Covid-19 Update Korea: Treatments, Vaccines and International Post on Hold

South Korea has less than 15 new cases per day and very few deceased. Totaling 10 801 confirmed cases and 252 deceased. On the street and in the subways of Seoul almost all wear a facial mask. Although many restaurants are suffering, central...

South Korea has less than 15 new cases per day and very few deceased. Totaling 10 801 confirmed cases and 252 deceased. On the street and in the subways of Seoul almost all wear a facial mask. Although many restaurants are suffering, central Seoul see many lunch guests eating out and there is no visible social distancing. Nor is there on the popular party streets in the evenings. The government is signaling that there is no social spreading and plans are to reopen schools and enter a new phase of distancing shortly.

Remdesivir, Chloroquine and Niclosamide

Added to the list of important treatments being tested for Covid-19, is Niclosamide, and ingredient of animal tapeworm drug. Niclosamide is being tested at Institute Pasteur Korea and Daewong Pharmaceutical. Initial tests showed Niclosamide to have 40 times higher antiviral activity than Remdesivir, and 26 times higher than Cholroquine, but unfortunately also significant side-effects. The partners are planning to test a developed version and apply for clinical trials in July.

Antibodies

Companies are identifying antibodies for and treating testing for Covid-19. The Swedish-Korean co-founded firm AbClon has shortlisted 15 human antibodies. Celtrion Inc. has identified 38 antibodies. A related news item is that the health authorities has unveiled guidelines for collecting blood plasma from Covid-19 survivors for therapeutic use.

15 minute testing

A test that will bring results in 15 minutes has been developed by the Korean university POSTECH and Aptamer Science Inc. It will be able to apply it on any new emerging viral infection, not only Covid-19. Research is not completed.

Vaccine

Clinical trials with 40 subjects will start in July in Korea for a DNA Vaccine. The many vaccine candidates that are in the works globaly are based on different technologies. This will inject genes to produce viral antigens. It is comparatively safer than injecting a weakened toxic virus and takes shorter time to develop.

Postal pandemonium

Much of post between countries is disrupted which should’nt come as a surprise. Normal transports by air is replaced by land or sea, adding weeks or months to the delivery time. Submitting a letter to the post can result in having it returned as undeliverable. Pricey parcel services seems to be the option.

Swedish Postnord inform about their restrictions here where it is clear that they deliver to about a quarter of all nations, and many of them with restrictions.

Korea Post inform about their restrictions here (in Korean. I have not found updates in English on their website). Good thing I can still send my postcard by EMS Premium in cooperation with UPS (at the premium cost of 20 400 KRW, 165 SEK, 15 EUR).

Surprisingly there is little mention of this postal pandemonium in media besides mentions of disrupted global value chains.

At the Universal Postal Union (UPU) website, there is a special page where they share examples for how national post is working around the world to ensure social and financial services in difficult circumstance.