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Does pharma deserve more credit? Will history forgive He Jiankui? And how does a laboratory eureka become a lifesaving vaccine?

We discuss all that and more on the latest episode of “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, we delve into a record-setting decline in the rate at which Americans are dying of cancer and discuss what might be behind it. Then, famed biohacker Josiah Zayner dials in to defend his controversial opinion on the scientist behind 2018’s CRISPR babies scandal. Later, STAT’s Helen Branswell joins us to discuss the long and fascinating history of the recently approved vaccine for Ebola virus. Finally, we briefly preview next week’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, the biggest annual meeting in biotech.

For more on what we cover, here’s the news on cancer deaths; here’s Zayner’s op-ed; here’s more on the Ebola saga; and here’s a J.P. Morgan retrospective.


We’ll be back next Thursday evening — and every Thursday evening — so be sure to sign up on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

And if you have any feedback for us — topics to cover, guests to invite, vocal tics to cease — you can email [email protected].


Interested in sponsoring a future episode of “The Readout LOUD”? Email us at [email protected].

  • I just listened to your read out loud interview with Josiah Zainer. It is unfortunate that the public is so sheep-like in their need for authority that they ignore the destruction governments bring to humanity. Wars are the perfect example. But they also kill millions in much less obvious ways by slowing down medical research. While they tarry, mulling over the ethics of releasing promising therapy, millions die of the diseases. But none of these disciples of the status quo appear to understand that their zeal for some imagined security is killing millions needlessly. Instead of blind allegiance to the ‘system’ they should listen to the canaries in the mine like Josiah. We would all be better off and live longer if we put our trust in individuals rather than institutions.

  • Please stop giving disproportional voice to people like Josiah. The explanation he gave on the podcast is misleading, wrong, and showing how little he knows about genetics and sequencing.

    If you want to give him voice, at least give equivalent voice to ”correct” inform.

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