As I figured, the crowdfunding slowed down dramatically last week after the initial rush, but in the last few days has experienced a bit of a lift. I’ve now topped $42,300 and have reached 44% of the goal. That’s pretty amazing!
Many of the 420 donations are in the $10 to $20 range, but I’ve received one for $2500–the largest so far. I’ve also gotten two $2000 donations and a few for $1000 to $1500. The UK remains ahead in numbers of donors with 171, followed by the US with 76, Norway with 43, Australia with 35, Sweden with 18, Canada with 17 and the Netherlands with 14.
Vincent travels to Microbiotix, Inc, a biopharmaceutical company in Worcester, MA to speak with four members of the company about their discovery and development of small molecule drugs that target serious infectious diseases.
The decision by the US government to allow the resumption of experiments on aerosol transmission of avian influenza viruses has once again raised the hackles of some individuals who feel that the work is too risky. I disagree with their view on this work.
Science reports that ‘Controversial lab studies that modify bird flu viruses in ways that could make them more risky to humans will soon resume after being on hold for more than 4 years’. Denise Grady of the New York Times wrote that “Research that could make flu viruses more dangerous” are set to resume. Note that the experiments done in the Kawaoka and Fouchier laboratories that allow aersol transmission of avian H5N1 viruses among ferrets discussed here previously actually made the viruses much less pathogenic. This fact is ignored in all the discourse about the work. [continue reading…]
The PACE trial and other unacceptable studies from the CBT/GET ideological brigades have had an enormous impact around the world. Luckily, in the US at least, momentum seems to have finally shifted away from this bogus treatment paradigm. The shift, while welcome and long overdue, does not automatically mean more effective treatments are immediately at hand. The field’s obsession with psycho-behavioral models has held back biomedical research for decades, and patients have borne the harms of these misplaced pursuits.
So it’s been a year since the last crowdfunding campaign for Trial By Error–my investigative reporting and public health project. While Trial By Error began 3+ years ago as an in-depth look at the PACE trial, it has expanded to include other research from the GET/CBT ideological brigades and some of the controversies around the illness or cluster of illnesses known variously as ME, CFS, ME/CFS, and CFS/ME.
Today is the official “hard launch” of Berkeley’s month of crowdfunding. The “soft launch” phase began last Wednesday, when the site actually went live. I posted the Trial By Error page that day on Facebook. As of this posting, I’ve already reached 27% of my goal, with almost $26,000 in donations!
BerkeleyWellness.com has posted a version of my interview with Dr Steve Olson. He’s the Kaiser Permanente guy who is revamping the health system’s approach to ME/CFS, which is what they are now calling the disease. Dr Olson is planning to attend this week’s research gathering at the National Institutes of Health, so undoubtedly that will provide him with further insight into how Kaiser Permanente might better meet patients’ needs. (Virology Blog posted the original interview with Dr Olson here.)
A listener of the science podcast This Week in Virology asked in 2010 whether there are viruses that infect mitochondria:
Is there a virus that infects mitochondria? It’s an organelle that has its own genetic material and polymerase, so it could replicate a virus. Does the mitochondrial double membrane and the cell membrane impose a barrier that phages cannot transpose?
At the time I did not know that there were viruses that infect mitochondria, but they had been discovered years earlier. They are called, appropriately, mitoviruses.
The recent Reuters article about the illness, or cluster of illnesses, variously called CFS, ME, CFS/ME and ME/CFS was problematic for many reasons. One of them was the information included from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In explaining why the CDC dropped its longstanding recommendations for cognitive behavior therapy and graded exercise therapy, Dr Elizabeth Unger, chief of the chronic viral diseases branch, repeated the tired trope that the agency believed people had “misinterpreted” what it meant.