• Viet Nam’s foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang announced that the country is in talks with the US about producing mRNA vaccines domestically. Local production of 100 to 200 million doses could begin in Q4 of 2021 or Q1 of 2022. Meanwhile. NanoCovax, a home-grown protein subunit coronavirus vaccine, could be approved for emergency use soon, with roll-out of the vaccine expected by the end of 2021. Source 

• COVID-19 deaths continue to increase in Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia, reaching seven-day averages of 4.37, 4.29 and 4.14 per million, respectively. Source 

• Nearly 620,000 people in England and Wales were told to isolate by the national health service’s COVID contact tracing app; businesses are struggling to operate as staff isolate at home. Source 

• In Indonesia, a man with COVID-19 disguised as his own wife boarded a domestic flight, using fake ID and his wife’s negative PCR test result and vaccination card. He was arrested after being caught by a flight attendant who saw him change clothes in the bathroom. Source

• The New England Journal of Medicine publishes research based on UK health information to assess effectiveness of AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccines against the Alpha and Delta variants. Overall, two doses were far more effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the Delta variant than a single dose (two doses of the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine were 88%, while two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 67% effective). The authors cautioned that other factors, such as age and social deprivation might also have an impact on vaccine efficacy. Source 

• Italy announces that it will require proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result to participate in many public activities, including indoor dining, museum visits and cultural events as of 6 August. Source 

• Amidst lockdowns covering half of the population, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison apologizes for slow vaccine rollout. The country planned to offer everyone vaccines by the end of October and has since been delayed until the end of the year. Currently, 15 percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated. Source 

• The EU has promised to donate 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine to low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. So far, the bloc has donated only 4.9 million doses. Source

• Barbara Ferrer, public health director for Los Angeles County, reports that 20 percent of June’s COVID-19 cases were among fully vaccinated people, and that higher levels of community transmission could continue to drive up cases. Most vaccinated people reported mild symptoms, or none at all. Source

• The New York Times publishes information on an increase in common respiratory viruses (RSV, rhinovirus, parainfluenza and other cold viruses), due to lack of exposure to a number of microbes during lockdown – which increases susceptibility to some respiratory infections and can cause longer symptoms. Unusual surges of RSV, which can be dangerous to babies and young children, have been reported in Australia, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and the southern US – particularly among newborns and toddlers who were born during lockdowns and other restrictions, allowing it to spread to older children and adults. Dr. Sue Huang, director of the World Health Organization’s National Influenza Centre at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, New Zealand, said, “I haven’t seen anything like this in 20 years of working as a virologist. There’s usually a degree of pre-existing immunity due to the previous winter. When you don’t have that kind of protection, it’s a bit like a wildfire. The fire can just continue, and the chain of transmission keeps going.” Source