The Next Public Health Emergency?; Plus, Moderna’s Omicron Booster

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a A WHO panel will meet on Thursday to discuss the growing global outbreak of monkeypox and whether it has risen to the level of a public health emergency of international concern. This designation on high alert by the United Nations means that there are “serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected” public health risks that extend beyond international borders. There are currently two ongoing international public health emergencies: the COVID-19 pandemic declared in 2020 and the polio virus declared in 2014. Monkeypox virus, which is characterized by a blister-like rash, is usually found in West and Central Africa, but the World Health Organization More than 2,100 confirmed cases and one death in 42 different countries as of June 15. The UK had the highest number of confirmed cases at 524, followed by Spain with 313 and Germany with 263. The majority of cases have been among people who identify as men who have sex with men, but the agency also cautioned against stigmatizing certain populations. Countries have begun stockpiling the vaccines even though the World Health Organization recommends only targeted vaccination for people who may have had direct exposure at this time.

As the UK struggles with the highest numbers of monkeypox cases, there are also reports of the polio virus being detected in London wastewater for the first time in decades. British health officials declared a nationwide incident on Wednesday although they warned the risk of polio was low. The virus was found by monitoring wastewater and is believed to come from a person from abroad who was vaccinated with a live, weakened form of the virus. Since 2004, residents of the UK have received an inactivated form of the virus in their polio vaccines, but other countries use a live attenuated form.


Genes Genes: Inside the Revolutionary Biotechnology That Can Edit DNA Inside Living Humans

John Leonard built Intellia Therapeutics with Jennifer Doudna, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who pioneered gene-editing technology. The company has figured out how to alter disease-causing genes inside patients, but before any sophisticated treatments come in, it must first cure itself of legal and financial ills. Read more here.


Offers of the week

Gene therapy: Carbon Biosciences, which is developing a parvovirus-based delivery system for gene therapy, announced Tuesday that it has raised $38 million in its first round. Funding will be directed to developing its drug candidate for cystic fibrosis treatment, among other things.

Diagnosis: Digital pathology company Proscia announced that it has raised $37 million in Series C, bringing its total funding to $72 million. The Philadelphia-based startup plans to use the capital to expand its computational pathology program, which is used to help diagnose diseases such as skin cancer.

Synthetic Bio: Antheia, a synthetic biology company that develops plant-based active pharmaceutical ingredients, has raised $40 million in debt financing from Oxford Finance LLC and Silicon Valley Bank, which will go toward building a 14,700-square-foot plant to expand biomanufacturing adjacent to its headquarters in Menlo Park. , California.


Noticeable

The Biden administration It will import 23 million 8-ounce bottles of baby formula from Mexico, Germany and Australia to combat shortages across the country.

Four out of five Americans with diabetic She got into debt to cover the cost of insulin, with the average credit card debt running at $9,000, according to a survey.

Walgreens She is launching a clinical pilot project, with the hope of increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of patients in the field of drug research.

Corona Virus Updates

MOderna released new data Wednesday regarding the efficacy of the omicron booster shot, as the Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech prepares for a potential surge in Covid cases. The bivalent booster shot, which targets the original coronavirus strain and the omicron variant, also produced a strong antibody response against two omicron sub variants, known as BA.4 and BA.5. The 50 μg booster of neutralizing antibody increased 5.4-fold in the two subvariants, which was less than an 8-fold jump for the original omicron strain. “We will present this data to regulatory agencies urgently and prepare to supply the next generation of the bivalent booster starting in August, before a potential spike in SARS-CoV-2 infections due to Omicron subvariants in early fall,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna. in the current situation.

Thanks to our Forbes Summer Fellow Arianna Griffin for her help with this newsletter!


Outbreaks, conflict and climate are causing a global food crisis – leaders must act fast

“If you think we have a hell on earth right now, just prepare,” World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley recently warned. Read more here.

Other Corona Virus News

Director of the Center for Disease Control Rochelle Walinsky Covid-19 vaccines for young children were approved over the weekend, the last large segment of the US population to remain ineligible.

Broadway theaters It will end its mask mandates in July, and instead adopt a “mask optional” policy.

Dutch search around covid long It shows 50% of study participants had one or more symptoms three months after contracting the coronavirus.

There is a growing demand for business and engineering talent in Australia, India and Singapore, as companies look to establish multiple regional hubs in Asia Pacific market in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.

via Forbes

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What we’re reading too

The US Food and Drug Administration requires Juul e-cigarettes to be purchased from the US market (The Wall Street Journal)

Medicare could save more than $3 billion a year with Mark Cuban’s new online generic drug company – Study (Endpoints News)

Facebook receives sensitive medical information from hospital websites (The Markup/STAT)

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