Experts are urging drug companies to be more transparent about how they’re testing vaccines.
- Sept. 14, 2020
Image Credit…The New York Times
A growing number of independent scientists and public health officials are urging drug companies to be more transparent about how they’re running the clinical trials for their vaccines.
Typically, drug companies don’t publish detailed information about the clinical trials until after they are finished to protect their intellectual property and competitive edge. Three drug companies have advanced clinical trials for vaccines in the United States — Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca — and none have released their protocols or statistical analysis plans. They say they’ve divulged enough information.
But scientists and experts expressed alarm after two moves by drug companies: First, AstraZeneca’s chief executive revealed information about a trial participant who became ill to a closed meeting organized by J.P. Morgan, withholding the information from the public. Second, Pfizer announced an expansion of its vaccine trials without relevant details, such as how it would measure the vaccine’s effectiveness in the larger study.
Critics argue that American taxpayers have a right to know the ins and outs of trials because billions of federal dollars fund the research. More disclosures could help independent scientists understand how the trials were designed and hold the companies accountable if they deviated from those plans. Greater transparency, experts say, would also bolster faltering public confidence in vaccines.
Russia and China have already started vaccinating under emergency use measures, and are making international deals to sell their experimental vaccines. Vox reported that China has already given hundreds of thousands of people experimental vaccines, even though rigorous studies have not yet been completed. The report came days after nine Western drug makers pledged not to put forward a vaccine until it had been thoroughly vetted for safety and efficacy, aiming to quell public fears that the companies would rush under pressure from the Trump administration.
The National Football League got into full swing on Sunday, and Kurt Streeter, a sports columnist for The Times, wrote about what it was like to watch.
The return of professional football to a nation living on a raw and perilous edge, still struggling to confront a lethal virus and trying to heal its deep racial wounds, offered fans a tense and unlikely paradox. I loved watching the games, but I loathed it, too.
After so many endless, pent-up weeks, maybe you couldn’t wait to see the impossible tackles and stunning touchdowns. But at the same time, maybe you worried about what the return of professional football might mean for sports, for the nation and for all of us.
Hold tight. We could be one big outbreak of Covid-19 away from a calamity and deep regret.
Wisconsin is facing its highest level of new daily cases during the pandemic, averaging more than 1,000 new cases a day in the past week. College towns are driving the troubling surge.
Several school districts in Massachusetts and New York delayed the start of in-person classes in recent days after learning that their high school students had attended large parties.
The French cities of Marseille and Bordeaux significantly tightened restrictions on public gatherings after the authorities pointed to a concerning surge of infections in both cities and their surrounding areas.
Britain lowered the limit on the number of people allowed to meet to six from 30. The country recorded 3,330 new infections on Sunday, the third consecutive day of new case counts surpassing 3,000, a level not seen there since May.
Los Angeles began a sweeping initiative to test and screen all 700,000 students and 75,000 employees in the city’s public schools.
Michael Caputo, a top Trump health aide under scrutiny after news reports detailed his team’s systematic interference in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official disease reports, made a series of outlandish and false accusations, including asserting without evidence that government scientists were involved in “sedition” and that his own life might be in danger.
President Trump held an indoor campaign rally on Sunday for thousands of mostly unmasked supporters at a manufacturing plant outside Las Vegas, in defiance of a state directive limiting indoor gatherings to 50 people.
In prisons along the West Coast, virus outbreaks have spread through cellblocks even as poor ventilation systems have whipped in smoke from the fires outside.
Amazon said it would hire 100,000 new workers in the United States and Canada for its warehouses and logistics network, another sign that the pandemic has resulted in a huge growth for the e-commerce giant.
We’ve treated ourselves to a motion-triggered outdoor wildlife camera. So far, we’ve been enthralled to see our garden being used at night as a feeding ground for badgers, foxes, a family of hedgehogs and even a sika deer. Every day we look forward to viewing the previous night’s activity.
— Paul Sewart, Bolton, United Kingdom
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