Viewpoints: Biden’s ARPA-H Plan Key To Health Care Innovations; New Malaria Vaccine Shows High Efficacy
Editorial pages tackle these public health topics.
Los Angeles Times:
How Biden's Cutting-Edge Health Agency Could Succeed
When President Biden recently presented Congress, and Americans, with his vision for an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), the acronym may have sounded familiar. It should have. The new health agency would be modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, a Department of Defense research and development agency. DARPA is responsible for such life-altering technological advancements as the computer mouse and “packet-switching”— the foundation for today’s internet (and conceived in partnership with the Rand Corp., where we work). (Luke Muggy, Catherine Cohen and Kristie Gore, 5/24)
Deadly Pandemic: Effective Malaria Vaccine After Century Of Trying
Death tolls over 500,000 in a single year. Millions falling ill across the world. This is a relentless pandemic. I’m not talking about COVID-19; I’m talking about malaria. The disease is caused by a microscopic, mosquito-borne parasite – Plasmodium falciparum – that infected 229 million people just two years ago. (Susannah Hills, 5/24)
Use Single-Cell Biology To Shed Light On Pediatric Diseases
There are few things harder for a physician to say to a patient than “I don’t know what’s wrong.” Saying that is even harder when you’re sitting across from the parent of a child with an undiagnosed condition. And as I learned from experience, it is harder still when you work at a national referral center for rare pediatric diseases, since you are a family’s last hope: the physician they’re seeing after they’ve spent months — even years — searching for help and exhausting every other option. My heart broke every time I had to say, “I’m so sorry, but I don’t know what’s wrong.” (Priscilla Chan, 5/24)
What Do Steve Bannon's Covid Supplements And Gwyneth Paltrow's Candles Have In Common?
As Americans try to push past the pandemic, a tsunami of sketchy products and suspect regimens threaten our health — though likely the only thing they purge is our bank accounts. From Trump buddy Steve Bannon’s vitamin “defense pack” to Gwyneth Paltrow’s apparently exploding vagina-scented candles, ever more celebrities are using their star power to hawk the evidence-free, the ridiculous or the downright dangerous. (Lynn Stuart Parramore, 5/21)
The Baltimore Sun:
Maryland Lawmakers Must Clarify The Standard For Involuntary Commitment
The killing by Everton Brown of three of his neighbors in Woodlawn was a tragedy that in all likelihood could have been prevented. It should serve as a catalyst for the Maryland General Assembly to revisit the legal standard for determining if a person may be involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric facility — a move that is long overdue. Our state has one of the most restrictive laws on involuntary psychiatric admission in the nation. The intersection of law and psychiatry can be tricky. I was a psychiatric social worker before I was a lawyer. I saw the challenges in applying legal standards to mental health problems from different perspectives, beginning with triaging patients presenting mental health problems in an emergency room and outpatient clinic. (David A. Plymyer, 5/21)
Texas Heartbeat Act Will Fail For Reasons Having Nothing To Do With Abortion
Those favoring tighter restrictions on abortion ought not to be cheering the enactment in Texas this week of Senate Bill 8, the “Texas Heartbeat Act.” Instead, they should be angry with the Legislature for wasting political energy on a bill certain to be found unconstitutional for reasons having nothing to do with abortion. The bill says that every doctor must check for a fetal heartbeat and that once a heartbeat is detected — often at about six weeks into pregnancy — an abortion can’t be performed. The provision is clearly unconstitutional under cases like Roe v. Wade and its successors, which say that states can’t prohibit abortion before the fetus is viable outside the womb, which occurs at about 23 weeks. Rather than attempting a direct assault on that doctrine as states such as Mississippi have attempted, with SB8 Texas seeks an end run. It says Roe v. Wade only constrains the state itself and that, here, the state will not itself enforce the prohibition. Instead, SB8 will let almost anyone anywhere in the world sue the abortion provider (and other people assisting) for $10,000 in damages. (Seth Chandler, 5/24)