(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
India’s tally of coronavirus infections crosses 20 million
India’s tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, boosted by 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose 3,449 for a toll of 222,408, health ministry data showed.
India becomes the world’s second nation, after the United States, to pass the grim milestone. It took the south Asian country just over four months to add 10 million cases, versus more than 10 months for its first 10 million.
Remote chance of jail for India travel ban offenders
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said it was “highly unlikely” travellers from COVID-ravaged India would face the maximum penalties of five years jail and a A$66,000 fine for breaking border rules as he faces pressure to overturn them.
Australia last week banned all travellers from India, including its own citizens, entering the country until May 15 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases there, and warned offenders will be prosecuted and penalised.
U.S. FDA set to authorize Pfizer shot for ages 12-15 early next week – NYT
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorize Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years by early next week, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans.
An approval is highly anticipated after the drugmakers said in March that the vaccine was found to be safe, effective and produced robust antibody responses in 12- to 15-year-olds in a clinical trial.
Canada’s high-risk populations face vaccine barriers
As Canada’s vaccination campaign ramps up, people at higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 often lack the resources to navigate labyrinthine booking systems or the documentation that would ease their path to inoculation.
Those without provincial health insurance, such as refugee claimants or undocumented workers, often perform front-line jobs or live in neighbourhoods that put them at high risk of infection. But a recent study from Toronto’s ICES – previously known as the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences – found vaccination rates are lower among Ontario’s immigrants, refugees, and those new to the provincial health system.
Experimental antibody drug neutralizes COVID-19 variants
An experimental monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 being developed by Eli Lilly and Co and AbCellera Biologics Inc can “potently” neutralize numerous coronavirus variants, including those first identified in the UK, Brazil, South Africa, California and New York, scientists have found in test tube experiments.
The antibody – known as LY-CoV1404 or LY3853113 – works by attaching itself to a place on the virus that has shown few signs of mutating, which means the drug is likely to retain its effectiveness over time, the researchers said in a report posted on Friday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review. An AbCellera spokesperson said the company plans to release information about tests of the drug in humans on Tuesday.
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