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UK expected to be the first western country to license a COVID-19 vaccine

vaccine program with BioNTech

Britain is expected to become the first western country to authorize a coronavirus vaccine, increasing the chances that vaccines will begin weeks ahead of the rest of Europe.

Meanwhile, the European regulator suggested on Tuesday that it might not take a decision before the end of December, making it unlikely that vaccination programs will be launched in Europe before 2021.

The United Kingdom could start vaccinations ahead of any other western country thanks to an internationally recognized body, the Regulatory Authority for Drugs and Health Products (MHRA).

A source in Whitehall said the UK would be “one step ahead”, saying that “MHRA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine will be a great time not only for the UK but for the world.”

MHRA has conducted an ongoing review of several vaccines over the past few months, including that of Pfizer/BioNTech, which presented its final data on November 23. According to a government source, the regulator was expected to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in a matter of days, even as early as Wednesday.

FAME International College - campus

“We have to be realistic and we have to accept that this vaccine is not here yet, no vaccine is here yet,” the prime minister said. “And whilst all the signs are promising, and almost every scientist I have talked to agrees that the breakthrough will surely come, we do not yet have one that has gained regulatory approval. We can’t be completely sure when the moment will arrive. And until then, we cannot afford to relax, especially during the cold months of winter.”

Europe has just started reviewing data from the final trials of the Pfizer vaccine. On Tuesday, the EMA announced that it had received definitive data from Pfizer and Moderna, the US company manufacturing a similar vaccine. Both reported 95% efficiency in Stage 3 trials.

The EMA said the assessments would be accelerated thanks to its own rolling review of the data from earlier trials and other information, with an opinion on authorisation coming potentially within weeks.

If the EMA gives the green light, the European Commission will look into the possibility of granting a conditional marketing authorisation in the coming days, which would mean that the vaccine is approved for use in all Member States.

Once transported from Belgium, where it is produced, MHRA and Public Health England will conduct “quality assurance tests” to verify that the conditions of transport have been complied with.

The UK regulatory body is also reviewing data from trials of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, which found 62% efficacy in a large trial but 90% efficacy in a subset of volunteers under the age of 55. The UK has ordered 100m doses of the vaccine, which does not need to be stored in freezers and is believed to be the backbone of the immunization program.

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IBE Alliance Member Schools

The International Bilingual Education Alliance is an exclusive network of high schools across Asia. Established in May 2020, the Alliance aims to connect schools through various inter-school activities, to support teachers, and to prepare students for an era of business-driven globalisation.

The main programme that all IBE Alliance schools run is the International Preparation Course in Business (IPCB). This course equips students with practical business knowledge and a good command of the English language.

As of the 27th of October, listed below are the schools who have recently become exclusive members of the IBE Alliance:

St. Joseph’s International School, Malaysia

FAME International College - campus

Chung Hua Independent High School, Malaysia

Institut Sinaran

SMA Al-Azhar Syifa Budi Solo, Indonesia

Institut Sinaran

SMA St. Paulus Pontianak, Indonesia

Institut Sinaran

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New local COVID alert levels for England 🦠

The prime minister has announced a new three-tier system of restrictions in England to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Addressing MPs before hosting a Downing Street press conference, he confirmed the levels will be set at medium, high, and very high.

He set out how this new approach will be simpler and standardised, and thanked local leaders who have engaged with the government over the weekend.

The “medium” alert level

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:

 

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-19 Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.
  • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors.

England

  • All areas, excluding those listed below

The “high” alert level

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:

 

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Cheshire

  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Cheshire East

 

Greater Manchester

  • Manchester
  • Bolton
  • Bury
  • Stockport
  • Tameside
  • Trafford
  • Wigan
  • Salford
  • Rochdale
  • Oldham

 

Warrington

  • Warrington

 

Derbyshire

High Peak – the wards of:

  • Tintwistle
  • Padfield
  • Dinting
  • St John’s
  • Old Glossop
  • Whitfield
  • Simmondley
  • Gamesley
  • Howard Town
  • Hadfield South
  • Hadfield North

 

Lancashire

  • Blackpool
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Burnley
  • Chorley
  • Fylde
  • Hyndburn
  • Lancaster
  • Pendle
  • Preston
  • Ribble Valley
  • Rossendale
  • South Ribble
  • West Lancashire
  • Wyre

West Yorkshire

  • Leeds
  • Bradford
  • Kirklees
  • Calderdale
  • Wakefield

 

South Yorkshire

  • Barnsley
  • Rotherham
  • Doncaster
  • Sheffield

 

North East

  • Newcastle
  • South Tyneside
  • North Tyneside
  • Gateshead
  • Sunderland
  • Durham
  • Northumberland

 

Tees Valley

  • Middlesbrough
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Darlington
  • Hartlepool

 

West Midlands

  • Birmingham
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Wolverhampton
  • Walsall

 

Leicester

  • Leicester
  • Oadby and Wigston

 

Nottingham

  • Nottinghamshire
  • Nottingham City

The “Very High” alert level

This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.

The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

 

  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed.
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

Liverpool City Region

  • Liverpool
  • Knowsley
  • Wirral
  • St Helens
  • Sefton
  • Halton

Restrictions across Scotland

Until Sunday 25 October, pubs and restaurants can only open inside between 06:00 and 18:00 daily, and they are not allowed to serve alcohol.

They are only allowed to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks, although they can serve alcohol outdoors until 22:00.

Hotel restaurants can serve food after 18:00, but only for residents and without alcohol.

Face coverings are compulsory in indoor communal settings, such as staff canteens and corridors in workplaces.

Already in Scotland, you’re not allowed to meet inside other people’s homes. Up to six people from two different households can meet outdoors, including in private gardens.

However, there’s no limit on the number of children under 12 who can meet or play together outdoors. Young people aged 12 to 18 are exempt from the two-household limit and can meet outdoors in groups of up to six.

Rules in Wales

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in Wales have to stop serving alcohol at 22:00. Pubs are required to provide table service only.

Sales of alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets after 22:00 are also banned.

Northern Ireland’s new meeting up rules

People in Northern Ireland can no longer meet anyone who they don’t live with inside their home. There are only limited exceptions.

Pubs, hotel bars and restaurants can stay open until 23:00.

Get in touch with PDVL if you have any enquiry regarding study abroad✈️

Environmental Rangers♻️

Single Usage of Plastic Bag 🚮

Single-use disposable plastics waste was accumulation in recent year and ends up in landfills, dumps or in the open environment. Single-use plastics are intended to be used only once before they are thrown away, which result a major environmental issues in Malaysia where it has been ranked as 8th among the top ten countries with mismanaged plastic waste in the world. Malaysia aims to address single-use plastics by encouraging the plastic industry to transition to eco-friendly products.

Towards zero single-use plastics for a cleaner and healthier environment in Malaysia by 2030

Challenges Before Us

  • Lack of Awareness

The problem of plastic waste in Malaysia is driven by the habit of littering and unsustainable consumption habits

  • Low Recycling Rate

Due to focusing on high value recycle materials, only waste materials like transparent PET bottles are being recycled in mass volume. Other waste materials (i.e.food packaging, polystyrene products and straws) that do not have recycling value are almost never recycled due to lack of technology or business viability.Besides that,the local recyclers are challenged to ensure the sustainability and quality of raw materials

  • Biodegradability and Cost of Current Alternative to Plastics

The current biodegradable alternatives are higher in price than plastics. This factor does not encourage businesses to embrace alternative products

  • Enforcement

Given the ubiquitous nature of single-use plastics and its huge usage, enforcement especially at local levels would pose some challenges

  • Integrated Waste Management

This integrated approach could act as a catalyst for waste to wealth interventions by creating downstream industries such as fertiliser, energy, and the animal feed industry

Action Plan

Environmental groups have reacted to the government’s decision to extend the 20sen plastic bag charge to all types of business premises in 2022, by calling for a complete ban on the use of plastic bags. Each state has started to have ‘No Plastic Bag’ campaign in each week as it was a way to protect the environment. However, the implementation of the policy needed support from traders and local authorities, who will be monitoring the campaign to make it successful.
Many restaurants in Malaysia have stopped handing out straws unless they were specifically requested by customers. Plastic straws are very harmful to the environment as they are hard to recycle, aren’t biodegradable and they (obviously) threaten our marine life.
When used up a container, make sure to clean it​ up​ and if you can’t repurpose, recycle. Find out where you can take them after the isolation. If you don’t know where to start, your city will have information that ​might​ help you. Reusing plastics are good ways to prevent you from buying more needless plastics.
Malaysia is returning 42 shipping containers of illegally imported plastic waste to the UK, its environment minister has announced. The UK government said it received a request from Malaysian authorities last year to repatriate the waste and some containers had already arrived back.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We continue to work with the shipping lines and Malaysian authorities to ensure all waste is brought back as soon as possible.”

He added the government was also “working hard to stop illegal waste exports from leaving our shores in the first place”. The authorities hope to send back another 110 containers by the middle of 2020 – with 60 of those going to the US.

The plastic you use once tortures the oceans forever

Environmental Courses in UK Universities

University of Birmingham

  • Environmental Science BSc (Hons)

The Environmental Science BSc degree is designed around three key themes – understanding environmental processes and systems; investigating changes and impacts; and enabling their prediction and mitigation.

Manchester Metropolitan University

  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

The course combines aspects of physical and life sciences, helping you build an understanding of environmental issues today.

You’ll also gain a wide range of practical and analytical skills, working in the lab and the field. By the time you graduate, you’ll be able to collect, process, and analyse data from a range of sources across different scientific disciplines – giving you the understanding to make informed recommendations in a professional context.

Bournemouth University

  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Science

The degree has been developed to give you a solid overview in the discipline of environmental science, as well as looking at how humans shape the world around us and humanity can tackle the issues arise from this.

In addition to covering specialist theory, the degree’s highly practical element seeks to equip you with a host of transferable skills essential for finding employment after you graduate, or alternatively, for progressing on to Masters courses and completing further research.

University of East Anglia

  • BSc Environmental Sciences

You’ll gain important field skills and have the chance to put them into practice on field trips to locations such as Spain, Ireland or Greece, as well as the UK. Upon graduation you will be well equipped to follow one of a wide range of environmental careers or use your skills to pursue other graduate opportunities.

University of the West of England

  • BSc(Hons)Environmental Science

BSc(Hons) Environmental Science brings together knowledge from a variety of fields to give you a deep understanding of the environmental challenges facing the world today.

Through a practical, hands-on approach that runs through all the modules, you’ll gain exposure to the skills and technology employed at the forefront of environmental science.

Carry out your own investigations in our specialist labs, and use the latest mapping software in our dedicated computer suite.
 

Newcastle University

  • Environmental Science BSc Honours

Biology and geography are an important part of this degree, to help you to understand the processes within ecosystems and how we can manage our natural resources effectively.

You will also study chemistry, physics and geology as applied to the study of the environment. Topics cover a wide range of subjects, from plant biology and ecology, to sustainability and environmental law.

You’ll learn about the role of social and economic factors, ethics and public perception in environmental management.
 

Decrease the use of the plastic, increase the age of mother Earth🌏

Together we can heal the Planet🗺️

UK Higher Education: Reopening Guidance

This article is help providers of higher education in England to understand how to minimise risk during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and provide services to students. From 4 July, where 2 metres social distancing is not viable, reducing the distance down to a minimum of 1 metre can be used but only if appropriate mitigation is in place.

Principles for higher education provision

All higher education providers should share the same practice so that there is a consistent approach to reopening that puts the health and safety of all students and staff at its priority:

  • Accommodation for all students who need to be on site should be recommended to minimise any coronavirus (COVID-19) risk
  • Students in residential settings (halls of residence or houses of multiple occupation): this guidance on isolation for residential educational settings may be helpful
  • International students who may have returned home: when reopening settings you should pay particular attention to those international students who have returned home and have been unable to return to the UK. You should ensure that they receive adequate teaching provision, exams and other core elements of the learning experience
  • All students who may have been released from accommodation contracts and would have nowhere to stay if needed on campus

Reopening laboratories

Guidance on Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), including in laboratories and research facilities. The same considerations might apply to laboratory science teaching as well, if it can be done in a way that reduces risks to those using the facilities.
Health and Safety Executive should carry out a risk assessment to assess the risk of (COVID-19) and the need to protect people who are at a higher risk to improve control of workplace risks if needed.

Reopening other buildings

It may be appropriate to consider reopening low-density buildings first as a phased way of extending access to the campus while safeguarding the needs of staff and students. Libraries can open from 4 July in a COVID-secure way. Libraries Connected has drawn up guidance for public libraries to support reopening that will also be relevant for university libraries.

Social distancing on campus

University Campus
Risk assessments should be conducted in the forthcoming academic year in order to understand:

  • the number of students and staff likely to be included in a learning space and how they can be accommodated as safely as possible
  • the availability of staff, including contingency plans should individuals be shielding (until 1 August, but refer to public health guidance for updates) or self-isolating
  • supporting services required in increasing the number of individuals on-site (for example, catering) and how they can be provided as safely as possible
  • what measures in addition to those that have already been undertaken during the current outbreak will need to be in place to accommodate additional numbers (including additional cleaning required of spaces and equipment following use)

Higher Education should implement a range of protective measures including increased cleaning, reducing ‘pinch points’ (such as at the start and end of day), and utilising outdoor space. Beside that, they should ensure that they understand the NHS Test and Trace process and how to contact their local Public Health England health protection team.

Identify the appropriate mix of online and face-to-face lecture, reflecting what will maximise learning as well as supporting staff or students who cannot attend campus, and enabling the provider as a whole to minimise transmission risk.

The public health guidance is to reduce social contact, maintain social distance, adopt good hand and respiratory hygiene measures and to self-isolate and get tested if you have symptoms.

Transport

Some Uni may also arrange transport. Student will therefore want to have regard to the guidance for passengers and operators. The current advice is to avoid using public transport, and aim to walk, cycle or drive instead. If using public transport is necessary, wearing a face covering is mandatory, unless you are exempt for health, disability or other reasons:
 

International students and self-isolation

University Campus

Uni and students will need to have regard to guidance that relates to residents or visitors travelling to the UK, who will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a contact detail declaration from 8 June 2020.

Staff and student wellbeing

University Campus

The Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, wrote to the OfS and HE providers in March to highlight a need to focus on mental health and wellbeing across HE.
Govt will continue to work closely with the HE sector to promote good practice and support students and providers during the outbreak. HE providers are autonomous bodies, independent from government and have a responsibility to support students with mental health conditions.

Should you need further information regarding application, please contact PDVL via chatbox.

King’s College London in Fighting The Coronavirus

A large number of King’s researchers, academics, clinicians and students are collaborating between departments and with other institutions to get the best minds together to lead the UK’s response to this global challenge.

Scientists from the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine have been working to screen drugs that could have the potential to target the COVID-19 virus. Led by Professor Mauro Giacca, the team has been using robotic technology in King’s School of Cardiovascular Medicine & Sciences to study the functionality of drugs.

When the pandemic started to strike, we reconverted our activity to search whether, among the already approved and available drugs, there are any that can block viral replication and can thus be rapidly re-purposed against COVID-19.

Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine

 

As one of the largest and most successful centres for research and education in the UK, we benefit from extensive international and local partnerships that encourage innovative and progressive collaboration.

Research is core to what we do and how we educate. We are strategically aligned to King’s Health Partners, bringing together academics and clinicians who are committed to ensuring efficient translation and adoption of research innovation into clinical practice.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), over 91.8 percent of our research was rated 4 star or 3 star. The Faculty is ranked:

  • 14th in the world for Pharmacy & Pharmacology (QS World University Rankings 2019)
  • 16th in the world for Anatomy & Physiology (QS World University Rankings 2019)
  • 17th in the world for Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019)

Subject Areas

 

Anatomy

Anatomy at King’s College has an international reputation for scholarship and teaching, The Guy’s campus is home to the world-famous Gordon Museum of Pathology and has long been linked to the production of Gray’s Anatomy. Wide range of modules at all levels across the Bioscience Education programmes.

 

Biochemistry

Biochemistry is at the heart of the rapid and exciting advances in biomedical science that have been one of mankind’s major achievements of the past 60 years – from understanding enzyme function to deciphering the structure of DNA to modern stem cell biology and genomics.

 

Common Year One

Common Year One’ is the name given to our first year curriculum of our bioscience courses. The hallmark of our Common Year One programmes is flexibility: all students complete the same Common Year One curriculum, covering the core biomedical science disciplines – see the list on the right of this page. After this, you can make an informed decision on which degree you wish to pursue and modules become increasingly specialised according to your choice.

 

Genetics

Genetics is a fast moving moving and expanding field that is transforming medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and biomedical research, with huge impacts on our daily lives.

 

Medicine

Blending biomedical sciences, population sciences and clinical practice, it provides early authentic clinical experiences to truly bring medicine to life. King’s medical graduates will be distinguishable as critical scientific thinkers, champions for mental health and leaders in service quality improvement – equipped to address healthcare challenges on a local and global scale.

 

Immunology

The Teaching Centre of Immunology is a hub for high-quality immunology teaching and training on programmes for medical and non-medical undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students, as well as clinical trainees and post-doctoral fellows.

 

Nutrition

King’s Department of Nutritional Sciences is a leader in the training of students, in research, and in consultancy to governments, international agencies, industry and the media.

 

Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Pharmacology is the science concerned with the study of drugs and how they work to combat disease, as well as the search for new, improved drugs. It brings together several biomedical sciences including physiology, biochemistry and toxicology. There are also close links with medicine and pharmacy.

 

Pharmacy at King’s

The role of the pharmacist is evolving faster than ever before. By being a frontline source of expert advice on health and medicines, they’re helping healthcare teams optimise medicines use, avoid medication errors and alleviate the strain on A&E departments.

 

Physiotherapy

As the largest allied health professional group, physiotherapists work with people with a variety of disabilities and their families/carers and use physical means to promote health, optimal rehabilitation and, where possible, recovery. The wide scope of physiotherapy is one of its assets, making it an exciting and varied career.

 

Sport & Medicine Exercise Sciences

At King’s, you’ll divide your time between practical work in the lab and understanding underlying theory in several key areas: physiology, psychology, biomechanics, cell biology, nutrition, and clinical science. Because of the broad nature of the subject, this degree is a great starting point for a range of rewarding careers.

 

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