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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
September 15, 2020

(Reuters) - Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will use his annual address to world leaders next week to push for a global ceasefire until the end of 2020 so countries can fight the coronavirus pandemic, but he said opportunities would be lost because national leaders will not physically be in New York.

Guterres said a global ceasefire would boost efforts to contain COVID-19 and help create conditions for a coordinated, sustainable, inclusive recovery.

He initially urged a global truce on March 23, but formal backing from the 15-member UN Security Council took more than three months, because of a standoff between China and the United States. Washington did not want the resolution to reference the World Health Organization, while Beijing did.

Organisers are ploughing ahead with the postponed Tokyo Olympics and will decide by the end of the year what “counter-measures” are required to hold them safely in the time of coronavirus, IOC Vice President John Coates said on Tuesday.

Australian Coates, who heads the Tokyo Games’ coordination panel, told reporters in Sydney that organisers were “throwing whatever resources are necessary” at the Games.

“What we wait for is to decide what counter-measures we need...to proceed, depending on what stage COVID is at,” Coates said. “The extent of the ceremonies, the extent of the crowd participation, any necessary quarantine when they arrive in Japan. All of those things.”

Scientists have discovered 23 proteins made by the novel coronavirus, including four that might be triggering patients’ immune systems to act, or in some cases, overreact, and cause severe illness.

By tracking protein-producing “machines” called ribosomes in cells, the researchers were able to map exactly which parts of the genetic code of the virus were being translated into proteins, study co-leader Yaara Finkel of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel told Reuters about the study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

More work is required to determine the proteins’ role in infection, Finkel said, but that knowledge could bring “a better understanding of the progression of the infection, as well as better ways of either treating COVID-19, or preventing the dangerous immune over-response.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed on Monday to prioritise buying coronavirus vaccine to be made available by China or Russia, while taking a swipe at pharmaceutical firms of Western nations asking for advance payment for offerings.

Duterte singled out China, which he said was unlike other countries seeking a “reservation fee” or advance payment. “The one good thing about China is you do not have to beg, you do not have to plead,” he said. “One thing wrong about the Western countries, it’s all profit, profit, profit.”

Duterte did not name any companies, but said Philippine law prohibits the government from buying anything that is non-existent or has yet to be produced. “They want you to finance their research and the perfection of the vaccine,” he said. “They want cash advance before they deliver the vaccine. If that’s the case, then all of us will die.”