Guest post: A comparison of coronavirus approaches

Last week I was pointed at an interesting analysis of the global coronavirus approaches. The author, dr. Daxin Ni, a deputy director of the public health emergency center at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and former steering committee member of WHO's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), compared two general approaches: the SARSlike and pandemic flu-like approach. Although I want to emphasize this is not my analysis and I do not necessarily agree with all

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Can a century-old TB vaccine steel the immune system against the new coronavirus?

Researchers in four countries will soon start a clinical trial of an unorthodox approach to the new coronavirus. They will test whether a century-old vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial disease, can rev up the human immune system in a broad way, allowing it to better fight the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 and, perhaps, prevent infection with it altogether. The studies will be done in physicians and nurses, who are at higher risk of becoming infected with the

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How does someone become a conspiracy thinker?

A HEALTHY DOSE OF SUSPICION Until recently, conspiracy thinkers were mainly studied to find out what derailed them. But a new generation of researchers is taking them more seriously. 'The important thing is not whether the theories are correct, but where the distrust is coming from." Originally published in Dutch in EOS Magazine 20-2-2018 The 1990s. The age of The X-Files and other tv series full of dark practices, extraterrestrial life and government cover-ups. The young Jaron Harambam (1983), who

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First malaria vaccine rolled out in Africa—despite limited efficacy and nagging safety concerns

A SHOT OF HOPE Published in Science Magazine, November 29, 2019 MALAWI—In a small room at the Phalula Health Centre in southern Malawi's Balaka district, two young mothers are sitting on a wooden bench, each with a 5-month-old baby on their lap. Across from them, behind a desk, sits Alfred Kaponya, a community health worker. A colleague is busy preparing a vaccine, tapping the syringe to dislodge bubbles. Kaponya explains the procedure to the women, writes down the vaccines' serial

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It’s a beautiful child. Why did he die?

After the stillbirth of their son, journalists Jop de Vrieze and Zvezdana Vukojevic are in search of answers within the Dutch system of natal care. Gynecologist: ”Could we have saved him? Maybe, yes.”   “Couldn’t you have called sooner?” Fifteen minutes earlier I stepped into our midwife practice, because I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt my unborn son moving in my belly. At first, I almost got sent home, both consultation rooms were occupied. “Just lie down

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What We Can (and Can’t) Learn From Replicating Scientific Experiments (Undark)

A modern day do-over of a mid-20th century pupillometry experiment raises the question: What should we make of a failed replication? December 6, 2018 by Jop de Vrieze Anyone who enters the field of pupillometry — the study of pupil size — stumbles upon one classic research paper: “Pupil Size as Related to Interest Value of Visual Stimuli.” The study was published in Science in 1960 by psychologists Eckhard H. Hess and James M. Polt of the University of Chicago.

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New technologies take root in the search for antibiotics from soil (Nature Medicine)

Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 as a result of a coincidental observation, but modern medicine also owes thanks to the microbiologist Selman Waksman, who subsequently helped develop a platform for studying the antimicrobial activity of various microbes by detecting zones of growth inhibition of susceptible microorganisms on Petri dishes. Waksman and his team used the approach to isolate some 20 new antibiotics from soil microbes, including streptomycin, the first to work against tuberculosis. This method was successfully applied by

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