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What We’re Reading – March 23, 2020

Americans for Medical Progress is closely following coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak in several news outlets. Here are a few stories that we think are noteworthy and worth sharing today.

In the face of “overwhelming demand” Gilead Sciences has paused access to the experimental COVID-19 drug Remdesivir according to an article in STAT. It’s hoped that the antiviral candidate can reduce the intensity and duration of COVID-19. However, concrete scientific data that demonstrates this has yet to be delivered. Remdesivir is being studied in five large clinical trials, two of which could generate results in early April. 

And while researchers continue to search for effective treatments for the disease, the attempt to develop a vaccine continues. The Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society recently published this COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker on it’s website, which seeks to catalogue all the ongoing efforts. We’ve also posted the link on AMP’s COVID-19 resources page. There’s been significant public debate about how long it might take to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. The BBC published this story suggesting that the earliest might be in 2021. Universities Provide Public Updates

The University of Missouri is one of several institutions answering questions publicly about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on it’s research efforts. Here’s an article that was published recently. Tulane University is speaking directly with the public about the disease and their response. The institution posted this video on their School of Medicine website. The University of California-Davis provided this online update to staff, students and the public. Both Tulane and UC-Davis reside in states that have ordered residents to stay at home, except for essential transportation.    

Approaches to Further Combat the Outbreak Discussed 

As the call for social distancing expands, The New York Times published an article that suggests COVID-19 can only be brought under control through the use of extreme measures that include stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions, accelerated production of critical medical supplies and the repair of testing issues. The Times has also published an article that demonstrates how individual states are reacting to the outbreak. The paper’s investigation included an analysis of smartphone movements which shows that residents in states where schools and businesses have closed are traveling much less frequently.  

Finally, Some Good News…

According to the BBC, South Korea has witnessed it’s lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in four weeks. Science Magazine reports that the World Health Organization is launching a large global trial to find out whether four of the most promising coronavirus treatments can effectively treat infections. Also, an early analysis by MIT scientists says, warmer weather may slow progression of the virus. However, experts point out that higher temperatures will not halt the infectious disease entirely.  

March 23, 2020, Updated 11:05 AM CT

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