Home » Texas governor. Drugmakers ask FDA approval for an antiviral pill. Greg Abbott takes steps to prohibit vaccine mandates

Texas governor. Drugmakers ask FDA approval for an antiviral pill. Greg Abbott takes steps to prohibit vaccine mandates

by Lester Blair
Drugmakers seek FDA emergency authorization for molnupiravir, antiviral pill to treat COVID-19: Latest updates
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Pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co. and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced Monday they requested emergency use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration for molnupiravir, an antiviral drug that offers the promise that COVID-19 could soon be treated by a pill.

Molnupiravir, an orally ingested antiviral pill, is used to treat mild to moderate adult cases of COVID-19 that are at risk of worsening to severe COVID-19 or hospitalization, according to the companies. It was created by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta and is given as four pills taken twice a day for five days.

An interim analysis from a clinical trial found the antiviral medicine reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%.

Since early in the pandemic, public health officials have hoped for effective antivirals that could help prevent severe infection in people exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Although several drugs have been tested early against the virus, none of them proved to be beneficial for patients.

In June, the Biden administration allocated $3.2 billion toward the development of an antiviral, saying the drugs would be a crucial part of the fight against the virus.

If the medicine receives emergency use authorization, Merck says it will supply about 1.7 million doses of molnupiravir to the U.S. government for distribution. 

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►Amazon reversed course Monday and announced in a blog post that it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely as long as they can commute to the office when necessary. Before January, the majority of employees expected to stay in office at least 3 days per week.

►Portugal became the world’s first country to vaccinate 85% of its population against COVID-19.

►Nearly 90% of students, faculty and staff at Michigan State University have been vaccinated for COVID-19, according to university officials.

►The 125th Boston Marathon, moved from its traditional April date because of coronavirus concerns, was a bit smaller and more subdued than usual Monday but featured a familiar finish – with Kenyans claiming the men’s and women’s races. The field of about 20,000 runners was 10,000 less than previous years and started in waves. The tradition of serving food and beverages to runners was abandoned by the crowds who walked along the route. 

►Thailand will no longer require international visitors from at least 10 low-risk nations – including the U.S. – to quarantine beginning next month if they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Monday.

📈The numbers of today: The U.S. has recorded more than 44.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 713,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 238.2 million cases and 4.85 million deaths. More than 187 million Americans – 56.4% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘This is what we are reading For a time, the US. vaccine rollout was the envy of much of the world. Since then, the United States has become a global vaccine laggard, the percentage of its population inoculated lower than dozens of other nations. Supply isn’t the problem — a complicated and confounding lack of demand is to blame.

This page is updated regularly so you don’t miss any new information. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces a ban on COVID-19 vaccination mandates

Texas Governor. Greg Abbott, who is an outspoken opponent to vaccine mandates and mask mandates was doubled down on Monday as he issued an executive decree banning all vaccine requirements within Texas.

The order forbids any entity to compel vaccination of state residents, “including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”

Abbott asked Texas legislators to include the ban on the agenda for its Third Special Session. They also requested that it be made a law.

While making vaccines mandatory for employees has been effective, it is not a good idea.  

He stated that the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective and is our best defense against this virus. However, it should be voluntary and not forced.

WHO might recommend an extra dose to those who are immunocompromised or older

World Health Organization (WHO) has opposed the use of booster shots in general populations. They argue that vaccines such as COVID-19 should only be given to low-vaccination countries. But the group appears open to an extra shot for the most vulnerable.

An expert group advising the WHO has recommended that older people and those with compromised immune systems get an extra dose as part of their regular schedule, in line with what many wealthy countries including the U.S., Britain and France have already recommended for their populations.

The WHO’s vaccines director, Dr. Kate O’Brien, said the objective would be to produce an immune response to protect those people from severe disease, hospitalization and death. The third dose of vaccine should be administered within one to three weeks after the first. She also stressed that this recommendation is not applicable to younger, healthy adults with a normal immune system.

Wisconsin mom sues the school district for her son’s infected.

A Wisconsin woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the Waukesha School District and school board saying her son got sickafter being exposed to a classmate who had COVID-19 symptoms because of the district’s lack of mitigation protocols. Attorney Frederick Melms filed the lawsuit on behalf of Shannon Jensen and other parents and K-12 Waukesha School District students.

The board removed a mask requirement and many other COVID-19 mitigation measures that were in place for most of the 2020-21 school year, according to the lawsuit. Officials from the school declined to comment.

– Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

New York State is waging a battle for Ivermectin

New York State is involved in a nationwide legal dispute over the administration of antiparasitic medication ivermectin to COVID-19 victims. At least 14 lawsuits have sought to force New York hospitals to administer the drug to severely ill COVID-19 patients, court records show. In most cases, family members of patients, many of them kept alive by breathing machines, sued hospitals to try to use ivermectin to save their parent or spouse after other treatments failed. Doctors and hospitals are against the idea, partly because of the potential ethical and medical implications of judges deciding that health officials regarding the safety and effectiveness and efficacy of drug products can be overruled by them. Learn more.

One Dutchess County woman noted her husband of 63 years was among the rare COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections that resulted in a serious illness.

“My husband has done everything he was told to do by the federal and New York state governments and health departments,” she said. “He deserves an opportunity to live.”

Parents eager to vaccinate their kids; pediatricians ask for patience

With an official application submitted last Thursday for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be used on children ages 5 to 11, more than 28 million kids could become eligible to receive the shot around Halloween, and pediatricians and pharmacists are bracing for a crush. But parents need to be prepared to wait a few days after the FDA gives its expected go-ahead, experts say, while the system gears up to give the new lower-dosage formulation for that age group.

“There is probably going to be a period of time where demand exceeds supply, very similar to what we saw in doses for adults back in December,” said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, CEO of University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.

– Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

California’s school COVID regulations are inconsistent.

California’s school requirements are not uniform. For example, all students and teachers must wear face masks in school. There is also a requirement that teachers be vaccinated or tested by mid-October. But local school officials can handle many of the details. These include who, how, where, and when to test for COVID-19 as well as ever-changing quarantine rules.

Some large urban districts such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland tell students to mask up for outdoor recess, while many others do not. Some schools have rigorous on-site mandatory COVID-19 testing programs, but many don’t.

Across the state, parents who want to see more testing are looking to the Los Angeles Unified School District – the nation’s second-largest – as a model. L.A. has ambitious programs that require weekly testing at school for every 600,000 students as well as 75,000 workers.

“It’s crazy that a school district as huge as Los Angeles can pull it off, and we’re just twiddling our thumbs over here,” said Samantha Benton, a mother of two in Sacramento, where only voluntary testing is offered.

Contributing: The Associated Press

Source: USAToday.com

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