Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Our latest STAT Report, on the antimicrobial resistance crisis and the revitalization of the antibiotic pipeline, is now available here. Written by STAT's Ed Silverman, the report takes a deep dive into the factors that have led to the rise of antimicrobial resistance, the social, political and economic factors that have led companies to shorten their antibiotic pipelines, and next steps forward. 

CDC advisory group to discuss rare heart side effects in vaccinated teens, booster shots for Covid

Following reports earlier this month of rare but higher-than-expected cases of heart inflammation in teens and young adults who got two shots of an mRNA Covid vaccine, a CDC expert group is meeting today to discuss the vaccines' safety profile. CDC and FDA officials previously reported preliminary data: There were 573 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis after the second shot of either mRNA vaccine currently available, but only 216 such cases after the first dose. Experts will also evaluate data on additional Covid-19 booster shots to fend off the virus. Today's events are part of a three-day meeting of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which will also discuss updates on non-Covid vaccinations such as the upcoming season's flu vaccine. 

Lawmakers to urge FDA to step up action to curb youth vaping

A House Oversight and Reform subcommittee is holding a hearing this morning on how the federal government can curb the rising rates of youth e-cigarette use. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, who is presiding over an agency that has faced unique pressure to advance regulations to limit e-cigarette use, will be a chief witness. House Democrats in March also called on the FDA to remove from market all flavored e-cigarette products under review and reject other such products awaiting approval. In an opening statement excerpt released ahead of the hearing, subcommittee chair Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, who signed the March letter, will urge Woodcock to follow through: “If you leave a single flavor on the market, kids will use it. And that will not be because of the destruction that occurred before you took the helm. It will be because of an affirmative decision you make. Don’t make that decision.” 

White House confirms U.S. will miss July 4 goal for Covid-19 vaccinations

As was expected, the U.S. will miss meeting the Biden administration's goal of having 70% of adults get at least one Covid vaccine dose by July 4, the White House announced yesterday. While the U.S. has reached this goal among those aged 30 and older — and is likely to meet the goal for those 27 and up — it will still be several weeks after July 4 before everyone 18 and older will be at least partially vaccinated. Overall, 65% of U.S. adults have received at least one dose, a rate that has remained somewhat stagnant as daily vaccination rates have declined from a peak of more than 4.6 million doses given in a single day in mid-April to just around half a million daily doses this week. The Biden administration was also aiming to have 160 million people fully vaccinated by July 4, another goal it will likely miss as around 150 million people of all ages are vaccinated — among adults, that figure stands at around 144 million. 

Inside STAT: Prenatal exposure to ultra-fine particles increases a child's risk of asthma, study finds

Ultra-fine particle pollution can come from a number of sources, including car exhaust. (DAVID PAUL MORRIS/GETTY IMAGES)

A single human hair is roughly 500 to 800 times the size of an ultra-fine particle of air pollution, which can come from car exhaust or burning wood or coal and whose concentrations are not federally regulated. In a new story, STAT contributor Rebecca Sohn outlines how a recent study found that prenatal exposure to ultra-fine particles may be even more likely to lead to the development of asthma in children than larger particles whose deleterious effects had previously been recorded. Ultra-fine particles' minuscule size may mean that they can more easily be inhaled and pass through the lungs into the bloodstream. And researchers found that every doubling of these particles' concentration in the air quadrupled the risk of asthma. Read more here.

Key science officials detail their plans for a new research agency

Newly appointed White House science adviser Eric Lander, NIH Director Francis Collins and others outlined key details yesterday for the new research agency that will focus on ending cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions. Dubbed ARPA-H, the agency will have other broader goals, including developing smartwatches to constantly monitor blood pressure and eliminating health disparities. Officials argue that ARPA-H will be more like the Department of Defense's DARPA, which is known for tackling ambitious, futuristic projects, and not another research center within the NIH's umbrella. ARPA-H already has some congressional support as a bipartisan pair of representatives yesterday introduced the Cures 2.0 bill — a follow-up to the 21st Century Cures Act — which has allocated $6.5 billion in initial funding.

A coalition of 200+ organizations calls for a permanent end to global gag rule

Planned Parenthood and more than 200 organizations from 88 countries signed a joint statement yesterday calling for a permanent end to the global gag rule that prevents NGOs in other countries from receiving U.S. funding if those agencies provide, refer, or counsel people on abortions. The Trump administration had reinstated this rule — first put in place in 1984 — at the beginning of 2017, but President Biden rescinded the rule upon assuming office. Still, without a permanent ban on the rule, also known as the "Mexico City policy," future administrations that oppose abortion rights could reinstate it. "We must end this destructive cycle of widespread fear and confusion about the status of the global gag rule that divides civil society, disrupts long-standing partnerships, and undercuts the vital work of local organizations," the statement says. 

Covid-19 in the U.S.

New cases yesterday (two-week average): 12,314
New deaths yesterday (two-week average): 294

What to read around the web today

  • It took a pandemic, but the US finally has (some) centralized medical data. MIT Technology Review
  • Newly disclosed FDA documents reveal agency’s unprecedented path to approving Aduhelm. STAT
  • ‘Speed and scale.’ One year into the job, NSF’s director prepares for massive budget growth. Science
  • The deadly black fungus striking India’s recovering Covid patients. The Washington Post
  • Teva agrees to pay $925,000 to Mississippi to settle generic price-fixing charges. STAT+

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,

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