Kenya's Health CS Mutahi Kagwe

Coronavirus has claimed thousands of lives across the world and although things are slowly going back to normal in some areas, the information below will come in handy.

Removing quarantines to boost travel

Airlines and airports will ask a UN-led task force meeting on Tuesday to recommend countries accept a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of travel as an alternative to quarantines that have decimated demand for travel, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The proposal calls for the use of PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) tests conducted outside of airports. While task force recommendations are voluntary, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines are typically adopted by its 193-member countries.

Coronavirus mutation

The increasingly common D614G mutation of the novel coronavirus found in Europe, North America and parts of Asia may be more infectious but appears less deadly, according to Paul Tambyah, senior consultant at the National University of Singapore and president-elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases.

Also read: Why some people are not adhering to the set guidelines

Evidence suggests the proliferation of this mutation in some parts of the world has coincided with a drop in death rates, suggesting it is less lethal, said Tambyah, adding that most viruses tend to become less virulent as they mutate.

“It is in the virus’ interest to infect more people but not to kill them because a virus depends on the host for food and for shelter,” he said. Scientists discovered the mutation as early as February, the World Health Organization said.

Younger adults increasingly unknowing carriers

The spread of the coronavirus is being increasingly driven by people aged in their 20s, 30s and 40s and many are not aware that they have been infected, the World Health Organization’s regional director for the Western Pacific said on Tuesday.

“This increases the risk of spillovers to the more vulnerable: the elderly, the sick people in long-term care, people who live in densely populated areas and underserved areas,” Takeshi Kasai told a virtual briefing.

Mild COVID-19 induces prolonged immune response

A study from China last month on 349 COVID-19 patients, which has not yet undergone peer review, found similar immune response patterns at six months, regardless of symptom severity.

Also read: You might have recovered from Covid-19 but you are not aware

In another study published on Saturday ahead of peer review, U.S. researchers performed blood tests in 15 patients after mild COVID-19, and found all three signs of lasting immune responses they were looking for: antibodies, so-called memory B cells, and memory T cells.

Test results at three months were unchanged from results at one month, so study co-author Lauren Rodda of the University of Washington School of Medicine and her team believe this is a lasting response. Both studies were posted on the website medRxiv.