US President Donald Trump will spend the coming days in a military hospital just outside Washington to undergo treatment for Covid-19 after he received an experimental and unproven treatment, White House officials said Friday.
The announcements raised concern about the severity of the president’s illness, after his chief of staff had earlier told reporters that Trump had only mild symptoms.
“At the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
While still at the White House, Trump, 74, received a single dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, according to a letter issued by White House physician Sean Conley.
The treatment is undergoing clinical trials but hasn’t yet received any form of regulatory approval.
“He’s being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we’ll be making recommendations to the president and first lady in regards to next best steps,” Conley said.
Trump — who has repeatedly cast doubt on the seriousness of the pandemic — first announced in an overnight tweet that he and First Lady Melania Trump, 50, had tested positive and were going into quarantine.
The decision by Trump’s medical team to place him on the unproven medicine was met with deep skepticism by some experts.
“We shouldn’t be giving the president this medication until it’s been proven to work,” tweeted emergency medicine physician Jeremy Faust, an instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“It is bad science, bad medicine and bad ethics to give unproven things to powerful people that you don’t give to average people,” added Vinay Prasad, an associate professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
But Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron’s CEO, told the New York Times: “All we can say is that they asked to be able to use it, and we were happy to oblige.”
He added that the president was not the first patient to be granted a so-called “compassionate use” exemption but “when it’s the president of the United States, of course, that gets — obviously — gets our attention.”
Early results promising
Earlier this week, Regeneron announced results from one of its early-stage trials which showed its drug, which is infused intravenously, reduced viral load and recovery time in non-hospitalized Covid-19 patients.
The US biotech firm is concurrently running late-stage trials for hospitalized Covid-19 patients and for the drug’s potential use as a prophylactic.
Antibodies are infection-fighting proteins made by the immune system that can bind to particular structures on the surfaces of pathogens and prevent them from invading cells.
Vaccines work by teaching the body to make its own antibodies, while scientists are also testing ready-made antibodies from the blood of recovered patients, called convalescent plasma.
But it is not possible to make convalescent plasma a mass treatment.
Researchers can also comb through the antibodies produced by recovered patients and select the most effective out of thousands, and then manufacture them at scale.
Regeneron’s experimental Covid-19 drug, called REGN-COV2, is a combination of two antibodies, referred to as a “cocktail.”
The idea is that it will have a better chance at working if the virus mutates in order to evade the blocking action of a single antibody.
Last year, a triple-antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron was shown to be effective against the Ebola virus.
A Community With a Shared Future for Humankind in Light of U.S.-China Tensions
I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching: China’s vision of a Community of a Shared Future for Humankind in light of U.S.- China tensions. China’s vision is unambiguously good. Who could deny the benefits, to all human beings, of seeing all human beings as a community, and envisioning a shared future together? But rationality is not the problem here. The problem, in certain quarters, is that the phrase has come to represent China — and interpreted, by some, as symbolizing China seeking to become a dominant power, perhaps the dominant power in the world, and to impose its ways of governance and control on others. Is the problem irresolvable?
Consider the recent 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the “Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.” Such reflection is especially relevant today because, sadly, the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, have moved from collaborators to competitors, with some on each side now calling the U.S. and China adversaries, a descent into a hostile, perilous, zero-sum game.
What is worth remembering about U.S.- China cooperation in fighting Japanese aggression in World War II is that, at the time, the interests of the U.S. and China differed, yet they still cooperated, united by a common foe. To China, the battle on Chinese soil was existential: their country invaded, partially occupied, and suffering unspeakable horrors. To the U.S., the battle on Chinese soil was diverting Japanese forces and resources, reducing Japan’s capacity to wage war against America and American interests throughout the Pacific theater.
What’s the solution to U.S.- China conflict today? If common foes are what we need, the U.S. and China have common foes in abundance: they are not marching soldiers, but they are every bit as dangerous and deadly: pandemics, climate change, world poverty, world inequalities, terrorism, organized crime, wars and threats of war in numerous locations. In this context, a community of a shared future for humanity can thrive.
Consider the impact of world poverty alleviation. China’s experience in bringing some 850 million people out of extreme poverty is a vital resource for poorer countries. While different conditions and cultures preclude wholesale transfer, China’s targeted poverty alleviation success provides a model and a benchmark: standardized criteria, methods, measures, systems, and on-the-ground organization with five levels of local government.
While appreciating lessons to be learned from history, I also believe, to take a contrarian position, that history lessons have limited value today. Our epoch is unique. For multiple reasons, especially instant global communication, our geopolitical conditions are sui generis – unique, never before happened – which should give us pause to reflect before we react. The burden is on us, especially U.S. and Chinese leadership, to find the right road on which both great countries and peoples can walk in peace and harmony, with honesty, dignity and mutual respect. For a community of a shared future to truly work for all humanity, U.S.- China cooperation is a necessary condition.
I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
Scriptwriter: Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Cameraman: Morgan Compagnon
Video editor: Liu Yuqing
Peng Liyuan Sends Congratulatory Message to UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education
China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan, also United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) special envoy for the advancement of girls’ and women’s education, sent a congratulatory message to the award of UNESCO via a video on October 12.
In her message, Peng expressed congratulations to prize-winners from Sri Lanka and Kenya. In 2015, China established the Girls’ and Women’s Education Award with UNESCO, and Peng mentioned that there are millions of people who devote their life for the education of girls and women in China.
Zhang Guimei is one of them. She is a female teacher who has taught in the poor mountainous areas of Southwest China’s Yunnan Province for over 40 years. She established the first full-tuition-free girl high school in China, which helps many young girls from poverty-stricken families receive education.
This year, 1.5 billion students have been forced to suspend classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Peng, and this impact on girls is particularly pronounced. We need to find ways to help those girls get back to school so that they won’t be left behind due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sixty-three percent of illiterate adults around the world are women, said Peng, and the education of girls and women is of great benefit to the present and the future. China will continue to work with UNESCO to ensure the success of the Girls’ and Women’s Education Awards from 2021 to 2025, and make greater contributions to promoting girls’ and women’s education and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Peng added.
Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO, thanked the Chinese government for supporting the establishment of Girls’ and Women’s Education Awards.
The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education honors outstanding and innovative contributions made by individuals, institutions and organizations to advance girls’ and women’s education.
What is China’s ‘People-Centered Philosophy’?
I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching: What does President Xi Jinping mean when he says that the Communist Party of China has a “people-centered philosophy” for China? Many countries talk about improving the welfare and serving the interests of their citizens — what is so special about China’s “people-centered philosophy”?
To some foreigners, the phrase may sound like an empty platitude, devoid of meaning or import. But while Chinese officials hear the identical linguistic sounds in their ears, they perceive quite the opposite meaning in their minds. They take the Party’s phrases seriously. Well they should; their careers are at stake.
Here’s how President Xi defined “people-centered philosophy” in May 2020. He had four points:
First, the fundamental goal for the Party is to unite and lead the people in revolution, development and reform, and thereby ensure a better life for them.
Second, the Party must always put the people’s interests first.
Third, people’s lives and health should be protected at all costs, and since the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Party has made people’s lives and health the top priority.
Fourth, people are the solid foundation for the Party’s governance.
More important than his speeches, President Xi walks the walk literally by visiting poor villages — his visits numbered well over 50 when last I counted.
In 2019, during a tour of southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, President Xi stressed the goal-directing phrase, “two no worries and three guarantees” in poverty alleviation work. The “two no worries” refer to those who have been living in poverty no longer needing to worry about food and clothing. And the “three guarantees” refer to guaranteeing compulsory education, basic medical treatment, and safe housing.
Visiting a poor mountainous village, Xi entered a primary school, walked through the cafeteria, inspected the kitchen, and inquired about the food subsidies and hygiene of the poor students. “Not a single person should be left behind in the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects,” Xi said.
But to hit a poverty alleviation target is one thing … to keep sustaining a multi-decade poverty alleviation campaign to prevent some from falling back into poverty and to continue to combat relative poverty … is quite another. For this, Xi says, what’s needed is wisdom. I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
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