What We're Reading: Efficacy of Moderna's Vaccine; FDA Clears $5 COVID-19 Rapid Test; DOJ Wants Nursing Home Data

August 27, 2020

Preliminary data find Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine effective in older adults; FDA authorizes use of $5 COVID-19 rapid test; the DOJ asks for nursing home data from 4 blue states.

Early COVID-19 Vaccine Data Show Promise in Older Adults

New preliminary data from an early trial of Moderna’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine show the candidate appears to be safe and produce a strong immune response in older adults, Politico reports. The study included 20 adults over the age of 55. Researchers found that almost 2 months after patients received the second of 2 vaccine doses, patients in this age group had antibody levels higher than those of individuals who had recovered from COVID-19. The European Union has already indicated it will buy 80 million doses of the vaccine.

FDA Grants Emergency Use Authorization to Abbott's Rapid COVID-19 Test

The FDA granted emergency use authorization to Abbott Laboratories’ portable COVID-19 antigen test that can deliver results in under 15 minutes, according to Reuters. The test will cost $5 and is about the size of a credit card. It also can be conducted using a less invasive nasal swab than common lab tests and requires no additional equipment to operate, making it ideal to check that individuals in large gatherings, like those in schools or workplaces, do not have COVID-19. The company said it plans to ship tens of millions of tests in September and increase to shipping 50 million tests a month at the beginning of October.

DOJ Seeks Nursing Home Data from 4 States

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking data on deaths in public nursing homes in 4 Democratic-run states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York. The letters were sent to governors asking for data to determine whether the states violated federal law by ordering public nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals, the Associated Press reports. The fact-finding letters come amid criticism that the actions may have fueled the spread of the virus. However, spokespeople from New Jersey, New York, and Michigan all said the fact the states are led by Democrats and the timing of the move point to the political nature of the inquiry.