Tuesday’s Tidbits

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

From the Capitol Hill front, Roll Call reports that “The House [of Representatives] cleared a temporary debt limit bill Tuesday that will buy lawmakers a little more time [at least until December 3] to negotiate a longer-term solution * * * . The House voted 219-206 to adopt a rule for floor debate on unrelated legislation that “deemed” the Senate-passed debt limit bill as having cleared that chamber. That maneuver sent the bill, which would increase the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority by $480 billion to nearly $28.9 trillion, to President Joe Biden’s desk where he’s expected to sign it this week.”

Here are a few COVID vaccination mandate tidbits for your consideration —

  • Fedweek discusses the status of the President’s mandate that federal employees receive the COVID vaccine.
  • CNBC lets us know that Boeing, which holds large defense contracts, is rolling out a COVID vaccination mandate for its 125,000 U.S. employees.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that

The Labor Department signaled Tuesday evening that it is close to acting on President Biden’s plan to require private-sector workers get Covid-19 vaccinations or be regularly tested, a move that has drawn a mixed reaction from larger and smaller companies.

The proposed mandate, according to an earlier announcement by the Biden administration, would apply to businesses with 100 or more employees. It would be implemented under a federal rule making known as an emergency temporary standard and affect roughly 80 million workers nationwide, according to Biden administration estimates, or more than half the total U.S. workforce.

The Labor Department said its Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitted the initial text of the proposed standard to the White House for approval, signaling its final release could soon follow. The details could change during the White House review.

Also from the Delta variant front, STAT News tells us that “Food and Drug Administration scientists did not take a clear position as to whether the agency should authorize booster doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in documents released Tuesday. * * * The FDA has not made available its briefing document on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. * * * [The briefing documents relate to the FDA vaccine advisory committee meetings scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week.] One of the most interesting topics for the meeting comes at the end of day two: the discussion of a National Institutes of Health study that examines what happens when people get a booster dose of a different vaccine than the one they originally received. Allowing such mix-and-match boosterscould make it much simpler to give people the shots in the future. It would also open the Covid-19 vaccine market up to many more players, instead of giving Pfizer and Moderna an effective lock on the market.”

In miscellaneous tidbits

  • The National Institutes of Health yesterday announced that

A commonly available oral diuretic pill approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may be a potential candidate for an Alzheimer’s disease treatment for those who are at genetic risk, according to findings published in Nature Aging. The research included analysis showing that those who took bumetanide — a commonly used and potent diuretic(link is external) — had a significantly lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease compared to those not taking the drug. The study, funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, advances a precision medicine approach for individuals at greater risk of the disease because of their genetic makeup.

The research team analyzed information in databases of brain tissue samples and FDA-approved drugs, performed mouse and human cell experiments, and explored human population studies to identify bumetanide as a leading drug candidate that may potentially be repurposed to treat Alzheimer’s.

“Though further tests and clinical trials are needed, this research underscores the value of big data-driven tactics combined with more traditional scientific approaches to identify existing FDA-approved drugs as candidates for drug repurposing to treat Alzheimer’s disease,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D.

  • FEHB plans that offer plan brochures in Spanish may be interested to know that AHRQ has translated its medical visit question builder tool for patients into Spanish.
  • In an interesting business move, Best Buy, according to Healthcare Dive, is expanding its home healthcare business.

Best Buy is acquiring United Kingdom-based at-home care platform Current Health for an undisclosed amount, expanding its push into the health industry.

The massive consumer electronics retailer already owns two healthcare companies, and is now snapping up Current, which has a platform combining remote patient monitoring, telehealth and patient engagement. The move comes as an increasing amount of care is delivered in the home, accelerating consumers’ use of health tech.

The acquisition should allow Best Buy to play a bigger role in virtual care delivery, the company said in a blog post Tuesday. Best Buy expects the deal, which will be financed with cash, to close by the end of the fourth quarter of its 2022 fiscal year, per a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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