On Democracy Now! 7/28/20:
With 30,000 people taking part in the first major COVID-19 vaccine study in the United States, hopes are high that the collaboration between drugmaker Moderna and the National Institutes of Health will yield positive results as early as November. Researchers around the world are working on more than 165 vaccine candidates, though only a handful are conducting large-scale human trials. DN! speaks with BBC science journalist Richard Fisher, who took part in the vaccine trial run by Oxford University that is among the most promising. “It was both a personal decision and a journalistic one,” Fisher says of his decision to volunteer. “I wanted to do something that helps the collective effort to get us closer to a vaccine.”
As researchers around the world race to find a vaccine for COVID-19, DN! speaks with Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, about who is profiting from government efforts to fund vaccines, testing and treatment. The Trump administration has announced major contracts with pharmaceutical companies as part of its $6 billion program, Operation Warp Speed, including with firms that have never brought a vaccine to market. Meanwhile, a New York Times investigation shows corporate insiders from at least 11 companies working on coronavirus research have sold shares worth more than $1 billion since March. “The problem is that the companies, the executives, the hedge funds are feeding on people’s hope and desperation, and it only takes a little bit of positive news to send stocks soaring,” says Maybarduk. Public Citizen recently released a database that tracks the billions of taxpayer dollars supporting COVID-19 research.
Under a shocking new Trump administration policy, hundreds of people who came to the United States seeking asylum were secretly held in hotels for days on end before being expelled from the country, often with little or no paper trail. This includes more than 200 unaccompanied immigrant children — including babies and toddlers — who were taken to hotels near the Texas-Mexico border by a private contractor for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “The Trump administration has been just basically expelling them without due process and without any paper trail,” says Zenén Jaimes Pérez, advocacy director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, which helped uncover the abuse. DN! also speaks with Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
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