What We're Reading: Zika Vaccine Deal; Industry on the Health Bill; Testing for Lyme Disease

Lawmakers Lash Out at Sanofi Over Zika Vaccine

With government funding involved in the Sanofi vaccine for the Zika virus, a group of senators are urging the company provide pricing assurances. According to FiercePharma, 6 senators sent letters to Sanofi, saying that they are “deeply troubled” that the drug maker won’t agree to pricing assurance. The government has provided $10 million to support research for the vaccine, another $43 million for testing, and could award another $130 million for late-stage studies.

Voicing Concerns Over Health Bill

VoteVets, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, and AMVETS have all expressed concerns over the Senate healthcare bill. They are worried the Department of Veterans Affairs won’t be able to fill the coverage gap since 62% of veterans receive care through Medicaid, the exchanges, an employer, or are uninsured, reported the AP. However, some other groups have not weighed in on the health bill. The Washington Post pointed out that major healthcare industry groups have been relatively silent. They may be staying silent on this issue since they have other agenda items coming up that they will need to work with Republicans on.

The Trouble With Lyme Disease Testing

Even though 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year, there is a lot of room for improvement in testing for the disease. STAT reported that research groups are working to improve Lyme tests, which are often wrong in the first month of infection. If the disease is caught and treated early, it is simple to cure, but it can cause lingering symptoms if left untreated. The only FDA-approved test for Lyme relies on detecting antibodies, which is only good for diagnosing the disease at later stages, so research on new tests must identify new avenues to explore.