InnovationRx: WHO Declares Monkeypox Emergency; Plus: Covid's Animal Origins – Forbes

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Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom
On Saturday, the World Health Organization declared that the spread of monkeypox now constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern.” This is the highest level of alert for the public health organization, which has only ever applied to five other diseases, including Covid-19. Vaccines and treatments to fight smallpox can likely be successfully repurposed to fight the disease and are currently being used around the world to manage the outbreak. For example, Danish biotech Bavarian Nordic was given the green light by the European Commission to use its smallpox vaccine against monkeypox.
With thanks to Forbes fellow Ariyana Griffin for her contributions to this newsletter!

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SoftBank-backed Elemy, last valued at $1.15 billion, laid off employees and abruptly stopped providing in-person services to kids in Illinois and Georgia. Read more here.

Imaging AI: Cleerly, which has developed AI-powered CT scans for angiograms to improve risk assessment for heart disease patients, announced it has raised a $192 million series C, bringing the company to a total of $248 million in funding.
Drug Discovery: BridGene, a biotech company focused on discovery of small molecules for difficult to treat diseases, announced it raised a $38.5 million series B round.
Primary Care: Primary care provider Everside Health announced it raised $164 million in equity funding in order to add new services and expand its footprint.
Testing: Diagnostics company Senzo raised a $2 million equity funding round to continue development of its high-accuracy tests for Covid, flu, tuberculosis and more.
Telepharmacy: Digital health startup RxLive said that it raised a $5 million series A round to expand telepharmacy services to at-risk patients.
Healthcare company Centene reported a second quarter loss of $172 million, but it will see a rise in enrollment and revenue due to selling government-subsidized health plans.
As the coronavirus pandemic arose, HIV testing rates declined, creating a new risk and global battle to fight. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death globally for women of reproductive age.
New research finds that people who exercise 300 to 600 minutes a week, two or three times the previous recommended time, see a reduction in mortality risk.
Moderate alcohol consumption can cause high iron levels in the brain, a new study reports, which may have impacts on cognition.
People of color are 40% more likely to live in regions with extreme heat, making them disproportionately vulnerable to heat inflicted injuries during sporting events.
A pair of studies published this week build a very strong case that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid, originally jumped from animals to humans in a market in Wuhan, China. This has long been suspected to be how the pandemic originated but some have speculated that the virus may have escaped from the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology. The first study focused on geography, noting that most of the original 174 patients in December 2019 lived near or were connected to the market. It also confirmed that vendors in the market were selling live mammals that may have been able to spread the disease. The second focused on the genetics of the virus and found that most of the common lineages of SARS-CoV-2 derived from people directly involved in the marketplace. Those genomics studies also determined that the virus may have jumped to humans twice at that market. This complements previous studies which showed that the coronavirus naturally evolved and lacked any tell-tale markets of genetic manipulation.
The origin of the current pandemic highlights one of the most common causes of new diseases in humans: that’s becoming infected with a disease from animals, particularly livestock. The likely origin of the 1918 “Spanish Flu” epidemic was a pig farm in Kansas. OC-43, another coronavirus that infects humans (and that some researchers think caused a pandemic in the late 1800s) transmitted from cows. And of course monkeypox, which is now spreading around the world, derives from… well, you can probably guess. If you want to know more about how diseases crossover from animals to humans, I strongly suggest picking up a copy of Spillover by David Quammen, which is a terrific book on the subject.
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Dwindling demand for Covid antivirals is poised to offset strong sales from the first half of 2022, according to health analytics firm Airfinity, as officials in the U.S. and around the world urge doctors to make better use of the lifesaving drugs as supplies go unused on shelves. Read more here.

About 1 out of every 16 children infected with SARS-CoV-2 will develop long Covid, a new study shows, with symptoms that may include fatigue, weakness, fever and difficulty breathing,.
Fosun Pharmaceutical, a Shanghai-based company, unveiled a new alliance with Genuine Biotech, whose Azvudine tablets have gained emergency approval from China’s National Medical Products Association for adults suffering from moderate Covid-19.
President Joe Biden emerged Wednesday from five full days of isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, marking the occasion by touting the vaccines and drugs he says kept him from becoming severely ill.
The long Covid symptoms most people are familiar with include fatigue, brain fog, loss of smell and shortness of breath, but new research shows that it can also inflict hair loss and sexual dysfunction.
A new study found that Covid-19 antiviral pills Paxlovid and molnupiravir, have been shown to protect against hospitalizations and death even in people who don’t initially report severe symptoms.
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How long is COVID infectious? What scientists know so far (Nature)
Encouraged by right-wing doctor groups, desperate patients turn to ivermectin for long Covid (Stat)
California Wants to Make Cheap Insulin. Here’s How It Could Work (Wired)


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