More than four months into the pandemic, there are promising developments in the two areas that the world is betting on to halt the spread of the coronavirus: vaccines and treatments.
Two studies published today offer the most encouraging news yet on the vaccine front: A candidate from Oxford University and another from the Chinese company CanSino have produced immune responses in hundreds of people without causing dangerous side effects. (A third potential vaccine, from Moderna, has also elicited immune responses.)
Several Phase III trials, including one in the U.S. with 30,000 participants, are slated to begin soon, but the timeline for the vaccines’ results is uncertain.
The British biotech company Synairgen also made waves today with trial results for an inhaled version of a commonly available drug — interferon beta — that it said reduced the odds of Covid-19 patients becoming severely ill by 79 percent. But the study, which only involved 101 people and has not yet been peer reviewed or published, prompted calls for more details from scientists.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. Researchers in South Korea examined the extent to which children can be vectors of the virus, and their results did not inspire hope for seamless school reopenings this fall.
In a study involving nearly 65,000 people, the scientists found that, while children under 10 pass on the virus much less often than adults do, those 10 to 19 years old can spread the virus at least as well as adults.
What went wrong
Despite having weeks to prepare for the coronavirus after it first surfaced in China, the United States and Europe made serious errors in their early responses. Two reports from The Times suggest why.
In the United States, the White House embraced overly rosy projections in order to proclaim victory over the virus and reopen the economy. The Trump administration also tried to shift responsibility to the states in an attempt to escape blame for the crisis. It was, our reporters wrote, “perhaps one of the greatest failures of presidential leadership in generations.”
In Europe, overconfidence led to the downfall. European leaders overestimated the strength of their world-class health systems, which had been weakened by a decade of cuts; officials in some countries ignored national pandemic planning; and national stockpiles of medical supplies were revealed to exist mostly on paper only.
@ The New York Times