On the lighter side, from Norman Vincent Peale, “Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds."
Some good news on a number of fronts. I heard back from the Michigan “entity” moving forward on the home testing front. You will recall that in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) $310B supplemental that the president signed in April, we included $1.8B for home testing initiatives by the private sector supervised by the NIH. Dr. Francis Collins brilliantly and immediately established the framework for entities to apply and go through a “shark tank” to see if they could actually work. I reported on one such Michigan entity that has patented such a device interacting with some top medical institutions across the country. This particular group exhibited their product earlier this week and is progressing to the next step with further review. It has a receptacle for either blood or saliva and then within minutes analyze if one of three antibodies are being produced days before any symptoms of Coronavirus are shown. Linked to a smart phone, that individual can then display a “green” or “red” visual as they go about their daily routine, whether it be to school, the store, or workplace, assuring those around that they have not been exposed. The cost is less than $10/test and a huge step toward getting our country “back to normal.” I will keep you posted. The original hope was that such devices be ready for the marketplace as early as this Fall.
The NIH announced that it is funding a study to evaluate drugs prescribed to treat COVID-19 in infants, kids, and adolescents. The study leverages an existing clinical trial that examines drugs that are prescribed off-label to children for a variety of medical conditions. It is being conducted in nearly 40 sites and located near diverse communities, given reports that COVID-19 disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities of all ages. This is also an issue we want to pursue as part of a “21st Century Cures 2.0” initiative that I am working on with Diana DeGette (D-CO) who was my partner on that Cures 1.0 legislation, now law.
DeGette and I participated in two zoom conferences yesterday and today discussing that initiative. We spoke to the National Cancer Network Virtual Policy Summit and in an interview with Politico, “Forecasting the Future of Health Care Delivery.” You can see that rerun HERE.
Regenerate announced today they are entering clinical trials for their antibody cocktail REGN-COV2 consisting of two antibodies for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. The first two adaptive Phase 1/2/3 studies will evaluate REGN-COV2 as a treatment for hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients. You can read more HERE.
A new chart shows the reported number of coronavirus cases in Michigan may be on the rise, but the Detroit Free Press has a story that shows why that chart may be misleading, which you can see HERE.
I spent time on another zoom with the national leadership of the Global Alzheimer’s Platform foundation. This is a main research arm dedicated to speeding the delivery of innovative medicines to those in need by reducing the time and cost of Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials. Nearly 50% of private research clinical trials are at real risk because of Coronavirus. In fact, 66% of clinical sites have less than a 3-month cash flow, a real threat for researchers and participants in these clinical trials to continue whether it be Alzheimer’s, cancer, or any other serious disease. I am helping initiate bipartisan legislation that can address this issue so that these important biomedical trials continue.
Today’s picture is from the change of command from the St. Joseph Coast Guard Station. Now former-commander Heffner’s team aided in the rescue of 115 individuals during his 2-year stint. New commander Barb Elkins hails from Michigan and is pictured with Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey.
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