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Brazil sees 12,930 new Covid-19 cases, 273 more deaths

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RIO DE JANERIO: Brazil on Wednesday reported 12,930 new cases and 273 more deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the national counts to 22,043,112 and 613,339 respectively, said the country’s Health Ministry.
The last seven days saw a daily average of 9,350 new cases and 213 more deaths, according to the ministry’s daily pandemic report.
For every 100,000 inhabitants in Brazil, there were 10,489 infections and 291.9 deaths, said the ministry.
The southeast state of Sao Paulo, the most populous in the country, is hardest hit with 4,433,915 cases and 153,639 deaths, followed by neighbouring Rio de Janeiro, with 1,339,819 cases and 68,919 deaths.
As of Tuesday, 158.2 million people in Brazil had received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 130.4 million had been fully vaccinated.
Brazil has the world’s second-highest Covid-19 death toll, after the United States, and the third-largest caseload, following the United States and India, figures from Johns Hopkins University showed.

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Panic grips markets as Regeneron says its COVID-19 antibody drug may be less effective against Omicron

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Regenron's monoclonal antibodies cocktail was being widely used against the previous COVID-19 strains


Regenron’s monoclonal antibodies cocktail was being widely used against the previous COVID-19 strains.&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspTwitter

Key Highlights

  • Early testing indicates that the mutations in the Omicron variant of coronavirus may hamper the ability of Regeneron’s antibody drug to treat Covid-19: Regeneron Inc.

  • The findings are a first sign that treatments developed to tackle Covid-19 may have lost effectiveness as the virus evolves.

The last few days, the world has been trying to come to terms with the discovery of a new COVID-19 strain – Omicron. Now pharma major Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s declaration that its COVID-19 antibody drug could be less effective against the mutated virus has created a state of panic across the globe.

The newly-discovered, highly transmissible Covid-19 variant Omicron is already a shock to the world. South Africa had first detected the B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant, designated as Omicron by the World Health Organisation (WHO), last week. The WHO has labelled Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’ – its top category for coronavirus variants that appear to be worrying.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc suggested on Tuesday that some therapies may have to be adapted to tackle the virus’s latest evolution as early testing indicates that the mutations in the Omicron variant of coronavirus may hamper the ability of Regeneron’s antibody-drug to treat Covid-19.

Regeneron’s Regen-Cov treatment is made up of a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies that block the virus that causes Covid-19 and is widely used to treat patients.

This declaration has added to fears about the efficacy of existing treatments after Moderna’s top boss raised similar concerns about the company’s vaccine.

Markets tumble as fear spreads across the world:

Global markets tumbled after comments from Moderna’s chief executive officer rekindled worries that the variant may weigh on a nascent global economic recovery.

Based on its study of Omicron’s individual mutations, “there may be reduced neutralization activity of both vaccine-induced and monoclonal antibody conveyed immunity”, Regeneron said, adding that the analysis included its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV. “Just like vaccines will have to adapt, we’re probably going to have to constantly adapt our monoclonals.”

Tests so far have been carried out using lab samples and modelling. “Further analyses are ongoing to confirm and quantify this potential impact using the actual Omicron variant sequence,” Regeneron said on Tuesday.

Regeneron’s share price fell more than 2.8 per cent in pre-market trading. Global markets were down on Tuesday after Moderna’s chief executive, Stéphane Bancel, told the Financial Times he thought existing vaccines would struggle against the Omicron variant.

Eli Lilly and Co, which makes a similar monoclonal antibody treatment, is also working to understand the neutralisation activity of its therapies on Omicron, the company told Reuters in an e-mailed statement.

Rival Vir Biotechnology Inc said based on the Omicron sequence its antibody therapy, sotrovimab, will likely maintain potency against the variant. Gilead Inc said it believed its intravenous therapy, Remdesivir, currently the only antiviral approved for treating COVID-19, will continue to be effective against currently identified variants, including Omicron.

Meanwhile, on the ground in India: 

A recent study indicates that the Covishield vaccine remained effective against moderate-to-severe COVID-19 even as India faced a deadly second wave, spurred by the Delta variant. The Serum Institute manufactured jab is one of three vaccines that have been used to administer more than 1.2 billion jabs to India’s adult population. 

As per data available with the Serum Insitute, the overall efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 after more than 14 days after the 2nd dose is 66.7%. However, as the virus mutated and new variants cropped up, the efficacy of vaccines against these strains was shown to be somewhat lower. The recently published Lancet study had sought to assess the effectiveness of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (better known as Covishield) against the Delta variant. 

Also, India has so far not detected any case of Omicron. A senior government official said on Monday that the situation is being closely tracked by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia INSACOG and that efforts were underway to quickly secure results of genomic analysis of positive samples of inbound international travellers.

What will help us fight the Omicron variant right now?

virologist Paul Bieniasz at Rockefeller University in New York told npr.org (https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/11/30/1059859253/why-omicron-variant-spreads-so-quickly-infectious-mutations) that he and his colleagues have already conducted lab research on key mutations that show up in Omicron and found that they can help prevent antibodies from killing the virus.

“Based on that, we expect that omicron will be significantly resistant to antibodies that are circulating in individuals who are convalescent or who have had mRNA vaccines,” Bieniasz says, referring to the technology used by the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

“Get 3 vaccine doses”:

As a result, the vaccines will likely be less effective against this variant, he predicts. But his research so far also suggests that people can boost their protection — against any variant — by having three exposures to the virus. So that means either three doses of the vaccine or two doses after a natural infection.

That seems to broaden your defences, says Shi, the virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch. “After the third dose of the vaccine, our antibody profile inside our body becomes more capable of blocking the variants,” he says. “Our bodies create different antibodies that are much more able to push back on the variants.”

 

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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A plot of virtual land that went for $4.3 million in The Sandbox is the most expensive metaverse property sale ever

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  • Republic Realm bought land in The Sandbox metaverse for a record $4.3 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The virtual land developer purchased the metaverse property from video game company Atari.

Prices for virtual land set a new milestone Tuesday with one company buying property in The Sandbox metaverse for a record $4.3 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Republic Realm, which invests in and develops virtual real estate and other digital assets, purchased the land from Atari SA, marking the biggest metaverse property sale publicized to date, the WSJ reported citing Republic Realm and data from NonFungible.com.

The new record broke the one set just last week by Metaverse Group, a subsidiary of Tokens.com, when it purchased a patch of digital land for 618,000 mana, or about $2.43 million at the time. That land is set in the so-called fashion district of Decentraland, an online, virtual-only environment.

The deals underscore the increasing appetite for stakes in the metaverse, or the online space of interconnected 3D worlds in which people in avatar form can socialize, work, shop, and play games. Crypto asset management firm Grayscale has said the metaverse holds a $1 trillion-a-year revenue opportunity.

Republic Realm owns about 2,500 plots of digital land across 19 worlds, according to WSJ. The company sometimes decides to sit on vacant metaverse property and wait for it to appreciate. Other times it will pay an architect to design virtual homes or malls and then hire a game developer to build them, the report said, citing Republic Realm’s co-founder Janine Yorio.

The company and Atari plan to team up on developing some of the properties Republic Realm purchased on The Sandbox, the report said.

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Release Date, Cast, Trailer, Updates

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When it comes to high-fashion, luxury lifestyles, and endless drama, it doesn’t get better than Netflix’s Selling Sunset. The real estate reality show — which follows the employees of The Oppenheim Group in Los Angeles — has proven to be a massive success. And whether you love seeing gorgeous houses, frenemy fights, or Christine Quinn’s iconic outfits, you probably want details about the next installment of the series. Here’s everything you need to get hyped about Selling Sunset Season 5 including the release date, the cast, and the trailer.

Selling Sunset premiered in March 2019 and since then, the show continues to grow in popularity. So much so that after Season 3, the series was renewed for two more seasons which meant the drama was just getting started. After Season 4 dropped on Nov. 24, you’re probably already aching to see what happens next for the Oppenheim Group.

Sure, you can follow the Selling Sunset cast on Instagram to get an idea, but piecing together their posts feels like trying to do a puzzle. A very beautiful, very dramatic puzzle. Luckily, Season 5 should help you fill in any gaps, including how two unlikely co-workers *cough Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim* actually got together.

Netflix

Selling Sunset Season 5 Release Date

Unfortunately, Netflix hasn’t announced the Season 5 Selling Sunset release date as of Nov. 30, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have to wait forever to see what happens next. The streamer is notorious for keeping release dates secret until just before premieres. In fact, the cast shared the Season 4 premiere date news on social media just over a month before the Nov. 24 release.

The good news is Season 5 has already been filmed. On Nov. 27 Stause confirmed via Instagram comment production had recently wrapped on Season 5. While Selling Sunset doesn’t have a usual premiere drop, Season 4 completed filming around July, which means it was in post-production for about four months. That means fans can likely expect Season 5 to air sometime during the first half of 2022.

Selling Sunset Season 5 Cast

Season 4 saw some new faces including Vanessa Villela and Emma Hernan join the cast, and views can expect to see them return for Season 5 as well as the previous regulars including Maya Vander, Mary Fitzgerald, Heather Rae Young, Amanza Smith, Davina Potratz, Stause, and Quinn, plus their boss, Jason Oppenheim. You’ll probably also see the main cast’s partners and Jason’s twin brother, Brett (even though he left The Oppenheim Group in 2020).

Selling Sunset Season 5 Plot

As you might have guessed, it looks like Season 5 of Selling Sunset will be very relationship-heavy. The season will showcase the ins and outs of how Jason and Stause got together and hopefully what they’re like as a couple. You can also expect to see more by way of the Quinn-Hernan discrepancy as well as details and events leading up to Young’s October 2021 wedding to Flip or Flop star Tarek El Moussa.

It’s unclear whether the new season will have any crossover with the new spin-off series, Selling The O.C., but considering everyone works for Jason, there’s reason to believe some drama between the Oppenheim locations might be a thing.

Selling Sunset Season 5 Trailer

Since Season 5 of Selling Sunset just finished filming, there’s no trailer to dissect quite yet. You can expect to see a first look at Season 5 about two weeks before the release date, which is Netflix’s usual trailer-to-premiere schedule. Until then, check this space for more Selling Sunset updates, and in the meantime, you can rewatch Selling Sunset Seasons 1 to 4 on Netflix to keep the drama fresh.

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