What We're Reading: New Flu Drug Approved; Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions; Hepatitis A Vaccination

A new single-dose influenza vaccine that can be taken in the first days after symptoms of the flu start to appear has been approved; 102 million Americans with pre-existing conditions could be affected if protections under the Affordable Care Act are repealed; a federal advisory panel is recommending homeless individuals be routinely vaccinated for hepatitis A to prevent disease outbreaks, which have increased since 2016.

FDA Approves First New Flu Drug in 20 Years

A new single-dose influenza vaccine that can be taken in the first days after symptoms of the flu start to appear has been approved. According to The New York Times, Xofluza, which is only for those aged 12 and older, will cost $150, but can cost as little as $30 for those with insurance. The drug blocks an enzyme that the influenza virus needs to copy itself, and it has been shown to work against both A and B strains. Xofluza was approved based on the results of 2 trials in 1832 patients.

More than 100 Million Americans Have Pre-Existing Conditions

A new study of the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition protections found that 102 million Americans with pre-existing conditions could be affected. If the protections are repealed, those individuals, and their immediate families, could face higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, Fortune reported. The analysis found that the most common pre-existing conditions were cardiovascular disease, mental health disorders, obesity, and diabetes, which affect a total of 10 million Americans.

Panel Recommends Vaccinating Homeless for Hepatitis A

To prevent outbreaks of hepatitis A among populations of the homeless and drug users, a federal advisory panel is recommending homeless individuals be routinely vaccinated for the disease. The Washington Post reported that hepatitis A outbreaks have been on the rise since 2016 because of crowding and poor hygiene among the homeless and drug users. The federal recommendation will make it easier for organizations who serve the homeless to offer hepatitis A vaccinations. The CDC is expected to adopt the recommendation from the panel.