Day: May 6, 2020

With Crispr, a Possible Quick Test for the Coronavirus

A team of scientists has developed an experimental prototype for a fairly quick, cheap test to diagnose the coronavirus that gives results as simply as a pregnancy test does.

The test is based on a gene-editing technology known as Crispr, and the researchers estimated that the materials for each test would cost about $6.

“We’re excited that this could be a solution that people won’t have to rely on a sophisticated and expensive laboratory to run,” said Feng Zhang, a researcher at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and one of the pioneers of Crispr technology.

On Tuesday, Dr. Zhang and his colleagues posted a description of their device on a website dedicated to their project, but their method has not yet been tested by other scientists, nor have their findings been published by a scientific journal that subjected them to scrutiny by independent experts.

Two other teams of researchers,

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How Kushner’s Volunteer Force Led a Fumbling Hunt for Medical Supplies

This spring, as the United States faced a critical shortage of masks, gloves and other protective equipment to battle the coronavirus pandemic, a South Carolina physician reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency with an offer of help.

Dr. Jeffrey Hendricks had longtime manufacturing contacts in China and a line on millions of masks from established suppliers. Instead of encountering seasoned FEMA procurement officials, his information was diverted to a team of roughly a dozen young volunteers, recruited by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and overseen by a former assistant to Mr. Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump.

The volunteers, foot soldiers in the Trump administration’s new supply-chain task force, had little to no experience with government procurement procedures or medical equipment. But as part of Mr. Kushner’s governmentwide push to secure protective gear for the nation’s doctors and nurses, the volunteers were put in charge of sifting through more than

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How Small Physician Practices are Struggling to Survive During Coronavirus Pandemic

Autumn Road in Little Rock, Ark., is the type of doctor’s practice that has been around long enough to be treating the grandchildren of its eldest patients.

For 50 years, the group has been seeing families like Kelli Rutledge’s. A technician for a nearby ophthalmology practice, she has been going to Autumn Road for two decades.

The group’s four doctors and two nurse practitioners quickly adapted to the coronavirus pandemic, sharply cutting back clinic hours and switching to virtual visits to keep patients and staff safe.

When Kelli, 54, and her husband, Travis, 56, developed symptoms of Covid-19, the couple drove to the group’s office and spoke to the nurse practitioner over the phone. “She documented all of our symptoms,” Ms. Rutledge said. They were swabbed from their car.

While the practice was never a big moneymaker, its revenues have plummeted. The number of patients seen daily by providers has

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Pfizer Begins Human Trials of Possible Coronavirus Vaccine

Pfizer and the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech announced that their potential coronavirus vaccine began human trials in the United States on Monday. If the tests are successful, the vaccine could be ready for emergency use here as early as September.

The two firms are jointly developing a vaccine candidate based on genetic material known as messenger RNA, which carries the instructions for cells to make proteins. By injecting a specially designed messenger RNA into the body, the vaccine could potentially tell cells how to make the spike protein of the coronavirus without actually making a person sick.

Because the virus typically uses this protein as a key to unlock and take over lung cells, the vaccine could train a healthy immune system to produce antibodies to fight off an infection. The technology also has the advantage of being faster to produce, and tends to be more stable than traditional vaccines,

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