DAILY DOSE: Paxlovid rebound blues; Politics over public health with mRNA vaccines.


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There’s no doubting that Pfizer’s antiviral Covid-19 drug Paxlovid has helped ease pain and suffering during the pandemic. It has saved countless lives. That said, it’s not perfect (though what drug is?). More and more people are reporting what’s come to be known as “Paxlovid Rebound.” Per STAT, “Almost 90% effective at preventing hospitalizations from Covid-19, Pfizer’s antiviral pill has quickly become one of the most powerful additions to the pandemic arsenal since the advent of mRNA vaccines. But as it’s become more widely available, a growing number of people have found the drug only temporarily effective. In these cases, a patient diagnosed with Covid-19 was typically prescribed Paxlovid, took it, felt better, perhaps even tested negative, and then suddenly tested positive days or even more than a week later. For some, the resurgences were asymptomatic. But for others, they were as bad or worse than the original illness.” Once again, Sars-CoV-2 continues to confound expectation. https://bit.ly/39OYn62


Not that anyone is panicking just yet, but, perhaps slightly burned by their initial Covid-19 responses, are moving quickly to line up vaccines that protect against monkeypox as the disease continues to simmer in European and North American countries. According to Reuters, “Germany has ordered 40,000 doses of a Bavarian Nordic (BAVA.CO) vaccine to be ready to vaccinate contacts of those infected with monkeypox if an outbreak in Germany becomes more severe, but officials are banking on other precautionary measures for now. Speaking at a press conference, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Tuesday that measures such as an isolation period of at least 21 days recommended for infected people would suffice for now to contain the outbreak.” Most likely, Germany isn’t alone. https://reut.rs/3LIKQdx


Here’s the deal. Historically, whenever politicians placed politics over science, it did not end well. Whether it’s Stalin’s Soviet Union or Donald Trump’s America, people tend to die. That’s why Beijing’s decision to delay the deployment of mRNA vaccines in China just because it is made by foreign countries is mind boggling. According to the Associated Press, “As early as the spring of 2020 a Chinese pharmaceutical company, Fosun Pharma, reached an agreement to distribute — and eventually manufacture — the mRNA vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. It still has not been cleared in mainland China, despite being authorized for use by separate authorities in Hong Kong and Macao. Now health experts say that delay — a result of putting politics and national pride above public health — could lead to avoidable coronavirus deaths and deeper economic losses because whole cities would be locked down to insulate the country’s unprotected population… But a Chinese health official and another person directly involved in the negotiations told The Associated Press that authorities have held back because they want to master the technology in China and not depend on foreign suppliers.” https://bit.ly/3wFKtvO


According to a recent study, the crippling heatwave in India has been in the books for years, thanks to the steady march of climate change. According to an article in Nature, “The team found that climate change increased the probability of the heatwave occurring to once in every 100 years; the odds of such an event would have been once every 3,000 years in pre-industrial times, says Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist and researcher at Berkeley Earth, a non-profit organization in California that focuses on climate change and analysis of global temperatures. The researchers also show that the event was around 1 ºC warmer than it would have been in a pre-industrial climate.” https://go.nature.com/3wG8rXI

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

IMAGE CREDIT: Intellec7.

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