What We’re Reading: Monkeypox Declared Global Emergency; Amazon, One Medical Deal Raises Concerns; White House COVID-19 Efforts

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, calls for Federal Trade Commission to look into Amazon’s acquisition of One Medical; a Tuesday White House summit will include experts to discuss the development of updated COVID-19 vaccines.

WHO Declares Monkeypox a Global Health Emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox virus a global health emergency Saturday. This decision was made by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, director general of WHO, who called the spread a “a public health emergency of international concern” and overruled the Emergency Committee after it could not reach a consensus at their latest meeting. At the time of the declaration, there were nearly 17,000 reported cases in at least 74 countries, with nearly 3000 cases in the United States. According to Ghebreyesus, it is important that all countries work closely alongside communities of men who have sex with men to deliver the most effective information and services, as the virus impacts them most.

Klobuchar Calls on FTC to Investigate Amazon Acquisition of One Medical

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and chair of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, called for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch an investigation into Amazon’s $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical, The Hill reported. According to Klobuchar, the deal raises concerns surrounding anticompetitive behaviors in the pharmaceutical industry and the sensitive health data One Medical would be sharing with Amazon. The American Economic Liberties Project has also expressed its opposition to the deal, calling it “dangerous” and “terrifying” for Amazon to control the health care data of more than 700,000 individuals.

White House to Launch Effort for Updated COVID-19 Vaccines

With newer variants of SARS-CoV-2 spreading rapidly across the United States, the Biden administration will launch an initiative to develop vaccine technologies that will target current and future variants and reduce infection and transmission rates, STAT News reported. A Tuesday summit will include federal officials, expert scientists, pharmaceutical executives, and representatives of Pfizer and Moderna to discuss the development of new technologies for COVID-19. While this initiative will likely require more money from Congress, the White House claims updated vaccines will provide stronger and longer-lasting protection against future subvariants of the virus.