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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A team of scientists may have developed a new opioid alternative that kills pain while muting the addictive components, according to a new study of animal models in Science Translational Medicine published yesterday.

Why it matters: From 1999 to 2016, more than 200,000 Americans died from overdoses related to prescription opioids, my colleague Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports. Yet, these drugs remain the most effective options for treating many cases of acute or chronic pain.

  • Several of the authors who are claiming success are employees of Astraea Therapeutics, which is developing the potential drug.
  • Read the whole thing to understand how the science of the new compound works.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday that it's replacing 2014 guidance on developing new pain drugs with a more efficient, focused approach.

  • Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the Washington Postthat the 2014 guidance is overly broad and that the new agency guidance should lead to smaller clinical trials, faster approvals and quicker launches of new therapies.

Go deeper

President Joe Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Joe Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.

Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden and Vice President Harris review readiness of military troops, a long-standing tradition to signify the peaceful transfer of power.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as president and vice president respectively in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Top Democrats and Republicans gathered for the peaceful transfer of power only two weeks after an unprecedented siege on the building by Trump supporters to disrupt certification of Biden's victory. Trump did not attend Wednesday's ceremony.