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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new type of obesity drug may help doctors, patients and the public understand that obesity is a medical condition that needs chronic treatment, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: People with obesity have been highly stigmatized and experience poor treatment and bias in health care settings, despite scientific evidence showing the strong influence of genetic and environmental factors over individual body weights.

How it works: Semaglutide, which is a form of incretin — a naturally occurring hormone in the body — was given to clinical trial participants.

  • It slows stomach emptying, regulates insulin and decreases appetite, with mostly mild to moderate short-term gastrointestinal side effects, per the Times.
  • On average, participants who took it once a week for 68-weeks experienced 15% weight loss, March results in the New England Journal of Medicine show.
  • One-third lost 20% or more of their body weight in the study, similar to the amount lost with lap-band bariatric surgery.
  • Current obesity drugs lead to an average weight loss of only 5% to 10%, NYT notes.

Separately, Eli Lilly has a similar drug called tirzepatide, which combines two incretins. The company said it is testing the drug against semaglutide and hopes it will prove even more powerful.

Go deeper

Biden calls on Congress to lower prescription drug costs

Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday called on Congress to reduce the prices of prescription drugs, the White House said.

State of play: Biden asked Congress to create reforms that will prevent drug companies from raising their prices "faster than inflation." He also urged Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which it is currently prohibited from doing so by law.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.