US immunotherapy company Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced its experimental vaccine against the coronavirus has been found to produce antibodies in mice and guinea pigs. The animals’ immune system also responded to the drug, which began human testing in April. The preliminary results from the human trials are expected in June.
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Dr. David Weiner, director of the vaccine and immunotherapy center at the Wistar Institute, said: “We saw antibody responses that do many of the things we would want to see in an eventual vaccine.
“We are able to target things that would prevent the virus from having a safe harbor in the body.”
40 people are participating in the human trial, which involves the patients being given two shots of the drug, four weeks apart.
Once the preliminary data are in, Inovio expects to approach the US Food and Drug Administration for authorisation to move into a Phase 2/3 trial, which could happen as early as July or August.
Inovio said the latest animal study results, published in the journal Nature Communications, validate its DNA medicines platform and build on previous positive clinical trial data for its experimental vaccine against a different, but related, coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
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Coronavirus UK: Scientists suggest the lockdown could be in place for well over a year (Image: Getty)
06.08am update: Migrant boat crossings to UK surge during virus lockdown
The number of unaccompanied young migrants crossing the Channel from France to Britain has spiked during the coronavirus outbreak, as travel restrictions force them onto boats rather than trucks.
Kent County Council in southeast England, which includes the major port of Dover, was dealing with “230 to 250” young migrants a year ago, its chief executive, Roger Gough, said.
05.00am update: Only one percent hof Danes have had coronavirus, new study reveals
A study shows that only about one percent of Danes had contracted the coronavirus, Danish officials said Wednesday, raising concerns Denmark is vulnerable to a new wave.
The report was released by the Danish health agency SSI, which operates under the health ministry and is responsible for the surveillance of infectious diseases.
Out of 2,600 randomly selected Danes, 1,071 had so far agreed to be tested for antibodies. Only 12 of those tested positive, corresponding to a rate of about 1.1%.
04.22am update: More than 100 virus infections in French slaughterhouse
More than 100 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at a slaughterhouse in western France, the regional health authorities said Wednesday.
The cases follow coronavirus outbreaks at meat plants not only in France but also in Germany, Spain, Australia, the United States and Brazil – where people tend to work in close proximity.
03.07am update: Mexico suffers record one-day death toll
Mexico’s health ministry on Wednesday registered 2,248 new coronavirus infections and an additional 424 fatalities, a record one-day death toll since the start of the pandemic.
The new infections brought confirmed coronavirus cases to 56,594 and 6,090 deaths in total, according to the official tally.
The new infections brought confirmed coronavirus cases to 56,594 and 6,090 deaths in total, according to the official tally.
02.44 update: Oxfam International to close operations in 18 countries
Oxfam International has announced that it plans to close operations in 18 countries – a move that will impact 1,450 staff.
In a statement published on its website earlier today, the charity said that its finances had been seriously impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
01.00am update: Trump says he will stop taking hydroxychloroquine ‘in a day or two’
President Donald Trump says the course of an anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that he is taking to ward off the coronavirus finishes in the next day or two.
Mr Trump revealed this week he was taking the drug despite medical warnings about potential serious side effects and questions about its effectiveness in preventing Covid-19.
12.32am update: Marks & Spencer warns of virus impact as profits halve
British clothing-to-food retailer Marks & Spencer on Wednesday announced a slump in annual profit as it booked a sizeable charge late on from the coronavirus outbreak and said it was slashing costs.
Net profit collapsed 49.5 per cent to £27.4 million in the 12 months to March 28 from a year earlier, M&S said in an earnings statement.
11.06pm update: Coronavirus pandemic exposed NHS weaknesses, says European Commission
Brussels criticised the UK’s health system on Wednesday, saying the coronavirus pandemic had revealed the “weaknesses” in the NHS.
The European Commission said the pandemic exposed a lack of money spent on staff, infrastructure and equipment. The Government was forced to beg manufacturers to make ventilators at the height of the crisis, it added.
The EU executive called for greater investment in the British healthcare system to enable it to face similar outbreaks in the future.
10.06pm update: There are concerns for a second wave of the virus as thousands are pictured at UK beaches
Although some people were following social distancing rules, others have clearly been meeting in big groups.
This comes as Wales has announced a big increase to their fines for people who flout the lockdown.
8.25pm update: Sweden records the most coronavirus deaths in Europe per capita over the past week
Sweden has recorded 6.08 deaths per million inhabitants, higher than the UK, USA and Italy.
According to figures collated by the Our World in Data website – Sweden recorded the figures on a rolling seven-day average between May 13 and May 20.
Sweden has not followed a lockdown like other countries have – restaurants and shops have remained open.
5.28pm update: New taskforce to be introduced to help the sports and arts to recover
Minister Dowden has said £150 million will be made available to support the sports and arts.
The taskforce will help the creative industries to get back on their feet again.
There are concerns not everyone is maintaining social distancing as they enjoy the sunshine (Image: GETTY )
5.12pm update: Boris Johnson pledges to have a UK-wide tracing operation to tackle coronavirus
The Prime Minister has said the tracing operations will be in place by June 1.
Johnson said: “I have great confidence that by 1 June we will have a system that will enable us, help us, very greatly to defeat this disease and move the country forward.”
4.25pm update: Welsh police turn around Englsih daytrippers
Police have asked people from England to go back home when they tried to break the lockdown rules to enjoy the sunshine in Wales.
The day trips to not constitute ‘essential travel’ say the police.
3.31pm update: Tax breaks set to be introduced for home office equipment
The government has announced employees who have been working from home due to the pandemic could benefit from tax breaks on their newly purchased home office equipment.
The cutural shift towards home working is expected to continue after lockdown ends.
2.41pm update: Number of passengers using transport network remain ‘fairly low’
Downing Street said the number of passengers using the transport network remained “fairly low” despite some easing in the lockdown restrictions.
The PM’s spokesman said: “The information we’ve had from TfL is that they haven’t been reporting significant increases on the London network and that passenger numbers on the domestic transport network remain fairly low, and that the rail network as a whole is performing well.”
2.15pm update: UK’s hospital deaths released
The UK’s coronavirus hospital death rate rose by 230 today.
NHS England recorded 166 new deaths, Scotland 50 and Wales 14.
Northern Ireland are yet to release its figures.
1.42pm update: Tech giants asked to give evidence to Parliament about spread of coronavirus fake news
Twitter, Facebook and Google have been summoned to give evidence to Parliament once again, after failing to provide “adequate answers” on how they are tackling false narratives about coronavirus.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Committee chairman Julian Knight said MPs were “very disappointed by the standard of evidence given by all three social media companies, given the damage that can be done by the deliberate spreading of false information about COVID-19 and the need to tackle it urgently”.
Representatives from the three tech giants gave evidence last month, but the committee is not satisfied with the follow-up written answers provided.
They have been asked to speak again in the first week of June.
Coronavirus map live (Image: Express)
1pm update: Deaths in Scotland fall for third consecutive week
More than 3,500 people have died with confirmed or suspected coronavirus in Scotland but the number of weekly deaths continues to fall, according to new figures.
A total of 3,546 coronavirus-related deaths had been recorded in the country as of May 17, according to the National Records of Scotland (NRS).
There were 332 deaths relating to Covid-19 registered between May 11 and 17, a decrease of 83 from the previous seven days and the third consecutive weekly drop.
The majority of coronavirus-linked deaths across Scotland in the week to May 17 were in care homes – at 55 percent, down from 57 percent the previous week.
12.33am update: PMs says the Government is making “fast progress” in testing and tracing
Mr Johnson told the Commons: “We’re making fast progress in testing and tracing and I have great confidence that by June 1 we will have a system that will enable us, that will help us very greatly to defeat this disease and move the country forward.”
Sir Keir replied: “This is the last PMQs for two weeks, can the Prime Minister indicate that an effective test, trace and isolate system will be in place by June 1, Monday week?”
Mr Johnson replied: “What he heard is that we have growing confidence that we will have a test, track and trace operation that will be world-beating and yes, it will be in place, it will be in place by June 1.”
He added that “there will be 25,000 trackers, they will be able to cope with 10,000 new cases a day”.
12.05pm update: Boris Johnson reveals number of healthcare workers who have died from coronavirus
Speaking at PMQs, Boris Johnson said the deaths of 181 NHS workers and 131 social care workers have “sadly been reported involving Covid-19”
11.41am update: 1 in 5 students plan to defer university places
British universities face losing swathes of income, as much as £760million, next academic year, as about one in five students said they would not enrol if classes were delivered online.
It comes after Cambridge University became the first higher education facility to announce all face-to-face lectures would be cancelled for the entire academic year.
Captain Tom Moore will be knighted for his fundraising efforts (Image: Getty)
11.06am update: McDonalds reopens 33 drive-through restaurants
McDonald’s has announced 33 UK restaurants will reopen for drive-through customers from 11am today, including six in Peterborough, four in Ipswich and three in Luton.
Customers will be allowed a maximum spend of £25 per car and be encouraged to use contactless payments.
Staff will have their temperature checked on arrival at work, and the company will work in small teams and provide a reduced menu.
10.47am update: Airlines are exaggerating impact of coronavirus, union claims
Airlines are exaggerating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to make job cuts, a pilots union has warned.
Brian Strutton, general secretary of Balpa, told MPs that carriers are looking to “take advantage of the crisis”.
It comes after British Airways, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and others have announced plans to make thousands of staff redundant.
Giving evidence to the Commons Transport Select Committee, Mr Strutton said: “I believe that airlines are exaggerating the problem.
“The predictions that some of the airline leaders are saying, of up to a five or six-year recovery, is not in line with industry standard predictions.”
10.26am update: ‘Unproductive’ to blame scientists for Government decisions
Justice secretary Robert Buckland has labelled it “unproductive” to blame scientists for decisions taken by the government during the coronavirus crisis.
His comments came after Therese Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, tried to deflect criticism about key decisions, such as ending community testing, on to the scientists advising ministers on the UK response.
Ms Coffey said: “If the science was wrong, advice at the time was wrong, I’m not surprised if people then think we made a wrong decision.”
Downing Street distanced itself from her comments shortly afterwards and Mr Buckland said there was little point in “blaming people” when the coronavirus pandemic was an “evolving picture”.
9.54am update: BREAKING – worldwide cases reaches 5million
The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has reached 5million.
The number of people using the transport network remains ‘fairly low’, No10 has said (Image: Getty)
9.49am update: Priti Patel wants to double maximum sentence for people who cough at officers
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has said she is looking into increasing the minimum sentence for people who cough at police officers, threatening them with coronavirus.
Speaking to LBC radio she said she was “looking into it” and would like to double the maximum sentences available.
Currently offenders are charged with common assault, which is punishable by up to a year in jail.
9.20am update: Spain makes wearing face masks compulsory
Spain has made it compulsory for all citizens, including children over six, to wear face masks in public places.
The Health Ministry order said the masks – whose efficiency in curbing the coronavirus is hotly debated globally – would be needed from Thursday for indoor public spaces and outdoors when impossible to keep a two-metre distance.
8.42am update: Captain Tom Moore says he was ‘overawed’ to hear he will be knighted
Last night it emerged that Captain Tom Moore, who has raised over £33million for the NHS, will be knighted for his fundraising efforts after a special nomination by Boris Johnson.
In response to the news, the army veteran told the BBC: “I must say it’s rather different.
“I mean, to get this honour is so outstanding that I really can’t say how different I feel, but I certainly feel I’ve been given a very outstanding honour by the Queen and the Prime Minister.
“I thank them all very much. I’m certainly delighted and I am overawed by the fact that this has happened to me.”
8.16am update: Government advisers warn schools should remain shut
Two members of the Government’s scientific advisory council have said schools should not reopen until a new system to trace the spread of the coronavirus has been proven successful.
Downing Street has not yet said when contact tracing will start or disclosed how it will operate.
Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Sky News a “well functioning track and trace system” was needed before lockdown was eased any further – including the reopening of schools.