Covid News Watch
Manitoba Family Suing AstraZeneca After Son’s Stroke Following COVID Vaccination + More
Manitoba Family Suing AstraZeneca After Son’s Stroke Following COVID Vaccination
A Manitoba family is suing AstraZeneca Canada, alleging their son had a stroke following his COVID-19 vaccination that has left him unable to work or care for himself. Jackson Troy Reimer, now 23, was “in excellent health” before getting vaccinated while working at the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort in British Columbia in 2021, according to a statement of claim filed in Manitoba’s Court of King’s Bench on March 16.
But six days after getting his shot, he started feeling dizzy, losing his vision and having severe headaches. A CT scan at Vancouver General Hospital found Reimer had a hemorrhagic stroke, the lawsuit says.
He later needed two platelet infusions, then underwent a craniotomy to stop bleeding in his brain and had to be intubated after becoming unresponsive — all outcomes Reimer and his parents, Marina Dawn Toews Reimer and Perry John Reimer, believe were caused by the vaccine.
Since March 2021, Reimer has been unable to hold gainful employment, advance his university education or carry out many activities of daily living, the court filing says. He’s now legally blind and has other symptoms related to mental focus and concentration, memory loss, mental impairment and obsessive-compulsive disorder tendencies, according to the claim.
The COVID Vaccine King on Biden World’s Nerves
The White House’s relationship with Moderna has deteriorated dramatically over the last two years, marring what should have been one of the most successful public-private partnerships in U.S. history, four people with knowledge of the matter told West Wing Playbook.
At the center of the White House’s disputes with Moderna is a disagreement over how indebted the company should be to the government for the help it got in developing the COVID vaccine. Moderna received an estimated $1.7 billion in federal funds to accelerate the creation of its initial shot. The resulting vaccine offered the U.S. a path out of the pandemic — and represented Moderna’s first and only working product.
The company has since recorded more than $36 billion in sales. Bancel’s own net worth is estimated at $4.7 billion.
Yet despite the government’s investment, Biden officials say Moderna has barely reciprocated in kind. In one episode in 2021, after the president vowed to make the U.S. an “arsenal of vaccines” for the world, Moderna resisted repeated overtures to commit additional doses to help lower-income countries. The administration eventually went public with the battle.
Many CDC Blunders Exaggerated Severity of COVID: Study
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made at least 25 statistical or numerical errors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the overwhelming majority exaggerated the severity of the pandemic, according to a new study.
Researchers who have been tracking CDC errors compiled 25 instances where the agency offered demonstrably false information. For each instance, they analyzed whether the error exaggerated or downplayed the severity of COVID-19. Of the 25 instances, 20 exaggerated the severity, the researchers reported in the study, which was published ahead of peer review on March 23.
“The CDC has expressed significant concern about COVID-19 misinformation. In order for the CDC to be a credible source of information, they must improve the accuracy of the data they provide,” the authors wrote.
Most of the errors were about COVID-19’s impact on children. In mid-2021, for instance, the CDC claimed that 4% of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 were kids. The actual percentage was 0.04%. The CDC eventually corrected the misinformation, months after being alerted to the issue.
White House to Disband COVID Response Team in May
The White House will disband its coronavirus response team after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends in May, a current and former official said.
The team, led most recently by Dr. Ashish Jha, has begun to dwindle in recent months as the administration has started to shift its response to the virus from the emergency that defined the early part of President Joe Biden’s term in office. The team will now be disbanded as the public health emergency is set to expire on May 11.
Under Biden, the COVID-19 response team was responsible for coordinating the nationwide rollout and distribution of vaccines, treatments and medical supplies.
‘Muted’ Immune Response May Explain Why COVID Is Tougher for Obese People
U.S. News & World Report reported:
Obesity is a well-known risk factor for severe COVID-19, and researchers think they’ve uncovered a possible reason why.
Obese folks appear to have a blunted inflammatory response to COVID, leaving their immune systems less capable of fighting it, according to a recent study.
The findings were a surprise to researchers, given that severe COVID often has been tied to an overactive immune response that produces damaging levels of inflammation in humans.
The researchers found the obese patients had underactive immune and inflammatory responses in their lungs. The study was published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Long COVID Risk Factors Are Tied to Gender, Age and Weight
Women, overweight people and those above age 40 are among the groups that have a greater risk of developing long COVID, according to a report published Thursday that makes the case for better pandemic treatment and support.
Researchers also found that patients with preexisting conditions like asthma, diabetes and even anxiety or depression were more likely to develop long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms. Those previously hospitalized or admitted to intensive care for COVID also were at higher risk.
Can an Addiction Drug Treat Long COVID?
When pharmacist Jack Korbutov opened The Art of Medicine, a Philadelphia compounding pharmacy, in September 2012, low-dose naltrexone (LDN) was among the first prescriptions he filled. Before starting his own specialty pharmacy, Korbutov had worked exclusively in traditional establishments and had only encountered naltrexone being prescribed in 50 mg doses to treat opioid addiction and alcohol use disorder.
Digging into the research, Korbutov learned that while naltrexone only has approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating people recovering from addiction to heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and alcohol, some doctors prescribe it off-label in much smaller doses for chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease.
This is, in part, because, unlike new-to-the-market blockbuster drugs, pharmaceutical companies don’t stand to profit much from one that’s been around for decades, and, as a result, aren’t spending money promoting it. LDN also has yet to go fully mainstream because the medical establishment has long ignored and dismissed the chronic and invisible conditions it has been used to treat — myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in particular.
Now, some doctors are prescribing LDN for patients with symptoms that develop or persist after a COVID-19 infection: also known as Long COVID. It’s estimated that millions of Americans are living with Long COVID, and without a viable treatment in place, the economic impact of their continued absence from the country’s workforce will be much harder to ignore.
Moderna CEO Defends Fivefold Price Hike of COVID Vaccine During Senate Grilling + More
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel Defends Fivefold Price Hike of COVID Vaccine During Senate Grilling
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel on Wednesday defended the company’s plans to hike the price of its COVID shots fivefold, deflecting pressure at a Senate hearing to abandon the hike while taking barbs over his compensation.
Moderna plans to increase the list price of its vaccine by 400% to $130 when the shots are sold on the private market as early as this fall. The company has been charging the U.S. government about $26 per dose.
Moderna expects demand for the vaccine to fall by 90%, leaving the company will be on the hook for any wasted doses, Bancel said. During the pandemic, the federal government picked up those costs.
Sanders accused Bancel of “profiteering” and “excessive CEO compensation” during his opening remarks. The senator later told Bancel the public doesn’t understand why Moderna is quadrupling the price of the vaccine when the company and its executives have made so much money.
China Suspends Access to Western Scientists Searching for COVID Origins
Western scientists researching the origins of the coronavirus pandemic have had their access to an international database suspended due to a complaint from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that they scooped data from a Chinese study.
The scientists — from the U.S., U.K., Canada and France — on Monday published a paper which said analysis of data from the start of the pandemic lent itself to the theory that COVID-19 emerged from a live animal in a wet market in Wuhan, a theory China supports.
The data, which itself caused controversy after being kept from the international community for three years, mysteriously disappeared from the database shortly after being uploaded in January this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. The Chinese CDC contends researchers had removed the data to update their own paper.
The latest controversy only adds to the mystery over the origins of the pandemic, the search for which has been frustrated by obfuscation by China, Western officials have previously said. It comes as a growing number of U.S. intelligence agencies and medical experts are entertaining the possibility that the virus spread into the human population as a result of a lab leak.
Biden Signs Law to Declassify COVID Origins. But …
President Biden this week signed legislation requiring the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information related to the origins of the coronavirus and in particular ties between a bio lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan and the pandemic that swept the globe, killing millions. But …
Let’s back up: Biden said in a statement he was “pleased” to sign the law and wanted to make public “as much information as possible.” The caveat came in the statement’s last line: “In implementing this legislation, my Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security,” Biden said.
I flagged that line on Twitter after the statement landed on Monday, wondering how much the president’s interpretation of his authority (and duties) related to classified information would hamstring the release of coronavirus information.
China Approves an mRNA COVID Vaccine, Its First
China has for the first time approved a COVID-19 vaccine based on mRNA technology, greenlighting a homegrown shot months after the ruling Communist Party eliminated its strict pandemic restrictions.
China has long refused to use the foreign-made mRNA shots that were crucial in easing the pandemic in many parts of the world and that the United States first authorized for emergency use in December 2020. Beijing chose instead to promote its own pharmaceutical firms, first in rolling out a more traditional but less effective COVID vaccine, and later, in the pursuit of a homegrown mRNA, or messenger RNA, vaccine.
China’s new mRNA vaccine, developed by CSPC Pharmaceutical Group Ltd., based in the northern Chinese city of Shijiazhuang, was approved for emergency use by China’s health regulator, according to a statement from the company on Wednesday.
Rand Paul Dings ‘Self-Interested’ Fauci, Lab-Leak Critics, Scoffs at Biden ‘Caveats’ on COVID Info
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. pointed chiefly to frequent foil Dr. Anthony Fauci. “The people of America should realize that the people saying it didn’t come from a lab are self-interested,” Paul said.
“Tony Fauci approved and gave the money to the lab in Wuhan. So by proving that, he has and shares some culpability in the origins of this virus. So he’s always going to deny that it came from the lab because it comes back to his reputation for having the incredibly poor judgment to send this money to Wuhan.”
“So … the machinery of government over there is biased, and they’re never going to admit to this. But if you talk to the real scientists — and there’s dozens and dozens of eminent virologists now who have come to the conclusion this came from the lab,” Paul said.
The Kentucky senator argued most venerable experts would still want to seek policy reforms to make sure the U.S. no longer funds gain-of-function research credited with creating the pandemic‘s contagion — citing 12 purported American laboratories where similar study is still conducted.
Steps Have Dropped Since COVID and the Trend Is Worrisome, Study Says
Americans took fewer steps during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they still haven’t gotten their mojo back, a new study found. “On average, people are taking about 600 fewer steps per day than before the pandemic began,” said study author Dr. Evan Brittain, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Oddly, it was younger people between 18 and 30 whose step counts were most impacted, Brittain said. “In fact, we found every 10-year decrease in age was associated with a 243-step reduction per day.”
Younger generations make up the majority of workers in technology, software and other professions that are able to work from anywhere, “whereas older people may have less of those jobs,” said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health, a hospital in Denver, who was not involved in the research.
Whatever the reason, the study data shows that people were not moving as much during the pandemic as they used to. That is worrisome, Freeman added.
End of COVID Emergency Will Usher in Changes Across the U.S. Health System
The Biden administration’s decision to end the COVID-19 public health emergency in May will institute sweeping changes across the healthcare system that go far beyond many people having to pay more for COVID tests.
In response to the pandemic, the federal government in 2020 suspended many of its rules on how care is delivered. That transformed essentially every corner of American healthcare — from hospitals and nursing homes to public health and treatment for people recovering from addiction.
The end of the emergency means nursing homes will have to meet higher standards for training workers.
A looming rollback of broader access to buprenorphine, an important medication for people in recovery from opioid addiction, is alarming patients and doctors. Amid a national epidemic of opioid addiction, if the expanded policy for buprenorphine ends, “thousands of people are going to die,” said Ryan Hampton, an activist who is in recovery.
FDA to Soon Decide on Second Round of Omicron-Tailored Boosters + More
U.S. FDA to Soon Decide on Second Round of Omicron-Tailored Boosters — WSJ
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is close to making a decision on the authorization of a second dose of updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters for high-risk people, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing sources.
FDA officials could make the decision within a few weeks, the WSJ said, adding the regulator is considering authorizing second jabs of Omicron-targeted shots for people who are 65 years and older or those who have weakened immune systems, although officials are yet to reach a final decision.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would have to recommend the shots after the FDA authorizes the second Omicron-tailored boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech (PFE.N)/(22UAy.DE) and Moderna (MRNA.O) for them to become widely available.
The decision comes at a time when the FDA plans to shift to an annual COVID booster campaign with an updated strain, similar to the way Americans receive their flu shots.
Biden Will Release COVID Origin Intelligence
President Joe Biden signed into law Monday a bill to declassify intelligence on the origins of COVID-19, offering the public a chance to review the information that government agencies say is inconclusive.
The legislation called the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023, which passed the Senate and House with unanimous support earlier this month, orders the Director of National Intelligence to declassify within 90 days of enactment all information relating to potential links between China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology and COVID-19. The director is then to submit the information in a report to Congress. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sponsored the bill.
Why it matters: Biden’s signature is a step further in providing transparency about what the U.S. knows about how the pandemic started. Some scientists and government agencies have theorized that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology inadvertently spread COVID-19 to people in the city where the virus first emerged, while others have insisted that an animal more likely transmitted it to people.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that U.S. intelligence agencies believe three workers at the Wuhan lab were hospitalized in the month before the virus emerged. A determination that the virus leaked from the Chinese lab would further strain the U.S.-China relationship, and also erode trust in leading scientists who argued for the natural origin hypothesis.
‘I Suspected a China Lab Leak Early on — but My Research Was Rejected’
I became aware of SARS-CoV-2 in late December 2019. I happened to hear a news report about a new unknown virus coming out of China and the next day saw an unusual clinical case report about a family in Wuhan Central Hospital.
When I initially saw the viral genome, in January 2020, I noticed a pretty esoteric thing. The virus we would later call SARS-CoV-2 has something called a furin cleavage site (FCS). The FCS, which had never before been seen in a SARS-CoV-2-related coronavirus, is a genetic feature that makes it easier for a virus to infect human cells. So, when I saw this FCS on SARS-CoV-2, I knew it was going to make it easier to infect cells and easier to evade the immune system by tunneling into neighboring cells.
Knowing FCSs were not found in nature in these SARS-related viruses I also knew that for years scientists have been artificially putting new FCSs into viruses to see what they do, and in every case I have seen, in which they published their results, it has increased infectivity, transmissibility, pathogenicity, or a combination of them.
I found that when you looked at this virus, it had none of the properties of natural infection and it still doesn’t to this day. I have not found a single shred of actual evidence that supports the idea that SARS-CoV-2 is a type of spillover infection that we have ever seen in the past.
Why ‘Lab Leak’ Proponents Are Unconvinced by Raccoon Dog Evidence for Coronavirus Origins
A new report suggesting that the coronavirus may have originated in raccoon dogs has energized scientists who have long argued that the pandemic began at a wildlife market in Wuhan, where the pathogen jumped from animals to humans.
But to the smaller faction of researchers who maintain that the coronavirus was the result of a laboratory accident, the raccoon dog findings — described in an Atlantic article published on Thursday — failed to produce convincing evidence of a natural origin that rules out human involvement.
“It speaks volumes that this weak and missing data is considered the strongest evidence for a market origin,” molecular biologist Alina Chan of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard told Yahoo News. A leading proponent of the lab origin hypothesis, Chan noted that “even the natural origin proponents analyzing this data have said it is not definitive and not direct evidence of infected raccoon dogs at the market.”
Moderna Expects to Price Its COVID Vaccine at About $130 in the U.S.
Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) expects to price its COVID-19 vaccine at around $130 per dose in the U.S. going forward as purchases move to the private sector from the government, the company’s president Stephen Hoge said in an interview on Monday.
“There are different customers negotiating different prices right now, which is why it’s a little bit complicated,” Hoge said ahead of a Congressional hearing run by Democratic U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Moderna’s pricing plans.
Moderna previously said it was considering pricing its COVID vaccine in a range of $110 to $130 per dose in the United States, similar to the range Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N) said in October it was considering for its rival COVID shots sold in partnership with BioNTech (22UAy.DE).
Sanders, chair of the Senate’s powerful Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has said Moderna should not raise the price of its vaccine because of the government funding it received. He plans to question Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel on the price increase at the hearing on Wednesday.
8 Burning Questions Bernie Sanders and Other Senators Should Ask Moderna’s Stéphane Bancel
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel has some explaining to do. Bancel will appear alone before Sen. Bernie Sanders’ health committee on Wednesday, where he’ll have to defend his company’s suggestion it will likely quadruple the price of its COVID vaccines once sales transition from bulk federal purchases to the open market.
The Senate hearing will be a watershed moment for Bancel, a biotech superstar forged during the pandemic. While COVID vaccine rival manufacturer Pfizer is an established pharmaceutical behemoth with a massive lobbying influence in Washington, in contrast, Moderna registered its first lobbyist in Washington in 2019 and its COVID-19 vaccine is its only product on the market.
Sanders, a Vermont Independent, has in the past accused Bancel and Moderna’s other co-founders of profiteering off of taxpayer-funded research since facets of the company’s approach to making its messenger RNA-based vaccine were developed at the National Institute of Health’s Vaccine Research Center.
On the same day the hearing was announced, Moderna revealed plans to create a patient assistance program to provide vaccines at no cost to people who are uninsured or underinsured. Those with insurance won’t face out-of-pocket fees at the time they are vaccinated, but the higher price could well be reflected in insurance premiums.
Deadly Drug-Resistant Yeast Gained Ground, More Drug Resistance Amid COVID
A deadly, drug-resistant fungus emerging in the US gained ground faster and picked up yet more drug resistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.
The yeast Candida auris has been considered an “urgent threat” — the CDC’s highest level of concern — since it was first reported in the U.S. in 2016. The yeast lurks in healthcare settings and preys upon vulnerable patients, causing invasive infections with a fatality rate of between 30 to 60%.
In 2019, before the pandemic began, 17 states and Washington, DC, reported a total of 476 clinical cases. But in 2020, eight additional states reported cases for the first time, with the national clinical case count jumping 59% to 756. In 2021, 28 states were affected, with the clinical case count nearly doubling to 1,471. Asymptomatic cases detected through patient screening also jumped amid the pandemic, tripling from 1,310 cases in 2020 to 4,041 cases in 2021. The data appeared Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
But its spread wasn’t the only alarming aspect of the yeast’s pandemic activities. It also became more drug-resistant. Before the pandemic, six patients developed infections resistant to first-line antifungal drugs, echinocandins. But, in 2021 alone, there were 19 such cases. Similarly, before the pandemic, there were only four reports of pan-resistant infections; that is, the fungus was resistant to all available drugs. In 2021, there were seven patients with pan-resistant infections.
Anthony Fauci Documentary on PBS Covers a Career of Crises
There’s a moment in the new PBS documentary about Dr. Anthony Fauci when a protester holds up a handmade sign reading, “Dr. Fauci, You Are Killing Us.” It says something about Fauci that it’s not initially clear when that sign was waved in anger — in the 1980s as AIDS made its deadly rise or in the 2020s with COVID-19 vaccine opponents.
“American Masters: Dr. Tony Fauci,” offers a portrait of an unlikely lightning rod: A government infectious disease scientist who advised seven presidents. Fauci hopes it can inspire more public servants like him.
Director Mark Mannucci offers an intimate look at his subject, with images of Fauci running from meeting to meeting and wolfing down Wheat Thins between Zooms. His wife attests to the stress by pointing out their security detail due to threats.
COVID-19 may have introduced Fauci to millions of Americans, but his long career at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was marked by numerous previous health scares, among them HIV, SARS, MERS, Ebola and even the nation’s 2001 anthrax attacks.
The Lab Leak Conversation Shows It’s Time to Rethink Our Biosecurity Infrastructure, Not Just Policies
The COVID pandemic exacerbated fear and panic regarding the potential for a future bioterrorism agent. As the lab leak theory continues to cause debate, politicians want to be able to tell their constituents that they are solving the problem by adding more oversight to biological research. But if all they are doing is adding more burden, bureaucracy, and box-checking, is it really making anyone more secure?
For half a century, efforts to build a governance system around the security of biology have largely focused on the development and use of biological weapons, starting with the Biological Weapons Convention, which opened for signatories in 1972 and went into force in 1975. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that the research side of biology started getting more attention from the security community, with experts creating methods to determine what security issues we need to worry about, and what we should do about them.
After 9/11 and the anthrax mailings, the federal government placed heavy restrictions on research with agents that were deemed to be biological weapons of mass destruction — referred to as select agents. Then, from 2007, there was new attention paid to dual-use research or experiments that could both benefit and harm society, agriculture, or the environment.
Scientific advances such as CRISPR, gene drives, synthetic viruses and increased pathogen capabilities, are rapidly proceeding while innovation in our collective ability to govern their security concerns is not.
‘COVID-Somnia’ and the Impact of Long COVID on Sleep
When Priya Mathew recovered from a mild case of COVID-19 in November, she thought she was out of the woods. Then came long COVID.
“At one point I counted 23 symptoms,” Mathew told CBS News. “The most alarming ones were shortness of breath, labored breathing, heart palpitations.”
One of the most crippling symptoms? Insomnia. Mathew isn’t alone. Dr. Emmanuel During, a psychiatrist and neurologist, has been seeing this in sleep patients at Mount Sinai Hospital. For those with long COVID, he says insomnia is often related to pain and is resistant to treatment.
Even for those without long COVID, the pandemic has robbed many of a restful night’s sleep. Nearly a third of Americans said they’ve experienced sleep disturbances since COVID began, according to a 2022 survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. That’s down from 56% the year before. The phenomenon is described as “COVID-somnia.”
FDA Flags J&J’s COVID Vaccine for Myocarditis, Pericarditis Risk + More
FDA Flags J&J’s COVID Vaccine for Myocarditis, Pericarditis Risk
Becker’s Hospital Review reported:
The FDA updated its fact sheet for healthcare providers about Johnson & Johnson‘s COVID-19 vaccine to include warnings of myocarditis and pericarditis.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and pericarditis is inflammation of the lining outside the heart. Both are listed as potential risks of the vaccine, and the FDA said symptoms typically happen within eight days of inoculation. The risk is very low, the agency said.
The agency made the revision on March 13, about 10 months after the FDA limited the shot’s use after worries about a blood clot risk. The shot makes up a small share of all COVID-19 vaccinations: Nearly 19 million J&J shots have been administered, while 475 million of Pfizer‘s and Moderna‘s vaccines have been used, according to the CDC.
FDA Authorizes Pfizer’s COVID Omicron Booster as Fourth Shot for Kids Under 5
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized Pfizer’s Omicron booster shot for kids under five years old who were previously vaccinated with three doses of the company’s original vaccine.
Children six months through four years old who completed their three-dose primary series with Pfizer and BioNTech’s original monovalent shots more than two months ago are now eligible to receive a single booster dose of the updated shot. The new shot is bivalent, meaning it targets the original COVID strain as well as Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.
Pfizer’s primary series for young children consists of three doses, while rival drugmaker Moderna’s primary series for that same age group is only two.
The Public Want Answers on the Origins of COVID
The public deserves to know the whole truth: How did the coronavirus pandemic begin? What happened in Wuhan in 2019? Was it from a lab leak? Why did the first cases of the virus pass by undetected? And why is it, more than three years later, that we still know so little about the origins of the virus that changed the world?
Research for Newsweek by Redfield & Wilton Strategies shows an overwhelming 70% of Americans say it matters to them a significant or fair amount whether the coronavirus pandemic originated from a lab leak or from nature. Notably, this figure includes virtually identical proportions of those who voted for Joe Biden in 2020 (72%) and for Donald Trump (75%). This broad bipartisanship has resulted in Congress voting unanimously for all government intelligence on the origins of the virus to be declassified. President Joe Biden, however, has yet to decide whether to sign or veto this bill.
Biden’s decision to sign the bill cannot wait. Trust in science urgently needs to be restored. Forty-three percent of Americans, a plurality, say they trust the scientists and public health officials less as a result of their pandemic experience. This is bad news for democracy and society at large. Without urgent and honest answers to restore their trust, it could have a detrimental effect on public health for many decades to come.
3 Years After COVID, It’s Past Time Taxpayers Stop Funding This Corrupt Organization
It seems that the long-repressed truth about COVID is finally allowed to trickle out. The Wall Street Journal broke the story that the Department of Energy’s intelligence now indicates that the COVID-19 virus “likely arose from a laboratory leak.” FBI Director Chris Wray is now saying the same in public. Despite the FBI’s opaqueness with the American people while “assessing the origins,” for “quite some time,” most people — not religiously devoted to the government/media/Big Pharma-approved narrative — could see the writing on the wall years ago.
Still, vindication of the truth alone is not enough. Justice demands accountability for all those who withheld and helped obscure information on the origins of this pandemic — especially the World Health Organization (WHO), which no longer deserves a scintilla of America’s trust, another penny of her tax dollars, or another second of her membership.
WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently lashed out at people asking questions about COVID origins for supposedly turning “what should be a purely scientific process into a political football.” Such obvious defensive deflection makes sense; after all, while China was doing its best to cover up the virus’ origins, the WHO was the regime’s loudest cheerleader on the international stage, despite all indications of wrongdoing.
The Biden administration is now supporting the creation of a new international agreement that will fork over even more power and legitimacy to globalist WHO bureaucrats in Geneva. Officially tabbed as the “WHO Convention, Agreement, or Other International Instrument on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response” or “WHO CA+” this “zero draft” of the proposed agreement, set for final consideration in 2024, would further empower the WHO by granting it more power to craft worldwide “public health” policy.
One of the Coronaviruses Causing Common Colds Boosts Immune Response to COVID in Children, Study Finds
During the pandemic, medical doctors and researchers noticed that children and adolescents infected with COVID-19 became less ill than adults. A possible explanation for this is that children already had a prior level of immunity to COVID-19 provided by memory T cells generated by common colds.
After studying unique blood samples from children taken before the pandemic, researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have now identified memory T cells that react to cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
A possible explanation for this immunity in children is that they already had colds caused by one of the four coronaviruses causing seasonal common cold symptoms. This could stimulate an immune response with T cells able to also react to cells infected with SARS-CoV-2.
This new study reinforces this hypothesis and shows that T cells previously activated by the OC43 virus can cross-react against SARS-CoV-2.
Judge Rejects Request From Moderna, Moving Key COVID Vaccine Case to Discovery
A key COVID-19 vaccine case is moving to the discovery phase after a U.S. judge rejected a bid by Moderna to dismiss some of the patent infringement claims against it.
Moderna and the U.S. government, which backed the company, failed to prove that claims involving the company’s COVID-19 vaccine contract with the government should be dismissed, U.S. District Judge Mitchell Goldberg ruled on March 10.
Goldberg in late 2022 rejected a similar effort but Moderna revived its bid after the government filed a statement asserting it, not the company, should face the claims relating to the contract.
The parties, though, have failed to prove that the government’s interpretation “trumps a court’s analysis of this issue,” Goldberg said.
Pfizer Adjusts EU Vaccine Deal but Still Wants Payment for Undelivered Doses: FT
Pfizer and European Commission officials have waded through months of pushback over a large, controversial COVID-19 vaccine supply deal in Europe. They’ve now reportedly hashed out a new supply agreement — but there’s a catch.
Under the terms of a revised deal, Pfizer agreed to extend the European supply contract from 2023 out to 2026, the Financial Times reports based on two people with knowledge of the talks. Given the drop in vaccine use, Pfizer also agreed to cut the total number of doses to be supplied by 40%, but the company is also pushing for payment for the doses that will never be manufactured, according to the publication.
Pfizer and the European Commission (EC) inked their large vaccine supply deal in May 2021. The agreement covered 900 million vaccine doses for delivery split between 2022 and 2023, with the option for the EC to order another 900 million doses in the future. In December 2021, European officials exercised part of the option and agreed to buy another 200 million doses.
Since then, many European countries found they had too many doses as the pandemic eased. Officials have spent many months deliberating on how best to tackle the vaccine glut.
CDC Urges Bivalent Booster in New Push. Will People Listen?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:
Three years into the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccines are an increasingly hard sell — especially in Georgia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only about 10% of residents in the state have gotten an updated bivalent booster, which targets the original strain and Omicron subvariants circulating now.
People are either unaware or simply not interested in the latest booster. And they likely aren’t getting the nudge from their doctor. A recent CDC study showed that nearly 60% of people surveyed had not received the bivalent booster because it had not been recommended by their healthcare provider.
The CDC is hoping to change that and move the needle. The agency is launching a nationwide initiative to talk to physicians about encouraging this latest booster, starting here in Georgia.
After 3 Years of the Pandemic, Loneliness May Be Ebbing for America’s Older Adults
U.S. News & World Report reported:
On the third anniversary of the pandemic, a new poll shows fewer older adults are experiencing loneliness and isolation though the numbers are still high.
About one-third of adults aged 50 to 80 still sometimes or often experience isolation and loneliness, according to the University of Michigan researchers. They may go a week or longer without social contact from someone outside the home.
Still, that’s fewer than half of older adults who reported this in June 2020.
“Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, we see reason for hope, but also a real cause for concern,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, senior advisor and former director of the University of Michigan (U-M) National Poll on Healthy Aging. “If anything, the pandemic has shown us just how important social interaction is for overall mental and physical health, and how much more attention we need to pay to this from a clinical, policy and personal perspective.”
Long COVID Has Some Weird Symptoms. Face Blindness May Be One of Them.
Early in the pandemic, a 28-year-old customer service representative and portrait painter caught COVID-19. She had a high fever for a few days and trouble breathing. Her sense of smell and taste disappeared. But by mid-April 2020, she had recovered enough to start working from home.
It wasn’t until June, when she saw her family for the first time since her illness, that she realized she’d lost something else. She could no longer recognize her own father or distinguish him from her uncle.
It’s not clear how many people have developed face blindness after having COVID-19. But the woman, whom researchers identified only as “Annie” to protect her privacy, was one of more than 50 long COVID patients who reported to Dartmouth College researchers in a new study they were having trouble identifying faces after their infection.
Some people are born with face blindness, called prosopagnosia, while others lose the ability to identify faces from brain damage, typically caused by a stroke or brain injury.
Pfizer’s COVID Drug Data Supports Use in High-Risk Patients — FDA Staff
The U.S. health regulator’s staff reviewers said on Tuesday data from Pfizer Inc.’s (PFE.N) COVID-19 drug trials support its use in adults at high risk of progressing to severe disease, bringing the pill closer to full approval.
The Food and Drug Administration made its assessment in briefing documents ahead of a meeting of the agency’s external advisers on Thursday to discuss full approval to use Pfizer’s oral pill for high-risk COVID-19 patients exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms.
The FDA’s advisers will vote on whether the benefits related to Paxlovid outweigh its risks. The agency typically follows the advice of its expert advisers but is not mandated to do so.
Paxlovid has been authorized for emergency use since late 2021, and full approval is likely to allow Pfizer to expand its advertising campaign for the drug.
Veru to Proceed With Late-Stage Study of COVID Pill Despite FDA Snub
Drug developer Veru Inc (VERU.O) on Tuesday said it plans to proceed with a late-stage trial of its COVID-19 pill, weeks after the U.S. health regulator declined to authorize the oral drug to treat high-risk patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
It will, however, stop the development of the drug as a potential treatment for prostate cancer as part of its strategy to cut costs.
Veru plans to continue the development of the oral drug, sabizabulin, in late-stage studies with high-risk hospitalized influenza patients and COVID-19 patients. It expects to report interim data from the COVID-19 trial next year.