Non-fentanyl drugs are fueling the overdose crisis
Two little-known drugs, para-fluorofentanyl and metonitazen, are contributing to the nationwide overdose crisis as they are seen more frequently by coroners investigating the deaths, according to a new government report. According to Die Associated Press, these drugs are usually taken with or mixed with fentanyl, a major contributor to the more than 100,000 overdose deaths reported in the United States in 2021. However, the drugs are also stronger than fentanyl and are increasingly the sole cause of death for some. Naloxone can still work when the two drugs are taken, but more may be needed per case.
HHS gets bad GAO report
A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that HHS has failed to address issues in its pandemic response, threatening the agency’s effectiveness in responding to future crises, Politico reports. HHS is now on what GAO deems “High Risk Alert,” meaning it is vulnerable to mismanagement and abuse without significant changes. Another 3 dozen agencies are also considered high risk. Failures described include lack of leadership, difficulties in collecting and analyzing data, and problems in communicating with the public. In Congress, members are calling for the introduction of new guard rails for future emergencies to be handled by HHS.
Modern HIV vaccine trials
Moderna has started its trial against a HIV vaccine using mRNA technology, abc news reports. The first participants received doses of the vaccine on January 27 and the study is being conducted in partnership with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. About 38 million people around the world are currently living with HIV, including 1.3 million in the United States. During the peak of the AIDS epidemic in the US there were approximately 50,000 deaths each year, while advances in treatment are now allowing patients to control the virus to the point where viral loads can become undetectable, thereby preventing transmission is prevented.