A coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon, thanks to a key discovery by these researchers
AUSTIN, Texas — When the latest coronavirus emerged, Jason McLellan and his team were ready to take action.McLellan, an associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas, has been studying respiratory diseases for years. In 2017, McLellan’s postdoctoral researcher Nianshuang Wang identified genetic mutations necessary to stabilize a key component of diseases like MERS, also a coronavirus.So when Chinese researchers shared the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus on Jan. 10, UT researchers were able to quickly map the virus and inject it with previously-discovered mutat...
Commentary: Good science takes time — even during a pandemic
Good science takes time. This has always been clear to those of us doing health research — less so to the general public. In the pursuit of treatments for COVID-19, we need to manage expectations about what’s not just possible, but also desirable.Finding a vaccine is difficult work, but it’s not like finding a needle in a haystack. Scientists start from a place of knowledge. Researchers around the world are already working on more than 150 possible vaccines, with 22 in human trials. There are also thousands of previously developed pharmaceuticals in testing. A vaccine for COVID-19 is quite lik...
Can hydroxychloroquine prevent COVID-19? Bad press getting in the way of KU finding out
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For 30 days, Kansas City physician Michael Waxman took a daily dose of hydroxychloroquine.Or maybe, he didn’t.Maybe, those pills were nothing more than a placebo.He won’t know until the end of a national clinical trial investigating whether hydroxychloroquine — the drug that keeps popping up in headlines — can prevent health care workers like him from getting COVID-19.The study, led by Duke Clinical Research Institute, is taking place at 40 sites across the country, including the University of Kansas Medical Center.Waxman, a pulmonary critical care physician who has worked a...
The Kansas City Star
Nation and world news briefs
1 in 3 Americans would refuse COVID-19 vaccine, new Gallup poll findsOne in 3 Americans would refuse an FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine even if it were offered at no cost, a new Gallup poll released Friday found.The results, based on survey conducted between July 20 and Aug. 2, found that 65% of respondents said they would accept the offer and get themselves vaccinated while 35% said they would not.The new poll falls in line with previous Gallup findings suggesting political party preference plays a strong role in Americans’ views on COVID-19.Eighty-one% of Democrats would be willing to get v...
Tribune News Service
Trump says coronavirus vaccine might be ready by November election
President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that the U.S. could have a coronavirus vaccine ready to roll by November’s election, offering a far more optimistic timeline than his own public health advisers.Trump floated the upbeat projection during an appearance on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show after the host asked if a vaccine could be ready for distribution “sooner than November 3.”“I think in some cases, yes, possible before, but right around that time,” Trump responded.Trump has made vaccine development a political priority, as general election polls show him trailing Joe Biden by double digits...
New York Daily News
Mayo Clinic's plasma program shows first signs of COVID-19 benefit
MINNEAPOLIS — Preliminary research by Mayo Clinic shows that high-dose plasma therapy is correlated with fewer deaths in patients with severe COVID-19.A 10 percentage point difference in deaths was found when comparing hospitalized COVID-19 patients who received donor plasma with high concentrations of virus-fighting antibodies compared with those who received lower concentrations, Mayo reported.The findings are good news in the fight against a global pandemic with few proven treatments and an infectious disease that as of Wednesday had caused 57,779 known infections and 1,629 deaths in the st...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
HPV vaccine has reduced need for cervical cancer screening, medical group says
For the first time, an expert medical group has recommended delaying, decreasing and simplifying cervical cancer screening, largely because the HPV vaccine, introduced 14 years ago, is protecting young women from the disease.Most Americans still don’t know that the human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes oral and genital cancers, and too many parents are not getting their preteens vaccinated, studies show. But studies also show that even without optimal vaccination rates, Merck’s Gardasil shots have been a public health victory, dramatically reducing the precancerous cervical lesions that can pro...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
In search for COVID-19 treatments, consumer group pushes drugmaker Gilead to test alternative to remdesivir
The pharmaceutical company that makes remdesivir — the only medication that has emergency authorization to fight COVID-19 — should also be conducting human trials on a related drug with strong potential, according to a citizen advocacy group that believes the alternative could be more effective, less expensive and easier to produce.Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen sent a letter dated Tuesday to the CEO of Gilead Sciences and top federal regulators, urging the company and the government to work together to move forward with clinical trials of the drug “or publicly provide evidence why it i...
Pa. suspends requirements for child immunizations, and that has pediatricians worried
PHILADELPHIA — The Pennsylvania Department of Health quietly announced late last month that it was temporarily suspending requirements for children’s immunizations, a move that could send mixed signals to parents about the importance of preventing disease, and could mark a return for vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, doctors fear.The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for families to make scheduled checkups. In Philadelphia, routine immunizations have fallen substantially since March. As a result, many children in Pennsylvania may not have the required immunizations to enter a...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Henry Ford defends hydroxychloroquine study, 'saddened' by drug's politicization
DETROIT — Henry Ford Health System is defending a study that determined hydroxychloroquine was effective in lowering COVID-19 death rates but acknowledged the need for additional clinical trials.A statement Monday comes three days after the nation’s top infectious disease expert called the July 2 study results “flawed.”The Detroit-based health system agreed that the best study of the drug, as argued by Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday, was a “double-blind, randomized clinical trial.”But “a whole scientific field exists in which scientists examine how a drug is working in the real world to get as be...
The Detroit News