Simone McCarthy

Simone McCarthy

Reporter, China

Simone is a contributor to Inkstone. She is a reporter for the South China Morning Post and she previously wrote about China tech, business and society for SupChina.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English
Areas of Expertise
China society and education, gender rights
Distribution may be the hardest step of Covid-19 vaccine journey
Covid-19 vaccine candidates have advanced into final-stage trials faster than any in history, and projections for how many total doses could roll off assembly lines next year now top 16 billion, according to one recent calculation. But failures and setbacks are standard in the vaccine industry, and such projections could be cut by more than half, according to another estimate made last month. Which experimental vaccines eventually make it past approval and off assembly lines at scale will profoundly impact who gets vaccinated and when. Rich economies have already claimed large amounts of some companies’ supplies.  Those companies have also pledged supplies to lower and middle-income economie
Potential Coronavirus vaccines head towards crucial third step
The race for a Covid-19 vaccine has taken on critical importance as the disease continues to charge through the global population, with almost 15 million confirmed cases and nearly 615,000 deaths. The world hopes a vaccine can be a silver bullet out of the crisis, and new results from some of the teams leading development are showing early promising signs. But the real test lies ahead in the final-phase trials, experts say. The new data out on Monday includes a vaccine candidate produced by a team at Oxford University, working in partnership with British firm AstraZeneca. The candidate was safe and induced strong immune responses in combined phase-one and phase-two trials, according to a st
Even a coronavirus vaccine won’t offer an easy way out
The future remains foggy as the coronavirus pandemic charges into the second half of the year, with more than 1 million new infections reported in the past week. But one thing is clear: there is no easy way out. Infectious disease experts can only theorize about what trajectory the virus will take in the coming months and whether it will embed itself permanently in the population and circulate every year. But they generally agree that the future will depend on how governments and people behave. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, said on Monday that things would only get “worse and worse and worse” if countries and people did not take the necessary
We may never find the origin of the coronavirus
Scientists with experience tracking virus behavior say the search for the origin of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could take years of work and may not reach a definitive conclusion. This is despite a team of WHO experts expected to meet Chinese health officials this weekend to set parameters for an international mission. One obstacle is time itself. Tracking the virus transmission route more than six months after the outbreak was identified in central China will be a herculean task. Exactly how, where and when the pathogen first infected a human is a mystery. The consensus is that Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, likely came from a bat. It may have found its way into
China to investigate ambassador’s death in Israel
China is sending a team of investigators to Israel to probe the death of Du Wei, its ambassador to the country, whose body was found at his residence in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The team, accompanied by a member of Du’s family, will handle arrangements for the remains, as well as conducting its own internal investigation, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Du, 57, died unexpectedly “of health reasons.” Du was last seen in public on Tuesday in a video conference with an official from Israel’s foreign affairs ministry, according to the embassy website. Du was assigned to serve in Israel in February, when China was in the throes of the corona
‘Viral sovereignty’: Why countries don’t always share virus samples
When a deadly disease breaks out and threatens the world, countries are obliged to share laboratory samples and other information to help fight it, right? Wrong. In 2007, Indonesia refused to give the World Health Organization samples of an H5N1 influenza strain from an outbreak in the country until it was guaranteed fair access to any vaccines created from the material. Welcome to the world of “viral sovereignty.” The ownership of pathogens and related data that emerge in one country is part of a long-standing debate that touches an exploitative colonial nerve: wealthy countries plundering the natural resources – including biodiversity – of poorer nations and profiting from it. With the co
Coronavirus may have been silently spreading as early as October, study says
The coronavirus that results in Covid-19 may have started its course toward a pandemic as early as October, according to a new study on the genetic make-up of the coronavirus. As debate on the origin of the virus continues, a growing body of research suggests the virus began spreading earlier than many thought. The pathogen, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, is thought to have made the jump from an animal host to humans some time between October 6 and December 11 last year, according to an article released on Tuesday and set to be published in the scientific journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. The findings are based on analysis of more than 7,000 genome sequence assemblies collected from
Coronavirus patients are most contagious early on, study says
Most transmission of Covid-19 occurs at the very early stage of the disease or before the onset of symptoms, a study based on Taiwan’s contact tracing system has found. The research looked at the outcomes for 2,761 close contacts linked to Taiwan’s 100 confirmed cases of the disease, caused by a new coronavirus, up to March 18. Only 22 of those contacts were found to have contracted Covid-19, and all of them caught the disease from people who had not yet reached their sixth day of illness or had not even started to show symptoms. The findings – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine on Friday – come as countries around the world are looking to
Coronavirus particles can linger in the air, study suggests
Research in China has added new evidence to the understanding of how the coronavirus – thought to spread mainly through contact with droplets from coughs and sneezes – may linger in the air. The findings suggest coronavirus particles could linger after being shaken from medical workers’ protective gear, or be present in the air in toilets used by patients. The data was based on measurements of particles in the air at two hospitals in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The study, set to be published in the journal Nature, indicates the virus may have the potential to be transmitted via small droplets suspended in the air called aerosols, the researchers said. Virus-laden aerosols may play a r
Chinese students in the US question their future amid rising tide of prejudice
Yue Qu did not expect to be spending the end of his first year of college alone in his room on a deserted campus in California. But he had little choice. Despite booking several tickets home to Chengdu, in southwest China, the flights kept getting canceled as China and other countries imposed air travel restrictions amid the escalating Covid-19 pandemic. “I have two tickets for May, but I’m not confident that those flights will run. There’s no reason for me to be here, and it’s a stressful experience staying here all alone,” he said. Yue is among the roughly 350,000 Chinese students studying at US colleges and universities, the largest group of foreign students in the country. It is not clea