from the world's big
A new study suggests that an old tuberculosis vaccine may reduce the severity of coronavirus cases.
- A new study finds a tuberculosis BCG vaccination is linked to its COVID-19 mortality rate.
- More BCG vaccinations are connected to fewer severe coronavirus cases in East Germany.
- The study is preliminary and more research is needed to support the findings.
Professor Luis Escobar
Credit: Virginia Tech
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.
In "Douglas," the Australian comedian opens up about her autism diagnosis.
- In her new Netflix special, "Douglas," comedian Hannah Gadsby targets anti-vaxxers.
- Diagnosed with autism four years ago, Gadsby discusses the dangers of believing vaccinations cause autism.
- Some high-profile anti-vax activists use their platform in order to sell supplements and books.
How Hannah Gadsby's High-Functioning Autism Works | Netflix Is A Joke<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b2bb91d719bd25e853753d4ade362893"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5lXbpgU9OWk?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In a scathing yet hilarious indictment of the anti-vax movement, Gadsby says activists are highly organized and coordinated. They're also prone to "willfully manipulate statistics," as the osteopathic study proves. This doesn't change the fact that anti-vaxxers are woefully outnumbered, however loud social media seems. Tragically, the loudest voice in the room gets taken seriously, sometimes. </p><p>After discussing her autism diagnosis, Gadsby begins the skit. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Do you know what causes autism? No, you f***ing don't. If you honestly think you do, your confidence is making you stupid." </p><p>She's aware anti-vaxxers are likely in the room. Her core demographic is wealthy, entitled white women, which is "a Venn diagram with a lot of crossover." Gadsby holds no hope in changing minds, because that's not how closed minds work: "They don't work; they're closed for business." </p><p>She then pretends vaccines cause autism, although "pretending is not science." She's not upset about being on the spectrum. That doesn't mean having autism is easy; quite the contrary. It's difficult to always be the odd one out. That said, Gadsby brilliantly advocates for autism. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"As difficult as this life is, it's nice to have a life. And it's particularly nice to have this life in a world without polio. Polio is bad, and that is a fact, not a feeling."</p><p>Text on a screen will never compare to Gadsby's delivery: the crescendo of "polio," the playful yet serious expression on her face when delivering this information. Her critique doesn't stop there. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I would rather have autism than be a sociopath like you."</p><p>Tough statement, which she qualifies. Believing your child is more important than all other children means you're not playing for the team. You've wrapped yourself up so tightly in a belief system that self-righteousness has become your creed. Far from being a posture on Twitter, this mindset has real-world consequences. </p><p>First, there's the economic angle. Discredited physician Andrew Wakefield, who was <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347" target="_blank">paid to falsify data</a> in his infamous measles vaccine-autism study, <a href="http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/epidemiology/hanley/c609/Material/BMJpartII.pdf" target="_blank">filed a patent</a> for a single-jab measles vaccine as the same time he was decrying vaccines. His objective appears to have been financial from day one. </p>
Protesters hold banners against the 5G technology and vaccines as others shout slogans during an anti-government protest in front of the parliament in Sofia on May 14, 2020.
Photo by Nikolay Doychinov/AFP via Getty Images<p>Wakefield isn't the only opportunist. Osteopath Joseph Mercola's net worth has <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2019/10/15/fdc01078-c29c-11e9-b5e4-54aa56d5b7ce_story.html" target="_blank">grown to over $100 million</a> as he promotes his products to anti-vaxxers. Then there's Judy Mikovits, the subject of the discredited film, "<a href="https://bigthink.com/coronavirus/the-plandemic" target="_self">Plandemic</a>," whose book <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/plandemic-judy-mikovits-plague-of-corruption-998224/" target="_blank">became a bestseller</a> after the film's release. Her book was published by a house whose <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9WuTxRZFNQ&t=74s" target="_blank">sole focus</a> is promoting anti-vaccination rhetoric.</p><p>Second, the health consequences. As Gadsby says, anti-vaxxers are coordinated. Two case studies: Samoa and Orthodox Judaism. </p><p>Recently anti-vax rhetoric has <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/samoa-has-become-a-case-study-for-anti-vax-success/2019/12/09/76848830-1ac8-11ea-b4c1-fd0d91b60d9e_story.html" target="_blank">rooted</a> in Samoa. The result: over 4,000 children were infected with measles last fall. At least 70 died. An anti-vax advocate <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50682881" target="_blank">promoted</a> the use of papaya leaf for treating measles; he was later arrested. The situation was so bad, the Samoan government declared a state of emergency and banned children under the age of 17 from gathering publicly. </p><p>Anti-vax rhetoric <a href="https://khn.org/news/why-measles-hits-so-hard-within-n-y-orthodox-jewish-community/" target="_blank">also hit</a> Orthodox Jewish communities hard last year. In March, 2019 over 275 cases of measles were confirmed in New York state. The <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/meet-the-new-york-couple-donating-millions-to-the-anti-vax-movement/2019/06/18/9d791bcc-8e28-11e9-b08e-cfd89bd36d4e_story.html" target="_blank">funding</a> for this effort was provided by a wealthy Manhattan couple that has donated over $3 million to anti-vax organizations. One group is Informed Consent Action Network, an anti-vax organization run by a former television producer that specifically targets Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County. </p><p>"Douglas" is a masterful piece of common sense propaganda. Gadsby is ready for the vitriol certain to come her way for exposing the public to basic science. She snacks on hate. Following that statement, she stares out into the crowd to ask if they understand why she would eat the bluster of haters. Her response is priceless.<br></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It builds immunity; it's called microdosing. Your hate is my vaccine."</p><p>A slight pause. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What are you going to do? I already have autism."</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Currently, more than 100 COVID-19 vaccines are being developed worldwide.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the remarks on April 27 while speaking to CNN.
- There are currently ten COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.
- A new report warns that people who refuse to get vaccinated could jeopardize the success of a COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 and herd immunity<p>But even a perfect vaccine won't do much good if people don't get vaccinated. That's because vaccines don't work on all people. For example, vaccines aren't as effective for the elderly, and people with certain pre-existing conditions can't be vaccinated. </p><p>As such, the safety of these vulnerable groups depends on the rest of society getting vaccinated, and not spreading the virus. This results in herd immunity.</p><p>A <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766370" target="_blank">new analysis</a> published in JAMA warns that society might not be able to extinguish the virus if more than 10 percent of the population refuses to get vaccinated. Noting that vaccine skeptics are likely to be a problem, the authors suggest starting public-health campaigns as early as possible. More broadly, they suggest four approaches to maximize vaccine uptake:</p><ul><li>First, a COVID-19 vaccine should rapidly be delivered to the public as soon as rigorous testing has been completed, and efficacy and safety have been established. The vaccine should be equitably and justly distributed, particularly targeting individuals at highest risk for complications and disease transmission to others if initial vaccine supply does not meet demand.</li><li>Second, the plan for a COVID-19 mass vaccination program should proactively address known potential obstacles to vaccine acceptance using linguistically and culturally competent messaging.</li><li>Third, public health officials should develop a robust COVID-19 vaccine educational campaign harnessing traditional and social media, with a particular focus on involving social influencers and targeting misinformation.</li><li>Fourth, frontline health care workers should be taught how to make strong recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination, including, if relevant, sharing their personal experiences with COVID-19 and the vaccine.</li></ul>
A new study at UPenn found that effective learning includes mistakes—just not too many.
- Humans learn best when avoiding too much complexity and getting the gist of situations, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Instead of remember every detail, we learn by categorizing situations through pattern recognition.
- We wouldn't retain much if we considered a high level of complexity with every piece of information.