Bulgaria News (Novinite) (Sofia News Agency) Real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news - economic, political and cultural, foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and world news.

  • COVID-19 in Bulgaria: 151 Newly Registered Cases, 19014 Total
    on September 22, 2020 at 6:30 am

    The number of people infected with COVID-19 in Bulgaria exceeded 19 thousand people, as according to the Unified Information Portal for the last 24 hours, 151 new cases were registered during 2,988 PCR tests. The total number is now 19,014. Most new cases are in the capital - 30, in Plovdiv 17 and in Burgas 16. Followed by Stara Zagora with 14 new cases, Varna and Blagoevgrad with 13 each. There are 714 people in hospital, 33 of whom are in serious condition and are housed in intensive care units. In the last 24 hours, 4 people died and 147 were cured. There are 4,522 active cases.

  • 112 years of Independent Bulgaria!
    on September 22, 2020 at 6:24 am

    On September 22, Bulgaria celebrates 112 years of Independence. The whole history of Bulgaria, which is one of the oldest countries in Europe, is marked by the struggle for independence. There will be official celebrations and festivities throughout the country, and at least for a day Bulgarian enthusiasm and patriotism will be revived. This year, due to COVID-19, some celebrations will be canceled or celebrated symbolically, but the culmination of the celebrations as every year is in Veliko Tarnovo. The Speaker of the National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva will deliver a solemn speech in Veliko Tarnovo on September 22, 2020 on the occasion of the 112th anniversary of the proclamation of Bulgaria's Independence. The ceremonial fireworks will start at 7.30 pm on Tsar Asen I Square in front of the Tsarevets Fortress. The celebrations in Veliko Tarnovo will be held under the patronage of the Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament. The Speaker of the National Assembly will accept the honorary rank of the companies of the National Military University. Traditionally, the manifesto by which King Ferdinand proclaimed Independence on September 22, 1908 will be read. Bulgaria's Independence Day - September 22, will be celebrated solemnly in the garrisons across the country. Representative formations from the Land Forces, the Air Force and the Navy, the National Guard (NGF) and the National Military University (NMU) "Vasil Levski" will take part in the celebrations on the occasion of the 112th anniversary of the proclamation of Bulgaria's Independence. Sofia on the holiday at 12.00 in front of the building of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria will be a solemn change of the honor guard./Nova Tv

  • Team of Scientists, Led by a Bulgarian, Isolated a Strong and Effective Antibody Specific for COVID-19
    on September 21, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    A team of scientists from the University of Pittsburgh, led by a Bulgarian, have isolated a strong and effective antibody specific for COVID-19. The results of all tests were announced by "Cell" - one of the most renowned scientific journals, which publishes only objective and relevant to science data. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov is at the heart of the discovery. "Cell" does not give a platform to everyone. It publishes only significant and very well-proven findings. Prof. Dimitrov's team is among the most respectable scientific teams in the world. At least, because there are already several effective antibodies developed by them, with which viruses like Hendra and Napa are not as scary and deadly as Ebola. They have done their job against the first two dangerous coronaviruses. And it could be expected that they would try to outsmart COVID-19 as well. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov - Center for Therapeutic Antibodies, University of Pittsburgh: It was ready in a week. The viral sequence of the nucleotides was published sometime in late January, we immediately synthesized the viral particle, and sometime in late February we had the antibody. And we even had a patent. It was quick, quicker than everyone else. The other big companies found their antibodies in March. But we are a small group and it takes us a long time to characterize the antibody. The development of specific antibodies for the treatment of viral infections is not a very popular concept. And it is not one of those discussed as a way out of the COVID crisis. But the Pittsburgh team is about to change the agenda. Assoc. Prof. Andrey Chorbanov - Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, BAS: It is known that antibodies are entirely positive when it comes to bacterial toxins, infections of this nature. But with viruses, the issue is very individual for each virus. And we just don't know about this one. We have viruses in which the antibodies are 100% positive in terms of neutralization. There are also those in which the antibodies do not help at all. I give a typical example - the AIDS virus, in which antibodies are just a sign that the person has been infected with HIV and nothing more. So from this aspect, the antibodies have a still unclear perspective. But the perspective for Prof. Dimitrov has long been clear. He has extensive experience, especially with viruses, and has many successful developments in his portfolio. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov - Center for Therapeutic Antibodies, University of Pittsburgh: 20 years ago we were the first to isolate antibodies against Sars, then against Mers, who came from Saudi Arabia from camels, the camel virus and then against some viruses in Australia and India - Hendra and Nipa. Antibodies against the deadly Hendra and Nipa have even been approved for production and are used to treat people in Australia. So the scientist has a clean and accurate approach and reacts quickly with COVID. From the large and complex antibody molecule, it selects only that small region that binds specifically to the virus itself. And so it blocks the virus's connection with those receptors on the cell that put it inside. A very clever approach that predetermines all the advantages of their small molecule, which they call AB 8. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov - Center for Therapeutic Antibodies, University of Pittsburgh: Smaller in size, which means two things. First, it binds to the virus better because it is smaller and can simply adapt better, and second, it penetrates human tissues. It penetrates better everywhere. And as we know, this virus not only infects the lungs, it also infects other tissues. So, because it penetrates better, it can be more effective throughout the body. Although quickly synthesized, AB 8 has a long way to go to prove effective. For this purpose, the team is looking for suitable models. Mice with human receptors have been developed so that they can be infected with COVID. But the work really started when they managed to modify the virus so that it could infect any mouse. This gives the team a chance to prove the effectiveness of AB 8 faster. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov - Center for Therapeutic Antibodies, University of Pittsburgh: The moment we made the other model, we could immediately use many more mice and then see what is the minimum dose that can be protected. And as a result, we showed with this model that even with a very small antibody, meaning 50 micrograms per mouse, it corresponds to 100 milligrams per person. In comparison, some of the large pharmaceutical companies, according to their latest published data, have achieved a significant protective effect, but with 7 grams of the selected antibodies. At this stage, AB 8 has also gone through tests for safety - or no side effects. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov - Center for Therapeutic Antibodies, University of Pittsburgh: We also specifically tested it for how safe it can be, showing that it does not bind to absolutely all human proteins we tested - for example 6,000 proteins , and only to this protein. Assoc. Prof. Andrey Chorbanov - Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, BAS: The risk is very small because those antibodies that have been developed are quite small. The antibodies themselves, when they are monoclonal, when they are for specific therapy, the risk is very small. Of course, there are purely technological obstacles that I assume the authors of these innovations will solve. The small particles, which are a small, specifically made antibody, also have a small presence in the body. The small molecules do not have a long half-life. But this is a problem they will find a solution to. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov - Center for Therapeutic Antibodies, University of Pittsburgh: Besides, the important thing I wanted to say is that this antibody is very, very stable. In fact, special tests that others generally don't do are at least not published, and that's new. For example, it stays for three months at a human temperature of 37 degrees, then we take it and no change in efficiency. According to scientists, the activity of AB 8 can be increased to 6 months, which is quite commensurate with the time of protection that would give the currently developed vaccines. Or it could, in addition to treatment, be used as a passive vaccine to protect the most vulnerable groups to the virus. Where even the best vaccine can't help. Assoc. Prof. Andrei Chorbanov - Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, BAS: It is clear that even if we have a wonderful vaccine against anything, it never covers 100% of the population due to a number of factors, especially some genetic preconditions, some diseases, which make it impossible to use the vaccine or inability to obtain positive therapy. So, the antibodies in this case would act as, let’s say, a duplicate therapy to cover such gaps, of course, provided that they are successful and developed as a therapy. However, they can act very quickly and treat an already ill person. The small size of AB 8 predetermines another advantage. Because it enters very precisely into the active centre with which the virus binds to the receptors of the cell, no mutations in it can change its action. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov - Center for Therapeutic Antibodies, University of Pittsburgh: Yes. This is the other feature, what we showed in our article - we also tested it against all mutants of the virus that have been isolated so far in humans. And it works against all. Assoc. Prof. Andrey Chorbanov - Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, BAS: Each specific therapy is very positive and I think that this is the way to develop - to look for a specific vaccine and specific therapy, not to try thousands of substances with general action. Just remember since February how much and what is the list of substances and agents and old drugs that have been used for any purpose for a short period, after which nothing at all about them. AB 8 is about to prove its effectiveness in humans. But for this purpose, the team needs to obtain permission to produce it. Probably another obstacle may come out - the price. The production of monoclonal antibodies is a rather complex, expensive and slow process. But a few more therapeutic antibodies are likely to hit the market, which are sure to cut prices. And the team from Pittsburgh noted another achievement - they completed their development in 8 months, the last time they needed 2 years. But they are determined to cope with this term as well. From now on, they are preparing for the next pandemic. Prof. Dimiter Dimitrov - Center for Therapeutic Antibodies, University of Pittsburgh: What we do is very interesting There are viruses that we know are in animals and can jump to humans. We preventively develop antibodies against these viruses. At the moment we even have some. The end of this race is visible, as well as the beginning of the next. But then we have to be faster and better./BNT

  • Ryanair Reduces Its Flights by Additional 20 Percent in October
    on September 21, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    The low-cost carrier Ryanair reduced its flights by an additional 20 percent in October, the company announced. The redundancies are in addition to those already announced in August and September. Thus, in reality, the carrier performs only 40 percent of the flights compared to those for the same month a year ago. However, the carrier hopes that the flights will have at least 70 percent of seats sold. According to the company, the main reason for the reduction of pre-planned flights is "continuous changes" in government restrictions on travel in the European Union.If the situation remains unchanged and the rules for closed borders and quarantines for the arrival of foreign nationals do not change in EU countries, capacity reduction may be necessary for the carrier's winter schedule from November to March, explained Ryanair./Trud

  • Finland Opens Its Borders, 14-Day Quarantine for Bulgarians
    on September 21, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Finland has opened its borders to citizens of EU and Schengen countries. Entering the country for people with the status of permanent residents and their family members, for transit and traveling for work, for business trips or training, as well as visits to relatives is now without problems, BGNES reports. Diplomats, employees of international organizations, military and humanitarian workers in the performance of their duties, as well as government officials may enter Finnish territory. However, during border checks, staff will require passers-by to provide the necessary documents. However, Bulgarian citizens admitted to Finland will be placed under a recommended 14-day quarantine, local authorities said. If necessary, Bulgarian citizens can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Helsinki, during working hours at: (+358 9) 458 4055, (+358 9) 458 4035, and during non-working hours at: (+358) 44 055 0547.