Remdesivir, Given to Half of Hospitalized Covid Patients in U.S., Is Big Win for Gilead — Boosted by Taxpayers

It was the end of April — just as the U.S. confirmed its millionth covid-19 case and 50,000 deaths — when White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci announced “highly significant” news about a drug called remdesivir.

That was surprising because the antiviral drug, owned by Gilead Sciences and developed with investment from the federal government, had languished for years with no apparent commercial use. It had struck out as a treatment for hepatitis C and Ebola.

But early in 2020, when the first global cases of a new pneumonia-like viral illness emerged in China, Gilead resurfaced the compound, branded as Veklury, and shared it with scientists across the globe. From the Oval Office, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said remdesivir would be the “standard of care” for treating coronavirus disease.

Its emergency-use approval by the Food and Drug Administration immediately drew a storm of … Read more

Coronavirus live news: EU 'to stop short of vaccine export ban'; Germany may cut inbound flights to almost zero

EU to make pharmaceutical companies register exports but not ban them, reports say; German ministers discussing near-total flight ban

10.24pm GMT

Nicolás Maduro is promoting another “miracle” cure to save Venezuelans from Covid-19, backing a secretive solution with no scientific evidence published, Associated Press reports.

The president told TV on Sunday:

“Ten drops under the tongue every four hours and the miracle is done. It’s a powerful antiviral, very powerful, that neutralizes the coronavirus.”

10.02pm GMT

Here’s a round-up of this evening’s coronavirus news

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Big Business Boosts Vaccine Effort, but It’s ‘Complex Choreography’ to Get Shots in Arms 

This story is part of a partnership that includes NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free.

As states await the promise of a renewed federal pandemic response and expand the number of Americans who qualify for a shot, some governors are trying to scale up their covid vaccine operations — and smooth out the kinks — with the help of the private sector.

In Washington state, Starbucks, Microsoft and Costco are lending logistical expertise and manpower to public health agencies that are trying to dispatch their doses of vaccines more efficiently.

Over the weekend, thousands of people filed through the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina — now serving as a mass vaccine site — run by Honeywell and other local businesses that have partnered with the state.

And on Monday, Google pledged $150 million to “promote vaccine education and equitable distribution” and to make it easier for … Read more

Coronavirus live news: Moderna says vaccine works on UK and South African variants; Spain sees record rise in cases

Spain saw 93,822 infections between Friday and Monday, and 767 deaths; Moderna confirms its jab works against new variants

10.34pm GMT

A troop of gorillas in a US zoo are recovering from an outbreak of Covid-19 that sickened several of the group’s eight members, the zoo said.

The gorillas began to fall ill on January 6, when two of them started coughing, the statement by San Diego Zoo Global said.

The veterinary team who treated Winston believe the antibodies may have contributed to his ability to overcome the virus,” the zoo said.

10.11pm GMT

Brazil has registered 26,816 new coronavirus cases … Read more

Pain behaviour: what is it and what do we do about it?

I’m re-reading Fordyce’s classic Behavioral Methods for Chronic Pain and Illness and once again I’m struck by how many of the concepts he introduced and systematically investigated are either mis-interpreted and ignored in our current approaches to helping people with persistent pain. Today I’ll explore just a tiny portion of what Fordyce described.

Pain behaviour refers to all the observable actions we do in relation to experiencing pain (NB some people include thoughts as well, but for today I’ll just focus on observable actions). There are roughly two groups of actions: those involuntary ones that we can call nocifensive responses that include reflex withdrawal underpinned by spinal reflexes but including brainstem circuits (see Barik, Hunter Thompson, Seltzer, Ghitani & Chesler, 2018); and those that are developed and shaped by learning (operant conditioning as well as social learning).

When I write about learning, I often have comments about this suggesting people … Read more

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