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A Drugmaker Backed by the Company That Owns Marlboro Cigarettes Plans to Launch the World’s First Plant-Based COVID-19 Vaccine

October 14, 2021

(Business Insider) – The world’s first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine could reach Canada’s drug regulator by the end of the year. Leading Japanese drugmaker Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma said Tuesday that Medicago, its Quebec-based subsidiary that developed the shot, would apply for Canadian approval by the end of 2021, the Financial Times reported. Marlboro cigarette brand manufacturer Philip Morris International part-owns Medicago, according to the Financial Times. (Read Full Article)

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New York Must Allow Religious Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate, Judge Rules

October 14, 2021

(Medscape) – A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that New York state cannot impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on healthcare workers without allowing their employers to consider religious exemption requests. U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Albany, New York, ruled that the state’s workplace vaccination requirement conflicted with healthcare workers’ federally protected right to seek religious accommodations from their employers. (Read Full Article)

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Drone Delivers Lungs to Transplant Recipient, a Medical First

October 13, 2021

(Gizmodo) – It took just six minutes, but the successful flight from Toronto Western Hospital to Toronto General Hospital demonstrated the efficacy of using drones to quickly and safely transport lungs for transplantation. Alain Hodak, a 63-year-old engineer, is the first person in history to receive a pair of lungs from a delivery drone. The shipment happened in Toronto on September 25th, as the drone landed on the roof of Toronto General Hospital at around 1:00 a.m. local time, as the Canadian Press reports via the CBC. (Read Full Article)

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U.S. Sees Record High of 96,000 Drug Overdose Deaths in 12 Month Period

October 13, 2021

(Axios) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded over 96,000 deaths from drug overdoses in a twelve-month period ending in March 2021, according to provisional data released Wednesday. Why it matters: It’s a nearly 30% jump over the preceding 12 months and coincides with one of the deadliest periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, when stay-at-home orders radically changed daily life for most Americans. (Read Full Article)

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NIH Study: Moderna, Pfizer Shots Are Most Effective Covid Boosters

October 13, 2021

(Politico) – Covid-19 booster shots from Moderna or Pfizer showed signs they are more effective at protecting vaccinated adults than a second dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, according to preliminary results from a government-funded study. All of the participants in the National Institutes of Health study saw an antibody boost after receiving additional doses of the three vaccines. But people who originally received J&J benefited significantly more from a messenger RNA booster than a second J&J dose, according to the study. The increase in binding antibodies — one signal of an immune response — was greatest for those who initially were immunized with J&J’s shot but received one of the mRNA boosters. (Read Full Article)

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FDA Questions Strength of Johnson & Johnson’s Booster Shot Data

October 13, 2021

(Medical Xpress) – In a development that could mean Johnson & Johnson might encounter resistance over its application for authorization of a booster shot of its coronavirus vaccine, a new analysis filed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday suggests the company’s evidence may not be strong enough for approval. (Read Full Article)

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North Korea: Vulnerable at Risk of Starvation, UN Expert Says

October 13, 2021

(BBC) – Vulnerable children and elderly people in North Korea are at risk of starvation, a UN expert has said. The UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the country blamed international sanctions and a Covid blockade for worsening food shortages. As a result, North Koreans are struggling daily to “live a life of dignity” Tomas Ojea Quintana said. (Read Full Article)

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Doctors’ Challenge with Aspirin Guidance: It’s Hard to Know Who’s Taking It

October 13, 2021

(Axios) – In a reversal, new draft guidance warns adults who do not have a history of heart disease or stroke should not take baby aspirin. But millions of patients may have been taking the blood-thinner without their knowledge. Why it matters: With heart disease as the top killer in the U.S., persistent recommendations from doctors portrayed a blanket statement to the public that middle-aged people should be taking baby, or low-dose, aspirin. (Read Full Article)

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FDA Neutral on Moderna Bid for COVID Booster Ahead of Decisive Meeting

October 13, 2021

(Medscape) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is keeping its cards close to the vest when it comes to the potential approval of a booster dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, now called Spikevax. In a briefing document posted ahead of a Thursday meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, the agency acknowledged that real-world data present a mixed picture when it comes to the need for boosters. (Read Full Article)

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Havana Syndrome Hits at Least Five U.S. Families Connected to Embassy in Colombia

October 13, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – At least five American families connected to the bustling U.S. Embassy in Colombia have been afflicted with the mysterious neurological ailment known as Havana Syndrome, in the latest attack against American diplomatic installations, people familiar with the matter said. In emails to embassy personnel, sent by Ambassador Philip Goldberg and others and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the State Department vowed to address the issue “seriously, with objectivity and with sensitivity,” as they work to determine the scope of the afflictions in one of the U.S.’s most important diplomatic outposts. (Read Full Article)

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6 Months to Live or Die: How Long Should an Alcoholic Liver Disease Patient Wait for a Transplant?

October 12, 2021

(Kaiser Health News) – In the U.S., a widespread practice requires patients with alcoholic liver disease to complete a period of sobriety before they can get on the waiting list for a liver. This informal policy, often called “the 6-month rule,” can be traced to the 1980s. The thinking then — and among proponents of the practice today — was that six months of abstinence gave a patient’s liver time to heal and, thus, avoid a transplant. If that didn’t work, the patient would have proven they can stay sober and would not return to drinking after a transplant. However, a landmark European study published in 2011 and several American studies in the decade since have exposed flaws in that premise. Six months of abstinence is not a good predictor of long-term sobriety, and for people with conditions like Gorzney’s, more than half die within that time. (Read Full Article)

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New Clues Emerge About Whether Vaccines Can Help Fight Long Covid

October 12, 2021

(Wall Street Journal) – Millions of people suffer from symptoms of long Covid, doctors estimate. Now, early research is offering some clues about whether vaccinations might help. When the vaccines first came out, some people who had suffered from debilitating symptoms for months after their initial Covid-19 infections told their doctors they felt better after getting vaccinated. The response intrigued scientists. Now, emerging research suggests that vaccines may help reduce symptoms in some people. (Read Full Article)

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Children and Teens Face Unequal Mental Health Realities

October 12, 2021

(Axios) – In the weeks after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 55% of children felt more “sad, depressed, or unhappy,” compared to 25% of adults, according to a new report out Monday from the Child Mind Institute. Why it matters: The data offers a glimpse at the differences in children’s early psych0logical responses as researchers work to tease out the pandemic’s potential long-term effects on the incoming generation’s mental health and developmental skills. (Read Full Article)

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The Health Care Worker Revolt

October 12, 2021

(Axios) – The toll of the coronavirus pandemic has spurred nurses, front-line technicians and other hospital employees to walk out or authorize strikes.  Why it matters: The pandemic has buckled a system that already faced worker shortages and burnout. Patients ultimately can’t receive adequate care if workers leave from the stress and violence. Driving the news: Unions representing more than 24,000 nurses and other hospital workers yesterday authorized strikes at Kaiser Permanente facilities in California and Oregon.  (Read Full Article)

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COVID Immunity Through Infection or Vaccination: Are They Equal?

October 12, 2021

(Kaiser Health News) – That said, evidence is growing that contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19, is generally as effective as vaccination at stimulating your immune system to prevent the disease. Yet federal officials have been reluctant to recognize any equivalency, citing the wide variation in covid patients’ immune response to infection. Like many disputes during the covid pandemic, the uncertain value of a prior infection has prompted legal challenges, marketing offers and political grandstanding, even as scientists quietly work in the background to sort out the facts. (Read Full Article)

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US Reports Highest Weekly Vaccinations Since Early July

October 12, 2021

(Medscape) – The U.S. administered the highest number of weekly COVID-19 vaccinations during the past week since early July, according to ABC News. More than 7 million doses were given throughout the week. On Saturday, more than 1.15 million new vaccinations were reported from the day before, including 316,000 newly vaccinated people and 502,000 booster shots. (Read Full Article)

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Global Plan Aims to Slash Meningitis Toll with Help of New Five-in-One Vaccine

October 11, 2021

(Science) – A new “global road map,” launched by WHO and many partners on 28 September, could help prevent such tragedies in the future. With the help of a new vaccine targeting five serotypes of N. meningitidis, including W, it aims to eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis, which kill an estimated 250,000 a year in Africa, by 2030. It would also step up the fight against sporadic cases and small clusters of the disease that occur around the world. Cases worldwide—now some 5 million per year—would be halved by 2030 and deaths reduced by 70%. (Read Full Article)

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Moderna Has No Plans to Share Its COVID-19 Vaccine Recipe

October 11, 2021

(Associated Press) – Moderna has no plans to share the recipe for its COVID-19 vaccine because executives have concluded that scaling up the company’s own production is the best way to increase the global supply, the company’s chairman said Monday. In an interview with The Associated Press, Noubar Afeyan also reiterated a pledge Moderna made a year ago not to enforce patent infringement on anyone else making a coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic. (Read Full Article)

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One in Five of England’s Most Critically Ill Covid Patients Are Unvaccinated Pregnant Women, a Study Finds

October 11, 2021

(New York Times) – Unvaccinated pregnant women make up nearly 20 percent of the most critically ill Covid-19 patients in England, according to data released by the National Health Service on Monday. Since July, approximately one in five coronavirus patients who received an intensive lung-bypass treatment, or Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), were unvaccinated and pregnant. (Read Full Article)

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Rates of Depression and Anxiety Climbed Across the Globe in 2020, Analysis Finds

October 11, 2021

(STAT News) – Rates of depression and anxiety climbed globally by more than 25% in 2020, a devastating ripple effect of the Covid-19 pandemic that has particularly affected women and young people, according to a new study. “We knew Covid would have an impact on these mental disorders, we just didn’t know how big the impact was going to be,” said Alize Ferrari, a lead researcher at the Queensland Center for Mental Health Research in Australia and co-author of the study, published Friday in the Lancet. (Read Full Article)

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