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The setting is straight from a spy thriller: Crystal waters below, snow-capped Swiss Alps above and in between, a super-secure facility researching the world’s deadliest pathogens Spiez Laboratory, known for its detective work on chemical, biological and nuclear threats since World War Two, was tasked last year by the World Health Organization to be the first in a global network of high-security laboratories that will grow, store and share newly discovered microbes that could unleash the next pandemic.

China will pay close attention to variants of coronavirus in the long term, focusing on their transmission capability, pathogenicity and ability to evade immunity, a Chinese disease control official said on Thursday.

Use of Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid spiked this week, but some doctors are reconsidering the pills for lower-risk patients after a U.S. public health agency warned that symptoms can recur after people complete a course of the drug, and that they should then isolate a second time.

North Korea on May 21 reported more than 200,000 new patients suffering from fever for a fifth consecutive day, as the country fought its first confirmed coronavirus outbreak.