What We’re Reading: Moderna Starts mRNA Flu Vaccine Trial; Worldwide COVID-19 Deaths Hit 4 Million; Purdue Pharma Deal

Moderna starts testing for its new mRNA seasonal flu vaccine; the worldwide COVID-19 death toll hits 4 million as Delta variant spreads; more states sign on to Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy reorganization plans after additional payments and release of documents are added to the deal.

Moderna Begins Testing mRNA Flu Vaccine

After the clinical success of its mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, Moderna announced that it has begun testing a new mRNA flu vaccine. According to Axios, Moderna said that it is testing different combinations of antigens in hopes of potentially developing a vaccine that will function as a season flu vaccine, a COVID-19 variant booster, and a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus, meaning that people would only need 1 vaccine during the fall to be protected against the most problematic respiratory viruses. Although current flu vaccines are 40% to 60% effective, the company said that their new flu vaccine has been found to be more than 90% effective. The trial will test the vaccine's effectiveness in 180 healthy adults over the age of 18.

Global COVID-19 Death Toll Hits 4 Million

As the worldwide death toll for COVID-19 hits 4 million, the World Health Organization gave warning to nations planning to lift COVID-19 restrictions, according to The Washington Post. The warning comes as the highly transmissible delta variant, which was originally detected in India, has spread to over 100 countries, including those with high vaccination rates. In addition, Japan issued a state of emergency (SOE) for Tokyo and banned spectators as the city prepares to host the Olympic Games starting July 23. The Guardian reported that the SOE will last from July 12 to August 22 and comes after Tokyo experienced their highest daily case load on July 7 since May 2021.

More States Agree to Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Plan

Massachusetts, New York, and 13 other states agreed to end their opposition to Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy reorganization plans after the opioid drugmaker agreed to release millions of additional documents and give another $50 million from the Sackler family, The New York Times reported. In total, the settlement from the Sacklers, who owns Purdue, would reach $4.5 billion in cash and assets. The settlement, which must be voted on by 3000 plaintiffs by July 14, also forbids the family from obtaining naming rights for their donations until they have fulfilled all monetary obligations and have given up all business plans related to the manufacturing or sale of opioids. So far, 9 states and the District of Columbia have not agreed to the new terms.