WHO launches 'solidarity trial,' bringing countries together to study coronavirus vaccines
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

This week, a 43-year-old Seattle woman became the first person in the U.S. to be injected with a coronavirus vaccine. Don't get too excited, though—it's merely the first step in the clinical trials that will determine if the vaccine is safe and effective, a process that experts say will take 18 months or more.


It's also not the only vaccine being developed. Thanks to early efforts in China to sequence the genetic makeup of Sars-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and share it with the world, scientists everywhere had a head start on the process. China's first vaccine was just approved for clinical trials, and scientists around the world are working on their own versions of vaccines to try to stop the global march of the virus.

While that's great, how will we know which of the vaccines being developed are the most effective? And if different countries come up with different treatments for the COVID-19 disease, how will we know which ones work the best?

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that they've created an international trial to study the various coronavirus treatments being developed to determine which ones work the best—a move that will help all of us in every nation.

"Multiple small trials with different methods may not give us the clear, strong evidence we need about which treatments help to save lives. WHO and partners are organizing a study in many countries in which some of these untested treatments are compared with each other," said WHO director Dr. Tedros in a media briefing today.

"This large, international study is designed to generate the robust data we need, to show which treatments are the most effective. We have called this study the SOLIDARITY trial."

Okay, that's the best possible name for a global study that brings countries together to solve the most immediate global crisis we've seen in our lifetime.

"The SOLIDARITY trial provides simplified procedures to enable even hospitals that have been overloaded to participate," Tedros said. "Many countries have already confirmed that they will join the SOLIDARITY trial—Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand—and I trust many more will join."

My country, the U.S., is notably missing from that list. I hope we will step up and do the right thing here. We're all going to have to work together to defeat this virus, and pretending that we're somehow separate from the rest of humanity just isn't going to fly anymore.

Tedros added that the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund—a first-of-its-kind fun to help countries response to the coronavirus pandemic—has now raised more than $43 million from more than 173,000 individuals and organizations.

"These and other efforts give me hope that together, we can and will prevail," said Tedros. "This coronavirus is presenting us with an unprecedented threat. But it's also an unprecedented opportunity to come together as one against a common enemy."

Exactly. This virus is a common enemy to all humankind, the likes of which we have never faced. Now's the time for the entire planet—every country—to come together in solidarity and combine the best of all our resources to defeat it.

If you'd like to support the work of the WHO, find out more about the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and donate here.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
File:Pornhub-logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

A 2015 survey conducted by the National Union of Students found that 60% of respondents turned to porn to fill in the gaps in sex education. While 40% of those people said they learned a little, 75% of respondents said they felt porn created unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Some of the unrealistic expectations from porn can be dangerous. A study found that 88% of porn contained violence, and another study found that those who consumed porn were more likely to become sexually aggressive.

But now the thing that breaks those unrealistic expectations… might also be porn? Pornhub has launched a sex education section.

The adult website's first series is simply titled, "Pornhub Sex Ed" and contains 11 videos and is accessible through the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center. The section also contains articles, some showing real anatomy and examples in order to bust myths people may have picked up on other portions of the website.

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True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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While many of us have understandably let the challenges of 2020 get under our skin and bring us down, a young man from Florida was securing his place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full triathlon.

For the majority of people, a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride or a 26.2 mile run would be difficult on its own. The Ironman competition requires participants to complete them all in one grueling race. In a statement, Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock called Chris "an inspiration to all of us." She continued, "We are incredibly proud of Chris and the work he has put in to achieve this monumental goal. He's become a hero to athletes, fans, and people across Florida and around the world."

Nikic's journey to become an Ironman started off as a challenge far less lofty. He and his father, Nik, created the "1 percent better challenge." The idea was to keep Chris motivated during the pandemic and beyond. According to The Washington Post, the idea was for Chris to improve his workouts by one percent each day because he "doesn't like pain" but loves "food, videos games and my couch." The plan was to keep building strength and stamina while keeping his eye on the grand prize of completing a triathlon. Nik told the Panama City News Herald, "I was concerned because after high school and after graduation a lot of kids with Down syndrome become isolated and just start living a life of isolation. I said, 'Look, let's go find him something to get him back into the world and get him involved,' so we started looking around and we were fortunate that at the same time Special Olympics Florida started this triathlon program, and I thought, 'What a great way to get him started, get him in shape and get him to make some friends.'"


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