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1

Study: mRNA vaccines perform better against COVID-19 variants of concern

In a peer-reviewed study published May 17 in PLOS Medicine, scientists found that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines were superior to adenovirus vector-based ones across major variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

2

Global smoking rates fall for first time, but rise for kids, Africa – report

Smoking rates declined globally for the first time on record, according to a new report on tobacco use. However, the figures from the Tobacco Atlas report also mask growing numbers of smokers in parts of the world, as well as increased tobacco use among young teenagers in almost half of the countries surveyed.

3

World in no better place to fight pandemics than before COVID – review

The world is no better prepared for a new pandemic than it was when coronavirus emerged in 2019 and may actually be in a worse place given the economic toll, according to a panel set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) to evaluate the global response.

4

U.S. lawmakers unveil FDA emergency funds bill to address baby formula shortage

U.S. House Democrats on May 17 unveiled a bill to provide $28 million in emergency funds to the Food and Drug Administration to help the regulatory agency respond to a nationwide shortage of infant formula and strengthen supervision of the industry.

5

U.S. says use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral up 315%

Use of Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid jumped 315 percent over the past four weeks, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on May 17, as health officials try to address unexpectedly light demand.

6

U.S. FDA authorizes Pfizer’s COVID booster shot for young children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 17 authorized the use of a booster shot of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, making everyone in the United States over the age of 5 eligible for a third shot.

7

Strategies to Increase Diversity in Rare Genetic Disease Trials

Diversity in all clinical research—including rare disease research—is currently under scrutiny, partly because of disparities experienced with COVID-19. Rightly so, as data show that 86 percent of genomics studies to date have involved people of European ancestry, which has limited the potential benefits of genomic research for many populations. Rebecca Sutphen, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of InformedDNA, and Board-Certified Genetic Counselor Karmen Trzupek analyze strategies to increase diversity in rare genetic disease trials.

9

FDA authorizes COVID-19 boosters for kids 5-11 as cases creep up

On May 17, the U.S. FDA authorized a booster of Pfizer’s vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 years. The action comes as major cities are announcing a rise in cases. Additionally, COVID-19 would have claimed over 110,000 more lives in 2021 if not for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to a Pfizer-sponsored report on the first year of the U.S. vaccination program.