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Several months ago, I wrote an article about how UK health authorities have more guts than their U.S. counterparts. Specifically, they are much more likely to be honest and forthcoming on controversial topics like alternative medicine, vaping, and "three-parent" embryos than American officials.

The Brits have done it again. The Financial Times has reported that the UK will allow human challenge trials to proceed in order to help hasten the development of a coronavirus vaccine. This is good news, and hopefully it will prompt the U.S. to do the same...

 

 

“Scientists’ forecasts for when the first vaccine could present positive Phase 3 trial results range from October this year, at the most optimistic, to mid-2021 at the most pessimistic.

Pfizer/BioNTech have said they would have sufficient data from their Phase 3 trial to begin analysis by the end of October. Moderna, which has enrolled more than 25,000 participants in its trial and given more than 10,000 of those both doses in the vaccine course, said last week that an interim analysis of trial results is more likely to begin in November and potentially as late as...

The treatment given to POTUS is the abstraction we all desire – personalized medicine. Just the right treatment, at the right time, in the right way. Of course, physicians' day-to-day dilemma is translating guidelines and treatments tested upon populations into efficacious care for the individual sitting across from your desk. And that dilemma is compounded when you deal with VIPs

It is not March; when the virus didn't respond to the treatments that had always worked so well for influenza - we threw everything we had at the problem. While we have made significant progress in treating COVID-19, I do not believe we have a set-in-place protocol for what to do when. There is a broad outline of medications that may reduce symptoms, improve outcomes, and reduce the...

People are generally poor at evaluating relative risk. They will drive long distances – something that is certainly relevant now – rather than fly, even though the risk of a fatal auto accident is much greater than that of a plane crash. They fear a flu vaccine but not the flu. 

But at this time, normally logical choices are nearly impossible because the knowledge of COVID is constantly evolving. People, scientists, and doctors don't have enough knowledge about COVID to make what would normally be a trivial decision, for example; whether to throw a birthday party for their kids or if it's OK to have friends over for dinner. 

For those of us who have the travel bug but can't figure out how to, or whether to travel, a ...

The drug is currently in a series of Phase 1 blending into Phase 2 studies. There are no published reports in the literature, and all my information comes from Regeneron's statements to investors two or three days before it was given to the President. 

The drug is a combination of two designer antibodies that attach and "disable" the spike proteins associated specifically with COVID-19, resulting in a reduction of viral load, and at least in "non-human" primates, less lung damage. The underlying treatment concept is a more "industrialized" form of convalescent plasma. Rather than identify recovering patients and "milking them" for...

Several years ago, a brand new method of genetic engineering called CRISPR was invented, and it was based on discoveries made about the rudimentary "immune system" possessed by bacteria. Essentially, bacteria have a way of "remembering" which viruses had infected them previously, and they possess a molecular system that destroys viral DNA that matches that of a prior infection.

The molecular system consists of a DNA-cutting protein called Cas9. (See infographic from Business Insider below.) When equipped with a special guide RNA, Cas9 can be used to cut specific DNA sequences, for instance, a mutated gene that is causing a health problem. Because a broken DNA molecule is dangerous, the cell will attempt to repair it. If a DNA segment is snuck into the cell before the repair...

The Pew study found that concerns about side effects and how the vaccine works are the principal reasons that 49% of the adults surveyed "probably or definitely" would not get vaccinated. More were concerned about a "rush" to production. About three-quarters of Americans (77%) say it is at least somewhat likely that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be approved and used in the U.S. before it's fully known whether it is safe and effective, including 36% who say this is very likely to happen

Even more problematic is 46% of the adults' response that it was likely that insufficient numbers of the population would be immunized to create the herd immunity we desire....

(1) More nasty vaccine side effects have been reported. Last month, the British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, which is working in collaboration with the University of Oxford, temporarily suspended a clinical trial for its coronavirus vaccine because one volunteer experienced a very nasty side effect. Now, five volunteers from studies being conducted on two different vaccine candidates from Moderna and Pfizer report unpleasant side effects: High fever, body aches, headaches, fatigue, and chills....

“The initiative — to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics — lacks the scale, and the degree of secrecy, of the effort to build the atomic bomb. But Operation Warp Speed is largely an abstraction in Washington, with little known about who works there other than its top leaders, or how it operates. Even pharmaceutical companies hoping to offer help or partnerships have labored to figure out who to contact.

Now, an organizational chart of the $10 billion initiative, obtained by STAT, reveals the fullest picture yet of Operation Warp Speed: a highly structured organization in which military personnel vastly outnumber civilian...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Sung to the tune of...every other blues song - it doesn't matter)

(C7) I wake up in the morning,

(C7) I turn on the TV, 

(C7)The same damn thing is always staring at me.

 

Image: WHO

 

(G7) It's got a coat of protein,

(G7) A core of R-N-A

(C7) It's screwin' up my life in every possible...