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Israel’s Health Ministry: No Young Adults Without Preexisting Conditions Died of COVID
Former MK Moshe Feiglin published on Twitter a Health Ministry response to queries regarding various coronavirus statistics. In the document, the Health Ministry clarified that no adults without preexisting conditions who were between the ages of 18-49 at the time of their death, died of coronavirus.
At the same time, the Ministry emphasized that its information is “based on information which the patients themselves or their family members volunteered as part of an epidemiological investigation if an investigation was conducted and the patient chose to share [the information] with the investigator.”
Feiglin, however, wrote that the government “locked you up in your homes, and stole a year of normal education from your children…all for a ‘plague’ which hurt zero citizens below the age of 50 without preexisting conditions.”
Regarding the queries on the average age of death for vaccinated, unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated individuals, the Health Ministry reported that vaccinated individuals who died of coronavirus died at an average age of 80.2, while those who were not vaccinated and died of coronavirus died at an average age of 77.4. For those who had been vaccinated but had missed their booster doses, the average age of death from coronavirus was 80.8.
COVID Outbreak at CDC Gathering Infects 181 Disease Detectives
Roughly 1,800 gathered in person for this year’s annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference, which was held on April 24 to 27 in a hotel conference facility in Atlanta where the CDC’s headquarters are located. It was the first time the 70-year-old conference had in-person attendees since 2019. The CDC agency estimates an additional 400 attended virtually this year.
Overall, 181 or (13% of the total survey takers) reported testing positive for COVID-19, and 52% of the COVID-positive responders indicated it was their first known bout of COVID-19. Nearly all of the survey takers, 1,435 (99.4%), reported having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine.
But 70% of the survey takers reported going unmasked during the gathering. The CDC notes that the conference occurred when transmission levels were low, during which the CDC does not recommend wearing masks.
COVID: Top Chinese Scientist Says Don’t Rule Out Lab Leak
The possibility the COVID virus leaked from a laboratory should not be ruled out, a former top Chinese government scientist has told BBC News. As head of China’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Prof George Gao played a key role in the pandemic response and efforts to trace its origins.
China’s government dismisses any suggestion the disease may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory.
But Prof Gao is less forthright. In an interview for the BBC Radio 4 podcast Fever: The Hunt for COVID’s Origin, Prof Gao says: “You can always suspect anything. That’s science. Don’t rule out anything.”
In a possible sign that the Chinese government may have taken the lab leak theory more seriously than its official statements suggest, Prof Gao also tells the BBC some kind of formal investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was carried out. “The government organized something,” he says but adds that it did not involve his own department, the China CDC.
Pfizer, Moderna Hit With New Alnylam Patent Lawsuits Over COVID Vaccines
Biotech company Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc (ALNY.O) filed new lawsuits on Friday against Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) in Delaware federal court, again claiming that the companies’ COVID-19 vaccines infringe its patents.
The new lawsuits mark the third time Alnylam has sued Pfizer and Moderna in Delaware for allegedly violating its patent rights in lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology, which the vaccines use to deliver genetic material into the body.
Alnylam is again seeking an unspecified share of royalties from the companies’ vaccine sales. Pfizer earned $37.8 billion from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty last year, while Moderna made $18.4 billion from its vaccine Spikevax.
The lawsuits filed Friday include four new infringement claims against Pfizer and three against Moderna. The complaints are part of a wave of patent lawsuits filed by biotech companies over COVID-19 vaccines, including a case brought by Moderna against Pfizer last year in Massachusetts.
Dangerous Lab Leaks Happen Far More Often Than the Public Is Aware
At biological research facilities across the United States and around the world, hundreds of safety breaches happen every year at labs experimenting with dangerous pathogens. Scientists and other lab workers are bitten by infected animals, stuck by contaminated needles and splashed with infectious fluids. They are put at risk of exposure when their protective gear malfunctions or critical building biosafety systems fail.
And, like all humans, the people working in laboratories make mistakes and they sometimes cut corners or ignore safety procedures — even when working with pathogens that have the potential to cause a global pandemic.
Yet the public rarely learns about these incidents, which tend to be shrouded in secrecy by labs and government officials whose agencies often both fund and oversee the research.
My new book, Pandora’s Gamble: Lab Leaks, Pandemics, and a World at Risk, reveals how these and other kinds of lab accidents have happened with alarming frequency and how the lack of stringent, mandatory and transparent biosafety oversight and incident reporting is putting all of us at risk.
How the Debt Ceiling Deal Impacts COVID Funds
The deal announced Saturday would retain $5 billion in funding for the government’s Project NextGen, which aims to speed up the development of new COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. It would also keep funding for COVID vaccines and treatments for the uninsured, a White House source granted anonymity to discuss details of the agreement said.
Next steps: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy seeks a vote on the package in the House on Wednesday.
Pfizer, the EU, and Disappearing Ink
For a while now controversy has raged around the text messages supposedly exchanged between Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla in the run-up to the April 2021 deal for 1.1 billion doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. The content and even existence of the messages have been shrouded in secrecy, with requests for clarification met with a fat “no comment.”
On Friday, the Commission said it had reached a long sought-after deal with Pfizer to revise the terms of the contract. The new deal cuts down the 450 million doses that were still due to be delivered in 2023 and spreads them out over the next four years.
Overuse of Some Disinfectants Can Do More Harm Than Good — Health Systems Must Eliminate Unnecessary Uses of QACs
Antimicrobial disinfectants serve a critical public health purpose: to decrease the spread of disease. But, as we know with antibiotics, there is a downside to overusing products. Not only can antimicrobials such as quaternary ammonium compounds (known as QACs or quats) contribute to antimicrobial resistance, the evidence of harm to human health from exposure to QACs is increasing.
The COVID-19 pandemic magnified the use of disinfectants and alcohol-based sanitizers in healthcare and non-healthcare settings. On top of the overzealous use of wipes, sprays, and cleaning solutions, the pandemic has also boosted the relatively new trend of putting antimicrobials on nonporous items and in durable goods (pillows, socks, furniture, airplane brochures).
A recent scientific review of QACs (co-authored by one of us — Amina Salamova, Ph.D., MS), presents evidence of suspected or known adverse health outcomes from human and laboratory animal research. These include dermal and respiratory effects, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and disruption of metabolic function associated with exposure to QACs.
In addition, the review demonstrates that concentrations of QACs in the environment are already approaching levels known to be toxic to aquatic organisms and they are now detected in human blood and breast milk.