a boy lying on the couch

DAILY DOSE: Mysterious hepatitis outbreak continues to baffle officials.

MYSTERY NOT SOLVED.

Public Health officials continue to express tempered concern regarding the unexplained outbreak of hepatitis among young children around the world. Per STAT, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday it is investigating 109 reported cases of unusual hepatitis in previously healthy young children, eight of whom needed liver transplants and five of whom have died. A total of 25 states and territories have reported cases. Half of the children had confirmed adenovirus infections, the leading suspected cause of these illnesses. But the CDC warned that the investigations are in an early stage and it is too soon to draw conclusions.” While some of the patients are as old as 16, most are under the age of 5. According to the CDC, the median age of the U.S. cases is 2 years. https://bit.ly/3ylu2WH


INTERFERON HOPE.

Early during the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists believed that some form of interferon therapy would provide some relief from the most devastating symptoms. Early trials of different therapies failed to produce results causing many drug development efforts to focus elsewhere. The science behind the idea remained solid, however. A recent study appears to indicate that there is still hope for interferon-based Covid-19 therapies. Per Science, “Now, a strikingly positive result from a large trial of nonhospitalized, high-risk people in Brazil has revived hopes. In a study of more than 1900 people, those who received a single shot of a drug called peginterferon lambda within 7 days of developing symptoms of COVID-19 were half as likely to be hospitalized or to endure lengthy emergency room visits as those who received placebo. The effect, which the trial’s sponsor, Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, reported in a press release, was seen across many SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron.” The company plans to apply for an emergency use authorization for the shot from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by 30 June. It plans to make full data from the trial available at that time. https://bit.ly/39NYXkq


ZERO-COVID/ZERO-HOPE?

The Zero-Covid-19 saga continues on in China with no end in sight. After a few promising days in Shanghai, there are pockets that appear to be falling back to heavy lockdown restrictions. Meanwhile, the situation in Beijing continues to be fluid, with the government essentially shutting down portions of the city. Per Reuters, “China’s two biggest cities tightened COVID-19 curbs on their residents on Monday, raising new frustration and even questions about the legality of its uncompromising battle with the virus. As authorities wrestle with China’s worst COVID outbreaks since the epidemic began, authorities in its most populous city of Shanghai have launched a new push to end infections outside quarantine zones by late May, people familiar with the matter said… In Beijing, residents of its worst-hit areas were told to work from home while more roads, compounds and parks were sealed off on Monday as the city of 22 million grappled with its worst outbreak since 2020. More bus routes were suspended as more rounds of testing were conducted in a handful of districts, including Chaoyang and Fangshan, both of which were described by municipal authorities as the ‘priority of priorities’ in the city’s counter-epidemic work.” There’s no shortage of videos showing people’s displeasure. The same goes for gut-wrenching videos of forced separation of families and forced entry into people’s homes. Let it be said that the levels of Covid-19 hospitalizations and mortalities continues to be low, even if you take into account Beijing’s under-counting of deaths. It will be interesting to see how long the trade-off remains palatable to both the populace and politicians. https://reut.rs/37rXsYe


STEALTH ACTIVISM.

When it comes to environmental conservation efforts, building awareness is half the battle. A recent article by the Associated Press highlights one very effective education initiative that is scoring major points using a camera attached to the bottom of a boat. Per the AP, “That camera in Miami’s Government Cut is just one of the many ventures of a marine biologist and a musician who’ve been on a 15-year mission to raise awareness about dying coral reefs by combining science and art to bring undersea life into pop culture. Their company — Coral Morphologic — is surfacing stunning images, putting gorgeous closeups of underwater creatures on social media, setting time-lapsed video of swaying, glowing coral to music and projecting it onto buildings, even selling a coral-themed beachwear line… One of their most popular projects is the Coral City Camera, which recently passed 2 million views and usually has about 100 viewers online at any given time each day.” The trick here is that people probably aren’t even aware that they are being actively informed. To them, they’re just seeing something amazing. https://bit.ly/3KRaHzv

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


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