- The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
- Known as SARS-CoV-2, the virus has resulted in more than 65.2 million infections and more than 1.5 million deaths.
- SARS-CoV-2 infection causes a respiratory illness called COVID-19.
- COVID-19 has now been reported on every continent except Antarctica.
- Keep up to date with the latest research and information about COVID-19 here.
- For vaccine information, visit our live vaccine updates article.
12/04/2020 10:15 GMT — Three former presidents willing to take the vaccine publicly
In an effort to boost public confidence, three former presidents — George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — have all publicly stated that they would be prepared to take the COVID-19 vaccine once it receives approval.
12/04/2020 09:40 GMT — Dr. Fauci apologizes for claiming UK rushed decision
Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, sparked controversy when he claimed that the United Kingdom had not acted as carefully as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when it licensed its first COVID-19 vaccine. Yesterday, he apologized and said he has “great faith” in the U.K. regulators.
12/04/2020 09:28 GMT — Link between air pollution and COVID-19 spikes identified
The authors of a recent study conclude that temperature inversions and Saharan dust storms may be contributing to localized peaks of COVID-19. The research appears in the journal Earth Systems and Environment.
12/03/2020 09:31 GMT — Russia plans large-scale COVID-19 vaccination plan
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a large-scale vaccination program that will begin next week. Doctors and teachers will be first in line for the vaccine. Some experts are concerned as the Sputnik V vaccine is yet to complete advanced clinical trials for safety.
12/03/2020 09:16 GMT — AstraZeneca’s US vaccine trial results due early 2021
Yesterday, the chief adviser for the United States government’s Operation Warp Speed program announced that results from AstraZeneca’s U.S. vaccine trials could be available early next year. If the results are encouraging, they will likely file for an emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
12/03/2020 08:53 GMT — Do SARS-CoV-2 mutations affect its transmissibility?
A recent study analyzed samples of the SARS-CoV-2 genome from 46,723 people in 99 countries. The authors conclude that no currently identified mutation of SARS-CoV-2 appears to make the virus better at transmitting. The results appear in the journalNature Communications.
12/02/2020 08:57 GMT — UK licenses vaccine against COVID-19
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) in the United Kingdom have authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for emergency use. The U.K. has already purchased 40 million doses of the vaccine, and the first 10 million doses should arrive this month.
12/02/2020 08:52 GMT — Developing an equation to predict transmission rates
In a recent study, scientists developed an equation that can help determine the likely number of people who would likely contract SARS-CoV-2 from a single person with the virus at different types of events. They also investigated which interventions would be most effective in the different scenarios.
12/02/2020 08:49 GMT — The FDA move toward vaccine approval
On Tuesday, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn said it was possible that the FDA would approve Pfizer’s experimental vaccine before the end of the year. However, in the ABC News interview, he explained that “it’s hard to predict. […] We need everything to fall into place.”
12/01/2020 11:49 GMT — Recommendations for vaccine allocation due
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet to make their recommendations on who will receive the first COVID-19 vaccines. The panel consists of independent experts and one consumer representative.
According to the New York Times, the members will likely recommend that healthcare staff and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will receive the first batches of vaccines, once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grant emergency use approval.
12/01/2020 11:49 GMT — A photo captures the strain on ICU patients and health workers
A photo taken on Thanksgiving inside a COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, TX, shows Chief of Staff Dr. Joseph Varon in full personal protective equipment hugging a patient.
Photographer Go Nakamura took the photo for Getty Images while documenting the work of healthcare professionals and the reality of being in an ICU with COVID-19.
Dr. Varon has been working for more than 250 consecutive days. He found the COVID-19 patient out of his hospital bed, in tears, looking for help. He was asking for his wife.
“I was feeling sad, just like him, and I was just recollecting all the patients that I have had to do similar things with,” Dr. Varon explains. “I would go into their rooms, sit on their beds, and chat with them because they truly need somebody.”
11/30/2020 14:57 GMT — Moderna apply for approval for mRNA vaccine candidate in the US and Europe
Today, Moderna announced the completion of their phase 3 clinical trial primary efficacy analysis. The vaccine candidate is 94.1% effective against COVID-19 and 100% effective against severe COVID-19. The company will apply today for emergency use approval in the United States.
In addition, it will also apply to the European Medicines Agency for conditional marketing authorization.
In a press release, Moderna highlighted that 196 people enrolled in their 30,000-participant trial have now had COVID-19. Of them, 11 were in the group that had received the vaccine.
There were 30 cases of severe COVID-19, all in the placebo group. One person in this group died.
The 196 cases of COVID-19 in the study occurred among diverse participants, including older adults and those from minority ethnic groups.
The company stressed that they will submit the results of the study to a peer reviewed journal.
11/30/2020 12:55 GMT — Tuberculosis vaccine may help protect against COVID-19
A retrospective, observational study has found that the BCG vaccination — which aims to prevent tuberculosis — may protect against infection with the novel coronavirus.
The study found that among 6,201 healthcare workers, those who had had the BCG vaccination were less likely to have antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their blood and less likely to report having experienced COVID-19 symptoms compared with those who had not had the vaccine.
11/27/2020 17:30 GMT — High blood sugar levels may predict COVID-19 death risk
New research finds that high blood sugar levels correlate with a higher risk of COVID-19 mortality, even in people who do not have a history of diabetes.
The new study — which appears in the journal Annals of Medicine — found that 41.1% of those who died from COVID-19 had very high blood sugar levels.
The risk of dying from COVID-19 rose proportionately with blood sugar levels, and the association was independent of diabetes status.
“Early glycemic control may be a suitable therapeutic option to reduce the poor outcomes in hospitalized, hyperglycemic COVID-19 patients with or without a previous diabetes diagnosis,” write the study authors.
11/27/2020 11:20 GMT — Antibleeding drug may effectively treat COVID-19
Researchers at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, led a new study showing that the antibleeding drug aprotinin (Trasylol) can stop the new coronavirus from entering healthy host cells.
The scientists conducted experiments in various types of human cell, using different concentrations of the drug, and in three different strains of the virus.
As the researchers point out, what is significant is that the drug was effective at a dose that people can realistically take — i.e., a therapeutic dose.
Senior study author Prof. Jindrich Cinatl, from the Institute for Medical Virology at University Hospital Frankfurt, says, “Our findings show that aprotinin is effective against SARS-CoV-2 in concentrations that can be achieved in patients.”
“In aprotinin, we have a drug candidate for the treatment of COVID-19 that is already approved for other indications and could readily be tested in patients.”
11/26/2020 10:26 GMT — Scientists in the Netherlands plan ‘human challenge’ vaccine study
Scientists from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in the Netherlands are hoping to deliberately transmit SARS-CoV-2 to participants to test vaccine efficacy. Already, 240 people have stepped forward to participate in the “human challenge” trial.
11/26/2020 09:03 GMT — Many parents want to celebrate Thanksgiving with others despite risk
A new poll shows that, despite the risks, 61% of parents who usually meet with extended family at Thanksgiving intend to meet them in person this year. The report was published by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, at the University of Michigan.
11/26/2020 08:50 GMT — COVID-19 has produced ‘alarming’ increase in loneliness
A recent survey shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a troubling effect on the psychological health of young adults in the United States. In the survey of 1,008 people aged 18–35, 80% of participants reported “significant depressive symptoms” during the pandemic.
The results of the study appear in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. “These young adults are the future of our nation’s social fabric,” says Dr. Viviana Horigian, the lead author of the study. “They need to be given access to psychological help, coupled with the development and dissemination of brief online contact-based interventions that encourage healthy lifestyles.”