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China rejects a second WHO probe into COVID outbreak origin

China has rejected WHO plans for a second investigation into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, which includes the hypothesis it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory.

The WHO has proposed a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus in China, including audits of laboratories and markets in the city of Wuhan, calling for transparency from authorities.

Fears for pregnant women as COVID restrictions ease

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have expressed fears over the planned easing of COVID restrictions, warning of increased infections among pregnant women.

Studies have found that pregnant women may be at higher risk of becoming severely ill with COVID in the late stage of pregnancy due the pressure exerted on the lungs by the growing foetus.

The RCOG and RCM have publicly urged pregnant women to get vaccinated, "to protect yourself, your baby and your family".

Lethal triple mix of winter viruses could “push NHS to breaking point”

A report from the Academy of Medical Sciences has found that a lethal triple mix of COVID-19, influenza, and the respiratory virus Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), could push an already depleted NHS to breaking point this winter.

The report brought together 29 leading experts alongside 57 members of the public, at the request of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, to forecast the greatest risks to health this winter, finding a number of concerning predictions.

New warning added to J&J vaccine in US

The FDA has made the decision to add a warning to the fact sheet for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, as data suggests there is an increased risk of a rare neurological disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), in the six weeks after inoculation.

In a letter to J&J the FDA did acknowledge that the chances of contracting GBS were “very low” but that individuals should seek medical attention if they show any of the following symptoms: weakness or tingling sensations, difficulty walking, or difficulty with facial movements.

Spanner in the works for Sputnik V as missing data reported

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Developers of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have repeatedly failed to present data to regulators, Reuters has reported.

Five sources with knowledge of European efforts to assess the drug have informed Reuters that standard data required for the approval process has repeatedly been missed by the drug’s developers.

Reuters reported last month that the EMA’s review of the drug’s safety and efficacy was delayed because a June 10 deadline to submit data on the vaccine's clinical trials was missed, however the issue of missed data goes further than this.

Children “extremely low risk” from COVID study finds

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The overall risk of children becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19 is extremely low, scientists from University College London, and the Universities of York, Bristol, and Liverpool have confirmed in a study.

Data from the first 12 months of the pandemic has shown only 25 people under the age of 18 died from COVID-19, which puts the overall risk of death at around two in a million for children, researchers have estimated.

Summer COVID cases set to reach 2 million with 10 million isolating

Analysis from the Guardian has found that over two million people could contract COVID-19 this summer, which could therefore lead to over 10 million people being forced to self-isolate.

These figures have been estimated from data modelling presented to MPs, which suggested infections could reach 50,000 a day by July 19 and then 100,000 a day later in the summer.

100,000 daily infections is still an unprecedented figure in the UK, with the highest figure reported so far reaching 81,000 in December last year.

UVC light found to inactivate COVID virus in study

A new study has found that Ultraviolet C (UVC) emitting lamps are fast, effective, and safe at inactivating SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, in real-world environments.

Simulations of classroom settings were used to investigate the potential of UVC lamps and found that a 99.9% reduction of particle load can be achieved in a standard classroom in 30 minutes.

Over 600,000 positive COVID tests genomically sequenced in UK

The UK has genomically sequenced more than 600,000 positive COVID-19 test, it was announced on Friday.

Genomic sequencing plays a key role in the identification of new variants of concern (VOC) and also in capturing critical data about the virus at is identifies a virus’s genetic make-up, allowing new variants or mutations in existing variants to be detected.

It is estimated that the UK contributes around 23% of all COVID-19 sequencing across the world uploaded to GISAID, a global data sharing initiative.

Visitors with non-EU approved jabs allowed in Madeira

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Popular holiday destination, the Portuguese islands of Madeira, have announced that they will allow visitors with any COVID-19 vaccine, even those not approved by the EU.

The regional government of the islands made the announcement on Sunday, with Pedro Ramos, Madeira's health secretary saying all would be accepted "because if millions have been vaccinated with these vaccines (not approved by the EU), their level of protection is similar to others".

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