News versus Opinion

1. On any topic that you find interesting (and tend to follow closely) 

The role of Group IIA Secretory Phospholipase A2 (sPLA2-IIA) as a biomarker for COVID Mortality

2. Find four (4) items online about that topic. For each example, provide an explanation of why the coverage is news or opinion. You should also explain why the piece is credible or not. 

Two that are news items

“UArizona study found enzyme in COVID deaths similar to rattlesnake venom” (September 1 2021). Briana Whitney. AZFamily.

This article referenced above would be classified as a news item in my opinion. The article explains that the study done by “A University of Arizona research team” (B. Whitney 2021) states in the opening line that this is not a cure, rather the correlation between the enzyme and COVID-19 may help prevent death from COVID-19. The article informs the reader that “this enzyme actually fights off infection, but the enzyme was doing a 180 in severely ill people and attacking the body instead.” (B. Whitney 2021) The intentions for what to do with this correlation was clearly stated “the goal would be to have inhibitors as a therapeutic target to reduce mortality and patients suffering from COVID-19 symptoms for months and months.” (B. Whitney 2021) This article is credible because it was informative, but did not include opinion or biases.

“Like Venom Coursing Through the Body: Researchers Identify Mechanism Driving COVID-19 Mortality” (August 24 2021). College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. University of Arizona News.

In my opinion this article referenced above would be classified as a news item as well. The scientific correlation was studied by researchers from the University of Arizona and this article was published on the University of Arizona’s News page. The article listed the other collaborators in this research as Stony Brook University and Wake Forest School of Medicine. The article provided the name of the enzyme as “secreted phospholipase A2 Group IIA, or sPLA2-IIA” (R. Brandt 2021). The article clarifies that the enzyme is similar to that of rattlesnake venom, is found in healthy individuals, and has been know to fight off bacterial infections and destroying microbial cell membranes. (R. Brandt 2021). This article informed the reader that only at high circulating levels of this enzyme is when it is in danger of “contributing to organ failure and death” (R. Brandt 2021). This article focused on facts and did not include opinions or predictions. I believe this article is credible because the referenced a link to the actual study that was conducted.

Two that are opinion or analysis. 

“Study find link between COVID-19 deaths and snake venom” (September 2 2021). KNXV Staff. News Channel 5 Nashville.

The first thing about this article that I noticed was the title. There was no scientific findings that suggest that “snake venom is linked to COVID-19 deaths” (KNXV 2021). The article also suggests that “snakes are starting to play a big role in COVID-19 research” (KNXV 2021). I feel these two opening statements are misleading as it is actually an enzyme that even healthy individuals have in small doses to fight off bacterial infections. The enzyme sPLA2-IIA is in correlation with COVID, not actual snake venom. The article does have quotes from Chilton who is a researcher in the study with University of Arizona that briefly clarifies the correlation, but the article ends with “Bryan Hughes, a Rattlesnake expert” and he said, “it seems fitting and interesting and ironic that the venom that they have in rattlesnakes might be the key in getting out of this situation” (KNXV 2021). I feel like this article is less credible because it contained misleading information and because of the quote from “Bryan Hughes” to end the article was confirmation of the bias and misleading information.

“The link between COVID-19, rattlesnake venom and a killer enzyme inspires treatment target” (August 24 2021). Ariene Weintraub. Fierce Biotech.

​Again, I found this article to have a misleading title, “The link between COVID-19, rattlesnake venom and a killer enzyme inspires treatment target” (A. Weintraub 2021). This title labels the enzyme as a “killer enzyme”, but the enzyme is found in healthy individuals at low levels and actual works to fight of bacterial infections. The article did go on to explain this and quote “Chilton” as the other articles did, but left the article on a question “if the enzyme is still relatively high and active, could it be responsible for part of the long COVID outcomes that we’re seeing?” (A. Weintraub 2021). I feel that this question steps over the fact that individuals with COVID and high levels of this enzyme are at risk of death, the focus is not necessarily the many people living with COVID-19 for months and months. I feel like this article is less credible because it leaves the reader with unanswered questions and the title instills a sense of fear using terms as “COVID-19, Rattlesnake venom, and a killer enzyme”.

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