The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has recent published several new reports relating to COVID-19. If you’d like to sign up to the POST email newsletter, please go here: https://mailchi.mp/email.parliament.uk/post
COVID-19, children and schools
Children who have COVID-19 are much less likely to develop severe symptoms and much less likely to die from the disease than peple in older age groups. In this article we look at the latest evidence on transmission in children and what that may mean for the re-opening of schools in autumn. We have also produced a timeline of the scientific advice that was provided since February 2020 and the subsequent policy announcements on schools.
Child and adolescent mental health during COVID-19
Strained family relationships, reduced social contact and academic stress have mental health impacts on children and adolescents. In 2018/19 over 350,000 young people accessed NHS mental health services just in England. Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) have been reduced during the pandemic. They are likely to be under strain to meet increased demand.
COVID-19 in children: July update
In our July update we look at the latest data on COVID-19 prevalence in the UK by age and sex. We explain the possible clinical outcomes for children and review evidence exploring confounding risk factors, such as underlying medical conditions and demographics. We also look at the latest data on how COVID-19 affects pregnancy.
Effects of COVID-19 on the food supply system
COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities in the UK food system. Panic buying and the slow reaction of retailers exposed how cost-efficient and streamlined supply chains struggled to adapt to unforeseen shocks. Problems also arose from the closure of parts of the catering sector and the lack of agility in redistributing supplies from this sector to retail outlets or the food donation/charity sector.
COVID-19 vaccines: July update on research
As of 6 July 2020, WHO figures showed almost 150 vaccine candidates in development across the world, 19 of which were being tested in humans. In the past few weeks, vaccine candidates have been rapidly progressing through the first two phases of clinical trials (Phase 1 and Phase 2). These trials test safety and if they stimulate an immune response in people.
This article was updated on 1 May and again on 6 July. Since its original publication on 17 April, the number of COVID-19 clinical trials has increased from 524 to 2,378. There is currently no cure for COVID-19. Researchers are testing existing drugs to see if they act against SARS-CoV-2 or alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Initial positive findings show promise of Dexamethasone and Remdesivir. But negative findings are valuable because they allow researchers to focus on other drugs; there is good evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not offer any benefits to treat COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19: July update on face masks and face coverings for the general public
There is some weak evidence that face masks and coverings can reduce transmission of the virus in some specific circumstances, particularly poorly ventilated and crowded indoor spaces. Policy on using face coverings differs across the UK. This article includes a timeline of face mask policies in the UK and the available scientific advice from 6 April up to 3 July.
Contact tracing apps for COVID-19
This article was updated on 14 May with information on the UK’s contact tracing app. It was updated again on 3 July after the UK Government announced that it would be trialling an app released by Apple and Google instead of the NHSX app which was trialled on the Isle of Wight.The release of this UK app is now not expected until the autumn at the earliest.