Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance

O’Neill Commission has identified a number of recommendations to tackling drug-resistant infections. Seth Seabury and Neeraj Sood have their own thoughts on how to incentivize the development of antibiotics to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which they describe in an interesting article in the Health Affairs blog. They write: The US patent system incentivizes innovation by…

A Christmas present?

Good news reported from the NY Times: In a scientific triumph that will change the way the world fights a terrifying killer, an experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in the waning days of the West African epidemic has been shown to provide 100 percent protection against the lethal disease. The vaccine has not yet…

Should patients pay high-cost sharing for treatments for the Hepatitis C Virus?

Treatments for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) are expensive.  At one point they cost over $80,000 per year, although costs have decreased since then.  To prevent moral hazard, should insurance companies rely on cost sharing to decrease utilization?  An article by Lakdawalla, Linthicum, and Vanderpuye-Orgle (2016) argues that they shouldn’t. Cost sharing appears even less efficient when…

Developing new antibiotics is vital

Antibiotics are one of the greatest inventions.  They rank in ABC News’s top 10 health advances of all time.  However, bacteria are not static.  They can change and mutate to become anti-biotic resistant.  In this constant battle against disease, new antibiotics are needed. Harvard’s Mega-Plate Petri Dish experiment shows in vivid detail why the development of…

DA Henderson, RIP

The man, Donal Ainslie (DA) Anderson, whole help eliminate smallpox died on August 19.  The Economist has an obituary to the man. This crowd of helpers, which delighted him, meant that no Nobel prize could be given for wiping out smallpox. If it had been, he might have shared it with William Foege, who first devised…

Infectious Disease: Themes

An interesting post by Nicolas Bagley at the Incidental Economist provides a brief overview of a class he taught on infectious diseases and the law.  Looking at diseases ranging from cholera, Spanish flu, polio, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola, Bagley claims that ten key themes emerged: Governments are typically unprepared, disorganized, and resistant to taking steps…

A universal flu vaccine

Wired reports: Today, independent teams reported inScience and Nature Medicine how they’ve tinkered with a piece of viral protein so it can teach immune systems—in this case, in mice, ferrets, and monkeys—to fight whole groups of viruses rather than just a single strain. “It’s a great first step in the road for generating a universal…

Cholera and Haiti

Cholera has been a huge problem for Haiti. The excellent investigative journalist and author Rose George reports: Five years on, cholera has killed nearly 9,000 Haitians. More than 730,000 people have been infected. It is the worst outbreak of the disease, globally, in modern history. In 2014, Cholera was on the verge of being eradicated from Haiti:…