Your Coronavirus Update for July 20, 2020

Your coronavirus update for July 20; stay up to date with Elite.

More than 14.6 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday evening, including at least 608,000 deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported at least 3.9 million positive COVID-19 patients and at least 143,000 deaths. Source: Johns Hopkins University & Medicine

Vaccine Trial Results Show Strong Response

Interim data collected from an ongoing Phase I/II COV001 vaccination trial involving a drug from the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and led by Oxford University shows tolerance and generation of a robust immune responses against the virus in all evaluated participants.

According to AstraZeneca officials, a blinded, multi-center, randomized controlled trial with nearly 1,100 healthy adult participants aged 18-55 years has assessed a single dose of the vaccine candidate against a comparator meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Ten participants also received two doses of the vaccine one month apart. The results published in The Lancet1 have confirmed a single dose of the candidate resulted in a four-fold increase in antibodies to the virus spike protein in 95% of participants one month after injection. In all participants, a T-cell response was induced, peaking by Day 14, and maintained two months after injection, officials said.

Neutralizing activity against the virus (as assessed by the MNA80 assay) was seen in 91% of participants one month after vaccination and in 100% of participants who received a second dose. The levels of neutralizing antibodies seen in participants receiving either one or two doses were in a similar range to those seen in convalescent COVID-19 patients. Strong correlations were observed across neutralization assays.

The early safety responses confirmed that transient local and systemic reactions were common in the candidate group and were comparable to previous trials and other adenoviral vector vaccines.2-5 No serious adverse events were reported and reactions were lessened with the use of prophylactic paracetamol, a pain killer, and occurred less frequently after a second dose.

“The interim Phase I/II data for our coronavirus vaccine shows that the vaccine did not lead to any unexpected reactions and had a similar safety profile to previous vaccines of this type,” said Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford University and co-author of the trial, in a prepared statement. “The immune responses observed following vaccination are in line with what we expect will be associated with protection against [the virus], although we must continue with our rigorous clinical trial [program] to confirm this. We saw the strongest immune response in participants who received two doses of the vaccine, indicating that this might be a good strategy for vaccination.”

Late-stage Phase II/III trials are currently underway in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa, and are due to start in the United States, according to AstraZeneca officials.

New Blood Test  Offers 20-Minute Results

Researchers in Australia have reportedly developed a blood test that can determine novel coronavirus infection in about 20 minutes, according to a report by Reuters.6 The test is also said to be able to determine if someone is currently infected and if he or she has been infected in the past.

Led by researchers at Monash University and the Bioresource Processing Institute of Australia, testing research used 25 microlitres of plasma from blood samples and looked for agglutination, or a clustering of red blood cells, that the coronavirus causes, according to the report.

A patent for the innovation has reportedly been filed and researchers are seeking commercial and government support.

CDC Extends Cruise Ship Bans Through September

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced that a No Sail Order for cruise ships will be extended through Sept. 30, 2020. This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to United States. Jurisdiction, officials said.

Cumulative CDC data from March 1 through July 10 reportedly show more than 2,900 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships, in addition to 34 deaths. These cases were part of 99 outbreaks on 123 different cruise ships. During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by COVID-19. As of July 3, nine of the 49 ships under the No Sail Order have ongoing or resolving outbreaks. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, as of July 10 there are 67 ships with 14,702 crewmembers onboard.

This order will remain in effect until the earliest of the expiration of the Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency or the CDC rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations (or Sept. 30).

The CDC is also publishing a notice that requests information from the public regarding cruise ship planning and infrastructure, safe resumption of passenger operations, and summary questions, officials said. 

Thank you for reading your Coronavirus Update for July 20. If you missed last week’s article, please consider reading it here.


  1. Folegatti PM, Ewer KJ, Aley PK. Safety and immunogenicity of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against SARS-CoV-2: a preliminary report of a phase 1/2, single-blind, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. 2020. DOI:
  2. Antrobus RD, Coughlan L, Berthoud TK, et al., Clinical assessment of a novel recombinant simian adenovirus ChAdOx1 as a vectored vaccine expressing conserved Influenza A antigens. Mol Ther. 2014;22(3):668-74.
  3. Coughlan L, Sridhar S, Payne R et al. Heterologous two-dose vaccination with simian adenovirus and poxvirus vectors elicits long-lasting cellular immunity to influenza virus A in healthy adults. EBioMedicine. 2018. DOI:
  4. Wilkie M, Satti I, Minhinnick A, et al., A phase I trial evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of a candidate tuberculosis vaccination regimen, ChAdOx1 85A prime – MVA85A boost in healthy UK adults. Vaccine. 2020;38(4):779-89.
  5. Folegatti PM, Bittaye M, Flaxman A, et al. Safety and immunogenicity of a candidate middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus viral-vectored vaccine: a dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, uncontrolled, phase 1 trial. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2020. DOI:
  6. 6. Australian researchers invent 20-minute coronavirus blood test. Reuters. 2020. Accessed online:

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