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Fauci Admits to Lack of COVID Mask Evidence — but Wants Us to Wear Them Anyway
As the White House’s chief medical adviser, Fauci gave conflicting advice on the efficacy of masking, first saying it was unnecessary for the general public, then that “universal wearing of masks is the most practical way to go.”
As recently as this May, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that unvaccinated children still should mask up when playing with friends. But in February, a major study from the Cochrane Library found that wearing them was pointless. “There’s still no evidence that masks are effective during a pandemic,” Tom Jefferson, the study’s lead author, said in February.
Confronted with Jefferson’s quotes, Fauci backtracked. “When you’re talking about the effect on the epidemic or the pandemic as a whole, the data are less strong,” he admitted.
Federal Appeals Court Revives Lawsuit Against FDA Over COVID Ivermectin Messaging
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over its campaign against the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 can continue, reversing a lower court decision.
Three doctors sued the FDA last year claiming that the agency’s anti-ivermectin campaign went too far, overstepping its authority and acting more as a medical body than a regulator.
A district court ruled that the suit could not continue, but the 5th Circuit Appeals Court revived the doctors’ hope in its Friday ruling, sending the case back to a lower court where it will be reconsidered.
The three doctors said their reputations were harmed by the FDA campaign because they promoted ivermectin use. One doctor was suspended from a hospital, while another was fired from a medical school.
University of Wisconsin Investigated by House Republicans Over ‘Dangerous Gain-of-Function’ Research
House Republicans announced an investigation on Friday into gain-of-function research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that they said could be “dangerous.”
The letter was sent by Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) to UW Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin requesting information on the university’s gain-of-function research and any information on if the university had worked with the Wuhan Institute of Virology or on any coronavirus projects.
The letter pointed to previous problems identified with gain-of-function research at the university, but the university has said that the controversial research is “needed and highly regulated.”
Wenstrup said that he disagreed with the university’s assertion that there was enough regulation on gain-of-function research, saying that previous use of gain-of-function research at the university proved otherwise.
New AI-Generated COVID Drug Enters Phase I Clinical Trials: ‘Effective Against All Variants’
Artificial intelligence is increasingly moving into the healthcare arena and helping to streamline medical processes — including the creation of new drugs.
Insilico Medicine, an AI-driven biotech company based in Hong Kong and New York City, recently announced that its new AI-designed drug for COVID-19 has entered Phase I clinical trials. This oral drug is a treatment, not a vaccine. If approved, it would become the first-ever alternative to Paxlovid, noted Alex Zhavoronkov, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine.
Paxlovid, which is currently the only medication available to treat COVID symptoms, has been linked to some undesirable side effects, Insilico noted. One of these is “Paxlovid rebound,” which is when patients recover from COVID and test negative — but then test positive again a short time later.
Another documented side effect, “Paxlovid mouth,” occurs when the drug leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth for those who take it. An additional limitation of Paxlovid is that as COVID mutates, drug-resistant strains can emerge.
FDA, CDC Hid Data on Spike in COVID Cases Among the Vaccinated: Documents
COVID-19 cases among vaccinated seniors soared in 2021, according to newly disclosed data that was acquired by U.S. health agencies but wasn’t presented to the public.
Humetrix Cloud Services was contracted by the U.S. military to analyze vaccine data. The company performed a fresh analysis as authorities considered in 2021 whether COVID-19 vaccine boosters were necessary amid studies finding waning vaccine effectiveness.
Humetrix researchers found that the proportion of total COVID-19 cases among seniors was increasingly comprised of vaccinated people, according to the newly disclosed documents. For the week ending on July 31, 2021, post-vaccination COVID-19 cases represented 73% of the cases among people 65 and older, the company found. The elderly were 80% fully vaccinated at the time.
Breakthrough infection rates were higher among those who were vaccinated early, the researchers found. They estimated that the rates were twice as high in those who had been vaccinated five to six months prior when compared to people vaccinated three to four months before.
YOUR HEALTH: COVID Vaccine Nasal Drops
Getting immunized from COVID-19 could soon be as simple as using nasal spray. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are working on nasal drops that could be key to stopping the transmission of the virus before it enters the body.
There are two main advantages of a nasal spray instead of a shot in the arm. There are no needles involved, and nasal spray triggers an immune response in the nose and upper airway.
Without using mRNA, researchers are targeting fiber proteins in the virus. “We’re trying to engineer these proteins so that we can infect the nose even better than our present vaccine,” Dr. Curiel explained.
The nasal drop vaccine is also quickly adaptable, so it can be quickly modified to match new variants that emerge of the COVID-19 virus. The nasal drops are already being manufactured in India, Europe, and Japan and should be ready to be presented to the FDA in the United States by the end of 2023.
Tonix’s Long COVID Drug Fails to Meet Mid-Stage Trial Goal
Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp (TNXP.O) said on Tuesday its experimental drug failed to meet the primary goal in a mid-stage study for management of widespread muscle pain and tenderness associated with long COVID-19.
Shares of the company were down 12% in premarket trading.
The 63-patient study was designed to monitor the intensity of pain in patients who had long COVID and administered either the drug, TNX-102 SL, or placebo, but the trial failed to show improvement at week 14 of treatment, the company said.
Tonix intends to meet officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early 2024 to seek permission to conduct a late-stage trial that focuses on reducing fatigue in patients with long COVID, an illness with no approved drugs.
U.S. Lab Tests Suggest New COVID Variant BA.2.86 May Be Less Contagious and Less Immune-Evasive Than Feared
Two teams of U.S. scientists have completed lab experiments testing the antibodies from vaccinated and infected Americans to see how well they might be able to fend off currently circulating variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, including the highly mutated BA.2.86.
Their results match up almost exactly, and the news — at least when it comes to BA.2.86, which has also been dubbed Pirola — is very good. Our immune systems can recognize and fight off this variant as well as, and perhaps even a bit better than, the currently circulating offshoots of the XBB variant.
Their results align with earlier experiments by labs in China and Sweden. Taken together, the data suggests that BA.2.86 will not be as troublesome as experts had feared. In short, this one seems to be a “scariant.”
But another variant, FL.1.5.1, which is causing an estimated 15% of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S., may be a different story. This fast-growing descendant of the XBB recombinant variant has a constellation of mutations that have raised the eyebrows of variant trackers. In lab testing, it was the most immune-evasive.
Biden, First Lady Last Together Monday, Same Day She Tested Positive for COVID
“She’ll be monitored by the White House medical team and follow their advice on when to return to the White House,” Valdivia said in an update on Biden‘s health.
She was isolating at her home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, away from her husband, who returned to the White House on Monday.
Following the first lady’s positive test, President Biden took a COVID test on Monday evening and tested negative, his press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.