Recovered Covid patients showing signs vaccine could work, experts say

Recovered coronavirus patients ARE showing signs a vaccine could work, experts say as they tell of ‘some signs’ younger children are potentially less likely to transmit infection

  • Dr Jenny Harries said ‘ large percentage’ of patients had ‘pretty good response’
  • Her claims have raised hopes of a potential coronavirus vaccine or cure
  • She also suggested that younger children are less likely to transmit infection 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

England’s deputy Chief Medical Officer has raised hopes of a coronavirus cure, saying that recovered patients appear to have Covid-specific antibodies for months.

Dr Jenny Harries said a ‘very large percentage of patients who have otherwise been pretty well do actually have a pretty good response’. 

The senior Government medical adviser also said there were ‘some signs’ that younger children are potentially less like to transmit coronavirus. 

Speaking at the No10 coronavirus press conference tonight, Dr Harries said: ‘I think we are also starting to see with some very small pieces of evidence now from people in this country who have had Covid-19 and who have tested positive. 

Dr Jenny Harries (pictured) said a ‘very large percentage of patients who have otherwise been pretty well do actually have a pretty good response’ at the No10 press conference

England’s deputy Chief Medical Officer made the announcement after the Department of Health and Social Care revealed another 621 Covid-associated deaths have been recorded

‘We have looked for their antibodies, and a very large percentage of patients who have otherwise been pretty well do actually have a pretty good response.

‘How long that is going to last and whether it is going to provide an antibody response say for one season or two-three year ahead, we don’t know.’ 

She said signs of immunity could vary from patient to patient, but doctors would expect people to have some immunity about a week and a half after being ill.

Dr Harries explained: ‘We know that some people will have different status. 

‘We would normally expect to see some sign of immunity about 10-12 days after an infection, and then a very consistent pattern about 28 days.’ 

Dr Harries has raised hopes of a vaccine (pictured, scientists are seen working at Cobra Biologics on a potential vaccine for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus)

Could coronavirus death toll be more like 45,000? Statistician estimates real figure could be almost double Government’s 

The number of people in Britain who have died because of Covid-19 so far could be as high as 45,000, a data expert has today warned.

Statistician Jamie Jenkins says the figure reflects the difference in the number of people who have died since the pandemic began in Britain, compared to the average number of deaths during the same period over the last five years.

Latest Government figures show that 27,510 people in Britain are known to have died from Covid-19. But the former head health analyst at the Office of National Statistics (ONS) says figures from the stats authority suggests 90 per cent of these ‘excess deaths’ could be related to Covid-19.

Using this data, around 42,000 people in England and Wales and 3,000 in Scotland could have died in ways related to Covid-19 between the start of the pandemic and April 29, he says.

Mr Jenkins, who has been posting daily chart updates on his Twitter account, said his analysis takes into other factors, including a lower number of road deaths due to the reduced traffic while the country is in lockdown.

He says the difference in the excess death figures and the government’s official Covid-19 death figures could be due explained by deaths in care homes and the community. 

Mr Jenkins said: ‘Previously the figures included those who died in hospital who had a mention of Covid-19 on their death certificate.

‘But if people were not being tested in care homes for example, and doctors were reluctant at first to mention it if they didn’t know, those will not be marked in the figures.’  

Her comments come a day after the UK’s testing coordinator said evidence from South Korea which suggested people were developing immunity from the novel coronavirus was ‘encouraging’.  

Almost 300 cases in South Korea emerged of people who had seemingly contracted Covid-19 a second time. But the country’s Central Clinical Committee for Emerging Disease Control announced that the cases of allegedly reinfected people was due to a testing fault.

Professor John Newton told yesterday’s daily briefing: ‘It is obviously promising.

‘I think people have said before in these briefings that it would be very surprising if there was no immunity after infection, but at the moment the science is still not precise about how much immunity you get and how long it lasts.’

Dr Harries also told the press conference today: ‘What we do know for children is that if they get infected … younger children probably tend to have less clinical disease, and if they have clinical disease – ie, they show some symptoms – they tend to progress less frequently to severe disease, so that’s pretty good.

‘The bit that is perhaps still in the unknown box at the moment, and some of our prevalence studies will really help us understand, is the transmission of disease. The quality of the evidence is quite difficult at the moment, so you shouldn’t take this as the truth, but there are some signs… that potentially younger children are less susceptible to disease and potentially transmit it less.’ 

Dr Harries’s comments came in response to a question on the impact of school closures during lockdown on parents and their children’s education.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick also told the No10 press briefing today that the Government was not able to give a date to parents for the reopening of schools, which may be carried out in a phased manner.

This comes after an NHS chief warned that the Government should be wary about reopening schools too early as scientists do not fully understand the extent of transmission between children.

NHS England’s national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said the ‘science is still evolving’ on how much children contribute toward virus spread, adding: ‘We do need to be cautious as we think of reopening schools.’ 

Dr Harries said evidence in relation to older children was ‘far less clear’, with biological reasons possibly affecting how they handle disease.

She highlighted the importance of ‘behaviours’ and ‘how children interact with communities’ as also being important issues. 

Dr Harries’ intervention follows news from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that another 621 Covid-associated deaths have been recorded. 

Officials also recorded another 4,806 cases, with more than 180,000 Britons having now been infected since the crisis hit the UK in February. 

Daily surveillance figures released each day by DHSC are deaths across the UK where patients have tested positive for Covid-19. The deaths ordinarily do not account for deaths outside of hospitals, and are not officially registered.

All figures are provided daily to NHS England by individual hospitals. The data are only published once the confirmed families have been notified of the deaths.

Weekly figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are Covid-registered deaths across England and Wales. They include any place of death. 

Data comprise deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate. They may include cases where doctors completing a death certificate diagnosed coronavirus in a patient based on relevant symptoms, but where no test occurred.

The figures include cases where a death certificate lists ‘Coronavirus (Covid-19)’ – either tested or suspected – as well as ‘Influenza and Pneumonia’.  Where both are present, Covid-19 is listed as the presumed or probable cause of death.

The number of people in Britain who have died with Covid-19 so far could be as high as 45,000, data expert Jamie Jenkins has warned using Office for National Statistics (ONS) data

The pandemic is killing twice as many Britons in deprived areas as it is in wealthy regions, a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed yesterday 

Boroughs in London accounted for all of the top ten worst hit local authorities, the ONS said

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