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chinadaily.com.cn 2021-11-15 16:44


>First pill to treat Covid gets approval in UK

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc, May 17, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The first pill designed to treat symptomatic Covid-19 has been approved by the UK medicines regulator.

The tablet - molnupiravir - will be given twice a day to vulnerable patients recently diagnosed with the disease.

In clinical trials, the pill, originally developed to treat flu, cut the risk of hospitalization or death by about half.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the treatment was a "gamechanger" for the most frail and immuno-suppressed.

Molnupiravir, developed by the US drug companies Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, is the first antiviral medication for Covid-19, which can be taken as a pill rather than injected or given intravenously.

The UK has agreed to purchase 480,000 courses, with the first deliveries expected in November.

The drug needs to be given within five days of symptoms developing to be most effective.


>CO2 turned to rock in Iceland

Climeworks factory with its fans in front of the collector, drawing in ambient air and release it, as largely purified CO2 through ventilators at the back is seen at the Hellisheidi power plant near Reykjavik on October 11, 2021. Photo/AFP

At the foot of an Icelandic volcano, a newly opened plant is sucking carbon dioxide from the air and turning it to rock, locking away the main culprit behind global warming.

Orca, based on the Icelandic word for "energy," does its cutting-edge work at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant in southwest Iceland.

Fans in front of the collector draw in ambient air and release it, largely purified of CO2, through ventilators at the back.

Dissolved in fresh water, the gas is then injected under high pressure into the basalt rock between 800 and 2,000 meters underground.

The solution fills the rock's cavities, and the solidification process begins -- a chemical reaction turning it to calcified white crystals that occurs when the gas comes in contact with the calcium, magnesium and iron in the basalt.

It takes up to two years for the CO2 to petrify.


>Library creates literacy from litter

Founder of the waste library (Limbah Pustaka), Raden Roro Hendarti, 48, arranges books on a three-wheeler vehicle at the library in Muntang village, Purbalingga, Central Java province, Indonesia November 2, 2021. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

A librarian in Indonesia's Java island is lending books to children in exchange for trash they collect in a novel way to clean up the environment and get the kids to read more.

Each weekday, Raden Roro Hendarti rides her three wheeler with books stacked up in the back for children in Muntang village to exchange for plastic cups, bags and other waste that she carries back.

She told Reuters she is helping inculcate reading in the kids as well as make them aware of the environment.

As soon as she shows up, little children, many accompanied by their mothers, surround her "Trash Library" and clamor for the books.

She collects about 100 kg of waste each week, which is then sorted by her colleagues and sent for recycling or sold.

She has a stock of 6,000 books to lend and wants to take the mobile service to neighboring areas too.


>Singapore to start charging some Covid patients

People cross a road, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Singapore November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Caroline Chia

Singapore will no longer pay the Covid-19 medical bills for people "unvaccinated by choice," the government said, as the country grapples with a surge in cases.


The government currently covers the full Covid medical costs for all Singaporeans, as well as permanent residents and long-term visa holders, unless they test positive soon after returning from overseas.

However, from Dec 8, the government said, it will "begin charging Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice."

It said unvaccinated people "make up a sizeable majority of those who require intensive in-patient care and disproportionately contribute to the strain on our healthcare resources."


Covid-related medical bills will still be paid for people who aren't eligible for a vaccine.


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