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Mexican law prevents the United States from turning back some migrant families

WASHINGTON – Mexican law has prevented the United States from swiftly denying migrant families in one of the busiest sections of the southwest border, forcing officers to resume releasing families in the country, three officials say of the Biden administration.

The Trump administration began turning back migrants entering the United States in March, citing the threat of the coronavirus, and the emergency rule effectively sealed the border of asylum seekers. But due to a law passed by Mexico in November banning the detention of immigrant children and families, the country has stopped accepting such families from South Texas, an area typically prone to illegal crossings, officials said.

The recent change has alarmed officials in the Department of Homeland Security and presents an immediate challenge to the Biden administration. Homeland security officials have said the emergency rule is necessary to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in detention centers along the border, while preventing vulnerable families from making their asylum claims heard. A growing number of families have been detained in recent weeks at such facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, as well as in Del Rio, Texas, officials said.

Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Stephanie Malin said that due to pandemic precautions and social distancing guidelines, some facilities have reached their full “retention capacity.”

“CBP takes the safety and well-being of its workforce and those they encounter very seriously, and we are taking even more precautions because of Covid-19,” Ms. Malin said. “As always, the number of people crossing the border continues to fluctuate and we continue to adapt accordingly.” She said the agency was working with community organizations when releasing the migrants to the public.

The United States has returned more than 390,000 migrants to Mexico or their country of origin since March. The rule reduced the number of migrants detained on the US side of the border, but it also caused Central American families to scramble at times when they learned their children had been delivered to Mexico, a violation of international agreements. . And while the policy is a crucial part of the Trump administration’s attempts to close the border to migrants, the rule has also had the unintended effect of giving migrants more chances to enter illegally.

Customs and border protection recorded more than 73,000 crossings in December, an increase from more than 40,000 in July. Officers detained more than 40,000 migrants in December 2019.

Mexican law, which took effect in January, does not apply to the entire border, officials said. U.S. border officials still turn away single adults and, in places like Arizona, families as well, officials said. It is not known how the law will affect other parts of the border.

A spokesperson for Mexico’s Foreign Ministry declined to say whether it had stopped accepting migrant families, saying only that the United States continued to implement the emergency rule in the event of a pandemic.

But the Biden administration was unable to return migrant families to Reynosa, Mexico, a change first reported by The Washington Post. This change has raised concerns from customs and border protection about a potential increase in family crossings to the neighboring Rio Grande valley. Border crossings in recent years have been fueled mainly by Central American families fleeing persecution, violence and poverty.

The Department of Homeland Security is currently building a tent in Donna, Texas to house the migrants, but an administration official said this has nothing to do with Mexican law. Customs and border protection announced in November the closure of McAllen’s main detention center for renovations.

President Biden has campaigned to restore asylum to the Southwestern border and this week signed an executive order ordering the administration to review President Donald J. Trump’s restrictive policies.

The new administration has not publicly specified when the emergency pandemic rule will be lifted. After a federal judge in the District of Columbia lifted a blockade on the rule, which prevented the United States from refusing unaccompanied migrant children, the White House said it would use its discretion to decide when to apply the policy.

Mr Biden said in December his administration would take a cautious approach to reversing Trump-era policies to avoid a border surge.

His immigration plan involved relying more on post-release follow-up programs for migrants in the United States to ensure they show up to immigration court and less on detention.

Mexico, for its part, has been praised for imposing restrictions on those it detains.

“Mexico is taking a decisive step towards ending the detention of immigrant children and we are encouraged by this promising development,” said Gillian Triggs, Deputy High Commissioner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

While senior officials in the Trump administration have argued that his emergency rule was only an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Mr. Trump’s White House has attempted to use this policy to promote its policies. objectives of reducing illegal immigration.

Kirk Semple contributed reporting from Mexico City.

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Drug prevents coronavirus infection in nursing homes, manufacturer claims

An unusual experiment to keep staff and residents of nursing homes from being infected with the coronavirus has been successful, drugmaker Eli Lilly said Thursday.

A drug containing monoclonal antibodies – virus fighters grown in the lab – has avoided symptomatic infections in residents exposed to the virus, even the most vulnerable frail elderly, according to preliminary results of a study conducted in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers found an 80% reduction in infections among residents who received the drug, compared to those who received a placebo, and a 60% reduction among staff, both statistically very powerful results. said Eli Lilly.

The data has not yet been peer reviewed or published. The company plans to present the results at an upcoming medical meeting and publish them in a peer-reviewed journal, but did not say when.

The study included 965 participants in nursing homes: 666 staff and 299 residents. (The company hoped more residents would participate, but it proved difficult to register them; many suffered from dementia and others were concerned about being given an intravenous drug.)

There were four deaths from Covid-19 among study participants. All of them were residents of the nursing homes who received a placebo, not the drug.

The drug, bamlanivimab, already has Emergency Use Clearance from the Food and Drug Administration which allows Eli Lilly to provide it to symptomatic patients at the onset of their infection.

But this study asked if the drug could stop infections before they started. It was an unusual experience: in trucks equipped with mobile laboratories, medical staff traveled to nursing homes as soon as a single infection was detected. Upon arrival, the workers set up temporary infusion centers to administer the drug.

The research ended this weekend with an emergency meeting of the Security and Data Oversight Council, an independent group monitoring the incoming results. The data was strong and compelling enough to put an end to placebos.

Vaccines against covid19>

Answers to your questions about vaccines

While the exact order of vaccinees can vary by state, most will likely prioritize medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help you.

Life will only return to normal when society as a whole is sufficiently protected against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they will only be able to immunize a few percent of their citizens at most in the first two months. The unvaccinated majority will always remain vulnerable to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show strong protection against the disease. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they are infected, as they have only mild symptoms, if any. Scientists do not yet know if the vaccines also block the transmission of the coronavirus. So for now, even vaccinated people will have to wear masks, avoid crowds inside, etc. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society reach this goal, life may start to move closer to something normal by fall 2021.

Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will potentially be authorized this month clearly protect people against Covid-19 disease. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. It remains a possibility. We know that people naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it without experiencing a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensely as the vaccines roll out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will have to consider themselves as possible spreaders.

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is given by injection into the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection will be no different from any you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines and none of them have reported serious health problems. But some of them experienced short-lived discomfort, including aches and pains and flu-like symptoms that usually last for a day. People may need to plan a day off or school after the second shot. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and building a powerful response that will provide long-lasting immunity.

No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to stimulate the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is ultimately destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slip inside. The cell uses mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any given time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce to make their own proteins. Once these proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules made by our cells can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is designed to resist the enzymes in the cell for a bit longer, so that the cells can produce additional viral proteins and elicit a stronger immune response. But mRNA can only last a few days at most before being destroyed.

“My jaw dropped when I saw the results chart,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a senior researcher who helped design and implement study.

Although the study is complete, Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, scientific director of Eli Lilly, said the company will continue to rush to nursing homes in its study network when an outbreak is detected. “Everyone will get the medicine,” he says.

Experts who were not part of the study were enthusiastic, but stressed that they had not yet seen full data. “I only see positive aspects here,” said Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the precision vaccination program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s a victory.”

Dr Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland, was also encouraged.

“The mortality effect is remarkable,” she said, adding that the drug should be used more widely to prevent and treat Covid-19, “especially in populations such as residents of nursing homes, who have high mortality and may have suboptimal responses to vaccines. “

Vaccines, of course, also protect people from infection with the virus, and nursing home staff and residents were among the first priority groups for vaccines. But supplies are insufficient and many nursing home workers frightened by vaccines have refused to obtain them.

And after vaccination, it can take six weeks for the body to produce enough antibodies for maximum protection, said Dr. Srilatha Edupuganti, a vaccine researcher at Emory University in Atlanta and researcher in the study.

Treatment with monoclonal antibodies, she said, can give almost equivalent protection immediately, although it will not last as long as the protection offered by a vaccine.

Eli Lilly plans to approach FDA about emergency use authorization for use of drug to prevent infections in frail elderly populations, especially those in nursing homes or long-care facilities duration, said Dr Skovronsky.

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Moderna vaccine is highly protective and prevents severe Covid-19, data shows

WASHINGTON – The coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna is very protective, according to new data released Tuesday, paving the way for its emergency clearance this week by federal regulators and the start of its distribution across the country.

The Food and Drug Administration intends to clear the vaccine for use on Friday, people familiar with the agency’s plans said. The move would give millions of Americans access to a second coronavirus vaccine as early as Monday.

Data included in an FDA review confirms Moderna’s earlier assessment that its vaccine had a 94.1% effectiveness rate in a trial involving 30,000 people. The side effects, including fever, headache and fatigue, were unpleasant but not dangerous, the agency found.

The success of Moderna’s vaccine has become all the more crucial in the fight against the pandemic as other vaccination efforts have failed. The encouraging news comes at a time when the record number of coronavirus cases is crushing hospitals and the steadily rising death toll, which hit a grim threshold of 300,000 on Monday.

The release of the data is the first step in a public review process that will include a one-day meeting on Thursday by an independent expert advisory committee. They will hear from Moderna, FDA scientists and the public before voting on whether to recommend authorization. The panel is expected to vote yes, and the FDA generally follows expert recommendations.

The distribution of around six million doses could then begin next week, adding significantly to the millions of doses already shipped by Pfizer and BioNTech, the companies that developed the first coronavirus vaccine to receive emergency clearance on Friday. latest. Healthcare workers received the first injections of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday, which has a 95% effectiveness rate.

The rollout of the vaccine has been eagerly awaited and is one of the most ambitious vaccination campaigns ever carried out in the United States.

The federal government signed agreements last summer with Moderna and Pfizer to deliver a total of 200 million doses in the first quarter of 2021. Because both vaccines require two doses, these contracts guaranteed sufficient doses for 100 million people. .

Last week, the government announced it had purchased an additional 100 million doses of Moderna for the second quarter, bringing the number of Americans who can be vaccinated to 150 million. But that still leaves the question of how and when the estimated 180 million other Americans will be covered.

Both vaccines will be provided free to the public.

Moderna’s vaccine has become a symbol of the triumphs of government scientists during the pandemic. After China released the genetic sequence for the new virus in early January, scientists at Moderna and the National Institutes of Health were able to focus on designing a vaccine in just two days. Unlike Pfizer, Moderna has a close relationship with Operation Warp Speed, the federal program designed to get a vaccine to market quickly. Nearly $ 2.5 billion in federal funds helped Moderna buy raw materials, expand its factory, and increase its workforce by 50%.

Moderna’s success contrasts with two other large-scale projects that the United States hoped to increase its vaccine supply for: one from pharmaceutical companies Sanofi from France and GlaxoSmithKline from Great Britain, and another from Anglo-Swedish drug maker AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

AstraZeneca and Oxford ended up using two different doses in clinical trials in Britain and Brazil. At one level, the efficiency was 62 percent, and at the other it was 90 percent. It is not clear from these confusing results when AstraZeneca will have sufficient data to obtain emergency use authorization.

Meanwhile, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline received disappointing results from their vaccine in early clinical trials. Although it produced a promising immune response in volunteers under the age of 50, it failed to do so in older people. The companies are currently planning a new round of trials with a different version of the vaccine. The delay means they are unlikely to deliver vaccines before the end of 2021.

Moderna’s vaccine worked in both white volunteers and communities of color. There was also no significant difference between its protection for men and women, or between healthy volunteers and those at risk for severe Covid-19 who had conditions like obesity and diabetes. For people 65 and older, the trial provided an estimated efficacy of 86.4 percent, lower than the overall estimate of 94.1 percent. But the apparent difference was not statistically significant.

So far, two potential differences between vaccines have emerged from FDA reviews, but the results may reflect a lack of data rather than real differences. The Pfizer-BioNTech trial showed that their vaccine began to protect against the coronavirus around 10 days after the first dose. Moderna’s vaccine trial, on the other hand, did not find such a striking effect after the first dose.

But fewer cases of Covid-19 occurred among trial participants in the early days of the Moderna trial, making it more difficult to measure the differences between the vaccinated group and the placebo group. Either way, health officials have said that for both vaccines, two doses are essential for full protection.

A second difference concerns the ability to prevent serious illness. Moderna has produced more evidence that its vaccine can do this, according to the journal. In his trial, 30 volunteers developed severe cases of Covid. All were in the placebo group, with no cases among those vaccinated.

In the Pfizer-BioNTech trial, the results were less convincing. There were 10 serious cases in the placebo group and one in the vaccinated group. These numbers are too small to assess the vaccine’s ability to prevent serious disease.

“The data available for these results did not allow any definitive conclusions to be drawn,” the FDA said.

Documents released on Tuesday made it clear that side effects were particularly common after the second dose, but usually only lasted a day. Experts say people may need to take time off work after being vaccinated.

During the Moderna trial, researchers also kept an eye out for volunteers who developed new disorders. In a multi-month trial with 30,000 volunteers, it’s normal for some to suffer from conditions unrelated to the vaccine, health experts say. Comparing the rates between people who receive the vaccine and the placebo – as well as general baseline rates – can help identify serious concerns and rule out coincidences.

During the Moderna trial, three vaccinated participants developed a form of temporary facial palsy called Bell’s palsy, while one participant on the placebo also experienced it. Bell’s palsy, which can last for weeks or more, can be triggered by viral infections and other causes. Some 40,000 people develop the disease each year in the United States. Years of intense research have failed to find evidence that any vaccine routinely recommended in the United States causes Bell’s palsy.

In the review published Tuesday, the FDA said, “There is insufficient information currently available to determine a causal relationship with the vaccine.”

In the Pfizer-BioNTech trial, four cases were detected in the vaccine group, including one in a person with a history of the disease, and none in the placebo group.

Dr Peter Marks, the FDA’s main vaccine regulator, said Monday in an interview with JAMA that the cases of Bell’s palsy in the trial were likely not caused by the vaccine and that the apparent difference between the two groups of volunteers was a matter of luck.

“Our working assumption is simply that this is a base rate imbalance, as we’ve seen in other essays,” he said.

In its review of the Moderna vaccine released Tuesday, the FDA said it plans to recommend tracking Bell’s palsy cases as the vaccines roll out.

“We’re going to be asking questions about this, just to close this question,” Dr Marks said on Monday.

The FDA analysis did not find any serious allergic reactions to the Moderna vaccine. The same was true in the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial, but when vaccinations began in Britain outside of this trial, two people with a history of severe allergies had a serious and potentially fatal reaction called anaphylaxis.

British health officials have said people with a history of anaphylaxis should avoid the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

But in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that people with severe allergies can be vaccinated safely, with close monitoring for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.

Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are similar in their ingredients, but not the same, so it is not clear whether an allergic reaction to one would occur with the other. Both are made up of genetic material called mRNA enclosed in a bubble made from a mixture of fats. The two companies use different fats.

Moderna has requested permission to vaccinate people 18 years and older, like those in her study. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was cleared for people as young as 16 years old because the trial had younger volunteers. Both companies are conducting trials on children as young as 12 and plan to start studying even younger children.

Sharon LaFraniere contributed to the reporting.

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To protect her parents, she prevents her daughter from going to school

Paula Madrid, a trauma psychologist specializing in resilience training in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, believed she had mastered the art of working, parenting, and caring for parents. Then came the coronavirus pandemic. She and her husband, Nestor Sulikowski, had to juggle the needs of their daughter, Chloé, 7, and his parents in New Jersey, especially his sick father who is vulnerable to coronavirus. For their sake, Ms Madrid, who is a Colombian immigrant, kept Chloé attending school remotely and limiting social interactions. It’s the only way, she says, that the three generations can safely spend time together every few weeks in their second home in the Catskills.

PAULA Everyone in my family counts the same. So I will do what I need to do to keep everyone safe and healthy. It is the element of juggling, how to manage the varying needs of different generations.

I’m spanish. I am family oriented. I consider my parents’ needs to be my own. My father is 73 and has lung cancer.

We saw my parents for about a week and a half at a time in upstate New York, depending on when my dad is due for his medicals. Each time, before seeing them, we are tested. This is the new standard.

This pandemic has called me to do what I have done best in my life, to multitask, to anticipate people’s needs. This is an opportunity to be resilient and show Chloe, my little one, how to do it.

There was an option to go back to school in person. She would have done well with the mask. She follows the instructions. She understands. She would have preferred it. For us, that was not an option. If she goes to school, when can we see her grandparents? That complicates things too much.

She dreams of friends, fantasizes about the day when we can go back to the parties in person. She is a lucky child. I tell him that it is a parenthesis in life.

Recently, in the middle of the night, I called Chloe’s friend’s mother and said, “We can’t see you tomorrow. It is a risk that we cannot take. My parents are with us. So the next day, I had a conversation with Chloe. I was in tears, I said I’m sorry. I told him I was at a roadblock, am I going right or left? “Doing well is doing what would be the most fun for you, getting together with your friend and having a pottery lesson. But in the end, it could really get us in trouble.

“Instead, I choose to go left: we are still with grandparents in this amazing Catskills forest. We are happy and everyone is safe. In a week, we can see some friends. It’s probably best that we don’t see them today. She said, “My God, I wish there was a way in between.” I said, “You know what, I guess the left side is between the two because we hold back a bit. We spend time with the elders, we have fun, do our best. In a week or two, we meet up with some friends.

After one of those long stays, she asked my mother, “Grandma, when are you leaving so that I can see my friends?” My parents weren’t supposed to be leaving for five or six days, but she said, “Yes, we’re leaving in two days.” She told me she was leaving so that Chloe could see her friends.

Last weekend my mom called. She asked, “Why can’t we come see you in Brooklyn?” I said, ‘No, I’m not doing that, mom. Nope. Chloe just saw her friend. ”

We’ll take the test on Saturday, get the results Tuesday, and we’ll head back to the Catskills to be together.

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Nasal Spray Prevents Covid Infection In Ferrets, Study Finds

A nasal spray that blocks the absorption of the SARS-CoV-2 virus completely protected ferrets it was tested on, according to a small study published Thursday by an international team of scientists. The study, which was limited to animals and has not yet been peer reviewed, has been evaluated by several health experts at the request of the New York Times.

If the spray, which scientists have described as non-toxic and stable, proves effective in humans, it could provide a new way to fight the pandemic. A daily spritz in the nose would act like a vaccine.

“Having something new that works against the coronavirus is exciting,” said Dr. Arturo Casadevall, president of immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study. “I could imagine that this is part of the arsenal.”

Work has been underway for months by scientists at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Columbia University Medical Center.

The team would need additional funding to continue clinical trials in humans. Dr Anne Moscona, a pediatrician and microbiologist at Columbia and co-author of the study, said they had applied for a patent on the product, and she hoped Columbia University would approach Operation Warp Speed. From the federal government or big pharmaceutical companies looking for new ways to fight the coronavirus.

The spray directly attacks the virus. It contains a lipopeptide, a particle of cholesterol linked to a chain of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. This particular lipopeptide exactly matches a stretch of amino acids in the spike protein of the virus, which the pathogen uses to attach to a human airway or to a lung cell.

Before a virus can inject its RNA into a cell, the peak must actually decompress, exposing two chains of amino acids, in order to fuse with the cell wall. As the tip moves up to complete the process, the lipopeptide in the spray inserts itself, hooking onto one of the amino acid chains on the tip and preventing the virus from attaching itself.

“It’s like you close a zipper but put another one inside, so the two sides can’t meet,” said Matteo Porotto, a microbiologist at Columbia University and one of the authors of the article.

The work was described in an article published on the bioRxiv preprint server Thursday morning, and has been submitted to the journal Science for peer review.

Dr Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said the therapy looked “really promising.”

“What I would like to know now is how easy it is to scale production,” he said.

In the study, the spray was administered to six ferrets, which were then divided into pairs and placed in three cages. Also in each cage were two ferrets who had been given a placebo spray and a ferret who had been deliberately infected with SARS-CoV-2 a day or two earlier.

Ferrets are used by scientists who study influenza, SARS, and other respiratory illnesses because they can pick up viruses through the nose just like humans do, although they also become infected through contact with feces. or by scratching and biting.

After 24 hours together, none of the treated ferrets contracted the disease; all of the ferrets in the placebo group did.

“Replication of the virus has been completely blocked,” the authors wrote.

The protective spray attaches to cells in the nose and lungs and lasts for about 24 hours, said Dr Moscona. “If it works well in humans, you could sleep in a bed with an infected person or be with your infected children and still be safe,” she said.

Amino acids come from a part of the spike protein in coronaviruses that rarely mutates. Scientists tested it against four different variants of the virus, including the well-known ‘Wuhan’ and ‘Italian’ strains, as well as the coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS.

In cell cultures, it protected completely against all strains of the pandemic virus, fairly well against SARS and partially against MERS.

The lipoprotein can be inexpensively produced as a freeze-dried white powder that does not need refrigeration, said Dr Moscona. A doctor or pharmacist can mix the powder with sugar and water to make a nasal spray.

Other labs have designed antibodies and “mini-proteins” that also block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering cells, but these are chemically more complex and may need to be stored at cold temperatures.

Dr Moscona and Dr Porotto have been collaborating on similar “fusion inhibitor” peptides for 15 years, they said on a conference call. They developed it against measles, Nipah, parainfluenza and other viruses.

But these products have garnered little commercial interest, Dr Porotto said, because an effective measles vaccine already exists and because the deadly Nipah virus only occasionally appears in distant places like Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Monoclonal antibodies to the novel coronavirus have been shown to prevent infection and treat it, but they are expensive to make, require refrigeration, and must be injected. Australian scientists have tested a nasal spray against Covid-19 in ferrets, but it works by boosting the immune system, not directly targeting the virus.

Because lipopeptides can be shipped as a dry powder, they could be used even in rural areas of poor countries with no refrigeration, Dr Moscona said.

Dr Moscona, a pediatrician who usually works on parainfluenza and other viruses that infect children, said she was most interested in getting the product to poor countries that may never have access to monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. to mRNA that Americans may soon have. But she has little experience in this area, she says.