French MP's house attacked by suspected 'anti-vaxxers': COVID-19 Daily Bulletin
Police officers dressed in riot gear stand guard during a protest against government measures. /Reuters

Police officers dressed in riot gear stand guard during a protest against government measures. /Reuters


· The garage of a French ruling party lawmaker was set on fire and an adjacent wall was scrawled with graffiti by suspected anti-vaccination protesters, as the government prepares to tighten vaccination legislation amid soaring infection numbers.

In Chambly, north of Paris, the house of Pascal Bois – an member of parliament for President Emmanuel Macron's ruling LREM party – was targeted. His car and garage were set on fire, and phrases including "Vote No" were spray-painted on the wall running around his house.

"Such criminal acts of intimidation are not acceptable in a democracy," Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on his Twitter account on Thursday, adding that police had opened an investigation.

· Turkey has begun administering its domestically developed vaccine, Turkovac, at hospitals across the country, amid a rapid surge in infections due to the Omicron variant.

Turkey has already administered more than 130 million vaccines using shots developed by China's Sinovac and by Pfizer-BioNTech. It also began administering booster shots.

Turkovac received emergency use authorization from Turkish authorities last week after delays beset its launch for months.

· Italy scrapped self-isolation rules on Wednesday for those coming into contact with someone testing positive, provided they have had a booster shot, have recently recovered, or been vaccinated.

The move comes after health experts urged the government to rethink its policies amid worries that the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant could paralyze the country by forcing millions to stay at home.

Under the Italian measures, isolation will no longer be required for those who had a positive contact but have had a booster dose, have been vaccinated, or have recovered from the illness within the past 120 days, a cabinet statement said.

· A key part of the immune system's second-line defense – its T cells – is highly effective at recognizing and attacking the Omicron variant, thereby preventing most infections from progressing to critical illness, a new study shows.

Omicron's mutations help it escape from antibodies, the body's first line of defense against infection. Researchers have speculated that other components of the immune response would still target Omicron, but there has been no proof until now.

In test-tube experiments, researchers in South Africa exposed copies of the virus to T cells from volunteers who had received vaccines from Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer-BioNTech, or who had not been vaccinated but had developed their own T cells after infection with an earlier version of the coronavirus.

"Despite Omicron's extensive mutations and reduced susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies, the majority of T cell response, induced by vaccination or natural infection, cross-recognizes the variant," the researchers reported on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

· Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho, defender Sergino Dest and winger Ez Abde have tested positive for COVID-19, the Spanish soccer club said.

The La Liga side's squad has been hit by several COVID-19 cases, with Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti and Gavi set to miss Sunday's match with Real Mallorca after testing positive.

This week, players Clement Lenglet, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, and Alejandro Balde also returned positive tests.


Source(s): Reuters ,AFP

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