Antibody created in the Netherlands that defeats new coronavirus in lab
Scientists in the Netherlands have created a monoclonal antibody that can defeat the new coronavirus in the lab by neutralizing the virus in cell cultures. It is early in the drug development process but is a promising step in efforts to find treatments and curb the spread of the coronavirus. The antibody has not gone through animal research or human trials, but it has been found to possibly help prevent or treat COVID-19 and related diseases in the future, either alone or in a drug combination. More research is needed to confirm the findings in a clinical setting and how precisely the antibody defeats the virus. Berend-Jan Bosch of Utrecht University in the Netherlands and colleagues wrote about their findings in the journal Nature Communications. Read more.
Pfizer, BioNTech to begin U.S. coronavirus vaccine trial in humans
Pfizer Inc. (New York, NY) and BioNTech SE (Germany) have begun delivering doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccines for initial human testing in the U.S. If the vaccine proves to be safe and effective in trials, it could potentially be ready for widespread U.S. distribution by the end of the year. The vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology and has the potential to be among the first vaccines against the virus. The U.S. study is part of a broader, global program already underway in Germany, where dosing began last month. Moderna Inc. is using similar technology for its vaccine being developed along with the U.S. government. Phase I testing of that vaccine candidate has already begun. Read more.
Trump administration, FEMA model predicts sharp rise in U.S. cases, deaths as states reopen
The Trump administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths over the next several weeks. The daily death toll is projected to reach about 3,000 on June 1, according to an internal document that The New York Times obtained. That would a 70% increase from the current figure of about 1,750 deaths per day. The projections are based on government modeling put together by FEMA, which forecasts about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of May. That is up from about 25,000 cases each day currently. Read more.
U.S. House Democrats propose $2,000 coronavirus stimulus payment per month
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act was signed into law at the end of March and included one-time payments of $1,200 for Americans earning less than $75,000 annually, and an additional $500 per child. However, U.S. Reps. Ro Khanna (D-PA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) unveiled the Emergency Money for People Act in mid-April, which would distribute payments of $2,000 per month to every American age 16 or older who earns less than $130,000 annually. The bill would distribute an extra $500 per child for up to three children and would last for six months. A married couple who makes under $260,000 annually and has three children would receive $5,500 per month. The bill initially had 17 other co-sponsors, all Democrats. But since it was introduced, it has gained an additional 10 Democratic co-sponsors. Read more.
France discovers undiagnosed coronavirus patient from December
A patient hospitalized with flu-like symptoms at the end of December in France turned out to have COVID-19, suggesting the new coronavirus was spreading in France at least one month earlier than records have shown. The patient was treated at a hospital near Paris on Dec. 27 with a cough, headache and fever. He was treated with antibiotics and discharged after two days. Doctors retroactively tested his respiratory samples along with those from a handful of hospitalized patients and found he had COVID-19. The official records show the first COVID-19 cases in France occurred in people who returned from Wuhan, China, at the end of January. Read more.