Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has expressed cautious optimism for the speed at which COVID-19 vaccines are being developed. "Historically, if you get a vaccine that has a moderate to high degree of efficacy, and you combine with that prudent public health measures, we can put this behind us," Fauci said.
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The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association are calling for a national strategy on masks and a federal mandate for mask wearing to fight COVID-19. They sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence that said there is a "critical window of time" to reduce the spread of COVID-19 before the influenza season begins and hospitals likely become overwhelmed.
Cigna Ventures and Kaiser Permanente Ventures are among the latest investors to back San Francisco-based startup Ginger, which landed $50 million more in funding to expand its on-demand mental health care services. The company has experienced record demand for services during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and CEO Russell Glass said people want better care and big health care payers are recognizing the need to respond.
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President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today that would require the US government to purchase essential drugs from US companies instead of foreign countries. White House trade advisor Peter Navarro said the order also would remove some pharmaceutical manufacturing regulations and fast-track the review process for making some drug ingredients.
The FDA has developed regulations that allow pharmaceutical companies to use advanced manufacturing techniques to expedite production of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines, according to Commissioner Stephan Hahn and Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs Anand Shah. The regulations focus on using new technology in public health emergencies, examining technical concerns when manufacturing gene therapies and helping companies develop control processes for continuous manufacturing before drugs are submitted for approval.
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Telehealth company Teladoc Health will buy Livongo Health, which offers remote health coaching and monitoring, for $18.5 billion if shareholders and regulators approve the deal. Livongo has expanded from diabetes management into other disease areas, including hypertension, and makes its own monitoring equipment instead of relying on other manufacturers.
Artificial intelligence can be used as a framework to improve pharmaceutical processes from the lab to clinical trials by focusing on automated, assistive, analytical, accelerated and augmented intelligence, writes Andrew Satz, a data scientist and CEO and cofounder of EVQLV. Companies that follow this thinking can use AI in practical ways to improve a variety of outcomes, he adds.
The number of physicians affiliated with a health care system increased from 40% to 51% from 2016 to 2018, researchers reported in Health Affairs. Among primary care physicians the increase was from 38% to 49%.