We've all seen the news, and here at The Tech Station we hope you're staying safe. Due to work commitments and other major life-events, the blog has been a little inactive lately, however weekly posts will resume from now.
Today's article is going to explore the best ways to keep yourself and others safe, and free from infection. We'll also touch on how technology is handling this new, unprecedented pandemic.
What Is COVID-19?
A highly-infectious virus. COVID-19 is a strain of 'coronavirus'. Its origin is still highly controversial, however most believe the virus as we know it, to have come from Wuhan, China.
On the 30th April 2020 the US Office for the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that Covid-19 originated in China.
Their official statement :
'WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Office of the Director of National Intelligence today issued the following Intelligence Community (IC) statement:
“The entire Intelligence Community has been consistently providing critical support to U.S. policymakers and those responding to the COVID-19 virus, which originated in China. The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.
“As we do in all crises, the Community’s experts respond by surging resources and producing critical intelligence on issues vital to U.S. national security. The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.” '
How Does It Spread?
Through tiny droplets of saliva. Another person becomes infected when an infected person coughs, or sneezes, and the other person comes in to contact with the infected droplets.
Things such as kissing, smoking and touching door-handles can put you at risk.
How Will Technology Help?
In the United Kingdom it has taken time to roll out new technology & testing. As far as world progress goes... There is antibody tests that can see if you have already had the virus. There is progress being made by Oxford Nanopore with a test called Optigene, which is fast acting. There will more monitoring on how the body reacts and what the results are with this test.
Also another pharmaceutical company, Rosche Diagnostics together with Abbot Laboratories are putting out tests for a target of 10 million - again monitoring will be done to see the success rates.
AstraZeneca is also researching a drug, which America has ordered 300 million doses due to be used by October of this year. The drug (not named) is still not yet been trialled by volunteers and might not get accepted by the US government.
In the United States a pharmaceutical company called Moderna Incorporated have their vaccine called Remdesivir. They are testing this drug to see if it will fight the Coronavirus. In January 2020, Remdesivir was used to treat a patient with the virus and he got better.
Vaccines will only be used if recommended to be safe and will only go ahead for human testing if clinically advised to do so. There are two ways there is a positive impact of vaccines being epidemic modifying e.g. MMR and disease modifying.
The vaccine is not mandatory at these early stages, but only really will be for this who are most at risk. Also the risks must be clearly explained and there must also be a good delivery mechanism to make the vaccine available.
It may be a while to wait for a vaccine to be produced as there are stages to follow. Also possible side effects have to be identified as to how successful the vaccine could be before the wider population might get it. We have to wait to see if if is mandatory or not as the situation progresses wherever in the world you are.
How Do I Prevent Infection?
This list is not exhaustive:
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds at a time, regularly throughout the day; especially when leaving home / returning home.
'Socially distance' yourself from others and keep a safe distance away from others of at least 2 metres.
Stay away from anyone who appears sick or appears to have symptoms of COVID-19.
Limit your exposure to busy workplaces / public transports / crowded shopping centres etc. The virus loves crowds as it finds it even easier to spread.
Make sure your household's hygiene is in top-order.
As always, thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more important updates.