Expert Reveals Why Rich People Are Acquiring Race Horses

Millionaires who currently do not have the billions that can help them purchase their personal sports team have begun to spend millions on alternatively buying racehorses. According to Keeneland Racing’s racing and sales’ Vice president, Bob Ellison, a lot of excitement comes with being the owner of Thoroughbred horses.

Ellison mentioned that the millionaires are so enthusiastic about getting a good deal and that has willingly made them spend so much on high-quality horses. According to him, twenty-seven horses at the sale were sold for one million dollars or above. 14 of the buyers were international buyers while 13 of them were from the US. Three other horses were sold for over $2 million while there was a yearling that sold for $2.4 million. In summary, the buyers spent about $377 million on the purchase of about 3,000 yearlings.

Expensive Hobby

Ellison mentioned that this activity is a form of investment but added that acquiring race horses didn’t just become a hobby for the richest people all around the world. It can sometimes cost several thousands of dollars to acquire prized horses.

Polo, considered to be the sport for kings, is most times regarded as a hobby for members of the upper class. It is one where the elite gather to have cocktails and also socialize as they watch the sport. Yearly, socialites, designers, and Hollywood stars attend the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic. In fact, Chinese billionaires are reportedly beginning to see Polo as the new elite sport.

It is at the Kentucky Derby that some horses purchased at the Keeneland Sale compete. Ellison noted that the famous guests here  include Peter Brand ruling houses from the Middle East, Bobby Flay, George Strawbridge and Charlotte Webber,

The Vice president of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, reportedly purchased 27 yearlings for about twenty million dollars at this year’s sale. The total purchases included seven yearlings he bought for over a million dollars. The Vice President is considered one of the biggest owners of such horses in the world. He also owns a huge stable and different racing operations. Sheikh Hamdan, his brother, also bought 19 horses spending over $12 million.

Investment Opportunity

It is important to examine if these horse purchases have the potentials and can eventually become money makers for their buyers. Ellison noted that the possibility of that is dependent on the extent to which the horses race after they are sold. For instance, Justify was purchased for $500,000 and after it won the Triple Crown for this year, the horse is now worth a whopping $75 million.

Generally, breeders put in much effort into grooming horses for top sales as well as promising returns, be it through natural practices or commercial practices. According to Ellison, some breeders treat horses as is if they were tomatoes as they polish and feed them in an environment that is highly controlled, while some other breeders prefer to raise horses in the field. He added that irrespective of the method that the breeders used for raising the horses this year, the horses appeared to have more mass and are more athletically built.

Ellison added that while some buyers are particular about the size of the horse, how it looks racing, how its coat looks and how muscular it is, other buyers are particular about a horse that can run on grass and so want to know how fast the horses can finally transition to a race track.

Ellison, however, stated that there are some things buyers ought to consider to increase their chances of getting a better return. One of such is that colts, i.e. male horses, are generally worth more than fillies or mares (female horses).

Also, purchasing more than a yearling at each sale increases the chances of winning. Also the pedigree of the yearling matters.

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Expert Nutritionists Recommend These Superfoods For Beautiful Skin

Expert nutritionists don’t spend much on skin care products or anti-aging creams. Instead, they take care of the epidermis (skin) from the inside. If you are wondering why the answer is simple. The epidermis is the largest and most noticeable part of the body. It externally represents everything that goes on inside a human body. We end up spending a fortune on moisturizers, lotions, and anti-aging creams to improve this external representation. However, according to expert nutritionists, we should really pay attention to what we eat. If you add these super foods to your daily diet, you’ll get that enchanting glow in no time.

1. Organic Tomato Paste

Lycopene is an antioxidant carotenoid. And you need it if you want to prevent signs of aging, protect the skin from sun damage, and keep those nasty wrinkles away. In other words, you must add it to your diet, period. You can get a healthy dose of lycopene in fruits like guava, watermelon, and grapefruit, but a bowl full of organic tomato paste has 10 times more lycopene than the aforementioned fruits. It even has more than the paste of ripe red tomatoes.

2. Peppers/Sweet Bell

The colorful and easy on the eyes bell peppers are rich in vitamin C. In fact, a single ounce of raw yellow bell pepper has more than 50mg of the most concentrated vitamin C, which is more than any other fruit or a vegetable on the planet. Red and green sweet bell peppers have vitamin C amounting to 35.8 and 22.5mg. Oranges are also considered rich in vitamin C, but shockingly, their 12.6 mg per ounce vitamin C concentration doesn’t even come close to sweet bell peppers. So if you want healthy, shining skin, make sure to add sweet pepper bells to your grocery list.

3. Green Tea

Green tea is definitely the most ubiquitous health drink in the world. It’s widely used by expert nutritionists across the globe because it contains a high concentration of antioxidants that keep the skin hydrated. Not only that, the antioxidants in green tea protect the skin from sun damage and slow the skin’s aging process as well. It is recommended to add at least 2 cups of powdered green tea known as matcha to your diet every day.

4. Walnuts

Walnuts, like fish, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If you’d like to have shiny hair and smoother skin, adding walnuts to your diet would be a good thing to do. Omega-3 can also be found in several expensive anti-aging creams to achieve the same desired effects.

5. Eggs

If you have damaged and dry skin, start cracking open a couple of eggs daily. Eggs contain high protein levels and can repair damaged skin by stimulating cell growth. Eggs also contain biotin, which not only makes the skin moist but also prevents dryness and wrinkles. No wonder nutrition experts start their day with a two-egg omelet.

6. Beans

Like eggs, beans and legumes are also rich in proteins. They almost have all the chemical properties of the eggs but with an even higher concentration of amino acids. Our stomach breaks down proteins into amino acids, which are the main ingredients cells need to survive. Amino acids repair the damaged cells and speed up the generation of new cells in the body.

7. Mineral Water

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Water is the essential part of our diet and survival. The body starts showing signs of dehydration if you drink less than 2 glasses of water a day. Dead skin on the lips, irregular bowel movements, and inflammation in the chest are just a few early signs. Fresh water keeps the skin glowing and drinking 3-4 glasses a day will not only have a positive effect on the skin but also on your overall health.

8. Olive Oil

If you like cooking or frying your food in butter or cheese, stop doing that. Instead, introduce olive oil to your diet. Pouring olive oil on a bowl of fresh green salad can enhance the effects and provide the essential vitamins E and K to the body. If you have dry skin, massaging your face and arms with olive oil can start showing its positive effects in just a week.

Smoking, heavy drinking, and eating junk food create a number of serious health and skin issues. These super foods can definitely help you achieve the dream results you have been longing for, but it’s also necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle overall.

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NHS doctor turned nutrition expert serves up comforting home truths

Food myths exploded… from vegan diets to the truth about sugar: Are you confused about what’s bad for you? In a new book, doctor-turned-nutrition expert serves up some comforting home truths

As a newly qualified NHS hospital doctor, Joshua Wolrich — weighing 17st — became obsessed with the idea that a good doctor shouldn’t be overweight. Over 18 months he embarked on a rigorous diet and exercise plan, dropping 4st and charting his metamorphosis on social media

As a newly qualified NHS hospital doctor, Joshua Wolrich — weighing 17st — became obsessed with the idea that a good doctor shouldn’t be overweight.

Over 18 months he embarked on a rigorous diet and exercise plan, dropping 4st and charting his metamorphosis on social media.

But in 2019, disillusioned by the growing popularity of fad diets and the abundance of conflicting information across social media, he switched from hospital medicine to study for a Masters degree in nutrition. 

With nearly 400,000 Instagram followers, he’s written a book, Food Isn’t Medicine, debunking food myths and setting out his diet philosophy.

His view is that although food ‘can have a positive impact’ on someone’s health, and ‘can be used alongside medicine, and be very important for patients who cannot tolerate medication due to side-effects’, it is ‘not medicine’.

As some doctors increasingly insist on the importance of what we eat, this perhaps strikes a controversial note. 

But Dr Wolrich is concerned with the way certain ‘diets’ are promoted as an alternative to medical treatment, especially with cancer patients, for instance, blaming dairy.

‘Focusing on an individual nutrient, rather than the food it comes from, pulls us into the trap of “reductionist nutrition”, which is an assumption that once we know the nutrients in a food, that food must do all the things the nutrients do,’ says Dr Wolrich.

This, he says, is what leads to claims such as ‘fish cures autoimmune disease as it contains anti-inflammatory nutrients’.

‘Our diet doesn’t work this way,’ he says. ‘Nutrients interact with each other in the context of the wider diet and lifestyle in ways lab research can’t account for.’

Here, in an extract from his book, Dr Wolrich examines common beliefs about food and its role in disease. 

Myth: Alkaline diets cure cancer 

Fans of an alkaline diet — eating more vegetables and fruit, and cutting back on sugar, alcohol, meat and processed foods in a bid to change the body’s ‘acidity levels’ — claim it is the key to both preventing and curing cancer.

This is based on a belief that cancers flourish in an acidic environment, so by creating an alkaline one, you make your body less hospitable to the disease.

Cancer cells do produce significant quantities of lactic acid, making the environment around them acidic, but this doesn’t mean an alkaline diet may cure it. 

A review published in The BMJ in 2016 concluded that there was no evidence to support these claims. 

Fans of an alkaline diet — eating more vegetables and fruit, and cutting back on sugar, alcohol, meat and processed foods in a bid to change the body’s ‘acidity levels’ — claim it is the key to both preventing and curing cancer

Myth: Sugar causes cancer 

Nearly every cell in our bodies, including cancer when it happens, uses glucose for energy.

Cancer cells grow faster than other cells and plough through glucose, often leaving the rest of our body struggling for energy. That’s why people with cancer often experience weight loss.

But, although it is technically true that ‘sugar feeds cancer’, it is not true that cutting it out of the diet can slow its growth. 

Cancer is particularly good at getting hold of even small amounts of glucose, so if you cut out all carbs, other cells (which also need glucose) would lose out.

Also, our bodies can make glucose from fat and protein, so cutting it out of the diet won’t starve cancer cells. 

A 2019 review of 23 studies of fasting and ketogenic (very low carb) diets by researchers at University Hospitals Bristol, published in the journal BMC Cancer, found no reduction in blood sugars.

Several recent reviews (between 2017 and 2019, published in BMC Cancer, Medical Oncology, and the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics) have not shown any benefit in restricting carbs or sugar in patients with cancer. 

Cancer cells grow faster than other cells and plough through glucose, often leaving the rest of our body struggling for energy. That’s why people with cancer often experience weight loss. But, although it is technically true that ‘sugar feeds cancer’, it is not true that cutting it out of the diet can slow its growth

Myth: Milk causes heart disease 

Cutting dairy out of the diet is often seen as a cure for breast cancer. The idea is partly based on low rates of the cancer in rural Chinese women, who consume very little dairy. 

This is added to the suggestion that dairy ‘acidifies’ the body, as well as the fact milk contains the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) which, the claim goes, also causes breast cancer.

Certainly, IGF-1 has been studied for its role in cancer cell growth — it plays an important part in encouraging cells to grow. But this does not mean it causes cancer.

A glass of milk contains less than 0.015 per cent of the IGF-1 your body produces every day. Your gut breaks down the IGF-1 consumed anyway, so we never absorb it (according to a 2002 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology).

A newer argument has emerged since, which claims oestrogen in milk could raise your risk of breast cancer. But a glass of whole milk contains 28,000 times less oestrogen than the female body produces in a day.

This is far too little to have any physiological effect on breast tissue, as confirmed by a 2012 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which found the oestrogen in three servings of whole milk was 0.01 to 0.1 per cent of the daily production rates in humans.

Cutting dairy out of the diet is often seen as a cure for breast cancer. The idea is partly based on low rates of the cancer in rural Chinese women, who consume very little dairy

It has separately been argued that dairy products, because of their saturated fat content, can have a ‘pro-inflammatory’ effect which could contribute to cardiovascular risk.

Yes, studies have shown saturated fat intake is associated with the low-grade inflammation linked to cardiovascular disease. But dairy intake has not been shown to raise cholesterol levels like other sources of saturated fat such as red meat.

They may even have a beneficial effect. A 2017 review of studies, published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, concluded that as long as you don’t have a milk allergy, dairy even appears to have a weak anti-inflammatory effect. Milk consumption has also been shown to be associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Dairy can be a fantastic source of calcium and is often people’s main source of iodine, which is important for thyroid function. We need to stop demonising it.

It may be compelling to read that ‘your brain lights up with sugar just like it does with cocaine or heroin’, but it’s useful to note the exact same parts of the brain are triggered by playing with puppies, and that’s not considered toxic.

Studies labelling sugar ‘addictive’ are usually based on the behaviour of rats starved for up to 16 hours before being offered a bowl of sugar. Is it any wonder the poor rodents exhibit bingeing and withdrawal anxiety?

Habit-forming is not the same as addiction and sugar simply doesn’t fit the criteria for dependency.

It may be compelling to read that ‘your brain lights up with sugar just like it does with cocaine or heroin’, but it’s useful to note the exact same parts of the brain are triggered by playing with puppies

Myth: Vegan diets are healthier 

A vegan diet may be healthier if you eat a lot of processed meat, fried food and refined carbs. 

But a vegan combination of fries, pizza, baked beans and crisps does not mark an improvement.

Meat can be a great source of complete protein and iron; dairy is a key source of calcium; and oily fish is really beneficial for heart health. 

You can have a plant-based diet without having to remove animal products entirely.

A vegan diet may be healthier if you eat a lot of processed meat, fried food and refined carbs

Myth: Eggs clog up your arteries

Cholesterol is used within the body for making cell membranes, creating bile (which we need to properly digest the fat we eat) and is broken down into vitamin D. Our body has the ability to make all the cholesterol we need — most of it in the liver.

But research shows that feeding large amounts of cholesterol to animals leads to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques (a fatty build-up in the arteries which can make clots more likely) which is why anyone at risk of heart disease is advised to cut cholesterol in their diet.

But the research findings are not replicated in humans. Our liver adjusts cholesterol production according to the amount in the diet, excreting any excess as bile. 

In roughly two-thirds of the population, these mechanisms are so good that dietary cholesterol has no impact on the amount of overall cholesterol in the blood. The consumption of food high in cholesterol, such as eggs, has even been shown to be beneficial for heart health.

Eggs have been demonised as being as bad for your health as smoking. But the research is clear: atherosclerotic plaque formation increases with age — not dietary choices.

Furthermore, eggs are packed with nutrients, including choline, vitamin A and vitamin B12 and can form part of a balanced diet.

Eggs have been demonised as being as bad for your health as smoking. But the research is clear: atherosclerotic plaque formation increases with age — not dietary choices

 

Adapted from Food Isn’t Medicine by Dr Joshua Wolrich (Vermilion, £16.99). To order a copy for £14.95 go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. 

Free UK delivery on orders over £20. Offer price valid until April 13, 2021.

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Expert weighs devastating impact of COVID-19 on health care workers

During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers have been at the forefront of the battle against the life-threatening illness. Sadly, they are not immune to the effects of the disease. Many have contracted COVID-19, and some have died.

In a paper published Dec. 4, 2020, in the journal PLOS ONE, Junaid Razzak, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Emergency Care, and his colleagues estimated the impacts of COVID-19 on the U.S. health care community based on observed numbers of health care worker infections during the early phase of the pandemic in Hubei, China, and Italy, areas that experienced peaks in COVID-19 cases before the United States.

“We looked at what was known from other countries earlier in the pandemic and modeled the impact on the health of the front-line health care workers in this country to see what gains were possible here if known interventions were applied,” says Razzak, who is a professor of emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Using a Monte Carlo risk analysis simulation model to predict outcomes and based on data from China and Italy, Razzak and his team estimate that between 53,000 and 54,000 U.S. hospital workers could become infected with COVID-19 during the course of the pandemic. The team projects the number of U.S. hospital worker deaths for the same time period at approximately 1,600.

The estimates by the researchers also suggest that if health care workers considered high risk—including those over age 60—wore appropriate personal protective equipment—such as gowns and face masks—the number of infections would decrease to about 28,000 and the number of deaths to between 700 and 1,000. If hospital workers age 60 and over are restricted from direct patient care, then the predicted numbers could drop to 2,000 infected and 60 deaths.

Razzak and his team say that since the current COVID-19 mortality among U.S. health care workers has surpassed their original estimates, it proves that this group bears—and will continue to bear—a significant burden of illness due to COVID-19.

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Expert discusses the discoveries that enabled RNA vaccines for COVID-19

Some of the most promising vaccines developed to combat COVID-19 rely on messenger RNA (mRNA)—a template cells use to carry genetic instructions for producing proteins. The mRNA vaccines take advantage of this cellular process to make proteins that then trigger an immune response that targets SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Compared to other types of vaccines, recently developed technologies allow mRNA vaccines to be rapidly created and deployed on a large-scale—crucial aspects in the fight against COVID-19. Within the year since the identification and sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, companies such as Pfizer and Moderna have developed mRNA vaccines and run large-scale trials in the race to have a vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—a feat unheard of with traditional vaccines using live attenuated or inactive viruses. These vaccines appear to have a greater than 90 percent efficacy in protecting against infection.

The fact that these vaccines could be rapidly developed within these last 10 months rests on more than four decades of study of mRNA. This success story begins with Institute Professor Phillip A. Sharp’s discovery of split genes and spliced RNA that took place at MIT in the 1970s—a discovery that would earn him the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Sharp, a professor within the Department of Biology and member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, commented on the long arc of scientific research that has led to this groundbreaking, rapid vaccine development—and looked ahead to what the future might hold for mRNA technology.

Q: Professor Sharp, take us back to the fifth floor of the MIT Center for Cancer Research in the 1970s. Were you and your colleagues thinking about vaccines when you studied viruses that caused cancer?

A: Not RNA vaccines! There was a hope in the ’70s that viruses were the cause of many cancers and could possibly be treated by conventional vaccination with inactivated virus. This is not the case, except for a few cancers such as HPV causing cervical cancer.

Also, not all groups at the MIT Center for Cancer Research (CCR) focused directly on cancer. We knew so little about the causes of cancer that Professor Salvador Luria, director of the CCR, recruited faculty to study cells and cancer at the most fundamental level. The center’s three focuses were virus and genetics, cell biology, and immunology. These were great choices.

Our research was initially funded by the American Cancer Society, and we later received federal funding from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation—as well as support from MIT through the CCR, of course.

At Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in collaboration with colleagues, we had mapped the parts of the adenovirus genome responsible for tumor development. While doing so, I became intrigued by the report that adenovirus RNA in the nucleus was longer than the RNA found outside the nucleus in the cytoplasm where the messenger RNA was being translated into proteins. Other scientists had also described longer-than-expected nuclear RNA from cellular genes, and this seemed to be a fundamental puzzle to solve.

Susan Berget, a postdoc in my lab, and Claire Moore, a technician who ran MIT’s electron microscopy facility for the cancer center and would later be a postdoc in my lab, were instrumental in designing the experiments that would lead to the iconic electron micrograph that was the key to unlocking the mystery of this “heterogeneous” nuclear RNA. Since those days, Sue and Claire have had successful careers as professors at Baylor College of Medicine and Tufts Medical School, respectively.

The micrograph showed loops that would later be called “introns”—unnecessary extra material in between the relevant segments of mRNA, or “exons.” These exons would be joined together, or spliced, to create the final, shorter message for the translation to proteins in the cytoplasm of the cell.

This data was first presented at the Cancer Center fifth floor group meeting that included Bob Weinberg, David Baltimore, David Housman, and Nancy Hopkins. Their comments, particularly those of David Baltimore, were catalysts in our discovery. Our curiosity to understand this basic cellular mechanism drove us to learn more, to design the experiments that could elucidate the RNA splicing process. The collaborative environment of the MIT Cancer Center allowed us to share ideas and push each other to see problems in a new way.

Q: Your discovery of RNA splicing was a turning point, opening up new avenues that led to new applications. What did this foundation allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?

A: Our discovery in 1977 occurred just as biotechnology appeared with the objective of introducing complex human proteins as therapeutic agents, for example interferons and antibodies. Engineering genes to express these proteins in industrial tanks was dependent on this discovery of gene structure. The same is true of the RNA vaccines for COVID-19: By harnessing new technology for synthesis of RNA, researchers have developed vaccines whose chemical structure mimics that of cytoplasmic mRNA.

In the early 1980s, following isolation of many human mutant disease genes, we recognized that about one-fifth of these were defective for accurate RNA splicing. Further, we also found that different isoforms of mRNAs encoding different proteins can be generated from a single gene. This is “alternative RNA splicing” and may explain the puzzle that humans have fewer genes—21,000 to 23,000—than many less complex organisms, but these genes are expressed in more complex protein isoforms. This is just speculation, but there are so many things about biology yet to be discovered.

I liken RNA splicing to discovering the Rosetta Stone. We understood how the same letters of the alphabet could be written and rewritten to form new words, new meaning, and new languages. The new “language” of mRNA vaccines can be developed in a laboratory using a DNA template and readily available materials. Knowing the genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 is the first step in generating the mRNA vaccine. The effective delivery of vaccines into the body based on our fundamental understanding of mRNA took decades more work and ingenuity to figure out how to evade other cellular mechanisms perfected over hundreds of millions of years of evolution to destroy foreign genetic material.

Q: Looking ahead 40 more years, where do you think mRNA technology might be?

A: In the future, mRNA vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to target multiple diseases. We could also create personalized vaccines based on individuals’ genomes.

Messenger RNA vaccines have several benefits compared to other types of vaccines, including the use of noninfectious elements and shorter manufacturing times. The process can scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods. RNA vaccines can also be moved rapidly into clinical trials, which is critical for the next pandemic.

It is impossible to predict the future of RNA therapies, such as the new vaccines, but there are some signs that new advancements could happen very quickly. A few years ago, the first RNA-based therapy was approved for treatment of lethal genetic disease. This treatment was designed through the discovery of RNA interference. Messenger RNA-based therapies will also likely be used to treat genetic diseases, vaccinate against cancer, and generate transplantable organs. It is another tool at the forefront of modern medical care.

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Coronavirus therapeutics 'more complicated' than vaccine, expert says

WHO warns of surge in coronavirus cases in Europe

EEurope is seeing more weekly coronavirus cases than it did in March’s peak; Amy Kellogg reports.

Editors of a highly respected medical journal discussed on Wednesday "Operation Warp Speed" and the government's response to COVID-19, focusing mostly on therapeutics.

"Operation Warp Speed" is the U.S. government's plan to quickly ramp up the development and production of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

“Therapeutics are, in a way, more complicated than vaccines," said Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). “There are a limited number of approaches to vaccination and a similarly limited number of endpoints, but for therapeutics, there is an enormously wide range of targets and goals.”

Rubin explained that therapeutics can take a number of approaches, like trying to target the virus, target the host or target the interface between the host and the virus, all possibly leading to different consequences. Researchers can opt for small synthetic molecules or large biological macromolecules, also leading to different development paths, he said.

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“Therapeutics are, in a way, more complicated than vaccines," said Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)." 
(iStock)

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“The development time from discovery all the way to a useful drug is even longer than in vaccines, it’s often extending for decades," he said.

Rubin said "Operation Warp Speed" set three criteria for supported therapeutics: the candidate has to be ready for clinical testing this fall, there must be strong preclinical data supporting its use, and any candidate chosen must be deliverable at scale by the end of 2020.

Rubin said the criteria “strictly limit” the potential candidates. However, antibody-based therapies were said to have several advantages due to their well-understood development and production processes, in addition to their relatively known safety margins.

It was noted that small molecules like the experimental antiviral remdesivir and dexamethasone were previously shown to have some success. While the former can benefit patients earlier on in infection, the latter showed to lower the fatality rate of patients with more severe disease.

While remdesivir may benefit patients earlier on in infection, dexamethasone showed to lower the fatality rate of patients with more severe disease. 
(iStock)

“Dexamethasone sets a very high bar because it’s cheap and widely available and most of the other things that we’re talking about are antibodies or expensive small molecules so they’ll have to do better than dexamethasone in order to be widely adopted," Rubin said.

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These small molecules were said to have unique properties, and it’s difficult to generalize between them, even within the same chemical class. Each drug has its own pharmacology, subject to investigation and safety testing.

Rubin explained that “often times, it’s very difficult to guess what the issues are going to be for a small molecule as opposed to some of the, for example, antibodies, so there are often not very good guesses about potential toxicities before you get into people.”

Dr. Lindsey Baden, deputy editor of NEJM and co-principal investigator for Moderna’s Phase 3 trial, is involved with "Operation Warp Speed." Baden questioned how to bring out the best in the U.S. government, industry and academia to create a fast, appropriate response to the global health crisis.

“It’s a real balance because we don’t want to get lost in for-profit considerations but we also need responses that are temporally appropriate, so speed, and how to do things quickly in response to this pandemic that is spreading so fast,” Baden said. “It’s something that the different communities haven’t always thought about together that this crisis forced us to [do]

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"I think the speed with which this response is occurring on the biomedical side is encouraging in many ways despite some failings in our response," Baden added.

Finally, Baden addressed the question on the minds of many: How can drug developers speed along these clinical trials without risking safety in the end product?

“There are ways to take risks in manufacturing that are financial that don’t engender safety risks in the studies and those financial risks have to be thought about in the manufacturing side and the delivery side, that I would argue are appropriate risks in this setting," Baden said, elaborating on the nations' daily new case and death count, which is around 36,000 and 750, respectively, per the AP.

He said shaving off a week, month or just a day "has significant potential implications," given the widespread disease.

Click here to listen to the NEJM interview.

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