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Illustration by Afra Almazrouei

The Brief: Corona at Your Door

From a mutation in the coronavirus following its transmission to mink to the WHO’s efforts at tracking down the virus’s origins, we bring you the latest Covid-19 news.

Nov 8, 2020

By the Numbers: Cases and Deaths
Note: North America Cases and Deaths now includes the United States. All case and death statistics are derived from WHO and ECDC. For more information about coronavirus cases around the world and interactive maps, visit Our World in Data.
Mink and the Coronavirus
Covid-19 has made the jump from humans to mink and now back to humans. This new mutation is causing great concern, as over 300 cases of coronavirus in northern Denmark are thought to be linked to mink. The new mutation is a result of the virus’s ability to evade the immune system. Researchers and experts are calling for an effort to keep such transmissions of the mutated virus as low as possible.
While virus mutations are fairly common, Covid-19 hasn’t undergone many and experts warn that continued genetic mutation of the virus may render a vaccine ineffective. Mutations may also endanger people who have already been infected with Covid-19 as their antibodies may not be appropriate to fight the new mutation. Denmark officials have called for the culling of 15 million mink to stop the spread and further mutation of the virus. In response to the crisis, the UK has banned visitors from Denmark.
A President’s Drug of Choice
Regeneron, the pharmaceutical company producing the antibody treatment President Trump received, has struck a $450 million deal with the United States federal government to provide over 300 million doses of the medication for national distribution. The contract has not been made available to the public, and is thought to have weaker-than-usual protections against taxpayer interests.
The new agreement has left out key clauses that protect it from price gouging. Old protections were replaced with conditional ones, such as limiting government interference if Regeneron is unable or unwilling to produce enough medication when the coronavirus becomes endemic. This would allow the U.S. government to take control only in a formal public health emergency.
Furthermore, Regeneron’s contract with the US federal government was made through a third party called Advanced Technologies International. The government awarded funds to ATI who then struck the deal with Regeneron, making it difficult for the public to follow up on government spending.
Desk Takes
Scientists are exploring the possibility of pre-existing antibodies offering protection against the coronavirus. Antibodies produced by common cold coronaviruses are thought to play critical roles in the immune system’s response to Covid-19.
The World Health Organization is wrapping up its search for the coronavirus’ origins after the global debate surrounding the issue.
European lawmakers are pushing e-commerce companies to share information in the fight against Covid-19 misinformation, as well as the sale of bogus cures and faulty personal preventive equipment.
This article is a collaborative effort by The News Desk. Email them at
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