A drug company called Regeneron today announced phase 3 trials have started on its new ‘monoclonal antibody cocktail’. It is said to protect against Covid 19 infection in those living in the same household as some one with active disease. 1,505 individuals were identified who lived in the same household as a person who had been found to be positive for Covid infection in the previous 4 days. None of those 1,505 had either been immunised or had clinical evidence of a prior Covid infection. The antibody cocktail reduced the risk of symptomatic infection by 81%. The company believe this drug will be of use as a stop gap until all the population are fully immunised.
In the absence of much Covid specific news again I have been reflecting on just how much has changed since this all began at the beginning of last year. It is quite understandable that the death of Prince Philip has so occupied the news. With Covid in the UK it is going very well. And that sadly does not make headlines.
So what has changed? Our day to day vocabulary has changed for ever. Words like Covid and coronavirus are new. We have learnt about quarantine, and R0 the reproduction number. We have learnt the difference between antigens and antibodies. T cell immunity is another concept new to most of use. Antibody titres are a new idea to many, unless you are dog breeder. Most people were not familiar with the terms before last year.
We have new fashion accessories in the form of face masks. Initially there was enthusiasm for making them from discarded clothes, Now, many companies offer colour coordinated masks or black masks, ideal for use at a time of mourning. It will replace the black arm band for some. Medical masks are in more plentiful supply and many prefer them, these may well be in use for years, not necessarily mandatory, but we may find we copy those in the Far East and wear them out doors in winter.
Anxiety and depression have risen dramatically in some places. Many volunteers are helping people combat anxiety and depression. Winter, cough, cold and flu have all but disappeared thanks to masks and social distancing.
Rampant rumours and conspiracy theories have been very widespread and are responsible for a lot of anxiety. With many needing hospitalisations, and quite a few deaths attributable to rumour. We must do more research into this and find ways of preventing the distress many have suffered.
Pandemic puppies are a new phenomena. We all know the value of a close bond with a pet at times of trouble. The demands for puppies have been extraordinary. Prices have risen to ridiculous levels and has caused a big rise in thefts. Whole litters have been stolen. Some shelters report more than double the usual demand. School closures have caused all sorts of domestic difficulties for some families. Home teaching has been a nightmare to some and an enjoyable challenge to others. There are many concerns about the long-term effect on children. It will take many years to find out, but I suspect they can be quite resilient and will catch up without too much trouble.
Carbon dioxide emissions have fallen considerably in large cities with much less traffic on the roads. It is believed it fell by as much as 17% in some places. It might be the biggest drop in years but sadly it will build up quickly again and the net effect on climate change may be very little. There may, however, be a little improvement in respiratory health with less asthma and bronchitis.
The advent of highly effective innovative vaccines at speed is amazing: the use of the mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna are completely new concepts and together with the more conventional OAZ and other vaccines may well be responsible for 10s of thousands of lives saved.
We have all learnt to try to understand basics statistics and risk. We understand how bad news sells stories and the media are always keen to bring bad news. We know which risks we can accept and which we would not want to. Even writing and reading this daily report has brought us all together in sharing the ways we have found to get round challenges
Tonight’s statistics do not include health data as it has not been updated.
Covid tests amounted to 1,218,037 tests with only 3,568 being positive. This continues to drop at about 21% in the 7 day average. The positive rate is now 28.7/100k.
Deaths are only 13 in the last 24 hours part of which was a Sunday, the death rate is now 0.2 /100k. Put another way this is 1 death in 500,000 people. Our risk of dying is now very small.
Vaccine numbers continue to rise. 7.65 million second doses have been added to the 32.19million first doses given.
As the restrictions have been reduced today, please do not go mad, take it carefully, think twice before joining long queues or crowded places. Looking around the world show we are not safe yet.
Remember the basics and stay safe.