The Daily Dose: An insistent Sanofi gets rebuffed by FDA advisory group; Is public funding wasted?

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Simply not good enough: Sanofi’s dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, continues to falter with regulatory agencies. An American Food and Drug Administration advisory group voted to severely limit its use in the United States. If the FDA follows the group’s suggestions, the vaccine would be used only in children ages 9-17 with prior dengue infection established through laboratory tests. It’s use would also be limited to regions where the disease is endemic.

Suspicion among the afflicted: The New York Times has highlighted the severity of the current Ebola outbreak and the reasons why foreign healthcare workers are increasingly viewed with suspicion by local villagers. The article quotes Doctors Without Borders president, Joanne Liu as saying the existing atmosphere between patients and healthcare workers as “toxic.” There have been a number of attacks on healthcare workers in recent weeks.

Down the drain: A study published in the Public Library of Science looked at how much public funding in the United Kingdom went to the most highly cited UK-based researchers. The investigators looked at three institutions— the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust — and learned that out of 164 highly-cited individuals only 79 currently held grants from one of the three. The study concluded that the majority of highly cited researchers are not receiving public funding and discusses why money is being misspent.

Wisdom of polarized groups: A paper published in Nature Human Behavior studied the edits and editorial “Talk” pages used in Wikipedia to maintain entries with political subject matter. The researchers learned that the more highly polarized the contributors were the more thorough the articles tended to be. It showed that a diversity of viewpoints can be beneficial when handled correctly and proper guidelines are in place.

Late education not helpful: Researchers have looked at the effects of later education on deferring the effects of dementia. According to the study, “After accounting for general cognitive ability (GCA) at age 20 y, education, occupational complexity, or engagement in cognitive-intellectual activities accounted for <1% of the variance in late midlife cognitive functioning.” In other words, people pursuing schooling later in life with the aim of combatting the onset of Alzheimer’s are probably unlikely to affect it.

Happy returns: Last Friday, SpaceX’s Dragon demo capsule successfully undocked from the International Space Station and returned to Earth. It landed in the waters around Cape Canaveral and represent a major step forward for the company’s program or reusable rocket components. It also paves the way for America’s ability to deliver its astronauts into space.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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