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Vaccine trials to contact tracing app — here are 5 global developments on COVID-19 front

From potential vaccines to origins of the novel coronavirus, ThePrint brings you the top research developments from across the world.

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New Delhi: As the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly, scientists across the world are racing against the clock to develop a vaccine for it, gain new insights into the deadly virus and find treatment for those infected with it.

ThePrint brings you the top research developments that have been taking place globally.

China to start human trials for coronavirus vaccine

A day after the US started the first clinical trials for the novel coronavirus vaccine in Seattle, Chinese authorities Wednesday announced that they are looking for volunteers to take part in a six-month clinical trial to test their vaccine.

Jointly developed by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Tongji University and Stermina in Shanghai, the mRNA vaccine is currently undergoing animal trials. It is expected to enter the clinical phrase in mid-April.

China is in the process of developing at least nine other vaccines, all of which are likely to enter clinical trials by April.

Satellite images show pollution levels dropping in Italy

The unprecedented isolation and lockdown imposed in Italy has had an immediate and positive effect on its air quality.

Europe’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), which provides daily analyses of air pollutants, has shown that the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) went down by at least 10 per cent every week in the last four to five weeks.

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) pollution monitoring satellites had earlier also detected similar decreases in NO2 levels over China, following the outbreak of coronavirus and slowdown in economic activities.

While air quality is a secondary concern in the wake of a global pandemic, the observations confirm that satellites can reliably measure changes in urban activities.

New report tells how novel coronavirus may have originated

A new study by researchers of the US-based Scripps Research Translational Institute has confirmed that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is not an artificially-manipulated virus.

It had likely mutated naturally, either in animals or in humans, the study says.

The team conducted a comparative analysis of the genomic data of the virus and have proposed scenarios in which the virus had likely originated. The researchers have said that the study could help understand how the pandemic spread, and prevent such outbreaks in future.

Oxford University working on mobile app for contact tracing

A team of experts at the Oxford University in the UK is working with European governments to develop a mobile app for instant contact tracing. Once developed, it could help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Contact tracing is used to identify people who have come in contact with a person infected with the SAR-CoV-2, to ensure that further spread of the virus can be stopped.

“If you are diagnosed with coronavirus, the people you’ve recently come into contact with will be messaged advising them to isolate. If this mobile app is developed and deployed rapidly…we can slow the spread of coronavirus and mitigate against devastating human, economic and social impacts,” Christophe Fraser from the Oxford University said in a statement.

Coronavirus remains stable on cardboard, aerosols for hours

The COVID-19 can remain stable for several hours or even days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study by the US National Institutes of Health.

Scientists have found that SARS-CoV-2 was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.

The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through air and after touching contaminated objects.

Also read: Mecca to Vatican — COVID-19 proves when human beings are in peril, gods flee first


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