Australian regulators have approved another rapid diagnostic test for COVID, with this second one directly testing for viral genes, rather than immune antibodies. On the weekend, the company behind the test, Cepheid, announced it had received emergency approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. The test promises to give results in just 45 minutes, without requiring the sample to be sent to a specialised lab.
The company said as long as one of its proprietary processing units was used, the technician did not need speciality training. That test searches for antibodies rather than the virus itself, meaning it can miss positive cases, especially early in the course of the disease, when a patient's immune system has not yet created antibodies. The minute test by Cepheid identifies viral genes in a sample, just like the current gold standard PCR test.
Faster testing could allow many more patients to get confirmed diagnoses of COVID, potentially helping to slow the spread of the virus causing the disease. The NRL has suspended its season, with the closure of Queensland's borders and the spread of coronavirus forcing its hand. ARLC chairman Peter V'Landys confirmed the news late this afternoon, saying due to the rapid rate of infection the league could no longer guarantee the safety of the players. Last night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new restrictions on public venues that he expected would be in place for " at least six months ".
Since midday on Monday, the following businesses have been closed to limit the spread of coronavirus:. Cafes and restaurants will be able to operate, but only to offer takeaway and delivery services. Pharmacists are being ordered not to dispense two drugs touted as a potential "cures" for coronavirus. The directive came after Australian pharmacies saw a rush of people presenting scripts for the drugs hydroxychloroquine — sold as Plaquenil — and chloroquine from their GPs, or asking to buy it over the counter.
Demand skyrocketed following a press conference by US President Donald Trump last week, in which he touted the drugs as a "game changer" — comments based on a World Health Organisation report labelling the drugs a "potentially useful" preventative and curative treatment for COVID Pharmaceutical Society of Australia president Chris Freeman said Australian pharmacies had seen unprecedented demand for the medications, creating a shortage for patients who actually needed them.
German officials say they are seeing the first signs that the exponential upward curve in coronavirus infections is flattening. It comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in a televised press briefing that Germany would ban public meetings of more than two people. For at least the next two weeks, people will not be allowed to form groups of three or more in public unless they live together in the same household, or the gathering is work-related.
Germany has the fifth-highest number of coronavirus cases globally at 23, , based on data collated by Johns Hopkins University. The data also shows that Germans have recovered from the virus, while 92 have died.
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is ordering New Zealanders into self-isolation, saying tens of thousands of people will die if the country does not act now. But it is our best chance to slow the virus and to save lives," she said.
The ASX index fell 5. It comes as large parts of the Australian economy shut down amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, with the closure of non-essential businesses and some states shutting their borders. The World Health Organisation says criminals are increasingly posing as WHO officials in an effort to swipe information or money from people during the coronavirus crisis. Spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said con artists were using "multiple impersonation approaches" such as fraudulent phone calls and phishing on email and through social media.
The United Nations health agency said it was working to confirm and debunk the attempts and alert local authorities. Another federal politician has tested positive for coronavirus, with South Australian senator Rex Patrick confirming he's the fourth politician to be infected. The Centre Alliance senator has been in self-isolation since coming into contact with Liberal senator Andrew Bragg , who recently returned a positive test. Senator Patrick says he's working with authorities to help them figure out who he's been in contact with. Earlier, Stuart Robert said the website, which is the online portal for many Centrelink services, had been hit by a "denial of service" attack.
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Mr Robert has since told Question Time the high number of people logging on to the site to claim unemployment benefits mirrored such an attack, triggering internal alarms. Demand for MyGov services has risen dramatically, with many Australians who have been stood down due to extra coronavirus restrictions seeking access to unemployment benefits. The Government is doubling dole payments as it seeks to cushion the economy from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.
Concerns have eased over a cruise ship set to dock in Fremantle in the next 24 hours, which had reported hundreds of unwell passengers and raised the prospect of people needing to disembark for treatment. The MSC Magnifica disclosed to authorities that it had unwell passengers over the past 14 days, leading to concerns the vessel could be at the centre of an outbreak of coronavirus. The concerns sparked a major emergency response in WA, with authorities scrambling to free up hospital space and prepare to receive potentially hundreds of unwell patients.
But it is understood the Magnifica has since clarified its situation and the company no longer wants to have any passengers disembark or receive medical treatment while berthed in Fremantle. It is set to refuel in Fremantle, with all passengers remaining on board, before continuing to Dubai. The initial stage of the restriction will force anyone entering Queensland to quarantine themselves for 14 days after arrival.
Authorities will convene in the coming days to establish how road-based restrictions can later be placed along the state's borders. However, Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said there would be no sausage sizzles or fetes. The risk of doing that is absolutely minimal," she said.
The number of coronavirus cases in Queensland has risen by 60 in the past 24 hours, to a total of To contain the outbreak, authorities have gradually started to shut down much of the country of 1.
The news came as key train stations were packed with thousands of migrant workers suddenly out of work and trying to head to their villages, risking carrying the infection to the nation's vast hinterland. The suspension includes major long-distance trains and public transit in India's big cities, exempting only freight. The economic fallout of the crisis was visible on the streets on Monday with hundreds of Australians lining up outside government offices in Sydney and Melbourne to register for social security payments. Many tried to practice social distancing as lines stretched around the block.
Several states have implemented strict measures to combat the outbreak, with Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia tightening domestic border controls, while the school term was cut short in Victoria. In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said measures to contain the virus would be intensified, with all schools closed from Tuesday and non-essential services shut in the next 48 hours.
In the neighbouring Pacific islands, where experts fear under-developed healthcare facilities could easily be overwhelmed, a state of emergency was declared in Papua New Guinea after the country recorded its first case of the virus. Have a question on the coronavirus outbreak? E-mail us at askst sph. In addition, Elsevier has made nearly 20, coronavirus-related articles freely available for six months, commencing in February You can find those articles here. We are updating this section continually, and we've cr categories to make this section easier to browse.
Emerging and rapidly evolving healthcare emergencies necessitate the quick dissemination of research. Research on SSRN is free to download and upload. It is important to note that these papers have not benefited from the pivotal role of the peer-review process, which validates and improves the quality of final published journal articles. Medicine is continuously evolving in terms of refining, revising and discovering new knowledge.
This is heightened in importance and compressed in timeframe during a crisis such as the current viral outbreak of the COVID The COVID that originated in Wuhan, China, has exceeded more than 71, confirmed cases and over 1, deaths since the first case was detected in December As of February 18, the number of confirmed cases in Singapore has risen to The World Health Organization WHO has termed this current epidemic as a global emergency , and it is a public health responsibility at a massive scale. Knowledge is being discovered every day, and the acquisition of it needs to continue to be validated by evidence-based processes in order to ensure its credibility and usability.
A study published on medRxiv has found that the incubation period for the virus in rare cases is as long as 24 days compared to the previously believed 14 days. This was concluded from one patient who reported a day incubation period. Researchers have also found another early identification method which involves using CT scans as the key basis for diagnosing coronavirus infections.
However, this diagnostic method was developed from the shortage of test kits and has not been peer-reviewed. Thus it should not be used to guide clinical practice. This highlights the need to share and review data to validate the reliability of new knowledge so that researchers and scientists who are racing against time can be reassured when determining diagnostics and treatment methods for the patients. In Thailand and here in Singapore, doctors are treating a small number of patients with a cocktail of flu and HIV drugs to test for the efficacy of this combination of medications.
While there are promising outcomes from these trials, more extensive research and investigation needs to be conducted to determine if they can be used as a standard form of treatment. After harnessing the knowledge from scientific research backed by evidence-based processes, it needs to be made readily accessible to the public and healthcare professionals on the front line of patient care in order to provide guidance as to what to communicate, what to look for and what to do. Knowledge is constantly evolving and is only as good as when it can be applied as needed.
The proliferation of social media platforms has fueled uncertainty among the public. Chinese officials have started blocking and disabling social media accounts to maintain social stability amid the crisis. In such times, the public should turn to trusted traditional and credible communication channels.
Healthcare professionals can overcome the uncertainty about the virus through accessing medical knowledge via clinical resources such as clinical decision support CDS tools or research platforms. These platforms have routinely served their needs and are stepping up more to provide more clarity on the prognosis during this epidemic situation. A quick analysis of the search activity done on the CDS showed that in times of uncertainty, clinicians turn to these clinical resources for trusted medical knowledge.
The multitude of digital platforms allow for information to be published and distributed freely. Healthcare professionals need the convenience of seeking out credible research information on one consolidated platform. Medical journals including JAMA Network and The Lancet , and STM publishers including Elsevier , have created their own free-to-access resource centers curated by global health experts to assist health professionals in their research and practice to help draw a close to this outbreak.
We also host resources in the Chinese language to support healthcare professionals in China with the latest information and research on the COVID While we know very little about this current epidemic, scientists and researchers around the world are doing their best to discover new knowledge every day to accelerate scientific research and treatment methods to curb and control the epidemic spread.
It is vital that this knowledge is freely shared and widely accessed by both the healthcare professionals and the general public to minimize the impact of this outbreak. Elsevier has just launched Veridata Electronic Data Capture EDC , which enables clinical researchers to capture clinical trial data in a secure environment. Interested clinical researchers can contact Elsevier customer support via e-mail at covid19 elsevier.
Following the necessary compliance training, they will receive a free month license. Read the press release. Here, we use those tools to generate information relevant to combatting nCoV. Lindsey Baden, Deputy Editor, talk about new research on possible treatments for Covid Eric Rubin is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal. Listen to the interview. Here, you will find guidance and commentary from experts along with official guidance from major health organizations such as the CDC and WHO.
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For research on public health and related topics, see our Research section. As a former state epidemiologist, I will say that epidemics are — complex. A single case of Ebola or Measles in an area that has not had any cases before would be considered an outbreak and more than a few cases in a region might be considered an epidemic. Whereas, in a typical season, a single case of the flu would not be considered an outbreak and a few cases in a region would not be considered an epidemic.
The second complexity early in novel epidemics is the unknown severity or fatality rate of the disease.
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