Australia Unemployment Drops as Half of Jobs Lost Recovered

(Bloomberg) — Australian unemployment unexpectedly fell as fiscal and monetary stimulus helped the labor market withstand Victoria’s renewed lockdown, with more than half of the jobs lost from the pandemic now recovered.

The jobless rate dropped to 6.8% in August from 7.5% a month earlier versus a median estimate of an increase to 7.7%, data from the statistics bureau showed Thursday in Sydney. Employment surged by 111,000 in August, with all states and territories outside of Victoria gaining, and completely wrong-footing analyst estimates of 35,000 drop.

The data’s strength was surprising because the period spanned Melbourne’s shift to Stage 4 restrictions and a curfew to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak, as well as nervousness in neighboring New South Wales that it was headed down the same path. The labor market’s ability to absorb this weakness and maintain its recovery is testament to the government’s signature JobKeeper employment subsidy — that

Read More

T cell epitopes from recovered COVID-19 patients identified for vaccine

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, several vaccines are undergoing clinical trials. However, the current evidence shows that T cell immunity is necessary to provide robust and durable protection against reinfection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This means that the epitopes specific to the virus which are capable of eliciting this type of response across the most significant number of people need to be identified.

A new study by researchers at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and published on the preprint server bioRxiv* in August 2020 collates the available database of SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes gathered from 8 studies of COVID-19 patients who recovered. This could serve as a launchpad to fill in knowledge gaps regarding the immunological aspects of this disease, and drive towards an effective T cell vaccine.

Study: Epitopes targeted by T cells in convalescent COVID-19 patient. Image Credit: fusebulb / Shutterstock
Study: Epitopes targeted by T cells in convalescent COVID-19 patient. Image Credit: fusebulb
Read More