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    A contentious method of scientific experimentation is at the center of the COVID-19 lab-leak theory, and the administration of President Joe Biden could potentially put a stop to some of it. Proponents of the theory that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory setting have cited gain-of-function (GOF) research as a possible source of the pandemic. GOF research involves making pathogens more infectious and lethal in order to study them for knowledge on possible remedies or vaccines. Some scientists believe the risks associated with GOF research outweigh the potential benefits. In 2012, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimated that there was an 80% chance a dangerous virus could accidentally escape from a lab every twelve years due to the amount of GOF research happening worldwide. “Laboratory systems are not infallible, and even in the greatest laboratories of the world, there are mistakes,” director for the Center for Health Security at Johns...
    President Joe Biden is urging Americans to continue wearing masks for at least the next year in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Biden, who since taking office has made tackling the outbreak a central focus of his administration, visited the National Institute of Health (NIH) on Thursday in Maryland. As part of the trip, Biden toured the NIH’s viral pathologies division, which is responsible for identifying future pandemics, and he delivered a public address to the institute’s staff. During his remarks, Biden, flanked on stage by Dr. Anthony Fauci and NIH Director Francis Collins, discussed the situation facing the country as it sought to scale the production of coronavirus vaccines and develop a large scale distribution network. To highlight the seriousness of those efforts as well as the need for the public to remain cautious and continue following guidelines to lower the rate of coronavirus transmission,...
    On Dec. 1, 2019, the first case of human COVID-19 was documented. Less than six weeks later, the genetic sequence was unlocked by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the SARS-Co-V-2 virus. Within five days, a mRNA vaccine was in development. As we pass one year since the first COVID-19 case, several vaccines have been readied for human use and three former U.S. presidents will roll up their sleeves to be publicly vaccinated. The speed of this scientific achievement will be recorded in history as one of the most rapid, impactful, and critically important medical advances of our generation—and likely of generations to come. Millions of people will never suffer the acute or lingering effects inflicted by SARS-Co-V-2. Hundreds of thousands more will be spared death. The positive impact on this generation and on future generations will be so large that it will be impossible to measure. There are,...
    NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins spoke with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Sunday as the first batch of U.S. vaccines started being shipped. One issue in the vaccine rollout is the fact that a lot of people either don’t want to take it or are spreading conspiracy theories about the vaccine. Todd asked Collins about one survey finding that even a remarkable number of health care workers in Miami were “not interested” in taking the vaccine. “If we can’t get to 70 percent penetration with health care workers, Dr. Collins, we have a real hurdle in front of us to convince people to take this, do we not?” he asked. Collins agreed and said, “This is a source of great concern for all of us.” He pled to Americans to understand that the data is out there, the vaccines are being thoroughly vetted, and that getting vaccinated is...
    The director of the National Institutes of Health is urging the public to set aside skepticism regarding the coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Francis Collins said the rate at which a vaccine was developed for the novel coronavirus was "astounding" but emphasized that the significantly condensed timeline for the vaccine's production should not fuel anti-vaccine conspiracies. "It is indeed astounding in just the space of some 11 months we’ve gone from a recognition of a new pathogen to a vaccine that we know is safe and effective," Collins said during an interview on Meet the Press. "I would like to plead to people listening to this morning to really hit the reset button on whatever they think they knew about this vaccine that might cause them to be so skeptical." The Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech's two-stage coronavirus vaccine on Friday. During a...
    The director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) made an impassioned plea to Americans on Sunday, asking them to “hit the reset button” on their concerns regarding the coronavirus vaccine. "Meet the Press" host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddSen. Alexander criticizes Texas lawsuit Centrist senators express optimism their COVID-19 relief bill will become law Chicago mayor says COVID-19 vaccine faces 'reluctance' among African American communities MORE noted during an interview with Dr. Francis Collins that a Miami-Dade County study that found less than half of health care workers were not interested in receiving the vaccine. “This is a source of great concern for all of us and I would like to plead just to people who are listening to this this morning to really hit the reset button on whatever they think they knew about this vaccine that might cause them to be so skeptical,” said Collins. NEW: @NIHDirector says he...
    The world's first vaccine against the novel coronavirus was designed in the US by January 13 and took just two days to develop. According to Moderna Inc's website, Chinese authorities shared the genetic sequence of the virus on Saturday, January 11. Over the course of a weekend, Moderna's infectious disease research team and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) finalized the sequence for the vaccine, which is called mRNA-1273. The company then formulated a clinical batch and sent it to the NIH for Phase I safety tests. Last month, the vaccine was found to be 94.5 percent effective against COVID-19, leading Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The advisory committee is meeting on December 17 to decide whether or not to recommend approval to the FDA.  Officials in China released the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus online on January 11...
    Eli Lilly & Co has ended its clinical trial of an antibody drug early after it was shown to not help hospitalized coronavirus patients recover.   The ACTIV-3 study of the antibody LY-CoV555 (also known as bamlanivimab) was paused on October 13 due to 'potential safety concerns' and out of an 'abundance of caution.'    However, company officials have not revealed what the safety concerns were, or how many hospitalized participants were affected, after a pause was recommended by an independent safety board.  In this particular trial, the antibody was being tested in combination with remdesivir, which recently became the first drug granted full US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as a COVID-19 treatment. In a statement on Monday, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which was sponsoring the trial, said the antibody treatment did not have any safety risk. However, investigators found that there was no significant difference in outcomes between patients...
    Savannah Rychcik October 20, 2020 0 Comments It has been a while since President Donald Trump has met with the coronavirus task force, according to Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. Host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” Steve Inskeep noted it seems the coronavirus task force is much less public than before and less visible than it was. He asked Collins if Trump is still listening to health experts. “The task force continues to meet regularly, at least once a week, and to wrestle with a whole lot of the issues, especially now that we see the worsening of the pandemic in the middle of the country, which is really quite a serious concern,” Collins said. He added, “The vice president presides over all of those task force meetings and is incredibly engaged with all of these questions and deliberations and decisions that have...
    Moderna Inc says it will know if its experimental coronavirus vaccine is effective at preventing people from contracting the disease by November.  CEO Stéphane Bancel, speaking at The Wall Street Journal's annual Tech Live conference, said the company is waiting for interim results of its late-stage clinical trial. Provided the results are positive, Moderna could apply for emergency use authorization (EUA) by late November and may receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by December. This timeline is about the same as that of rival drugmaker Pfizer Inc, which announced last week it would also likely apply for EUA next month. It comes as, Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said the US is unlikely to have a vaccine authorized by the FDA before late November.    Moderna Inc says it expects interim results from a late-stage trial on the effectiveness of its...
    An indigenous woman demonstrating.Sebastian Barros/Getty For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.This piece was originally published in High Country News and appears here as part of our Climate Desk Partnership. As US government scientists work to understand how COVID-19 affects the human body, tribal nations are still struggling with the impacts of the federal government’s inadequate response to the pandemic. Now, through a National Institutes of Health program called “All of Us,” tribal nations across Indian Country are pushing federal scientists to conduct disease research that serves Indigenous peoples in a meaningful way. Developing research practices in accordance with tribal consultation takes time, however, meaning that for now, tribal citizens are missing out on the program’s coronavirus antibody testing. The All of Us study aims to collect, sequence and catalog DNA representative of the United States’ diverse communities. This vast...
    VIDEO2:1902:19Visby Medical CEO talks decentralizing PCR coronavirus testingMad Money with Jim Cramer A San Jose, California-based medical device company is scaling up production of a rapid coronavirus test that can be administered anywhere. Visby Medical earlier this week received a $10 million contract from the National Institute of Health to boost its monthly manufacturing capacity of 10,000 tests tenfold. "The intent is really to be able to decentralize PCR testing and make it available to anyone who needs to get tested," Adam de La Zerda, CEO of Visby, told CNBC's Jim Cramer in a "Mad Money" interview Friday. Visby developed a palm-sized PCR device to provide users both fast and accurate tests, two things that have been tough to provide in reliable coronavirus testing. The company has already increased its headcount by four times this year to 350 employees, adding 25 new workers to its payroll each week, de La Zerda said....
    Remdesivir shortens the amount of recovery time from COVID-19 and decreases the risk of death, final results of a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) show.  Researchers found that the antiviral drug reduced the recovery time for hospitalized coronavirus patients by at least five days. What's more, the medication was shown to lower the risk of mortality from the virus by as much as 30 percent.  Manufactured by California-based Gilead Sciences Inc, remdesivir is the only drug approved for emergency use in the US to treat severely ill coronavirus patients. The team, from the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), says the findings not only show how remdesivir can help improve patients' conditions but also how it may prevent them from developing severe complications.  Researchers compared hospitalized coronavirus patients who received the antiviral drug remdesivir (pictured) to those who were given a placebo Patients...
    On Wednesday, a group of scientists gathered—virtually, of course—to share their research on a video call. At this point in the Covid-19 pandemic, that was utterly normal. What was not at at all normal: The group was launching an international network to detect pathogens that can jump from wildlife to the human population, a field of inquiry that’s become politicized since the coronavirus pandemic began—and they were doing it with federal money, even though the United States administration has been the source of the politicization. The network, known as CREID (for Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases), was announced three weeks ago by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases within the National Institutes of Health. The NIH is investing $17 million this year and $82 million across five years to create 11 research nodes, mostly at US universities, that will spin up research partnerships in 28 other...
    US regulators are 'very concerned' about the potential side effects of AstraZeneca and Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine and are debating whether or not to allow the trials to resume. Last week, the trial was put on hold when a British participant was rushed to the hospital after suffering a serious reaction that triggered spinal cord inflammation.  On Saturday, the drugmaker announced that trials for the vaccine would continue in the UK, but the America arm has not restarted.  The hold will remain while the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducts an independent investigation as well as the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  US regulators say they are 'very concerned' about AstraZeneca and Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine after the trial was paused due to a UK participant suffering spinal cord inflammation. Pictured: A participant is dosed in AstraZeneca's vaccine trial The trial has resumed in the UK, but US...
    By The Associated Press NEW YORK — The National Institutes of Health director is telling Congress that AstraZeneca’s suspension of its coronavirus vaccine study shows there will be “no compromises” on safety in developing the shots. AstraZeneca has put on hold its late-stage studies in the U.S. and other countries while it investigates if a British volunteer’s “potentially unexplained illness” is related to vaccination or a coincidence. The company gave no details on the illness, but NIH chief Dr. Francis Collins said it involved a “spinal problem.” Collins pledged science will be behind decisions of if and when any coronavirus vaccine is good enough for widespread use. AstraZeneca’s shot is one of three vaccines in late-stage testing in the U.S. The company’s announcement comes amid worries that President Donald Trump will pressure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve a vaccine before it’s proven to be safe and effective....
    Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), holds a model of Covid-19 while speaking during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, July 2, 2020.Saul Loeb | AFP | Bloomberg | Getty Images The head of the National Institutes of Health told Congress on Wednesday that U.S. health officials will not skip or abbreviate any safety assessments in the development of a coronavirus vaccine. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said studying the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccine candidates is now the federal agency's "top priority" as Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca race to complete late-stage testing and submit approval applications to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the year. On Tuesday, AstraZeneca announced that it was pausing its late-stage trial after a suspected serious adverse reaction in one participant in the United Kingdom. "The critical final steps in clinical trials will be well coordinated and done in parallel with...
    An advisory panel from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says there is not enough evidence that shows plasma therapy is effective at treating coronavirus patients. On August 23, the experimental therapy was granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). President Donald Trump said it was a 'very big day' and 'truly historic' just one day after suggesting, baselessly, that the FDA is waiting to approve treatments and vaccines until after the presidential election in November.  The NIH experts say analysis of a study showed 'no difference in seven-day survival overall' between patients who received antibody-rich plasma and those given plasma with low levels of antibodies, and that they can neither recommend nor discourage the use of convalescent plasma for treating COVID-19.  It is transferred into a sick patient in hopes they will develop the antibodies needed to fight off the infection. Pictured: Collected plasma...
    Convalescent plasma from a recovered coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient is seen at the Central Seattle Donor Center of Bloodworks Northwest during the outbreak in Seattle, Washington, April 17, 2020.Lindsey Wasson | Reuters A panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health said Tuesday there is "insufficient data" to show convalescent plasma works against the coronavirus, refuting claims made by President Donald Trump and the head of the Food and Drug Administration. The panel said it reviewed available data on the treatment and found no data from "well-controlled, adequately powered randomized clinical trials that demonstrate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma" for the treatment of Covid-19. It also said "there was no difference in 7-day survival" for patients, contradicting FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, who said the treatment resulted in a 35% improvement in survival.  "There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of convalescent plasma...
    The US government’s leading health research body has raised a series of bombshell concerns over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and the activities of a secretive Chinese laboratory that was investigating bat diseases. The National Institutes of Health has asked if Covid-19 was linked to the deaths of three miners eight years ago and questioned whether the high-security laboratory in Wuhan possessed samples of the virus prior to the pandemic’s outbreak late last year. The agency also demanded to know more about the ‘apparent disappearance’ of a scientist at the lab rumoured to be Patient Zero, and questioned if roadblocks were placed around the Wuhan Institute of Virology between October 14 and 19 last year. The National Institutes of Health has asked if Covid-19 was linked to the deaths of three miners eight years ago and questioned whether the high-security laboratory in Wuhan possessed samples of the virus...
    Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) are testing a two-drug combo with hopes that it becomes the “golden ticket” against coronavirus, according to a recent report. Last week, one first patient at UCSF was treated with the concoction of antiviral drug remdesivir and interferon beta, a medication used to treat multiple sclerosis, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is sponsoring the randomized, controlled clinical trial. The study will enroll more than 1,000 hospitalized adults with COVID-19 at as many as 100 sites in the U.S. and abroad, with UCSF being one of those sites. According to NIH, all patients will get remdesivir and those in the combination therapy group will be injected with interferon beta every other day for four total doses. Patients only receiving remdesivir will get a matching placebo injection. CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS...
    As students prepare to head back to school, a new study will be tracking the rate of novel coronavirus spread among children and their families. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) is looking at transmission among nearly 2,000 households across the US.  Researchers hope to determine the percentage of children who become infected, how many adults subsequently contract the virus, and if infection differs between children who have asthma or other allergic conditions and children who do not It comes as several studies and anecdotal reports have been published over the last month, which have found that children of all ages have become infected, and then pass the disease on to their family members.  The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease will be looking at coronavirus transmission among nearly 2,000 US households. Pictured: Elementary school students in masks walk to class from the gym to...
    Public health officials told a Senate committee Thursday that a panel of experts outside the U.S. government may help decide who gets the eventual COVID-19 vaccine first. National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins acknowledged that the public could be wary of the U.S. government having final say on who gets the first doses. "We think that might be something best done, in a circumstance, by an organization that is not itself governmental," Collins said in a hearing about "Operation Warp Speed," the Trump administration's plan to develop a vaccine by the end of the year. "Because it's still the case, I think, that people are a little uneasy about the government calling the shots here." Collins said now may be the time "to actually bring together a group of big thinkers who can take a high-level view of this that can lay out a foundation of principles." He...
    The White House abruptly cut off funding to a longstanding program at the National Institutes of Health on bat coronaviruses, Anthony Fauci testified to Congress this week. Speaking at a congressional hearing on the federal response to the COVID-19 crisis, the director of the NIH’s National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that the White House specifically told the NIH to cut funding to what was considered a well-regarded research project. As Ars Technica reported, the cut in funding as well as the disbandment of a pandemic response team has brought criticism to the Trump administration. The report noted that the grant funding the work had been originally funded by the NIH in 2014 and was renewed for another five years in 2019. The research is run by a New York-based non-profit organization but collaborates with a virologist at a lab in Wuhan, China, which was the subject of...
    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in a press release on Saturday that it has halted a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19.Though the NIH said that the drug poses "no harm" to those who have taken it, the drug is ultimately "very unlikely to be beneficial."The clinical trial is said to have been held in Nashville, Tennessee, starting in April, and had more than 470 people enrolled before it was halted.Just a few days earlier, the World Health Organization announced that its dropping hydroxychloroquine from its tests of coronavirus drugs after it was found to be ineffective.Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. A clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of hospitalized adults with COVID-19 has been halted after the drug was found to be ineffective, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on Friday. According to the NIH's press release,...
    The drug hydroxychloroquine, pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump and others in recent months as a possible treatment to people infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is displayed at the Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, May 27, 2020.George Frey | Reuters The National Institutes of Health has halted its clinical trial of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine after finding that the treatment provides no benefit to COVID-19 patients.  The decision to end the trial comes after the Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency use of the drug on Monday and the World Health Organization dropped the drug from its global study on Wednesday.  "A data and safety monitoring board met late Friday and determined that while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with COVID-19," the NIH said in a statement on Saturday.  The FDA has also determined the drug is "unlikely to be...
    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced Monday a new “centralized, secure enclave” of medical record data from coronavirus patients diagnosed nationwide. The analytics platform is part of a new effort called the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), to help scientists analyze data to understand the disease and develop treatments, according to a press release. CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE “This effort aims to transform clinical information into knowledge urgently needed to study COVID-19, including health risk factors that indicate better or worse outcomes of the disease, and identify potentially effective treatments,” NIH wrote. The new platform is funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which is part of the NIH. It will systematically collect clinical, laboratory and diagnostic data from health care provider organizations across the country. The NIH will aggregate and harmonize the information into a standard format readily available for use by researchers and health care providers. The platform...
    (CNN)The director of the National Institutes of Health said Thursday he's concerned that vaccine "skepticism" could hinder the effort to immunize the country against Covid-19. "I'm a bit concerned to see there's a fair amount of skepticism in the American public about whether or not they would take such a vaccine," Dr. Francis Collins told CNN in an interview. "We won't get past Covid-19 unless we have a substantial majority of our public ultimately rendered immune." Some vaccine experts are concerned that President Trump's chosen moniker for the vaccine development campaign -- "Operation Warp Speed" -- isn't helping. They fear that name could leave the impression that speed is more important than safety. With big talk and hurled insults, the gloves come off in the race for the coronavirus vaccine"I want to assure everybody who's heard the [words] 'warp speed' and worried that that means we're cutting corners on safety,...
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