Vaccine factories, a promising new treatment, and more COVID-19 updates

A roundup of the top stories you may have missed this week.

The coronavirus crisis is unique. Addressing it will require new ideas, new perspectives, and new voices. That’s our mission at Freethink.

In our weekly “Coronavirus News Roundup,” we’re highlighting the most important stories from the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. Stories that inform, challenge, and inspire.

Here are our must reads for today, April 11, 2020.

1. Bill Gates Is Spending Billions to Produce Seven Coronavirus Vaccines

The Gates Foundation is building seven vaccine factories to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus. We explain what those are — and why Bill Gates expects to “waste” a few billion dollars on the initiative.

2. A Promising COVID-19 Treatment Gets Fast-Tracked

Johns Hopkins Hospital has received FDA approval to begin testing the efficacy of convalescent plasma therapy on humans to both prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infections. This JHU article explains how the therapy works — and when it might be available for the masses.

3. Tyler Perry Pays Grocery Bills for Elderly and High-Risk Shoppers

Some grocery stores have begun opening an hour early so that seniors and other vulnerable populations can shop solo — and on April 8, filmmaker Tyler Perry paid for all the groceries bought during that hour at 73 grocery stores in Atlanta and New Orleans.

4. Group Coronavirus Testing Helps Make the Most of Limited Kits

Researchers in the United States, Israel, and other nations are turning to group testing as a way to cope with a shortage of coronavirus testing kits  — and they’re finding the method to be incredibly effective.

5. Contact-Tracing Apps Could Help End Coronavirus Lockdown

A new University of Oxford study has found that contact-tracing apps could play a major role in bringing the coronavirus pandemic to an end — without forcing people to give up their privacy.

Gain-of-function research is more than just tweaking risky viruses
Gain-of-function experiments in the lab can help researchers get ahead of viruses naturally gaining the ability to infect people in the wild.
The radical drop in maternal mortality was a public health miracle
In 1758 in Sweden, 1205 mothers died for every 100,000 live births, which was likely representative of the global maternal mortality rate.
New nasal spray aimed at reversing fentanyl overdoses is now approved
A new overdose-reversing spray that works fast but lasts longer has been approved by the FDA, and will be available by the fall at earliest.
Pill version of obesity drug reduced weight almost 13% in new trial
Novo Nordisk has announced positive results for an oral version of the popular weight loss drug sold as Ozempic and Wegovy.
CRISPR uncovers possible antidote for death cap mushroom poisoning
Researchers have figured out how the mushroom’s main toxin enters human cells — and maybe how to stop it.
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