(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Oxford vaccine trial results due this year
The University of Oxford hopes to present late-stage trial results on its COVID-19 vaccine candidate this year though its top scientific investigator cautioned it would still take some time for life to return to normal.
“I’m optimistic that we could reach that point before the end of this year,” Oxford Vaccine Trial Chief Investigator Andrew Pollard told British lawmakers of presenting trial results this year.
Pollard said working out whether or not the vaccine worked would likely come this year, after which the data would have to be carefully reviewed by regulators and then a political decision made on who should get the vaccine.
Lung damage may shed light on ‘long COVID’
A study of the lungs of people who have died from COVID-19 has found persistent and extensive damage in most cases and may help doctors understand what is behind a syndrome known as long COVID, in which patients suffer ongoing symptoms for months.
Scientists leading the research said they also found some unique characteristics of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which may explain why it is able to inflict such harm.
“The findings indicate that COVID-19 is not simply a disease caused by the death of virus-infected cells, but is likely the consequence of these abnormal cells persisting for long periods inside the lungs,” said Mauro Giacca, a professor at King’s College London who co-led the work.
U.S. hospitalisations hit three-month high
The number of coronavirus patients in U.S. hospitals breached 50,000 on Tuesday, the highest level in nearly three months, as a surge in infections threatens to push the nation’s health care system to the edge of capacity.
Texas reported the highest number of currently hospitalised patients with 5,936, followed by Illinois with 3,594 and California with 3,270 patients, according to a Reuters tally. While California has three times as many people as Illinois, new cases have been the highest per capita in the Midwest.
Nationally, the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients rose over 64% from Oct. 1 to 50,176 on Tuesday, the highest since Aug. 7. The figure is still short of the record 58,370 hospitalisations set on July 22, according to a Reuters tally.
Poland reports record rise in daily cases
Poland will announce more restrictions on Wednesday to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister’s chief of staff Michal Dworczyk said, as daily infections and deaths reached new records.
The country reported 24,692 COVID-19 cases and 373 deaths on Wednesday and is running out of hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen and medics.
Dworczyk said the measures would limit movements and the number of social contacts but reiterated that the government wants to avoid a total lockdown.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Nick Macfie)