white and black cow head

DAILY DOSE: Another potential COVID vaccine bites the dust; Scientists potty train cows.

Making vaccines is hard business. Redhill Biopharma has had a serious setback in its attempts at developing a Covid-19 vaccine. Per FierceBiotech, “Top-line data dropped Tuesday morning from the Israeli biotech for a randomized, double-blind, parallel-arm, placebo-controlled phase 2/3 test made up of 475 subjects with severe COVID-19 pneumonia requiring hospitalization and treatment with supplemental oxygen. The primary endpoint of the study is the proportion of patients breathing room air without oxygen support after two weeks, but opaganib failed to hit statistical significance in this group.” Another one bites the dust. https://bit.ly/2YNK9fY


Last month researchers at Stanford took it upon themselves to define what a “foundational model” of artificial intelligence entails. This might have been okay for them but for the remainder of the industry, it wasn’t. According to Wired, “Critics of the idea surfaced quickly—including at the workshop organized to mark the launch of the new center. Some object to the limited capabilities and sometimes freakish behavior of these models; others warn of focusing too heavily on one way of making machines smarter.” Apparently, there are plenty of I’s in artificial intelligence. https://bit.ly/394BR5k


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Let’s be honest here. When it comes to guidance and COVID-19, it’s been like the Wild West. In the spirit of let’s throw it against the wall and see if it sticks, “Singapore is studying the possibility of using non-mRNA vaccines as booster shots and is in talks with suppliers to obtain the vials, said Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary in Parliament on Tuesday (Sep 14).” Unfortunately, you can’t say that it can’t hurt because it can. Hopefully, it works though. https://bit.ly/2XiEvle


Speaking of Wild West, people are beginning to suggest all those pre-print sites need to implement some quality control. Per Nature, “The case for releasing preprints is clear: results from scientific studies are made more quickly and more broadly p. Overall, greater sharing and transparency boosts trustworthiness and collaboration. But efforts to promote preprints without simultaneously implementing firm measures to ensure that the research is of high quality put the cart before the horse.” They can potentially do much more harm than good during these hyper-political times when people with no background in science but plenty of agendas extrapolate whatever they want from studies. https://go.nature.com/3CqRTmX


So… cows are full of surprises, it seems. Scientists attempted to teach them a task that can often seem challenging to younger humans. Per the Associated Press, “Turns out cows can be potty trained as easily as toddlers. Maybe easier. It’s no bull. Scientists put the task to the test and 11 out of 16 cows learned to use the “MooLoo” when they had to go. Just like some parents, the researchers used a sweet treat to coax the cows to push through a gate and urinate in a special pen. And it took only 15 days to train the young calves. Some kids take quite a bit longer.” https://bit.ly/3zhwryM

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.


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