EScAPE Newsletter, Issue #39

Reports that are of interest for the week

Science must inform all Whitehall departments, says chief scientific adviser
The amount of science in Whitehall departments has been extremely low (about 10%) in the past. This information has come to the forefront due to the pandemic and Patrick Vallance, UK chief scientific advisor, is working to make science present in all departments.

Covid: Government’s Sage scientists are meeting just once a month despite soaring cases and deaths
There is a surge in cases in the UK, which is believed to have been from infections among school children. However, the Sage advisory committee is only meeting once a month because, according to them, there isn’t as much of a demand from scientists and other government advisors.

Here’s what we know about booster shots for Moderna’s and J&J’s COVID-19 vaccines
This article talks about second doses for Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines and what it will look like to receive them in the United States.

Millions of people are vaccinated-less than 8,000 of them have died from the virus
Colin Powell, the first black secretary of state, died recently due to coronavirus even though he was fully vaccinated. Powell, however, was more at risk to the virus due to his age and battling multiple myeloma at the time of his death.

The WHO hopes its new panel can determine the origin of COVID-19. Some experts are skeptical
WHO created a new advisory group to look into the origins of the COVID-19 virus. The group is called the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) and has 26 members, four of which have already looking into the Wuhan lab theory earlier this year.

Pandemic risks worsening on Africa variants, scientists say
While booster shots are available in the US, many African countries are not having the same access. This article talks more about how not only this affects the health of these countries, but it also has been creating variants that are causing more people to become extremely ill.

Health officials advise White House to scale back booster plan for now
The acting commissioner of the FDA, Dr, Janet Woodcock, and the head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, have been warning the White House to wait on giving out vaccine boosters. They feel there is not enough evidence to say that the boosters will help the general population, and while it is good to help those more at risk, it may be unnecessary for many.

Can covid cases go to zero? What Indian-American US surgeon general says
Surgeon general Vivek Murthy talks about the importance of getting vaccinated. He speaks on the idea that having zero COVID-19 cases is not something that should be focused on but getting a control on the vaccine is.