April 24, 2020 / 7:08 AM / a month ago

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

(Reuters) - Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

FILE PHOTO: Two healthcare workers walk across a nearly empty 11th Avenue to a temporary hospital centre at he Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Producing treatments faster and distributing them fairly

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it would announce a “landmark collaboration” on Friday to accelerate the research, development and production of safe, effective drugs, tests and vaccines for the coronavirus.

The emphasis would also be on making them “accessible to everyone who needs them, worldwide.”

“There should not be a divide between the haves and the have-nots,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on April 6 when he discussed his plans to announce the initiative.

Gilead disputes report of unsuccessful remdesivir trial

A clinical trial in China of remdesivir, Gilead Sciences Inc’s closely watched experimental antiviral drug, showed it failed to help patients with severe COVID-19. But the drugmaker said the findings were inconclusive because the study was terminated early due to low enrolment.

In the trial, remdesivir, given by intravenous infusion, failed to improve patients’ condition or reduce the pathogen’s presence in the bloodstream, according to draft documents published accidentally by the WHO.

Interest in Gilead’s remdesivir has been high as doctors are desperate for anything that might alter the course of COVID-19 disease, which attacks the lungs and can shut down other organs in extremely severe cases. There is currently no approved treatments or preventative vaccines for the disease.

Survey suggests 14% of New York state may have coronavirus antibodies

A preliminary survey of 3,000 New York state residents found that nearly 14% of those tested had antibodies against the novel coronavirus, suggesting that some 2.7 million may already have been infected, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.

The survey targeted people who were out shopping, but not working, meaning they were probably not essential workers like grocery clerks or bus drivers. Those surveyed were more likely to test positive for antibodies than someone isolated at home, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the preliminary data added to his understanding of the virus and would inform his plans to reopen the state, with social distancing measures possibly relaxed more quickly in less infected regions.

Corona typewriter for bullied boy named Corona

U.S. actor Tom Hanks has sent a Corona brand typewriter to an Australian boy named Corona who wrote to him about being bullied over his name, Australian television networks reported.

Corona De Vries, an eight-year-old from the Gold Coast in Queensland state, had written to Hanks enquiring after his health after Hanks and his wife, actor Rita Wilson, had tested positive for COVID-19 and spent more than two weeks in quarantine at the beach resort.

De Vries said he loved his name but people at school called him the coronavirus, which made him “sad and angry”.

In his typewritten response, the double Oscar winner reassured the boy: “You know, you are the only person I’ve ever known to have the name Corona - like the ring around the sun, a crown.”

Compiled by Karishma Singh

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