Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
Rep. McCaul: COVID Origin ‘Worst Cover-Up in Human History’
Bipartisan support has grown for a congressional probe into whether the virus originated in a Chinese lab following a Wall Street Journal report that three scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with the virus.
Moderna Files for Full U.S. Approval of COVID Vaccine
Moderna on Tuesday filed for full U.S. approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently only authorized for emergency use in the country, becoming the second drugmaker to seek a broader regulatory nod.
The development comes weeks after rival Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech sought full approval for their Covid-19 vaccine in the United States.
Full approval for the vaccines, which are at the forefront of global immunization efforts, could be an important step in allaying vaccine hesitancy, a growing concern in the United States and other wealthy nations.
Pfizer Vaccine ‘Probably’ Linked to Heart Inflammation, Israeli Panel of Experts Concludes
Israeli health officials found a probable link between the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine — which the country has relied on almost exclusively in its vaccination drive — and dozens of cases of heart inflammation in young men following the second dose, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.
After the ministry received reports of heart inflammation, including myocarditis, following recent COVID vaccination, a panel of experts was appointed to investigate the issue. The panel included public health experts specializing in epidemiology, members of the National Center for Disease Control and academics from the Tel Aviv University, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Haifa University.
‘Self-Spreading’ Vaccines Pose Multiple Risks to Society — Including the End of Informed Consent
In October 2019, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security co-sponsored the “pandemic exercise,” Event 201.
A little more than a year later, when the Event 201 scenario morphed from “hypothetical” to concrete, it became clear that sponsors of the event intended to see the majority of the world vaccinated against COVID-19.
Accomplishing this goal is a “monumental challenge,” however. In the U.S., more than one-third (38% to 45%) of adults continue to decline the unlicensed, Emergency Use Authorization injections, despite a marketing blitz that has included both carrots (ranging from the chance to win cash payments to a free order of fries) and sticks (such as nasty calls to “get personal” and “shun” the unvaccinated).
Woman Who Nearly Died After J&J Vaccine Stuck With $1 Million Medical Bill, Says Government Should Pay
Kendra Lippy was a healthy 38-year old woman — until she got the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine. Within about one week, she began experiencing headaches, abdominal pain and nausea.
Lippy was diagnosed with severe blood clots that subsequently sent most of her organs into failure. She also was left without most of her small intestine — and with crippling medical bills that she said the federal government should compensate her for.
Lippy’s case was one of the six that led federal agencies to temporarily pause the J&J shot in mid-April. Her blood clots developed in March. She was hospitalized for 33 days, including 22 days of intensive care.
The Novel Coronavirus’ Spike Protein Plays Additional Key Role in Illness
Scientists have known for a while that SARS-CoV-2’s distinctive “spike” proteins help the virus infect its host by latching on to healthy cells. Now, a major new study shows that the virus spike proteins (which behave very differently than those safely encoded by vaccines) also play a key role in the disease itself.
The paper, published on April 30, 2021, in Circulation Research, also shows conclusively that COVID-19 is a vascular disease, demonstrating exactly how the SARS-CoV-2 virus damages and attacks the vascular system on a cellular level. The findings help explain COVID-19’s wide variety of seemingly unconnected complications, and could open the door for new research into more effective therapies.
Mobile Vaccination Units Hit Tiny U.S. Towns to Boost Immunity
Pick-up truck drivers motor up to a white trailer in a parking lot on Fallon Paiute-Shoshone land in Nevada’s high desert and within a few moments they’re handed forms to sign, jabbed with coronavirus vaccine and sent on their way.
The pop-up clinic 60 miles (96 kilometers) east of Reno is one of 28 locations in the state where the Federal Emergency Management Agency has dispatched mobile vaccination units to ensure people in far-flung rural areas and one stop-light towns can get inoculated.
It’s one of the tactics health officials are using across the country to counter waning interest in vaccinations. In tiny towns, churches, ballparks, strip clubs and even marijuana dispensaries, officials are setting up shop and offering incentives to entice people as the nation struggles to reach herd immunity.
Hope Builds That COVID Vaccine Boosters Won’t Be Needed for a Year — Or Much Longer
Scientists are increasingly confident that vaccines provide long-lasting protection against the coronavirus and that boosters will not be necessary for at least a year, perhaps much longer.
The vaccines are holding up well against all coronavirus variants so far. That means boosters probably won’t be needed anytime soon to protect against variants. Even more promising, it suggests that unlike influenza, the coronavirus may not require seasonal shots to keep up with mutations.
There’s also growing evidence that the immune system retains a long memory for fighting off the virus after infection or vaccination. People who received the first shots in clinical trials more than a year ago are still showing signs of strong protection. Other signals of long-term effectiveness, such as the presence of certain types of immune cells found in the bone marrow, are promising as well.
COVID: Despite Lure of $1.5 Million, No Stampede to Get Shots at Bay Area Vaccine Sites
A steady trickle of traffic flowed into Bay Area vaccination sites on Friday, a day after the state’s announcement of financial incentives to get jabbed. But trying to find a person for whom the promise of $50 and a chance at more than a million dollars had pushed them over the edge to get a shot was on par with hunting for a unicorn.
Most people at the sites — including the volunteers — hadn’t even heard of the $116.5 million program, which Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled to great fanfare Thursday as part of a growing trend of vaccine giveaways to nudge more hesitant Americans to get a COVID-19 shot. Named “Vax for the Win,” California’s program will provide $50 cash or grocery cards to the next two million Californians who get vaccinated and will enter all vaccinated residents into drawings for cash prizes of $50,000 and $1.5 million.
Second-Generation COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trial Starts at Baylor College of Medicine
Baylor College of Medicine investigators are recruiting volunteers for a multicenter Phase 1 clinical trial to examine the safety, tolerability and immune response for different doses of a two-part, investigational COVID-19 vaccine regimen.
“Gritstone Oncology’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been designed to broaden the immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, with the goal of generating immune responses to provide protection against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2,” said Dr. Jennifer Whitaker, assistant professor of medicine and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine and principal investigator of Baylor’s trial site.
Vietnam Detects New Highly Transmissible Coronavirus Variant
Vietnam has detected a new coronavirus variant that is highly transmissible and has features of two other strains.
“Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the U.K.,” Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said, according to Reuters. “That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the U.K. variant is very dangerous.”
Who Renames COVID-19 Variants With Greek Letter Names to Avoid Confusion, Stigma
The World Health Organization has created a new system to name COVID-19 variants, getting away from place-based names that can be hard to pronounce, difficult to remember and stigmatizing to a country.
The new system, which was announced Monday, is based on the letters of the Greek alphabet. The United Kingdom variant, called by scientists B.1.1.7, will now be Alpha. B.1.351, the South Africa variant will be Beta, and the B.1.617.2 variant discovered in India will now be known as Delta.
When the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet are used up, WHO will announce another series.