Monthly Archives: April 2021

Merck announces agreement with India for investigational oral drug molnupiravir with potential implications for over 100 countries

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA On April 27 Merck issued a press release titled, “Amid Humanitarian Crisis in India, Merck Announces Voluntary Licensing Agreements with Five Indian Generics Manufacturers to Accelerate and Expand Global Access to Molnupiravir, an Investigational Oral Therapeutic for the Treatment of COVID-19.” Merck stated that it “has entered into […]

WHO provides update on India’s surging epidemic second wave and variant B.1.617

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA On April 27 the World Health Organization included in its very helpful weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 a section on variants, including the one termed “B.1.617” (formerly mis-termed “double mutant”). WHO placed into context the rapidly rising numbers of cases in India with the lower and decreasing numbers […]

Fighting COVID- 19 in Jordan, from early declared victory to extreme burden

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By Mahmoud Shorman, MD, FIDSA, MHA After the reports of the spread of a novel coronavirus in China in the first part of 2020, Jordan was no exception as countries worldwide began putting measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. By Jan. 26 a protocol designed by Jordan’s Health Ministry with the […]

FDA should convene its vaccine advisory committee for COVID vaccine EUAs for children

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA On April 9 a request was filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 12-15 year olds. Below are four reasons the FDA should convene its Vaccines and Related Biologic Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) for all COVID-19 vaccine EUA […]

The COVID Archipelago: Volcanoes and variants

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA Most archipelagos are created by volcanoes erupting from the ocean floor. Imagining such volcanoes as hotspots of SARS-CoV-2/COVID infections, the virus variants can be imagined as an archipelago of islands above the surface. Each new island has the potential to become its own volcano and spread new variant […]

The COVID variants arrived at the Navajo Nation: Will it be able to stave off the third wave?

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By Kwan Kew Lai, MD, DMD Navajo Nation had its first COVID wave in May of 2020 and on May 18, it quickly surpassed New York as having the highest infection rate. The second wave started in November and by mid-February 2021, it was slowly brought under control. I had the occasion to volunteer with […]

Can unprecedented success in COVID vaccine development boost prospects for an HIV vaccine?

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By Mitchell Warren, executive director, AVAC In February 2020, just as the COVID pandemic began its rapid global spread, a major HIV vaccine trial called HVTN 702, or Uhambo, was halted for lack of efficacy. Researchers and advocates had high hopes for Uhambo, building as it did on the RV144 trial, which provided the first […]

What We’re Reading: Why it’s time to pick the next PEPFAR leader

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Leader Needed to Fight Another Pandemic: HIV – While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted HIV services worldwide, the office of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator has remained vacant since January. This vacancy at the helm of this country’s flagship response to the HIV pandemic “calls into question our commitment to the humanitarian vision and recognition of […]

Bar opening linked to 29 COVID-19 diagnoses among staff and patrons, 17 more across the community affecting school, nursing home

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About a year after community spread of COVID-19 began to be recognized across the United States, and around the time the U.S. death toll from the virus approached a half million people, a bar in Illinois with a capacity for 100 customers celebrated its February opening with an indoor party. Mask-wearing was scarce, as were […]

State Leaders’ Messages on Pandemic Stand in Contrast to Messages from Medical Frontlines

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“Recently, doctors in both Chicago and Nashville described seeing pediatric intensive care beds filled by adult COVID-19 patients . . .” By Barbara D. Alexander, MD, MHS, FIDSA This week, President Biden and members of his administration urged states to maintain or reinstate mask wearing mandates to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They were countering […]