February 6, 2020

Around the nation: HHS and Regeneron team up to develop coronavirus treatment

Daily Briefing

    The new partnership is an extension of a 2017 agreement HHS reached with Regeneron to develop treatments for pathogens posing a significant risk to the public, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and Ohio.

    • California: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) wants to suspend California's physical fitness test requirement for schools amid concerns that the test could lead to body-shaming, bullying, and discrimination. Since 1996, California schools have used the Fitnessgram test—which relies on six measures of fitness, including abdominal strength, aerobic ability, body mass index (BMI), and flexibility—to assess students' fitness. However, Newsom included a trailer bill in his latest state budget proposal that would suspend the fitness test for three years beginning in 2021 (Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/4).

    • District of Columbia/New Jersey: HHS on Tuesday said it is teaming up with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to develop a treatment for the new coronavirus. The partnership is an extension of a 2017 agreement HHS reached with Regeneron to develop treatments for pathogens posing a significant risk to the public, such as Ebola. HHS said Regeneron will use the same technology the company used to develop the experimental Ebola treatment to work on a treatment for the new coronavirus. Other drugmakers that have said they're working to develop coronavirus treatments include Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna (Mishra, Reuters, 2/4; Garde, STAT News, 2/5; Sullivan, The Hill, 2/4).

    • Ohio: Ohio's Department of Medicaid on Tuesday issued a formal request asking providers, managed care organizations, and others for input on how the state could improve beneficiaries' experiences. The request, which outlines a proposal for reconfiguring the state's Medicaid program, is part of a larger initiative under Gov. Mike DeWine's (R) administration to examine and improve care for the state's Medicaid beneficiaries by enhancing care delivery, streamlining access to care, and reducing barriers to care (Associated Press, 2/5).
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