The CCP virus that causes the disease COVID-19 may have already infected as much as half of the population in the United Kingdom, a new study based on a model developed by Oxford University scientists suggests.
If these preliminary results are borne out by widespread serological surveys of the population, this would mean that fewer than one in a thousand people infected with the illness get sick enough to need hospitalization. Confirmation of the conclusions of the study would support the notion that the initial “herd immunity” strategy of the British government may have been reasonable.
“I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” said Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology, lead author of the study, in remarks to the Financial Times.
Gupta was referring to a key projection study that helped convince the British government to impose more stringent measures to contain COVID-19. It painted a worst-case picture of hundreds of thousands of deaths and a health service overwhelmed with severely sick patients.
The modelling study, by a team led by Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, compared the potential impact of COVID-19 with the devastating flu outbreak of 1918. Fergusons team said that with no mitigating measures at all, the outbreak could have caused more than half a million deaths in Britain and 2.2 million in the United States.
The new Oxford study, done by a team from Oxfords Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease lab, is not final and subject to updates, a disclaimer notes. It concludes there is an “immediate need for largescale serological surveys to assess the stage of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.” Serological surveys test for the presence of antibodies in people who have developed immunity to the virus after coming into contact with it.
“We need immediately to begin largescale serological surveys—antibody testing—to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now,” Gupta told the Financial Times.
The Oxford team is working with researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Kent to verify their results and quickly move to antibody testing.
Less Reliance on Invasive Measures
While there has been considerable focus on COVID-19 testing, the ability to detect whether someone has already been infected is a key factor in fighting the pandemic.
“If a sizable portion of a local community has some protection, authorities can be more confident in relying less on invasive measures. Once deployed, serological tests are cheap, straightforward, and easy to scale,” said former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A microbiology lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, led by Dr. Florian Krammer, recently announced the development of this type of serological test for COVID-19, the first of its kind in the U.S. A non-peer reviewed preprint was posted on medRxiv.
Krammer was cited by Science Mag as saying that the serological test is simple enough so other labs can easily scale it up “to screen a few thousand people a day.”
As of 9:46 a.m. ET on March 25, a Johns Hopkins tally indicated there were 8,317 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, with 434 deaths.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Partys coverup and mishandling allowed the virus to spread throughout China and spark a global pandemic.
Scientists Find 69 Drugs and Compounds Potentially Effective Against COVID-19
Separately, researchers have identified dozens of drugs and compounds, some experimental and others already approved by health authorities, that may be effective in combating the CCP virus.
In a preprint study not yet peer-reviewed, published on March 22 on bioRxiv, the research team indicated it found hundreds of “high confidence” interactions between SARS-CoV-2 virus proteins and druggable human proteins.
Nearly 70 substances, including both drugs in clinical trials and those already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as preclinical compounds, have the potential to impact the virus, the team found.
“Among these, we identify 66 druggable human proteins or host factors targeted by 69 existing FDA-approved drugs, drugs in clinical trials and/or preclinical compounds, that we are currently evaluating for efficacy in live SARS-CoV-2 infection assays,” the team wrote.
The fact that the human proteins, or host factors, are impacted by existing drugs and experimental coRead More – Source