US awards 29 Purple Hearts for brain injuries in Iran attack

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Iranian missiles struck al-Asad base on the 8th of January. (REUTERS)
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Purple Heart medals are awarded to any US service member killed or injured in the line of duty. (The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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Updated 04 May 2020

US awards 29 Purple Hearts for brain injuries in Iran attack

  • Over 100 US servicemen were injured when Iran launched ballistic missiles at a US base in Iraq

WASHINGTON: Six Army soldiers who were injured in a ballistic missile attack in Iraq in January have been awarded Purple Hearts, and 23 others have been approved for the award and will get them later this week, US Central Command said Monday.
Navy Capt. Bill Urban said the awards were approved by Lt. Gen. Pat White, the top US commander in Iraq, following a review.
About 110 US service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after the Iranian ballistic missile attack at Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq on Jan. 8.
Initially, commanders and President Donald Trump said there were no injuries during the attack. But after several days, troops began exhibiting concussion-like symptoms and the military started evacuating some from Iraq.
Trump triggered criticism when he dismissed the injuries as “not very serious” and described them as headaches and other things.
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, became a bigger concern for the military in recent years as more and more troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars began suffering from head injuries from bombings and other explosions.
Medical science improved its understanding of its causes and effects on brain function. It can involve varying degrees of impairment of thinking, memory, vision, hearing and other functions. The severity and duration of the injury can vary widely.
According to Urban, the first six Purple Hearts were given to soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait. The other soldiers are in the United States and will get their awards in the coming days. He said 80 service members were considered for the awards, and each recommendation package submitted by unit leaders was evaluated by a review board based on Army and Air Force regulations.
Urban said that a TBI diagnosis doesn’t automatically qualify a service member for a Purple Heart.


US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Updated 20 min 39 sec ago

US to pay over $1bn for 100m doses of J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

  • The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J
  • This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country

WASHINGTON: The United States government will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, its latest such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic intensifies, the drugmaker said on Wednesday.
It said it would deliver the vaccine to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) on a not-for-profit basis to be used after approval or emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
J&J has already received $1 billion in funding from the US government — BARDA agreed in March to provide that money for the company to build manufacturing capacity for more than 1 billion doses of the experimental vaccine.
The latest contract equates to roughly $10 per vaccine dose produced by J&J. Including the first $1 billion deal with the USgovernment, the price would be slightly higher than the $19.50 per dose that the United States is paying for the vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and German biotech BioNTech SE.
The US government may also purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement. J&J did not disclose that deal’s value.
J&J plans to study a one- or two-dose regimen of the vaccine in parallel later this year. A single-shot regimen could allow more people to be vaccinated with the same number of doses and would sidestep issues around getting people to come back for their second dose.
This is J&J’s first deal to supply its investigational vaccine to a country. Talks are underway with the European Union, but no deal has yet been reached.
J&J’s investigational vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.
There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19. More than 20 are in clinical trials.