(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Could the virus have spread in August?
The coronavirus might have been spreading in China as early as August last year, according to Harvard Medical School research based on satellite images of hospital travel patterns and search engine data.
The research showed a steep increase in hospital car park occupancy at that time and a unique increase in searches for diarrhoea.
But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman dismissed the findings. “I think it is ridiculous, incredibly ridiculous, to come up with this conclusion based on superficial observations such as traffic volume,” she said.
Not the time to take foot off pedal
More than 136,000 new coronavirus cases were reported worldwide on Sunday, the most in a single day so far, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online meeting. “More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal,” he said.
WHO’s top emergencies expert, Dr. Mike Ryan, said infections in central American countries including Guatemala were still on the rise, and that they were “complex” epidemics.
While some potential vaccines have emerged in the global race to find a way to stop the spread of COVID-19, many scientists and researchers believe antibody based therapies hold great promise for treating people already infected with the disease.
AstraZeneca said it expects to move two antibody therapies it has licensed from U.S. researchers into clinical studies in the next two months as the drugmaker ramps up efforts to help combat the health crisis.
A study published in medical journal Nature meanwhile showed Gilead Sciences’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, prevented lung disease in monkeys infected with the coronavirus.
Remdesivir has been cleared for emergency use in severely-ill patients in the United States, India and South Korea.
South Korea’s Daewoong Pharmaceutical said its anti-parasitic drug niclosamide had eliminated the novel coronavirus from animals’ lungs during testing.
The drug completely cleared up the disease in ferrets’ lung tissues and inhibited inflammation. The company plans to start human clinical trials in July.
This round’s on us, says Malta
Residents of Malta will be given 100 euro ($112) vouchers by the government to spend in bars, hotels and restaurants in an effort to revitalise the tourist industry.
Tourism accounts for a quarter of the Mediterranean island’s GDP but it has been at a standstill since mid-March when flights were stopped during the coronavirus emergency.
Flights to a small number of countries will resume on July 1 but they exclude big tourism source markets Britain and Italy.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Catherine Evans)