What We're Reading: Examining a COVID-19 Vaccine; BMS Acquires MyoKardia; Heath IT in Rural Communities

October 5, 2020

Five things to know on a vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were spotlighted; Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) will buy heart drugmaker MyoKardia Inc for $13.1 billion; a look at the importance of health information technology (IT) in rural areas.

What to Know About a COVID-19 Vaccine

Kaiser Health News spotlighted 5 things to know on a vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Among the points detailed is that a vaccine would be vital to fighting the spread of the virus, but the effectiveness of the vaccine candidates is not yet known and would require real-world evaluation as well. Moreover, the wait time in which the vaccine would be distributed indicates that current measures to curb infection, such as mask wearing, will remain a primary preventive approach.

Bristol Myers Acquires Heart Drugmaker for $13 Billion

Announced today, Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) will buy heart drugmaker MyoKardia Inc for $13.1 billion in cash. Bloomberg reports that with this move, BMS will expand its availability of heart therapies and help diversify the company beyond oncology. Additionally, BMS will receive access to MyoKardia’s lead product mavacamten, an experimental drug that is designed to treat obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick.

Importance of Health Care Technology in Rural Areas

A report published by Forbes highlights the importance of health information technology (IT) in rural areas, especially as rural hospitals continue to struggle financially from the effects of COVID-19. Rural hospitals, like most others, experienced deferrals in elective surgeries and other types of non–COVID-19 care due to state restrictions and patient fear. As noted in the article, health IT can keep rural hospitals thriving in the community and deliver care closer to patients’ homes via telehealth consultations and virtual doctor visits.