It looks like we are in for a long haul with Covid-19 and everyday there is new information coming out relating to this pandemic. Inzspire has searched for the latest information on the virus and here are 5 items of recent news for February 2021.
#1 Is there a cure for Covid-19?
Well, maybe. Israel may have found something which could be another breakthrough in this rapidly ever-changing pandemic. A medication known as EXO-CD24 has been developed by researchers as a cure for certain types of cancer.
Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv have recently tested the drug out on some Covid patients, and the results have been startling. They administered EXO-CD24 to 30 moderately to seriously ill patients suffering with the virus which has led to 29 of them showing such an improvement that they were allowed to be released within 3 to 5 days. The other patient took a few days longer to be allowed to leave.
The drug is relatively inexpensive to produce and has to be administered once a day over a period of 5 days. Trials continue.
#2 Why do you need a second shot of the vaccine?
When the body is injected with a vaccine, 2 types of white blood cells are activated in your body known as the B cell and the T cell.
The B cell’s function in the circulatory system is to create antibodies, the Y-shaped proteins that attach to the body’s foreign invaders and signal the immune system to get to work.
The T cell’s job is to identify a particular invader (or pathogen) in the body such as the coronavirus and kill it. The T cell can roam around your body for years until it finds the invader and there are not many of them.
The problem is a B cell’s life span is short lived and so if you do not receive a second ‘booster’ shot, the B cell will rapidly decline within a few weeks. The second vaccine ‘shot’ is needed as a ‘booster’ to help the B cells to rapidly divide, allowing it to focus and attack the invader with some force which lets the body build strong immunity. The T cells also quickly divide and grow in numbers to protect people from, in this example, contracting severe Covid.
#3 Vaccines and travel
The general view is that the vaccines will mean that eventually travelling will return to normal. But only when the vast majority of the world’s population develop ‘herd immunity’, so that respective governments lift travel restrictions.
In addition, it is best that people do not travel until they received the second ‘shot’ for the reasons outlined in #2.
The good news is that, based upon current results, the vaccines in circulation, are very effective and better than predicted in stopping people getting sick. So far though, we are still unsure if vaccinated people reduce the risk of transmitting the disease. The fact is that the medical fraternity still has a long way to go in fully understanding the virus and its mutations.
In order to travel abroad, travellers already need to have proof of vaccination in some form of documentation and several ‘pass’ documents are being marketed. But already ‘fake’ Covid test documents have been discovered. This has led to the international community agreeing to what is known as the ‘CommonPass’. This process was developed by the World Economic Forum and the nonprofit Common Project which is a digital health passport which is internationally accepted as a safe and secure way to prove that an individual is safe to travel.
#4 The Pandemic and Dating
Based upon the current pandemic crisis, you would think that dating is out of fashion. Far from it as people are finding ways to meet people and link up. Since March 2020, dating apps have exploded into action and have noted the changes in people’s attitude.
Meeting in person is obviously difficult in times of lockdown but it has not deterred people searching or dating online virtually. Video apps have increased in popularity and are used constantly from hearing someone’s voice to creating positive first impressions. The chemistry is still their via video chatting and some people are even falling in love.
According to the dating agency, OkCupid, search terms as kindness, caring, compassionate and empathetic have increased on their profiles as requirements when searching for a partner.
Dating agencies seem to concur that although the pandemic has halted the physical contact somewhat, it has been reported that video calls have increased in length in a single session whereas they used to stretch out many months in the past. Due to length of the pandemic so far and the restrictions in movement, the trend appears to show that people are now looking for a more serious relationships than the casual one-night stand.
#5 How concerned should we be with the South African strain?
So far experts feel that whilst the South African strain may enable the coronavirus to spread faster from person to person, resulting in more people getting very sick, overall, there is no evidence so far to suggest that this new version of the virus will cause severe disease or death.
A spokesperson for Oxford-AstraZeneca’s has confirmed that their vaccine offers “minimal protection” against mild disease from the South Africa variant, but they maintain that it is still effective for severe cases.
Currently the new variant is causing 90% of the new cases in South Africa, and concerns have been raised that the existing vaccine will not be effective. South African has currently placed the roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on hold. This has prompted Oxford-AstraZeneca to currently work on a ‘booster’ which they feel will be more effective and is anticipated to be rolled out later in the year.