After months of strict lockdown that started even before the Summer Olympics, Japan is transitioning away from a state of emergency. Per the Associated Press, “Japan’s government announced Tuesday that the coronavirus state of emergency will end this week to help rejuvenate the economy as infections slow. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the emergency will end Thursday and virus restrictions will be eased gradually ‘in order to resume daily lives despite the presence of the virus.’ He said the government will create more temporary COVID-19 treatment facilities and continue vaccinations to prepare for any future resurgence. Government officials are also instituting other plans such as vaccine passports and virus tests, Suga said.” https://bit.ly/3kK5Zd0
When a mysterious affliction causing intense pain and unexplained severe inflammation appeared, doctors were at a loss. If it hadn’t been for an energetic and brilliant researcher at the National Institutes of Health, patients may still have been toiling from doctor to doctor in search of relief. Per Science, “For the energetic, smiling guy, immunologist and physician Daniel Kastner, the encounter launched a more than 3-decade-long scientific quest into genetic diseases. Even before the human genome had been deciphered, Kastner teased out the DNA flaw behind FMF. He has gone on to define a new category of illnesses, known as autoinflammatory diseases, in which immune system malfunctions unleash inappropriate inflammation, resulting in a diversity of problems that includes arthritis, rashes, strokes, swollen eyes, and unexplained fevers.” The disease was called familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) and treated with the drugs colchicine and naproxen. https://bit.ly/3umRI99
With the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine saturated, pharmaceutical companies are setting their sites on other viruses. According to STAT, “French vaccine giant Sanofi announced positive results of a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of its first mRNA vaccine on Tuesday, saying the early findings with a Covid-19 vaccine give the company confidence to shift gears on its mRNA program to pursue vaccines for other pathogens. The first in its sights is an influenza vaccine Sanofi hopes to begin testing in clinical trials next year.” One of the oft-touted advantages of mRNA is its flexibility. https://bit.ly/3EYa9WH
A food poisoning incident has exploded in an American university. According to New Food, “One hundred and eighty-four people have fallen ill at Georgetown University with symptoms consistent with norovirus. The report of gastrointestinal illness was first announced by the University on 21 September after 12 students on the main campus fell ill. At the time, it was unknown was the illness was, with the University issuing a warning around a national Salmonella outbreak that had been reported by officials. Two testing samples have now confirmed the cause as norovirus.” The source of the outbreak remains a mystery. https://bit.ly/3AOzMXF
Sometimes good intentions isn’t enough in the research world. Autism researchers in the United Kingdom learned that the hard way. Per Nature, “Soon after the study’s high-profile launch on 24 August, people with autism and some ASD researchers expressed concern that it had gone ahead without meaningfully consulting the autism community. Fears about the sharing of genetic data and an alleged failure to properly explain the benefits of the research have been raised by a group called Boycott Spectrum 10K, which is led by people with autism. The group plans to protest outside the ARC premises in Cambridge in October. A separate petition against the study gathered more than 5,000 signatures.” The study was supposed to study the genetic and environmental contributions to ASD, and to co-occurring conditions such as epilepsy and gut-health problems. Hopefully both parties can get the issues sorted out and the large study can move forward. https://go.nature.com/3zNqmKy
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.
IMAGE: Indiana jo.