Fernando Vergara / AP

The Food and Drug Administration designated the drug MDMA, known as Ecstasy, a "breakthrough therapy" for PTSD treatment earlier this month. The designation will expedite the agency's review of the drug, depending on the outcome of a clinical trial to test its effect versus that of standard psychotherapy. Ecstasy is in the DEA's category of Schedule 1 drugs, meaning that it is among substances with the highest potential for abuse, like heroin.

Why it matters: 11-20% of veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from PTSD, per the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and it is this group in particular that researchers hope ecstasy can help.

  • "We're in this odd situation where one of the most promising therapies also happens to be a Schedule 1 substance," former Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton said to the Washington Post.
  • "This is not a big scientific step ... It's been obvious for 40 years that these drugs are medicine. But it's a huge step in acceptance," David Nutt, a scientist at Imperial College London, told Science.
  • One concern is that approving Ecstasy for PTSD will embolden groups seeking to legalize the drug for recreational use, the Post reports.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. EST: 32,135,220 — Total deaths: 981,660 — Total recoveries: 22,149,441Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m EST: 6,975,980 — Total deaths: 202,738 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package.
  4. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  6. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  7. Sports: Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic — Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  8. Science: Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China — During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
7 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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