What We're Reading: Sanofi Expands Vaccine Access; Prison Outbreaks Threaten Hospitals; Alcohol Intake in the Chronically Ill

May 14, 2020

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi will expand access to a potential coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine among Europeans; COVID-19 outbreaks in prisons threaten already-strained rural hospitals; individuals with chronic illnesses report alcohol intake exceeding recommended guidelines.

Sanofi Will Expand Access to Potential COVID-19 Vaccine

Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company, will accelerate access to potential COVID-19 vaccines in Europe after the CEO had prioritized US preorders, Reuters reports. Last month, Sanofi teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline to develop a COVID-19 vaccine candidate it hopes will become available next year. HHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) gave financial support to the 2 companies, prompting expectations that US patients will be the first to receive doses. Sanofi is now in talks with the European Union and French and German governments to expedite regional vaccine development.

Prison, Jail Outbreaks Threaten Rural Hospitals

COVID-19 threatens to further overwhelm rural hospitals if infections spread in prisons, Kaiser Health News reports. In rural America, prisons and jails have minimal intensive care unit beds and ventilators and few additional medical resources, meaning some patients may end up in the local hospital’s care. Many individuals living in close quarters already exacerbate the risk of infection spread. Rural communities also have, on average, sicker and older populations compared with the rest of the country. Because of this, concerns of prison outbreaks extend beyond the incarcerated to the facility workers who may spread the disease in their communities.

Individuals With Chronic Illnesses Exceed Alcohol Consumption Limits, Study Finds

A new study published in JAMA Network Open found many patients with chronic illnesses exceed recommended alcohol consumption limits. The cross-sectional study of more than 2.7 million adults found that 9.9% of respondents reported unhealthy drinking habits. Patients with medical conditions were less likely to drink compared with healthy individuals. However, among individuals reporting alcohol use, patients with diabetes, hypertension, cancer, chronic liver disease, and other chronic conditions were more likely to report drinking that exceeded recommended guidelines. Researchers suggest that clinicians implement a targeted approach to aid patients with certain chronic conditions to reduce excessive alcohol consumption.