COVID-19 therapies

How does SARS-CoV-2 infect human cells? What treatments are being developed to fight coronavirus disease (COVID-19)? This is part of our rapid response content on COVID-19. You can view all our reporting on this topic under COVID-19. This article will be updated as the research progresses. Read more

COVID-19 in children

There is very good evidence that children who have COVID-19 are much less likely to develop severe symptoms and much less likely to die from the disease than people in older age groups. There is good evidence that children under 13 years old are less susceptible to developing clinical disease (this means having recognisable signs and symptoms) than adults. It is not yet clear whether this is also the case for older children. There is some research indicating that children aged 13 years and under may be less susceptible to infection than adults, but the confidence in this evidence is low. There is insufficient research to say whether this is the case for older children. There is some evidence to suggest that children transmit the virus less than adults, but more research is needed to reduce uncertainty. Pregnant women are not more likely to contract the virus. Transmission of the virus from mothers to babies is low. Some babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers will develop an infection; these babies are not at increased risk of severe disease. Read more

COVID-19 misinformation

According to a recent study from Ofcom, 46% of respondents have encountered false or misleading coronavirus information since the lockdown. Most cases of misinformation are found on social media. Misinformation can lead to public mistrust, endangerment of public health, as well as hate crime and exploitation. Different approaches are being implemented to fight misinformation including content moderation, myth-busting, and a focus on education. Read more

Models of COVID-19: Part 3

Following measures by the UK Government, a survey was conducted on the 18 of March to assess public attitudes. 77% of respondents were worried about an outbreak and while 93% reported taking protective measures, only 50% were avoiding social events, 36% were avoiding public transport, and 31% were avoiding going out. A study on the global impact of COVID-19 estimated that an unmitigated epidemic would infect 7.0 billion out of the world’s 7.8 billion people. This would lead to 40 million global deaths in 2020. The latest modeling estimates that as of 27 about 4% of the population of the UK has been infected with coronavirus.The UK has strengthened capacity of the NHS to deal with COVID-19 by building field hospitals, but there is still a shortage of intensive care beds and intensive care nurses. Various testing strategies are being explored for healthcare workers and the wider community. Testing each case and their contacts might require as many as 60,000 tests per day. Read more

Health and social care system and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines concerns about health and social care. Experts have concerns about the NHS. These include it's ability to cope with multiple waves of COVID-19 patients and patients with other conditions, lack of equipment, the future of funding and the structure of the NHS. They are also concerned about the demand on social care services and the safety of residents and staff of care homes. Concerns also focus on health and social care staff: their physical and mental health, their access to training, and the future of the workforce. Finally there are concerns about the ability of the UK to deal with excess mortality. Read more

COVID-19 and international approaches to exiting lockdown

The UK Government announced its approach to exiting lockdown on 10 May in a statement by the Prime Minister and in a report published on 11 May. Current models suggest that 5.38% of the UK population has been infected with COVID-19. To lift restrictions the World Health Organisation has outlined key criteria that should guide decision making, such as ensuring that health systems can identify, isolate, test, trace contacts and quarantine COVID-19 cases. Several countries have eased measures with varying success including, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and China. Other countries such as Sweden and South Korea have taken alternative routes. Read more

Society, community and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines social and community concerns. Experts are concerned about social inequalities beyond health. They note that in the long term groups may have different access to opportunities. This could be particularly true for those with protected characteristics such as women, members of the BAME community, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Experts are also concerned about how changes in Government measures may lead to negative responses from the UK public. These could range from the public becoming less motivated to follow guidance, to public resistance of contact tracing for fears of increased surveillance. Experts also note risks to social cohesion; From an increase in racist or xenophobic behaviour, to an erosion of trust in democracy and democratic institutions. However they point out that COVID-19 could also present an opportunity for positive cultural change. Read more

Models of COVID-19: Part 1

On 20th March, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) released the evidence behind the government response to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This series of short articles summarises these 32 documents. You can view all our reporting on this topic under COVID-19. This article goes over the research used to develop early COVID-19 models which in turn informed the thinking of SAGE. High profile models from Imperial College London will be detailed in Part 2. Read more

Public health and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines concerns about public health. Experts have concerns about future preparedness for public health crises. These include future waves of COVID-19, as well as other potential public health crises. They are interested in seeing how the National Risk Register and Civil Contingencies Act might be updated to reflect lessons learned from COVID-19. There are also concerns about physical and mental health of the UK public. It's unknown how fear and loneliness are affecting people during isolation. It's also unclear how habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and eating have been affected by the outbreak Experts are also concerned about health inequalities. They note that some groups, such as people with low incomes, might be more likely to catch the virus and experience worse outcomes. Finally there are concerns about housing, and how certain types of housing might increase exposure to the virus, and be overall detrimental to occupants health. Read more

Business, trade and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. Researchers have also shared what further data or information they would like to see the Government release to understand the decisions that underpin its approach. This report outlines concerns about business and trade. Experts have concers about supply chins and logistic, particularly in the food and healthcare industries. They are also concerned about business support and have identified arts and culture, hospitality and tourism, retail, manufacturing, and agriculture and horticulture as industries at risk. Finally they have highlighted industry behavior and entrepreneurship as areas of concern. Read more

Research, innovation and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines concerns about research and innovation. Experts have concerns about testing and diagnostics. Specifically about the number of tests being carried out, the availability of PCR tests and the accuracy of antigen tests. There are also concerns about vaccines. Experts want to know how the Government is speeding up vaccine development and note the possibility of annual vaccinations for some coronaviruses. Experts also think there should be more research on therapies for COVID-19 patients, including larger plasma therapy trials. Experts also have a range of practical concerns on international collaboration, the validation and approval of innovations, and even manufacturing and distribution of new products. Finally there are concerns about the impact of the outbreak on research. Experts worry about the quality of research and data collection and the access to COVID-19 research, noting that some research is not open access. Read more

Virology, immunology, epidemiology and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines concerns about virology, immunology and epidemiology. Experts have concerns about the accurate and thorough recording of who is dying from COVID-19 and what demographic they belong to. They worry that there are gaps in the understanding of how the virus spreads, and how symptoms progress. Experts are also concerned about the potential for additional COVID-19 waves, and the impact of seasonality. They are worried about the long term health impacts of COVID-19 after recovery. There are also concerns about the lack of data on patient and population immunity to the virus. Finally experts worry that the virus could become resistant to antiviral therapies, and that there's a risk of creating other antibiotic resistant infections by using antibiotics improperly. Read more

International affairs and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines concerns about international affairs. Experts are concerned about how the Coronavirus outbreak might affect relations between countries, as suppression strategies drift. This could create international tensions and lead to a rise in populism. There are also concerns about how criticism of the UK response might impact the the country's global position. Experts are also concerned about a lack of international cooperation. They worry that the UK will not consult evidence from other countries. They note that there is a general need for greater data sharing between countries to coordinate the response. Other areas of concern include international economy, trade and development. There are fears of a global recession and concerns over the lack of a unilateral response from the G20 and WTO. Low- and middle-income countries are also likely to be further impacted by the outbreak, as contributions to international development funds drop or are re-directed to COVID-19. Finally, experts are concerned about international travel and migration. There is uncertainty about what the effects of the outbreak on international travel will be and experts are concerned about impacts on migrant and seasonal workers. They are also concerned about the health of refugees and a potential increase in refugee numbers in the long-term, due to geopolitical instability. Read more

Vaccines for COVID-19

Who is working on a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 (coronavirus disease)? When might a COVID-19 vaccine become available? This is part of our rapid response content on COVID-19. You can view all our reporting on this topic under COVID-19. This article will be updated as the research progresses. Read more

Mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak

Initial reports suggest we should expect a sharp rise in levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness. The pandemic could have implications for those already suffering from addiction, OCD, and eating disorders. Concerns have prompted a number of initiatives supporting mental well-being. These include guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE), resources from the devolved administrations, and formation of the Help Hub, a service set up by volunteer therapists. Read more

Models of COVID-19: Part 2

What can Wuhan tell us about the COVID-19 pandemic? How might different suppression and mitigation strategies affect coronavirus transmission? This breakdown of the Imperial College models is part of our rapid response content on COVID-19. This article will be updated as the research progresses. Read more

COVID-19 outbreak: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have responded to a COVID-19 survey by POST's Knowledge exchange unity. Through the survey, experts shared their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. Researchers have also shared what further data or information they would like to see the Government release to understand the decisions that underpin its approach. This first report outlines the survey methodology. Detailed reports with concerns on specific areas such as trade, education, and public health will be published in the coming days. Read more

Crime, justice, policing and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines crime, justice and policing concerns. On policing, experts are concerned about how the police are monitoring and enforcing adherence to Government restrictions. This includes the inadvertent criminalisation of certain communities and the risk for civil disorder. Experts are also concerned about the potential increase of certain types of crime during the outbreak, such as organised crime, corruption, domestic abuse and cybercrime. On the criminal justice system experts worry about a backlog of cases in courts which were put on hold due to the pandemic. They are also worried about a surge of news cases as a result of the pandemic. Finally there are concerns about the health of prisoners at this time and want to know about plans for early releases. Read more

Contact tracing apps for COVID-19

Contact tracing apps could be used to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Most of them work by automatically registering another smartphone when it is too close for an extended period of time. Then if a user tests positive for Coronavirus in the future, the contact tracing app notifies these contacts. Some countries like Singapore and Australia have already adopted or rolled out their own contact tracing apps. Concerns have been raised about misuse of personal data. Initial data suggests there has been slow uptake of this new technology by users, and it's unclear if contact tracing apps have had or will have an effect on the pandemic. Read more

Media, communications and COVID-19: What are experts concerned about?

Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines media and communications concerns. Experts worry that Government messages are unclear. They note that there have been inconsistencies in information shared by different parts of Government. It's also unclear what the UK public is legally required to do, and how these requirements vary across the UK. Beyond that, there are concerns about the overarching Government communications strategy, the scientific evidence behind it and the number of people it has reached. Experts are also concerned about the role of mass media during the outbreak. They are concerned about inaccurate reporting and how it could damage the public's trust in mainstream media. They're also concerned about the economic impact of the outbreak on independent media outlets. A financial downturn could lead to closures, limiting access to news for a segment of the UK population. Finally experts are concerned about misinformation. They worry that the UK Government is not doing enough to call out misinformation and stop its spread. Read more