Coronavirus News Roundup: Vaccine Trials Gaining Momentum, Pharmacists Fight Racism Amid COVID-19

June 26, 2020

Check out this week's most important coronavirus-related news.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has infected an estimated 9,635,935 individuals worldwide, and approximately 2.4 million Americans. Latest developments include pharmacists fighting for racial equality, clinical trials for potential vaccines speeding up, and increasing demand for a generic steroid shown to possibly decrease COVID-19 mortality.

Here’s a roundup of the latest coronavirus-related news:

Pharmacists: Fight Racial Disparities in Health Care

Pharmacists are banding together to “eliminate racism, discrimination, injustice, and the marginalization of individuals within the profession.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with recent protests in the United States, have inspired pharmacy organizations to take a stand in support of and pledge to racial equality in health care.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Speed Up

Vaccine candidates for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries are going through clinical trials at a faster rate than for any other disease in history. Some experts say a vaccine will be ready by the end of this year.

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Demand for Generic Steroid Spikes After Preliminary COVID-19 Results

Demand for an affordable generic steroid soared after preliminary findings from a study showed it may be effective in reducing deaths from COVID-19.

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Flu-Like Illness Surveillance Suggests Surge in Undetected US COVID-19 Cases

Existing surveillance networks can track influenza-like illness and lead to improved assessments on impact, prevalence, and severity of COVID-19.

A new study showing a large increase in flu-like infections in the United States during the month of March may unlock key supportive evidence that the number of COVID-19 cases is far larger than official estimates say.

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Researchers Suggest MMR Vaccine Could Protect Against COVID-19 Symptoms

The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may demonstrate some degree of protection against septic inflammation, a symptom of COVID-19, according to a team of experts.

A new perspective paper published in the American Society for Microbiology’s mBio suggests that the MMR vaccine can guard against certain symptoms attributed to COVID-19.

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Infectious Diseases Pharmacist Perspective on Remdesivir Trials

Julie Ann Justo, infectious diseases clinical pharmacist and associate professor at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, discusses the latest data from Gilead's trials for remdesivir, a potential COVID-19 treatment.

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Poll Identifies Concerns About Rising Costs of Drugs, Health Care Amid Pandemic

A new poll by Gallup and West Health found that a majority of Americans have expressed numerous health care system-related concerns, including rising costs of drugs, insurance premiums, and health care in response to COVID-19.

A collaborative poll between Gallup and West Health discovered that nearly 9 in 10 US adults feared that the novel COVID-19 could result in negative developments in the world of health care, with 55% saying they were “very concerned” and 33% saying they were “somewhat concerned” about the potentially rising costs of drugs due to the pandemic.

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Older Adults in Long Term Care Amid COVID-19

Amie Blaszczyk, PharmD, FASHP, CGP, BCPS, associate professor and division head of geriatrics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, explains the factors acting on older adults in long term care, and the response from these facilities.

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American Telemedicine Association Pressures Congress to Keep New Telehealth Measures Post-Pandemic

“Telehealth has kept the entire health care system afloat and has enabled patients to continue to receive care,” the American Telemedicine Association’s president said in a testimony.

In a testimony before the full Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP), American Telemedicine Association (ATA) President Joseph Kvedar, MD, urged policymakers to “take specific actions before the end of the public health emergency to make access to telehealth services permanent.”

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Walgreens Reinstates Routine Immunization Services With COVID-19 Safety Measures

Keeping ahead of flu season and preventing illness through immunizations is critical to reducing an already-strained health care system.

Walgreens has announced that it has reinstated its routine immunization services with pandemic-prompted safety measures after postponing all non-urgent, routine immunizations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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