Taking too long? Close loading screen.
Connect with us

Science

Trump plans to announce FDA authorization of convalescent plasma for COVID-19

Published

on

President Donald Trump plans to announce that the Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors as a treatment for sick patients, according to the Washington Post. Trump publicly pressured the agency last week to speed the development of drugs and vaccines.

Preliminary research suggests that the plasma, which contains antibodies against the coronavirus, could help improve the survival rate of people hospitalized with the disease. However, the treatment has only been tested in small groups of COVID-19 patients, and not in the large, placebo-controlled clinical trials that could give clear answers.

The FDA had plans to issue an emergency authorization for plasma at the start of August, but put those plans on hold after health officials raised concerns there was not strong enough data supporting the treatment, according to The New York Times. Data from a large study of plasma found that patients had a lower death rate if they received plasma within three days of their diagnosis than if they received it later, but those patients were not compared to a placebo group. Officials decided to scrutinize the data more closely.

In a press conference last week, President Donald Trump said without evidence that the delay was politically motivated. “People are dying, and we should have it approved if it’s good,” he said. He then accused the FDA of stalling the development of COVID-19 drugs and vaccines on Twitter.

Emergency authorization is not full FDA approval, but it indicates that the agency believes the benefits of the therapy outweigh the risks. One other treatment, the antiviral drug remdesivir, is authorized to treat COVID-19.

Convalescent plasma is an old-school approach to treating infectious disease; it’s been used since the 1890s to treat diphtheria, pandemic flu, and chickenpox.

“With plasma we’re leveraging the body’s amazing ability to develop antibodies and immunity to pathogens,” Elliott Bennett-Guerrero, who is studying the use of this convalescent plasma in COVID-19 patients at Stony Brook Medicine, told The Verge in April. “We transfer those protective factors to people who are sick and haven’t been able to mount an immune response.”

Thousands of COVID-19 patients in the US have already been treated with plasma through clinical trials and emergency access programs. The FDA has been helping coordinate those efforts since March. The new authorization, though, would knock down some logistical barriers and make it easier for patients to access the treatment.

Clinical trials on plasma as a treatment for COVID-19 are still ongoing. Scientists are also studying if infusions of the plasma could protect healthy people who are at high risk for contracting the virus, like health care workers, from getting sick.

The US Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging people who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma through a series of PSAs, and the FDA has a website directing people to donation sites.

Source : TheVerge ScienceRead More

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Science

Too bright to breed

Published

on

Night light from coastal cities overpowers natural signals for coral spawning from neighboring reefs.

PHOTO: NOKURO/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Most coral species reproduce through broadcast spawning. For such a strategy to be successful, coordination has had to evolve such that gametes across clones are released simultaneously. Over millennia, lunar cycles have facilitated this coordination, but the recent development of bright artificial light has led to an overpowering of these natural signals. Ayalon et al. tested for the direct impact of different kinds of artificial light on different species of corals. The authors found that multiple lighting types, including cold and warm light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, led to loss of synchrony and spawning failure. Further, coastal maps of artificial lighting globally suggest that it threatens to interfere with coral reproduction worldwide and that the deployment of LED lights, the blue light of which penetrates deeper into the water column, is likely to make the situation even worse.

Curr. Biol. 10.1016/j.cub.2020.10.039 (2020).

Source

Continue Reading

Science

SpaceX launches Starlink app and provides pricing and service info to early beta testers

Published

on

SpaceX has debuted an official app for its Starlink satellite broadband internet service, for both iOS and Android devices. The Starlink app allows users to manage their connection – but to take part you’ll have to be part of the official beta program, and the initial public rollout of that is only just about to begin, according to emails SpaceX sent to potential beta testers this week.

The Starlink app provides guidance on how to install the Starlink receiver dish, as well as connection status (including signal quality), a device overview for seeing what’s connected to your network, and a speed test tool. It’s similar to other mobile apps for managing home wifi connections and routers. Meanwhile, the emails to potential testers that CNBC obtained detail what users can expect in terms of pricing, speeds and latency.

The initial Starlink public beta test is called the “Better than Nothing Beta Program,” SpaceX confirms in their app description, and will be rolled out across the U.S. and Canada before the end of the year – which matches up with earlier stated timelines. As per the name, SpaceX is hoping to set expectations for early customers, with speeds users can expect ranging from between 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s, and latency of 20ms to 40ms according to the customer emails, with some periods including no connectivity at all. Even with expectations set low, if those values prove accurate, it should be a big improvement for users in some hard-to-reach areas where service is currently costly, unreliable and operating at roughly dial-up equivalent speeds.

Image Credits: SpaceX

In terms of pricing, SpaceX says in the emails that the cost for participants in this beta program will be $99 per moth, plus a one-time cost of $499 initially to pay for the hardware, which includes the mounting kit and receiver dish, as well as a router with wifi networking capabilities.

The goal eventually is offer reliably, low-latency broadband that provides consistent connection by handing off connectivity between a large constellation of small satellites circling the globe in low Earth orbit. Already, SpaceX has nearly 1,000 of those launched, but it hopes to launch many thousands more before it reaches global coverage and offers general availability of its services.

SpaceX has already announced some initial commercial partnerships and pilot programs for Starlink, too, including a team-up with Microsoft to connect that company’s mobile Azure data centers, and a project with an East Texas school board to connect the local community.

Source

Continue Reading

Science

Erratum for the Report “Meta-analysis reveals declines in terrestrial but increases in freshwater insect abundances” by R. Van Klink, D. E. Bowler, K. B. Gongalsky, A. B. Swengel, A. Gentile, J. M. Chase

Published

on

S. Rennie, J. Adamson, R. Anderson, C. Andrews, J. Bater, N. Bayfield, K. Beaton, D. Beaumont, S. Benham, V. Bowmaker, C. Britt, R. Brooker, D. Brooks, J. Brunt, G. Common, R. Cooper, S. Corbett, N. Critchley, P. Dennis, J. Dick, B. Dodd, N. Dodd, N. Donovan, J. Easter, M. Flexen, A. Gardiner, D. Hamilton, P. Hargreaves, M. Hatton-Ellis, M. Howe, J. Kahl, M. Lane, S. Langan, D. Lloyd, B. McCarney, Y. McElarney, C. McKenna, S. McMillan, F. Milne, L. Milne, M. Morecroft, M. Murphy, A. Nelson, H. Nicholson, D. Pallett, D. Parry, I. Pearce, G. Pozsgai, A. Riley, R. Rose, S. Schafer, T. Scott, L. Sherrin, C. Shortall, R. Smith, P. Smith, R. Tait, C. Taylor, M. Taylor, M. Thurlow, A. Turner, K. Tyson, H. Watson, M. Whittaker, I. Woiwod, C. Wood, UK Environmental Change Network (ECN) Moth Data: 1992-2015, NERC Environmental Information Data Centre (2018); .

Source

Continue Reading

Trending