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What We’re Reading: Successful TB Programs; JN.1 COVID-19 Strain Vaccine; Nursing Home Mandate Battle

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US tuberculosis (TB) programs have helped to identify those with TB and latent TB infection and ensure they completed treatment; FDA advisers instructed that the COVID-19 vaccine Americans will receive in the fall should target the JN.1 strain; lawmakers are divided over the CMS nursing home staffing mandate.

US TB Programs Successfully Preventing Spread, CDC Says

Recent findings published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed that US tuberculosis (TB) programs have helped to identify those with TB and latent TB infection (LTBI) and ensure they completed treatment, according to CIDRAP. CDC researchers analyzed multiple factors to evaluate TB control efforts, including overall US TB incidence, the percentage of people with drug susceptibility results reported, and the percentage of patients who completed TB therapy within 12 months. Overall, the report indicated improvement in reducing TB incidence and increasing the number of patients with LTBI who completed treatment. From 2018 to 2022, overall TB incidence decreased in 37 of 52 jurisdictions (71.2%). Also, from 2017 to 2012, the percentage of patients with new LTBI diagnoses who completed treatment increased in 29 of 52 jurisdictions (55.8%).

FDA Advisers Recommend Targeting JN.1 Strain in Fall COVID Vaccines

FDA advisers instructed on Wednesday that the COVID-19 vaccine Americans will receive in the fall should target the JN.1 strain, according to the Associated Press. Although Moderna, Pfizer, and Novavax all tested vaccine doses updated to match the JN.1 variant that became dominant last winter, numerous offshoots of the strain are rising. Consequently, Moderna and Pfizer tested a formula targeting the current most common US subtype, KP.2. However, the FDA needed to decide which strain to target in COVID-19 vaccines this fall. The panel concluded that KP.2 will likely not remain the biggest threat by fall. Therefore, they decided to target the parent JN.1 variant instead of trying to predict which of its descendants would increase in the coming months.

Lawmakers Divided Over CMS Nursing Home Staffing Mandate

Lawmakers are divided over the CMS nursing home staffing mandate, according to Modern Healthcare. The mandate will require most US nursing homes to increase staffing as it involves a minimum of 3.48 hours of care per resident daily and the need for a registered nurse on staff 24/7. Consequently, Sens James Lankford (R, Oklahoma) and Joe Manchin (I, West Virginia) introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval to overturn the mandate; nearly 30 Republicans backed this, saying the staffing ratios would be burdensome and cause some facilities to close. Hours after the resolution was introduced, Reps Lloyd Doggett (D, Texas) and Jan Schakowsky (D, Illinois) joined consumer advocates at a Capitol Hill news conference to criticize the attempt to overturn the mandate.

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