How to make biomedical research (and biosafety labs) less dangerous and more ethical, post-COVID-19

thebulletin.org

By Laura H. Kahn | June 8, 2021

A biosafety level 4 lab. Researchers wearing positive pressure personnel suits at a US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases biosafety level 4 lab. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Our luck has run out. The worst pandemic in a century has killed over 3.7 million people globally. In the United States, almost 600,000 have lost their lives to COVID-19. Societies around the world have been, and many are continuing to be, devastated.

The debate regarding the origins of the virus continues with growing circumstantial evidence that the virus leaked from a laboratory. Knowing the origins of SARS-CoV-2 is important if we want to prevent this catastrophe from happening again.

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COVID-19: Schools for more than 168 million children globally have been completely closed for almost a full year, says UNICEF

UNICEF unveils ‘Pandemic Classroom’ at United Nations Headquarters in New York to call attention to the need for governments to prioritise the reopening of schools

 

An installation of UNICEF cyan backpacks and desks at the UN Headquarters
Chris Farber/UNICEF via Getty ImagesOn 1 March 2021, a view of UNICEF’s ‘Pandemic Classroom’ installation at United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States of America. To call attention to the education emergency wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to and raise awareness of the need for governments to keep schools open, UNICEF unveiled ‘Pandemic Classroom’ – a model classroom made up of 168 empty desks, each seat representing one million children living in countries where schools have been almost entirely closed since the onset of lockdowns.

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Coronavirus kills 15,000 U.S. mink, as Denmark prepares for nationwide cull

Wednesday, November 11, 2020, 09:16 GMT+7 tuoitrenews

Coronavirus kills 15,000 U.S. mink, as Denmark prepares for nationwide cull
FILE PHOTO: Mink are seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann-Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved, Denmark, November 6, 2020. Photo: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via Reuters

CHICAGO — More than 15,000 mink in the United States have died of the coronavirus since August, and authorities are keeping about a dozen farms under quarantine while they investigate the cases, state agriculture officials said.

Global health officials are eying the animals as a potential risk for people after Denmark last week embarked on a plan to eliminate all of its 17 million mink, saying a mutated coronavirus strain could move to humans and evade future COVID-19 vaccines.

The U.S. states of Utah, Wisconsin and Michigan – where the coronavirus has killed mink – said they do not plan to cull animals and are monitoring the situation in Denmark.

“We believe that quarantining affected mink farms in addition to implementing stringent biosecurity measures will succeed in controlling SARS-CoV-2 at these locations,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Reuters on Tuesday.

The USDA said it is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state officials and the mink industry to test and monitor infected farms.

The United States has 359,850 mink bred to produce babies, known as kits, and produced 2.7 million pelts last year. Wisconsin is the largest mink-producing state, followed by Utah.

Sick mink in Wisconsin and Utah were exposed to people with probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases, the USDA said. In Michigan it is still unknown if the mink were infected by humans, according to the agency.

In Utah, the first U.S. state to confirm mink infections in August, about 10,700 mink have died on nine farms, said Dean Taylor, state veterinarian.

“On all nine, everything is still suggesting a one-way travel from people to the minks,” he said.

Coronavirus testing has been done on mink that die and randomly on the affected farms, Taylor said. Like people, some mink are asymptomatic or mildly affected, he said.

The CDC said it was supporting states’ investigations into sick mink, including testing of animals and people.

“These investigations will help us to learn more about the transmission dynamics between mink, other animals around the farms and people,” the CDC said. “Currently, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to people.”

Coronavirus is thought to have first jumped to humans from animals in China, possibly via bats or another animal at a food market in Wuhan, although many outstanding questions remain.

Monitoring U.S. mink for virus symptoms and quarantining infected farms should limit the disease’s spread if cases are caught early, said Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“I’m fairly confident that as long as they have that surveillance going and it’s strong enough, then they should be able to prevent the spread,” he said.

U.S. authorities are urging farmers to wear protective gear like masks and gloves when handling mink to avoid infecting the animals.

In Wisconsin, about 5,000 mink have died on two farms, State Veterinarian Darlene Konkle said.

One farm is composting the dead mink to dispose of the carcasses without spreading the virus, Konkle said. Authorities are working with the second farm to determine how to dispose of the mink, and dead animals are being kept in a metal container in the meantime, she said.

Michigan declined to disclose how many mink have died, citing privacy rules.

State officials said they are working with the USDA to determine whether farmers can sell the pelts of infected mink. The pelts are used to make fur coats and other items.

The coronavirus has also infected cats, dogs, a lion and a tiger, according to the USDA. Experts say mink appear to be the most susceptible animal so far.

Highlights

Reuters

Báo cáo tác động của bùng phát dịch Covid-19 lần thứ 2 đối với Doanh nghiệp

Ngày 4/9 vừa qua, Ban Nghiên cứu Phát triển Kinh tế tư nhân đã công bố Báo cáo Tác động của Bùng phát dịch Covid-19 lần 2 đối với doanh nghiệp và Tổng hợp các kiến nghị chính sách doanh nghiệp, hiệp hội gửi Chính phủ, Thủ tướng Chính phủ; căn cứ trên kết quả cuộc khảo sát lần 3 về tình hình doanh nghiệp trong bối cảnh covid-19 bùng phát lần 2 tại Việt Nam với đối tượng là 15 hiệp hội doanh nghiệp Việt Nam (đại diện cho gần 15.000 doanh nghiệp thành viên và hơn 5000 cá nhân thành viên) và 349 doanh nghiệp trả lời khảo sát online bao gồm cả doanh nghiệp Việt Nam lẫn doanh nghiệp có vốn đầu tư nước ngoài.

Các doanh nghiệp Du lịch chiếm tỉ lệ cao nhất trong tổng số doanh nghiệp tham gia khảo sát, tới 28%, đây cũng đồng thời là nhóm chịu ảnh hưởng nặng nề nhất bởi đại dịch. Tiếp tục đọc “Báo cáo tác động của bùng phát dịch Covid-19 lần thứ 2 đối với Doanh nghiệp”

Vietnam to import 20,000 pigs from Thailand

bangkokpost.com 14 MAY 2020 AT 16:20 Writer REUTERS

This photograph taken on May 27, 2019 shows health officials spraying disinfectant on a dead pig at a farm in Hanoi before burying it in an isolated quarantined pit to stop the spread of African Swine Fever. (AFP photo)
This photograph taken on May 27, 2019 shows health officials spraying disinfectant on a dead pig at a farm in Hanoi before burying it in an isolated quarantined pit to stop the spread of African Swine Fever. (AFP photo)

HANOI: Vietnam will import 20,000 breeding pigs from Thailand this year, state media said on Thursday, as the country is seeking to rebuild its hog herd battered by an African swine-fever outbreak.

First detected in February 2019, the outbreak has forced the culling of around six million pigs, or 20% of Vietnam’s pig herd, resulting in higher pork prices and putting upward pressure on inflation. Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam to import 20,000 pigs from Thailand”

Vietnamese DAAD alumna donates protective masks to Germany

DAAD.de

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Bonn today received a donation of 1,000 nose and mouth masks as protection in the corona pandemic. An alumna from Vietnam thanks the donation for supporting the DAAD during their master’s degree.

Bonn May 13, 2020

Mask donation

© DAAD / singer DAAD General Secretary Dr. Dorothea Rüland received the masks from Thi Minh Chau Bui.

In Germany, a mask requirement applies in many federal states and areas such as retail or local transport. Masks are also used in the DAAD’s Bonn headquarters in the science center. The joy was correspondingly great when DAAD alumna Thi Minh Chau Bui from Vietnam approached her former funding organization with the wish to donate 1,000 reusable and washable mouth-nose masks.

“We are very happy about this unexpected donation, which helps us in times of the corona pandemic. It is a wonderful sign of solidarity, not only with the DAAD, but with the Federal Republic and its education system as a whole, ”said DAAD General Secretary Dr. Dorothea Rüland, who personally accepted the masks at the DAAD headquarters in Bonn. 

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Hanoi building festooned in Vietnamese colors to support Covid-19 fight

vnexpress.net

By Nguyen Quy   April 22, 2020 | 09:27 pm GMT+7

Hanoi building festooned in Vietnamese colors to support Covid-19 fight

An apartment building in Hanoi is festooned with red national flags on April 19, 2020. Photo courtesy of Prabu Mohan.

A photo capturing a Hanoi apartment block festooned in red flags to support Vietnam’s Covid-19 fight and those on the frontline, has gone viral.

The image, shot by Indian lecturer Prabu Mohan last Sunday, was posted on the Facebook community Hanoi Massive, frequented by 136,000 expat and local netizens living in the capital.

Over a hundred Vietnamese flags were hung from the balconies of an apartment building on Tam Trinh Street in Hoang Mai District, garnering thousands of Facebook likes and shares.

“One of the ways to show your support in difficult times,” Mohan wrote in the caption.

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Các doanh nghiệp năng lượng chung tay đẩy lùi dịch COVID-19

Sáng ngày 28/3, Đại diện của Hiệp hội Năng lượng Sạch Việt Nam – Văn phòng đại diện tại TP.HCM, phối hợp với Hiệp hội Điện gió tỉnh Bình Thuận, cùng các doanh nghiệp ngành năng lượng tái tạo đã đến thăm, chia sẻ khó khăn và hỗ trợ những vật dụng thiết yếu cho cơ sở cách ly tập trung tại khu B, Ký túc xá Đại học Quốc gia TP.HCM.

Vietnam quarantines tens of thousands in camps amid vigorous attack on coronavirus

Reuters.com

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam has sent tens of thousands of people to quarantine camps as waves of overseas citizens return home to escape a coronavirus pandemic spreading in Europe and the United States.

FILE PHOTO: A Vietnamese woman who came back from China wears a protective mask while talking on the phone with a relative inside a quarantine area at a military base in Lang Son province, Vietnam February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

Từ nay đến 31-3: Người dân Hà Nội nên ở nhà, hạn chế ra ngoài

Thứ Tư, 18/03/2020, 21:07:07 Nhân Dân

NDĐT – Chiều 18-3, Chủ tịch UBND TP Hà Nội Nguyễn Đức Chung đã chủ trì họp trực tuyến Ban Chỉ đạo phòng, chống dịch Covid-19 của TP Hà Nội.

Từ nay đến 31-3: Người dân Hà Nội nên ở nhà, hạn chế ra ngoài

Chủ tịch UBND TP Hà Nội Nguyễn Đức Chung chủ trì họp trực tuyến Ban Chỉ đạo phòng, chống dịch Covid-19 của TP Hà Nội.

Theo báo cáo của Sở Y tế Hà Nội, tính đến 15 giờ ngày 18-3, Hà Nội ghi nhận 15 trường hợp nhiễm Covid-19 và tất cả các trường hợp này đang được cách ly, điều trị tại Bệnh viện Bệnh Nhiệt đới T.Ư cơ sở 2. Tiếp tục đọc “Từ nay đến 31-3: Người dân Hà Nội nên ở nhà, hạn chế ra ngoài”

‘Vietnam has been preparing’: Britisth man from coronavirus quarantine camp

Southeast Asia Globe

Coronavirus: Life inside a Vietnamese government quarantineBritish citizen Gavin Wheeldon has been held in a Vietnamese government quarantine near Hanoi since March 14. Here he provides an insight on what day-to-day life is like under complete lockdown

Gavin Wheeldon is a British citizen who has been held in a Vietnamese government-run quarantine in Son Tay since March 14 after landing in Hanoi on a direct flight from London, England.


5am – I land at Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport with hopes of a new life in my favourite country. I finally made it. As we leave the plane, we’re greeted with barriers and must complete health declarations. People are being swabbed and staff are wearing protective clothing. It’s all very real now. It’s no longer a headline.

Each of us must wait to be swabbed and give up our passports. Suddenly I’m grateful I filled in the online declaration and skipped the queue. I’m met with more forms, more confusion. Finally they take swab samples from my throat and nose and I’m gestured to sit in a specific area.

I look back at the slow moving queue. Westerners, Vietnamese, each of them waiting. As the hours pass, unrest grows and none of us are given information. A nearby elderly holiday group complains but it becomes increasingly evident that it’s not just us who are confused – the staff aren’t sure what to do with us. I realise that somewhere, someone is having a meeting about where to send us.
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Coronavirus Exposes Core Flaws, and Few Strengths, in China’s Governance

nytimes

While China can mobilize a huge national response to the outbreak, its response to the crisis is also a lesson in how the country’s political weak points can carry grave consequences for world health.

Health care workers at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on Saturday.Credit…Hector Retamal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Image

  • Published Jan. 25, 2020Updated Jan. 26, 2020, 12:45 a.m. ET

It was the initial news reports that first suggested China’s political system might be getting in the way of its ability to confront the coronavirus outbreak.

The outbreak seemed to already be a full-blown crisis, infecting dozens in China and even some abroad, by the time it became widely reported. Tiếp tục đọc “Coronavirus Exposes Core Flaws, and Few Strengths, in China’s Governance”

African swine fever keeps spreading across Asia – Đặc điểm dịch tả lợn Châu Phi

World Organisation for Animal Health says no country is immune from being hit by the deadly animal virus

African swine fever, which has hit the world's top pork producer, China, especially hard, originated in Africa before spreading to Asia and Europe [File: Kacper Pempel/Reuters]
African swine fever, which has hit the world’s top pork producer, China, especially hard, originated in Africa before spreading to Asia and Europe [File: Kacper Pempel/Reuters]

African swine fever will spread further across Asia, where it has devastated herds, and no country is immune from being hit by the deadly animal virus, the head of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday.

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