The Daily Dose: Much needed improved coronavirus test inches closer to reality

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Combatting the novel coronavirus has become a worldwide priority. While laboratories have focused on developing therapies and vaccines, many have also taken up the diagnostic challenge of testing for SARS-CoV-2, something no less important in fighting the disease. Now, a team of researchers in Singapore appear to have developed a serological test that can identify infected individuals. According to Science, “In what appears to be a first, disease trackers in Singapore have used an experimental antibody test for COVID-19 to confirm that a suspected patient was infected with the coronavirus. The patient was one of two people who together formed a missing link between two clusters of cases that each occurred in a Singaporean church.”

As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the globe, its economic effects are following in its wake. Having shut China down for weeks, the coronavirus is prompting other governments and businesses to grapple with difficult questions. As per the Associated Press, “A deepening health crisis became an economic one too Friday as the coronavirus outbreak sapped financial markets, emptied shops and businesses and put major sites and events off limits… The list of countries hit by the illness edged toward 60 as Mexico, Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and the Netherlands reported their first cases. The threats to livelihoods were increasingly as worrisome as the threats to lives.” Balancing public safety and a country’s economic well-being will not be easy considering how contagious the disease is.

The COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea has emerged as the most concerning outside of China. Much the same way other countries reacted with travel bans, governments are slowly taking a similar tack with South Korea. As per the Chosunilbo, “The number of countries that restrict or ban travelers from Korea reached 43 on Thursday amid the explosive spread of coronavirus here… According to the Foreign Ministry, 22 countries have completely banned travelers from Korea, while 21 have put restrictions in place like tougher quarantine checks or two weeks’ mandatory quarantine.” The virus’s spread has yet to slow in the country.

STAT News reports on a referendum soon to take place in Maine that has major implications on the state’s public health. According to the article, “the referendum that Maine voters will decide on Tuesday, known as Question 1, has little to do with drug prices. Instead, approval would overturn a 2019 law that requires all schoolchildren to receive vaccinations unless granted an exemption by a doctor. The advertisements, meanwhile, are funded in large part not by drug pricing activists but by a nationwide network of anti-vaccine groups.” This is serious stuff because if current world-wide events are showing, a person’s health is only as good as his neighbor’s.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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