Fauci: US government announced funding of three vaccine trials, on track for scale by end of the year/early 2021

The US government announced funding clinical trials on three COVID-19 vaccine candidates. According to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, we're still on track for a vaccine at scale by the end of this year or early 2021. From CNN:

Phase 3 trials, which typically involve tens of thousands of people and measure whether a vaccine is safe and effective, will begin with one by Moderna in July, then an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in August and one by Johnson & Johnson in September...

Last week, Fauci said the US should have 100 million doses of one candidate coronavirus vaccine by the beginning of 2021, but many doctors caution that is an ambitious goal. He has also said there will be "more than one winner" in the Covid-19 vaccine field on Tuesday.

Who will get first dibs? (And who wants first dibs?)

image: "Respiratory droplets produced when a man sneezes, visualised using Tyndall scattering" by James Gathany/CDC (public domain) Read the rest

A majority of Americans wouldn't rush to get a Covid-19 vaccination, poll finds

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID), says we should have a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. But with less than half of Americans willing to get the vaccine, who knows how effective it will be in eradicating Covid-19.

A recent poll by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 49% out of 1,056 Americans asked said they would definitely get the Covid-19 vaccine. To get herd immunity, we need at least 70%–90% of the population to get vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins.

The most popular reason for not wanting to get the vaccination is fear of side effects from the shot. Others shrug off the future vaccine as something they don't think will do much good. And then there are those who think they will catch the disease from the shot itself.

From Popular Science:

The most common concern cited by far ... is one that some people express about every vaccine: potential side effects. Again, it’s absolutely true that there are some side effects to vaccines. But in the vast majority of cases, these are minor reactions. Often they’re symptoms that mimic the disease itself, like a fever, since the body is mounting an immune reaction against the virus—that’s how vaccines work, after all.

Of those who say they wouldn’t get a coronavirus vaccine, more than 40 percent said they would be concerned about getting COVID-19 from the vaccine itself, which is scientifically not a possibility.

Read the rest

'Grave risks' of rushing to reopen, coronavirus whistleblower Rick Bright warns Congress

Watch live, as ousted Trump administration health official Rick Bright testifies on his whistleblower complaint before Congress. Read the rest

Tom Hanks' blood could be used to develop a vaccine for COVID-19

Our reality has felt like a dystopian sci-fi movie for a while now, but at least now there's a positive plot twist. First, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson both survived a bout with COVID-19. Now Hanks tells Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me! that he and his wife both have coronavirus antibodies in their systems, and have donated their blood to science in case the plasma can be used for good:

We have not only been approached, we have said, ‘Do you want our blood? Can we give plasma?’ And, in fact, we will be giving it now to the places that hope to work on what I would like to call the Hank-ccine.

HANK-CCINE.  In all of the stress and awfulness around us, at least we have that happy thought to carry us through.



Rita Wilson had previously mentioned this on CBS:

Well, that’s what they told us and that’s what the belief is. We recently have been part of a study where we’ve donated our blood, and we’re waiting to hear back if our antibodies will be helpful in developing a vaccine, but also if we are able to donate plasma that can be used as donation to other people who are suffering from the virus because we are immune.

Read the rest

Russia's health disinformation campaign against U.S. has been going on for 10+ years — NYT

“'The difference now is the speed with which it spreads, and the denigration of the institutions that we rely on to understand the truth. I think we're in dangerous territory.'”

Don't miss the New York Times investigation detailing Russia's decade-long health disinformation campaign against the United States and other Western democracies, using social media and news outlets to sow confusion and hurt institutions. Read the rest

Human testing of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to begin in September

American drug maker Johnson & Johnson said Monday it plans to begin the human testing phase of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by September 2020, with plans to make it available for emergency use in early 2021. Read the rest

Trump suggested using the flu vaccine to cure coronavirus

I'm gonna need some pepto bismol to cure the headache that I have from trying to think about this logic.

The crucial part:

You take a solid flu vaccine, you don't think that would have an impact or much have an impact on corona?

Speaking of coronavirus and vaccines, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has claimed that US medical will have performed close to a million coronavirus tests by the end of this week. That's good news! What's not good news is that some test kits have already been contaminated, after the CDC had already sent out hundreds of flawed test kits in the first place. So far, the US has tested has tested about 500 people total; according to the Association of Public Health Laboratories (via Politico), we'd still only be able to run about 10,000 tests per day across the country under ideal conditions. As such, it's not clear how Hahn reached that conclusion of one million test kits. Maybe he was using Trump inauguration math?

FDA chief's claim of 1M coronavirus tests by end of week stirs controversy [David Lim / Politico]

Image: White House / Public Domain Read the rest

Homeland Security labelled a group of volunteer doctors as "radical political activists"

The Trump administration's brazen propaganda game has always been strong, and always finds impressive new ways to out-horrible itself.

So this is really just the latest example of dehumanizing language presented in an official context.

The Washington Examiner article linked to in the tweet is hardly objective, but even it still holds back from this kind of labelling.

Left-wing organizations that have called for the closing of immigrant detention facilities said they were turned away from a Border Patrol facility in Southern California after showing up to provide what they said were flu vaccines for detainees.

Members from Doctors for Camp Closures, Families Belong Together, and Never Again Action arrived at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station in San Ysidro, California, Monday saying they wanted to vaccinate adults and children in temporary custody. The organizations said employees from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who oversee station operations, turned them away.

Which part of this is "radical," exactly? Is it the belief in vaccines? Treating immigrants like human beings? Trying to prevent disease from spreading? Or handing out free healthcare?

I'm even willing (begrudgingly so) to overlook the CBP policy that allegedly required these Border Patrol agents to turn the doctors away. Maybe there's a reason for that policy that's not inherently xenophobic and authoritarian (maybe); the Examiner article does note that, "Detainees at Border Patrol facilities are not supposed to be kept for more than 72 hours, and people can get flu vaccines after they are transferred out of CBP custody to other agencies." Read the rest

There is finally an approved vaccine for Ebola

The European Medicines Agency approved a vaccine for the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. The vaccine has already been administered to hundreds of thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saving countless lives during an ongoing epidemic there. From Nature:

The decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to allow US pharmaceutical company Merck to market its vaccine means that the product can now be stockpiled and, potentially, distributed more widely, in particular in Africa. In 2015, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — a global health partnership that funds vaccine supplies in low-income countries — told Ebola-vaccine manufacturers that it would commit to purchasing vaccines once they had been approved by a “stringent health authority” such as the EMA...

“This is a vaccine with huge potential,” said Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi in Geneva, Switzerland, in a press release after the EMA decision. “It has already been used to protect more than 250,000 people in the DRC and could well make major Ebola outbreaks a thing of the past.”

Image: "Ebola virus virion" by CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith (Public Domain) Read the rest

How Quebec's health-care system uses "vaccine whisperers" to keep "vaccine hesitancy" from turning to anti-vax

A French neonatal specialist named Dr Arnaud Gagneur has created a "vaccine counselling" program within Quebec's health-care system that uses a non-judgmental technique called "motivational interviewing" with parents of newborns to allay their fears about vaccines. Read the rest

Anti-vaxxer escalates from wishing children dead to threatening to kill adult lawmakers

A Pentagon cybersecurity contractor threatened to murder Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) if she advanced a bill to vaccinate children in public schools, The Daily Beast reports today. Yes, we are in a dystopian hellscape. Read the rest

No, anti-vaccine hysteria didn't emerge from grassroots. This rich NYC couple funded it.

“A myth of the anti-vaccine movement is that it emerged organically through the rise of social media,” says Washington Post investigative reporter Amy Brittain. “We looked into the $$$ behind the movement and found a well-funded operation, driven largely by one Manhattan couple who gave millions to the cause.” Read the rest

Measles growing in the U.S., largest number of cases reported since 1992

An increase of 41 measles cases were reported in the United States from the previous week. Read the rest

Facebook promised to curb anti-vaccine content but 2 months later Instagram still has lots of it

Instagram still has a serious anti-vax problem.

CDC: Now 695 Measles cases in U.S., the highest total since year 2000

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report today that the number of measles cases nationwide stands at 695. Read the rest

Los Angeles measles 'cluster' reported, officials say LAX and UCLA possible exposure sites

Health officials say potential sites include UCLA, LAX

GoFundMe says anti-vaccine fundraising campaigns violate terms of service, will be taken down

“We are conducting a thorough review and will remove any campaigns currently on the platform.” — GoFundMe

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