What We’re Reading: Pfizer COVID-19 Pill Data; Pushback on Vaccine Mandate; Spray Deodorant Cancer Risk

Pfizer releases promising data on its COVID-19 pill; Republican state officials push back on President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate; some spray deodorants may contain high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

Encouraging Pfizer COVID-19 Pill Data

Data released by Pfizer show that the company’s experimental COVID-19 antiviral pill reduced the risk of death and hospitalization by 89% among patients with newly diagnosed disease, STAT News reports. The pill could signify a turning point in the pandemic, as currently available treatments need to be administered intravenously or as shots. Although data have not been peer reviewed or submitted to regulators, some experts called the news very promising. The announcement comes a day after Merck’s COVID-19 pill was approved in the United Kingdom.

Biden Receives Push Back on Vaccine Mandate

In the wake of President Joe Biden’s release of a more detailed plan for large private employers to vaccinate their workers, several Republican state officials have expressed their objection to the measure and are working to rebuke it, according to the Associated Press. The officials see the plan, which mandates COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing among employees, as government overreach, and at least 2 conservative groups have already filed lawsuits against implementation. Some states also already passed laws or executive orders to protect employers unwilling to comply.

Harmful Chemical Found in Some Spray Deodorant

An independent testing lab in Connecticut filed a petition with the FDA claiming antiperspirant and deodorant body sprays should be recalled because they contain elevated levels of the carcinogen benzene, Bloomberg reports. The cancer-causing chemical has previously been found in aerosol sunscreens and antifungals, while earlier this year Johnson & Johnson recalled certain sunscreen sprays under its Neutrogena and Aveeno brands. Valisure, the testing lab, tested 108 batches of antiperspirant and deodorant sprays and found benzene in 59 batches at levels up to triple the amount found in sunscreens.