Sanofi executives have acknowledged that first-generation mRNA vaccines for the flu will not be successful due to their limitations in targeting certain strains of the virus. Sanofi presented trial data comparing its hemagglutinin-based mRNA flu vaccine with its approved Fluzone vaccine, revealing that while the mRNA vaccine performed well against strain A, it struggled against strain B, similar to other mRNA vaccines. Sanofi believes that the low flu B responses may be a class effect across mRNA platforms and that a more comprehensive solution is needed. Despite this setback, Sanofi remains optimistic about its competitive mRNA platform and will work on developing a new generation of mRNA flu vaccines. The company also plans to utilize mRNA technology for therapeutic vaccines for acne and chlamydia. In the area of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Sanofi aims to become the only company to protect all affected age groups and is progressing with its RSV vaccine candidates for infants, toddlers, and older people. (Fierce Biotech)
In response to the changing landscape of abortion laws in the United States, college campuses are installing vending machines stocked with emergency contraceptives such as the morning-after pill. These machines, now present at 39 universities in 17 states, aim to ensure that emergency contraceptives are easily accessible, affordable, and discreet. The machines provide a solution for individuals who live in states with restricted abortion access or lack nearby abortion clinics. Washington became the first state to allocate funds for expanding access to emergency contraceptives at public universities through these vending machines. Other states, such as Illinois and New York, are considering legislation to require the presence of emergency contraceptive vending machines on college campuses. The machines offer a convenient and stigma-free way for students to access emergency contraceptives promptly and discreetly, especially in cases of rape or when pharmacies are closed. (Associated Press)
The recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action has left medical school and educational leaders hopeful about diversifying future classes, even as they grapple with its impact on the upcoming admissions cycle. Many see the ruling as an endorsement of “holistic review,” an approach that considers an applicant as a whole person rather than relying solely on empirical data like test scores. Medical schools have long aimed to train physicians who better reflect the demographics of the patients they serve in order to reduce health disparities. While criticism of the decision remains, several medical groups and institutions continue to advocate for holistic review as a means of building more inclusive classes. The ruling allows applicants to discuss their race and experiences, as long as they are tied to qualities of character or unique abilities. Medical schools have affirmed their commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence in admissions policies and will continue to prioritize holistic approaches. The Department of Education is expected to provide further guidance on the ruling in the coming weeks. Medical schools are urged to continue striving for diversity, as representation and inclusivity remain essential for the future of healthcare. (STAT)
As a record-breaking heat wave blankets the American South, residents are finding ways to adapt to the scorching temperatures. Construction workers, delivery drivers, and landscapers wear cooling rags and use citrus-scented cologne to cope with the heat. Dog walkers, joggers, and farmworkers schedule their activities for early mornings or evenings. The combination of heat and dryness has even raised concerns about the safety of annual summer traditions, such as fireworks shows. Accommodations are being made, including earlier start times for workers and the opening of cooling centers. Despite the challenges, groups like the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps continue their intensive summer camps, enduring blistering heat and humidity. These experiences forge a sense of camaraderie and dedication, as participants work towards their performances and create lasting memories. (New York Times)
Smoke from wildfires is becoming an increasingly common and alarming phenomenon, affecting areas that once seemed immune. The memories it evokes for people like Emily Kuchlbauer and Ryan Bomba serve as reminders of the changing climate and the escalating impact of climate change. Scientists assert that wildfires and their associated smoke will continue to worsen unless significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions are achieved. The increasing frequency and intensity of fires are attributed to global warming, which creates drier conditions, prolongs fire seasons, and amplifies extreme weather events. The size of burned areas in North America has grown significantly, surpassing previous records. The term “wildfire” itself may no longer be suitable, as human activity has made these fires more likely and intense. As the world grapples with this new reality, scientists emphasize the urgent need for collective action to combat climate change and mitigate the devastating health effects caused by wildfire smoke, including respiratory issues and premature deaths. (Associated Press)
Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.
WORDS: The Biology Guy. (@thebiologyguy)
IMAGE CREDIT: NASA.