18 May 2021

• India reports the world’s highest-ever coronavirus daily death toll of 4,529. Source

• The US FDA criticized the biotech company CytoDyn for touting leronlimab as a potential COVID-19 treatment after it failed to achieve primary and secondary endpoints in two clinical trials, saying “With the conclusion of both the CD10 and CD12 clinical trials, it has become clear that the data currently available do not support the clinical benefit of leronlimab for the treatment of COVID-19.” Nonetheless, CytoDyn has announced plans to distribute the drug in India. Source

• Citing a current  COVID-19 surge, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association urged Japan’s Prime Minister, Tokyo’s governor, the minister for the Olympic Games and Japan’s Olympic committee chairman to cancel the event. In addition, a petition that gathered 350,000 signatures in less than ten days and a national doctors’ union have already called for the Olympics to be cancelled.

Nonetheless, Olympic officials still plan to hold the Games in July, despite warnings that Japan’s healthcare system could be overwhelmed by the thousands of athletes, coaches and members of the media who would be attending the event. Source

• After a coronavirus surge in Singapore, the World Economic Forum cancels its upcoming meeting there, due to “tragic circumstances unfolding across geographies.”  Source

• The advocacy group LongCovidSOS studied post-vaccine responses among 812 (mostly white and female) participants living with long COVID, tracking scores across 14 common symptoms before and seven days after their first vaccine dose. Overall, 56.7 percent of survey respondents experienced improvement in symptoms, 24.6 percent did not experience a change in their symptoms and remaining unchanged and 18.7 percent reported worsening symptoms. People who were given an mRNA- based vaccine were more likely to report improved symptoms (notably, recipients of the Moderna vaccine saw improvements in fatigue, fatigue, brain fog and muscle pain – and their symptoms were less likely to worsen).  In some people improvements were transient, while others reported that symptoms worsened, then improved again after getting their second vaccine dose. The underlying mechanisms for and durability of these improvements are not known. Source

• Jenny McGee, the nurse who cared for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he was in intensive care with severe COVID-19, has resigned, saying, “We’re not getting the respect and now pay that we deserve….we have put ourselves on the line and we have worked so incredibly hard… I’m just not sure if I can do it.” Source

• Experts in the UK predict that the B.1.617 variant first identified in India will become the country’s dominant strain as cases of it increase by over 75% in a matter of days. Source

• China’s Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products – a company known for corruption and scandal – launches a phase III trial of its experimental inactivated coronavirus vaccines and is given emergency use approval in the country. Source

Return to the timeline