What We're Reading: Recusal in UnitedHealthcare Suit; Potential Lifetime Flu Vaccine; 3D Printed Microscope

April 30, 2019

A federal judge has recused himself from a UnitedHealthcare proton therapy lawsuit; researchers are trying to develop a lifetime flu vaccine; researchers create an inexpensive 3D printed microscope for medical diagnostics in developing countries.

Federal Judge Recuses Himself From UnitedHealthcare Proton Therapy Lawsuit

Researchers Work to Develop Lifetime Flu Vaccine

Researchers Create 3D Printed Microscope for Medical Diagnostics

Yesterday, US District Judge Robert Scola recused himself from deciding 1 of the 2 lawsuits against UnitedHealthcare that have been filed in the last 2 months over the company denying coverage for proton radiation therapy to patients with cancer, Kaiser Health News reported. Scola's recusal was due to his personal experience with the treatment. In an order of recusal, he wrote that denying a patient the treatment was "immoral and barbaric." Insurers have long been reluctant to pay for the treatment in the past. A new approach that teaches the body to identify a portion of the flu virus that remains unchanged could lead to a lifetime flu vaccine, according to MedicalXpress. While testing on lab animals has shown early signs of success, the vaccine needs to be made more specific and applied in larger studies before it can be tested on humans. The technique uses a protein that can bind to a precise spot on the flu virus, called a monoclonal antibody, to help the immune system target the unchanging protein of the virus and attack it.Researchers have printed a 3-dimension portable, high resolution microscope that is inexpensive and can be easily replicated, making it useful for medical diagnostics in developing countries, ScienceDaily reported. The microscope doesn’t require any special staining or labels and could potentially detect diseases such as malaria, sickle cell disease, diabetes, and others. The instrument could additionally be used in research, education, defense, and manufacturing. Researchers say that the device is ready for practical use and a reproduction could be made at a fraction of the price of similar microscopes.