Life expectancy in the United States fell by nearly two years in 2020 to about 77 years amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the sharpest drop compared to 21 other high-income countries, according to a global study.

Jane Qiu, a freelance science writer based in Beijing, published an overview of her efforts to investigate the lab-leak theory for the origin of COVID-19. In another update, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on February 15 to discuss an amended Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 4 years of age.

The U.S. health regulator extended the review of Bristol Myers Squibb’s oral heart disease drug candidate mavacamten, which the company acquired in its $13 billion buyout of MyoKardia during 2020.

Novartis AG said on Sept. 1 the company agreed on a deal with Britain’s healthcare service provider for use of the drugmaker’s new anti-cholesterol product Leqvio, after the country’s healthcare cost agency NICE approved the medicine.

Speculation regarding poorer outcomes for those with high cholesterol and/or heart disease infected with SARS-CoV-2 are well known. A real-world study published by the FH Foundation confirms Covid-19 increased heart attack rates significantly in patients with these conditions. 

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is effective at preventing symptomatic and severe disease in people with some chronic illnesses, like diabetes and heart disease, the biggest real-world study showed on April 22.