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

Antivax GOP Kentucky governor exposed his kids to chickenpox on purpose so they'd get sick

Some falsely believe chickenpox is a harmless disease, but it can lead to death in children and adults who suffer complications.

Small number of Facebook Pages did 46% of top 10,000 posts for or against vaccines

About 20% of the total posts were found to have been generated by seven anti-vax Pages.

Latest Ebola outbreak has come to an end

After three months and 33 deaths, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been declared by the World Health Organization to have come to an end. The loss of 33 lives to the disease is absolutely tragic, but comes close to a miracle when you stop to consider the fact that the last time Ebola broke in West Africa, more than 11,000 people died. The high number of deaths in that instance was due to the fact that The WHO (not the one with Roger Daltrey,) was slow to react to the epidemic last time around, moving slowly to deploy medical resources to the regions that needed it the most. Additionally, no vaccine designed to fight the Ebola virus was put into play until near the end of the outbreak.

That wasn’t the case this time.

After being tongue lashed for dragging their ass during the last outbreak, The WHO sent specialists to Congo as soon as a handful of cases of Ebola were confirmed, back in May.

From the New York Times:

Even though Congo is familiar with Ebola — this was the country’s ninth outbreak since the disease first appeared in 1976 — more than 350 support personnel were deployed there. They included vaccinators from Guinea, where a novel Ebola vaccine was first field-tested.

The Congo outbreak marked the first in which an Ebola vaccine was readily available. In addition to giving injections to all front-line health care workers, experts used “ring vaccination” to protect all contacts of each person with the disease.

Read the rest

Ebola keeps on keeping on

Hey gang, let's talk Ebola: Everyone's favorite viral boogeyman.

Over the weekend, the AFP News Agency reported that health professionals in the Democratic Republic of Congo have uncovered five new confirmed cases of Ebola: three cases in the Bikoro area and two in Wangata. This most recent outbreak of the disease in the country’s northwest has resulted in more than 50 confirmed cases and 25 deaths. These numbers, of course, only reflect the incidents of the disease that health agencies such as the World Health Organization and Medecins Sans Frontieres and DR Congo’s healthcare system are aware of.

As such, the push to track everyone who has come into contact with the disease and take appropriate precautions continues, albeit slowly. One of the biggest hurtles in tracking and containing Ebola is that, logistically, the rural regions of DR Congo are a pain in the ass. The roads are often so pocketed with potholes that the only way to reliable traverse them is with a motorcycle—and that’s if there are any roads at all. Many of the smaller villages surrounding Bikoro are packed away by dense jungle. Additionally, cellular coverage in the country’s northwestern region comes with massive holes. This makes doing important work, such as sending field operatives into areas of infection, shipping vaccines or sending collected data back for processing extremely difficult.

According to the New York Times, because of these difficulties, researchers are having a hard time piecing together how the current strain of the virus was transmitted. This, in turn, makes vaccinating the right people in the hopes of stopping the spread of the disease an uphill battle. Read the rest

Go and get the new shingles vaccine: it works

My grandmother's longtime partner Rusty was a former weightlifter with the sunniest, most reslient disposition of anyone I've known, and the only time I ever saw him reduced to tears was from the pain of a bout of shingles; now a new shingles vaccine called Shingrix has proven almost miraculously effective against the virus (which nearly every person who lives to 80 will suffer from) with a notable lack of downsides. If you're over 50, you should go get it right now. (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

More posts