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Science and Health

HELSINKI – Face masks made of fabric only give 20-40% protection By Pekka Vanttinen 

May 15, 2020, While proper respirators made of polyester can remove some 90% of the droplets in the air, the level of protection afforded by fabric face masks lies somewhere between 20% and 40%, according to a new study published on Thursday (14 May) by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

COVID-19 Brings Health Disparities Research to the Forefront: 

May 14, 2020: The coronavirus 2019 (COVD-19) pandemic has brought into sharp focus many of the troubling things that we already knew about health disparities in the United States but have failed to address. With the bright light now shining on this important issue, it is time to talk about the role research can play in reducing the disproportionate burden of COVID-19, as well as improving the health of all people in our great nation. 

 Men's blood contains greater concentrations of an enzyme that helps COVID-19 infect cells

May 10, 2020: Finding may explain why men with heart failure suffer more from the coronavirus than women. Evidence from a large study of several thousand patients in 11 European countries shows that men have higher concentrations of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in their blood than women. Since ACE2 enables the coronavirus to infect healthy cells, this may help to explain why men are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than women.

A close relative of SARS-CoV-2 found in bats offers more evidence it evolved naturally: 

May 11, 2020: Researchers describe a recently identified bat coronavirus that contains insertions of amino acids at the junction of the S1 and S2 subunits of the virus's spike protein in a manner similar to SAR-CoV-2. While it's not a direct evolutionary precursor of SARS-CoV-2, this new virus, RmYN02, suggests that these types of seemingly unusual insertion events can occur naturally in coronavirus evolution.

 Evidence Supporting a Phased Immuno-physiological Approach to COVID-19 From Prevention Through Recovery 

May 6, 2020Tests for COVID-19: Has the FDA said yes too many times? by Robert Kaplan and Diana Zuckerman (editorial). There are many controversies about the coronavirus, but there is one point of consensus: We need testing, testing, and then more testing. But yesterday, in response to criticisms from chairs of two House health subcommittees, the FDA tightened their standards for antibody tests intended to identify people who were previously exposed to the coronavirus. Why?

Fact-checking Judy Mikovits, 

May. 8, 2020: The controversial virologist attacking Anthony Fauci in a viral conspiracy video By Martin EnserinkJon Cohen  In a video that has exploded on social media in the past few days, virologist Judy Mikovits claims the new coronavirus is being wrongly blamed for many deaths. She makes head-scratching assertions about the virus—for instance, that it is “activated” by face masks. 

COVID-19 Testing: Has the FDA said yes too many times"

May 6, 2020: There are many controversies about the coronavirus, but there is one point of consensus: We need testing, testing, and then more testing. But yesterday, in response to criticisms from chairs of two House health
subcommittees, the FDA tightened their standards for antibody tests intended to identify people who were previously exposed to the coronavirus. Why?

Is Air Pollution Making the Cornonavirus More Deadly? (May 4, 2020): 

Patients with severe Covid-19 are twice as likely to have had pre-existing respiratory diseases and three times as likely to have had cardiovascular problems. 

The Grocery Store Cash Register is the Most Dangerous Place in the Story (May 1, 2020)

Sandra Kunz wanted to keep working as a Walmart (WMT) cashier even as the coronavirus spread. Despite a lung condition, the 72-year-old in Aurora, Colorado, needed to get her paycheck, according to her sister, Paula Spellman. Her husband, Gus, was injured and out of work, and the couple had bills due. 

 The Toxic Chemicals in our Homes Could Increase Covid-19 Threat (April 29, 2020):  

Everyday hormone-disrupting chemicals could affect our immune system’s defenses against infections



Capturing Viral Shedding in Action NIH Blog (April 28, 2020): 

You’ve probably seen some amazing high-resolution images of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, on television and the web. What you might not know is that many of these images, including the ones shown here, were produced at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) (More),

The race for coronavirus vaccines: a graphical guide (April 28, 2020): Eight ways in which scientists hope to provide immunity to SARS-CoV-2 .

Chloroquine hype is derailing the search for coronavirus treatments: (April 24, 2020): With politicians touting the potential benefits of malaria drugs to fight COVID-19, some people are turning away from clinical trials of other therapies.

Science Editor Holden Thorpe on the role of Science in dealing with COVID-19 (April 25, 2020): When Holden Thorp became editor in chief of Science in October 2019, he wasn’t planning to write editorials challenging the US president during an international crisis. But as the current pandemic began to unfold... (More)

Bill Gates Pandemic Memo: Download the PDF: This memo shares Bill Gate's view of the situation and how to accelerate innovations.  Gate says, "The situation changes every day, there is a lot of information available—much of it contradictory—and it can be hard to make sense of all the proposals and ideas you may hear about. It can also sound like we have all the scientific advances needed to reopen the economy, but in fact, we do not. Although some of what’s below gets fairly technical, I hope it helps people make sense of what is happening, understand the innovations we still need and make informed decisions about dealing with the pandemic."

Handwashing Technique used by the World Health Organization (WHO)

Will Antibody Testing Change things :  (April 18, 2020) Touted as society’s way out of widespread lockdowns, scientists say the true potential of these rapidly developed tests is still unknown.