What We're Reading: Ineffective COVID-19 Drugs; Panel Advises Fourth Dose in Israel; Physician Mental Health Amid Pandemic

FDA significantly restricts the use of 2 COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments ineffective against the Omicron variant; an expert panel advises the Israeli government to offer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to adults; there was a substantial increase in visits for mental health and substance abuse among physicians with no prior history during the pandemic.

FDA Curbs Use of 2 Drugs Ineffective Against Omicron

The FDA yesterday significantly restricted the use of 2 COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments manufactured by Eli Lilly and Regeneron, citing scientific evidence showing their ineffectiveness against the Omicron variant. As reported by The Hill, the emergency use designation will remain in effect for the 2 drugs, which are now advised for use in patients that have been infected with or exposed to a COVID-19 variant that is susceptible to the treatments. Nearly 100,000 combined doses of both therapies were distributed nationwide last week, with further shipments to be paused.

Israeli Expert Panel Advises Fourth COVID-19 Vaccine Dose in Adults

An expert panel advised the Israeli government today to begin offering a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to adults 18 years and older amid research showing the extra dose provides 3 to 5 times the level of protection against serious disease and double the protection against infection compared with 3 doses. As reported by the Associated Press, more than 600,000 people have already received the second booster dose in Israel, which has been offered to adults over 60 years and high-risk individuals. The move could encourage other countries to begin offering the fourth dose, but concerns remain around disproportionate vaccine distribution in underserved countries that have faced shortages of vaccines.

Study Finds Increase in Mental Health Visits for Physicians During Pandemic

Findings of a Canadian study published recently in JAMA Network Open showed that visits for mental health and substance abuse increased 27% for physicians during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. As reported by CIDRAP, the relative increase was indicated to be significantly greater among physicians who did not have a history of mental health or substance abuse issues compared with those who did. Similar increases in visits were reported for physicians regardless of age, gender, urban or rural placement, and treating patients with COVID-19.