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Buchanan: Biden’s Staring Into The Abyss… And So Are We

Buchanan: Biden’s Staring Into The Abyss… And So Are We

Authored by Pat Buchanan,

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul,” wrote Emily Dickinson.

“And sore must be the storm / That could abash the little…

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Buchanan: Biden's Staring Into The Abyss... And So Are We

Authored by Pat Buchanan,

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul,” wrote Emily Dickinson.

“And sore must be the storm / That could abash the little Bird / That kept so many warm.”

Staring ahead on New Year’s Eve, at what appear to be the coming storms of 2022, this once-hopeful country is going to have to fall back on its reserves.

What storms?

Suddenly, the omicron variant of the coronavirus is sweeping the nation, shutting schools, shops, restaurants and bars that were only lately reopened. In this last week of 2021, new infections twice set records.

Is a fifth wave of the pandemic arriving, just two years after the first wave hit in March 2020?

What is hopeful here?

While the numbers of infected are exploding and deaths are rising anew, the omicron variant appears to be less severe and less lethal than the delta variant — and possibly less enduring.

From the medical community one hears the hope that the omicron variant could displace the delta and, as has happened in South Africa, burn itself out.

Still, if the present rate of infections and deaths continues, we could have a virus-related million American deaths by spring.

A second storm is economic, with inflation now running at 6.8%, the highest rate since the last days of Jimmy Carter and first days of Ronald Reagan.

Should this trend continue, inflation could be crushing to President Joe Biden’s party and presidency next November. And, according to Thursday’s Washington Post, that may be what is coming:

“Strong consumer demand, continuing supply chain troubles and the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus threaten to prolong sharply rising prices well into 2022, potentially making inflation the premier economic challenge of the new year.”

As for U.S. economic growth, forecasts for the first quarter of 2022 are being cut back from 5.2% to 2.2%.

Nor does the world look any more tranquil from this vantage point.

In the second week of January, U.S. talks with Russia begin, probably in Geneva, on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand for assurances that Ukraine not be admitted into NATO and no U.S. offensive weapons be stationed in a border nation from which they can be used to attack Russia with only minutes notice.

The hopeful news: Putin reportedly ordered 10,000 of the 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border back to their bases deeper in Russia.

Still, it is hard to believe Putin is bluffing when he says that if Ukraine is invited to become a full member of NATO, Russia will see to it that the consummation never comes to pass.

As for China, there is no sign it is backing off from any of its territorial demands — on its Himalayan border with India, with half a dozen rival nations in the South and East China seas, or with Taiwan.

Probably the best we can hope for in the simmering Taiwan crisis is that China will put off its insistence on annexation of the island of 24 million while it digests the lately free city of Hong Kong.

Negotiation with Iran on a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal appears to be nearing the fish-or-cut-bait moment. Should the talks collapse without Iran’s return to the restrictions of the deal, we will, early in the new year, hear more animated talk of “other options” and “Plan B” — synonyms for U.S. attacks on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.

Hovering over all of the above is the gnawing and growing concern among the American people about the physical and mental capacities of their president.

A month ago, a Politico poll found that while 46% of Americans believe Biden is mentally fit for his office, 48% disagree. In the same poll, only about one-half of all Americans felt Biden was “in good health.”

All that talk of a few months back of Biden being a statesman of superior competence, perhaps a second Franklin D. Roosevelt or Lyndon B. Johnson, has died out.

Yet the maladies and crises the country confronts from inflation, China, Russia, Iran, the explosion of shootings and murders in major cities, and our bleeding border are not Biden’s alone; they are America’s. They are ours. If Joe Biden fails, the country does not succeed.

Yet, since mid-August, an average of national polls has shown Biden to be slipping underwater and sinking deeper. His disapproval rating is now 10 points higher than his approval rating, which sits in the low 40s.

What does the future hold?

The latest news brought to 23 the number of House Democrats who are retiring or looking for another position rather than running for reelection in 2022. Yet, to regain the House majority, the GOP needs a net gain of just five seats in the 435-member chamber.

Most pundits believe the Democrats will lose the House and, if they do, the U.S. government will grind to gridlock for the next two years. Not exactly a formula for the restoration of a lost national unity or purpose.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/31/2021 - 12:42

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VIRI: Enrollment Complete in FORTRESS Trial; Results Expected in September 2022…

By David Bautz, PhD
NASDAQ:VIRI
READ THE FULL VIRI RESEARCH REPORT
Business Update
FORTRESS Trial Fully Enrolled; Topline Results in September 2022
On…

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By David Bautz, PhD

NASDAQ:VIRI

READ THE FULL VIRI RESEARCH REPORT

Business Update

FORTRESS Trial Fully Enrolled; Topline Results in September 2022

On April 28, 2022, Virios Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIRI) announced that it has completed enrollment of 425 fibromyalgia patients into the Phase 2b FORTRESS (Fibromyalgia Outcome Research Trial Evaluating Synergistic Suppression of Herpes Simplex Virus-1) trial, a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study of IMC-1. The primary endpoint of the trial is reduction in pain and secondary endpoints include change in fatigue, sleep disturbance, global health status, and patient functionality (NCT04748705). An outline of the trial is shown below.

In parallel with the FORTRESS trial, Virios is continuing the chronic toxicology studies of IMC-1 in two animal species. The results of these studies are required by regulators before Virios will be allowed to dose patients for one year or more, which is the plan for the Phase 3 program. The results of the chronic toxicology studies should be known around the time of the completion of the FORTRESS trial, thus the company should be able to move into a final Phase 3 program following completion of the current study, pending positive results.

Testing Combination Antiviral Therapy for the Treatment of Long COVID

In February 2022, Virios announced a collaboration with the Bateman Horne Center (BHC) to test combination antiviral therapy for the treatment of Long COVID. Following an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, approximately 30% of patients will experience symptoms that last for weeks or months, which is referred to as Long COVID. The range of symptoms varies from patient to patient, however the most commonly reported (from a recent meta analysis) were fatigue (58%), headache (44%), attention disorder (27%), hair loss (25%), and dyspnea (24%) (Lopez-Leon et al., 2021).

The main theories for what might be causing ...

Full story available on Benzinga.com

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Type-I interferon stops immune system ‘going rogue’ during viral infections

Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how…

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Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how to reduce that damage.

Credit: Georgia Kirkos/McMaster University

Hamilton, ON (May 17, 2022) – McMaster University researchers have found not only how some viral infections cause severe tissue damage, but also how to reduce that damage.

 

They have discovered how Type I interferon (IFN) stops the immune system ‘going rogue’ and attacking the body’s own tissues when fighting viral infections, including COVID-19.

 

Their paper was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens today.

  

Senior author Ali Ashkar said IFN is a well-known anti-viral signalling molecule released by the body’s cells that can trigger a powerful immune response against harmful viruses.

 

“What we have found is that it is also critical to stop white blood cells from releasing protease enzymes, which can damage organ tissue. It has this unique dual function to kick start an immune response against a viral infection on the one hand, as well as restrain that same response to prevent significant bystander tissue damage on the other,” he said.

 

The research team investigated IFN’s ability to regulate a potentially dangerous immune response by testing it on both flu and the HSV-2 virus, a highly prevalent sexually transmitted pathogen, using mice. Data from COVID-19 patients in Germany, including post-mortem lung samples, was also used in the study.

 

“For many viral infections, it is not actually the virus that causes most of the tissue damage, it is our heightened immune activation towards the virus,” said Ashkar, a professor of medicine at McMaster.

  

First co-author of the study and PhD student Emily Feng said: “Our body’s immune response is trying to fight off the virus infection, but there’s a risk of damaging innocent healthy tissue in the process. IFNs regulates the immune response to only target tissues that are infected.

 

“By discovering the mechanisms the immune system uses that can inadvertently cause tissue damage, we can intervene during infection to prevent this damage and not necessarily have to wait until vaccines are developed to develop life-saving treatments,” she added.

 

“This applies not just to COVID-19, but also other highly infectious viruses such as flu and Ebola, which can cause tremendous and often life-threatening damage to the body’s organs,” said first study co-author Amanda Lee, a family medicine resident. 

 

Ashkar said the release of harmful proteases is the result of a ‘cytokine storm’, which is life-threatening inflammation sometimes triggered by viral infections. It has been a common cause of death in patients with COVID-19, but treatment has been developed to prevent and suppress the cytokine storm.

 

Ashkar said that steroids like dexamethasone are already used to rein in an extreme immune response to viral infections. The authors used doxycycline in their study, an antibiotic used for bacterial infections and as an anti-inflammatory agent, inhibits the function of proteases causing the bystander tissue damage.

 

Lee added: “This has the potential in the future to be used to alleviate virus-induced life-threatening inflammation and warrants further research.” 

 

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

 

-30-

 

Editors:

Pictures of Ali Ashkar and Emily Feng may be found at https://bit.ly/3wmSw0D

  

 

 


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mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna fare better against COVID-19 variants of concern

A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World…

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A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World Health Organization’s variants of concern (VOCs) than viral vector vaccines — AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen. Although they all effectively prevent severe disease by VOCs, the research, publishing May 17th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine, suggests that people receiving a viral vector vaccine are more vulnerable to infection by new variants.

Credit: Carlos Reusser Monsalvez, Flickr (CC0, https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/)

A comparison of four COVID-19 vaccinations shows that messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — perform better against the World Health Organization’s variants of concern (VOCs) than viral vector vaccines — AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen. Although they all effectively prevent severe disease by VOCs, the research, publishing May 17th in the open access journal PLOS Medicine, suggests that people receiving a viral vector vaccine are more vulnerable to infection by new variants.

By March 2022, COVID-19 had caused over 450 million confirmed infections and six million reported deaths. The first vaccines approved in the US and Europe that protect against serious infection are Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which deliver genetic code, known as mRNA, to the bodies’ cells, whereas Oxford/AstraZeneca and J&J/Janssen are viral vector vaccines that use a modified version of a different virus — a vector — to deliver instructions to our cells. Three vaccines are delivered as two separate injections a few weeks apart, and J&J/Janssen as a single dose.

Marit J. van Gils at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues, took blood samples from 165 healthcare workers, three and four weeks after first and second vaccination respectively, and for J&J/Janssen at four to five and eight weeks after vaccination. Samples were collected before, and four weeks after a Pfizer-BioNTech booster.

Four weeks after the initial two doses, antibody responses to the original SARS-CoV-2 viral strain were highest in recipients of Moderna, followed closely by Pfizer-BioNTech, and were substantially lower in those who received viral vector vaccines. Tested against the VOCs – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron – neutralizing antibodies were higher in the mRNA vaccine recipients compared to those who had viral vector vaccines. The ability to neutralize VOCs was reduced in all vaccine groups, with the greatest reduction against Omicron. The Pfizer-BioNTech booster increased antibody responses in all groups with substantial improvement against VOCs, including Omicron.

The researchers caution that their AstraZeneca group was significantly older, because of safety concerns for the vaccine in younger age groups. As immune responses tend to weaken with age, this could affect the results. This group was also smaller because the Dutch government halted use for a period.

van Gils concludes, “Four COVID-19 vaccines induce substantially different antibody responses.”

#####

In your coverage, please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper in PLOS Medicine:

http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003991

Citation: van Gils MJ, Lavell A, van der Straten K, Appelman B, Bontjer I, Poniman M, et al. (2022) Antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants induced by four different SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in health care workers in the Netherlands: A prospective cohort study. PLoS Med 19(5): e1003991. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003991

 

Author Countries: The Netherlands, United States

 

Funding: This work was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) ZonMw (Vici grant no. 91818627 to R.W.S., S3 study, grant agreement no. 10430022010023 to M.K.B.; RECoVERED, grant agreement no. 10150062010002 to M.D.d.J.), by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (grant no. INV002022 and INV008818 to R.W.S. and INV-024617 to M.J.v.G.), by Amsterdam UMC through the AMC Fellowship (to M.J.v.G.) and the Corona Research Fund (to M.K.B.), and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program (RECoVER, grant no. 101003589 to M.D.d.J). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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