While Remdesivir is the only one so far to have been shown to be effective in speeding recovery, a combination of drugs seems to be effective in an HK-based study. Photo from Reuters
Culture Spotlight

A drug combo appears to work for mild to moderate COVID-19 patients

Plus, France and Australia are slowly easing from their lockdowns, and a supermoon inspires a recovering world. BY JACS T. SAMPAYAN
ANCX | May 10 2020

As the world remains mired in COVID-19 case counts and alarming updates, it’s hard to look past everyone’s grim newsfeeds. But opening our eyes wider to a bigger world that is, albeit slowly, starting to stand up should give us hope—or at least an easier day. ANCX will regularly gather positive developments in different corners of the globe to show that, in trying to move forward, we can confidently train our eyes upward.

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Drug cocktail seems effective for HK patients

A drug cocktail composed of lopinavir-ritonavir, ribavirin, and interferon beta-1b appears to help hasten the recovery of patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Ritonavir and Ribavirin are taken orally while Interferon Beta-1b is injected. This is based on a study by the medical journal The Lancet that monitored patients in at least six hospitals in Hongkong. Those who started taking the drug combination within seven days of exhibiting symptoms were quicker to “shed the virus,” or not be infectious, in comparison with another test group that were only given a two drug cocktail. The study cautions however that it was an open label trial; both the doctor and the patient knew of which combination was given. This may lead to a biased and therefore inaccurate assessment.

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Man in Ghana invents solar powered water basin

A few days before a lockdown due to COVID-19 was imposed in Ghana, shoemaker Richard Kwarteng conceived of a way to help others in his community. Together with his brother Jude Osei, he created a solar-powered basin that would encourage the people of his home city of Kumasi to be particular about their hygiene. Taking the brothers five days to finish, the basin is equipped with a sensor at the bottom of the faucet, which would dispense soap automatically when it detects a hand. After the recommend 25-seconds of scrubbing, water will then be dispensed for rinsing. The African country’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation got wind of the invention and is currently in talks about manufacturing more to distribute several other places in Ghana.

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France will slowly move out of its lockdown by tomorrow

With more than 22,000 patients still being treated in hospitals and after 26,000 deaths, France will begin slowly easing from their COVID-19 lockdown starting tomorrow. Citizens will be allowed to move within 100 KM of their home. (A justification form will need to be filled out if they are travel beyond that radius.) Gatherings of 10 will be allowed, mass transportation will be on semi-regular operation, and activities such as running will no longer be restricted. The country, in this next phase, will be split in two zones: red zones are areas where the virus is still actively circulating while green zones are the safer regions. The latter will allow the reopening of some public spaces. Right now, the northeastern part of France is red.

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Australia to ease lockdown in its most populous states

Citing the need for them to “fire up” their economy, the Australian government will start easing the lockdown in some of its most populated states. “we need to get people back into jobs, we need to see some semblance of normality come back,” says Gladys Berejiklian, the Premier of New South Wales, who says they will start to ease by May 15. Other states and regions such as Victoria will also start to ease restrictions at their own pace. In this next phase, gatherings of 10 people will be allowed as well as some establishments who will abide by strict social-distancing protocols. So far, Australia has a total of almost 7,000 COVID-19 cases.

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Full Flower Supermoon hovers over an embattled world

While it has no direct connection to the global crisis we are all facing, last Thursday’s supermoon—the last for the year—provided a striking and, more importantly, shared backdrop. Occurring in both March and April of this year, this phenomenon happens when the moon is within 10 percent of its closest distance to the Earth at the full moon. Images taken from different countries and vantage points were posted all over social media: New York, Istanbul, London, Amman, Moscow, Hongkong, and more. Those who photographed this imposing satellite were in awe, as were those who saw the images afterward. In a way, the universe is reminding us that, in the same way we are able to see together, we are also all able to rise as one.

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