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Good News: Results From the First Human Trial of the HIV Vaccine, Colorado Moves to Offer Mental Health Support to Teens, + More

By Manna Zel (she/they)

From the Japanese doctors who performed the world’s first lung transplant from a living donor to a Covid-19 patient to the community garden offering a space for healing in New York, keep reading for this month in Good News.


April 7: First Human Trial of HIV Vaccine Produced Immune Response in 97% of Volunteers (Live Science)

Announced by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and Scripps Research, a phase 1 clinical trial of an experimental vaccine against HIV proved to stimulate production of immune cells. “We showed that vaccines can be designed to stimulate rare immune cells with specific properties, and this targeted stimulation can be very efficient in humans. We believe this approach will be key to making an HIV vaccine and possibly important for making vaccines against other pathogens,” says William Schief, PhD, the executive director of vaccine design at the lab that developed the vaccine—IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center.


April 8: Colorado is on Track to Give Teens Three Free Therapy Sessions to Help Them Cope with Coronavirus (The Colorado Sun)

In Colorado, House Bill 1258 is one of the state’s most aggressive initiatives for behavior health ever. It comes with an allocation of $9 million and ensures that all Coloradans under the age of 18 will have access to a mental health screening and up to three visits with a mental health professional at no cost to them. The bill calls on the state of Colorado to help connect people to a mental health services provider in their insurance network after they complete their three free visits. 


April 9: Japanese Doctors Perform World’s First Living Donor Lung Transplant to a Covid-19 Patient (CNN)

Following an 11-hour operation by a medical team of 30, Kyoto University Hospital reported that a Japanese woman underwent the world’s first lung transplant from living donors to someone who has recovered from Covid-19. “We demonstrated that we now have an option of lung transplants (from living donors),” said Dr. Hiroshi Date, the thoracic surgeon who led the operation, who noted that this operation provided hope to Covid-19 patients suffering from lung damage.


April 15: Movement Video Game Increased Cognitive Skills in 80-Year-olds With Severe Dementia (Good News Network)

A team of scientists led by Patrick Eggenberger found that when older people train both their body and mind, their cognitive performance improves and cognitive impairment decreases. Former doctoral student Eva van het Reve, along with her PhD supervisor Eling de Bruin and another doctoral student, created the Dividat Senso, a customized program that allows users to train both physically and cognitively. Results found that utilizing the program enhanced cognitive skills like attention, concentration, memory, and orientation. “For the first time, there’s hope that through targeted play we will be able not only to delay but also weaken the symptoms of dementia,” says de Bruin.


April 19: Female Entrepreneurs Tend Community Gardens While Growing Their Small Businesses, Too (Good News Network)

Amanda David, the owner of New York-based herbalism brand Rootwork Herbals and the manager of a community medicine garden, was recently awarded the Made for More Small Business Award—which came with a $10,000 cash prize. “Community gardens are places of healing. Connecting with the land and being outside is healing, growing food and medicine is healing, having access to fresh, local produce is healing, creating connections with other gardeners is healing, enjoying the beauty of a garden is healing,” David says.