliant, world-leading scientists & researchers at @UniofOxford.

‘There are no guarantees, we’re not there yet & further trials will be necessary – but this is an important step in the right direction.’

WHAT ARE THE LEADING COVID-19 VACCINE CANDIDATES? 

University of Oxford

Oxford University academics began developing the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine in January. It is now named AZD1222, after the researchers signed a manufacturing partnership with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

Human trials started on April 23 and they are now in the final phase, with trials being carried out in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. 

Lead of the project Professor Sarah Gilbert told The Times she is ’80 per cent’ confident of its success.

The science behind Oxford’s vaccine attempt hinges on recreating the ‘spike’ proteins that are found all over the outside of the Covid-19 viruses.

It is made from a weakened version of an adenovirus from chimpanzees that has been genetically changed so it is impossible for it to grow in humans. 

Imperial College London 

Fifteen volunteers have already been given Imperial’s trial jab and testing is expected to ramp up to include as many as 200-300 participants in the coming weeks. A second trial, with 6,000 people, will come later. 

But Professor Robin Shattock, lead researcher, said the vaccine won’t be available until at least 2021 even if everything goes according to plan. 

If the jab works, the team want to make it as cheap as possible so the entire British population could be vaccinated for the ‘really good value’ of just under £200million.

Imperial’s vaccine also attempts to mimic the spikes on the outside of the Covid-19 virus. However, it will work by delivering genetic material (RNA) from the virus, which programs cells inside the patient’s body to recreate the spike proteins.

Pfizer/BioNTech

US drug giant Pfizer — famous for Viagra — and German firm BioNTech have been working on a number of potential Covid-19 vaccines under the ‘BNT162 program’. 

It reported positive preliminary results from the ongoing Phase I/II clinical trial of one called BNT162b1 on July 1. Tests on 24 volunteers showed that it was well tolerated and produced dose dependent immunity.

Dr Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development, said the vaccine ‘is able to produce neutralizing antibody responses in humans at or above the levels observed’ in Covid-19 survivors.

Pfizer received fast track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for two of their four potential Covid-19 vaccines this month. 

The vaccine is one which injects RNA – genetic material – which codes the body to produce proteins that look like the spike proteins that would be found on the outside of the real coronavirus.

Valneva

French firm Valneva have yet to begin human trials of their Covid-19 vaccine, called VLA2001. Company bosses hope to scale up testing by the end of this year.

The jab is currently only in pre-clinical studies — meaning it is being tested in the lab and on animals.

If proven successful, the vaccine will be manufactured at its facilities in Livingston, Scotland and in Solna, Sweden. 

Valneva’s jab is based on injecting people with dead versions of the coronavirus.

This is called an inactivated whole virus vaccine and works by injecting the virus itself but versions that have been damaged in a lab so that they cannot infect human cells. They can be damaged using heat, chemicals or radiation.

Even though the viruses are inactivated the body still recognises them as threats and mounts and immune response against them which can develop immunity.

Moderna 

Massachusetts-based Moderna was the first US company to start human trials of its potential Covid-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, on March 16.

The jab has proven to trigger an immune response in all 45 injected volunteers, according to a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine on July 14.

Moderna’s shot showed early promise in its phase 2 human tests last month. The company reported that it triggered antibody production on par with that seen in recovered coronavirus patients. 

CanSino 

Chinese vaccine Ad5-nCoV, made by CanSino, was the very first shot to enter clinical trials earlier this year and is a leading candidate.

A trial of 108 healthy volunteers in China showed it safely triggered an immune response in participants.

Results published May 22 in The Lancet showed most of the people dosed with the vaccine had immune responses, although their levels of antibodies thought to neutralize the virus were relatively low. Researchers saw a stronger ramp-up of other immune compounds, called T-cells, that might also help fight the infection off.   

Johnson & Johnson 

The drug giant started work on the vaccine in January, two months before Covid-19 was labelled a global pandemic. 

A vaccine trial spearheaded by Johnson and Johnson will start recruiting people in September, with clinical data available by the end of the year.

An ’emergency use’ batch of the vaccine is anticipated to be authorised as early as 2021, which would likely be prioritised for vulnerable people.

CureVac

CureVac, a German company, secured permission last month to begin first phase clinical trials of its attempt at a coronavirus vaccine.

The vaccine, named CVnCoV, works by injected RNA designed to force the production of coronavirus-like proteins in the body and trigger an immune response.

The first trials will involved 168 people between the ages of 18 and 60 in Germany and Belgium.

A second study, of a vaccine being made by the Chinese company CanSino, has also had promising results published in The Lancet today.

That jab, which works in the same way – by piggybacking coronavirus genes onto a common cold virus – has also produced both antibody and T cell immunity.

The study involved 508 people, of whom 253 received a high dose of the vaccine, 129 received a low dose and 126 were given a placebo. 

In a group who were given a high dose of the vaccine, 95 per cent of people still had immune responses 28 days after receiving the jab.

More than half of them (56 per cent) still showed what is called a ‘neutralising’ antibody response, meaning their immune system could destroy the virus completely. And 96 per cent of them had a ‘binding’ antibody response, meaning their antibodies could latch onto the viruses and prevent them getting into the body but did not destroy them completely.

In the low dose group, 47 per cent of people had a neutralising response after four weeks and 97 per cent had a binding response. 91 per cent still had some form of immune reaction a month after the jab.

The results of both trials came after announcements earlier today that the Government has bought orders for two other potential vaccines from France and Germany.  

The eagerly awaited results come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to temper expectations when he admitted he wasn’t totally confident there would even be a vaccine by the end of next year.

Ministers did, however, announce deals for a further 90million doses of two types of experimental jab being developed in France and Germany on Tuesday.

Britain is shoring up stocks of vaccines in development all over the world in its spread-betting approach in the hope that at least one of them will pay off. 

One of those, made by BioNTech, has shown good results in early trials which proved it could produce a safe immune response in a group of 45 people.   

A first-phase study on 45 adults, nine of whom received a placebo, found that the vaccine was well-tolerated and didn’t produce serious side effects.

It also triggered the immune system in the right way in all of those who it was given to. The immune reaction was dose-dependent, meaning people who received larger doses produced a larger immune response.  

The figure is in addition to the 100million doses of vaccine that are being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca, as well as another at Imperial College London which started human trials in June.

The speed at which Covid-19 vaccines are being developed has been described as ‘unprecedented’ and a marvel of modern science.

Normally it takes years or even decades to get one into human trials but international collaboration, huge amounts of funding and the instantaneous publishing of scientific research online has allowed scientists to do it in record time.

The Oxford jab, for example, took just 103 days to get from being designed on a computer to entering human trials.

Long, repeated testing means it takes, on average, 10 years to develop a vaccine, according to the Wellcome Trust, 

But the Prime Minister remained realistic about the prospects of a jab, saying people couldn’t rely on one being made. 

Speaking on Sky News this morning, Mr Johnson said: ‘I wish I could say that I was 100 per cent confident we’ll get a vaccine for Covid-19.

‘Obviously I’m hopeful — I’ve got my fingers crossed — but to say I’m 100 per cent confident that we’ll get a vaccine this year, or indeed next year is, alas, just an exaggeration — we’re not there yet. 

‘If you talk to the scientists they think the sheer weight of international effort is going to produce something. They’re pretty confident that we’ll get some sort of treatments some sort of vaccines that will really make a difference. 

‘But can I tell you that I’m 100 per cent confident? No. 

‘That’s why we’ve got to continue with our current approach – maintaining the social distancing measures… we’ve got to continue to do all the sensible things; washing our hands. All those basic things.’

Mr Johnson added: ‘It may be that the vaccine is going to come riding over the hill like the cavalry but we just can’t count on it right now.’

It is not clear exactly how much the Department of Health has paid for the vaccines, but it announced in May a £131million fund to develop vaccine-making facilities.

And it has given Valneva — the French company supplying 90million doses — an undisclosed amount of money to expand its factory in Livingston, Scotland.  

Kate Bingham, chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, revealed she was still ‘hopeful’ it would be ready by the end of 2020 but admitted that academics are unlikely to get enough data to prove it works until the end of the year.

Ms Bingham, who is a high-profile health technology investor and has a degree in biochemistry, explained on BBC Radio 4 that the deals with BioNTech and Valneva was part of a spread-betting approach to make sure the UK has stocks of the working vaccine if one is found. 

She said: ‘The announcements show that the UK is on the forefront of global efforts to source and develop vaccines and we are doing so across a range of different technologies with a range of different companies around the world.

‘It’s important because we have no vaccines against any coronavirus, so what we’re doing is identifying the most promising vaccines across the different types of vaccine so that we can be sure that we do have a vaccine, if one of those proves to be safe and effective…

‘We just need to wait and see what the clinical trials tell us but I think again it’s important to recognise that it’s unlikely to be a single vaccine for everybody. We may well need different vaccines for different groups of people.’  

The WHO is working to expand access to potential vaccines and to help scale-up production capacity. 

Dr Ryan said: ‘We need to be fair about this, because this is a global good. Vaccines for this pandemic are not for the wealthy, they are not for the poor, they are for everybody.’

The US government will pay $1.95 billion to buy 100 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc and German biotech BioNTech if it proves safe and effective, the companies said. 

Ryan also cautioned schools to be careful about re-opening until community transmission of COVID-19 is under control.  

‘We have to do everything possible to bring our children back to school, and the most effective thing we can do is to stop the disease in our community,’ he said. 

‘Because if you control the disease in the community, you can open the schools.’

Surge in coronavirus cases as 260,000 people test positive in a day


A record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases was reported yesterday as almost 260,000 people tested positive for the virus in 24 hours.

The most significant increases were noted in the US, Brazil, India and South Africa, as the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases surpassed 14.2 million. 

On Saturday, the World Health Organisation reported 71,484 new cases in the US, 45,403 in Brazil, 34,884 in India and 13,373 in South Africa. 

It comes as the global death toll reached 601,549, with the largest daily increase since May 10 reported on Saturday when 7,360 patients died.

However, experts believe true numbers around the world are much higher due to testing shortages and data collection issues in some nations. 

The previous World Health Organisation record for new cases was 237,743 on Friday. 

Medics tend to a coronavirus patient in the Intensive Care Unit at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash hospital in New Delhi, India

A woman in a face shield talks on the phone as people walk at a popular shopping street amid the outbreak of coronavirus in Sao Paulo, Brazil

A woman in a face shield talks on the phone as people walk at a popular shopping street amid the outbreak of coronavirus in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Covid-19 has been detected in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China last December, the Sun reported.

The US has reported the most coronavirus deaths, with 140,119 confirmed amid 3.7 million cases.         

Infections are soaring in Florida, Texas and Arizona, fuelled by the haphazard lifting of lockdowns and the resistance of some US citizens to wearing masks.

Teams of military medics have been deployed in Texas and California to help hospitals deal with a deluge of patients who are flooding emergency rooms.

There are currently more than two million cases of Covid-19 in Brazil, which has the second worst death toll at 78,772, and around one million infections in India. 

South Africa now ranks as the fifth worst-hit country in the pandemic, with its 350,879 cases making up roughly half of all those confirmed across the continent. 

Its epicentre is the Gauteng province, including Johannesburg and Pretoria, where around a quarter of the country’s 57 million citizens reside.    

On Saturday, the World Health Organisation reported 71,484 new cases in the US, 45,403 in Brazil, 34,884 in India and 13,373 in South Africa. Pictured: Mumbai today

On Saturday, the World Health Organisation reported 71,484 new cases in the US, 45,403 in Brazil, 34,884 in India and 13,373 in South Africa. Pictured: Mumbai today

There are currently more than two million cases in Brazil, which has the second worst death toll at 78,772, and around one million infections in India. Pictured: Rio de Janeiro on July 15

There are currently more than two million cases in Brazil, which has the second worst death toll at 78,772, and around one million infections in India. Pictured: Rio de Janeiro on July 15

‘The simple fact is that many South Africans are sitting ducks because they cannot comply with World Health Organisation protocols on improved hygiene and social distancing,’ the foundation of former South African archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah warned in a statement.   

In Britain, which has the tenth highest number of infections, some 294,066 people have tested positive for Covid-19 and 45,273 have died. 

China yesterday confirmed 16 new cases in the northwestern city of Urumqi, amid the latest outbreak of the virus since it was largely contained in late March.

At least 30 people have been infected and authorities are conducting universal testing in communities where cases were discovered, later to be expanded to other parts of the city and major businesses.        

People get their details recorded before giving their swabs for rapid antigen tests, amid the coronavirus outbreak, at a check-up point in Ahmedabad, India

People get their details recorded before giving their swabs for rapid antigen tests, amid the coronavirus outbreak, at a check-up point in Ahmedabad, India

A crew of a private ambulance service in Port Elizabeth wear personal protective equipment

A crew of a private ambulance service in Port Elizabeth wear personal protective equipment

South Korean authorities are also struggling to suppress a surge in infections, with 34 additional cases – 21 of them domestic and 13 from overseas – raising the country’s total to 13,745 with 295 deaths.   

Both South Korea and China are mandating testing and enforcing two-week quarantines on all overseas arrivals.

After a one-day respite, Covid-19 cases in the Australian state of Victoria rose again, prompting a move to make masks mandatory in Melbourne and Mitchell.

Health officials today recorded 363 new cases in the past 24 hours. Two men and a woman in their nineties died, taking the national death toll from Covid-19 to 122.