New research provides some initial evidence that certain antagonistic personality traits are associated with ignoring preventative measures meant to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.The study has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science. It is currently available on the PsyArXiv preprint website.“On March 31, 2020, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the U.S. government’s Coronavirus Task Force, said, ‘There’s no magic bullet. There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors. Each of our behaviors, tran...
Could delivering Covid-19 immunity directly to the nose -- the area of the body via which it is most likely to be transmitted -- help conquer the pandemic?
The World Health Organization says clinical trials are underway to evaluate eight nasal spray vaccines that target Covid-19.
The most advanced effort so far by China's Xiamen University, the University of Hong Kong and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy has completed phase-2 trials.
"When the virus infects someone it usually gets in through the nose," said researcher Nathalie Mielcarek who is working with the Lille Pasteur Institute to develop a nasal spray vaccine against whooping cough.
"The idea is to shut the door."
An article published in Scientific American in March urged developing nasal spray vaccines because they have an immediate effect on the virus in an infected person's mucus.
There they trigger production of an antibody known as immunoglobulin A, which can block infection.
"This overwhelming response, called sterilising immunity, reduces the chance that people will pass on the virus," said the article.
The vaccines currently available offer strong protection against severe forms of Covid-19 but are less reliable at preventing the spread of the virus.
Stimulating immunity directly in the nose "lowers the risk of infecting other people", said Mielcarek.
"From there you have less of the virus infecting the lungs and so fewer severe cases since the viral load is lower," she added.
An article published in March by Gavi the Vaccine Alliance noted other advantages, including the fact that the sprays don't need refrigeration and don't need to be administered by health professionals.
"People would be able to self-administer them at home," the article says, adding "they are likely to be more popular for the millions of people who don't like needles".
And in a French study on mice presented last week, 100 percent of subjects vaccinated with the spray survived infection by Covid-19 while all unvaccinated mice died.
"The vaccinated animals... showed low levels of the virus so they are not contagious anymore -- that's one of the advantages of the nasal spray," Philippe Mauguin, CEO of the French institute that hopes to patent the vaccine told AFP.
Isabelle Dimier-Poisson who led the research has high hopes.
"It could allow us to get back to life before the pandemic, without social distancing, and without masks," she said.
© 2021 AFP
Former President Donald Trump on Friday sent a letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he asked him to start the process of "decertifying" the 2020 election.
In the letter, which was posted on Twitter by spokeswoman Liz Harrington, the twice-impeached former president continued to falsely insist that he was the victim of "voter fraud" in Georgia despite the fact that no credible investigation has turned up any instance of fraud.
Trump asked Raffensperger to check out the allegations and "if true... start the process of decertifying the Election, or whatever the correct legal remedy is, and announce the true winner."
Trump went on to say that "people do not understand why you and Governor Brian Kemp adamantly refuse to acknowledge the now proven facts."
In fact, no allegations of mass voter fraud in Georgia have been proven true, and the Trump campaign's efforts to get the election results overturned were all thrown out of court.
Read the full letter below.
Critics are observing Constitution Day by responding to remarks U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made on Thursday, when he blasted the media for criticizing decisions from the nation's highest court and warning federal judges to not wade in to political discussions.
"When we begin to venture into the legislative or executive branch lanes, those of us, particularly in the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, are asking for trouble," Justice Thomas said, CNN's Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue reports, ironically observing that Justice Thomas made those remarks "during a sweeping lecture at the University of Notre Dame that also touched on themes of equality, race and the state of the country."
The CNN report adds:
Of all the members of the high court, Thomas has made his views on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion across the US, crystal clear. In 2007, he said that he believed that Roe and the follow-up decision called Planned Parenthood v. Casey had "no basis in the Constitution." And in 2020, he said that Roe is "grievously wrong for many reasons, but the most fundamental is that its core holding -- that the Constitution protects a woman's right to abort her unborn child -- finds no support in the text of the Fourteenth Amendment."
Thomas also on Thursday "seemed to nod to the controversy" of "so-called court packing":
"We have lost the capacity" as leaders "to not allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don't get the outcomes that we like," he said.
Critics, including legal experts are weighing on on Justice Thomas's remarks, blasting him for, as Daily Beast editor-at-large Molly Jong-Fast says, "speaking out against something he is actively doing."
Keith Boykin, a CNN political commentator who earned his law degree at Harvard and served in the Clinton White House was even more pointed:
"Clarence Thomas didn't seem too worried about 'destroying our institutions' when he cast the deciding vote to make Bush president in 2000 or to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2013 or when he sat silently from 2017-2021 as Trump trashed our institutions."
Dr. Miranda Yaver, a political science professor (US law, public policy, health policy) at Oberlin blasted Justice Thomas, saying that "claiming that the Supreme Court isn't political is nonsense and we all know it. FWIW, whenever I teach Constitutional Law and students go, 'Who in the hell would write that opinion??' the answer is invariably Clarence Thomas."
Norman Ornstein, a political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), laughed:
VOX senior correspondent Ian Millhiser, author of "The Agenda: How a Republican Supreme Court is Reshaping America," also criticizes Thomas's apparent hypocrisy:
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