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On Monday morning, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and Axios health care business reporter Bob Herman hosted a virtual event on the impact of the coronavirus on biomedical innovations and the challenges of making expensive treatments — like gene therapy — more accessible. They were joined by the U.S. FDA's Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks, Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Real Endpoints EVP & Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Jane Barlow

Dr. Peter Marks discussed how gene therapy offers "a chance in many ways to to get things right once and for all" as it could potentially save patients a lifetime of needing to undergo disease treatments repeatedly.

  • "With gene therapy, we're going from feeding someone a fish for dinner — in the case of taking regular pills — to teaching them how to fish by taking care of them for a lifetime."

Rep. Scott Peters focused on how targeted treatments can save money in the long term for patients and the government alike.

  • On Congress' traditional resistance to new medical methods: "People, their initial reaction to technologies is that it must be more expensive. It's our job to show that it's more cost-effective over time."

Dr. Jane Barlow discussed rethinking the payment model for expensive treatments like gene therapy. She highlighted how a Netflix-type model could be used to help solve the problem of high one-time costs of gene therapy treatments compared to current medicines where the cost is spread out over time.

Thank you to The Institute for Gene Therapies for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”