A lab technician visually inspects a filled vial of investigational coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment drug. Reuters
US scientists have hailed a potential breakthrough in the coronavirus fight after a trial showed patients responding to an antiviral drug, fueling global hopes for a return to normal despite mounting deaths and abysmal economic figures.
The news was enough to propel a rebound on Wall Street even after data showed the pandemic had plunged the United States into its worst economic slump in a decade, and Germany predicted its biggest recession since the aftermath of World War II.
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It came as the World Health Organization's emergency committee was due to meet Thursday for the first time in three months to discuss the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 226,000 lives worldwide.
A clinical trial of the drug remdesivir showed that patients recovered about 30 percent faster than those on a placebo, in the first proof of successful treatment against the new disease.
"The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery," Anthony Fauci, the top US epidemiologist who oversaw the study, told reporters.
Fauci likened the finding to the first retrovirals that worked, albeit with modest success, against HIV in the 1980s.
Remdesivir failed in trials against the Ebola virus and a smaller study, released last week by the WHO, found limited effects among patients in Wuhan, China, where the illness was first detected in December.
Senior WHO official Michael Ryan declined to weigh in on the latest findings, saying he had not reviewed the complete study.
"We are all hoping — fervently hoping — that one or more of the treatments currently under observation and under trial will result in altering clinical outcomes" and reducing deaths, he said.
US President Donald Trump has accused the UN health agency of not responding quickly or aggressively enough, although critics say he is trying to deflect attention from his own response.
US virus fatalities soared past 60,000 on Wednesday. The country has suffered the most deaths, with Britain's toll shooting up to the world's third worst at over 26,000.
More than 27,000 people have died in Italy.
Florida became the latest US state to move to reopen, with restaurants able to serve customers outdoors from Monday if tables are at least six feet (1.8 meters) apart.
Experts have warned that only a vaccine will allow the full removal of restrictions that this year put half of humanity under some form of lockdown.
A year into the pandemic, infection rates are falling. Hospitals are quieter; morgues are emptier. Emboldened by vaccines, we’re dropping our masks and stepping closer. Slowly we’re reopening indoor dining, theaters, museums and schools.
Several European countries resumed AstraZeneca vaccinations as Germany and Italy announced they were using the jab again as of Friday.
Salman's vaccination happens on the same day that his friend and colleague, superstar Aamir Khan, informed through a statement that he has tested Covid positive.
The session was designed to empower participants with the knowledge, tools and strategies needed to harness the power of innovation and drive positive change in educational practices.
It has been emphasised that individuals applying for Shourak based on the date of their employment termination and/or resignation rather than their end-of-service date will not be eligible to benefit from Shourak.
The event, hosted by the High-Level Champions and the Dubai Chamber, supported by the COP28 Presidency, brought together key segments of society to mobilise efforts for inclusive climate progress ahead of the UAE-hosted climate summit.
Sami Abrahim’s brother, Ali Raza, took to Twitter to confirm his release. BOL TV confirmed his release in a news announcement. Another pro-Khan TV journalist, Imran Riaz, went missing earlier this month and was yet to be freed.