While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 2

Donald Trump waves as he departs the White House for the Camp David presidential retreat, May 1, 2020.
Donald Trump waves as he departs the White House for the Camp David presidential retreat, May 1, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

FDA authorises remdesivir drug for Covid-19, says Trump

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted authorisation to Gilead Sciences for emergency use of its experimental antiviral drug remdesivir to treat patients with Covid-19, the agency and President Donald Trump said on Friday.

During a meeting in the Oval Office with Trump, Gilead chief executive Daniel O'Day called the move an important first step and said the company was donating 1.5 million vials of the drug to help patients.

"We're humbled by this being an important first step for... hospitalised patients. We want to make sure nothing gets in the way of these patients getting the medicine, so we made a decision to donate about 1.5 million vials," he said.

Gilead said on Wednesday the drug had helped improve outcomes for patients with Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and provided data suggesting it worked better when given earlier in the course of infection.

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WHO says coronavirus ‘natural in origin’

The World Health Organisation reiterated on Friday that the new coronavirus was of natural origin after US President Donald Trump claimed he had seen evidence it originated in a Chinese lab.

Scientists believe the killer virus jumped from animals to humans, emerging in China late last year, possibly from a market in Wuhan selling exotic animals for meat.

Trump claimed Thursday that he had seen proof that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was actually the source of the outbreak, although he refused to give details.

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Coronavirus: Outbreak puts British universities under 'very severe strain'

With conferences cancelled and revenues hit because of a lack of rent from student accommodation, Britain's universities are reeling from the global coronavirus pandemic.

Schools have already lost millions of pounds thanks to enforced closures under lockdown, and things could get worse still.

The national lockdown that forced universities to shut in late March has cost £790 million (S$1.4 billion), according to representative body Universities UK. And the next academic year could be even worse if international students, who pay higher tuition fees, stay away or are hit by movement restrictions.

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Canada bans assault weapons in wake of worst-ever mass shooting

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced an immediate ban on military-grade assault weapons, responding to a mass shooting and arson spree that left 22 people dead earlier this month.

"These weapons were designed for one purpose, and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time," Trudeau told a news briefing.

He said his government has approved a decree banning the sale, purchase, use, transport and import of 1,500 models of military-grade assault weapons and variants of them.

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'Isolated environment' in Austria makes it logical choice to relaunch F1 season

Formula One managing director Ross Brawn said the Austrian Grand Prix's remote location makes it a logical choice as the opening race of a season heavily interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers are aiming to start the championship, which was put on hold in March hours before the scheduled season-opener in Australia, with consecutive races at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on July 5 and 12.

"One of the logistical challenges is getting everyone tested and cleared to enter the racing environment," Brawn told the F1 Nation podcast.

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