Bracing myself

After the announcement of Biden’s pick for VP, Senator Kamala Harris, I spent some time perusing social media and the interwebs for the chatter. I’ve been waiting for a MONTH for this announcement and my first thought was: FINALLY, the decision is made.

Harris is a great candidate. I was a fan of Elizabeth Warren and was disappointed when she had dropped out of her bid for President. I had not paid attention to the other candidates as much, so I did some research and read some opinion pieces.

First woman VP Kamala Harris
Photo credit link: Politico

I found myself going to the fridge multiple times, getting ice cream and then wanting to snack. Typically when I do this, it means something is “up” emotionally – like anxiety, boredom or some other troubling emotion. I realized I was bracing myself for the inevitable misogyny and harsh judgement that always happens toward ambitious women.

Indeed some articles had this tone. And of course the harasser-in-chief called her “nasty” to Joe Biden, which is a typical way that he demeans women, so that wasn’t surprising. I started wishing for a “Nasty Women Get Sh*t Done” t-shirt or something…

Once I realized my own anxiety on behalf Harris, I slowed myself down and asked what I was feeling. Sometimes those us of with high empathy skills take on too many emotions that are not “ours.” So I calmed down, got out my laptop, and started writing. At least writing is a distraction from the misogyny, and a way I process emotion (healthier than overindulging on food).

I am excited for the choice and the fact that  Kamala Harris brings a wealth of experience and also a new perspective to the highest office in this country. I was very unenthusiastic about Biden’s campaign until I heard he had pledged to select a highly qualified woman to be his running mate.

Now I find myself grateful for my yoga training and taking deep breaths. I hope this team can defeat the menace that occupies the office at this time. If Americans cannot see how much we reap what we sow, we deserve to go down in flames.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

 

I am not convinced

There are a few vaccine trials that have started in the United States in the Phase 3 stage. I tried to find out more about one of them that was covered by NPR about the COVID-19 Prevention Network. To be honest, I hoped to see some reports on the preliminary results of the Phase I and II parts of the trial.

I could not find any such reports on the website, or any indications of possible adverse effects that could occur in the phase III trial. I signed up to be part of the screening for the trial (and did not receive a confirmation email). There is not a research site near me, so that is probably why. I could not find relevant scientific information, even on the Clinical Trials.gov site where such reports are required to be posted.

COVID-19 prevention network

Quite frankly, I am skeptical. I believe that the only way we can get back to a “new normal” and something like a post-COVID-vulnerable era is to be sure that a vaccine is developed. And at the same time, I would not recommend that friends or family members sign up for a trial conducted by Moderna. According to my sources (which include Wikipedia), Moderna has has mostly unsuccessful trials. In addition, it has been criticized for being secretive and not publishing peer-reviewed papers for its trials.

This is a warning flag to me. It seems like a company that is good at raising a lot of funds, without a lot of results. Science takes time to advance, and it also requires collaboration, not secrecy, in order to work well.

What troubles me is that science that is rushed is not subject to peer review. In fact, I learned of a study in the Lancet that was completely suspect due to the methodology was retracted, and that was shocking given their reputation. I remember reading it and wondering how the data were compiled so quickly given the difficulties in aggregating  from different instances of EPIC and other health data systems. As it turns out, Surgisphere, the company that provided the data was not able to “show their work” and methodology to validate their conclusions.

If you plan to sign up for a trial, my advice is this: be wary. Ask a lot of questions. Make sure you have time to think it over before signing up. Do research on the company and their background. If you are not convinced, do not sign up. Have your own “friendly clinical researcher”* reviewer take a look at the materials you are provided. I am very sad to say that in this era of misinformation and disinformation being published, the public needs to be even more careful.

Wear your masks when in public spaces, wash your hands and take good care, friends.

-cristy@meximinnesotana.com

*And if I do have fellow clinical research colleagues reading these studies and coming up with different conclusions, I would love to hear your feedback as well.