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European committee chairs jointly condemn China over Hong Kong – The Guardian

The chairs of eight parliamentary foreign affairs committees from across Europe have written to the Chinese government in opposition to Hong Kongs new security law, saying it infringes on basic human…
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European markets

European markets climb despite virus fears; Wirecard down 40% – CNBC

European markets advanced on Friday morning despite surging coronavirus cases in the U.S. and further warnings about a second market meltdown from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.7% by mid-morning with industrials adding 1.6% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory.

The global market rebound could be tested by a long-feared escalation of coronavirus infections in the U.S., with Texas pausing the reopening of its economy after another record daily rise in new cases and hospitalizations. 

As of Friday morning, the U.S. has more than 2.4 million confirmed cases and more than 124,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday that the true number of infections could be 10 times higher than the official count.

Localized restrictions have also been reimposed in parts of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, western Germany, Beijing and Victoria state in Australia.

The IMF on Thursday warned that stocks could suffer a second meltdown in the event of another global spike in infections, the reintroduction of lockdown measures or an escalation in trade tensions.

It has been a big week for corporate news in Europe. Wirecard filed for insolvency on Thursday, unable to account for a $2.1 billion black hole in its balance sheet and owing $4 billion to creditors. The German payment company’s stock tumbled another 48% early in Friday’s session to trade at just 1.83 euros per share ($2.06 per share).

Lufthansa shareholders on Thursday backed a $10 billion German government bailout package to rescue the embattled carrier after major shareholder Heinz Hermann Thiele dropped his opposition to the plan.

Meanwhile Reuters reported Thursday night that the Dutch government has agreed a 3.4 billion euro rescue deal with France for Air France-KLM, as airlines continue to reel from months of worldwide travel restrictions.

British industrial manufacturer Rotork was the biggest gainer in early trade, adding 6.2%.

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European Study

European study links genes, blood type with risk of severe coronavirus infection – CNN

(CNN)A team of European scientists say they have found two genetic variations that may show who is more likely to get very sick and die from coronavirus, and they say they have also found a link to blood type.

Their findings, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, point to a possible explanation for why some people get so seriously ill with the virus, while most barely show any symptoms at all.
They found people with Type A blood have a higher risk of catching coronavirus and of developing severe symptoms, while people with Type O blood have a lower risk.
“Our genetic data confirm that blood group O is associated with a risk of acquiring Covid-19 that was lower than that in non-O blood groups, whereas blood group A was associated with a higher risk than non-A blood groups,” the researchers wrote in their report. They found people with Type A blood had a 45% higher risk of becoming infected than people with other blood types, and people with Type O blood were just 65% as likely to become infected as people with other blood types.
The large international team first published their findings on a non-peer-reviewed preprint server. The report has now been reviewed and published in the widely respected journal.

Trawling for genes

The researchers, led by Andre Franke, a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Kiel in Germany, studied more than 1,900 severely ill coronavirus patients in Spain and Italy, and compared them to 2,300 people who were not sick. They did what’s known as a genome-wide association study, trawling through the entire genetic map to find two DNA variations that were more common in the sickest patients.
“We detected a novel susceptibility locus at a chromosome 3p21.31 gene cluster and confirmed a potential involvement of the ABO blood-group system in Covid-19,” they wrote. And two places in the genome were linked with the risk of developing respiratory failure.
The researchers cannot say if blood type is a direct cause of the differences in susceptibility. It might be that the genetic changes that affect someone’s risk also just happen to be linked with blood type, they said.
The two genetic variations they found could be associated with a person’s immune response. A so-called cytokine storm — an overwhelming overreaction of the immune system — is blamed for the deadliest effect of coronavirus in many patients.
Dr. Roy Silverstein, a hematologist who is the chairman of the department of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, says the blood type link is plausible.
The genes that control blood type also affect structures called sugars on the surfaces of cells, which in turn could affect the ability of the virus to infect those cells, he said. Plus, blood type is linked with the risk of developing blood clots, and it’s now clear that severe coronavirus infections are marked by unusual blood clotting throughout the body.
But Silverstein, a past president of the American Society of Hematology, said the findings mean very little for the average person. While the increased risk may sound large, over a whole population of people it’s not much at all, he told CNN.
“The absolute difference in risk is very small,” he said. “The risk reduction may be statistically significant, but it is a small change in actual risk. You never would tell somebody who was Type O that they were at smaller risk of infection,” he said.
What the findings are more useful for would be in designing drugs or vaccines against coronavirus, researchers say.

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European stocks

European stocks jump at the open; Deutsche Bank surges on earnings news – MarketWatch

European stocks rose on Monday, as investors positioned for more central bank action and announcements of economies reopening. The Stoxx Europe 600
SXXP,
+1.77%

rose 1.4% in early trade, including a nearly 7% pop for Deutsche Bank
DBK,
+11.38%

as the German bank said it would beat first-quarter earnings estimates. The Bank of Japan kicked off a week for central bank action by lifting the cap on Japanese government bond purchases and boosting its purchases of commercial paper and bank loans. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average
YM00,
+1.39%

rose 171 points.

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