Another treatment advances in clinical study
Treatment advances keep COVID-19 mortality rate low, but the impact of rampant community spread continues in much of the USA. Europe, Asia are confronting possibility of resurgent outbreaks.
The top stories:
NIH Director Francis Collins says two human trials of a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 are underway. The drug, developed by NIH, Eli. Lilly & Co., and others, was created from the convalescent plasma of one of the first C19 patients in the USA. Collins says there should be indications of whether this works “in a few months.” This treatment is aimed at individuals who are not yet seriously ill with COVID-19.
Vaccine company Novavax reports that a preliminary (Phase 1) study of its candidate COVID-19 vaccine showed strong antibody response without major adverse reactions in 56 volunteers. This is one of many vaccines in human trials.
France braces for possible resurgence along with flu season with new requirements for masks in more places.
Vietnam, China and Hong Kong are grappling with new COVID-19 cases, including some linked to travelers who did not self-isolate after arrival.
And a few other items of note:
As eviction moratoriums expire, communities around the nation are bracing for a tsunami of evictions and possible homelessness among those whose jobs disappeared due to COVID-19.
The White House announced that the president signed an executive order intended to improve healthcare in rural communities by shifting payments to value-based instead of fee-for-service models and continuing the COVID-19 expansion of telehealth. Some of these goals may require Congressional action.
Cleanup on Aisle 2: Clorox says it won’t catch up with demand for disinfectant wipes until next year. The convenient cleaning towelettes use some of the same materials as PPE, such as masks and gowns, and the factories are trying to fulfill the most urgent needs first. Demand for some of Clorox’s products has increased six-fold due to C19.
Politics and public health I: Especially in a protracted crisis, keeping politics apart from public health is nearly impossible. Sometimes, it gets ugly. We saw that in Orange County, Calif., in May and June, when anti-mask protesters forced the county health director out. Now, New York City’s health commissioner has resigned in protest of the mayor’s decision to shift contact tracing from a department that has extensive experience doing contact tracing to a different department.
Taxpayer dollars at work: The administration’s response to concerns that political interests may influence science or policy decisions regarding a COVID-19 vaccine apparently is to escalate use of official communications channels for political screeds. The latest edition of an official HHS weekly podcast includes HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo declaring, “The American people need to understand that the media often times are lying to them because they don’t want a vaccine, in order to defeat Donald Trump.” It’s all in the transcript and on the recording.
ICYMI from yesterday’s newsletter: Lots of buzz about the enormous new article from The Atlantic that goes back and finds the many times the USA missed opportunities to prepare for or respond to the emergence of COVID-19. “How the Pandemic Defeated America” by Ed Yong, in The Atlantic.