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MSF briefing and position paper regarding WHA73 and COVID-19

MSF recommends the following actions to ensure access and equitable allocation of COVID-19 medical tools: * Adopt binding and enforceable measures * Encourage Member States to explore and use fully the existing policy and legal measures, including flexibilities under the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health * Ensure full transparency of all R&D funding agreements with explicit and binding obligations Briefing: https://msfaccess.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/WHA73-Briefing-12May2020.pdf Position paper: https://msfaccess.org/msf-access-campaign-position-paper-sharing-technologies-covid-19-ensure-equitable-access-all

Health Policy Watch: World Health Assembly Prepares For Show Of Unity On Global COVID-19 Response – But Potential Dispute Over Taiwan

Analysis 15/05/2020 • Elaine Ruth Fletcher The world seems set to make at least a symbolic display of unity in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), which begins on Monday. The WHO’s 194 member states are expected to overwhelmingly approve a European Union-led Resolution that aims to step up the global COVID-19 response, and ensure equitable access to treatments and future vaccines. But the show is unlikely to go off as smoothly as some might hope, and not only because the 73rd Assembly is meeting for the first time ever in a virtual format.

Anti-inflammatory effect of resveratrol in human coronary arterial endothelial cells via induction of autophagy: implication for the treatment of Kawasaki disease.

NOTE: Its not known if these effects would translate to beneficial effects in COVID-19 at all. Please don't think it's known if it would or would not, it's not. ------ Kawasaki disease (KD) is an acute febrile vasculitis in childhood, which is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. If untreated, KD can result in coronary aneurysms in 25% of patients, and even under intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment, 10-20% of children will have IVIG resistance and increased risk of developing coronary arteritis complication. Additional therapies should be explored to decrease the incidence of coronary artery lesions and improve the prognosis in KD. Autophagy has been reported to play a critical role in a variety of heart diseases. Resveratrol (RSV) confers cardio protection during ischemia and reperfusion in rats via activation of autophagy. Serum TNF-alpha levels are elevated in KD, which might activate the endothelial cells to express intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1(VCAM-1), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and IL-1β. METHODS: Human coronary arterial endothelial cells (HCAECs) were either untreated or treated by TNF-α 10 ng/ml for 2 h in the presence or absence of RSV or autophagy-related protein 16-like 1 (Atg16L1) siRNA. Total RNA was analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR for ICAM-1, VCAM-1, iNOS and IL-1β mRNA expressions. The involvement of autophagy proteins was investigated by Western blot. RESULTS: Pretreatment with resveratrol significantly inhibited TNF-α-induced ICAM-1, iNOS and IL-1β mRNA expression in HCAECs. Western blot revealed the enhanced autophagy proteins LC3B and Atg16L1 expression by RSV. The suppressive effects of RSV were obviously counteracted by Atg16L1 siRNA. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated RSV had anti-inflammatory effects on HCAECs via induction of autophagy. Our results suggest that resveratrol may modulate the inflammatory response of coronary artery in KD and explore the role of autophagy in the pathogenesis and alternative therapy of coronary arterial lesions in KD. KEYWORDS: Autophagy; Endothelial cells; Kawasaki disease; Resveratrol PMID: 28069066 PMCID: PMC5223384 DOI: 10.1186/s40360-016-0109-2

6000 Coronavirus dead unreported in Guayaquil: Corpses left on the sidewalk.

Ecuador has the highest per capita COVID-19 death toll in Latin America and the Caribbean. This story shows what will likely happen to the countries that have current infections if we abandon the social distancing too soon. The government should take care of people forced to stay at home, not give up on the poor and allow them to be evicted and forced to stand in line for aid. It should not be telling people to do things that will get them sick. This is why we should never have signed away the right to regulate. If we did not have GATS we could have public healthcare and housing, in particular. Not be trapped at a level set in the 90s. just before GATS (and perhaps soon TISA, TTIP, etc.) put us on their one way path to eventual "full unemployment" (due to it's massive offshoring, outsourcing, etc. jobs, a process which is only just beginning. Why? Its cheaper to offshore and outsource the jobs to temporary workers from developing countries than pay decent wages. That is "services liberalization": the Washington Consensus's real plan for everything. We should especially dump GATS before it dumps us.)

Antiviral properties of resveratrol against pseudorabies virus are associated with the inhibition of IκB kinase activation

Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 8782. Published online 2017 Aug 18. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09365-0 PMCID: PMC5562710 PMID: 28821840 Pseudorabies virus (PRV) is a pathogen of swine resulting in devastating disease and economic losses worldwide. Resveratrol (Res) exhibits inhibitory activity against a wide range of viruses. Despite these important advances, the molecular mechanism(s) by which Res exerts its broad biological effects have not yet been elucidated. In this paper, the antiviral activity of Res against PRV and its mechanism of action were investigated. The results showed that Res potently inhibited PRV replication in a dose-dependent manner, with a 50% inhibition concentration of 17.17 μM. The inhibition of virus multiplication in the presence of Res was not attributed to direct inactivation or inhibition of viral entry into the host cells but to the inhibition of viral multiplication in host cells. Further studies demonstrated that Res is a potent inhibitor of both NF-κB activation and NF-κB-dependent gene expression through its ability to inhibit IκB kinase activity, which is the key regulator in NF-κB activation. Thus, the inhibitory effect of Res on PRV-induced cell death and gene expression may be due to its ability to inhibit the degradation of IκB kinase. These results provided a new alternative control measure for PRV infection and new insights into the antiviral mechanism of Res.

Talking Points on Guest Workers

The future of work? (in the US?) This is a snapshot from 2005 but it could be today but for its emphasis on lower paid, agricultural workers. Services liberalization could involve millions of jobs, in dozens of fields, including large ones like teaching and nursing. Imagine an engineer working for $9/hr. (Not out of choice).

Failure to Protect: Why the Individual Insurance Market Is Not a Viable Option for Most U.S. Families (2009)

The US public is being deceived, private insurance is not a valid "option" because we knew it would fail to be affordable to all, ever. This problem isnt getting any better, and a very dirty trick has been used to con the country into it. Major parties are shamelessly lying to the entire country. Maybe a million of us have died before their time under it. (Not including any dead from COVID-19, before that) It was a mistake from day one. Almost nobody can afford adequate nongroup insurance. So "deciding' permanently to use it (using GATS, a treaty) dishonestly, in a treaty we had no input into, was an indefenseible crime against humanity.

United Nations (Service Sectors) Sectoral Classification List (W/120) This is the service sector list that the WTO GATS uses.

The services sectoral classification list (W/120) is a comprehensive list of services sectors and sub-sectors covered under the GATS. It was compiled by the WTO in July 1991 and its purpose was to facilitate the Uruguay Round negotiations, ensuring cross-country comparability and consistency of the commitments undertaken. The 160 sub-sectors are defined as aggregate of the more detailed categories contained in the United Nations provisional Central Product Classification (CPC). The list is also available at the WTO website at: http://tsdb.wto.org/Includes/docs/W120_E.doc

Open letter asking 37 WTO Members to declare themselves eligible to import medicines manufactured under compulsory license in another country, under 31bis of TRIPS Agreement

Background In 2001, the World Trade Organization (WTO) began negotiations on the rules regarding patents and access to medicine. While several issues were clarified and resolved in the November 2001 “Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health”, the negotiations took nearly two more years to adopt on August 30, 2003, a decision that was a limited “waiver of the export restriction” on medicines and diagnostic tests manufactured under a compulsory license. The final resolution was complicated. Among the controversial features was the definition of an “eligible importing member”, which allowed WTO members to declare themselves ineligible in some cases or in all cases. In 2017, this decision became a formal amendment to the TRIPS agreement. Today 37 members of the WTO are listed as ineligible to import medicines manufactured in another country under a compulsory license, including the governments of Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union, including the following member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden. On April 7, 2020, more than 30 groups and three dozen experts on health, law and trade sent an open letter to those 37 WTO members, asking that “countries to notify the WTO that they have changed their policy and now considers itself an eligible importing country, and in addition, to also use whatever legal means are available to revoke the opt-out as importing members, for goods manufactured under a compulsory license.”

Certain U.S. Laws for Foreign Workers Draw Fire from India in the WTO (US Congress research "CRS" report)

This is an arguably incomplete, dismissive Congressional Research Reports report (PDF) on the DS503 case, but it fails to portray the situation with the needed urgency. . Note that they say that there is a possibility of the US losing the case, and having to modify behavior on the contested parts of our work visa system, which includes the visa quotas that limit the numbers of work visas granted per year. The effect of massive job outsourcing on workers is that many job ads turn out to be fake, using up jobseekers energy. It's only because of the quotas that far more jobs that can be, are not currently offshored. But the amount might rise very substantially. A very bad idea in this time of falling employment. GATS Mode Four and Three should be reduced or eliminated, not expanded. Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton found that 26% of all US jobs could be outsourced and offshored. A replication study of his study, attempting to verify his work found that actually 46% of our jobs are in immediate danger of outsourcing, But they left public services, the main target of GATS, out. So the actual number likely to be outsourced is potentially significantly higher.

Resveratrol inhibits rhinovirus replication and expression of inflammatory mediators in nasal epithelia.

Antiviral Res. 2015 Nov;123:15-21. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2015.08.010. Epub 2015 Aug 19. Resveratrol inhibits rhinovirus replication and expression of inflammatory mediators in nasal epithelia. Mastromarino P1, Capobianco D2, Cannata F2, Nardis C2, Mattia E2, De Leo A2, Restignoli R3, Francioso A4, Mosca L4. Author information Abstract Human rhinoviruses (HRV), the cause of common colds, are the most frequent precipitants of acute exacerbation of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as causes of other serious respiratory diseases. No vaccine or antiviral agents are available for the prevention or treatment of HRV infection. Resveratrol exerts antiviral effect against different DNA and RNA viruses. The antiviral effect of a new resveratrol formulation containing carboxymethylated glucan was analyzed in H1HeLa cell monolayers and ex vivo nasal epithelia infected with HRV-16. Virus yield was evaluated by plaque assay and expression of viral capsid proteins by Western blot. IL-10, IFN-β, IL-6, IL-8 and RANTES levels were evaluated by ELISA assay. ICAM-1 was assessed by Western blot and immunofluorescence. Resveratrol exerted a high, dose-dependent, antiviral activity against HRV-16 replication and reduced virus-induced secretion of IL-6, IL-8 and RANTES to levels similar to that of uninfected nasal epithelia. Basal levels of IL-6 and RANTES were also significantly reduced in uninfected epithelia confirming an anti-inflammatory effect of the compound. HRV-induced expression of ICAM-1 was reversed by resveratrol. Resveratrol may be useful for a therapeutic approach to reduce HRV replication and virus-induced cytokine/chemokine production. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. KEYWORDS: Human rhinovirus; Inflammatory mediators; Nasal epithelia; Resveratrol PMID: 26296578 DOI: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2015.08.010

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of resveratrol in airway disease.

Respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are a significant and increasing global health problem. These diseases are characterized by airway inflammation, which develops in response to various stimuli. In asthma, inflammation is driven by exposure to a variety of triggers, including allergens and viruses, which activate components of both the innate and acquired immune responses. In COPD, exposure to cigarette smoke is the primary stimulus of airway inflammation. Activation of airway inflammatory cells leads to the release of excessive quantities of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in oxidative stress. Antioxidants provide protection against the damaging effects of oxidative stress and thus may be useful in the management of inflammatory airways disease. Resveratrol, a polyphenol that demonstrates both antioxidative and anti-inflammatory functions, has been shown to improve outcomes in a variety of diseases, in particular, in cancer. We review the evidence for a protective role of resveratrol in respiratory disease. Mechanisms of resveratrol action that may be relevant to respiratory disease are described. We conclude that resveratrol has potential as a therapeutic agent in respiratory disease, which should be further investigated.

Resveratrol as a potential therapeutic drug for respiratory system diseases

Respiratory system diseases are common and major ailments that seriously endanger human health. Resveratrol, a polyphenolic phytoalexin, is considered an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer agent. Thanks to its wide range of biological activities, resveratrol has become a hotspot in many fields, including respiratory system diseases. Indeed, research has demonstrated that resveratrol is helpful to relieve pulmonary function in the general population. Meanwhile, growing evidence indicates that resveratrol plays a protective role in respiratory system diseases. This review aimed to summarize the main protective effects of resveratrol in respiratory system diseases, including its anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, antioxidant, antifibrotic, antihypertensive, and anticancer activities. We found that resveratrol plays a protective role in the respiratory system through a variety of mechanisms, and so it may become a new drug for the treatment of respiratory system diseases. Keywords: respiratory system diseases, resveratrol, inflammation, apoptosis, oxidation

WebMD on COVID-19 CNS symptoms

It's mainstream recognition that this is a danger to people, and that brainstem involvement may be one of the reasons people stop breathing. Personally, I suspect from what I have read that its a significant cause of mortality in COVID-19. If we can protect the brain, prevent apoptosis, far fewer people may die.

"Overshoot and collapse"? Was "The Limits to Growth" right or wrong?

The advocates for extreme capitalism act as if the often bad outcomes accruing to the "losers" of globalization are somehow carved in stone and cannot be changed. This is just plan wrong. They hide GATS and similar deals because its mostly because of it that things are stuck in this rut.

A tale of two treaties

I stumbled across this essay from 2005 because its literally one of just two instances of the term "services of general economic interest" left on the web. I seriously think that search engines are scrubbing instances of these terms that are essential to understanding GATS and similar deals. (in this case the governmental authority exclusion) Why are they doing that, why do you think they are, to deceive you and me, that's why.

Some analyses of domestic regulation disciplines – compilation for MC11 (2017)

This is a recent analysis of proposed (by a number of countries) Disciplines on Domestic Regulation from Sanya Reid Smith of TWN, an NGO that has been involved in WTO matters for a long time. It was made before the recent WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires. You can see that its the WTO which is disciplining the countries domestic regulations. ------------------------------------------ Introduction Domestic regulation disciplines on services are being negotiated in a number of trade agreements including at the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) 1 and in other free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) 2 and those being negotiated by the European Union (EU) 3 . It seems that domestic regulation disciplines (DRD) will also be negotiated at the Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) from 10-13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 4 The European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland etc (‘EU et al’) released their DRD proposed text on 1 December 2017. 5 "These proposed DRD would restrict laws and regulations re services licensing etc, even non-discriminatory laws which apply to domestic and foreign companies equally. Yet, as United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) staff note, services regulation is important for a number of reasons including: protecting consumers, ensuring universal access to essential services cultural diversity, quality, safety, correcting market failures (eg: information asymmetry where the service provider has more information than the consumer, natural monopolies, negative externalities (eg environmental degradation from transport) where those not directly involved suffer costs). 6 After highlighting that many regulatory frameworks are still at an emerging stage in developing countries the UNCTAD staff conclude that ‘it is key for developing countries that international rules for services trade preserve the right to regulate (RtR) and grant the necessary policy space to experiment in the search for those policies that best suit individual countries’ specific, developmental needs.’ Given this, the UNCTAD staff note that ‘one would expect developing countries to take a cautious, rather than an offensive approach towards the development of these disciplines, with their main goal to preserve the RtR.’ 7 This compilation includes excerpts from existing analyses of the same DRD proposed in the WTO or in TISA." ----------------------------------- Compiled by Sanya Reid Smith, Third World Network

The Necessity Test The following communication has been received from the delegation of Korea with the request that it be circulated to the Members of the Working Party on Domestic Regulation.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA 1. There have been many constructive discussions on how to define the “necessity test” in the context of domestic regulation for trade in services. The proposals made by Canada, Australia, and EC have each contributed to stimulating and advancing the discussions in this area. However, as each proposal and relevant agreement uses different wording for outlining and defining the necessity test, there has been some confusion as to the exact meaning and implications of its use. 2. Korea is of the view that the different wording – such as “trade-restrictive” or “burdensome,” – despite some variance in nuance and focus, does not differ in their implications. This paper thus aims to clarify any differences that exist, elaborate on the possible alternatives that can be used, and suggest a draft provision for the necessity test that could be used in establishing multilateral rules for domestic regulation. 3. In the meantime, there still remain unresolved issues like what should be considered a “legitimate policy objective,” or what factors should be considered to determine the feasibility of an alternative measure. For an effective and strict application of the necessity test, these two issues need to be resolved. However, they will have to be discussed at another time.

Access to Care After Massachusetts’ Health Care Reform: A Safety Net Hospital Patient Survey

J Gen Intern Med. 2012 Nov; 27(11): 1548–1554. Published online 2012 Jul 24. doi: 10.1007/s11606-012-2173-7 PMCID: PMC3475814 PMID: 22825807 ------------------------- Access to Care After Massachusetts’ Health Care Reform: A Safety Net Hospital Patient Survey -------------------------- Danny McCormick, MD, MPH,corresponding author1,3 Assaad Sayah, MD,2,3 Hermione Lokko, BA,3 Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH,4 and Rachel Nardin, MD1,3 ------------------- Access to CARE and needed medications for people on fixed or low incomes with chronic medical conditions in urban areas DECLINED after Massachusetts' much hyped 2006 Health Care Reform, which was one of the models for ObamaCare. ----------------------------

Resveratrol was predicted to have possible activity against COVID-19 by a cutting edge medical informatics program looking for substances active against coronavirus induced heart damage.

Exploration of omics mechanism and drug prediction of coronavirus-induced heart failure based on clinical bioinformatics. --------------------- Objective: Present study investigated the mechanism of heart failure associated with coronavirus infection and predicted potential effective therapeutic drugs against heart failure associated with coronavirus infection. KEYWORDS: Bioinformatics; Coronavirus infections; Drug prediction; Heart failure PMID: 32228827 DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-20200308-00172

Synthesis of stilbene derivatives with inhibition of SARS coronavirus replication.

Eur J Med Chem. 2006 Sep;41(9):1084-9. Epub 2006 Jul 27. Synthesis of stilbene derivatives with inhibition of SARS coronavirus replication. Li YQ1, Li ZL, Zhao WJ, Wen RX, Meng QW, Zeng Y. Author information Abstract Stilbene derivatives have wide range of activities. In an effort to find other potential activities of this kind of compounds, 17 derivatives, including resveratrol, were synthesized. Twelve of them were evaluated for their antiviral potential against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-induced cytopathicity in Vero E6 cell culture. The result showed that SARS virus was totally inhibited by compounds 17 and 19 (<or=0.5 mg ml(-1)) and no significant cytotoxic effects were observed in vitro. PMID: 16875760 DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2006.03.024 [Indexed for MEDLINE] Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Google+

Covid-19 and the Digestive System.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Mar 25. doi: 10.1111/jgh.15047. [Epub ahead of print] Covid-19 and the Digestive System. Wong SH1,2, Lui RN1,2, Sung JJ1,2. Author information Abstract The novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is currently causing a major pandemic. It is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a member of the Betacoronavirus genus that also includes the SARS-CoV and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). While patients typically present with fever and a respiratory illness, some patients also report gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Studies have identified the SARS-CoV-2 RNA in stool specimens of infected patients, and its viral receptor angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) was found to be highly expressed in gastrointestinal epithelial cells. These suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can actively infect and replicate in the gastrointestinal tract. This has important implications to the disease management, transmission, and infection control. In this article, we review the important gastrointestinal aspects of the disease. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. KEYWORDS: Covid-19; coronavirus; diarrhoea; gastrointestinal infection; pneumonia PMID: 32215956 DOI: 10.1111/jgh.15047 Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Google+

Review article: Gastrointestinal features in COVID-19 and the possibility of faecal transmission.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Mar 29. doi: 10.1111/apt.15731. [Epub ahead of print] Review article: Gastrointestinal features in COVID-19 and the possibility of faecal transmission. Tian Y1, Rong L1, Nian W1, He Y1. Author information Abstract BACKGROUND: There is little published evidence on the gastrointestinal features of COVID-19. AIMS: To report on the gastrointestinal manifestations and pathological findings of patients with COVID-19 and discuss the possibility of faecal transmission METHODS: We have reviewed gastrointestinal features of, and faecal test results in, COVID-19 from case reports and retrospective clinical studies relating to the digestive system published since the outbreak. RESULTS: With an incidence of 3%(1/41)-79% (159/201), gastrointestinal symptoms of COVID-19 included anorexia 39.9%(55/138)-50.2%(101/201), diarrhoea 2%(2/99)-49.5%(146/295), vomiting 3.6%(5/138)-66.7%(4/6), nausea 1%(1/99)-29.4%(59/201), abdominal pain 2.2%(3/138)-6.0%(12/201), and gastrointestinal bleeding 4%(2/52)-13.7%(10/73). Diarrhoea was the most common gastrointestinal symptom in children and adults, with a mean duration of 4.1 ± 2.5 days, and was observed before and after diagnosis. Vomiting was more prominent in children. 3.6%(5/138)-15.9%(32/201) of adult patients presented vomiting and 6.5%(2/31)-66.7%(4/6) of children. Adult and children patients can present with digestive symptoms in the absence of respiratory symptoms. The incidence of digestive manifestations was higher in the later than in the early stage of the epidemic, but no differences in digestive symptoms among different regions were found. Among the group of patients with a higher proportion of severe cases, the proportion of gastrointestinal symptoms in severe patients was higher than that in non-severe patients (anorexia 66.7% vs 30.4%; abdominal pain 8.3% vs 0%); while in the group of patients with a lower severe rate, the proportion of gastrointestinal symptoms were similar in severe and non-severe cases (nausea and vomiting 6.9% vs 4.6%; diarrhoea 5.8% vs 3.5%). ACE2 receptor and virus nucleocapsid protein was detected in gastrointestinal epithelial cells, and infectious virus particles were isolated from faeces. Faecal PCR testing was as accurate as respiratory specimen PCR detection. About 36%(5/14)-53%(39/73) faecal PCR becomes positive, 2-5 days later than sputum PCR positive. Faecal excretion persisted after sputum excretion in 23%(17/73)-82%(54/66) patients for 1-11 days. CONCLUSIONS: Gastrointestinal symptoms are common in patients with COVID-19, and had an increased prevalence in the later stage of the recent epidemic. SARS-CoV-2 enters gastrointestinal epithelial cells, and the faeces of COVID-19 patients were infectious. PMID: 32222988 DOI: 10.1111/apt.15731

Neuroinfection may potentially contribute to pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of COVID-19.

Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2020 Mar 29:e13473. doi: 10.1111/apha.13473. [Epub ahead of print] Neuroinfection may potentially contribute to pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of COVID-19. Steardo L1,2, Steardo L Jr3, Zorec R4,5, Verkhratsky A5,6. Author information Abstract The new coronavirus, classified as SARS-CoV-2 that emerged in Hubei province in China, causes a new coronavirus disease, which was termed COVID-19 by WHO on February 11, 2020. COVID-19 claimed almost 19000 lives around the world by March 25, 2020. PMID: 32223077 DOI: 10.1111/apha.13473

The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus

The main route of transmission of SARS CoV infection is presumed to be respiratory droplets. However the virus is also detectable in other body fluids and excreta. The stability of the virus at different temperatures and relative humidity on smooth surfaces were studied. The dried virus on smooth surfaces retained its viability for over 5 days at temperatures of 22–25°C and relative humidity of 40–50%, that is, typical air-conditioned environments. However, virus viability was rapidly lost (>3 log10) at higher temperatures and higher relative humidity (e.g., 38°C, and relative humidity of >95%). The better stability of SARS coronavirus at low temperature and low humidity environment may facilitate its transmission in community in subtropical area (such as Hong Kong) during the spring and in air-conditioned environments. It may also explain why some Asian countries in tropical area (such as Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand) with high temperature and high relative humidity environment did not have major community outbreaks of SARS.

Hidden Holocaust: Young Californian, turned away by urgent care facility because he was uninsured dies of cardiac arrest due to coronavirus

[WE HAVE GATS AND DISHONEST POLITICIANS AND MEDIA TO THANK FOR THIS] We still don’t know much about the 17-year-old who may have died of COVID-19 in California. He lived in the city of Lancaster; his father, also sick, is an Uber driver. He had no known preexisting conditions, and no health insurance either, according to a new Gizmodo report. In a YouTube video, Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster, suggested the teenager’s lack of insurance contributed to his death. When the sick teen reported to urgent care, staff allegedly turned him away. “He didn’t have insurance, so they did not treat him,” Parris said. Instead, they told him to go to a nearby public hospital. He tried. But the delay may have cost him his life. “En route to AV Hospital, he went into cardiac arrest. When he got to AV Hospital they were able to revive him and keep him alive for about six hours,” Parris continued. “But by the time he got there, it was too late.” Though the teen tested positive for COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched an investigation into his death to rule out any other medical factors in his death. But he wouldn’t be the only COVID-19 patient to die partly because of a lack of health insurance. A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, woman died from the virus after she refused to go to the hospital for care. “She didn’t have insurance. She thought she might not be able to pay the bills,” her son told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There are probably other cases like theirs, and behind each one, a person killed by our collective failure to protect them. About 45 percent of American adults were either uninsured or underinsured in 2018, the Commonwealth Fund estimates. Those people are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of any pandemic. They’re more likely to wait to seek care for fear of the expense, or to go entirely without it, and their ranks will increase over the next weeks and months. Because we tie health insurance to employment, a COVID-connected recession could potentially strand thousands, if not millions, without secure access to health care in the middle of a pandemic. Our health-care system is not the best in the world, as the New York Times credulously claimed a few days ago. It is failing. Heavily privatized, dependent on the whims of industry and the vagaries of insurance companies, it is collapsing under the weight of a crisis. Rural hospitals continue to close for lack of funds, and leave the communities they serve without quick access to care. Even in wealthy, urban areas, doctors and nurses don’t have enough masks, enough ventilators, enough protective shields, enough scrubs. In Philadelphia, city officials tried and failed to convince the millionaire owner of Paladin Healthcare, Joel Freedman, to lease them the public hospital he purchased and closed last summer. Sprawling corporations donate masks here and there. But charity can’t plug the gaps through which the poor and the dying fall. Health care is a public good. Policy-makers just don’t treat it that way, and now we’re reaping what they’ve sown.

Evidence of the COVID-19 Virus Targeting the CNS: Tissue Distribution, Host–Virus Interaction, and Proposed Neurotropic Mechanisms

The recent outbreak of coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) has gripped the world with apprehension and has evoked a scare of epic proportion regarding its potential to spread and infect humans worldwide. As we are in the midst of an ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, scientists are struggling to understand how it resembles and differs from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) at the genomic and transcriptomic level. In a short time following the outbreak, it has been shown that, similar to SARS-CoV, COVID-19 virus exploits the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to gain entry inside the cells. This finding raises the curiosity of investigating the expression of ACE2 in neurological tissue and determining the possible contribution of neurological tissue damage to the morbidity and mortality caused by COIVD-19. Here, we investigate the density of the expression levels of ACE2 in the CNS, the host–virus interaction and relate it to the pathogenesis and complications seen in the recent cases resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, we debate the need for a model for staging COVID-19 based on neurological tissue involvement. Keywords: Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, ACE2 tissue distribution, host−virus interaction, spike protein

WTO knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men: TRIPS strikes again "Before 1995, drug companies were required to sell drugs funded with public money at a reasonable price. Under the Clinton administration, that changed."

"Before 1995, drug companies were required to sell drugs funded with public money at a reasonable price. Under the Clinton administration, that changed." Here they are hiding (WTO) GATS and TRIPS caused dysfunction. Repeating a big lie that Clinton care was an attempt to fix healthcare, when GATS was really rigging it so it could not be fixed. Both parties participated in this huge theft and most likely are still cooperating today to hide it. Just remember TRIPS caused 10 million deaths from AIDS not long ago. Jacking up, way up the prices of cheap to manufacture drugs (less than $0.33 - a day ) through the sky is essential to a global aim of debt slavery and dare I say it, no I better not. Its an unspeakably horrible thing. --------------------------------------------- "Then in 2000, Sanders authored and passed a bipartisan amendment in the House to reimpose the “reasonable pricing” rule. In the Senate, a similar measure was pushed by the late Paul Wellstone of Minnesota." ------------------------------------------ “Many in Congress find it hard to argue with Sanders’ line that ‘Americans must pay twice for life-saving drugs, first as taxpayers to develop the drug and then as consumers to pad pharmaceutical profits,’” Nature wrote at the time." ---------------------------------------------------- "Then-Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware voted to table Wellstone’s amendment, and it was defeated 56-39." -------------------------------------------------- And this game goes on to this day. HOW STUPID WE ARE. the rest of the world knows exactly whats going on, but thanks to a 100% complicit, corprate media, we still don't. the WTO has taken over Read "global economic governance" in the Glossary. This is why the two Presidential candidates we are being presented with are both totally unacceptable. Its all a big lie. WTO rules the issue now so guess what, they will pretend to disagree again and again and never fix ANYTHING. How could they, its been taken out of their hands! They have rigged everything, including drug pricing (via the TRIPS agreement) and health insurance, via GATS.. Buy or Die.

Novel coronavirus and central nervous system.

An outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that emerged in Wuhan has rapidly spread throughout China and has now become a global public health concern. As of the early March, a total of 100,000 cases have been confirmed in multiple countries. Clinical characteristics of 2019-nCoV that respiratory symptoms, such as cough, are the most common.[1] This is consistent with the finding that the majority of patients are virus-positive in nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs suggesting it mainly invades and infects the respiratory system, a hypothesis supported by pathological data.[2] In addition, it has been reported that patients' stool has tested positive for 2019-nCoV, indicating that the virus could spread from the respiratory tract to the digestive tract, or that individuals could be infected via the faecal-oral route. However, the neuroinvasive potential of 2019-nCoV remains poorly understood. PMID: 32216009 DOI: 10.1111/ene.14227

Foreign Free Riders and the High Price of US Medicines

We can find no evidence to support the widely believed claims from industry that lower prices in other industrialised countries do not allow companies to recover their R&D costs; so they have to charge Americans more to make up the difference and pay for these "foreign free riders." We also explain why the claims themselves contradict the economic nature of the pharmaceutical industry. The latest report from the UK Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme shows that drug companies in the United Kingdom invest more of their revenues from domestic sales in research and development than do companies in the US. Prices in the UK are much lower than those in the US yet profits remain robust. Companies in other countries also manage to recover their research and development costs, maintain high profits, and sell drugs at substantially lower prices than in the US. For example, in Canada the 35 companies that are members of the brand name industry association report that income from domestic sales is, on average, about 10 times greater than research and development costs. They have profits higher than makers of computer equipment and telecommunications carriers despite prices being about 40% lower than in the US.

UPDATED WITH WARNING: French study shows hydroxychloroquine sulfate, for 10 days + azithromycin clears 97% of patients of virus. But may cause potentially dangerous cardiac arrhythmia if not taken under close supervision by MDs.

(Note: This drug may cause cardiac arrhythmia!) Both of these drugs are only available with a prescription and should only be taken under a doctors supervision. ---In the French study, patients were given a combination of 200 milligrams of oral hydroxychloroquine sulfate, three times a day for 10 days, combined with azithromycin. Five hundred milligrams of the (azithromycin) was given to patients on day one, followed by 250 milligrams per day over the next four days. Virus cultures taken from patient’s respiratory samples were negative in 97.5 percent of patients at day 5, allowing the rapid discharge of patients from highly contagious hospital wards, the researchers wrote in the study. This is this French infectious disease institute's second study of this two drug combination.

Many US cities may be worse than Wuhan.

Officials who cannot deal with the mess they have created by our corporations first healthcare policy and do what it takes to prevent this nationally, especially in the least affluent areas, should step down. Every life is valuable.

Trump's Indadequate Response

Mr. Trump is known for undermining scientists, institutions and the media. He shut down the White House National Security Council’s entire global health security unit in 2018, an error that is perhaps going to cost him dearly now. He can only sincerely hope that “one day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear”.

Drug Companies Will Make a Killing From Coronavirus Unless we fix the system, American taxpayers will get gouged on a vaccine they paid to produce.

Opinion Drug Companies Will Make a Killing From Coronavirus Unless we fix the system, American taxpayers will get gouged on a vaccine they paid to produce. By Mariana Mazzucato and Azzi Momenghalibaf Ms. Mazzucato is a professor at University College London and the author of “The Value of Everything.” Ms. Momenghalibaf is a senior program officer at the Open Society Public Health Program. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/opinion/coronavirus-vaccine-cost.html

CDC: Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020

What this tells us is that nobody is immune from getting COVID-19 and potential hospitalization, which in the US is astronomically expensive. "California on Tuesday reported the first death in the United States of a Covid-19 patient younger than 18, and the family of a 12-year-old in Georgia said Sunday she was on a ventilator and fighting for her life in an Atlanta hospital. There also have been "concerning reports from France and Italy" about young people becoming seriously ill, "and very seriously ill in the ICUs," said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus reponse coordinator, last week. There are now more than 52,000 cases of the virus in the United States. At least 680 people had died as of Tuesday afternoon." (Source CNN)

Trudy Lieberman on the Affordable Care Act

She discusses the excellent, now again paywalled Wrong Prescription article she wrote for Harpers in 2015, approximately halfway through the ten year period for GATS-nonconforming measures. I.e the "Affordable Care Act" . (Subsidies in GATS are strangely hard to find hard and fast information about, but its clear that nonconforming measures must not last indefinitely. This is rigid WTO ideology. I want to put out there that the ACA was doomed from the start by this ideology (and the standstill in the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services) that the two parties must have agreed to choreograph its creation and demise, similarly to the theatrical choreography which Ms. Lieberman also wrote about involving Clinton Care and Clinton Lite back in the 1990s. (at approximatly the same time, GATS which cut off our ability to have real affordable care was being negotiated in the run up to the Marrakesh Agreement. So the Clinton care events here were a cover up, clearly. As somebody who has known many narcissists, I know that manipulating other people and human lives is basically fun for them, they consider it fun. A game. I hope people consider this - that we're almost certainly being manipulated costing us all a great many lives. This is not acceptable on the eve of a pandemic.

The Virus Can Be Stopped, but Only With Harsh Steps, Experts Say

Scientists who have fought pandemics describe difficult measures needed to defend the United States against a fast-moving pathogen. "If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt. The virus would die out on every contaminated surface and, because almost everyone shows symptoms within two weeks, it would be evident who was infected. If we had enough tests for every American, even the completely asymptomatic cases could be found and isolated. The crisis would be over."

US has potential of becoming coronavirus epicentre, says WHO

WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said in Geneva there had been a "very large acceleration" in coronavirus infections in the United States which had the potential of becoming the new epicenter. Over the past 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases were from Europe and the United States, she told reporters. Of those, 40 percent were from the United States. Asked whether the United States could become the new epicenter, Harris said: "We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential. We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential." ------------------------------------------- (Source: VOA https://www.voanews.com/science-health/coronavirus-outbreak/us-could-become-coronavirus-epicenter-who-says )

Gilead Outrageously Seeks Super-Monopoly Protections for Covid-19 Drug remdesivir

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program Note: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today granted experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir a special orphan status intended for drugs that treat rare diseases. The status sets up remdesivir’s manufacturer Gilead Sciences to receive additional federal tax credits in the United States and a bonus lucrative seven-year market exclusivity, allowing Gilead to exclude generic and more affordable competition while charging high monopoly prices, if the drug is approved. Gilead’s pursuit of an orphan designation is unconscionable and could be deeply harmful. Remdesivir is one of relatively few medicines that may prove effective in treating COVID-19 this year. The government should be urgently concerned with its affordability for citizens. Instead, the FDA has handed Gilead, one of the most profitable pharmaceutical corporations on earth, a long and entirely undeserved seven-year monopoly and with it, the ability to charge outrageous prices to consumers. Gilead has gamed the system by rushing through its “rare disease” orphan drug application while there are, for this brief moment, fewer than 200,000 COVID-19 U.S. cases. Its action is disingenuous and outrageous, and underscores the need for the federal government to step in.

WTO Members agree on ways to boost LDC participation in services negotiations

“By agreeing on ways for providing special priority to LDCs in the services negotiations, WTO Members continue to put into action the overarching commitment in the Doha Development Agenda,”said WTO Director-General Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi. “This agreement is a timely boost to LDC participation in these negotiations as Members intensify their bilateral market access bargaining.” “We consider the negotiations on services as of prime importance to the LDC group,” said H.E. Dr Toufiq Ali, Ambassador of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the 30 LDC Members of the WTO, at the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services. “There are numerous estimates that indicate that the potential benefit of free trade in services may be several times that of free trade in goods.” He emphasised that the most important means of supplying services was through “the export of services supplied by less skilled persons”, estimating that “a temporary visa scheme that amounts to no more than 3 per cent of the OECD labour force would yield economic benefits for both developed and developing countries equivalent to almost US$150-200 billion.”

Talking Disputes | The Argentina - Financial Services Dispute

This video shows how convoluted and technical the GATS is. This is not the kind of logic people want hijacking essential services like health insurance. Once its sold you can't give healthcare away. Its like a noose getting tighter and tighter. These deals are being snuck in under the radar, and a hell of a lot of people have been tricked by these tricks and also have died because of these tricks. And it ISN'T over. The carnage is just beginning.

Natasha Ott, 39, suddenly dies in New Orleans with COVID-19 symptoms

A 39-year-old woman in the US died suddenly with coronavirus symptoms before her COVID-19 test results were released. Natasha Ott, from New Orleans, was found dead in her kitchen by her partner on Friday (local time) after she began feeling sick on March 10. She had been in "good health" up until her illness. She was sent home from work when she first felt ill, but she was deemed "low-risk" and wasn't initially tested for the disease, her partner Josh Anderson wrote in a Facebook post. ______________________________________________________________ Update: More at: https://www.nola.com/news/coronavirus/article_bdc4e802-6b90-11ea-a747-832e94bc7f56.html ------------------------------- and https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/social-worker-39-found-dead-21733075 -------------------------------------------------------- Why aren't they beginning empirical treatment with antivirals immediately? in order to prevent the disease escalating to this very serious pneumonia.

Total Cost of Uninsured Woman's COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43

She was uninsured. It appears that she didn't even spend any time in an ICU, she received outpatient care in an emergency room. Wouldn't it be great if we had Medicare for All? Except there is one little problem, both candidates, Biden and Trump- unless Bernie pulls off a miracle would veto it. There is a really simple reason for that. WE SIGNED AWAY THE RIGHT TO REGULATE HEALTH INSURANCE MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO in the GATS agreement, part of the WTO, but the country never got the memo!

Water in the age of coronavirus

As we confront the new global enemy SARS-COV-2, the availability of water will be a crucial determinant for a successful outcome in this war

ICU beds already near capacity with non-coronavirus patients at L.A. County hospitals

ICU beds at Los Angeles County hospitals are already at or near capacity, prompting worries of shortages ahead of expected coronavirus surge By MATT STILES, IRIS LEE MARCH 20, 20204:27 PM Intensive care beds at Los Angeles County’s emergency-room hospitals are already at or near capacity, even as those facilities have doubled the number available for COVID-19 patients in recent days, according to newly released data obtained by The Times. Fewer than 200 ICU beds were available Wednesday, with most ICU beds occupied by non-coronavirus patients, according to the data which covers the roughly 70 public and private hospitals in Los Angeles County that receive emergency patients. The figures, which haven’t been disclosed previously, offer the first real-time glimpse of capacity levels at hospitals from Long Beach to the Antelope Valley and raise fresh worries that the hospital system, which is already strained by shortages, could soon run short of beds. “I am very concerned. We have a limited number of ICU beds available in L.A. County,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who urged residents to heed social-distancing orders to reduce infection rates and strain on medical resources. “I would like to begin exploring every possible solution to increase the capacity of our hospital system, including building pop-up hospital sites.” The anticipated surge of coronavirus patients is setting off a scramble to increase capacity of all types of beds, some of which could be converted to ICU units, according to county health officials. To accomplish that, hospitals are halting elective services to open up more space, and are considering other plans to expand capacity, including converting existing space or erecting tents. That effort shows in the figures, with the number of beds overall nearly doubling in the last several days — from 624 on March 13 to 1,182 as of Wednesday. That change includes an increase of ICU beds, which have more equipment and a higher staff-to-patient ratio, from 85 to 191, according to the figures. Christina Ghaly, a physician who directs the county’s vast system of providers, clinics, and hospitals known as the Department of Health Services, said hospitals can add ICU beds by converting existing space. That entails equipping beds with special equipment and adding personnel and, in some cases, getting approval from state regulators. Rooms could also be opened in non-emergency room hospitals, which aren’t included in the current figures. “The hospitals across the entire county are working very hard to free up capacity, and also to create capacity,” said Ghaly. County officials stressed that the figures represent the current staffing needs by hospitals, which have a greater “surge” capacity as more patients get sick. She said they are also asking state officials to fast-track additional capacity. But despite the progress, as many as 90% percent of licensed ICU beds are already occupied with patients who have suffered other medical emergencies, such as heart attacks, car accidents and other cases, according Ghaly said.

Is media spinning that U.S." is about to cripple the World Trade Organization’s dispute-settling system" true? Not in the way they want us to think it.

Example of the spin: "Dec 9, 2019 "The governance of international trade is on track to suffer serious damage this week as the United States carries out a long-standing threat to cripple the World Trade Organization’s system for settling disputes. The WTO’s Appellate Body, which adjudicates on contested rulings over disputes between member countries, will become unable to function when Washington exercises a veto and blocks new judges from being appointed to replace two whose terms of office are expiring......"

The WTO Dispute Settlement System: An Analysis of India’s Experience and Current Reform Proposals

ORF Occasional Paper_209 - An analysis from India's perspective of the US's not allowing the operation of the Dispute Settlement Body, of course, preventing the settlement of the DS503 case, and possible loss of millions of US jobs to outsourcing "body shop" companies. Most of the US, EU, Australian, etc. workers who could be impacted have no idea that the WTO even has jurisdiction over services.

Labor Mobility-by Sherry Stephenson and Gary Hufbauer

In international services trade, labor mobility is conceptualized as the temporary movement of natural persons and is categorized as mode 4. Article I.2 (d) of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) defines mode 4 as the supply of a service “by a service supplier of one Member, through presence of natural persons of a Member in the territory of any other Member.” A natural person of another member is defined as a natural person who resides in the territory of that other Member or any other Member, and who under the law of that other Member: (i) is a national of that other Member; or (ii) has the right of permanent residence in that other Member . . .” (Article XVIII[k])

Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2)

"Estimation of the prevalence and contagiousness of undocumented novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) infections is critical for understanding the overall prevalence and pandemic potential of this disease. Here we use observations of reported infection within China, in conjunction with mobility data, a networked dynamic metapopulation model and Bayesian inference, to infer critical epidemiological characteristics associated with SARS-CoV2, including the fraction of undocumented infections and their contagiousness. We estimate 86% of all infections were undocumented (95% CI: [82%–90%]) prior to 23 January 2020 travel restrictions. Per person, the transmission rate of undocumented infections was 55% of documented infections ([46%–62%]), yet, due to their greater numbers, undocumented infections were the infection source for 79% of documented cases. These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of SARS-CoV2 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging."

"Breaking the rules to prevent rule-breaking? The GATS and service mobility: drawing lines between genuine immigration control and protectionism"

Essential article on DS-503 WTO dispute that could drastically impact the size of the middle class in the US and in many other countries all around the world. (by reducing its size due to large scale job outsourcing) Would also lower the wages across the board for workers. Would heavily impact public services. GATS 'movement of natural persons' (Mode Four) and its Mode Three are the most controversial parts of the longstanding trade deal because they attempt to create new rights to which seem to allow companies bypassing national labor laws. This case could take intra-company cross border labor for work- "non-immigrant" temporary migration to work out of hands of governments and put it in the hands of the WTO. The US is a test case and the decision might be binding on many other countries as well. Could dramatically lower wages for many professions at all skill levels, from professional to fairly basic. Any job that has been the subject of GATS commitments in a country, which are very broad. In the US could easily impact tens of millions of jobs cutting many careers short. Even with visa quotas IT has already been greatly impacted, leaving many workers struggling to find work. Situation is likely to get much much worse if the WTO panel decides in India's favor. Indian-affiliated "US" IT firms are notorious for not hiring US workers, even US workers with Indian backgrounds. They want dis-empowered workers whose status in the US depends on their job. This is a very bad situation that could become the norm in dozens of high employment fields. Might cause extreme loss of trust in government, a shift we might not recover from.

Indian Company Offers to Supply AIDS Drugs at Low Cost in Africa (New York Times, Feb. 7, 2001)

(This is the story depicted in the Fire in the Blood film) By Donald G. McNeil Jr. In a move that could force big drug multinationals to cut the prices of their AIDS drugs in poor countries, an Indian company offered today to supply triple-therapy drug ''cocktails'' for $350 a year per patient to a doctors' group working in Africa. The Indian company, Cipla Ltd. of Bombay, a major manufacturer of generic drugs, made the offer to Doctors Without Borders, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for its work in war-torn and impoverished areas. In Africa the group sets up small pilot programs to develop models for broader approaches to combat AIDS, and would distribute the Cipla drugs free. As part of its program, Cipla would also sell the drugs to larger government programs for $600 a year per patient, about $400 below the price offered by the companies that hold the patents. ''This is the way to break the stranglehold of the multinationals,'' said Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of Cipla, who will meet with the doctors' group on Feb. 15 to discuss strategy. For two years, Doctors Without Borders has led an aggressive campaign to force multinationals to cut prices on life-saving drugs for the world's poorest patients. Other parties in the campaign are the Philadelphia and Paris chapters of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, and the Consumer Project on Technology, a Washington group started by Ralph Nader. The normal cost of the AIDS cocktail in the West is $10,000 to $15,000 a year. Last May five multinationals, backed by the World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies, offered to sell their components to poor nations at sharply reduced prices. But Cipla and other makers of generic drugs in Brazil, Thailand and other countries have not been part of the talks with W.H.O., a situation that Cipla hopes to change with its aggressive entry onto the scene. The country-by-country negotiations about how the multinationals distribute the drugs have gone slowly, and so far only Uganda, Senegal and Rwanda have agreements. The companies refuse to release figures, but the cost of a typical cocktail in Senegal is $1,000 a year, according to Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Bernard Pecoul, director of the Access to Essential Medicines project for Doctors Without Borders, said the Cipla offer, which he learned of only today, ''will let us start up our pilot projects on a larger scale.'' The doctors' group has 40 AIDS projects around the world, about half in Africa, where the infection rate reaches as high as 36 percent. Only five of these pilot programs are giving out antiretroviral cocktails. With the Cipla offer, or matching ones from other companies, up to 20 could be distributing the drugs by the end of year. Cipla is offering to sell the agency as many doses as it is wants at $350 a year. Dr. Hamied said that his company would lose money at that price, but that he would supply ''10,000 doses or 20,000 or 30,000, however many they want.'' The $600 price to governments is near Cipla's break-even point, he said, but costs could drop with greater production. If that happens, he would cut prices further. In India he sells the same cocktail for about $1,100 a year. But he denied that he was trying to grab market share in Africa. ''What do I want with market share?'' he asked. ''I don't have a monopoly, and the only way to make real money in drugs is with a monopoly. In this disaster, there is room for everybody.'' Wide distribution of the drugs in Africa is not without critics, given the attendant need for careful monitoring. Some experts argue that it would be better to spend the money on providing clean water, controlling malaria and increasing the use of condoms. But Doctors Without Borders says that the dangers and side effects of the drugs pale beside the immensity of the epidemic itself, and that Western testing standards are overcautious. The typical AIDS cocktail is a combination of any three of about nine protease inhibitors or reverse transcriptase inhibitors. The chemicals suppress the human immunodeficiency virus but, as with any chemical therapy, they are toxic and can damage the liver. In the West, doctors carefully monitor the levels of the drug in the blood, test for organ damage and check the levels of the virus in the bloodstream. If the virus mutates to resist the therapy, the combinations are changed. Careful monitoring may not be possible in many African settings. But with 25 million Africans infected with the AIDS virus, Doctors Without Borders and other agencies argue, imperfect treatment is better than none. Dr. Pecoul pointed out that large numbers of infected Africans live in urban areas where, ''with a quite simple clinic, you can deal with anti retrovirals.'' He is also ''not convinced'' that the batteries of tests routinely ordered for Western patients are really necessary. ''Some people suggest that H.I.V. testing and clinical followup can be enough,'' he added. The Cipla drug combination is two tablets of 40 milligrams of stavudine, two tablets of 150 milligrams of lamivudine and two tablets of 200 milligrams of nevirapine. In the United States and many other countries, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company holds the patent on stavudine, also known as Zerit or d4T; Glaxo-Wellcome of Britain holds the patent on lamivudine, also known as Heptovir or 3TC, and Boerhinger Ingelheim G.m.b.H. of Germany holds the patent on nevirapine, or Viramune. Western drug companies have shown themselves determined to defend their patent rights to be sole distributors throughout the world, and Dr. John Wecker, head of Boerhinger Ingelheim's efforts to negotiate cheaper prices in Africa, said he did not yet know what his company would do if Cipla undercut its prices. ''We offer a standard quality from the original manufacturer and can meet any demand that exists out there that can be delivered with safe procedures,'' he said. He refused repeatedly to say at what price Boerhinger Ingelheim sells nevirapine to Senegal or Uganda, saying, ''Affordability is an issue, but not the major issue.'' Representatives from Glaxo-Wellcome and Bristol-Myers did not return phone calls, but the three companies can be expected to wage a hard fight against the distribution of generic versions of their drugs. Late last year, Glaxo-Wellcome threatened to sue Cipla when it tried to sell Duovir, its generic version of Glaxo's Combivir, a lamivudine/zidovudine combination, in Ghana. Cipla offered the drug for $1.74 a day; Glaxo had cut its price to $2, from $16. But even though the African regional patent authority said Glaxo's patents were not valid in Ghana, Cipla backed down and stopped selling Duovir. Asked what he would do if the three drug companies sued to stop him, Dr. Hamied said: ''We won't fight it. I don't look at it as a fight. There's room for everybody. This is a holocaust in Africa. It's like the earthquake in India right now -- everybody is helping out. I'm not looking to pick anybody's business; there's room for the multinationals at their price and room for us at our price, a partnership.''

The race to patent the SARS virus: the TRIPS agreement and access to essential medicines

by Matthew Rimmer. "[This article considers the race to sequence the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus (‘the SARS virus’) in light of the debate over patent law and access to essential medicines. Part II evaluates the claims of public research institutions in Canada, the United States, and Hong Kong, and commercial companies, to patent rights in respect of the SARS virus. It highlights the dilemma of ‘defensive patenting’ — the tension between securing private patent rights and facilitating public disclosure of information and research. Part III considers the race to patent the SARS virus in light of wider policy debates over gene patents. It examines the application of such patent criteria as novelty, inventive step, utility, and secret use. It contends that there is a need to reform the patent system to accommodate the global nature of scientific inquiry, the unique nature of genetics, and the pace of technological change. Part IV examines the role played by the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization in dealing with patent law and access to essential medicines. The article contends that there is a need to ensure that the patent system is sufficiently flexible and adaptable to accommodate international research efforts on infectious diseases.]"

WTO Dispute DS503 - over visa quotas and whether national laws on minimum wages apply to guest workers (or can they be paid less than US minimum wage) and irreversibly opening the nation to vast expansions in numbers of disempowered guest workers to replace allegedly overpaid US workers could lead to large scale job losses

in all the service sectors committed in the US Schedule of Specific Commitments, and at all skill levels, from very skilled workers like doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, computer programmers, engineers, adult education, construction and energy and environmental workers, etc. Jobs would be put up for international bidding. Filed March 2016, could be decided by the DSB whenever it is able to convene a quorum which is currently being blocked by the US. Likely would be able to rule and require us to conform all our laws. Could lead to a GATS visa automatically being granted to guest worker supplying companies as an entitlement we would be unable to deny, because guest workers are not immigration, they are intra-corporate transferees.

Clinical characteristics of 24 asymptomatic infections with COVID-19 screened among close contacts in Nanjing, China.

Previous studies have showed clinical characteristics of patients with the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the evidence of person-to-person transmission. Limited data are available for asymptomatic infections. This study aims to present the clinical characteristics of 24 cases with asymptomatic infection screened from close contacts and to show the transmission potential of asymptomatic COVID-19 virus carriers. Epidemiological investigations were conducted among all close contacts of COVID-19 patients (or suspected patients) in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, from Jan 28 to Feb 9, 2020, both in clinic and in community. Asymptomatic carriers were laboratory-confirmed positive for the COVID-19 virus by testing the nucleic acid of the pharyngeal swab samples. Their clinical records, laboratory assessments, and chest CT scans were reviewed. As a result, none of the 24 asymptomatic cases presented any obvious symptoms while nucleic acid screening. Five cases (20.8%) developed symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue, etc.) during hospitalization. Twelve (50.0%) cases showed typical CT images of ground-glass chest and 5 (20.8%) presented stripe shadowing in the lungs. The remaining 7 (29.2%) cases showed normal CT image and had no symptoms during hospitalization. These 7 cases were younger (median age: 14.0 years; P=0.012) than the rest. None of the 24 cases developed severe COVID-19 pneumonia or died. The median communicable period, defined as the interval from the first day of positive nucleic acid tests to the first day of continuous negative tests, was 9.5 days (up to 21 days among the 24 asymptomatic cases). Through epidemiological investigation, we observed a typical asymptomatic transmission to the cohabiting family members, which even caused severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Overall, the asymptomatic carriers identified from close contacts were prone to be mildly ill during hospitalization. However, the communicable period could be up to three weeks and the communicated patients could develop severe illness. These results highlighted the importance of close contact tracing and longitudinally surveillance via virus nucleic acid tests. Further isolation recommendation and continuous nucleic acid tests may also be recommended to the patients discharged. KEYWORDS: COVID-19; China; asymptomatic infections; close contact PMID: 32146694 DOI: 10.1007/s11427-020-1661-4

The socio-economic distribution of exposure to Ebola: Survey evidence from Liberia and Sierra Leone

Socio-economic factors are widely believed to have been an important driver of the transmission of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) during the West African outbreak of 2014–16, however, studies that have investigated the relationship between socio-economic status (SES) and EVD have found inconsistent results. Using nationally representative household survey data on whether respondents knew a close friend or family member with Ebola, we explore the SES determinants of EVD exposure along individual, household, and community lines in Liberia and Sierra Leone. While we find no overall association between household wealth and EVD exposure, we find that pooled data mask important differences observed within countries with higher wealth households more likely to have been exposed to EVD in Sierra Leone and the opposite relationship in Liberia. Finally, we also generally find a positive association between education and EVD exposure both at the individual and the community levels in the full sample. There is an urgent need to better understand these relationships to examine both why the outbreak spread and to help prepare for future outbreaks.

Concentration and detection of SARS coronavirus in sewage from Xiao Tang Shan Hospital and the 309th Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

"In this study, we found that the virus can survive for 14 days in sewage at 4 degrees C, 2 days at 20 degrees C, and its RNA can be detected for 8 days though the virus had been inactivated. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the RNA of SARS-CoV could be detected from the concentrates of sewage of both hospitals receiving SARS patients before disinfection and occasionally after disinfection though there was no live SARS-CoV; thus much attention should be paid to the treatment of stools of patients and the sewage of hospitals receiving SARS patients." This from the earlier SARS epidemic but likely is applicable to SARS-CoV-2 also - This is likely to be particularly problematic in developing countries that use "night soil" as fertilizer and/or do not treat sewage.

Has China faced only a herald wave of SARS-CoV-2?

The attack rate of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) calculated by mathematical models, from estimates of the basic reproduction number, R0, of 2–3, suggests that 50–60% of the population should eventually be infected because the population seems to be entirely naive to the new virus.1 The observed attack rate on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship remained slightly below 20% (705 of 3711 passengers and crew members became infected).1 It is of upmost importance to know whether the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in China is subsiding, as local authorities and the entire international community might wish. With 80 026 COVID-19 cases officially reported from China as of March 2, 2020,2 the proportion of the population affected remains far from 50%, or even 20%, of China's 1·4 billion people. Has China just experienced a herald wave, to use terminology borrowed from those who study tsunamis, and is the big wave still to come?

Coronavirus: ‘We must choose who to treat,’ says Italian doctor

In Italian doctor in Lombardy, a region of Italy that has been quarantined due to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, has stated that doctors have to choose who to treat “according to age and state of health, as in war situations.” “To say that you do not die from the coronavirus is a lie that fills me with bitterness,” said Dr. Christian Salaroli, an anaesthetist, in an interview with the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera on Monday. Salaroli said that the emergency is so big in Italy that he and his colleagues must now select the patients who will or will not be able to access mechanical resuscitation (by intubation) from among the most seriously ill. Patients with viral pneumonia, and are in acute respiratory failure, are first placed on non-invasive ventilation (NIV), using an oxygen mask. “It’s a first step, but after a few days, we have to choose. Since there is, unfortunately, a disproportion between hospital resources, resuscitation beds and critically ill patients, not everyone can be intubated,” Salaroli said. “We decide based on age and state of health,” he added. “If a person between 80 and 95 years old has severe respiratory failure, it’s likely we will not go ahead. If they have multi-organ failure, with more than two or three vital organs, it means that their mortality rate is 100%,” he added. Asked about the Italian government’s decision to quarantine more than 15 million people in northern Italy in an attempt to contain the epidemic, Salaroli said it was “fair but a week late.”

Market Spiral Pricing of Cancer Drugs

By Donald W. Light. "Companies are spiraling up high prices, not because of costs or better value, but because they can get away with it, in - only the USA. Senior oncologist, Hagop Kantarjian, and I show that very high prices for cancer & specialty drugs are not due to high costs of research, nor to added clinical value. Companies are simply spiraling up prices already 2-3 times greater than other capitalist countries allow, because we allow them to. High co-pays hurt patients and impede good clinical care. This exploitation of serious ill patients and taxpayers is ethically troubling and must stop."

How Do Your Morals Shape Your Politics?

By Zaid Jiliani This is very good, These concepts can be used to do good, but they can also be used to manipulate people into letting down their guard and allowing great injustices, as the GATS shows.

Chinese man who said Xi Jinping's belated response to coronavirus "was clueless" now faces 15 years in jail.

Xu Zhiyong, a former law lecturer and founder of the social campaign New Citizens Movement, was taken away by police on 15 February during a fresh crackdown on freedom of speech precipitated by the coronavirus crisis. ..... His family said Xu had been placed in “residential surveillance at a designated location” – a form of solitary detention that can last up to six months in an unknown location without lawyer or family access. Many human rights lawyers who have been held in this form of secret detention were tortured for months before being formally charged and jailed on state security crimes

Inside America's woefully ill-prepared health system

"by Jacob Greber: The US healthcare system, so expensive that people actively avoid hospitals, could become the defining political issue of a presidential election year." "One American every 30 seconds is bankrupted by medical bills."

Coronavirus Time Bomb: America's Uninsured and Brutal Work Culture

As the virus began spreading in the west of the country, where the nation's first death was reported on February 29, public health experts warned the US has several characteristics unique among wealthy nations that make it vulnerable. These include a large and growing population without medical insurance, the 11 million or so undocumented migrants afraid to come into contact with authorities, and a culture of "powering through" when sick for fear of losing one's job. "These are all things that can perpetuate the spread of a virus," said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist at UC Riverside. The number of Americans without health insurance began falling from a high of 46.7 million in 2010 following the passage of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), but has risen again over the past two years.

Indian Authorities Propose Use of "Homeopathy" to "Prevent Coronavirus":Critics of the practice say the guidance is irresponsible and could give users a false sense of security.

It is more than hugely irresponsible to represent "homeopathy" as science - it is criminal in a poor country that has a long history of taking any excuse it can to cut corners. India still has not fully funded universal public primary education and hundreds of millions of poor Indian children do not even get to attend school, unless their parents pay fees they cannot afford. At the same time they are spending billions of dollars to send expensive toys for rich people to the moon.

Coronavirus outbreak worries hourly workers without paid sick time

In addition to missed business opportunities, those who are self-employed or hourly workers, like Placido Borrequero, a Pilsen father of three, who is worried about how he will continue to put food on the table if the virus spreads to him. Borreguero works in landscaping and lawn care. "I don't have any sick days. If I am sick I don't work that day, I don't get paid that day. That's why I am really worried," he said. Leone Bicchieri is the executive director of Working Family Solidarity, located in the Pilsen neighborhood. He says he has been hearing from people on the south and west sides who are already struggling to make ends meet, concerned about access to healthcare and supporting their families. "If they miss one or two days work and they are already behind a month or two in the bills, they are going to be evicted and now they're going to be homeless," Bicchieri said. He wants to know what the plan is to help these workers if the virus continues to spread. "The government really need to get behind this, needs to tell businesses and companies. Please do not fire or discipline low wage workers who have to stay home," Bicchieri said. "I have a wife and three children. What's going to happen to them. I am the main bread winner," Borreguero said.

A Miami man who flew to China worried he might have coronavirus. He may owe thousands.

You really must read this story, which shows how America's healthcare system is criminally deficient. The Trump Administration, in conformance with our extensive WTO (GATS) commitments, such as the standstill clause in the Understanding on Financial Services Regulation is rolling back all post 1998 changes in financial service regulations, (like health insurance and banking) leaving the financially unsophisticated poor wide open to exploitation by sellers of what we unfortunately frame as 'innovative financial services'. Its the official US trade position that governments cannot be allowed to interfere with even predatory forms of business. Even to protect people from the worst kinds of practices. Even to protect us from emergencies. Profit is Job #1.

Achmea search on italaw_com

The Achmea case shows how a small country that, while part of a country, Czechoslovakia, that did/does not exist any more mistakenly signed a trade deal that was highly unfavorable to their ability to determine their own health care through voting. When the Czech and Slovak nations split, both countries inherited these bad deals between powerful and legally savvy Western European countries rushing to take advantage of the naivete of the Eastern Europeans in matters of trade, after communism fell. (this happened all throughout eastern Europe in a problem that was collectively called the IntraEUBITS. ) The case also spotlights the destruction of democracy by ISDS because after voting in a landslide for single payer in 2006 the country was immediately sued by a health insurer for the tort of "indirect exxpropriation" of "their property" (the policy space was treated like a piece of property) in an ISDS case. Notable for many reasons, particularly to me because in the end (Slovakia eventually won on a EU-specific technical issue) the EU high court did NOT touch what I consider to be the core issue, whether countries (in this case EU Member States) have the right to regulate, especially important in life and death issues like health care. The case could have decided that but did not, leaving that all important issue alone. In fact, if one looks at the later documents and the legal articles on it later on the health insurance versus single payer issue is almost never mentioned. Showing how out of touch the international law community in Europe is with the common peoples needs, among other things. Something like it could easily happen here - Look at what happened to South Africa and it's NHI, for example. South Africa voted for NHI a long time ago but it's voters wishes have been frustrated by GATS, and politicians have not been straightforward with the country about why, similar to the US, GATS has become a mother lode of politician dishonesty that will cause endless corruption and lock in as long as the country remains bound by it. In South Africa's case, GATS is also a binding but little known legacy of the apartheid regime that continues to frustrate the hopes of South Africans for change.

The neuroinvasive potential of SARS-CoV2 may be at least partially responsible for the respiratory failure of COVID-19 patients

"The most characteristic symptom of COVID-19 patients is respiratory distress, and most of the patients admitted to the intensive care could not breathe spontaneously. Additionally, some COVID-19 patients also showed neurologic signs such as headache, nausea and vomiting. Increasing evidence shows that coronaviruses are not always confined to the respiratory tract and that they may also invade the central nervous system inducing neurological diseases. The infection of SARS-CoV has been reported in the brains from both patients and experimental animals, where the brainstem was heavily infected. Furthermore, some coronaviruses have been demonstrated able to spread via a synapse-connected route to the medullary cardiorespiratory center from the mechano- and chemoreceptors in the lung and lower respiratory airways".

Avoiding coronavirus may be a luxury some US workers can't afford

Stay home from work if you get sick. See a doctor. Use a separate bathroom from the people you live with. Prepare for schools to close and to work from home. These are measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended to slow a coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Yet these are much easier to do for certain people — in particular, high-earning professionals. Service industry workers — like those in restaurants, retail, child care and the gig economy — are much less likely to have paid sick days, the ability to work remotely or employer-provided health insurance. The disparity could make the new coronavirus, which causes a respiratory illness known as COVID-19, harder to contain in the U.S. than in other rich countries that have universal benefits like health care and sick leave, experts say. A large segment of workers are not able to stay home, and many of them work in jobs that include high contact with other people. It could also mean that low-income workers are hit harder by the virus.

Coronavirus: In the US, Covid-19 may have spread undetected for weeks

Might this mess have something to do with the US's healthcare system preventing sick people from seeking care due to fear of out of control costs? Because of the long existing GATS and pending TISA agreements, we basically "have to" get the worst deal of all, to show we "mean business"! American lives are being sacrificed in extremely high numbers - most figures I have seen estimate between 50-100/day on the altar of profit. This has arguably been going on for 25 years, because that's how long the US healthcare system has been rigged - in order to convince the world the only permissible healthcare system is the for-profit system. Public healthcare systems could have been set up freely before Jan 1, 1995 ( the date of the WTO's creation or possibly as early as before September 20, 1986, the date of the Punta Del Este Declaration) They work better than for profit systems, whose intent is to prevent people from seeking care with costs they cannot afford.. However, epidemics like Coronavirus show what a criminally bad policy that is. )

Cafeteria Style Coronavirus Insurance Coverage, coming here soon?

These attenuated Third World health insurance plans that allow you to pick from a menu of diseases you fear most, are coming to the US soon. This kind of "GATS-legal" viciously attenuated coverage for the financially unsophisticated American may be the only future that is legal to offer the poor, under OUR pre-existing conditions, the WTO financial services rules and their standstill. Disclosure requirements may be one of the only restrictions that is still allowed under GATS.

Yale Study Says Medicare for All Would Save U.S. $450 Billion, Prevent Nearly 70,000 Deaths a Year!

(Democracy Now video, BUT- please read the text below it carefully and note what is being said, I totally agree, I have seen the raw figures and struggled with how to break the news to the country that thanks to GATS hijacking our healthcare system for 25 yrs behind our backs, when at least a million poorer Americans have died in that time, we're going to run into a brick wall OF OUR OWN MAKING, one even worse than the UK's is. There is no answer for this, except, one. Exposure of the crime. And admission that this has been and continues to be a mass murder of the poor that has no justification, especially from fraudulent deals to put aside, no throttle democracy. And democracy must be restored and the hijacking must immediately stop, and everybody who has had a hand in continuing this dishonest situation with more and more lies, including hiding GATS - making it- at least officially seem that we could not vote to fix it, something many knew , which has also been discussed in the academic and scholarly press, but we were never officially told. So the media pretends its still 1992. Before FTAs. Those who perpetuate/perpetuated this gridlock system should immediately be arrested. For murder. It can be seen that depending on when we start counting, an unspeakably large number of people have died in that time. Time during which we were led to believe we could just vote to fix it. Like many think today. That's not the case, the system has been rigged, not just superficially, rigged as in hijacked by deals that put everything we need to do off the table. Both US parties are hiding this, and it also is being hidden in an incredibly shameless way in the UK..

Jed Jones, 28, and his wife Liu pan, a British Chinese Couple, married five years, together for seven fled Wuhan on an evacuation flight,

Now they are getting told that having their baby in the UK could expose them to a $10,000 cost. Since they have been married so long, shouldn't Liu pan be eligible for UK permanent residency and eventually citizenship? What about their baby, who will likely be born in the UK? WTF? I think I am beginning to understand that there remain some deep seated differences, not so far removed from the ones in the past, why the US revolted, seriously. SHAME on the Tory Party. Healthcare should be a human right. I suppose they are lucky its not the US where a difficult pregnancy can cost in some cases, >$280,000 if a woman is "self-insured" (uninsured). This is a good example of why healthcare needs to be free. The UK's NHS would be in a different category and would not be being forced to suffer this "death of a thousand cuts" (no pun intended) if the UK had been smart enough to follow the rules it itself helped write and abolished commercial for profit health insurance in the UK for rich people BEFORE it joined the WTO efective January 1, 1995. Whoever was PM then shares responsibility with our Bill Clinton for this accursedness . Only if their NHS had not been a public option, and pre-existed the WTO, could the UK's NHS have avoided its 25 year long ordeal of cuts as its gradually privatized in accordance with the WTO rules. Leaving the EU and attempting to re-enter the WTO as a separate entity likely will require they make the UK conformant with the rules and result in the loss of the portions that don't conform, basically everything, *sigh* See the Skala paper- the first link in the external links directory for a list Oops!

India offers the US market access for exported chickens, and dairy in exchange, we give India market access so they can replace our "overpaid" programmers, nurses, teachers and engineers. Yes, engineers.

This is what trade deals do. Make no mistake about it, what India wants is JOBS, lots and lots of jobs currently done by Americans in US businesses. Workers train their replacements over a nine month, three phase period that makes them ineligible for benefits of any kind besides the US meagre unemployment insurance. India's elites broker jobs and take the lions share of the profits Its a total scam, and they know it, and we know it, and both US parties and the US political class is in on it, its an inside job. FTAs like GATS promise (they claim) unlimited access without limits on wages and quotas, (the group of nations most aggressively fighting for expanded Mode Four and a trade facilitation agreement on services, dispute their (now mostly IT, but if the quota is struck down, it will be all services committed under GATS, basically all the good professional and semiprofessional jobs first, then working downward.) firms having to pay their "temporary" workers a legal US wage) They also don't hire Americans despite, in many cases, claiming to be US companies. which could replace a huge percentage (a recent study said 41% but it left out public services which under GATS would be heavily impacted. They are already suing us for more jobs in WTO dispute DS503, which could become a major disaster for the middle class around the world. People have no idea. What they want there could also destroy Social Security. We should not sign any more FTAs with any country, especially not India or the UK, because we just are enabling elites to get rid of the safety nets. Everything about these deals is a shameless lie..

Farmers outraged water from drought-stricken regions "sold to China"

Conflict over water mining illustrates how FTAs are literally a global "Second Enclosure" of everything, giving global extractive industries rights to sell what they mine which would seem to conflict with what is basically common sense and expected behaviors by governments in the last century. (Both in the case of services, or goods, arguably the biggest shift occurred on January 1, 1995, the date the WTO came into force.) The problem is the rules have been changed and we, the people, are invariably the last to know. Goods and services of all kinds became tradable and once exported, even just a little bit, the entire shift is locked in (the ratchet, its called) and from that point onward all "measures" (basically any and every law and policy or lack of activity by governments at all levels, and quasi-governmental bodies) which impacts the "supply" of it in the commodity sense, for example, by reducing its value by restricting the sale (for example, the NHS reduces the value of health insurance even if few can afford it, it will have to be phased out in favor of market based services people can buy, if they are healthy enough, and dont have any genetic issues) A shift occurs such that providing it, (or that of "like" services, see the EC-Bananas case) are under the jurisdiction of international treaties, like the WTO's, and others, and all laws must conform to them at least by being minimally trade restrictive. Once it begins, all laws that conflict with international trade are subsumed to the rules of the trade body, like the WTO. So even if people are dying of thirst due to water being exported, or freezing to death of cold because the fuel has been exported, international trade export takes precedence. Similar to the Irish Potato Famine when lots of food was exported from Ireland (which was part of the UK, the richest country in the world at that time). People who got in the way were also exported, (transported) we may recall. To Australia which was a British colony.

Vaccine efficacy in senescent mice challenged with recombinant SARS-CoV bearing epidemic and zoonotic spike variants.

BACKGROUND: In 2003, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was identified as the etiological agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome, a disease characterized by severe pneumonia that sometimes results in death. SARS-CoV is a zoonotic virus that crossed the species barrier, most likely originating from bats or from other species including civets, raccoon dogs, domestic cats, swine, and rodents. A SARS-CoV vaccine should confer long-term protection, especially in vulnerable senescent populations, against both the 2003 epidemic strains and zoonotic strains that may yet emerge from animal reservoirs. We report the comprehensive investigation of SARS vaccine efficacy in young and senescent mice following homologous and heterologous challenge. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicon particles (VRP) expressing the 2003 epidemic Urbani SARS-CoV strain spike (S) glycoprotein (VRP-S) or the nucleocapsid (N) protein from the same strain (VRP-N), we demonstrate that VRP-S, but not VRP-N vaccines provide complete short- and long-term protection against homologous strain challenge in young and senescent mice. To test VRP vaccine efficacy against a heterologous SARS-CoV, we used phylogenetic analyses, synthetic biology, and reverse genetics to construct a chimeric virus (icGDO3-S) encoding a synthetic S glycoprotein gene of the most genetically divergent human strain, GDO3, which clusters among the zoonotic SARS-CoV. icGD03-S replicated efficiently in human airway epithelial cells and in the lungs of young and senescent mice, and was highly resistant to neutralization with antisera directed against the Urbani strain. Although VRP-S vaccines provided complete short-term protection against heterologous icGD03-S challenge in young mice, only limited protection was seen in vaccinated senescent animals. VRP-N vaccines not only failed to protect from homologous or heterologous challenge, but resulted in enhanced immunopathology with eosinophilic infiltrates within the lungs of SARS-CoV-challenged mice. VRP-N-induced pathology presented at day 4, peaked around day 7, and persisted through day 14, and was likely mediated by cellular immune responses. CONCLUSIONS: This study identifies gaps and challenges in vaccine design for controlling future SARS-CoV zoonosis, especially in vulnerable elderly populations. The availability of a SARS-CoV virus bearing heterologous S glycoproteins provides a robust challenge inoculum for evaluating vaccine efficacy against zoonotic strains, the most likely source of future outbreaks. PMID: 17194199 PMCID: PMC1716185 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030525

On the Origins of the 2019-nCoV Virus, Wuhan, China

RECOMBINATION technology has been in use in molecular virology since the 1980’s. The structure of the 2019-NCoV virus genome provides a very strong clue on the likely origin of the virus. Unlike other related coronaviruses, the 2019-nCoV virus has a unique sequence about 1,378 bp (nucleotide base pairs) long that is not found in related coronaviruses. Looking at the phylogenetic tree recently published derived using all the full genome sequence, we see the 2019-nCoV virus does not have clear monophyletic support given the bootstrap value of 75 (Fig 1).

Virus more transmissable than had been thought: New insights into the transmissibility of the virus

A joint press release by Charité, Munich Clinic Schwabing and the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology ( https://www.charite.de/en/service/press_reports/artikel/detail/novel_coronavirus_infectious_virus_detected_in_the_nose_and_throat_of_patients_with_mild_symptoms/ ) Laboratory testing by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology and Munich Clinic Schwabing has revealed that infectious virus can be isolated from nose and throat swabs even where these have been obtained from patients with mild symptoms. The research groups have therefore come to the conclusion that even persons with mild symptoms are capable of transmitting the virus.

2019-nCoV: Infectious virus can be isolated from nose, throat swabs of patients with mild symptoms

"Laboratory testing by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology and Munich Clinic Schwabing has revealed that infectious virus can be isolated from nose and throat swabs even where these have been obtained from patients with mild symptoms. The research groups have therefore come to the conclusion that even persons with mild symptoms are capable of transmitting the virus."

WTO GATS Glossary

This Public Citizen PDF includes a great deal of useful information on GATS, for example, how schedules are written.

Trade Liberalization and Universal Access to Education Services

"The exclusion therefore does not appear to apply to education services in cases where such services are provided on a non-commercial basis but which are supplied in competition with another service provider. Similarly, the exclusion would not appear to apply to education services that are supplied on a commercial basis even where these services are supplied in the absence of competition with any other service supplier. The exclusion would seem to apply only in those cases where education services are provided by completely non-commercial, absolute monopolies. In most countries, however, education services are normally supplied through a mixture of public and private suppliers, or frequently include certain commercial aspects. A strict reading of Article 1:3 would indicate that such services fall outside the exclusion. In any case, wherever uncertainties about the scope of the exclusion arise, the language will almost certainly be interpreted narrowly. The WTO Council for Trade in Services, for instance, has supported the view that even in the context of sensitive public service sectors such as health and social services, the exclusion “needed to be interpreted narrowly”. "Despite the significance of GATS coverage for education services, there are indications that some member governments may not fully appreciate the limited scope of the “governmental authority” exclusion. Many governments may not recognize that certain aspects of education services and their regulation are likely already subject to those GATS obligations that apply horizontally, including most-favoured-nation treatment and transparency."

Democratization or repression?

by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson "Regimes controlled by a rich elite often collapse and make way for democracy amidst widespread social unrest. Such regime changes are often followed by redistribution to the poor at the expense of the former elite. We argue that the reason why the elite may have to resort to full-scale democratization, despite its apparent costs to themselves, may be that lesser concessions would be viewed as a sign a weakness and spur further unrest and more radical demands. The elite may therefore be forced to choose between repression and the most generous concession, a transition to full democracy."

Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Releases Updated Report: 1.04 Million Households in NYC are Unbanked or Underbanked

NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) today released a research brief illustrating the updated number of unbanked and underbanked households in NYC and where they live. The brief shows that 354,100 households (11.2 percent) have no bank account (unbanked) and another 689,000 households (21.8 percent) have a bank account but use alternative financial products for some banking needs (underbanked). The estimated number of unbanked and underbanked households are disproportionately in neighborhoods that have higher rates of vulnerable residents and residents struggling in other areas of financial health.

On sweatshop jobs and decent work

This paper argues that while rooting out sweatshop conditions raises unemployment, the potential gains include an increase in decent work employment, a pro-worker shift in distribution, and an improvement in overall efficiency. In a search model of employment inspired by firm- and household-level evidence about the harm that sweatshop conditions pose to workers' capability to be productive at work and to be vertically mobile, this paper unpacks the irony of job losses and efficiency gains by examining equilibria where, unless regulations are in place, employers tolerate unproductive sweatshop conditions, and where workers accept insufficiently compensating sweatshop wages.