This next week we will discuss HEALTH public policy focusing on this current global coronal virus epidemic to look at how AFFORDABLE CARE ACT privatization of all that was US PUBLIC HEALTH ---was affected regarding issues of CDC-----epidemic containment----vaccinations especially. We discuss often the concerns of US 99% WE THE THE PEOPLE with what is a growing regime of heath care as VACCINE. We see all US Federal funding for our medical research going to the most hyper-global corporate medical PHARMA AND DEVICE corporations when it used to go to public institutions and public universities tied to regulations and oversight. Today, a person becomes a $50 million 'doctor' in no time flat as US Federal funding has a REVOLVING WALL STREET DOOR.
What is the fastest way for a global medical corporation using a US venture capital startup to bring billions of dollars to a NEW INNOVATIVE manufacturing laboratory? Well, have a good global viral epidemic IF you product is VIRAL VECTORS. Below we see where OBAMA and Clinton neo-liberals tied to ACA changed that FUNDING CYCLE away from Federal funds to AID FAMILIES AND CHILDREN in attaining in this case ordinary vaccinations-----to using that same fund-----SECTION 317------to fund the global vaccine corporations and research.
'and responding to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases'.
'Q: Does this policy change mean that CDC is changing the Section 317 program to only serve adults?
A: It will no longer be appropriate for Section 317 vaccine to be used for routine vaccination of children, adolescents, and adults who have public or private insurance that covers vaccination. Section 317 vaccine is a precious national resource that will continue to be used to fill critical public health needs, such as providing routine vaccination for those with no insurance and responding to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases'.
The Price of Prevention: Vaccine Costs Are Soaring
Paying Till It Hurts
By Elisabeth Rosenthal
- July 2, 2014
SAN ANTONIO — There is little that Dr. Lindsay Irvin has not done for the children’s vaccines in her office refrigerator: She remortgaged her home to afford their rising prices. She packed them in ice chests and moved them when her office flooded this year. She pays a company to monitor the fridge in case the temperature rises.
“The security company can call me any time of the day or night so I can go save my vaccines,” said Dr. Irvin, a pediatrician. Those in the refrigerator recently cost $70,000, she said — “more than I paid for four years of medical school.”
Vaccination prices have gone from single digits to sometimes triple digits in the last two decades, creating dilemmas for doctors and their patients as well as straining public health budgets. Here in San Antonio and elsewhere, some doctors have stopped offering immunizations because they say they cannot afford to buy these potentially lifesaving preventive treatments that insurers often reimburse poorly, sometimes even at a loss.
Childhood immunizations are so vital to public health that the Affordable Care Act mandates their coverage at no out-of-pocket cost and they are generally required for school entry. Once a loss leader for manufacturers, because they are often more expensive to produce than conventional drugs, vaccines now can be very profitable.
Now, reading that ACA revision of FEDERAL VACCINE funding telling us insured citizens will for their own vaccinations and low-income will still get help with Federal programs we wonder just what that looks like in reality.
As people not wanting MANDATED VACCINES we are concerned that the ordinary regime of vaccines are affordable and available.
One of first things saw after these policy changes was this: an epidemic came------shortfalls in availability led to only people able to buy from retail stores and certain institutions were able to get that emergency vaccine.
'It means that instead of moving towards a model of informed decision-making where communication can engage parents, communities and health professionals to improve vaccination rates, we are putting financial barriers on basic vaccine access. That is not universal health care, and it's not wise health policy'.
UK with Australia has lost all its NATIONAL HEALTH PLAN as here the US our public health disappears. 2014 was the same year ACA came out with REVISED immunization Federal funding policies. We bet our US citizens have faced this same problem.
Our US FAKE NEWS media will let us know all kinds of new VACCINES are in the pipeline but we don't hear billions of dollars in Federal health funding is building PRIVATE BIOMEDICAL LABS and making a few startup people multi-millionaires. The fight for parents AGAINST MANDATED VACCINES is pitted against parents unable to afford ordinary vaccines because all funding is going to NEW INNOVATIVE ENGINEERED VACCINES which are very expensive.
So, insured parents once able to get affordable vaccines are now tied to co-pays/deductibles and multiple trips to preventative care doctor. That money is going to build private biomedical labs for global PHARMA AND MEDICAL DEVICE corporations
Vaccination blow from a baffling budget
By Jessica Kaufman Posted 19 May 2014, 7:08pm
Photo: Vaccines save lives - is this really the place for budget cuts? (ABC TV)
What this budget does is effectively remove access to vaccination for those who cannot afford the co-payment, and punish vulnerable people when vaccine-preventable diseases return, writes Jessica Kaufman.
Since the Government released its budget proposal last week, there's been plenty of discussion about the people who will be hit hardest.
High-income earners and businesses will escape mostly unscathed. However, there is at least one knock-on effect from this budget that won't discriminate by tax bracket: vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases.
The Australian Medical Association has confirmed that childhood vaccinations, previously free under the bulk-billing system, will now incur a $7 Medicare co-payment, along with all other bulk-billed services. As the budget currently stands, there will be no low-income exceptions.
As an academic researcher and PhD candidate, my work focuses on vaccination communication issues around the world. Vaccination depends on supply and demand in order to work. On the supply side, people need ready access to vaccines. Communication works on the demand side, by helping people make informed decisions and encouraging them to seek out vaccination.
Effective communication can overcome many barriers to vaccination. It can remind people when vaccines are due, explain their risks and benefits, correct misinformation, and help people find and access vaccination services. But effective communication cannot jump over every hurdle and requiring everyone to pay a fee may be a hurdle too high for even the most persuasive communication strategy.
The current vaccination schedule requires six separate GP visits to receive vaccines in the first 18 months of a child's life. Let's imagine a fairly typical scenario: a family with young children has a bad week - the power bill is due, the car breaks down, one kid has an ear infection and the baby is due for a vaccination. If there is not enough to cover every expense, which one do you think will get dropped or postponed?
The vaccine schedule is designed to make sure children develop long-lasting immunity by delivering vaccines with a specific amount of time between doses. When children are late for a dose, they are considered "under-vaccinated" and they may be susceptible to diseases.
Even for parents who won't struggle with the co-payment, why add a disincentive to something we are trying so hard to encourage people to do?
Payment of the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement is already linked to immunisation status and the previous government also planned further restrictions for conscientious objectors.
New South Wales brought in the "no jab, no play" rule this year. Rather than throwing up hurdles to timely and appropriate vaccination, the Government should be encouraging it.
Reduced vaccination rates will be an issue for more than the families who can't afford the co-payment. Vaccines protect all of us by offering herd immunity - when most people in a population are vaccinated (generally more than 90 per cent, though for particularly infectious diseases like measles this number is more like 95 per cent), vaccine-preventable diseases can't get a foothold among the isolated unprotected people.
There will always be some people who are unprotected, and they come from all income levels. Very young babies are particularly vulnerable, as are people with allergies or other health conditions that mean they cannot receive certain vaccines.
Some people's bodies simply fail to develop complete immunity when they are vaccinated. These are the people affected when herd immunity drops and disease outbreaks occur.
In Australia we have already seen increases in outbreaks of measles and whooping cough, both of which can lead to disability or death.
It is baffling to see the Government create a new barrier that could lower vaccination rates and expose vulnerable citizens to disease. When vaccination rates fall and rates of diseases we once controlled begin to rise, family income level won't offer much protection.
What this budget does, ultimately, is remove access to vaccination for those who cannot afford the co-payment, and punish vulnerable people in our population when vaccine-preventable diseases return.
It means that instead of moving towards a model of informed decision-making where communication can engage parents, communities and health professionals to improve vaccination rates, we are putting financial barriers on basic vaccine access. That is not universal health care, and it's not wise health policy.
Vaccines save lives - is this really the place for budget cuts?
In exchange for the ACA and VACCINE FEDERAL FUNDING revisions global PHARMA and medical device corporation were told----
OK NOW----WE WILL MAKE YOU A CORPORATE WELFARE QUEEN-----BUT YOU HAVE TO MAKE CITIZENS WHO GOT ALL THESE VACCINES FOR FREE------CHARITY CASES.
UK or US government will pay HYPER-INFLATED prices for those VACCINES while requiring a DONATION TO POOR.
'As the only producers of the pneumonia vaccine, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are able to keep the price of the vaccine artificially high; since 2009, the two companies have earned $36 billion on this vaccine alone'.
This is why DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS say paying for vaccines is better than GETTING THEM AS CHARITY.
'You might be wondering, then, why we’d rather pay for the vaccine than get it for free. Isn’t free better?
No. Free is not always better'.
Imagine this scenario for routine, ordinary vaccines then think what will happen in an epidemic of CORONA VIRUS.
This is 2016 a few years after that ACA reform and vaccine corporations are earning hundreds of billions of dollars in 'new innovative' vaccines.
There is no such thing as “free” vaccines: Why we rejected Pfizer’s donation offer of pneumonia vaccines.
MSF Access Campaign
Oct 10, 2016 ·
By Jason Cone, Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders in the United States
I recently had the difficult task of telling Ian Read, Pfizer’s CEO, that Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is rejecting the company’s offer to donate a significant number of pneumonia vaccine (PCV) doses for the children we serve. This is not a decision that we took lightly, since our medical teams working in the field witness the impact of pneumonia every day.
Pneumonia claims the lives of nearly one million kids each year, making it the world’s deadliest disease among children. Although there’s a vaccine to prevent this disease, it’s too expensive for many developing countries and humanitarian organizations, such as ours, to afford. As the only producers of the pneumonia vaccine, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are able to keep the price of the vaccine artificially high; since 2009, the two companies have earned $36 billion on this vaccine alone. For years, we have been trying to negotiate with the companies to lower the price of the vaccine, but they offered us donations instead.
You might be wondering, then, why we’d rather pay for the vaccine than get it for free. Isn’t free better?
No. Free is not always better. Donations often involve numerous conditions and strings attached, including restrictions on which patient populations and what geographic areas are allowed to receive the benefits. This process can delay starting vaccination campaigns, which would be an untenable situation in emergency settings, or grossly limit who you’re able to reach with the vaccine.
Donations can also undermine long-term efforts to increase access to affordable vaccines and medicines. They remove incentives for new manufacturers to enter a market when it’s absorbed through a donation arrangement. We need competition from new companies to bring down prices overall — something we don’t have currently for the pneumonia vaccine.
Donations are often used as a way to make others ‘pay up.’ By giving the pneumonia vaccine away for free, pharmaceutical corporations can use this as justification for why prices remain high for others, including other humanitarian organizations and developing countries that also can’t afford the vaccine. Countries, which continue to voice their frustration at being unable to afford new and costly vaccines such as PCV, need lower prices as well to protect children’s health.
Critically, donation offers can disappear as quickly as they come. The donor has ultimate control over when and how they choose to give their products away, risking interruption of programs should the company decide it’s no longer to their advantage. For example, Uganda is now facing a nationwide shortage of Diflucan, an essential crytpococcal meningitis drug, in spite of Pfizer’s commitment to donate the drugs to the government. There are other similar examples of companies’ donation programs leaving governments and health organizations in a lurch without the medical tools they need to treat patients.
To avoid these risks and to limit the use of in-kind medical products donations, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other leading global health organizations such as UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have clear recommendations against donation offers from pharmaceutical corporations.
Donations of medical products, such as vaccines and drugs, may appear to be good ‘quick fixes,’ but they are not the answer to increasingly high vaccine prices charged by pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and GSK.
There are times, however, when overwhelming pragmatic needs demand a short-term solution. Such was the case in 2014, when, after five years of unsuccessful price negotiations, MSF agreed to accept a one-time donation from Pfizer and GSK of their pneumonia vaccines. This was a notable exception to our prohibition on in-kind corporate donation policy that was made with great consideration, so that children would not go unvaccinated while issues of affordability and sustainability were under discussion. But in agreeing to the donation, both Pfizer and GSK assured us that they would work on a longer-term solution for children caught in crisis and developing countries.
Finally, just last month, in a significant shift — and after years of negotiations and months of public campaigning — GSK announced that it would offer its pneumonia vaccine to humanitarian organizations at the lowest global price (currently $3.05 per dose or $9.15 per child for all three doses needed for full vaccination). This is an important step towards a sustainable solution for humanitarian organizations that wish to extend the benefits of pneumonia vaccination to children caught in crisis. In contrast, Pfizer has not made any pricing concessions, and has yet to announce any meaningful solutions. They continue to offer donations that give Pfizer a tax break rather than offer a sustainable solution by lowering the price of the vaccine overall. Accepting Pfizer’s donation today would not do anything for the millions of children living in countries like Iraq, Jordan, Philippines, Romania, and Thailand, among many others, where neither their parents nor their governments can afford the expensive vaccine.
We can no longer live in a world where a vaccine that protects children against pneumonia is a luxury; too many young lives are at stake. Doctors Without Borders does not believe that our medical work, nor the work of other humanitarian organizations or governments trying to serve their people, should be at mercy of the voluntary ‘goodwill’ of pharmaceutical corporations.
Pfizer should lower the price of its lifesaving pneumonia vaccine for humanitarian organizations and all developing countries to $5 per child. Only then, will we have a meaningful step towards saving children’s lives both today and in the future.
To Mr. Read, I hope to hear soon from you that Pfizer is reducing the price of the vaccine for the millions of children who still need it.
Here we see the result today as WALL STREET'S BANKING MEDICAL INSTITUTE---MILKEN tells GOOD NEWS---we can now bypass all public safety and welfare channels to get whatever we deem PROFITABLE on market FAST AND FURIOUS.
'“The nice thing about this technology is that it bypasses many of the traditional steps to vaccine discovery and development. So it’s very fast,” said Dr. Jon Andrus, adjunct professor of global vaccinology and vaccine policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health of George Washington University'.
The race to market is about those hundreds of billions of dollars ---not PUBLIC WELFARE. The EVIDENCE--BASED SCIENCE says-----this cannot be done ----CORRECTLY.
'One group says they may have an experimental vaccine ready for initial testing in just a month.
But experts caution this expedited timeline doesn’t always allow for careful evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines'.
These three vaccine 'STARTUPS' are winning because they get US federal funds and they are funded by WORLD HEALTH/WORLD BANK which is global PHARMA corporations.......CEPI has become our US CDC
'Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations(CEPI)
Presentation to the WHO21 July, 2017Professor John-Arne Røttingen, Interim CEO, CEPI'
How Long Will It Take to Develop a Vaccine for Coronavirus?
Multiple companies are working on a vaccine to fight the new coronavirus. Getty Images
- Several groups are working on a vaccine for the new coronavirus, but there’s no guarantee that it will be ready before the end of the current outbreak.
- One group says they may have an experimental vaccine ready for initial testing in just a month.
- But experts caution this expedited timeline doesn’t always allow for careful evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
Scientists have yet to find a way to stop these outbreaks before they start. But over the past 17 years, they have drastically shortened the time it takes to develop a vaccine after a new virus emerges.
This is largely due to technological advances and a greater commitment by governments and nonprofits to funding research on emerging infectious diseases.
Scientists are already racing to develop a vaccine for 2019-nCoV — a feat that experts say is technically possible, but still may not come in time to help during this outbreak.
Faster vaccine development
Science news reports that several groups started working on a vaccine for 2019-nCoV shortly after Chinese scientists shared the virus’s genetic sequence in an online public database on Jan. 10.
Three of these groups are funded by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a nonprofit formed in 2017 to fund vaccine development for emerging infectious diseases.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Moderna Inc. both say they will have a vaccine ready for testing in animals in one month.
Moderna, which is working with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, estimates that it could have a vaccine ready for a phase one clinical trial in people in three months.
Moderna and Inovio are both using a newer vaccine technology based on specific DNA or messenger RNA (mRNA) sequences of the virus. The chosen sequence codes for a viral protein, such as one on the surface of the virus.
This type of vaccine can still elicit a protective immune response in a person. But because the protein is only a small piece of the virus, it doesn’t cause illness.
Scientists using this method can also start designing a vaccine as soon as they have the virus’s genetic sequence. With other methods, they would need to work with actual virus samples in the lab.
“The nice thing about this technology is that it bypasses many of the traditional steps to vaccine discovery and development. So it’s very fast,” said Dr. Jon Andrus, adjunct professor of global vaccinology and vaccine policy at the Milken Institute School of Public Health of George Washington University.
The third group, at the University of Queensland in Australia, is aiming to have a vaccine ready for testing in people in 16 weeks. They are developing a vaccine by growing viral proteins in cell cultures.
Drugmaker Johnson and Johnson, which is not funded by CEPI, started working on a vaccine two weeks ago, according to CNBC. The company’s chief scientific officer estimates they could have a vaccine ready for market within a year.
Why would one VENTURE CAPITAL STARTUP get to market faster than another? First, it was hand-picked for billions of dollars to build and run its facilities while other medical businesses are not. Second, they MAY have an INSIDER view of just what that DASTARDLY CORONA VIRUS looks like----it's code may be already known because that VIRUS VECTOR was built by that CHINESE UNIVERSITY RESEARCH facility -----and that GMO VIRUS VECTOR was released.
Just as an example------UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS is partnered with the HUBEI UNIVERSITY where the epicenter of CORONA VIRUS was identified. We suggested yesterday it is a COINCIDENCE because corona virus vectors are being built for cancer treatment.
Some of the earliest to travel with the CORONA VIRUS were UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS students and researchers coming back to US. Coincidence being-----UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS was in HUBEI working on just that------
'Here we report on the potentials of a novel oncolytic virus, the mouse hepatitis coronavirus (MHV), in destroying tumor cells in vitro. MHV is an enveloped positive strand RNA virus displaying strong ... '
'University of Memphis Logo
The Confucius Institute
Hubei University, jointly developed by Hubei Provincial Government and the Ministry of Education of China, is a key comprehensive university administrated by Hubei Province and one of those supported by the “Project of Fundamental Capacity Construction of Central and Western Higher Institutions”'.
'University of Memphis graduate tests positive for coronavirus in Japan
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com)- A University of Memphis graduate has been quarantined in Japan, after testing positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus...'
'About a dozen Miami University Regional campus students in Hamilton and Middletown list their residence near the area in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, where the outbreak began in December, according to school officials. It’s unclear how many of those students returned home for winter break and how many remained in the U.S'.
We are not going to suggest any RELEASE OF BIOHAZARD is DELIBERATE----we will say this------the scientists at this university would have that inside GENETIC CODE ready to hand off to a SELECTED VENTURE CAPITAL STARTUP-----like one of the three saying they will have a PRODUCT in a MONTH.
'America is about to get a godawful lesson in why health care should never be a for-profit business
Daily Kos Staff
Thursday February 27, 2020 · 2:23 PM EST'
'Biomedical Engineering, (PhD) - University of Memphis
The Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Memphis and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, participate in the Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering'.
Coronavirus outbreak causing local concern, impacting Mid-South companies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – 20 people are in self-isolation for observationfor Coronavirus in Shelby County, after traveling to higher risk areasoverseas.
So far, there’s still no confirmed cases in the Memphis area orMid-South.
Staff at the Shelby County Health Department will checkperiodically on those 20 people during their two week self-isolation to ensurethere are no medical red flags.
It’s the latest sign of the international health crisis – andlocal caution – brought on by Coronavirus.
“This epidemic has evolved very, very quickly,” Shelby CountyHealth Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said. “When peopletraveled initially, it may not have been a concern, as they travel back, it maybe more of a concern.”
That played out for 20 people in Shelby County who recentlytraveled to areas hit the hardest by Coronavirus, an illness spread person toperson, which causes fever, cough, shortness of breath, and – at its worst – couldlead to death.
“We wouldn’t even say they have possible exposure. We wouldjust say there’s an abundance of precaution for people who traveled to certainregions and they’ve been asked to remain at home for a set period oftime,” Dr. Haushalter said.
Dr. Haushalter said while none of the 20 people showed anyCoronavirus symptoms, they’ll each spend two weeks in self-isolation, asrecommended by the Centers For Disease Control.
“This is your public health system at work,” Dr.Haushalter said.
Those with the SCHD said the self-isolation for those people isout of precaution and shouldn’t cause panic.
'We must assume containment for coronavirus will fail in the US, says Johns Hopkins’ Amesh Adalja
Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and Drew Matus, chief market strategist at MetLife Investment Management, join “Squawk Box” to discuss the possible fallout of the coronavirus.
Tue, Feb 4 20209:53 AM EST'
Release to the general population of any disease vector opens the door to billions of dollars in FEDERAL/WORLD HEALTH FUNDING as well as creates a CLINICAL TRIAL in humans for any PATENTED PRODUCT not only the vaccine but the CORONA VIRAL VECTOR cancer treatment.
FAST TRACKING MEDICAL RESEARCH FOR A FEW HAND-PICKED VACCINE CORPORATIONS.
'Vaccines save lives. But stricter laws may backfire. - The ...
Aug 30, 2019 · In 1869, Ernst Kramer, a doctor popular with German immigrants in Milwaukee, declared that the dangers of vaccines outweighed the benefits'.
Coronavirus Vaccines on Fast Track as WHO Declares Global Public Health Emergencyby Rishma Parpia and Barbara Loe Fisher
Published February 5, 2020 | Health, Infections
A novel strain of a coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019 and, by the middle of January, thousands of Chinese citizens were sick. According to Johns Hopkins University Center for Science and Engineering, as of Jan. 30, 2020 there were 217 deaths among 9,776 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 92 of the cases identified in 20 countries other than China, including six cases in the U.S.1 On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan and spread to many cities in China to be a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”2 By Feb. 6, there had been 28,353 cases confirmed worldwide, including 12 in the U.S., and 565 deaths had been reported with all but two occurring in China.
Public health officials believe the origin of the outbreak can be traced to an unsanitary food market in Wuhan where live seafood, reptiles, animals and birds were sold for human consumption.3 The market was shut down the next day by health authorities.3 The WHO says the evidence suggests people consumed infected bats and snakes from the Wuhan market,4 but exactly which animal is the primary source of the outbreak is still not known.5 6
What is Coronavirus?The WHO describes coronaviruses (CoV) as a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe infectious diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)7 The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) strain identified by health authorities has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they infect and can be transmitted between animals and humans.7 Investigations have found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. There are several known coronaviruses circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.7 Since health officials have not identified this latest strain in humans before, they have given it generic name of “a novel coronavirus” while investigations continue.3
The China coronavirus infection resembles viral pneumonia or influenza and common signs include fever, chills, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and respiratory symptoms such as cough and breathing difficulties. According to the CDC, “The complete clinical picture with regard to 2019-nCoV is still not fully clear. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.”8 Individuals can be incubating the infection for 10 to 14 days before symptoms begin, although it is unclear whether they are infectious during this time period.9 CDC reports that, “Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). With 2019-nCoV, however, there have been reports of spread from an infected patient with no symptoms to a close contact.”10
Like with influenza, the majority of are recovering but in some cases, the new coronavirus infection can cause complications like pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.7 Reportedly, the preliminary fatality rate associated with 2019-nCoV is about three percent but it appears to be higher in those over age 50, who have accounted for the majority of deaths in China.11 Older age groups are also at risk for complications of SARS and MERS, as well as influenza.
China Confirms Virus Can Spread From Human to HumanInitial reports out of China that the virus was unlikely to spread between humans were proven to be inaccurate as more and more cases were confirmed by Chinese and international health authorities.12 Early news reports, such as one where a patient was suspected as having infected as many as 14 medical staff in one hospital, gave evidence for the infection being spread more easily than initially thought.13
The U.S Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) states that much is unknown about how the novel 2019-nCoV spreads.14 Current knowledge is primarily based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. Most often transmission from person-to-person happens among close contacts (about 6 feet).
Person-to-person transmission is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread.12 These droplets can potentially land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It is currently unclear if a person can get 2019-nCoV by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.12
Wearing masks to prevent transmission of 2019-nCoV may or may not work, depending upon the type of mask and how it is handled or if the virus can be contracted through eye exposure with infected droplets.15 The CDC is recommending frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to help prevent transmission of this and most other infections.
High Level Biohazard Lab Opened in Wuhan in 2018There have been several media reports stating that the outbreak may have originated from a laboratory that is part of China’s covert biological weapons program. The laboratory known as Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is the only declared site in China that permits working with deadly viruses.16
Dr. Dany Shoham, a senior analyst with Israeli military intelligence for biological and chemical warfare in the Middle East and worldwide from 1970 to 1991 said that, “Certain laboratories in the institute have probably been engaged, in terms of research and development, in Chinese [biological weapons], at least collaterally, yet not as a principal facility of the Chinese BW alignment.”13 China has denied having or developing any dangerous biological weapons.
All researchers in the Wuhan high containment laboratory must change their clothing upon entering the facility, shower upon exiting and decontaminate all of the materials used during experimentation. Laboratory members wear full-body, pressurized suits to isolate themselves from the surrounding environment. The laboratory itself must be held in a separate building or an isolated wing within the surrounding university and must be supplied with its own air filtration and decontamination systems.17
Over the past decade, there have been a number of reported security breaches in high containment biohazard labs around the world, including in the U.S., where bioterrorism and vaccine researchers are experimenting with lethal microbes and developing genetically engineered viruses and new vaccines.18 19 In 2014, the U.S. issued a temporary moratorium on U.S. funded research conducted in labs where scientists create more dangerous mutated forms of the SARS, MERS and influenza viruses that have the potential to start global pandemics in human populations if they escape from the labs.20 21 In 2017, that moratorium was lifted and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services resumed funding researchers creating lab altered viruses that could spread quickly through human populations.22
Simulated Coronavirus Pandemic Exercise Held in October 2019The Center for Health Security at John Hopkins University has a fictional pandemic simulation program to prepare communities for biological threats, pandemics and other disasters.23
On October 18, 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hosted Event 201, a high-level simulated coronavirus pandemic exercise in New York City.15 The exercise pointed out areas where international public/private financial partnerships will be required to respond to a pandemic in order to diminish large-scale economic and societal impact on countries around the world.15
Participants in Event 201 were dropped in the middle of an uncontrolled novel coronavirus outbreak that was spreading like wildfire in South America and causing worldwide havoc.15 As fictional newscasters from “GNN” narrated simulated events, the immune-resistant virus (nicknamed CAPS) was crippling trade and travel, sending the global economy into free-fall. Social media was rampant with rumors and misinformation, governments were collapsing and citizens were revolting.15
Those participating in the New York City pandemic simulation included a large group of public policymakers, pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson; mainstream media outlets like NBC/Universal, business leaders and government health officials. Event 201 provided them with an opportunity to evaluate disaster response systems and whether current systems are strong enough or need to be expanded.15
Dr. Eric Toner, senior scholar with the Center for Health Security said, “Once you’re in the midst of a severe pandemic, your options are very limited. The greatest good can happen with pre-planning.”15
Coronavirus Vaccines Are Being Fast TrackedIn response to the coronavirus outbreak in Asia, drug companies and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have begun working on a 2019-nCoV vaccine that will be fast tracked to licensure.24 Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has said that it would take a few months until the first phase of the clinical trials begins and more than a year until a vaccine might be available.16
Dr. Fauci stated that, “When we were dealing with SARS, we developed monoclonal antibodies as potential therapeutics.”25 He added that, “Given the somewhat close homology between SARS and the new novel coronavirus, there could be some cross-reactivity there that could be utilized.”17