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On Wednesday, December 8th, Axios health care reporter Caitlin Owens discussed pandemic-era innovations and the impact on health care in 2022 and beyond, featuring Scripps Research President & CEO Dr. Pete Schultz and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.).

Dr. Pete Schultz highlighted promising uses of mRNA in developing future disease treatments and vaccines, how lessons from the pandemic accelerated the speed in which new therapies receive use authorization, and recent progress on antiviral treatments.

  • On the pandemic’s acceleration of testing and authorization for new therapies: “I think that was a very interesting case of the entire scientific community turning its attention to a major health problem, and along with that came a huge increase in speed in which you could test new therapies and get to emergency use authorization of new therapies...it’ll be interesting to see how that impacts other diseases like cancer and heart disease.”
  • On optimism surrounding future antiviral therapies for coronavirus: “I think now there’s a lot of optimism that we can get to that kind of combination therapy and that combination therapy is what works, worked with HIV, and it’s what worked with HCV. Both of those have killed huge numbers of people, and I think there is now optimism we can get there with coronavirus in the next two years.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers described how government leaders can make preparations now for the next pandemic and how pandemic-era lessons can be applied to innovations in other disease areas.

  • On how the pandemic underscored American innovation: “I think that there’s a lot of lessons that we can learn from that as to what reforms need to take place within the FDA. One of the big takeaways was the importance of real time review, whereas in years past it would take longer to bring that kind of a vaccine to market and be able to distribute it as quickly as we did.”
  • On the importance of transparency in public health messaging: “There’s just been too many examples that have resulted in trust being broken. I would urge the leadership at these agencies to be transparent...we need to be open to where the science is evolving and making sure that we’re being transparent with Americans along the way.”

Axios Co-founder & President Roy Schwartz hosted a View from the Top segment with PhRMA President & CEO Stephen J. Ubl, who described which health care priorities are at top of mind for many Americans going into 2022.

  • “When we ask Americans what they care most about in the health care system, two things rise quickly to the top. The first is their insurance-related costs, specifically their out-of-pocket costs for things like insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays are closely related. Second place is ending the pandemic, which of course, our industry has played a key role in the development of vaccines and therapeutics.”

Thank you PhRMA for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

With focus on COVID, Ohio's other vaccinations lag

Expand chart
Data: Ohio Department of Health; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

While the public's focus shifts to COVID-19's Omicron surge, routine health care for Ohio's adolescents could be falling through the cracks.

What's happening: The number of teens receiving required childhood vaccines — the non-COVID ones — has nosedived during the pandemic, according to our review of Ohio Department of Health data.

Updated 21 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.