After over a year’s worth of pandemic deaths around the world, the United States has finally decided to chip in with a significant public health gesture. Per the Associated Press, “The U.S. will buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to share through the global COVAX alliance for donation to 92 lower income countries and the African Union over the next year, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday. President Joe Biden was set to make the announcement Thursday in a speech before the start of the Group of Seven summit. Two hundred million doses — enough to fully protect 100 million people — would be shared this year, with the balance to be donated in the first half of 2022, the person said.” It’s about time someone in D.C. figured out that vaccine/medicine diplomacy actually works. Realpolitik? Sure. But that doesn’t change the fact that lives will be saved. https://bit.ly/358cUEd
If you thought politicians had the pharmaceutical industry in its super-sniper-scopes, you might want to read an investigative article in STAT. According to the piece, “Seventy-two senators and 302 members of the House of Representatives cashed a check from the pharmaceutical industry ahead of the 2020 election — representing more than two-thirds of Congress, according to a new STAT analysis of records for the full election cycle. Pfizer’s political action committee alone contributed to 228 lawmakers. Amgen’s PAC donated to 218, meaning that each company helped to fund the campaigns of nearly half the lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Overall, the sector donated $14 million.” Guess all that moaning about high drug prices was all for show. Or for votes, shall we say… https://bit.ly/3pK4M6f
When it comes to poor countries having it bad, there are few that have had a worse time than Haiti. Crippling poverty. Gang violence. Scars from being handed from one colonial power to the next. A brutal HIV/AIDS epidemic. A debilitating U.N.-introduced cholera outbreak. The list goes on. It seemed fortunate that early during the COVID-19 pandemic, it appeared as if the Carribean country had been spared a serious outbreak. Their luck has not held, unfortunately. Per Al-Jazeera, “As the coronavirus hit countries across the Americas hard for more than a year, Haiti had reported relatively few cases and deaths, allowing the country to shutter COVID-19 treatment centres for lack of patients. But now, as some wealthy nations around the world are moving into a post-pandemic phase thanks to extensive vaccination campaigns, Haiti is grappling with its first serious outbreak of COVID-19.” The only nation to have been borne from the ashes of a successful slave revolt can’t seem to catch a break. https://bit.ly/3xfaAr3
If you’ve ever wondered where today’s friendly domesticated goats came from, you’re in luck. Scientists believe they have an answer, thanks to the wonders of ancient DNA analysis. Per Science, “Comparing the ancient goat DNA with that of modern wild goats from the region, the scientists found distinct genetic clusters indicating the apparently managed goats were being bred with one another, they report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This confirms the herders maintained a goat population largely separate from the region’s wild goats, Zeder says. The earliest of the goat remains date to about 8200 B.C.E., making the DNA in the study the oldest livestock genomes yet sequenced.” Nobody mentioned anything about them being the devil. https://bit.ly/3x6hsXF
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.