Every day, we’re bombarded with headlines about the latest outbreak or pandemic. Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest news.
Here are the latest developments regarding the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Number Of Cases Continues To Rise
In the last 24 hours, there have been more than 100,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported around the world, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s around 4,600 new cases per day.
The number of cases continues to rise, especially in Europe, where there have been more than 60,000 cases reported so far. The U.S. and Canada have also seen large increases in cases.
The steep climb is largely due to increased testing, as labs have been overwhelmed by the high demand. More than 140 million tests have been performed worldwide as of April 15th, with experts predicting that number to reach 500 million by the end of the month.
While cases increase, so does our knowledge about the disease. As of April 15th, there were over 400 studies looking into the Covid-19 pandemic published in peer-reviewed journals.
The Risks And Hazards Of Working In A Lab
One of the biggest concerns regarding the Covid-19 outbreak is what happens when samples are processed and tested in labs. There is currently no vaccine to prevent Covid-19, so our best chance of avoiding the pandemic is by finding a way to stop it at its source. That means figuring out how to stop the disease before it spreads.
One of the primary ways we can do this is by finding a way to diagnose and treat patients as early as possible. Even when laboratories manage to keep up with the enormous demand for testing, there will inevitably be errors and chances of contamination. In a March blog post, Dr. Peter Low of the World Health Organization (WHO) called the COVID-19 outbreak a “perfect storm” of conditions that increase the risks of mistakes and contamination:
- rapid spread
- a lack of transparency
- a high demand for testing
- limited testing capacity
- human error
Based on what we know about other coronavirus outbreaks, such as SARS and MERS, we can expect there to be more than one mistake per test. In one study looking at SARS infections in health care workers, 28% of the respondents had a positive test result for SARS despite having no history of travel or contact with a person who was diagnosed with the virus. The respondents were mostly health care workers who treated patients during the height of the outbreak in 2003. When they had to swab patients’ throats during the procedure, they accidentally inhaled the virus and became sick themselves.
This highlights the significant risks and hazards of working in a lab. To minimize your chances of being contaminated, ensure that you follow proper safety procedures. If you do get exposed to the virus, continue to take care of yourself and report any symptoms to your healthcare provider.
More Than 140 Studies
While we await the development of a vaccine, there are more than 140 studies looking into potential treatments for Covid-19. As of April 15th, there were more than 400 studies looking into the pandemic published in peer-reviewed journals. That means there are more than one publication every day, on average, evaluating a potential treatment or vaccine.
The treatments and medications being studied include antiviral drugs like Arbidol and Ribavirin, as well as a wide variety of vaccines and other types of medication. Some of these treatments show promise in animal studies, while others need more research.
There is still a lot we don’t know about Covid-19, but as the research pours in, hopefully we’ll be able to stop this pandemic in its tracks. Until then, keep reading and stay informed.