Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
Major COVID Report Suggests Virus Could Have Leaked From a U.S. Lab
Published on Wednesday, the paper said it remains “feasible” that SARS-Cov-2 emerged from either a natural spillover or a laboratory incident, and called for the introduction of more safeguards to reduce the risk of either eventuality.
But the report, the result of two years of work, also suggested that American researchers could be culpable. As well as mentioning facilities in Wuhan, it noted that “independent researchers have not yet investigated” U.S. labs, and said the National Institutes of Health has “resisted disclosing details” of its work.
The report comes as controversy swirls around the commission chair, the economist Prof Jeffrey Sachs. At a conference in Madrid earlier this year, he said he was “pretty convinced” that SARS-Cov-2 “came out of a U.S. lab of biotechnology, not out of nature” — a claim that has since been widely promoted by Chinese diplomats.
New Study Finds Organ Recipients Rejecting Transplant After Receiving COVID Vaccine
Some transplant recipients are rejecting their new organ and scientists say the coronavirus vaccine may be to blame.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, acute corneal allografts are being rejected by immunized patients who’ve undergone the procedure. Researchers say the underlying cause could be tied to a systemic inflammatory response elicited by the shot post-jab.
Japanese researchers compiled data from 23 studies. A total of 23 eyes from 21 patients who had undergone corneal graft procedures were assessed. Graft rejection occurred anywhere from one day to six weeks after vaccination in all patients — some who underwent the procedure as far back as 20 years ago.
Laval University Professor Suspended for Child COVID Vaccination Criticism Faces New Disciplinary Threat
A Quebec university professor of infectious diseases who was suspended during the summer for calling into question the need to vaccinate children against COVID-19 is facing a new disciplinary threat for similar comments he made on a radio show while under suspension.
Patrick Provost, a full professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Laval University, was suspended for eight weeks without pay in June by his employer for comments he made in December 2021.
Provost had said during a public event that the risks of vaccinating children against COVID-19 were greater than the benefits. While on suspension in mid-July, Provost made similar comments during an interview with Quebec radio station CHOI 98.1 Radio X.
Following Provost’s radio appearance, an individual submitted a complaint through the university’s security denunciation portal, according to files obtained by The Epoch Times.
France’s Health Body Warns of Resurgence of COVID Virus in the Country
The Sante Publique France (SPF) body said that during the week of Sept. 5-Sept. 11, there had been 186 confirmed COVID cases for every 100,000 people in France — a figure up 12% versus the previous week — representing an average of around 18,000 new cases per day.
Vax Protection Fades Fast Against BA.4/5-Related Hospitalizations — South African Study Makes the Case for More Frequent Boosters
Vaccine protection against hospitalization from the latest Omicron subvariants deteriorates rapidly, even after a third dose, new data from South Africa indicated, suggesting that annual boosters might not cut it for high-risk people.
With the primary two-dose series of Pfizer‘s mRNA vaccine, effectiveness against BA.4/5-related hospitalization slipped from 47.4% after 3 to 4 months (95% CI 19.9-65.5) to just 19.3% at 9 months and beyond (95% CI 6.3-30.5), according to Glenda Gray, MBBCh, of the South African Medical Research Council in Cape Town, and co-authors, writing in correspondence to the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Evidence of rapid waning of durability indicates the need for regular boosting as early as 4 months after the last dose or the need for vaccines to incorporate variants of concern to maintain protection,” Gray and co-authors said.
WHO ‘Strongly Advises Against’ Use of Two COVID Treatments
The two therapies — which are designed to work by binding to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to neutralize the virus’ ability to infect cells — were some of the first medicines developed early in the pandemic.
The virus has since evolved, and mounting evidence from lab tests suggests the two therapies — sotrovimab as well as casirivimab-imdevimab — have limited clinical activity against the latest iterations of the virus. As a result, they have also fallen out of favor with the U.S. health regulator.
On Thursday, WHO experts said they strongly advised against the use of the two therapies in patients with COVID-19, reversing previous conditional recommendations endorsing them, as part of a suite of recommendations published in the British Medical Journal.
COVID Home Test Kits Less Effective With Omicron Variant: Study
Only one of three widely used rapid antigen tests met World Health Organization (WHO) standards for accuracy, Dutch researchers report.
For the study — published Sept. 14 in The BMJ — they tested nearly 6,500 people with COVID symptoms who visited one of three test sites in the Netherlands between late December and early February.
EU Regulator Backs Wider Use of AstraZeneca COVID Therapy
Europe’s medicines regulator has backed using AstraZeneca‘s (AZN.L) preventative COVID-19 therapy as a treatment for the disease and also endorsed another medicine as a preventative option for another common virus.
AstraZeneca said on Friday that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had backed Evusheld as a treatment for adults and adolescents with COVID who do not need supplemental oxygen and who are at increased risk of their disease worsening.
Last month, Japan became the first country to approve the long-acting antibody as a treatment for COVID — making Evusheld the first such therapy authorized for both prevention and treatment of the viral disease.
Racing Moderna, Pfizer Starts Phase 3 Trial of mRNA Flu Vaccine
Pfizer has begun a phase 3 clinical trial of its mRNA-based influenza vaccine, keeping it tucked in behind Moderna in the race to upend the seasonal flu market using the technology that defined the response to COVID-19.
Moderna dosed the first participants in the phase 3 clinical trial of its flu vaccine candidate, mRNA-1010, in June, activating sites in the Southern Hemisphere to get data to support a potential accelerated approval while preparing to run a larger confirmatory study in the Northern Hemisphere in the 2022-23 flu season. Pfizer, taking a different approach, has made a 25,000-subject U.S. phase 3 the focus of its program.
The investigators have now dosed the first participants with Pfizer’s quadrivalent modified RNA influenza vaccine. Through the trial, which is enrolling people aged 18 years and older, Big Pharma is aiming to show the efficacy, safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the vaccine.
White House Launches Monkeypox Research Agenda
The White House on Thursday announced a round of new research commitments aimed at better understanding how to diagnose, treat and prevent monkeypox, with new clinical trials being done both in the U.S. and in countries where the virus is endemic.
During a press briefing, chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci acknowledged there are “a number of unanswered questions” when it comes to the monkeypox response.
There are currently no treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically meant to treat and prevent monkeypox. The treatments that have been utilized throughout the outbreak — mainly the Jynneos vaccine and the antiviral tecovirimat, or TPOXX — are both approved to treat and prevent smallpox infections.
Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), further noted the importance of developing better diagnostic methods for the monkeypox virus. Current monkeypox tests can only be used once lesions have formed on the skin that can then be swabbed.
U.S. Seeing Decline in Monkeypox New Case Growth, CDC Says
U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said on Thursday she was cautiously optimistic over a decline in the growth of new monkeypox cases, but that some areas of the country are still experiencing a rise in infections.
She also said during a White House briefing that the agency was taking steps to address racial and ethnic disparities in the distribution of monkeypox vaccines.
Nearly 23,000 cases of monkeypox have been identified across the United States as of Sept. 14, Walensky told reporters.