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New cancer therapy from Yibin Kang’s lab holds potential to switch off major cancer types without side effects

Imagine you could cure cancer by targeting one tiny gene. Imagine that same gene occurred in every major cancer, including breast, prostate, lung, liver and colon. Imagine that the gene is not essential for healthy activity, so you could attack it with…

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Imagine you could cure cancer by targeting one tiny gene. Imagine that same gene occurred in every major cancer, including breast, prostate, lung, liver and colon. Imagine that the gene is not essential for healthy activity, so you could attack it with few or no negative side effects.

Credit: Photo by Denise Applewhite, Princeton University Office of Communications

Imagine you could cure cancer by targeting one tiny gene. Imagine that same gene occurred in every major cancer, including breast, prostate, lung, liver and colon. Imagine that the gene is not essential for healthy activity, so you could attack it with few or no negative side effects.

Cancer biologist Yibin Kang has spent more than 15 years investigating a little-known but deadly gene called MTDH, or metadherin, which enables cancer in two vital ways — and which he can now disable, in mice and in human tissue, with a targeted experimental treatment that will be ready for human trials in a few years. His work appears in two papers in today’s issue of Nature Cancer.

“You can’t find a drug target better than this: MTDH is important for most major human cancers, not important for normal cells, and it can be eliminated with no obvious side effects,” said Kang, Princeton’s Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology and one of the principal investigators of the Princeton Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

“In the two papers we are publishing back-to-back today, we identify a compound, show it is effective against cancer, and show that it is very, very effective when combined with chemotherapy and immunotherapy,” said Kang. “Even though metastatic cancers are scary, by figuring out how they work — figuring out their dependency on certain key pathways like MTDH — we can attack them and make them susceptible to treatment.”

For years, Kang has focused on metastasis — the term for cancer’s ability to spread from one place to another in the body — because he knows that metastasis makes cancer deadly. While 99% of breast cancer patients survive five years after diagnosis, only 29% do if the cancer has metastasized, according to current numbers from the National Cancer Institute.

“Metastatic breast cancer causes more than 40,000 deaths every year in the U.S., and the patients do not respond well to standard treatments, such as chemotherapies, targeted therapies and immunotherapies,” said Minhong Shen, an associate research scholar in Kang’s lab and the first author on both papers. “Our work identified a series of chemical compounds that could significantly enhance the chemotherapy and immunotherapy response rates in metastatic breast cancer mouse models. These compounds have great therapeutic potential.”

“Yibin Kang and his team found a key to unlock a possible solution to the challenge of cancer metastasis, the primary cause of death due to cancer,” said Chi Van Dang, the scientific director of Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. “His team was also able to devise a small, drug-like molecule to neutralize this deadly property of cancer. Though this was achieved in preclinical studies, I personally hope that their strategy will one day alter the lives of cancer patients.”

Kang holds the same hope. “While a lot of women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer will be essentially cured with surgery and treatment, for some, maybe five, 10, 15, 20 years later, they’ll have a recurrence, often as metastatic relapse,” Kang said. “It’s a time bomb. And for scientists, it’s a puzzle. Why do you have two patients who present with the same early-stage cancer but whose outcomes are very different?”

A cure 16 years in the making

In 2004, the same year that Kang came to Princeton, MTDH was first identified as a gene involved in metastatic mouse breast tumors. The gene received little attention until Kang’s blockbuster 2009 paper, which showed that MTDH was amplified — meaning it produced MTDH proteins at abnormally high levels compared to normal cells — in 30 to 40% of tumor samples from breast cancer patients, and it drives metastasis and chemoresistance in those tumors.

That discovery drew media attention from around the world.

“There was a lot of excitement,” Kang recalled. “‘Wow, we found a metastasis gene related to poor outcomes in patients! What next? Can we target it?’ That was the big question, because at the time, nobody knew how this obscure, little-known gene worked. It had no similarity to any other known human protein. We didn’t know if it was important to normal physiology.”

His team’s research continued, and their next set of breakthroughs, published in a series of papers in 2014, showed that MTDH is vital for cancer to flourish and metastasize. Mice without the gene grew normally, showing that it isn’t essential for normal life. And critically, if those mice did get breast cancer, they had significantly fewer tumors, and those tumors didn’t metastasize.

Kang’s team soon found that the same was true for prostate cancer and then lung and colorectal cancer. Other teams confirmed similar results for liver cancer and many other cancers.

“So basically, in most major human cancers, this gene is essential for cancer progression and all the terrible things associated with cancer, and yet it doesn’t seem to be important for normal development,” said Kang. “Mice can grow and breed and live normally without this gene, so we knew this would be a great drug target.”

Around the same time, the crystal structure of MTDH revealed that the protein has two finger-like projections that nestle into two pockets on the surface of another protein, SND1, “like two fingers sticking into the holes of a bowling ball,” Kang said. Their experiments showed how intimately MTDH and SND1 depend on each other.

That gave the researchers an idea for how to tackle MTDH, which they hadn’t been able to disable head-on: if they could disrupt this connection to SND1, that would neutralize MTDH’s dangerous effects. They pored through the molecules in the Small Molecule Screening Center, a library of compounds housed in Princeton’s Department of Chemistry, until they found a molecule that can fill one of the two deep pockets — those bowling-ball holes — thus preventing the proteins from interlocking.

“We knew from the crystal structure what the shape of the keyhole was, so we kept looking until we found the key,” said Kang.

Kang makes it sound simple, but finding the right compound was incredibly challenging, said Shen. “The screening took two years without any progress, until one day we saw a significant signal shift in our high-throughput screening assay platform. At that moment we knew the compound does exist, and we found it!”

More than a decade after confirming that MTDH would be a good target, they’d finally found the silver bullet.

Because while it’s important to show that mice born without MTDH are resistant to cancer, that doesn’t help patients, whose genes can’t be rewritten.

“In 2014, we showed what happens if you knock out a gene at birth,” Kang said. “This time, we show that after the tumor has already fully developed into full-blown, life-threatening cancer, we can eliminate the function of this gene. We found that whether you do it genetically or pharmacologically using our compound, you achieve the same outcome.”

Two mechanisms, no side effects

Kang and his colleagues have shown that MTDH has two primary mechanisms: it helps tumors survive stresses they commonly experience as they grow or under the treatment of chemotherapy, plus it muzzles the alarm cry coming from organs invaded by tumors.

Our immune system is designed for defense, not offense: If it doesn’t know a cell is an invader or is under attack, it can’t send help. The MTDH-SND1 duo suppresses the pathway that presents cancer cells’ danger signal to the immune surveillance system.

“Now, with this drug, we reactivate the alarm system,” Kang said. Subsequently, the drug makes tumors much more susceptible to both chemotherapy and immunotherapies. “In normal tissues, healthy cells are usually not under stress or presenting signals that can be recognized as foreign by the immune system, so this is why MTDH is not essential for normal tissues. In essence, MTDH is a quintessential ‘cancer fitness gene’ that is uniquely required by malignant cells to survive and thrive.”

He continued: “Internally, the tumor cell needs MTDH to survive, and externally, it needs it to hide from the immune system. So you have one drug that disables these two important mechanisms — survival and escape — of the cancer cell. And the most important thing is, the drug has very little toxicity. When we tested it in mice, there were no side effects at all. That’s the best of all worlds: two mechanisms attacking a tumor, very few side effects on normal tissues, and best of all, this is not for one specific kind of cancer, but for all major kinds of cancers.”

Seeding the world with cancer researchers

Kang knows that to tackle cancer in all its forms, the world needs more cancer researchers. “Another very gratifying part of my work is seeing these young researchers mature and make their own contributions,” Kang said. “I recently got an email from a fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who said that my course was his first introduction to cancer biology 10 years ago at Princeton, and he’s now becoming a physician scientist.”

In addition to the students who enroll in his course “Molecular Basis of Cancer,” Kang trains the steady stream of undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who conduct research as part of his lab group.

“I’m lucky because I have some of the most brilliant students, and they usually join the lab as freshmen or early sophomores, and many of them stay,” he said. “By the time they graduate, many have become highly competent researchers and published papers. Some who start as pre-med convert from pure M.D. to M.D./Ph.D. because they enjoy the research so much.”

Kang always has several projects going on, but he’s had at least one upper-level scientist — and usually at least one undergraduate — working on MTDH since 2005.

“It’s the longest continuous evolving project in our lab,” he said. “Every single trainee I put on MTDH was the best student or postdoc in my lab at the time. The project is just that challenging.”

Kang compared the painstaking lab work to the endurance sports that he took up during the pandemic. “Research is like a marathon: it can be boring and lonely, and you don’t have cheerleaders, except during races,” he said. Kang completed a half Ironman in August and competed in Ironman Arizona last week.

“Students with the determination to stick to a project like this tend to be the best students,” he said. “They also get the best training from working with the toughest project. It pays off; almost every single graduate student or postdoc who worked on this project has now become a faculty member, leading their own research team.”

He pointed to Shen, who made a “heroic” contribution to both papers, Kang said.

“Minhong came to my lab in 2012 as a visiting graduate student from China. He was supposed to come for a half year, but he was so good that I asked him to stay another half year, and then I invited him back to be a postdoc. And he flourished. Born in a rural village in China, he is now going to the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, to be a principal investigator and professor. He started from a humble position — a visiting student — and ended up doing the most important work in the lab.”

Kang also came from rural China, from a coastal fishing village. “It took me a long journey to come to Princeton,” he said. “I’ve found that immigrant scientists are willing to take risks, to venture out of their comfort zone.”

That willingness has been key to his research journey, he said. “A lot of projects we take on are exciting but risky, and not following any beaten path. In Princeton, we have the flexibility of coming up with the most creative idea and then just going for it.”

Kang is at once a pure scientist, pursuing knowledge for love of it, and an applied scientist looking to solve a very real problem. That makes finding a treatment for MTDH satisfying on multiple levels, he said. “This gene is singularly important for all kinds of different cancers, and by mutating one single amino acid, we eliminate its tumor-promoting function. Nothing is purer than that. This work is both biochemistry and genetics in their most beautiful form.”

Kang and his team are working to optimize the compound to achieve higher affinity and a lower effective drug dose. “I hope we’ll be ready for clinical trials in human patients in two to three years,” he said. “In terms of the biology, I think we are only starting to scratch the surface. I foresee another decade of discovery work, so, the saga continues.”

Current and former Princeton co-authors on the new papers include: Xin Lu, Ph.D. 2010, now an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame; Michelle Rowicki ’20, now a researcher at Novartis; Liling Wan, Ph.D. 2014, now an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania; Nicole Wang ’17, now an M.D./Ph.D. student at Baylor College of Medicine; senior research specialist Xiang Hang; Hahn Kim, the director of the Small Molecule Screening Center; Minhong Shen, starting as an assistant professor at Wayne State University/Karmanos Cancer Institute on Dec. 1; former postdoctoral researcher Heath Smith, now a senior scientist at AbbVie; postdoctoral research associate Yong Tang; staff scientist and lab manager Yong Wei; and former technician Min Yuan.

“Small-molecule inhibitors that disrupt the MTDH–SND1 complex suppress breast cancer progression and metastasis,” by Minhong Shen, Yong Wei, Hahn Kim, Liling Wan, Yi-Zhou Jiang, Xiang Hang, Michael Raba, Stacy Remiszewski, Michelle Rowicki, Cheng-Guo Wu, Songyang Wu, Lanjing Zhang, Xin Lu, Min Yuan, Heath A. Smith, Aiping Zheng, Joseph Bertino, John F. Jin, Yongna Xing, Zhi-Ming Shao and Yibin Kang (DOI: 10.1038/s43018-021-00279-5) and “Pharmacological disruption of the MTDH–SND1 complex enhances tumor antigen presentation and synergizes with anti-PD-1 therapy in metastatic breast cancer,” by Minhong Shen, Heath A. Smith, Yong Wei, Yi-Zhou Jiang, Sheng Zhao, Nicole Wang, Michelle Rowicki, Yong Tang, Xiang Hang, Songyang Wu, Liling Wan, Zhi-Ming Shao and Yibin Kang (DOI: 10.1038/s43018-021-00280-y), both appear in the Nov. 29 issue of Nature Cancer. The research was supported by the Brewster Foundation, Ludwig Cancer Research, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (R01CA134519), Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BC151403), the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen (PDF17332118) and the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (DFHS15PPCO21). This research was also supported by the Preclinical Imaging and Flow Cytometry Shared Resources of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (P30CA072720).


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Monkeypox cases are rising. Should we be worried?

The World Health Organization has said the current outbreak of monkeypox is the largest ever recorded outside sub-Saharan
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The World Health Organization has said the current outbreak of monkeypox is the largest ever recorded outside sub-Saharan Africa, with cases rising above the 100-mark a few days ago and the UK top of the table with 56 as of yesterday.

Top of the list of concerns is how the virus – which does not spread easily between humans and requires skin-to-skin contact – is spreading so quickly in so many countries in Europe, the Americas and Australia where the disease is not endemic.

There is speculation that monkeypox may be being spread between sexual partners, even though it is not normally considered a sexually-transmitted infection. Thankfully, there have been no deaths reported so far, although the WHO notes monkeypox has a fatality rate of between 3% and 6%.

While health authorities are on alert, the WHO said it thinks the outbreak can be contained and that the overall risk to the population remains low. It also stressed there is no evidence that a viral mutation is responsible for the unusual pattern of infections.

Monkeypox is considered less likely to mutate quickly because it is a DNA virus rather than an RNA virus like influenza or COVID-19.

Several countries including Belgium and the UK are already advising a three-week quarantine period for anyone who contracts the virus and their close contacts.

The increasing case numbers in the current monkeypox outbreak are certainly concerning,” commented Dr Charlotte Hammer, an expert in emerging infectious diseases based at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

“It is very unusual to see community transmission in Europe – previous monkeypox cases have been in returning travellers with limited ongoing spread. However, based on the number of cases that were already discovered across Europe and the UK in the previous days, it is not unexpected that additional cases are now being and will be found, especially with the contact tracing that is now happening.”

Vaccines and drugs are available

Meanwhile, attention is now being turned to other measures to control the outbreak, including the use of vaccines against smallpox – a related virus – in a ‘ring vaccination’ approach designed to control the spread among contacts.

Vaccines used during the smallpox eradication programme can provide around 85% protection against monkeypox, according to the WHO, which notes that one newer vaccine – Bavarian Nordic’s Jyneos – has been approved by the FDA for prevention against both viruses.

There’s also a licensed antiviral drug for monkeypox. SIGA Technologies’ oral drug Tpoxx (tecovirimat) is approved for smallpox, monkeypox and cowpox in Europe, and in the US and Canada for smallpox, although it can be used off-label for the other disease. The US FDA also approved a new intravenous form of the drug last week.

The WHO says there is no need for widespread vaccination, as other control measures like isolation of patients should be enough to curb the spread and in any case supplies of vaccines are limited.

Monkeypox causes symptoms similar to but milder than smallpox, typically beginning with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion. It is transmitted to people from various wild animals, such as rodents and primates, and is usually a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks.

In 2003, the US experienced an outbreak of monkeypox, which was the first time human monkeypox was reported outside of Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is making some Jyneos vaccine reserves available for close contact inoculations, including healthcare workers tending to patients.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said yesterday it had identified 36 additional cases of monkeypox in England, and that vaccination of high-risk contacts of cases is already underway.

“A notable proportion of recent cases in the UK and Europe have been found in gay and bisexual men so we are particularly encouraging these men to be alert to the symptoms,” said the agency’s chief medical advisor Dr Susan Hopkins.

“Because the virus spreads through close contact, we are urging everyone to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service if they have any symptoms.”

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What does good cybersecurity look like in 2022?

The pharma industry is becoming an increasingly hot commodity for cybercriminals. In recent years, digital adoption has accelerated
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The pharma industry is becoming an increasingly hot commodity for cybercriminals. In recent years, digital adoption has accelerated at a rapid pace, with companies racing to integrate cloud-based platforms and telehealth services to expand the delivery of modern healthcare. Combined with the sudden arrival of COVID-19, this perfect storm of events handed cybercriminals an opportunity to exploit weaknesses in fledging systems and processes.

Pharma companies hold masses of vital data sets, from classified intellectual property to proprietary information about drugs and clinical trial developments. The value of such data is not lost on cybercriminals. This was illustrated in 2021, amid growing awareness of the pharma industries’ efforts to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. According to cybersecurity firm Critical Insights, the number of cybersecurity breaches in healthcare reached an all-time high in 2021, exposing an unprecedented amount of protected health information.

Cyber attacks can be highly damaging, both financially and to a company’s reputation. Therefore, it is essential that necessary steps are taken, both at a company and individual level, to understand and prevent the risk of cyber threats. But what does good cybersecurity actually look like? To help navigate the complex world of digital crime, Adarma’s threat consultant Mike Varley, KnowBe4 lead security awareness advocate Javvad Malik, CEO and founder of CyberSmart Jamie Akhtar, and senior engineer at Trend Micro Simon Walsh offer their insights into key trends and best practises for pharma companies.

Why is the healthcare industry a particular target for cyberattacks?

Javvad Malik (JM): Historically cybercriminals were after money, so they often ignored healthcare providers. However, with increasing sophistication within the criminal economies and the ability to monetise data through ransomware, other means of extortion, or resale, healthcare providers have become an almost ideal target for criminals.

Simon Walsh (SW): Despite statements from would-be attackers to the contrary, the healthcare and pharma industries became prime targets during the COVID pandemic, particularly for ransomware operators, as we saw during the breach of the Irish Healthcare Service Executive in May 2021.

There are several reasons for this: they’re seen as easy targets because of their relative lack of security maturity; the COVID pandemic-induced strain they’re already under makes them more likely to pay the ransom; and the fact that the data they hold – patient records – is extremely valuable and opens additional paths to extortion.

Jamie Akhtar (JA): Many healthcare providers have weak or limited defences. These range from poor staff awareness of threats to creaking, outdated operating systems and tech, but whatever the reason, cybercriminals are aware that many healthcare providers make for easy pickings.

Mike Varley (MV): We can expect to see a rising number of ransomware attacks on the healthcare sector. Healthcare is recognised as national critical infrastructure, which makes it an attractive target to malicious foreign entities looking to create chaos and harm. Similarly, when human life is put at risk by an attack, organisations are more likely to pay up, so attackers often view these structures as a quick pay-day.

Where do you see the most mistakes being made in healthcare when it comes to addressing cyber threats?

JM: Perhaps the biggest mistakes or challenges healthcare faces when addressing cyber threats are having outdated or unpatched software running, being too quick to purchase or adopt internet-connected devices without demanding rigorous security testing, and, finally, the lack of security awareness and training amongst IT staff.

SW: Security maturity and the ability to successfully detect and withstand attacks comes from understanding cyber risk and building and developing a cyber security strategy around that understanding. This of course needs to be adopted and driven by the board and C-level executives and too often this is not the case, with a lack of understanding and investment resulting in a weakened security posture.

Over-reliance on security technology without adequate human oversight further weakens this posture. The Irish hospitals who successfully prevented the attack in May 2021 were those who not just detected stages of the attack but also understood what those detections meant and acted as a result.

Developing a human oversight function – for example a Security Operations Centre – in house is costly, difficult, and takes time. So, for many in the healthcare/pharma industry, the quickest route to success on this front is working with the correct partner who will provide that function.

JA: There are two areas in which most organisations, not just healthcare providers, could be doing better. Many aren’t doing the simple things that can thwart most cyber-attacks. For example, regularly updating software and operating systems, using strong passwords and MFA, developing clear policies for staff to follow, and ensuring security tools are configured properly.

On top of this, employee awareness of cyber threats just isn’t widespread enough. An organisation can have the best cybersecurity software around but, if an employee doesn’t know what a phishing email looks like and clicks a malicious link, it’ll be hacked just the same. The way to counter this is basic cybersecurity training. It doesn’t have to be comprehensive, just enough to help your people make informed choices.

“Perhaps the biggest mistakes or challenges healthcare faces when addressing cyber threats are having outdated or unpatched software running, being too quick to purchase or adopt internet-connected devices without demanding rigorous security testing, and, finally, the lack of security awareness and training amongst IT staff.”

 

What trends are you seeing in cybersecurity at the moment?

JA: The most worrying trend is the rise in supply chain attacks. Cybercriminals have worked out that the best way to target large enterprises with solid defences, is to attack a smaller, less well-defended supplier who can give them a backdoor in. As a result, we’re seeing more major attacks originate in this way.

Alongside this, phishing continues to be the single most common form of attack. Due to the general lack of awareness in the working population, many organisations are still struggling to contain the threat.

MV: Increasingly I think we will see healthcare sector organisations turning to managed security service providers who have the expertise, capability, and technology to deal with an increasingly complex and harmful cyber landscape.

The healthcare sector is expected to provide an elevated level of cyber protection and with a shortage of cyber talent and the prohibitive cost of establishing a Security Operations Centre internally, organisations will need a trusted security partner that can provide that level of proactive protection.

What advice would you give to companies looking to improve their cybersecurity policies, both on a company-wide scale and individual basis?

JA: Above all, make them clear and easy to follow. Avoid technical jargon, where possible, as this will only disengage people. And, explain why the company has adopted the policies it has; your staff will find it much easier to follow them if they know why. Also, store them somewhere that’s easy to access from anywhere. There’s little use in a policy if it’s buried deep in a shared drive where nobody reads it.

MV: Cybersecurity policies should be informed by a threat-led approach. Regular threat modelling will highlight what threats you are facing and how adversaries are likely to target your organisation. With this information on areas of commonality, your security teams can focus on implementing layered security and monitoring.

Your policy should consider asset awareness. As basic as it sounds, it can be easy for a small handful of assets to fall under the radar within vast enterprises, which leads to out-of-date operating systems and software.

JM: Organisations should look to take a data-driven approach. That means, that in addition to following what is occurring externally in terms of attacks, they should look through a year or two worth of internal security logs to see what was the root cause of the incidents during this time period.

Once the root causes have been identified, they should be prioritised, and then controls be put in place to address those specific root causes. Those should inform the cybersecurity policies and tailor them to the specific risks the organisation is facing.

SW: For companies, start at the top and ensure that the board and C-level executives are capable of understanding and assessing risk. This will drive investment in cyber strategy and improve your chances of mitigating that risk. Human oversight of security-related activity in the organisation is also fundamental.

For individuals, heightened awareness and ongoing education are key. We all have a role to play in cyber-security as 100% reliance on technology is unfortunately never enough.

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CDC Now Recommends COVID Testing For All Domestic Air Travel, Including The Vaccinated

CDC Now Recommends COVID Testing For All Domestic Air Travel, Including The Vaccinated

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

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CDC Now Recommends COVID Testing For All Domestic Air Travel, Including The Vaccinated

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that all domestic travelers undergo COVID-19 testing before and after they travel - regardless of vaccination status.

In an update on the agency’s website, anyone traveling within the United States may want to consider “getting tested as close to the time of departure as possible,” and no more than three days before a flight. It previously only recommended testing for people who have not received COVID-19 vaccines or up-to-date booster shots.

The CDC update is also recommending that people take a test before or after a trip if they went to crowded spaces “while not wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator.”

In April, a Florida federal judge struck down the CDC mandate that required people to wear masks inside airports or on airplanes. Justice Department officials have signaled they will challenge the rule, implemented after President Joe Biden took office in early 2021, in court.

A spokesperson for the agency told AFAR Magazine on May 19 that “COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease and death,” but added, “since vaccines are not 100 percent effective at preventing infection, some people who are up to date can still get COVID-19.”

“People who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines may feel well and not have symptoms but still can be infected and spread the virus to others,” the spokesperson said.

In January of this year, the CDC also implemented a change to its international travel rule, requiring plane passengers aged 2 and older to show a negative COVID-19 test from no more than a day before boarding a flight or proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the previous 90 days. Foreign nationals have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination as well.

Neither the CDC nor the White House has given any public indication of when the mandatory testing rule for international travelers will be relaxed. Travel groups have pushed for that rule to be removed for months now.

In a letter to the White House, a group representing more than 250 organizations called for an end to the rule, saying it’s only caused “slow economic recovery of the business and international travel sectors.”

After the federal judge’s order was handed down last month, the CDC issued a new recommendation that people inside airports and airplanes wear masks, despite nearly all major airliners having scrapped enforcement.

And during a news briefing last week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who has been criticized for her agency’s messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, said that people living in counties that the agency deems to have high COVID-19 transmission should wear masks in indoor settings.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/23/2022 - 17:40

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