The NIH awarded Kephera Diagnostics a two-year, $599,316 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant to go toward work on a point-of-care test to diagnose Chagas disease. The company said it has developed a prototype assay with higher analytical sensitivity than Chagas tests currently on the market.
The California Department of Insurance filed a lawsuit against AbbVie, accusing the drugmaker of illegally increasing prescriptions of its arthritis drug Humira by paying kickbacks to health care providers in exchange for prescribing the drug and hiring a network of nurse ambassadors to make sure Humira prescriptions were regularly refilled. According to the complaint, health insurers received about 274,000 claims for Humira prescriptions from 2013 to 2018, causing them to shell out approximately $1.2 billion in improper payments.
Spanning Cloud Apps polled over 400 US employees and found that 60% of government workers would let colleagues use their work computer, compared with 40% of health care staffers. Another study by Wombat Security found that on average, health care employees incorrectly answered 23% of questions related to IT security best practices, compared with 24% among those in the hospitality industry.
Marburg virus persisted in the testes of crab-eating macaques, suggesting that Marburg and other filoviruses, such as Ebola, might also persist in human testes after the body clears the virus from other organs, researchers reported in Cell Host & Microbe. Marburg virus caused the breakdown of the blood-testes barrier that protects Sertoli cells, but the presence of the virus did not appear to affect sperm generation or reproductive function.
The Argonaute 2 protein silences RNA and slows liver metabolism, impeding the organ's ability to process fat, and blocking AGO2 prevented obesity, diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice fed a high-fat diet. The findings, published in Nature Communications, might have implications for treating chronic metabolic disorders in humans.
Health care providers can use connected care platforms to treat individuals for substance abuse and addiction, HHS Assistant Health Secretary Brett Giroir wrote in a blog post. "Working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), HHS developed materials to help clarify how clinicians can use telemedicine as a tool to expand buprenorphine-based [Medication-Assisted Treatment] for opioid use disorder treatment under current DEA regulations," Giroir wrote.
Accenture, Merck and Amazon Web Services will work together to develop a cloud-based informatics research platform to help life science organizations become more efficient, innovative and productive as their drugs begin the development process. "Our collaboration will create a scientific technology marketplace providing the capabilities our researchers need to extend our tradition of scientific innovation, enabling our mission of bringing new breakthrough therapies to the patients who need them," said Joe Miletich, Merck's senior vice president of research.
Nine more counties will receive health data exchange services from New York-based health information exchange Hixny over the next 18 months, allowing participants to improve health data access, care quality and care coordination for providers. The new counties join the 28 Hixny currently serves.
The University of California at Irvine says an animal rights group made "false statements" about animals used in research at the institution, and FBR is supporting UC Irvine as it defends its researchers against what FBR says are "subversive, ... preposterous and dangerous" accusations. "They are attacking dedicated professionals to whom all Americans owe significant medical and scientific advancements. From basic pain medications and vaccines to life-saving procedures, animal research helps both humans and animals," says FBR President Matthew R. Bailey.
A live-attenuated Zika virus vaccine that protected mice and non-human primates might also kill human glioblastoma cells, according to research published in mBio. Zika virus targets fetal neural progenitor cells but is less harmful to differentiated, healthy brain cells, and the vaccine killed lab-grown glioblastoma cells as well as human glioblastoma cells transplanted into mouse brains.