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Good news — scientists discovered a property of coronavirus that will make a long-term vaccine possible

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A vaccine for the novel coronavirus is still several months away, at least. But questions have lingered about whether such a vaccine, when it is developed, would offer long-term protection, like the MMR shot, or whether it would need to be administered regularly to guard against new strains, like the seasonal flu shot.

According to the Washington Post, scientists have discovered a property of the virus that suggests it will be the former.

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“All viruses evolve over time, accumulating mutations as they replicate imperfectly inside a host’s cells in tremendous numbers and then spread through a population, with some of those mutations persisting through natural selection,” wrote Joel Achenbach. “The new coronavirus has proofreading machinery, however, and that reduces the ‘error rate’ and the pace of mutation. The new coronavirus looks pretty much the same everywhere it has appeared, the scientists say, and there is no evidence that some strains are deadlier than others.”

“Scientists now are studying more than 1,000 different samples of the virus, Peter Thielen, a molecular geneticist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory who has been studying the virus, told the Washington Post,” wrote Achenbach. “There are only about four to 10 genetic differences between the strains that have infected people in the U.S. and the original virus that spread in Wuhan, he said.”

A previous scientific report suggested that there may be two strains of coronavirus, and that both could infect a person simultaneously. But according to Achenbach, “that conjecture has not been embraced by the scientific community.”

All of this suggests that coronavirus is less adaptable than the seasonal flu — and could potentially be protected against indefinitely with a single formulation of vaccine.

“Flu does have one trick up its sleeve that coronaviruses do not have — the flu virus genome is broken up into several segments, each of which codes for a gene,” explained Texas A&M Texarkana virologist Benjamin Neuman. “When two flu viruses are in the same cell, they can swap some segments, potentially creating a new combination instantly — this is how the H1N1 ‘swine’ flu originated.”

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This Europe country is housing quarantined coronavirus patients in a five-star hotel

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An ambulance driver wearing a white protective gown enters a Barcelona hotel and announces the arrival of three new "customers" -- a trio of coronavirus patients discharged from hospital into luxury quarantine.

"Good morning! How are you? My name is Enrique Aranda and I am probably the first non health care worker you see in several days," says the director of the five-star Melia Sarria hotel, peering into the ambulance.

It took just three days to convert the hotel, which features contemporary decor and bathrooms with marble finishing, into a clinic.

"Some patients arrive thinking that they were taken out of hospital to be left to die, many people are frightened. I try to make them forget all that," said Aranda, wearing mask and gloves.

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UK Labour to unveil new leader to replace Jeremy Corbyn

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Britain's main opposition Labour party on Saturday unveils a new leader who will take the helm of a defeated and divided party in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

Keir Starmer, a former director of state prosecutions and Labour's Brexit spokesman, is the runaway favourite to win the ballot of around 500,000 party members and succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

The announcement will be a low-key affair, with a planned special conference cancelled due to restrictions on social gatherings imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Instead, the result will be put out in a press release mid-morning -- and candidates have been asked to pre-record their victory speeches.

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‘Trump fires people for telling the truth’: President blasted for ‘dead of night decision’ to fire intel watchdog

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President Donald Trump was harshly criticized on Friday for firing intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

House Intel Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Senate Intel Ranking Member Mark Warner (D-VA) were among the lawmakers who took to Twitter to criticize Trump on his favorite social media platform.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's decision:

Trump’s dead of night decision to fire ICIG Michael Atkinson is another blatant attempt to gut the independence of the Intelligence Community and retaliate against those who dare to expose presidential wrongdoing.

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