Promising test results in a COVID-19 vaccines and a possible breakthrough in treatment were announced Monday as coronavirus cases surged in several regions of the world.

British scientists have found that using an inhaled form of interferon beta helps to reduce COVID-19 patients’ need for ventilation by 79%, improving their chances of recovery while Pfizer and AstraZeneca released their latest clinical trial results.

Scientists from U.K. biotech firm Synairgen said when inhaled, the natural protein interferon beta stimulates an immune response in the body for patients with the virus. A double-blind study was conducted on 101 patients at nine hospitals. Six patients, who received a placebo, died from the virus during the trial.

While the results from the study have yet to be published, the use of interferon beta presents a “major breakthrough in the treatment of COVID-19 patients,” Synairgen CEO Richard Marsden said.

More breakthroughs were made in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical firm, AstraZeneca. The early trial results published Monday in the Lancet medical journal detail a strong immune response to an experimental vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 in a phase one trial of more than 1,000 participants.

The trial showed promise as patients produced antibodies and killer T-cells when taking the vaccine with few side effects, including symptoms of fatigue and headache.

“There is still much work to be done before we can confirm if our vaccine will help manage the COVID-19 pandemic, but these early results hold promise,” University of Oxford Professor Sarah Gilbert said about the trial.”

AstraZeneca and Oxford have partnered to produce and market 2 billion doses of the vaccine with the U.K. ordering 100 million doses.

Also, seeing a breakthrough in its vaccine development was biotech firm BioNTech and pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The two companies reported that their experimental COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b1, was found to be safe and worked to produce an immune response in patients, including high T-cell response against COVID-19. The results from the vaccine were reported after a trial of 60 healthy volunteers that took two doses of the vaccine that produced virus-neutralizing antibodies. The results of the test were similar to those found in a U.S. trial.

A safe and effective vaccine usually takes 12 to 18 months to develop -- if ever. More than 150 possible vaccines are in development.

The news of a possible vaccine comes as the U.S. sees a surge in coronavirus cases while India reported its highest one day total for confirmed cases, reaching more than 43,000. India has the third-highest case total worldwide, following only the U.S. and Brazil.

The U.S. recorded 63,201 cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to nearly 3.8 million, according to John Hopkins University. A total of 140,800 deaths have reported in the U.S., 498 since Sunday.

Brazil has a total of nearly 2 million cases of the coronavirus while India’s total coronavirus cases have reached 1.1 million. Total deaths in Brazil and India topped 79,000 and 27,000, respectively.

In other coronavirus news:

  • President Trump said that the daily coronavirus briefs will return to television most likely starting on Tuesday at 5 p.m. Trump did not cite the rise in coronavirus cases as the reason to bring the televised briefings back but instead cited the high ratings such briefings have produced.
  • A series of tax credits may be a part of the next COVID-19 stimulus package, which could benefit companies such as Duke Energy. The utility would be able to use the tax credits, instead of borrowed money, which it said it would pass on in the form of lower rates for its customers. The company placed $1.8 billion in unused credits on its books at the end of December 2019. Through the proposed stimulus package, Duke would be able to use the credits now rather than later.
  • Schools will reopen in the fall, according to President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos despite the concerns the coronavirus brings to the classroom. However, teachers are pushing back. “It’s as if Trump and DeVos want to create chaos and want to jeopardize reopening. There’s no other reason why they would be this reckless, this callous, this cruel,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents 1.7 million teachers across the U.S.
  • The Bahamas has banned travel to and from the U.S. as it looks to protect itself further from the coronavirus. As coronavirus cases increase in the U.S., Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, said the measures were necessary, or the Bahamas will “pay a higher and deadlier price later.” Flights from the U.S. will cease on Wednesday at midnight, and Bahamasair will stop all outgoing flights immediately.
  • Chicago has retightened its restrictions on bars, taverns and breweries, banning them from serving alcohol indoors without a retail food license. The restrictions come as Chicago sees a surge in coronavirus cases, reporting 233 cases on Sunday.
  • New York and New Jersey both reported their lowest daily totals Sunday. New York had 519 confirmed coronavirus cases while New Jersey had 363 new cases. The news comes as New York enters phase 4 of its coronavirus reopening plan, allowing schools, malls and other nonessential businesses to reopen with restrictions.
man wearing mask during coronavirus pandemic
A man is seen wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic. fernandozhiminaicela - Pixabay