Today’s update features several exciting announcements from the scientific community.

The Israeli defense minister reports that the nation’s leading biological laboratory has isolated a principal coronavirus antibody at its central biological research laboratory and said the step was a “significant breakthrough” toward a possible treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “monoclonal neutralising antibody” developed at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) “can neutralise it (the disease-causing coronavirus) inside carriers’ bodies,” Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.

The statement added that Bennett visited the IIBR on Monday where he was briefed “on a significant breakthrough in finding an antidote for the coronavirus”.

The IIBR has been leading Israeli efforts to develop a treatment and vaccine for the coronavirus. Antibodies, immune-system proteins that are generated by to body to fight the coronavirus, are widely seen as a key to developing a possible cure.

The antibody reported as having been isolated at the IIBR is monoclonal, meaning it was derived from a single recovered cell and is thus potentially of more potent value in yielding a treatment.

Researchers from the Netherlands also announce coronavirus antibody find

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, as well as the Erasmus Medical Centre and the company Harbour BioMed (HBM), also announce their antibody finding as well, also hailing it as a significant breakthrough.

The experimental antibody has neutralized the virus in cell cultures. While that’s early in the drug development process — before animal research and human trials — the antibody may help prevent or treat Covid-19 and related diseases in the future, either alone or in a drug combination, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Communications.

More research is needed to see whether the findings are confirmed in a clinical setting and how precisely the antibody defeats the virus, Berend-Jan Bosch of Utrecht University in the Netherlands and colleagues wrote in the paper.

The antibody known as 47D11 targets the spike protein that gives the new coronavirus a crown-like shape and lets it enter human cells. In the Utrecht experiments, it didn’t just defeat the virus responsible for Covid-19 but also a cousin equipped with similar spike proteins, which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

Here is the paper, for those who wish a more detailed scientific analysis: A human monoclonal antibody blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash over the virus

Frankly, China would be lucky if the opprobrium petered out at Tiananmen-levels.

An internal Chinese report warns that Beijing faces a rising wave of hostility in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that could tip relations with the United States into confrontation, people familiar with the paper told Reuters.

The report, presented early last month by the Ministry of State Security to top Beijing leaders including President Xi Jinping, concluded that global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the sources said.

As a result, Beijing faces a wave of anti-China sentiment led by the United States in the aftermath of the pandemic and needs to be prepared in a worst-case scenario for armed confrontation between the two global powers, according to people familiar with the report’s content, who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

Virginia to begin double-counting multiple positive coronavirus cases

It’s the new math, tailored for the pandemic.

Virginia this week will begin counting multiple positive coronavirus tests in the same patient as new individual cases of the disease, a policy decision likely to significantly drive up reported case numbers in a state that has been relatively spared the worst of the pandemic so far.

The state government announced on Saturday a policy change to its coronavirus data metrics. Health officials will begin reporting “the number of unique people tested per day rather than the number of unique people who have been tested at any point during the response,” the new policy states.

“We know individual people, especially healthcare workers and those in high-risk settings, may be tested more than once over time. This new method of providing test data also allows us to provide the number of tests per day,” the policy continues, adding: “We believe these data to be a better representation of SARS-CoV-2 testing in Virginia, and a better guide to the public and policy-makers as they assess availability.”

Nearly 400 employees at a Missouri pork plant tested positive for COVID-19. None of them had symptoms

More and more, tests are revealing that the coronavirus infections are more widespread than first thought and that many those infected had no symptoms.

Triumph Foods, a pork-processing plant in St. Joseph, Missouri, held companywide coronavirus testing last week.

By Sunday, 373 employees had received positive results, state health officials told Business Insider. But none showed symptoms of the disease.

Triumph Foods employs more than 2,800 workers at the plant in St. Joseph, meaning about 13% had tested positive for the virus.

“Those with positive tests are being notified and have been asked to self-isolate at home. They will be paid according to our COVID wage-continuation policy,” CEO Mark Campbell told employees in a video on Sunday.


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