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Covid latest: India variant, public inquiry plans and ovarian cancer trial disappointment – th

Sage to hold urgent meeting about India variant in the UK

Scientists on the Sage advisory committee meet about concerns over infectiousness of the coronavirus variant discovered in India.

It is thought to be more transmissible that the Kent variant that contributed to the UK second wave. With the UK set to lift some restrictions on Monday, scientists have ministers have warned that this “variant of concern” could impact the next steps of the roadmap out of lockdown.

Read the full story in the The Guardian.

Government to hold Covid public inquiry

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that an independent public inquiry will investigate how the government has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. He said it aims to “identify the key issues that will make a difference for the future”.

The inquiry is said to be launched in Spring 2022 to mitigate the risk of stressing NHS employees, advisers and the government alongside a potential winter surge at the end of this year. With no deadline for inquiries, the investigation could take years to complete. Dame Deidre Hine, who authored a review into the swine flu pandemic, told the BBC, “Looking at what will have to be the terms of reference and the ground it (the inquiry) has to cover, I can’t see it reporting in less than two to three years.”

Read the full story in the BBC.

Key ovarian cancer screening trial shows no reduction in deaths

Introducing regular screening for ovarian cancer did not reduce number of deaths, a study published in The Lancet has found.

200,000 women had yearly screening tests for 16 years. Screening included an annual ultrasound scan with some women having a blood test in addition. The study concluded that widespread population screening could not be recommended.

Prof Usha Menon, who led the study, said: “We are disappointed as this is not the outcome we and everyone involved in the trial had hoped and worked for over so many years. To save lives, we will require a better screening test that detects ovarian cancer earlier and in more women than the multimodal screening strategy we used.”

Read the full story in the Telegraph.

NHS to use artificial intelligence to combat waiting lists

NHS England announced £160 million plans to introduce artificial intelligence and remote technology in an effort to tackle record high waiting lists.

Proposals include implementing AI systems to assess and organise patient waiting lists; boosting remote clinics and at-home antibiotic kits.

The BMA have voiced concerns saying that the proposed funding and initiatives showed “a grave lack of understanding of the rocketing workload”. They suggest the waiting list crisis would cost £4 billion to resolve.

Read the full story in the Telegraph.


Quote of the week

Care homes, campaigners and charities were disappointed with the single line on social care in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services are calling for a firm plan for social care reform to be set out saying:

“Too many of us are not getting the care and support we need, and every delay means that more older and disabled people, families and carers are being left to struggle.”

Read the full story in the Guardian.

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