Politics, Science, and Other Assorted Musings

I love helping people understand issues and look at them from a different perspective. In this blog, I hope I can offer you some new insights—bridging the gap between basic science and your medicine chest—as I am still a practicing physician, as well as having had broad clinical research experience. I'm interested in developing new medicines and treatments, as well as caring for patients—and explaining these topics for you.

As medicine has evolved, so have my interests. I have also become increasingly interested in health disparities, social justice issues, and ethics. I invite you to join me as we explore a variety of territories. I hope that reading these posts will encourage you to learn, engage, and above all, work for the forces of good.

If there are topics you'd like to see me cover, please let me know—I welcome your input as to what you would like us to discuss in this column.

Coronavirus - COVID19

Please note that I will be posting Coronavirus Tidbits of news here. You can sign up for updates by clicking the box at the right and subscribe to Covid, Politics, and Science. All Covid posts will go here, and I will upload back issues as I have time. Please share w friends. Thanks!

I’m going to have a reference file here for articles I have found particularly worthwhile, and will update this here as we learn new information. Click on the COVID-19 Resources, below, to expand that.

If you see something terrific, please share. We’re all in this together.

Coronavirus Tidbits #201 7/17/2021

By Judy Stone | July 16, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #201 7/17/2021

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New Post: This SCOTUS Endangers Us All – Gun “rights” edition https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/976549 News  Covid US regulators OK new COVID-19 shot option from Novavax Novavax makes a more traditional type of shot than the three other COVID-19 vaccines available for use in the U.S.-and one that’s already available in Europe and multiple other countries. Nearly a quarter of American adults still haven’t gotten their primary vaccinations even this late in the pandemic, and experts expect at least some of them to roll up their sleeves for a more conventional option-a protein-based vaccine. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-covid-shot-option-novavax.html ~ ~ ~ Vaccine Boosters: Ashish Jha, MD, the White House committee’s coordinator, said officials have been closely tracking the rapidly evolving BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which are the most transmissible forms of Omicron and can evade protection from earlier infection and vaccines….

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Coronavirus Tidbits #200 7/10/22

By Judy Stone | July 9, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #200 7/10/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  Covid:  Emerging omicron subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 are inhibited less efficiently by antibodies most of the therapeutic antibodies available for treatment of COVID-19 patients do not inhibit BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 at all or only inhibit with reduced potency. The antibody Bebtelovimab constitutes the only exception, since this antibody blocked all tested variants with high efficiency. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-07-emerging-omicron-subvariants-ba2121-ba4.html ~ ~ ~ Persistent spike protein could be a biomarker of long Covid, small study says STAT July 8, 2022 One of the main theories to explain what causes long Covid is viral persistence, or the continued presence of some part of the coronavirus in the body long after the acute infection ends. (Another, possibly overlapping hypothesis for lingering symptoms posits an overactive immune response that turns into an autoimmune attack on the body’s organs.) Now a new study reports the…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #199 7/3/22

By Judy Stone | July 2, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #199 7/3/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New posts: Betrayed by a Reactionary SCOTUS  my post on Roe: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/976398? More Promising Phage News-Using Bacteria-Killing Viruses To Treat Antibiotic-Resistant Infections https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/06/30/more-promising-phage-news-using-bacteria-killing-viruses-to-treat-antibiotic-resistant-infections/?sh=e20db844c4f6 News  Covid: ~ ~ ~ Monkeypox: ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Monkeypox soars in Europe, with more than 4,000 cases Stephanie Soucheray | News Reporter | CIDRAP News| Jun 30, 2022 New data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization European regional office shows the monkeypox outbreak in Europe has grown to 4,177 cases in less than 2 months, with the United Kingdom producing 25% of those cases. Germany has surpassed Spain and Portugal with a national total reaching 838 cases, compared to 736 cases in Spain and 365 in Portugal. France has 350 cases. One day after the White…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #198 6/26/22

By Judy Stone | June 26, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #198 6/26/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New post: Life-Threatening Meningococcal Infections Strike Florida https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/06/23/life-threatening-meningococcal-infections-strike-florida/?sh=273116daf4d0 News  Covid: BA.4 and BA.5 may escape antibody responses in people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted and previously infected with COVID-19. (New England Journal of Medicine) ~ ~ ~ A third vaccine dose may increase protection from omicron The mRNA vaccines used against COVID were never designed to battle the omicron variant, a now dominant strain of the coronavirus that recently claimed 18,000 lives in a single week. Yet individuals who receive their third dose appear to be protected from the worst of omicron, and a new study in Nature explains why. In analyzing blood samples from patients who received a booster, researchers showed that the third dose galvanizes memory B cells into producing potent and versatile antibodies that neutralize both the original virus…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #197 6/19/22

By Judy Stone | June 20, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #197 6/19/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Recent posts: Surgery During a Pandemic? COVID Vax Status Matters – or Not An online survey captured mixed information about people’s willingness to undergo surgery during a viral pandemic in relation to the vaccine status of the patient and staff. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975477 ~ ~ ~ Dengue Vaccine Candidate Works Without Big Safety Risks Drugmaker Takeda announced Thursday that its dengue vaccine candidate, TAK-003, prevented 84% of hospitalized dengue cases and 61% of symptomatic cases in 4.5 years of follow-up during its phase 3 TIDES trial. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975354 News  FDA advisers OK COVID-19 vaccines for youngest kids In a step eagerly anticipated by families who want an extra tool to protect babies and young children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisory group today unanimously approved emergency use of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for babies…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #197 6/19/22

By Judy Stone | June 19, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #197 6/19/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Recent posts: Surgery During a Pandemic? COVID Vax Status Matters – or Not An online survey captured mixed information about people’s willingness to undergo surgery during a viral pandemic in relation to the vaccine status of the patient and staff. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975477 ~ ~ ~ Dengue Vaccine Candidate Works Without Big Safety Risks Drugmaker Takeda announced Thursday that its dengue vaccine candidate, TAK-003, prevented 84% of hospitalized dengue cases and 61% of symptomatic cases in 4.5 years of follow-up during its phase 3 TIDES trial. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975354 News  FDA advisers OK COVID-19 vaccines for youngest kids In a step eagerly anticipated by families who want an extra tool to protect babies and young children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisory group today unanimously approved emergency use of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for babies…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #196 6/12/22

By Judy Stone | June 12, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #196 6/12/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New Post: Dengue Vaccine Candidate Works Without Big Safety Risks https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975354 This is a huge advance–will help Puerto Rico as well as SE Asia.   News  COVID and smell loss: answers begin to emerge A study published last month1 surveyed 616,318 people in the United States who have had COVID-19. It found that, compared with those who had been infected with the original virus, people who had contracted the Alpha variant – the first variant of concern to arise – were 50% as likely to have chemosensory disruption. This probability fell to 44% for the later Delta variant, and to 17% for the latest variant, Omicron. But the news is not all good: a significant portion of people infected early in the pandemic still experience chemosensory effects. A 2021 study2 followed 100 people who had…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #195 6/5/22

By Judy Stone | June 5, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #195 6/5/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Post: Medicines For Monkeypox – Antivirals And Vaccines Are Available While monkeypox is spreading globally, there is no need for the level of alarm that we had with Covid-19. Why? First, monkeypox is not nearly as transmissible as Covid and requires close contact. There is a <10% household transmission. Second, is that we have several medicines and vaccines at our disposal. The first case of monkeypox in this outbreak was noted on May 6. Since then, it has traveled globally, with the UK, Spain, and Portugal in the lead, followed by others, including Canada and Germany. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/05/28/medicines-for-monkeypoxantivirals-and-vaccines-are-available/ News  Covid: Kiddie vaccine in sight! Pfizer filing sets scene for FDA consideration Pfizer and BioNTech said yesterday that they have finished submitting an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #194 5/29/22

By Judy Stone | May 29, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #194 5/29/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New posts: Wild Meat Markets Pose Disease Risk to People, Laos Study Finds https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/974609 ~ ~ ~ Focus on Antivirals, Vaccines as Monkeypox Continues https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/974659 for healthcare professionals ~ ~ ~ Medicines For Monkeypox – Antivirals And Vaccines Are Available https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/05/28/medicines-for-monkeypoxantivirals-and-vaccines-are-available/   for the general public News  Emergency medical staff report high levels of burnout amid COVID Two-plus years into the pandemic, an online survey of emergency-medicine professionals in 89 countries reveals that 62% reported one or more symptoms of COVID-19-related burnout syndrome, and 31% reported two. Women reported more burnout than men (64% vs 59%), as did nurses versus doctors (73% vs 60%). High levels of burnout were tied to frequent understaffing (70% vs 37% of those with adequate staffing) and a higher risk of wanting to leave their workplace (87% vs 40%…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #193 5/22/22

By Judy Stone | May 22, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #193 5/22/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New posts: Bacteria-Killing Viruses Are Successful In Treating Antibiotic-Resistant Infections https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/05/15/bacteria-killing-viruses-are-successful-in-treating-antibiotic-resistant-infections/?sh=5a4248e84e38 ~ ~ ~ CDC Updates PrEP Vaccination Recommendations https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/974298 News  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Alpha-Gal Syndrome and Ticks remainder of thread at https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1413962890579791875.html ~ ~ ~ Monkeypox ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Waning immunity to smallpox might be boosting the new cases of monkeypox. Thread: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1527494313080303617.html ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ FDA Approves Expanded Smallpox – Monkeypox Treatment Formulation New York-based SIGA Technologies, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the intravenous…

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