Hydroxychloroquine, patients, and prices

August 10, 2020
As the United States passes 5 million COVID-19 cases, we take a look today at the impact of the pandemic specifically on patients with an autoimmune disease. We also examine the impact of plastic pollution on seafood—and both marine and human health. Here are 660 words…
BIO

As the United States passes 5 million COVID-19 cases, we take a look today at the impact of the pandemic specifically on patients with an autoimmune disease. We also examine the impact of plastic pollution on seafood—and both marine and human health. Here are 660 words, just over 3 minutes.

Hydroxychloroquine, patients, and prices

On today’s episode of the I AM BIO Podcast, BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath speaks with an autoimmune disease expert and patient advocate about how the pandemic is affecting vulnerable patients—and how policy could help or hurt.

1 in 7 Americans suffer from at least one autoimmune disease—and these patients are at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19, explains Randy Rutta, President and CEO of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA).

Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients face another stressor: shortages of hydroxychloroquine. The drug eases symptoms and controls flare-ups for these patients, but one-third have struggled to fill prescriptions due to off-label use for COVID-19. 

But remember, hydroxychloroquine is not an approved COVID-19 treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) briefly issued an emergency use authorization but revoked it in June based on the science

How will Trump’s drug pricing executive order affect all of this? Patients in Europe with autoimmune diseases often have “spotty or limited” access to new therapies, said Rutta. “Importing both the pricing model and, in some cases, some of the methodology behind those pricing models, would just not be good for the American public and certainly not for people with autoimmune disease.”   

Listen to the whole thing to learn more about how AARDA is addressing the hydroxychloroquine shortage, how people with autoimmune disease can cope with the pandemic, and why it’s important for everyone (who is able) to get a future COVID-19 vaccine.

Get the podcast at www.bio.org/podcast or Apple, Google, or Spotify.  

 

More Health Care News:

The Wall Street Journal: Latest research points to children carrying, transmitting coronavirus
“Children might be more vulnerable to COVID-19 than once believed, with new research suggesting that they are able to contract and spread the virus, especially if they don’t take precautions such as wearing a mask.” 

The Washington Post: How America can build herd immunity to the coronavirus
“To build herd immunity without the sickness and death of uncontrolled spread, pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine." 

 
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Seafood on the menu—hold the plastic, please

In many parts of the United States, seafood is a summer menu staple—but this could be changing due to “the exponential increase in ocean plastic pollution,” writes BIO’s Cornelia Poku in a new blog post. Luckily, biotech has a solution to protect both marine and human health. 

“Nearly 700 marine species and over 50 freshwater species are known to have ingested or become entangled in microplastic,” a group of researchers explained in Science Magazine.

And other studies have found plastic pollution affects fish reproduction and lobster birth defects, among other problems.

This isn’t just a problem for marine life. “The plastics are causing immense long-term damage to the quality and quantity of important food sources,” Cornelia writes. “Not to mention what may happen to us when we consume them.”

We know we need to use less plastic—and biotech is helping us do that. Many BIO members are using biobased ingredients to create plastic alternatives that break down easily in soil, ocean water, and fresh water, while AquaBounty’s gene-edited Atlantic salmon grows faster and more sustainably, without facing the risk of plastic in the ocean. 

Read the whole thing.

Learn more about bioplastic innovation.

 

More Agriculture and Environment News:

Nature: Why deforestation and extinctions make pandemics more likely
“Researchers are redoubling efforts to understand links between biodiversity and emerging diseases—and use that information to predict and stop future outbreaks.”

 
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President Trump’s Monday: Lunch with the vice president, intel briefing. There’s a press briefing scheduled at 1:00 PM ET. 

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Things are getting quieter in Washington, though we’ll continue watching. No deal last week on coronavirus aid, and POLITICO reports that the package could now be delayed until September.

 
 
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