Covid-19: US to donate 500 million more jabs and Covid passport legal challenge in Scotland

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday evening. We'll have another update for you tomorrow morning.

1. US to donate 500 million more vaccine doses

US President Joe Biden has promised to donate an extra 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to developing countries from next year. It brings the total commitment from the US to more than a billion jabs. Experts say about 11 billion doses are needed to vaccinate at least 70% of the world's population, however. And a World Health Organization target for 40% of the population in every country to be vaccinated by the end of the year is unlikely to be met. Only two per cent of people in low income countries have had a first dose of a Covid vaccine, according to data from the University of Oxford.

Image source, Getty Images

Warning of "serious flaws" in the plans for vaccine passports, an organisation representing nightclubs said it has instructed lawyers to challenge the Scottish government. The Night Time Industries Association Scotland says requiring proof that someone has had two vaccine doses to enter a nightclub from October was likely to be unlawful because the measure was disproportionate and lower levels of intervention could have achieved the same result. But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a "reasonable thing to do" that would stop the spread of the virus and keep venues open.

Image source, Getty Images

3. UK recognises India's AZ vaccine after outcry

When the UK published a list of recognised vaccines for travel to the UK -omitting Covishield, the Indian-made version of the Oxford-AstraZenenca vaccine - it triggered a firestorm of protest. One opposition MP said the decision was "bizarre" as the vaccine was developed in the UK and the Indian-made version has been administered in Britain. Now the UK government has amended its guidance to clarify that Covishield is an approved jab. But although the vaccine given to hundreds of millions of Indians is recognised, the UK has not included India on the list of countries whose fully vaccinated travellers no longer need to quarantine on arrival.

Image source, Getty Images

4. Killer declined Covid-shielding measures in prison

The Yorkshire Ripper, one of the UK's most notorious serial killers, refused measures to shield him from Covid before he died with the disease in prison, an inquest heard. Peter Sutcliffe was more vulnerable to the virus due to his diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease. The 74-year-old was advised to shield by staff at HMP Frankland, where he was serving a life sentence for the murder of 13 women, but declined measures such as eating apart at mealtimes. Concluding that Sutcliffe's death in November last year was from natural causes, coroner Crispin Oliver said he hoped his victims "may better rest in peace" now.

Image source, Rex Features

5. How Fifi the llama helped make a Covid treatment

A new Covid therapy made with the help of a llama named Fifi shows "significant potential", scientists say. It's made of nanobodies - smaller, simpler versions of antibodies which llamas and camels produce in response to infection. The llama was injected with a vaccine which starts the nanobody production. Scientists at the University of Reading then picked out and purified the most potent ones from a sample of Fifi's blood and grew them in large quantities. Lab tests on animals suggested it was among the most potent coronavirus-fighting agents Public Health England had ever tested. Scientists hope it could eventually be given as a nasal spray to treat early infection - or even prevent it.

Image source, University of Reading

And don't forget...

With vaccination of 12- to 15-year-olds beginning this week, here's what you need to know about jabs and younger people.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Image source, BBC

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