J&J Covid-19 Vaccine Pause Driven by Risk of Mistreating Blood Clots

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/j-j-covid-19-vaccine-was-paused-over-blood-clot-treatment-concerns-11618777554

Excerpt:

U.S. health authorities came close to simply warning about a blood-clotting risk from Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, but they decided to recommend pausing use out of concern doctors would improperly treat the condition, people familiar with the matter said.

Over the previous four weeks, U.S. health officials had become alarmed about similar blood-clotting conditions in Europe involving a Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca PLC, the people said. The officials dug into a U.S. vaccine safety database and identified the cases of great concern, but they debated what action to take.

By the night of April 12, the officials resolved that urgent action was needed, the people said. Four of six women in the U.S. who developed the clots days after vaccination had initially been given blood thinner heparin, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its use could have worsened the patients’ condition, the people said.

Author(s): Thomas M. Burton and Betsy McKay

Publication Date: 18 April 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 Virus Studies Yield New Clues on Pandemic’s Origin

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-virus-studies-yield-new-clues-on-pandemics-origin-11614594600

Excerpt:

At least four recent studies have identified coronaviruses closely related to the pandemic strain in bats and pangolins in Southeast Asia and Japan, a sign that these pathogens are more widespread than previously known and that there was ample opportunity for the virus to evolve.

Another new study suggests that a change in a single amino acid in a key component of the virus enabled or at least helped the virus become infectious in humans. Amino acids are organic compounds that form proteins.

Public-health officials say it is critical to identify the origin of the pandemic to take steps to avert future outbreaks, though it may take years to do so. These latest pieces of research add to evidence that the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, likely originated in bats and then evolved naturally to infect humans, possibly through an intermediary animal.

Author(s): Betsy McKay

Publication Date: 1 March 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Covid-19 Was Spreading in China Before First Confirmed Cases, Fresh Evidence Suggests

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-was-spreading-in-china-before-first-confirmed-cases-fresh-evidence-suggests-11613730600?mod=djemwhatsnews

Excerpt:

New evidence from China is affirming what epidemiologists have long suspected: The coronavirus likely began spreading unnoticed around the Wuhan area in November 2019, before it exploded in multiple different locations throughout the city in December.

Chinese authorities have identified 174 confirmed Covid-19 cases around the city from December 2019, said World Health Organization researchers, enough to suggest there were many more mild, asymptomatic or otherwise undetected cases than previously thought.

Many of the 174 cases had no known connection to the market that was initially considered the source of the outbreak, according to information gathered by WHO investigators during the four-week mission to China to examine the origins of the virus. Chinese authorities declined to give the WHO team raw data on these cases and potential earlier ones, team members said.

Author(s): Betsy McKay in New York, Drew Hinshaw in Warsaw and Jeremy Page in Beijing

Publication Date: 19 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Joe Biden’s Covid-19 Vaccine Plan: How He Intends to Speed Up Distribution

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/joe-bidens-covid-19-vaccine-plan-how-he-intends-to-speed-up-distribution-11610794800?st=b86yaopaxch9dgx&twopenpaywall

Excerpt:

President will add community vaccination sites, deploy mobile units and enlist pharmacies to achieve his pledge that 100 million doses will be administered in U.S. during his first 100 days in office

President Joe Biden has promised a more forceful U.S. government response to the coronavirus pandemic, and on his second day in office released a national strategy and signed 10 executive orders and other directives as part of the plan.

Authors: Betsy McKay and Sabrina Siddiqui

Publication Date: 21 January 2021

Publication Site: WSJ