More than 36.15 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,052,602 have died, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Regeneron antibodies are in demand after the treatment of U.S. President Donald Trump.
He said his use of an experimental therapy from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc had allowed him to experience first-hand how effective it could be.
“I want to get for you what I got. And I’m going to make it free,” Trump said in a video address released on Wednesday, at one point calling the unapproved medicine a “cure”.
Regeneron’s drug is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies – manufactured copies of antibodies that are one of the main weapons the immune system generates to fight infections.
Patients are asking to join clinical trials of antibody-based COVID-19 drugs, though medical experts said more data is needed to assess the treatment’s efficacy before wider use should be allowed.
The company said on Wednesday it had submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its antibody combination.
Japan to remove travel ban for 12 countries
Japan is planning to remove a ban on overseas travel to China and 11 other countries next month, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Thursday.
The 11 other countries and regions include Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia, the Yomiuri said.
The Japanese government, which bans travel to 159 countries and regions, will recommend that travellers refrain from unnecessary and non-urgent visits to those 12 countries, the newspaper said.
Intubation may be less risky for doctors than feared
Placing a tube in a patient’s airway, or removing it, is thought to be one of the highest-risk procedures for medical staff, because of the very close proximity to air being expelled through the mouth of a potentially infected person. But in operating rooms, at least, these procedures might present less of a risk of virus transmission than has been feared.
In operating room experiments with anesthetized patients, intubation and extubation produced far fewer potentially virus-carrying aerosols than expected. Overall, 19 tube insertions generated about one-thousandth of the aerosol generated by a single cough, the researchers reported on Tuesday in the journal Anesthesia.
Fourteen tube removals produced more aerosols, but still less than 25% of that produced by a voluntary cough.
Reassessing travel quarantine period
Britain is urgently looking at ways to reduce the 14-day quarantine period that applies to some arriving passengers, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Wednesday, adding that a mix of COVID-19 testing and self-isolation was promising.
Virgin Atlantic, easyJet, London’s Heathrow airport and Manchester Airports Group said that a test of a passenger after five days should be the starting point of proposals.
But airline body IATA said that 80% of travellers said they would not fly at all if any quarantine was in place. “The proposals on the table do not go as far as we had hoped,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said. “A reduction in the length of quarantine is the very minimum needed to restart travel demand.”