The anti-science din has grown louder and louder in 2020. Finally, scientists are fighting back.
In a never-before-seen action, top FDA regulators issued a statement Thursday. The statement promised to uphold the scientific integrity of their work. It also defended the agency’s independence.
This action followed a similar statement from pharma companies working on a COVID vaccine.
Nine pharmaceutical companies issued a joint pledge on Tuesday. It said they would “stand with science” and not put forward a vaccine until it had been thoroughly vetted for safety and efficacy.
Both groups are under pressure from President Trump to come up with a vaccine before Election Day.
There are mounting concerns over the role the White House has played in emergency approvals for coronavirus therapies. These include convalescent plasma and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. The approval was later revoked on hydroxychloroquine.
The head of the FDA, Dr. Stephen Hahn, also made a public commitment. He said the FDA will vet any vaccine approval through an advisory committee of outside experts. This is standard policy before a new vaccine is approved.
Dr. Peter Marks, the F.D.A.’s top vaccine regulator, backed that up. He said on Thursday that an emergency-use authorization (EUA) for a limited part of the population would first go to such an advisory committee.
As someone with a science background, I hope science will trump politics. And not vice versa. For all our sakes.
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The Big News
Asymptomatic Kids More Likely to Spread COVID Than Thought
Children are more likely to transmit Covid-19 than previously thought, according to a new CDC study. Researchers studied a June outbreak in Utah. They found at least a dozen cases where asymptomatic children passed on the coronavirus in school and childcare. The research showed transmission occurred from children with confirmed Covid-19 to an average of 25% of their contacts. The contacts were most often older family members like mothers.
The Biggest Aviation Challenge Ever
Shipping a coronavirus vaccine around the world will be the airline industry’s biggest-ever challenge, warned the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It said severe capacity restraints could hamper moving a vaccine around the globe. IATA estimates that the equivalent of 8,000 jumbo jet planes will be needed to get a single dose to 7.8 billion people.
College in All 50 States Have COVID Outbreaks
Universities and colleges in all 50 states are now struggling to contain the spread of coronavirus. More than 40,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported among students, staff and faculty nationwide, according to several reports. Many outbreaks have cropped up after gatherings at fraternities and sororities.
WHO: Record One-Day Rise in COVID
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases. On Sunday, the total rose by 307,930 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were from India, the United States and Brazil. India leads the world in new cases reported each day; it set a global record last week with 97,570 cases reported in a single day. In some parts of India, medical oxygen is becoming hard to find as total cases exceed 4.75 million.
Israel Returns to Lockdown
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a new countrywide lockdown. It comes amid a stubborn surge in coronavirus cases. Schools, restaurants, hotels and malls are expected to shut down to bring down infection rates. Israelis will also face restrictions on movement and gatherings.
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The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Monday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 29,030,058 Infected Worldwide
- 924,814 Deaths
- 6,520,606 Infected in the U.S.
- 194,084 Deaths in the U.S.
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The stock market hit its coronavirus bottom in March.
Ever since, it has been a banner year for initial public offerings (IPOs). Year-to-date, companies have raised more this year than any other since 2014. This is according to data provider, Refinitiv.
This week will be the biggest week for IPOs since Uber’s IPO last May. It will be led by two of the largest U.S. software listings in history.
Overall, a dozen IPOs are set to raise $6.8 billion this week. Half the proceeds will come from three tech listings:
- Snowflake, the cloud software business, will raise $2.2 billion.
- Unity, a video game software company, will raise $950 million.
- Sumo Logic, another data software platform, will raise $281 million.
The Snowflake IPO will be the largest ever U.S. software offering. It will eclipse the 2007 listing of VMware. Shares are expected to begin trading on Wednesday as SNOW.
Salesforce and Berkshire Hathaway have both invested in Snowflake. And this is despite its rising net losses.
The Snowflake IPO underlines the rising fortunes of the red-hot software services sector.
Software companies in the S&P 500 index trade at 34 times estimated 2020 earnings. This compares with 26 times for the broader index. Software stocks have outperformed the benchmark by 27% this year. They are among the biggest winners from the rise of working from home.
This week and the Snowflake IPO will reinforce the fact that many of tomorrow’s growth stars are just coming to market now.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,