Good Day BIO: Drought technology and vaccine access
August 22, 2022
Another slow week in Washington, D.C. ahead—but the heat’s on America’s farmers struggling with drought. Meanwhile, we’ve talked a lot about how the Inflation Reduction Act will harm drug R&D—and that’s still true—but today, we look at the silver linings for access to…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
August 22, 2022
Another slow week in Washington, D.C. ahead—but the heat’s on America’s farmers struggling with drought. Meanwhile, we’ve talked a lot about how the Inflation Reduction Act will harm drug R&D—and that’s still true—but today, we look at the silver linings for access to vaccines. (606 words, 3 minutes, 1 second)
Drought is hurting America's farmers – but with biotech, it doesn't have to
Drought continues to dominate headlines worldwide—and it’s having an acute impact on farmers right here in the U.S. It’s time to deploy the biotech solutions that could help them weather the heat.
How they’re responding: 42% are changing planned crops—while 37% are tilling under crops, and 33% are removing or destroying orchard trees or other multiyear crops, according to the survey of more than 650 farmers in 15 states.
In California alone, a major food-growing state, 50% of farmers are removing trees and crops, reports CNN, and farmers are having an especially tough time with tomatoes, one of the state’s key crops, per Bloomberg.
Animal agriculture is affected by drought, too, with farmers in Texas selling off cattle herds due to a lack of water and food, explains CNN.
Biotech can help cattle, too—using gene editing to breed cattle with a so-called “slick” coat, which makes them resistant to heat and gives them the ability to efficiently function in these kinds of extreme weather conditions. The FDA greenlit this technology in March, Bio.News reported.
The Inflation Reduction Act contains two important bills related to vaccine access: the Helping Adults Protect Immunity (HAPI) Act and the Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act, which have long been supported by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and partners including the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC) and Vaccinate Your Family.
The Helping Adults Protect Immunity (HAPI) Act will ensure “all adults on Medicaid can access vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at no out-of-pocket cost,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The bill “would create parity in vaccine coverage between traditional Medicaid and Medicaid expansion programs. The bill would also provide enhanced federal matching funds for states to better reach at-risk and vulnerable patient populations.”
The Protecting Seniors Through ImmunizationAct mirrors the HAPI Act’s expansion of vaccine access under Medicare for seniors, creating parity in the Medicare program and eliminating all cost sharing for seniors, explains Bio.News.
Why it matters: Low vaccination rates are expensive and strain health systems—and vaccine-preventable conditions add over $8.3 billion to the health system, according to AVAC. COVID-19 exacerbated the problem.
While the legislation’s long-term impacts on R&D and new cures will be severe, these provisions are nonetheless a win for patients’ access to existing vaccines—read more on Bio.News.
More Health Care News:
Gilead: Gilead announces first global regulatory approval of Sunlenca® (Lenacapavir), the only twice-yearly HIV treatment option Authorized by the European Commission, ““Lenacapavir helps to fill a critical unmet need for people with complex prior treatment histories and offers physicians a long-awaited twice-yearly option for these patients who are at greater risk of progressing to AIDS,” said Dr. Jean-Michel Molina, of Université Paris Cité.
BIO Beltway Report
President Biden’s Friday: Continuing summer vacation.
What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Recess.
Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
1201 New York Avenue NW, Suite 1300, Washington, DC 20005-3972