US buys up virtually all stocks of anti-viral drug remdesivir
The Trump administration has bought up virtually all stocks for the next three months of a drug shown to work against Covid-19.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) said it had secured more than 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir for American hospitals.
This represents 100 per cent of the US pharmaceutical firm Gilead’s projected production for July (94,200 treatment courses), 90 per cent of production in August (174,900 treatment courses), and 90 per cent of production in September (232,800 treatment courses), alongside an allocation for clinical trials.
The drug has been approved for use in Covid-19 patients by the US and the UK, among other countries, after data suggested it can cut recovery time by about four days.
More local lockdowns should be expected, scientist warns
A scientist advising the Government on the coronavirus response warned that more local lockdowns should be expected.
Oxford University’s Professor Peter Horby, who chairs the new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag), was asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the public should brace for more local outbreaks.
“Unfortunately I think we should. We’ve seen the epidemic is focal, which is often the case, it’s not the same in all places,” he said.
“And we saw that London unfortunately led the way in the UK and now Leicester is unfortunately leading the way and we can expect more of that, so I think there will have to be local responses to local outbreaks.”
Health authorities ‘fighting’ to get local testing data, Labour MP says
Labour MP Yvette Cooper tweeted that health authorities in her constituency in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had been trying to get hold of local Pillar 2 testing data – the results from swab tests of the wider population – but had not been able to.
She tweeted: “Our local public health teams, council, NHS doctors & managers in Wakefield have had to fight for months to try to get this data. In public health crisis, most important thing is knowing where infection is. Appalling & incomprehensible that basic info hasn’t been provided.
“The idea this could have been Ministerial choice rather than failure of competence is even more shocking. What on earth is going on? Transparency & trust are basic currencies for dealing with public health crises. Pls, pls Govt, don’t keep screwing this up.”
People of Leicester ‘just want clarity’ over return of lockdown measures
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said people in Leicester “just want clarity” over the return of tighter lockdown measures for the city.
The Labour MP for Leicester South told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday that people were “really worried” about what the changes will mean for their children and businesses.
He said: “I don’t think it’s fair to the people of Leicester to announce at a press conference on a Thursday afternoon that Leicester has a problem, but then actually take 11 days to tell Leicester that they are going into lockdown and what they are going to do about it.
“People are really worried in Leicester, people are going to be anxious. People who are shielding are very, very scared.
“People who were planning to get their businesses open this Saturday are desperately worried about their livelihoods and what happens next with the economy.
“And every parent in Leicester is concerned about the safety of their children obviously, but is also deeply concerned about their children missing out on more education.”
US buying up stocks of coronavirus drug ‘raises concerns’
A scientist advising the Government said that the US buying up stocks of coronavirus drug remdesivir raises concerns.
Oxford University’s Professor Peter Horby, who chairs the new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag) said manufacturer Gilead would be under “certain political pressures locally” as a US company.
“It does raise two very important questions: what is a fair price for a drug and what is fair access to a drug, and those are common issues but are particularly important in a global crisis like this,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“That’s part of the fair access question, the trial that gave the result that allowed remdesivir to sell their drug wasn’t just done in the US, there were patients participating through other European countries, in the UK as well, and internationally, Mexico and other places.
“And I wonder how they would feel knowing now that the drug is going to have restricted availability in their own country and would they have volunteered for that trial if they had known that?”
It also raises questions if a vaccine is found, he said, telling the radio show: “Commercial companies are built to behave like this and we need a much stronger framework if we are going to develop these things and they’re going to be used for national emergencies.”
Eurostar to restart Amsterdam and Disneyland Paris routes
Eurostar is set to restart direct services from London to Amsterdam and Disneyland Paris in the coming weeks.
The cross-Channel train operator announced it will resume its Anglo-Dutch route from July 9.
Although direct services will run to the Netherlands, passengers travelling in the reverse direction will need to change trains in Brussels, where passport checks and security screening will be carried out.
Eurostar will restart its services to Disneyland Paris from August 2.
The firm said all travellers must wear a face mask as part of additional hygiene measures.
Passengers will be seated “at a safe distance apart” and trains will be “deep-cleaned” before every journey.
Leading doctors are calling on the Government to help save more lives by supplying local authorities with accurate and up-to-date data on spikes in coronavirus cases in their areas…
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Medics ‘bracing’ themselves for reopening of pubs
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has warned that medics are “bracing” themselves for the reopening of pubs during the coronavirus crisis.
President Dr Katherine Henderson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re bracing ourselves, I think would be a fair way to say it.
“It actually is quite serious, we have emergency departments having to work in a very different way than they did before because we have to keep vulnerable patients safe so we can’t have crowded emergency departments.
“What we can’t do is have a department that gets overwhelmed by people who are injured because they have got themselves into a fight, they have fallen off something, they have drunk so much that they actually need the health service’s help.
“People have been standing at doorways clapping the NHS, well more important than clapping the NHS is using the resources responsibly and anybody who goes out and gets so drunk that they need an ambulance and they need to come to an emergency department is not supporting the NHS.”
Frailty is as important as age or underlying health issues in determining the risk of dying from coronavirus, according to a new study.
The analysis of hospital patients across the United Kingdom also suggests increasing frailty leads to longer time spent in hospital.
The study, published in The Lancet Public Health on Tuesday, is the first to explore the impact of frailty on death risk in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Frailty is a clinical condition characterised by a loss of the body’s in-built reserves, energy, and wellbeing that leaves people vulnerable to sudden changes in health and at risk of hospital admission.
Researchers from Cardiff University, King’s College London, Salford Royal and North Bristol NHS trusts, among others, carried out the work using 1,564 patients from 10 hospitals across the UK as well as one in Modena, Italy.
Patients who were considered to be severely frail were 2.4 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those who were not assessed as frail, after accounting for age, other health problems and the severity of their illness.
The researchers said their findings showed frailty assessment was crucial to inform clinical decisions in Covid-19 treatment, and urged its use as a key indicator to assess a patient’s risk of dying.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: “Having taken clinical advice on the actions necessary, we have taken some difficult but important decisions in Leicester.
“The people of Leicester should stay at home as much as you can. The more people that follow the rules, the faster we will get Leicester back to normal.”
Leicester told to “stick together, stay strong, stay safe and stay home”
The mayor of Leicester has urged residents to “stick together” and stay at home as the city was put under a localised lockdown.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Sir Peter Soulsby said: “Our message is very clear: Stick together, stay strong, stay safe and, for the time being, stay home.”
The mayor told reporters that he was “very, very concerned” about the Covid-19 flare-up in the city.
A cardboard cutout of Donald Trump in the stands before the Sky Bet Championship match at the DW Stadium, Wigan: