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What We're Reading: Ebola Vaccine Victory; ACA Numbers Mixed; Scientists Repurpose Old Drugs

AJMC Staff
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the World Health Organization, and the Congolese government announced that 2 experimental antibody-based treatments for Ebola are working so well that they will now be offered to all patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo; enrollment in insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act remains stable for people with lower incomes who received subsidies, but premium increases caused a 24% decline for people who did not qualify for assistance; scientists are repurposing old drugs or combining them with traditional antibiotics in an effort to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Hopeful Global Health Officials Say 2 Ebola Experimental Vaccines Ready for Distribution 

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Congolese government announced that 2 experimental antibody-based treatments for Ebola are working so well that they will now be offered to all patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The New York Times reported that officials hope the news will transform the course of the epidemic, which was declared a public health emergency last month and has killed more than 1800 people, according to the WHO.

ACA Enrollment Numbers: Steady for Those Receiving Subsidies, Large Drop for Those Who Don't

Enrollment in insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act remains stable for people with lower incomes who received subsidies, but premium increases caused a 24% decline for people who did not qualify for assistance, The Hill reported. CMS data shows that enrollment rose by 300,000 people among those with lower incomes who did qualify for financial help. Average ACA premiums fell by 1% between 2018 and 2019, reversing years of steep increases as many insurers stopped losing money in the market.

Scientists Find Repurposed Old Horse Drug Kills MRSA 

Scientists are repurposing old drugs or combining them with traditional antibiotics in an effort to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, NPR reported. A recent study described the work of researchers at Brown, Emory, and Harvard universities who sought to find an existing drug that could target the bacteria's membrane, a part of the bacteria that most antibiotics don't attack. Bithionol, a drug formerly used to treat parasitic infections in horses, killed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a common hospital-acquired bug that causes pneumonia as well as infections. 

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