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Associated Press

The National Institutes of Health on Wednesday announced a joint initiative with pharmaceutical companies to spur the development of drugs to address the opioid epidemic. It will start with a series of private workshops over the next six weeks and focus on three areas:

  • Developing interventions for reversing overdoses, including stronger, longer-lasting medicines to counteract synthetic opioids and, in the long-term, potentially wearable devices that sense an overdose and automatically inject naloxone.
  • New treatments for opioid addiction. The NIH is investigating new medications, beyond the three currently available, repurposing and reformulating approved drugs (like lorcaserin), and even vaccines that would spur the production of antibodies against opioids and prevent them from entering the brain.
  • Non-addictive treatments for chronic pain. The NIH plans to target two separate pain-signaling pathways in hopes of developing an alternative to synthetic opioid medications. They are also researching compounds that target other opioid receptors and ways to formulate drugs so they can't be snorted or injected.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

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