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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Volunteering to be exposed to virus in trials

Visitors to Japan plunge 98.3 per cent in January after entry ban, Taiwan accuses China of blocking efforts to buy vaccines and other pandemic news across the world

Topics
Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Akash Podishetty  |  Hyderabad 

Coronavirus, vaccine, covid, drugs, clinical trials
Birtian has approved human challenge trials, a first in the world, that will require healthy volunteers to expose themselves to tiny virus in a controlled environment

Visitors to Japan plunge 98.3 per cent in January after entry ban

After non-resident foreign nationals were banned from entering the country, visitors to Japan fell as much as 98.3 per cent in January from a year earlier.It was the 16th straight month of international tourism declining. Sequentially, this is a drop for the first time in 8 months as easing of restrictions in the past few months led to an uptick. In January, visitors from Vietnam made up almost half of the arrivals at 20,000, down 60.3 per cent. Many technical interns from the country entered Japan before the government suspended the entry of all nonr-esident foreign nationals in mid-January. Those from China came second, totaling 10,200, down 98.9 per cent, followed by 2,500 from South Korea, down 99.2 per cent. Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 109,924,637

Global deaths: 2,430,511

Nations with most cases: US (27,826,813), India (10,950,201), Brazil (9,978,747), United Kingdom (4,083,092), Russia (4,066,164).

Source: John Hopkins Research Center


Asia's racing against time as variants spread

Developing vaccines without sidestepping established scientific practices in less than a year was a miracle. Many thought that the vaccines breakthrough would mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Contrary to that, countries across the world, particulary in Asia, are finding it tough to keep pace with the virus. The longer the virus is allowed to spread, the more room it has to create more variants, putting vaccination efforts in peril. In this context, countries are racing against time to inoculate people faster, but with limited supplies and various logistical problems, the pace has been slow barring few Western countries. From the scientific problem in trials, the vaccinations have now turned into a more logistical problem after the rollout. Read here

What it takes to volunteer for human challenge trials

Birtian has approved human challenge trials, a first in the world, that will require healthy volunteers to expose themselves to tiny virus in a controlled environment. One of the trial participant Alastair Fraser-Urquhart will be infected with the virus through a nasal spray or dropper, and then will be placed in bio containment for about 17 days to ensure he does not infect others. Even though he signed up 'instantly' and thinks this process helps speed up vaccine development, his family are certainly not thrilled. While participants are not paid for the trial, they will receive about 4000 pounds as compensation. Read here

Taiwan accuses China of blocking efforts to buy vaccines

Taiwan was among the few countries that contained the virus early and successfully, much to the envy of the rest of the world. But when it comes to vaccinations it is lagging behind. Recently, the country has blamed China for blocking the deal to buy vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNtech. The health minister of Taiwan said the country had almost secured a deal for 5 million vaccine doses with BioNtech, but something changed the last minute. "There was some political pressure," he added without naming China. China claims Taiwan as a part of it and expects all the other international organizations to recognise the same. Read here

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First Published: Thu, February 18 2021. 14:56 IST
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