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Chinese study shows the possibility of COVID-19 aerosol transmission between closely spaced buildings

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza



According to a study conducted by Chinese experts, there is a possibility of COVID-19 aerosol transmission between two closely placed buildings.

Based on a locally transmitted case reported in May in south China’s Guangdong Province, researchers from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local CDC staff in Guangdong collaborated to undertake the investigation.

The index patient (the first detected local case) and close contact (later diagnosed as an imported case) were discovered to be in two distinct buildings in a Guangzhou hospital at the same time before the diagnosis.

COVID-19 can already be spread via aerosol; however, transmission typically occurs in confined settings, according to scientists.

Buildings in close proximity are referred to as “handshake buildings” or “kissing buildings” in Guangdong. In the instance of the Guangzhou hospital, the two buildings are barely 50 cm apart and share an exterior ceiling, resulting in a relatively contained environment.

Virus sequencing revealed that the viruses infecting the two patients originated from the same source. Aerosol transmission, according to epidemiology scientists, could be the transmission vector in this case.

The researchers used fluorescent microspheres with similar aerodynamic properties to the COVID-19 virus in the following field simulation to prove the notion at six spots relevant to the two cases in the two buildings.

Fluorescent microspheres are round spherical particles that exhibit vivid colors when irradiated by UV light to demonstrate aerosol particle dispersal in the air.

According to a report in China CDC Weekly, there were clear aerosol transmission pathways between the close contact area and the index case. And the airflow from turning on and off the air conditioner, as well as opening and closing doors and windows, had the greatest impact on the transmission.

It was discovered that even with doors and windows closed, particles could still flow slowly between the two buildings as long as air conditioners were turned on.

According to the study, more consideration should be given to the potential of aerosol transfer in close-proximity structures. It further stated that hospitals’ isolation wards and normal outpatient areas should be kept at a safe distance from one another, and that the hospital should monitor the airflow layout in isolation wards.


Source: Xinhua News Agency

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Booster shots are being proposed as the United States fights COVID-19 with a vaccine regimen

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza



A booster shot for COVID-19 immunization was considered in the United States on Friday, as the pandemic continues to spread, albeit some states, such as California, are actually doing better than in recent weeks.

According to The New York Times (NYT), the seven-day average of verified pandemic cases stood at 150,366 nationwide on Thursday, with the 14-day change representing a 9% decrease. On Thursday, there were 1,969 COVID-19-related deaths, representing a 29% increase over the previous 14 days.

New coronavirus cases and COVID-infected people According to the New York Times, 19 hospitalizations in the United States have begun to drop, though they remain significantly higher than earlier in the summer, and the number of new deaths continues to rise.

As the Delta variety has ravaged unvaccinated neighborhoods, the number of new deaths has risen to more than 1,900 every day, an increase of nearly 30 percent in the last two weeks. According to the report, almost one in every 500 Americans has died as a result of the sickness.

The federal data shows that the rate of immunizations remained rather slow, with 64 percent of eligible people in the United States fully immunized. According to health officials, the majority of patients who are hospitalized and dying are not vaccinated, whereas communities with greater rates of immunization have generally fared better, according to the article.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California’s viral transmission declined from “high” to “substantial” earlier this week (CDC). It later recovered, although the total number of new cases per 100,000 population remained lower than in any other state.

“A vigorous push for immunizations, coupled with local mask laws and a public mostly ready to go along with them, appear to have helped flatten the state’s curve,” experts told The Washington Post (WP) on Friday.

“In comparison to many other states in the country, California made swift efforts to assess the scale of the problem and to deploy more COVID-19 control measures,” Robert Kim-Farley, an infectious disease expert at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, told WP. “I believe that if California had not taken these measures to reduce transmission, we could have ended up with substantially greater levels.”

The Golden State’s change in CDC designation, a measure of how well states are doing in combatting the virus, was lauded by public health professionals, who suggested it was an indication that the state was nearing a tipping point. According to the study, “the struggle against Delta is far from done in California, which still faces a slew of hurdles in containing cases.”

The US government’s quest to make COVID-19 vaccination boosters widely available was put to the test on Friday when a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory council gathered to examine evidence on the extra injections, a matter that has divided federal health experts.

An outside team of around 20 scientific advisers analyzed data on the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE vaccine’s decreased COVID-19 protection over time, as well as how people tolerated further doses.

Pfizer has sought regulators to approve booster shots for anyone aged 16 and up, and the FDA stated this week that all doses approved for use in the country are still effective without boosters.

While US health officials, certain other countries, and vaccine manufacturers have stated that boosters are required, many scientists, including some inside the FDA and the CDC, disagree.

The FDA panel subsequently agreed to recommend COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for Americans 65 and older, as well as those at high risk of serious illness, but rejecting the use of booster shots in general.

“Anything less than a full-throated endorsement could complicate the (US President Joe) Biden administration’s plan to begin distributing extra shots next week to boost immunity among the vaccinated and counter highly transmissible variants of the virus such as Delta,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.


Source: Xinhua News Agency


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Lions, tigers in U.S. national zoo test presumptive positive for coronavirus





Fecal samples for all great cats, including six African lions, a Sumatran tiger, and two Amur tigers, were collected and tested presumptive positive for coronavirus, said the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. So far there is no evidence to pinpoint the source of the infection.

All of the lions and tigers living in the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in the U.S. capital Washington, D.C. have tested presumptive positive for coronavirus, the zoo said in a press release on Friday.

Fecal samples for all great cats, including six African lions, a Sumatran tiger, and two Amur tigers, were collected and tested presumptive positive, said the zoo. Final results are expected in the next few days.

No other animals at the zoo are showing any signs of infection, said the zoo, which just celebrated panda cub Xiao Qi Ji’s first birthday late last month.

Animal keepers observed decreased appetites, coughing, sneezing, and lethargy in several lions and tigers last weekend said the zoo in the release.

All lions and tigers are being treated with anti-inflammatories and anti-nausea medication to address discomfort and decreased appetite, as well as antibiotics for presumptive secondary bacterial pneumonia, according to the zoo.

They remain under close observation, the zoo added.

Zoo staff still managed the cats’ access to their outdoor habitats since their condition does not require they remain inside. However, given the substantial distance between the animals and visitors, the public is not at risk, the zoo said.

So far there is no evidence to pinpoint the source of the infection, the zoo said, adding it has conducted a thorough investigation of all staff that were in close proximity to the lions and tigers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has authorized the use of a SARS-COV-2 vaccine made specifically for zoo animals by Zoetis. The first round of vaccine disbursement will be administered to select animals identified as susceptible species at both the zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia when it becomes available in the coming months, said the zoo.

It has been standard practice for all animal care staff and essential staff working in the zoo to mask indoors in all public and non-public areas.


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Chinese Vaccines Are Welcomed by Its Neighbors, WHY?





By Zhou Xin

On August 28, Sinopharm vaccine landed in Singapore. Vaccination appointments of the Chinese vaccine in many clinics were fully booked on the very first day. Some clinics even received more than 400 registrations of interest while they still had half a month to wait until receiving the vaccines. Earlier, Thailand’s Chulabhorn Royal Academy opened online registration for the first batch of Sinopharm vaccines. The number of people booking vaccination crashed the website in just 3 minutes. “Sinopharm Vaccine” went viral as it even topped Thailand’s Twitter trending list that day.

Why are Chinese vaccines so welcomed by Asian countries? It can be summarized as follows:

First, a quick and sufficient supply addresses the urgent needs. Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that “committed to building a global community of health for all, China is providing vaccines to the world, particularly fellow developing countries”. Chinese vaccines were the first batches of vaccines available to many neighboring countries. In early spring, when fellow neighboring countries were hit hard by the pandemic, the timely supply of Chinese vaccines provided hope and power to the fight against the pandemic. That’s why Presidents of the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Prime Ministers of Cambodia, Thailand and Laos went to the airport to receive vaccines from China. They expressed gratitudes to China on various occasions.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya said that at the critical juncture of Sri Lanka’s immunization program, certain countries cut off, delayed the vaccine supply to Sri Lanka, some offered little which could not solve the major problem. Only China and its vaccines could be trusted. Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said, “The best vaccine is the earliest one that can be administered.” Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health of Thailand, repeated that China provided vaccines to Thailand in spite of limited production and huge demand within China, which greatly alleviated Thailand’s urgent situation at that time.

Second, Chinese vaccines are Safe and effective. The safety and efficacy indicators of the Chinese vaccines exceed the standards set by the World Health Organization. Chinese vaccines have been proved providing effective protection in a wide range of people, even against the more infectious Delta variant.

Maldivian airline arrives back to the Maldives from China with vaccine donated to the Maldives

China’s inactivated vaccines have few side effects, with the rate of adverse reactions being only 0.006%. Accidents related to Chinese vaccines rarely occur. Heads of states or governments from Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos, Pakistan and other Asian countries received Chinese vaccine innoculations publicly, fully demonstrating their confidence in Chinese vaccines.

In the face of certain rumors against Sinovac vaccine, Health ministries of Malaysia and Thailand have confirmed with data that sinovac vaccines are as safe and effective as other brands’ in preventing serious illness and death caused by the Delta Variant. Mainstream medias in neighboring countries have also defended the name of Chinese vaccines. The Bangkok Post pointed out that certain figures discreditted Sinovac vaccine out of political reasons and commercial interests. Vietnam Plus applauded Sinopharm vaccine as being used on a large scale in many countries, including China, and proved to be effective, especially against the Delta Variant.

Third, Chinese vaccines are accessible and affordable. President Xi Jinping has pointed out, China must step up research and development of vaccines and related exchanges, and work harder to make the vaccines a global public good to improve their accessibility and affordability in developing countries. China and partner countries jointly launch the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation to promote fair international distribution of vaccines and build a global shield against the virus.

Since the introduction of Chinese vaccines, China has been taking concrete actions to fulfill the agreement and commitment. Affordable prices and few requirements for storage and transportation are outstanding merits of Chinese vaccines. Significant reduction of the economic burden enables countries to vaccinate more people at the same cost, thus achieving greater immunization coverage. Up to now, China has been donating vaccines to 105 countries, and exporting vaccines to over 60 countries. The total number has exceeded 990 million doses. China has also decided to donate 100 million USD to COVAX for distributing vaccines to developing countries.

China always promotes vaccine R&D, production and distribution with an open and cooperative attitude, and is willing to help developing countries to enhance their vaccine production capacity. Only in Asia, China has already conducted R&D and production cooperation with Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. Chinese vaccines companies are supported to collaborate with foreign partners and help enhance their production capacity.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid meeting with Chinese counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi in Beijing.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, President Xi Jinping has actively advanced international vaccine cooperation at international arena and has shared Chinese wisdom and solution for winning the victory over the pandemic and building a community with a shared future for mankind. Chinese vaccines are safe, effective, accessible and affordable. They truly serve as people’s vaccines.

Although faced with the sudden and severe challenges posed by Covid-19, China and neighbouring countries have demonstrated even more solidarity through vaccine cooperation. Over day and night, across mountains and seas, the arrival of Chinese vaccines brought confidence and strength to neighboring countries in support of the anti-pandemic cooperation. China always pays attention to the needs of its neighbors, devotes to build a global community of health for all and honors its commitment by making vaccines a global public good, strengthening vaccine cooperation with neighbouring countries, helping each other and fighting together to win the victory over the pandemic.

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