Warning signs over effectiveness of HIV ‘wonder drug’ in sub-Saharan Africa — ScienceDaily

Dolutegravir, the current first-line treatment for HIV, may not be as effective as hoped in sub-Saharan Africa, suggests new research published on World AIDS Day. The study finds that this so-called ‘wonder drug’ may be less effective in patients resistant to older drugs.

As HIV copies itself and replicates, it can develop errors, or ‘mutations’, in its genetic code (its RNA). While a drug may initially be able to supress or even kill the virus, certain mutations can allow the virus to develop resistance to its effects. If a mutated strain begins to spread within a population, it can mean once-effective drugs are no longer able to treat people.

HIV treatment usually consists of a cocktail of drugs that includes a type of drug known as a non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). However, in recent years, HIV has begun to develop resistance to NNRTIs. Between 10% and 15% of patients in

Read More

Facebook to reimburse some advertisers after miscalculating effectiveness data

LONDON — Facebook is repaying some advertisers after misreporting one of the measures of their ads’ likely effectiveness over the course of a year.

The company’s “conversion lift” tool suffered a glitch that reportedly affected thousands of ads between August 2019 and August 2020.

Facebook fixed the error in September and is now offering a credit to clients “meaningfully affected” by the bug.

Conversion lift helps brands understand how ads lead to sales, using a “gold-standard methodology” that links ads on Facebook’s platforms, including Instagram, to business performance, according to an explanation of the tool on Facebook’s website.

The free tool shows ads to separate test and control groups and then compares sales conversions for each. Then, based on the results of the study, an advertiser can decide how much to spend on the social network.

But advertisers were only alerted to the error this month, according to a report

Read More

Economist publishes research on traffic camera effectiveness

stop light
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Between 300 and 400 cities in the U.S. employ traffic camera programs, according to Montana State University assistant professor Justin Gallagher. Even so, there has long been debate over whether the programs are effective at maximizing public safety and reducing traffic accidents.


Gallagher, a faculty member in MSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics in the College of Agriculture and the College of Letters and Science, wondered if he could narrow down an answer to that question. In a paper published in the American Economic Journal of Economic Policy, Gallagher and University of Arizona researcher Paul Fischer examine the concept of offsetting risks using more than a decade’s worth of data from one of the country’s largest red-light camera programs in Houston, Texas.

“In debates about this issue, one side argues that these cameras improve safety, while the other side is often concerned with having computers

Read More

Social bubbles and masks more situation-dependent in terms of effectiveness — ScienceDaily

Simon Fraser University professors Paul Tupper and Caroline Colijn have found that physical distancing is universally effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19, while social bubbles and masks are more situation-dependent.

The researchers developed a model to test the effectiveness of measures such as physical distancing, masks or social bubbles when used in various settings.

Their paper was published Nov. 19 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

They introduce the concept of “event R,” which is the expected number of people who become infected with COVID-19 from one individual at an event.

Tupper and Colijn look at factors such as transmission intensity, duration of exposure, the proximity of individuals and degree of mixing — then examine what methods are most effective at preventing transmission in each circumstance.

The researchers incorporated data from reports of outbreaks at a range of

Read More

Mutation is not expected to interfere with effectiveness of vaccines under development — ScienceDaily

A new study published in Science confirms that SARS-CoV-2 has mutated in a way that’s enabled it to spread quickly around the world, but the spike mutation may also make the virus more susceptible to a vaccine.

The new strain of coronavirus, called D614G, emerged in Europe and has become the most common in the world. Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows the D614G strain replicates faster and is more transmissible than the virus, originating in China, that spread in the beginning of the pandemic.

There were bright spots in the study findings: While the D614G strain spreads faster, in animal studies it was not associated with more severe disease, and the strain is slightly more sensitive to neutralization by antibody drugs.

The study published Nov. 12 provides some of the first concrete findings about how SARS-CoV-2 is evolving.

“The

Read More

Vitamin C’s effectiveness against COVID-19 may hinge on vitamin’s natural transporter levels — ScienceDaily

High doses of vitamin C under study for treating COVID-19 may benefit some populations, but investigators exploring its potential in aging say key factors in effectiveness include levels of the natural transporter needed to get the vitamin inside cells.

Age, race, gender, as well as expression levels and genetic variations of those vitamin C transporters that make them less efficient, all may be factors in the effectiveness of vitamin C therapy against COVID-19 and other maladies, investigators at the Medical College of Georgia Center for Healthy Aging report in a commentary in the journal Aging and Disease.

The investigators recommend that those factors be considered in the design and execution of clinical trials, and when trial results are analyzed, for COVID-19 as well as other conditions, says Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, aging researcher and the article’s corresponding author.

The novel nature and lack of immunity against the coronavirus has prompted

Read More