What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

FILE PHOTO: Palestinians receive third shot of COVID-19 vaccine in West Bank
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(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

British study to test mixed vaccine dose schedules in children

British researchers will look into the immune responses of children to mixed schedules of different COVID-19 vaccines as officials try to determine the best approach to second doses in adolescents given a small risk of heart inflammation.

The trial will give all participants a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. That will be followed eight weeks later by either a second full dose or a half dose of the Pfizer shot, a full dose of Novavax's vaccine or a half dose of Moderna's shot. The trial's lead researcher, Matthew Snape of the Oxford Vaccine Group is running another arm of the trial in adults, giving mixed vaccine schedules both four and 12 weeks apart, and comparing the responses. He said the results of that would be coming "very shortly".

Vaccinated Australians promised more freedom

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday pledged more freedom for the vaccinated, even as Australia's second-largest state reported its second highest daily rise in new COVID-19 infections this year. Morrison said federal and state leaders would discuss vaccine passports and expanding home quarantine when they meet later on Friday.

The states of New South Wales and Victoria are testing facial recognition software that allows police to check if people are at home during COVID-19 quarantine, expanding trials that have been criticised by privacy campaigners.

Singapore PM gets COVID-19 booster shot

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday he had received a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and urged other elderly people to come forward to get a shot amid a new wave of infections across the city-state.

"Cases are increasing rapidly. A booster jab will strengthen your protection against COVID-19," Lee, 69, said in a post on his Facebook page. Singapore started giving boosters to the elderly and immunocompromised groups this week.

Indonesia's demographic dividend threatened by lengthy school closures

Experts say a pandemic-induced economic shock and closing of schools for more than a year has been devastating for many of Indonesia's 68 million students. Highlighting a shift from bad education outcomes to dreadful ones, the World Bank, in a report released on Friday, calculated that the pandemic will leave more than 80% of 15-year-olds below the minimum reading proficiency level identified by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

That's a sharp rise from the 70% of students who could not reach the basic literacy benchmark in testing by the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018, which put Indonesia in the bottom 8% of 77 participating nations.

FDA revises Lilly's COVID-19 antibody combo EUA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it has revised its emergency use authorization for Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody cocktail to include for use in patients who have been exposed to the virus and are at high risk for progression to severe disease.

The cocktail, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, was authorized in February for use in people 12 years and above with mild-to-moderate infection and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19. However, the FDA said on Thursday the cocktail is not a substitute for vaccination against COVID-19.

(Compiled by Karishma Singh)

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