Monkeypox Vaccine Rollout; Plus, Omicron-Specific Boosters
monkeypox vaccine rollout; plus, omicron specific boosters

Monkeypox Vaccine Rollout; Plus, Omicron-Specific Boosters

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The World Health Organization said over the weekend that the spread of monkeypox does not yet rise to the level of a public health emergency of international concern. However, the committee will reconvene if there is significant spread to additional countries and higher rates of cases in the next 21 days. On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced plans to expand access to nearly 300,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine manufactured by Denmark-based Bavarian Nordic. By the end of the year, the federal government expects 1.6 million doses will be available. “While monkeypox poses minimal risk to most Americans, we are doing everything we can to offer vaccines to those at high-risk of contracting the virus,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

Monkeypox does not spread as easily as Covid-19. It is primarily transmitted through close contact with an infected person or animal or contaminated objects, though it may also spread through respiratory droplets. The current outbreak, which includes more than 3,200 cases worldwide, has mainly affected populations of men who have sex with men. There are 351 cases in the U.S. right now with the highest numbers in California, 80 cases, and New York, 72 cases, according to the CDC. The federal government is currently recommending vaccination for people with a confirmed or suspected exposure to monkeypox as a preventive measure.


15 Million People Downloaded Pregnancy Trackers That May Give Data To Cops Without A Warrant—Should You Worry?

Pregnancy trackers with millions of downloads appear to reserve the right to disclose user data to police when they suspect user wrongdoing.

AFP via Getty Images

A Forbes analysis of two pregnancy and ovulation trackers – BabyCenter and What To Expect – owned by the $3.6 billion media conglomerate Ziff Davis show they reserve the right to share data with law enforcement at their discretion. In a section regarding how the apps handle law enforcement requests, there’s no explicit requirement for police to have a signed warrant or subpoena before user data will be shared. Indeed, the language suggests that if the companies suspect a user of illegal behavior, or simply a breach of their terms of service, they will share it with relevant authorities. Privacy activists want such companies to do more to protect users in a post-Roe v. Wade United States. Read more here.


Deals Of The Week

Imaging Hardware: Magnetic Insight, which builds imaging technology that enables doctors to monitor the course of cell therapy treatments, announced that it raised a $17 million series B. The capital infusion will be geared towards expanding clinical applications of its device.

Big Pharma Bets On ReCode: Genetic medicines company ReCode therapeutics announced a $120 million extension of its series B funding, bringing the total round’s value to $200 million. The venture arms of Pfizer, Sanofi and Bayer all contributed to the round in addition to multiple other venture firms.

Dollars For Diagnostics: Visby Medical, a diagnostics company that has developed a portable PCR test for sexually transmitted infections and Covid-19 with results in under 30 minutes, announced an additional $35 million in funding for its Series E financing led by Lightrock, bringing the total to $135 million.

New Biotech Fund: ARCH Venture Partners has closed a new nearly $3 billion fund to develop and invest in early stage biotech companies. “Science doesn’t care what markets are doing, and science moves forward,” ARCH cofounder Bob Nelsen said in a statement. The firm’s twelfth fund comes a year and a half after its $1.9 billion eleventh fund closed in January 2021. The fund will tackle areas including infectious disease, mental health, immunology and oncology, among many others.


Noteworthy

Healthcare staffing marketplace Nomad Health raised $105 million in equity and debt financing as it expands beyond travel nursing to other healthcare workers.

Walgreens Boots Alliance no longer plans to sell its U.K.-based pharmacies following a strategic review of potential buyers amid a volatile financial market.

The Missouri attorney general says the state’s abortion ban does not apply to emergency contraception after a major health system stopped providing it but later reversed course.

Inequities currently cost the U.S. healthcare system approximately $320 billion and could reach $1 trillion or more by 2040, according to a report from Deloitte.

Medicare Advantage plan Alignment Healthcare will expand into the Florida and Texas markets in 2023.

Healthcare automation startup Medallion raised a $30 million Series B last week, as the company looks to sign up big incumbents, mainly hospitals and health insurers, for its software.

Coronavirus Updates

An FDA advisory committee voted 19-2 yesterday to recommend that the agency switchover to new Covid booster shots that are specifically targeted for the omicron variant. Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax have all released clinical trial data showing that omicron-specific shots that also include the targets for the original coronavirus produced strong antibody responses against the omicron variant. This committee follows a World Health Organization suggestion from earlier this month that updated vaccines may be necessary to strengthen immune protection. One key question remains: even if there is a specific shot for omicron, how many people in the U.S. will get it? Only about two-thirds of the eligible population has been vaccinated with two doses. Only about 33% have been vaccinated with three. Meanwhile, according to the CDC the number of new cases now is higher than last year, and Covid hospitalizations are on their way back up. New Covid hospitalization admissions were about 12.9% higher last week than they were the week prior.


Maternal Death Rates Soared During Pandemic—Especially Among Black And Hispanic Women, Study Finds

Maternal mortality rates increased during the pandemic.

getty

Maternal deaths soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly among Black and Hispanic women, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open on Tuesday, underscoring the vast inequalities that worsened during the crisis and the unique health issues the virus posed to pregnant people. Read more here.

Other Coronavirus News

The risk of long Covid is higher among women, older people, white people and individuals with certain pre-existing health conditions, a new study found.

The Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees has once again been blocked in court—at least for now—as a federal appeals court ruled Monday it will rehear the case and threw out its previous decision that upheld the requirement.

During the Juneteenth and Father’s Day holiday weekend, over 14,000 U.S. flights were canceled. A big reason for that? Covid-related absenteeism.

Across Forbes

Nearly 1 In 4 People Worldwide At Risk From Flooding, Study Warns

Bankman-Fried Warns: Some Crypto Exchanges Already “Secretly Insolvent”

U.S. Economy Shrank Worse-Than-Expected 1.6% Last Quarter As Recession Fears Grow

What Else We are Reading

COVID antibody drugs have saved lives — so why aren’t they more popular? (Nature)

Wheelchair users live outside the home, not just inside. Medicare policies need to acknowledge that (STAT)

Overdose Deaths Behind Bars Rise as Drug Crisis Swells (Kaiser Health News)

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