1st May 2020

Good news round-up part 5

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Lung cancer patient recovers from COVID-19

A lung cancer patient from Kent was given a standing ovation after recovering from coronavirus.

Alan Mason, who is living with lung cancer, walked out of a Chatham care home to the sound of applause and bells ringing on Thursday 23rd April.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, comments:

“It is so wonderful to hear that people with lung cancer are recovering from COVID-19.

We know those living with the disease are one of the most vulnerable groups to serious illness should they contract the virus, so understandably we are hearing from a lot of anxious and scared patients.

I hope they will read Alan’s story and have some hope from it.”

Open for business

The incredible NHS has responded so positively to recent reports that cancer referrals have significantly dropped.

With so much focus on COVID-19, cancer referrals are down 80 per cent in areas of the UK. The NHS has responded with its ‘Open for Business’ campaign, encouraging people who are showing symptoms to contact their doctor.

The aim of the campaign is to increase the number of people accessing NHS services for non-coronavirus medical issues when they have a medical need.

Paula comments:

“We appreciate people are concerned about overloading the NHS, or about potentially catching coronavirus. However, we cannot stress how important it is to contact your doctor if you have potential lung cancer symptoms, such as a persistent cough, breathlessness, loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss and repeat chest infections.

Lung cancer does not care about coronavirus. It will not wait for the pandemic to be over, so if you are experiencing symptoms, please take the necessary precautions, contact your doctor and give yourself the best chance of catching it early.”

Hunt for a vaccine continues

British pharmaceutical company, AstraZenaca, have now teamed up with the University of Oxford, as the search for a coronavirus vaccine ramps up.

Last week saw the start of the first human trial of a potential vaccine. It is now hoped that this partnership, described by Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University as “a major force in the struggle against pandemics” for “many years” to come, will speed up the hunt.

Pascal Soriot is the chief executive of AstraZenaca UK:

By June, July we will already have a very good idea of the direction of travel in terms of its potential efficacy.

Elsewhere, at a University of St Andrews, a new anti-viral drug has also been developed. It has had positive results in laboratory tests against coronavirus for both treating infection and blocking new infections.

It’s all ‘appening

A new NHS coronavirus app could soon be available, with trials expected to start on the Isle of Wight next week.

It is understand that the smartphone app will alert users if they have come into contact with someone who has developed symptoms of coronavirus and will play a significant role in the Government’s “test, tract and trace” strategy that will be vital in easing the current lockdown.

A similar app is already available in Australia, with more than 2.4 million people downloading it.

It is believed that Australia have successfully ‘flattened the curve’. Yesterday, six states and territories – including the hardest hit New South Wales – recorded zero new cases. Three more beaches in the country, including Bondi beach in Sydney, have now reopened.

Creating a buzz

We have already seen the positive impact COVID-19 has had on air pollution and now, it seems to have also helped an endangered bumblebee.

The shrill carder bee was dangerously close to extinction, with 97 per cent of its habitat lost in the last 70 years. It is now limited to five small areas of the UK.

However, its population appears to be bouncing back, following the National Trust creating flower meadows at a country manor.

It is now looking at more places where it can plant more comfrey to safeguard the future of the bees.