Tag Archives: prominent

New Covid variant spreading rapidly in UK branded a 'big worry' by prominent professor

New Covid variant spreading rapidly in UK branded a 'big worry' by prominent professor

According to professor Hunter, the number of cases is increasing quite rapidly from week to week and that is a “big worry”.

Although working out its exact transmissibility is not straightforward, the variant is somewhere between 40 or 50 percent more transmissible than the Kent strain, he said.

The situation is concerning but cases are increasing from a lower place due to gains the country has made, prof Hunter pointed out.

What’s more, restrictions may continue to be eased if “hospitalisation rates remain flat” despite the rise in cases, he said.

READ MORE: Covid warning: Catching coronavirus is linked to an autoimmune disease, scientists say

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed
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Prominent Chinese Scientist Failed to Disclose Company Ties in COVID-19 Clinical Trial Paper

One of China’s leading scientists in the fight against COVID-19 failed to disclose ties to a pharmaceutical company in a paper stemming from a clinical trial, Retraction Watch has learned. A co-author on the paper is married to the daughter of that pharmaceutical company’s founder, who herself sits on the firm’s board of directors.

Nanshan Zhong

Nanshan Zhong first rose to prominence during the 2003 SARS outbreak for developing “a controversial steroid treatment that cured many SARS patients but left some with debilitating bone issues,” according to NPR. In 2020, TIME named him to the magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. He was appointed to lead China’s National Health Commission investigation into COVID-19 early last year, and in February 2020 Harvard announced that Zhong would share in a $ 115 million effort with university scientists to develop therapies for COVID-19.

Last May, Zhong published results from a clinical trial that tested whether a traditional Chinese medicine could be used to treat COVID-19 patients. That paper, titled “Efficacy and safety of Lianhuaqingwen capsules, a repurposed Chinese herb, in patients with coronavirus disease 2019: A multicenter, prospective, randomized controlled trial,” was published in Phytomedicine. It has been cited 67 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, and has two corresponding authors: Zhong, of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Health, and Zhen-hua Jia of Hebei Yiling Hospital, in China.

None of the authors on the paper disclosed a conflict of interest. However, last year an anonymous whistleblower found documents financially tying Zhong and Jia to Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical, which supplied the Lianhuaqingwen capsules for the study and  applied for and sponsored the trial, according to China’s clinical trial database. That detail was not disclosed in the paper.

Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical  was founded in 1992 by Yi-ling Wu, a billionaire with whom Zhong has collaborated since 2015, according to the South China Morning Post. The newspaper reported last October that “Wu invited Zhong to join a 460 million yuan [$ 71 million] research lab set up for academicians by his company,” and that, “in 2016, they co-founded a research centre to tackle lung diseases using [traditional Chinese medicines] in the southern city of Guangzhou.”

Zhong also signed a “cooperation project” agreement with Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical in 2015 to test Linhuaqingwen’s antiviral properties, according to a report in Ta Kung Pao, a Chinese newspaper.

The other corresponding author, Zhenhua Jia, is married to the pharmaceutical company’s director and secretary of the board of directors, Rui Wu, according to a public stock incentive plan that the company issued in March 2013. Rui Wu is the daughter of Yi-ling Wu.

Jia and Rui Wu also own a consulting company called Yiling Luobing Health Management Co., Ltd., which operates under the same parent group as the pharmaceutical company.

In August 2020, the whistleblower — who did not wish to be identified because “research projects of my current lab rely on the funding support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in which some authors on that paper have tremendous influence” — emailed Princy Alexander, a journal manager at Phytomedicine, about the possible undeclared conflicts of interest.

Their email was passed to the journal’s editor-in-chief, Thomas Efferth, who asked Jia to provide a point-by-point reply and write a draft erratum that could be published in Phytomedicine, according to emails seen by Retraction Watch.

Jia replied on September 22 and attached four documents confirming that Jia and Rui Wu are spouses and that they own a “brother company” to the pharmaceutical firm. But they deny that their consulting firm had ever been involved in the clinical trial, and said that the two companies are “completely independent legal entities,” and “will not have any substantial impact on the implementation and results of the clinical research.”

The documents also state that Jia did not contribute to the actual research or statistical analysis of the paper, and thus his involvement wouldn’t diminish the objectivity of the results:

“As an independent medical scientist, Prof. Zhen-hua Jia has participated in the study design, drafting and revision of the manuscript. In light of the enormous contribution, Prof. Jia has been unanimously elected to be the co-corresponding author of the article. Professor Zhen-hua Jia did not participate in the specific research process and the statistical analysis of the results, so it does not affect the scientificity, objectivity and authority of the research results.”

The documents do not offer a rebuttal to the whistleblower’s concerns about Zhong’s academic collaborations with Yi-ling Wu. Zhong, Jia, and multiple spokespeople for Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical did not reply to requests for comment.

An erratum prepared by the authors also suggests the following edits to the conflict of interest disclosures:

“Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. provided part of the funding and the study drug (Lianhuaqingwen capsules) for this research and had no role in the data acquisition, analysis and writing of this article.” 

When asked if an erratum would be published, Efferth told us to contact a legal representative at Elsevier. That legal representative has not responded to requests for comment. Meanwhile, Michelle Harding, a journal manager for the publisher, referred our questions back to Efferth, who has not replied.

Lianhuaqingwen was originally listed as a treatment for flu and respiratory illnesses in 2004, by China’s National Health Commission. Traditional Chinese medicines, like Lianhuaqingwen, were recommended for treating COVID-19 patients in China in January 2020.

After the pharmaceutical company sent boxes of Lianhuaqingwen capsules to Chinese students in Canada last year, a spokesperson for Health Canada told CBC News that they would “take action to stop this activity,” while doctors (and the company’s own website) said that the tablets might treat symptoms of COVID-19, but not the disease itself.

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This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

Lina Hidalgo wins national award from prominent Democratic fundraising group

Lina Hidalgo wins national award from prominent Democratic fundraising group

Author: Abby Livingston
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

GOP congressional candidate in Texas special election loses prominent supporters after racist comment about Chinese immigrants

GOP congressional candidate in Texas special election loses prominent supporters after racist comment about Chinese immigrants

A Republican candidate in the special election to replace the late U.S. Rep. Ron Wright[1], R-Arlington, is facing intense backlash and has lost two of her biggest supporters after saying she does not want Chinese immigrants in the United States.

The comments by Sery Kim, a Korean American who served in the Small Business Administration under President Donald Trump, prompted California U.S. Reps. Young Kim and Michelle Steel to rescind their endorsements of her on Friday. Kim and Steel are the first Korean American GOP women to serve in Congress.

“We cannot in good conscience continue to support her candidacy,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

The candidate has been unapologetic, however, arguing that she was speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party and blaming the “liberal media” for the uproar.

Sery Kim made the anti-Chinese remarks earlier this week at a GOP forum in Arlington while responding to a question about U.S. immigration issues.

“I don’t want them here at all,” Kim said of potential Chinese immigrants. “They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable.”

“And quite frankly, I can say that because I’m Korean,” she added.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased since the coronavirus pandemic started in China. Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the pandemic and called the coronavirus “the Chinese virus.” Kim’s remark came less than a month after the Atlanta spa shootings that killed eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent[2].

The comments have received condemnation from groups including the DFW Asian-American Citizens Council[3] and AAPI Progressive Action[4], which works to build political power around Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Kim is one of 11 Republicans — and 23 candidates total — on the May 1 ballot to fill the GOP-leaning seat seat of Wright, who died earlier this year after being hospitalized with coronavirus.

Young Kim and Steel endorsed Sery Kim early on in the race, about a week after the filing deadline last month.

In their statement pulling their endorsements, the two lawmakers said they spoke Thursday with Sery Kim “about her hurtful and untrue comments about Chinese immigrants, and made clear that her comments were unacceptable.”

“We urged her to apologize and clarify her remarks, especially as hate against the AAPI community is on the rise,” the congresswomen said. “However, she has not publicly shown remorse, and her words were contrary to what we stand for.”

Asked for a comment on the loss of the endorsements, Kim provided a one-sentence statement: “I am shocked that in an effort to counter Asian-American hate the liberal media is targeting me, an Asian and an immigrant, in an effort to paint me as anti-Asian and anti-immigrant just for speaking against the oppressive Chinese Communist Party.”

Until this week, Sery Kim was not a particularly well-known candidate in the special election. The Republican field also features Wright’s widow, GOP activist Susan Wright, as well as state Rep. Jake Ellzey of Waxahachie.

On the Democratic side, at least one contender, Lydia Bean, pushed back on Sery Kim’s forum comments, saying they target people like her Chinese American husband, Norman, and their 10-month-old son. Norman’s parents came to the United States from China in 1966, Bean said.

“This type of speech, no matter who it comes from puts their lives in danger,” Bean, a 2020 Texas House candidate, tweeted Thursday[5]. “It’s racist, and it’s not who we are in Texas.”

Early voting for the special election starts April 19.

References

  1. ^ Ron Wright (www.texastribune.org)
  2. ^ six of whom were of Asian descent (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ DFW Asian-American Citizens Council (www.nbcdfw.com)
  4. ^ AAPI Progressive Action (www.dallasnews.com)
  5. ^ tweeted Thursday (twitter.com)

Patrick Svitek