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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Hope for Covid patients: Swiss researchers found a promising treatment for the disease.
Scientists at EPFL and CHUV, pictured here, developed a “very potent” coronavirus treatment capable of neutralising its different variants. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Swiss scientists develop a new treatment for Covid-19

Researchers at the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Lausanne (EPFL) and Vaud University Hospital (CHUV) have found a “very potent” monoclonal antibody targeting the coronavirus and able to neutralise its different variants.

“The development of this new neutralising antibody marks a decisive step in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic”, the two institutions announced jointly.

 “It paves the way for improved management of severe forms of the disease and promising new preventive measures, especially for people with weakened immune systems”.

The discovered antibody could also be used as part of combination therapy to reduce the severity of the disease in infected people.

However, this discovery is not intended to replace vaccination, which still remains the most effective way to protect against infection, both EPFL and CHUV noted.

Swiss Health Ministry could authorise coronavirus booster shots

After insisting that it is not planning to administer third doses to general public due to lack of scientific evidence about the booster’s usefulness — though boosters are given to people with compromised immunity — the government could change its mind on this issue.

Patrick Mathys, head of the crisis management section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), said the question is nevertheless “being discussed” at the federal level.

One point that authorities have to clarify before making the decision, he said, is how long the post-vaccine immunity to coronavirus lasts.

READ MORE: UPDATED: How can I get my Covid booster shot in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s post-recovery Covid certificate could be valid longer

Mathys also pointed out that the validity period of the Covid certificate for people who recovered from coronavirus could be increased.

An extension from the current six to 12 months (as is the case for vaccinated people) is under discussion, and Switzerland is in close contact with the European Union on this subject, according to Mathys.

Swiss company offers a monthly subscription for Covid tests

As coronavirus screening is no longer free of charge for the unvaccinated, a company, Dagobert sàrl, launched a subscription offer in Zurich and St. Gallen to cut the price of testing.

For 165 francs, customers are entitled to 15 screenings for a month. This works out to 11 francs per test, instead of 47 francs recommended by the government for the rapid antigen test.

Dagobert’s managing director Dominik Stattler said his tests are reliable, as the company  employs many doctors to supervise the quality of the tests, and employees undergo internal certification, provided by infectious disease specialists.

However, health officials and pharmacists claim the cheap screening methods are of questionable quality.

“The checks carried out by the supervisory authorities and the public councils have revealed shortcomings of some of these offers”, according to Bern’s cantonal doctor Linda Nartey.

READ MORE: How much do Covid tests now cost in Switzerland?

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