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19
June

photo : reuters 

A person’s blood type and other genetic factors may be linked with severity of coronavirus infection, according to European researchers, looking for further clues about why COVID-19 hits some so much harder than others. The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, suggest people with type A blood have a higher risk of being infected, with the coronavirus and developing worse symptoms. At the peak of the epidemic in Europe, researchers analyzed the genes of more than 4,000 people to look for variations that were common in those who became infected with the coronavirus and developed severe COVID-19. A cluster of variants in genes that are involved with immune responses was more common in people with severe COVID-19, they found. These genes are also involved with a cell-surface protein called ACE2 that the coronavirus uses to gain entry to and infect cells in the body. The researchers, led by Dr. Andre Franke from Christian-Albrecht-University in Kiel, Germany, and Dr. Tom Karlsen, from Oslo University Hospital in Norway also found a relationship between COVID-19 severity and blood type. The risk for severe COVID-19 was 45% higher for people with type A blood than those with other blood types. It appeared to be 35% lower for people with type O//Reuters

19
June

photo : reuters

 

 

A “sophisticated state-based actor” has been attempting to hack a wide range of Australian organisations for months, and had stepped up its efforts recently, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday. The attacks have targeted all levels of the government, political organisations, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure, Morrison said in a media briefing in Canberra. Morrison said there were not a lot of state actors that could launch this sort of attack, but Australia will not identify which country was responsible. Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said advice showed no large-scale personal data breaches from the attack. The revelation comes after Reuters reported Canberra had determined in March last year that China was responsible for a hacking attack on Australia’s parliament. Australia never publicly identified that source of the attack and China denied it was responsible//Reuters

19
June

photo : afp

The World Health Organization said on Thursday (Jun 18) that a few hundred million COVID-19 vaccine doses could be produced by the end of the year - and be targeted at those most vulnerable to the virus. The UN health agency said it was working on that assumption, with a view to two billion doses by the end of 2021, as pharmaceutical firms rush to find a vaccine. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said researchers were working on more than 200 vaccine candidates around the world, including 10 that are in human testing. She identified three groups most in need of the first wave of vaccine doses. They are front-line workers with high exposure, such as medics and police officers; those most vulnerable to the disease, such as the elderly and diabetics; and people in high-transmission settings, such as urban slums and care homes. Pharmaceutical company executives said late last month that one or several COVID-19 vaccines could begin rolling out before 2021, but warned that an estimated total of 15 billion doses would be needed to suppress the virus//AFP/CNA

18
June

photo : medicalexpress

 

 

Thousands of people in Germany have been told to go into quarantine after a corona-virus outbreak at an abattoir. As quoted by BBC.com (17/6), more than 650 people have been tested positive for the virus at the meat processing plant in Gütersloh, in the north-west of Germany. Operations at the site have been suspended since Wednesday afternoon (17/7). Over 1,000 workers have been tested so far, with thousands of others still awaiting testing. They and the people came into contact and they have been told to remain in quarantine until they receive their results. A spokesman for the company that operates the site, the Tönnies Group, has apologized//BBC