Skip to Main Content
Contribute Try STAT+ Today

Pharmalittle: Merck Covid pill squeaks past FDA panel; analysis explores whether insurers give ‘fair access’ to drugs

An FDA expert panel voted by a slim margin to recommend the agency authorize the Covid treatment developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

7 policies in Biden’s spending plan aimed at health equity

Democrats have made big, vague promises to improve health equity. Some of the first steps toward that goal are emerging in their massive social spending package.

A reason for optimism on Omicron: Our immune systems are not blank slates

Even if the news with Omicron is bad, there’s good reason to think people with some immune protections may avoid the worst of what Covid infections can do to immunologically naïve people.

Pharmalittle: Moderna CEO cautions Covid shots will be less effective against Omicron; Pfizer predicts new vaccine for the variant in 100 days

Moderna predicts that existing Covid-19 vaccines will be less effective against Omicron than they have been against the Delta variant.

Doctors hope Omicron causes milder cases of Covid — but it’s still too early to say

Actually understanding Omicron's severity is an open question, experts caution — one that requires more patient data and more time to answer.

The Omicron variant underscores the global stakes of Covid-19 vaccine inequity

“The emergence of the Omicron variant tells us what leaders have been saying but have failed to act upon: that no one is safe until we all are,” said Ellen ‘t Hoen.

‘Not a cause for panic’: Biden urges calm in face of Omicron fears

President Biden said on Monday that the new Omicron coronavirus variant “is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

Pharmalittle: Vaccine makers scramble to assess the Omicron Covid strain; Pfizer to step up Covid pill production

Vaccine makers will spend several weeks assessing the danger and potential impact of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, but they're already developing ways to combat it.

Cancer patients hope infusions might enhance protection against Covid

Even with third and fourth Covid vaccine doses for immunocompromised people, protection can be uncertain. Some have their eyes on monoclonal antibody treatments.

Pfizer sues former employee for allegedly stealing Covid-19 vaccine documents

Pfizer alleges a former employee stole more than 12,000 files about its Covid-19 vaccine and two cancer treatments.

Scientists rapidly identified the Omicron variant. But firm answers about its impact could take weeks

Scientists rapidly identified the Omicron variant. But firm answers about its impact could take weeks.

Countries shouldn’t invoke the Nagoya Protocol to avoid sharing pathogens and genetic sequences

Pathogens are not "genetic resources," the way a seed or animal might be. They are public health threats and, like land mines, should be eradicated.

What’s known and unknown about Omicron, the coronavirus variant identified in South Africa

What's known and not known about the coronavirus variant detected in South Africa.

Pharmalittle: Jury finds pharmacy chains recklessly distributed opioids; FDA choice Califf has millions invested in pharma

Three retail pharmacy chains recklessly distributed massive amounts of pain pills in two Ohio counties, a federal jury said in a verdict that could set the tone for other efforts to hold pharmacies accountable for the opioid crisis.

As vaccination efforts falter, the U.S. must get serious about Covid-19 testing and reporting

If living with the new normal means living with Covid-19, the U.S. should not be taking a haphazard approach to testing.

From scholarship to trending: How experts took to their feeds to explain hard science during Covid-19

Three social media influencers in science — @nataliexdean @ScottGottliebMD @DoctorDarienMD — chatted with STAT about the challenges of using their online platforms to communicate new scientific findings.

Virus expert Trevor Bedford on annual Covid boosters and the inevitable next pandemic

STAT’s Helen Branswell spoke with virus expert Trevor Bedford about the future of the coronavirus, the coming flu season, and whether we’ll need annual boosters for Covid.

Pharmalittle: Aduhelm study shows brain swelling in one-third of patients; Americans may struggle to access Covid antivirals

Safety concerns are growing over Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm as a new paper showed brain swelling in 35% of clinical trial patients.

Listen: Biogen’s scientific succession & Michael Osterholm on pandemic Thanksgiving

Are we in for another winter surge? Has Biogen bottomed out? And can Covid-19 pills change the course of the pandemic? All that and more on the latest episode of "The Readout LOUD." Listen now:

Proposal to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines and drugs appears unlikely to pass

Representatives from India say that talks over a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests have not been constructive.

‘Growing a chair is easy’ and other words of wisdom from the audacious George Church

What’s behind his audacity? An “open mind,” Church said in a conversation with STAT senior medical writer Matthew Herper during the 2021 #STATSummit.

Why is the CDC missing in action on severe mental illnesses?

The CDC reports weekly on infectious disease deaths across the country, but its statistics on suicide deaths traditionally lag by two years.

Vaccine mandates should cover the incarcerated, too, not just prison guards and workers

The rights of the incarcerated to self-determination are limited. But expanding them shouldn't start with the choice to shun a shot that authorities say will help them survive.

‘Late is better than never’: Biden plan to boost U.S. production of Covid vaccines gets mixed reviews

“Late is definitely better than never,” said Jayasree Iyer of the Access to Medicines Foundation. “But so much more may have been accomplished if such steps were taken sooner.”

Pharmalittle: European regulators unlikely to approve Biogen Alzheimer’s drug; U.S. to invest billions to expand Covid vaccine production

A European Medicines Agency panel notified Biogen that its Alzheimer’s treatment, Aduhelm, is unlikely to win approval.

With 128 Covid vaccines in clinical development, we don’t know if the approved/authorized ones are the best ones

The Covid-19 current pandemic response has revealed a system in which vaccine financing is a proxy for "best," as if it was a betting market, rather than letting science guide resource allocation.

GOP opposition to vaccine mandates extends far beyond Covid-19

For months, Republicans have railed against Covid-19 vaccine mandates. More recently, though, right-wing state legislators have floated proposals to ban requirements for all immunizations — not just coronavirus.

Fauci on the next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ‘insanity’ of the threats he faces for pushing masks, vaccines

“It is painful and frustrating to me as a public health person, as a physician who takes care of people and sees firsthand what disease and death is, repetitively,” Fauci said. "It just doesn’t make any sense. ... But it is what we are dealing with.” #STATSummit

Pfizer to file for emergency authorization Tuesday for its Covid-19 pill

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said at the #STATSummit that the company plans to ask tthe FDA on Tuesday to authorize emergency use of its antiviral pill to combat Covid-19.