(Reuters) – European officials aim to speed up trials for coronavirus vaccines containing genetically modified organisms, two EU sources told Reuters, in a move that could help shots developed by companies like AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
FILE PHOTO: Health workers wearing protective face masks hold flowers in front of crosses as they pay a tribute for their co-worker Maria dos Santos, a nurse, who died of the coronavirus, outside the Dr. Jose Soares Hungria Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 23, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* More than 7.29 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and 411,506 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 1540 GMT on Wednesday.
* For an interactive graphic tracking the global spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
* For a U.S.-focused tracker with state-by-state and county map, open tmsnrt.rs/2w7hX9T in an external browser.
* For Eikon users, see MacroVitals (cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?navid=1592404098) for a case tracker and a summary of developments.
* Two drugs used to treat inflammatory diseases and cancer are being tested as potential therapies for patients with COVID-19, the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford announced on Wednesday.
* Britain’s death toll could have been halved if lockdown was introduced a week earlier, a former member of the UK government’s scientific advisory group said.
* Russians are using Belarus as a springboard to travel abroad as their country’s international borders remain largely closed, transport sector sources say.
* The Italian MotoGP, a permanent fixture on the calendar since 1991, has been canceled due to the pandemic, the sport’s governing body and promoter announced.
* Denmark, the first country outside Asia to ease its lockdown, said the spread of COVID-19 has not accelerated since it entered its second phase of reopening society last month.
* France will end special government powers brought in to deal with the pandemic on July 10 though it will retain the ability to curb gatherings and freedom of movement for four months.
* A team of Polish scientists has designed a remote-controlled ventilator they hope will allow doctors to help critically ill patients breathe, but from a distance, in a bid to make medical personnel safer during the pandemic.
* Johnson & Johnson said it would start human trials of its potential COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of July, two months earlier than planned.
* The Trump administration faced its first legal challenge to a policy that has nearly halted the U.S. asylum system as well as admissions of migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico.
* Arizona again told hospitals to activate the coronavirus emergency plans after cases spiked following reopening.
* Canada’s political consensus over help for those hit by the coronavirus began to fray on Wednesday when a government official complained the opposition was blocking a proposed expansion of benefits.
* Argentina confirmed more than 1,000 new cases on Tuesday as the rate of new infections continued to rise just days after it extended lockdown measures in the capital Buenos Aires.
* New cases in Mexico are expected to keep rising, a top health official said on Tuesday, even as the government pushes a gradual reopening of the economy launched at the beginning of this month.
* A potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Chinese researchers showed promise in trials in monkeys, triggering antibodies and raising no safety issues, researchers said, and a human trial with more than 1,000 participants is under way.
* Hair salons and shopping malls reopened, traffic jams returned and interstate travel resumed in Malaysia in a further easing of restrictions.
* Singapore approved the use of Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of severely ill patients with COVID-19 infection.
* Indonesia reported its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases for a second successive day, with 1,241 new infections, taking its total to 34,316.
* Japanese biotech AnGes Inc expects its coronavirus vaccine to be ready as early as the first half of 2021, if it can overcome supply chain and production hurdles, the company’s founder said.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Ghana’s Incas Diagnostics expects the country’s regulator to approve its new COVID-19 antibody test by the end of July, saying its kits could help health authorities ease pandemic restrictions.
* Nigeria has postponed its long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) due to the pandemic but will pass it before the end of the year, the head of state oil company NNPC said.
* The dollar slid to a three-month low and a gauge of global equities edged lower as investors awaited news at the end of a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve and its plans to strengthen a nascent U.S. economic recovery. [MKTS/GLOB]
* U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. economy has already begun to rebound from the pandemic and would “improve dramatically” in the third and fourth quarters.
* France raised its coronavirus response measures to nearly 136 billion euros ($154.6 billion), bringing the cost to 5.6% of GDP in its third budget revision this year.
* Deepening the European Union’s capital market has become a priority to help the economy recover from COVID-19 and reduce reliance on the City of London, a report for the EU said.
* The global economy will suffer the biggest peacetime downturn in a century before it emerges next year from a coronavirus-inflicted recession, the OECD said.
* Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 13.2% in the February-April period from 13.6% a month earlier, falling despite an economic slowdown.
($1 = 3.9154 zlotys)
Compiled by Anita Kobylinska and Anna Rzhevkina; Editing by Alex Richardson and Catherine Evans