More than 68.45 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,562,428 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
UK issues anaphylaxis warning after adverse vaccine reactions
Britain’s medicine regulator said anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to a medicine or food should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, giving fuller guidance on an earlier allergy warning about the shot.
Two UK health care workers with a history of significant allergic reactions reported anaphylactoid reactions and are recovering well.
Anaphylactoid reactions are allergic reactions that share some of the characteristics of anaphylaxis but are less severe, said UK Drug Safety Research Unit Director Saad Shakir.
What would be wise, said Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, would be “for anyone who has known severe allergic reaction such that they need to carry an EpiPen to delay having a vaccination until the reason for the allergic reaction has been clarified.”
S.Korea scrambles to build container hospital beds
South Korea authorities scrambled on Thursday to build hospital beds in shipping containers to ease strains on medical facilities stretched by the latest coronavirus wave, which shows little sign of abating with 682 new cases.
The resurgence of infections has rekindled concerns about an acute shortage of hospital beds, prompting Seoul city to begin installing container beds for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
In Seoul, with a population of 10 million, only around 3% of hospital beds were available for severe cases, and 17% for all patients, according to Park Yoo-mi, a quarantine officer at the city government.
Australian scientists develop genome sequencing to trace cases within four hours
Australian scientists said on Thursday they had developed a rapid genome sequencing method that would cut to within four hours the time taken to trace the source of coronavirus cases, helping to quickly contain any future outbreaks.
Genome sequencing can help scientists monitor small changes in the virus at a national or international scale to understand how it is spreading and provide insight into how different cases are linked.
The novel coronavirus genome is about 30,000 letters long, but tiny compared with the 3 billion letters that make up the DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, of the human genome. The virus can alter the genetic signature of the hosts as it replicates itself inside them. “By identifying this genetic variation, we can establish how different cases of coronavirus are linked,” UNSW scientist Rowena Bull said.
Study links Japan’s domestic travel campaign to increased COVID-19 symptoms
Researchers in Japan found a higher incidence of COVID-19 symptoms among people who have participated in a domestic travel campaign promoted by the government, suggesting that it is contributing to a spread in the virus.
The findings will make dismal reading for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who has defended the travel campaign, saying it was needed to stop many small businesses in the hospitality sector from going bust due to the lack of customers as a result of the virus scare.
“The subsidy program may be incentivizing those who had higher risks of COVID-19 transmission to travel, leading to larger cases of infections,” according to the authors, who included researchers from the medical schools of the University of Tokyo and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
The study was posted on the preprint server medRxiv in advance of peer review.