Weekend update

Lincoln Memorial in the Fall

From Washington DC,

  • The Wall Street Journal adds.
    • “GOP lawmakers are heading into another week without a speaker will try to overcome deep divisions long enough to unify behind a new candidate, after colleagues soured on conservative firebrand Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) following a string of unsuccessful floor votes
    • “With the race now rebooted, nine Republican lawmakers are angling for the speaker job, jumping into the race before a Sunday deadline. 
    • “Rep. Tom Emmer (R., Minn.), who serves as the House’s majority whip, has announced a run. He already locked up an endorsement from former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), who remains a popular and influential party member despite his sudden ejection from the speakership on Oct. 3. Other candidates include Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, who leads the conservative Republican Study Committee group, Byron Donalds of Florida, a political newcomer with ties to former President Donald Trump, and longtime lawmaker Pete Sessions of Texas. * * *
    • “Candidates are expected to pitch their colleagues at a forum on Monday evening ahead of an internal vote to designate a new Republican speaker nominee as soon as Tuesday morning.”
  • The full House is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

From the public health/research front,

  • The American Medical Association suggests seven steps that women should take to improve blood pressure control and identifies the top health tips that infectious disease doctors want their patients to know.
  • Fortune Well reports,
    • “It’s been a month since a Maryland man became the second person to receive a transplanted heart from a pig — and hospital video released Friday shows he’s working hard to recover.
    • “Lawrence Faucette was dying from heart failure and ineligible for a traditional heart transplant because of other health problems when doctors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine offered the highly experimental surgery.
    • “The Maryland team last year performed the world’s first transplant of a heart from a genetically altered pig into another dying man. David Bennett survived just two months before that heart failed, for reasons that aren’t completely clear, although signs of a pig virus later were found inside the organ. Lessons from that first experiment led to changes before this second try, including better virus testing.
    • “Attempts at animal-to-human organ transplants — called xenotransplants — have failed for decades, as people’s immune systems immediately destroyed the foreign tissue. Now scientists are trying again using pigs genetically modified to make their organs more humanlike.
    • “In Friday’s hospital video, Faucette’s doctors said the pig heart has shown no sign of rejection.”
  • Per FiercePharma,
    • “Last year, a first-of-its-kind head-to-head clinical trial between two PD-1 inhibitors went in GSK’s favor. Now, the British pharma has some new patient survival data to celebrate.
    • “Compared with Merck’s market-leading Keytruda, GSK’s Jemperli demonstrated a 25% lower risk of death in patients with newly diagnosed nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to new data unveiled today, Oct. 20, at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2023 Congress.
    • “The data come from an updated analysis of the phase 2 PERLA trial, which was the first global, head-to-head study of two PD-1 inhibitors.
    • “The number doesn’t bear statistical significance because the trial wasn’t designed to show superiority. It does, however, further prove that Jemperli behaves in a similar way as Keytruda does, Hesham Abdullah, M.D., who leads GSK’s oncology drug development, said in an interview with Fierce Pharma.”
  • MedTech Dive informs us,
    • “Shortages of medical devices and therapies are compromising patient care by delaying treatment and driving unsafe practices, according to a survey of healthcare professionals conducted by the patient safety nonprofit ECRI and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
    • “The survey found that supply shortages have caused surgical cases to be rescheduled, postponed or canceled and that a lack of endotracheal tubes and pulmonary artery catheters is on the cusp of impacting the ability to provide adequate clinical care.
    • “ECRI and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices used the findings to call for “long-term, nationally coordinated solutions” to stop persistent shortages.”

In human resources news,

  • Per HR Dive,
    • “UPS will expand an ‘emergency child care initiative’ for U.S.-based front-line workers, the company announced Tuesday. The program, a partnership with Patch Caregiving, was piloted from August 2022 through January at a Northern California site. 
    • “According to UPS, 80% of eligible employees participated in the emergency daycare program, which helped the company avoid more than 120 unplanned absences. UPS also reported a significant reduction in employee turnover in the pilot group — from 31% to 4%.
    • “UPS will expand the program to additional shifts at the California pilot site and some Pennsylvania facilities this quarter. It will add additional facilities in 2024.”