Discoveries/Innovations: Global HIV Vaccine Could Prevent HIV
A vaccine that could provide global immunity to HIV-1 is currently in an experimental stage, and according to a recent statement to NBC News, Johnson & Johnson may have the vaccine available within the next two years. J&J reported that monkeys injected by researchers with the prime-boost vaccine and then exposed to the HIV virus, were successfully protected.
Paul Stoffels, MD, J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer, reports that the HIV protein injected into the immune system of the monkeys was 100 times stronger than what humans are usually exposed to, so the trials indicate the vaccine should be effective in humans.
J&J also claims that the cell-line technology used to create the vaccine provides the ability to manufacture large volumes at a relatively low cost, which will allow it to be commercialized and brought to market.
Sales Sector: Drug Price Transparency Test Results
Only five states passed this year’s report on consumer healthcare pricing transparency laws. The Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3) base annual grading on each state’s price transparency laws and regulations along with the state’s progress in passing legislation to create price transparency websites. Colorado and Maine received a B grade, while Vermont and Virginia each received a C. New Hampshire is the only state to receive an A after launching a price transparency website for consumers in 2014.
While New Hampshire proves that it doesn’t take much time or money to pass the price transparency test, HCI3 Executive Director Francois de Brantes and CPR Executive Director Suzanne Delbanco say that many states will continue to fail due to pressure from providers and suppliers who benefit from price secrecy since transparency could jeopardize their contracts with each other.
TeleMed Texts: New Bill Introduced for Telehealth
A new bill to make telehealth more accessible to those with Medicare, The Medicare Telehealth Parity Act, could expand currently limited telehealth services available to Medicare recipients by improving areas of healthcare. If the bill passes, physicians could store and transfer medical information via video conferencing and mobile technologies, and expand this service to counties with populations as large as 50,000 to 100,000. Supporters are confident telehealth services will reduce costs and increase efficiency and access to healthcare for Medicare beneficiaries.
Therapeutic Talk: Early Intervention Possible For Alzheimer’s Sufferers
As early as 18 years before Alzheimer’s onset, research scientists report biological “red flags” may indicate the potential to develop the disease. The journal Neurology reported that researchers at Rush University Medical Center tested the cognitive abilities of more than 2,000 mentally healthy, elderly volunteers every three years.
Those who developed Alzheimer’s showed a continuous drop in their mental test results, beginning 18 years before the disease manifested. Time magazine reports that scientists say more tests must be done to make accurate predictions based on test results, but it could open the door for early intervention.