The Government has signed a deal with pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur for 60 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine.
If the vaccine proves successful, the UK could begin to vaccinate priority groups, such as frontline health and social care workers and those at increased risk from coronavirus, as early as the first half of next year, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said.
Human clinical studies of the vaccine will begin in September followed by a phase 3 study in December.
The Government has now signed deals for four different types of potential coronavirus vaccines and a total of 250 million doses.
Follow the latest updates below.
Treating Covid in the world’s largest refugee camp
One NHS doctor shares her experience of how the pandemic has impacted the residents of Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh.
The sprawling mass of makeshift shelters that make up the refugee camp in southeast Bangladesh is the perfect breeding ground for Covid-19.
The population density is one and a half times that of New York City, making physical distancing near impossible. There are few sanitation or health facilities to speak of and residents, who have a long history of persecution, are wary of outsiders.
“I’m not trying to compare suffering. We are all suffering. I’m very clear that this is an awful time for people. But we have to remember that the most vulnerable communities will suffer more,”
Read more here by Jordan-Kelley-Linden
South Korea seeks phase 2 trials of Covid-19 plasma drug
South Korea’s Green Cross Corp has sought regulatory approval for Phase II trials of an experimental Covid-19 blood plasma treatment drug, the company said today sending its shares up nearly 10%.
Drugmakers worldwide are rushing to develop treatments for the coronavirus, which has killed more than 650,000 and infected more than 16 million since first emerging in China late last year.
Green Cross said the clinical trial would review the safety and efficacy of the drug in 60 domestic patients in five hospitals.
The firm, which was allowed to skip phase I trials, said its therapy would be the country’s first to enter phase II for COVID-19 plasma treatment.
Heathrow demands end to ‘quarantine roulette’ after pre-tax loss OF £1.1BN
Heathrow has urged the Government to stop imposing “quarantine roulette” on travellers as it announced a pre-tax loss of £1.1 billion in the first six months of the year.
Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the financial results “should serve as a clarion call” to ministers to introduce a scheme for coronavirus testing of arriving passengers.
He wants the 14-day self-isolation requirement to be eased for people arriving from countries not on the Government’s exemption list if they test negative for the virus.
It comes after Boris Johnson warned that further European nations could lose their exempted status amid signs of a “second wave” of Covid-19.
The Prime Minister triggered a diplomatic row with Spain by reimposing a warning against all but essential travel to the country and insisting that travellers arriving in the UK from there spend 14 days in quarantine.
Heathrow’s passenger numbers were down 96% year on year between April and June.
‘There is always risk with foreign travel’, says minister
On the quarantine for people travelling to the UK from Spain, Mr Dowden told BBC Breakfast: “I genuinely appreciate how deeply frustrating it is for families who were looking forward to going on holiday to Spain this summer after the dreadful year that we’ve had so far.
“We’ve had to take these quarantine measures to make sure we keep the disease under control in this country and we don’t import cases from Spain.”
When asked whether booking foreign travel was unwise at the moment, Mr Dowden said: “I completely understand why people want to book foreign travel, we all want a break after the year we’ve had so far.
“Of course there is always going to be an element of risk in relation to foreign travel.
“We’ve said we’ll keep the situation in other countries under review and I hope your viewers will appreciate the reason why we’re doing this is because after all the sacrifices we’ve made, if the disease is rising in other countries we don’t want to be in a situation where people are coming back from that country carrying Covid and it starts to be spread widely in the United Kingdom again.
“It’s all part of ensuring we keep it under control here so we can start to move back to more of our normal lives.”
Get Britons cycling scheme crashes
Boris Johnson’s ambitious plan to get Britons cycling after the global pandemic has got off to a rocky start, with the website offering bicycle repair vouchers crashing at launch.
As part of the Prime Minister’s £2 billion scheme to boost active travel, the Government has made some 50,000 Fix Your Bike vouchers worth up to £50 available to be used for standard servicing and replacing components.
The website, fixyourbikevoucherscheme.est.org.uk, was due to go live at 11.45pm on Tuesday night.
However, initial efforts to access the site returned only an “Error 404” message.
Then those wanting a voucher were told: “Due to extreme volumes of traffic this resource has been temporarily paused whilst we take action to improve performance for users. Please try again later today.”
Testing at airports is not a silver bullet, says minister
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden said of testing at airports: “The challenge we have here is that it’s not the case you can simply test somebody and be sure that they don’t have the disease.”
He told BBC Breakfast: “It can incubate over a period of time, so there’s not a silver bullet of just testing immediately at the border.”
Our scientists are racing to find a safe vaccine, says minister
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Our scientists and researchers are racing to find a safe and effective vaccine at a speed and scale never seen before.
“While this progress is truly remarkable, the fact remains that there are no guarantees.
“In the meantime, it is important that we secure early access to a diverse range of promising vaccine candidates, like GSK and Sanofi, to increase our chances of finding one that works so we can protect the public and save lives.”
The breakdown of the UK’s 250million vaccine doses
60million doses from pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur
100million doses from the Oxford vaccine made from a genetically engineered virus
30million doses from the BioNtech/Pfizer vaccine, which injects part of the coronavirus’ genetic code
60 million doses from the Valneva, which uses an inactive version of the coronavirus
Donald Trump defends doctor touting hydroxychloroquine
Donald Trump has defended his support of a controversial Texas doctor who has touted unproven drugs to treat the coronavirus and pushed other unscientific theories.
The US president on Monday shared a video on Twitter of Dr Stella Immanuel promoting the use of the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 cases.
In the video, which was taken on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington at a so-called “White Coat Summit”, Dr Immanuel recommended hydroxychloroquine, which studies have shown is not effective for treating the novel coronavirus. She described studies casting doubt on the drug as “fake science” sponsored by “fake pharma companies”.
Mr Trump said: “She was on air, along with other doctors, and they were big fans of hydroxychloroquine and I thought she was very impressive. She says she has had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients. I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her.”
The President’s son, Donald Trump Jnr, also shared the clip, describing it as a “must-watch”, and was on Tuesday issued with a temporary ban by Twitter.
Today’s front page
Here is your Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, July 29.
Britain signs supply deal for 60 million doses of a possible vaccine
Britain has signed a supply deal for up to 60 million doses of a possible Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline , it said on Wednesday, its fourth such arrangement.
No vaccine has yet been approved to treat or prevent Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus that has killed more than 659,000 people and unleashed economic havoc worldwide.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Sanofi and GSK, which had first teamed up in April, confirmed in a statement that regulatory approval for their vaccine could be won by the first half of 2021 if clinical data was positive.
Read the full story
Roche trial of drug to treat Covid-19-related pneumonia fails
A late-stage clinical trial of Roche’s Actemra/RoActemra drug to treat patients hospitalised with severe Covid-19-related pneumonia failed, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
The “COVACTA trial did not meet its primary endpoint of improved clinical status in patients with Covid-19 associated pneumonia, or the key secondary endpoint of reduced patient mortality,” Roche said.
Vietnam warns of potential outbreak in Hanoi
Vietnam’s government warned on Wednesday health authorities in the capital Hanoi to prepare for a potential outbreak after media reported the first suspected case in months in the city of about eight million people.
A staff member at a pizza restaurant in Hanoi had tested positive, online newspaper VnExpress reported, adding that authorities had locked down the restaurant and were disinfecting the premises.
“The city’s health department should get ready with materials and equipment needed for the prevention and fight against Covid-19,” the government said in a statement.
Read more: Vietnam joins list of Asia-Pacific nations struggling to beat Covid-19
Hong Kong on verge of a ‘large-scale’ outbreak
Hong Kong is on the verge of a “large-scale” outbreak that could overwhelm hospitals, its leader warned on Wednesday, as authorities implemented their toughest social distancing measures yet.
From Wednesday all residents in the densely packed city of 7.5 million must wear masks when they leave their homes while restaurants can only serve take-out meals.
No more than two people from different households can gather in public with fines of up to $HK5,000 (£499) for those who breach the new emergency rules.
The latest measures are a bid to stifle a sudden spike in cases that have upended the city’s otherwise enviable battle against the deadly disease.
More than 1,000 infections have been confirmed since early July – more than 40 per cent of the total since the virus first hit the city in late January.
New daily infections have been above 100 for the past six days.
China’s daily cases continue to increase
China reported more than 100 new cases on Wednesday as the country continues to battle an outbreak in Xinjiang.
The 101 new cases was China‘s highest one-day tally since April 12. The northwestern region of Xinjiang accounted for 89, with another eight in the northeastern province of Liaoning and one in Beijing. Another three cases were brought from outside the country by returning Chinese citizens.
Daily cases fall in Australian state
Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, said on Wednesday that the total daily coronavirus cases fell below 300 for the first time in more than a week.
The state reported nine deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours with seven casualties linked to aged care facilities, Premier Daniel Andrews said.
The southeast state has endured a flare-up in infections in the past few weeks and authorities have sent an emergency medical team to care homes, which are at the centre of the outbreak.
Victoria reported 295 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, compared with 384 a day earlier.
In pictures: Virus-affected Hajj begins
Muslim pilgrims on Wednesday begin the annual hajj, dramatically downsized this year as the Saudi hosts strive to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the five-day pilgrimage.
The hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for able-bodied Muslims at least once in their lifetime, is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.
But this year only up to 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom will participate in the ritual, a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world that attended last year.
Pilgrims will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing during a series of religious rites that are completed over five days in the holy city of Mecca and its surroundings in western Saudi Arabia.
US posts highest daily death toll for more than two months
The United States recorded 1,592 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest number of daily fatalities in more than months.
The US, which has the highest number of cases in the world, also recorded more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases in a day, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Six states – Arkansas, California, Florida, Montana, Oregon and Texas – reported a record number of fatalities.
Lockdown drives search for gardens
Searches for homes with gardens have doubled since last year as prospective house buyers place more importance on outdoor space following lockdown, property experts have said.
Homes with south-facing gardens were most in demand – selling more quickly in almost all regions of England, Scotland and Wales, a survey by property website Rightmove found.
The study revealed that homes advertised with south-facing outdoor areas sold two days faster and were priced at nearly £23,000 more than those without.
Property experts at Rightmove said data showed that searches on the website for homes with a garden had increased by more than 100 per cent in June compared to June 2019 – with total buyer searches up 56% for the same period.
And a survey conducted by the company in May found that having a bigger garden, or at least access to one, was the top requirement for house buyers that had changed as a result of lockdown.
US vaccine hope as trial shows boosted immune response
US biotech firm Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine induced a robust immune response and prevented the coronavirus from replicating in the noses and lungs of monkeys, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine said.
The fact that the vaccine prevented the virus from replicating in the nose is seen as particularly crucial in preventing it from being transmitted onward to others.
The same outcome did not occur when the University of Oxford’s vaccine was tested on monkeys, though that vaccine did prevent the virus from entering the animals’ lungs and making them very sick.
The authors reported that the vaccine also induced the production of a different immune cell known as T-cells that may have helped boost the overall response.
Read more: When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?
Heathrow boss calls for passenger virus tests on arrival
The chief executive of Heathrow Airport has urged the Government to allow passengers to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival in a trial to rescue the summer tourism season.
John Holland-Kaye told The Telegraph that Heathrow could have a test “up and running” in two weeks, meaning holidaymakers who have just set off for Spain could be checked – at a cost of £150 – when they arrived home.
They would be tested on arrival and, if the result was negative, would be tested again five or eight days later. A second negative test would allow them to come out of quarantine up to six or nine days early, depending on how quickly tests are processed.
France and Germany are among at least 20 countries already using such tests to cut quarantine for arrivals from countries with high levels of coronavirus, and there is growing pressure on Boris Johnson to follow suit.
Read more: Heathrow wants to trial testing of arrivals