Johns Hopkins researchers create a tool that predicts Covid-19 mortality risk, NIH pauses enrollment of critically ill Covid-19 patients in clinical trials studying blood thinners, and more.
- HHS last week announced that it had reached a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy another 100 million doses of the companies' authorized coronavirus vaccine. Under the agreement, the federal government will receive at least 70 million of the additional doses by June 30, 2021, and the remaining doses no later than July 31, 2021. According to Axios, the deal secures enough doses of the vaccine to inoculate an additional 50 million Americans by next fall (Axios, 12/23).
- Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have created an online calculator that can estimate both individual- and community- level risk of dying from Covid-19. The research programmed the calculator using data from existing studies on Covid-19 mortality among individuals based on their age, gender, medical history, and sociodemographic circumstances. The calculator uses an algorithm to estimate an individual's or community's Covid-19 mortality risks based on those factors. Researchers say it could be used to help officials prioritize which Americans should get priority access to Covid-19 vaccines (Drees, Becker's Health IT, 12/15; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health release, 12/11).
- Lyft last week said it's launching a new program in partnership with several health care companies and corporate sponsors that aims to give 60 million no-cost or discounted rides to low-income people who need transportation to get vaccinated against Covid-19. "Making sure people can get to vaccination sites when they need to is mission-critical to beating this [coronavirus]," Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer said. "This is an opportunity to use our collective strength to mobilize on a massive scale and serve our communities" (Zara, Fast Company, 12/22; Minemyer, FierceHealthcare, 12/22).
- NIH last week announced it had suspended enrollment of critically ill patients with Covid-19 who required intensive care into the agency's clinical trials testing blood thinners as a potential treatment for the disease. NIH said it initiated the enrollment pause after an independent review board raised concerns that the blood thinners potentially could harm critically ill Covid-19 patients. NIH said it would continue enrolling moderately ill Covid-19 patients in the trials (Maddipatla, Reuters, 12/22; McNeil, New York Times, 12/22).
- Northwell Health has partnered with the virtual care and communication company Conversa Health to launch a tool that employers and schools can use to screen staff and students for Covid-19. Northwell said the tool, called HealthCheck, is available to clients of Northwell Direct, the health system's entity that provides customizable health care solutions to employers in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. "As businesses throughout New York and the country confront rising [coronavirus] caseloads in their area, the first job of every employer is to ensure a safe and healthy workplace," Northwell Direct CEO Nick Stefanizzi said in a release. "HealthCheck is a fast, easy, evidence-based way to clear people for work or put them on a path to care—without compromising privacy or creating bottlenecks," he added (Drees, Becker's Health IT, 12/3).