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A suggestion that lockdown did the trick and some promise of a vaccine – this week’s Fri

COVID-19 vaccine could offer ‘double protection’

Scientists at Oxford University working on clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine believe they have made a breakthrough and there is hope that the vaccine could be made ‘fairly widely’ available around September.

Phase I clinical trials of the vaccine have shown that it generates an immune response that may offer a ‘double defence’ against the virus, stimulating both antibodies and T killer cells.

While these results are extremely promising we are yet to know whether the vaccine will provide long-lasting immunity against COVID-19.

Read the full story in the Telegraph.

Imperial study suggests that lockdown significantly reduced COVID-19

The Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT-1) programme carried out by researchers at Imperial College London has shown that the rates of coronavirus infection in the general public significantly reduced during the lockdown, halving every eight to nine days during May.

Key findings showed that young adults and those of Asian ethnicity were the most likely to test positive. And, unsurprisingly, care home staff and healthcare workers were more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than the general population.

The results provide a critical knowledge base to underpin community testing and facilitate a greater understanding of the prevalence of COVID-19 in every corner of England.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.

Novartis launches $20m COVID-19 response fund

Novartis has announced it is launching a $20million response fund to support public health initiatives and help communities manage the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The initiatives supported by the fund will include those that focus on strengthening local and national healthcare infrastructure, establishing digital platforms for COVID-19 related data collection, remote delivery of healthcare and effective dissemination of crucial public health information.

This response fund is the latest of commitments made by pharma companies to help combat the pandemic.

Read the full story in the PMLiVE.

RCGP calls for greater investment in GP telehealth post-Covid

In the its new report ‘General practice in a post Covid world’, the Royal College of GPs has called on the government to make further commitments to digital technology to enable remote monitoring consultations, more flexible working and better sharing of data.

The report makes a number of recommendations for government, setting out five areas where digital technology can support new ways of working following the pandemic:

  1. Total triage and remote consultations

  2. Remote working

  3. Flexible working

  4. Working across organisational boundaries

  5. Data sharing

Read the full story in Digital Health News.


Quote of the week

Speaking in a webinar run by the Fourth Industrial Revolution APPG, Matt Hancock commented on the uptake of technology during COVID-19:

“The truth be told, we have had an extraordinary six months for the impact of technology in healthcare right across the world and here in the UK, we’ve seen the uptake of the use of technology like never before.”

Read more here.


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