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State highlights: More states gearing up to combine Medicare, Medicaid; vaccination exemptions still considered by many states; likely Texas democratic Gov. Candidate backs 20-week abortion ban

State highlights: More states gearing up to combine Medicare, Medicaid; vaccination exemptions still considered by many states; likely Texas democratic Gov. Candidate backs 20-week abortion ban

A selection of health policy stories from California, Texas, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Connecticut. [More]
First Edition: February 12, 2014

First Edition: February 12, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about President Barack Obama's comments yesterday on his administration's decision to decision to give mid-sized businesses more time to comply with the health law's employer mandate. [More]
Zoetis reports revenue of $1.25 billion for Q4 2013

Zoetis reports revenue of $1.25 billion for Q4 2013

Zoetis Inc. today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2013. The company reported revenue of $1.25 billion for the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 7% from the fourth quarter of 2012. Revenue reflected an operational increase of 9%, with foreign currency having a negative impact of 2 percentage points. [More]

WageWorks announces new partnership with Summit Health

WageWorks, Inc., a leader in administering Consumer-Directed Benefits, today announced a partnership with Summit Health, a leading provider of on-site wellness, health screening and immunization programs. In this partnership, WageWorks will offer Summit Health's wellness services to its clients. Additionally, Summit Health clients will have access to WageWorks' Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). [More]
TSRI scientists design artificial proteins as a candidate vaccine against RSV

TSRI scientists design artificial proteins as a candidate vaccine against RSV

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have invented a new method for designing artificial proteins, and have used it to make key ingredients for a candidate vaccine against a dangerous virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a significant cause of infant mortality. [More]

95% of adults die annually from vaccine preventable diseases

While adults make up 95 percent of those who die annually from vaccine preventable diseases, a new study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows their vaccination rates remain stubbornly low, representing a growing public health concern. [More]
Teen girls' beliefs regarding HPV vaccine not linked to subsequent sexual behaviors

Teen girls' beliefs regarding HPV vaccine not linked to subsequent sexual behaviors

A new study may alleviate concerns that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine leads to either the initiation of sex or unsafe sexual behaviors among teenage girls and young women. [More]

Researchers discover potential treatment for viral infection that causes illnesses in children

Researchers have discovered a potential treatment for a viral infection that causes potentially fatal brain swelling and paralysis in children. The findings also point to possible treatments for related viruses including those that cause "common cold" symptoms. [More]
Alexion's Soliris gets FDA orphan drug designation for DGF prevention in renal transplant patients

Alexion's Soliris gets FDA orphan drug designation for DGF prevention in renal transplant patients

Alexion Pharmaceuticals today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted an orphan drug designation to Soliris (eculizumab), a first-in-class terminal complement inhibitor, for the prevention of delayed graft function in renal transplant patients. [More]
Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines together appear to increase risk of fever in children

Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines together appear to increase risk of fever in children

Giving young children the influenza and pneumococcal vaccines together appears to increase their risk of fever, according to a study led by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the fever was brief, and medical care was sought for few children, supporting the routine immunization schedule for these vaccines, including the recommendation to administer them simultaneously. [More]
Study suggests that cocktail of AMA1 proteins can overcome major limitations of AMA1-based vaccines

Study suggests that cocktail of AMA1 proteins can overcome major limitations of AMA1-based vaccines

A safe and effective malaria vaccine is high on the wish list of most people concerned with global health. Results published on December 26 in PLOS Pathogens suggest how a leading vaccine candidate could be vastly improved. [More]
Researchers develop new vaccine that protects against lethal pneumonia caused by staph bacteria

Researchers develop new vaccine that protects against lethal pneumonia caused by staph bacteria

University of Iowa researchers have developed a new vaccine that protects against lethal pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria, including drug-resistant strains like MRSA. [More]
GSK's FluLaval Quadrivalent vaccine effective in reducing flu cases in children

GSK's FluLaval Quadrivalent vaccine effective in reducing flu cases in children

GlaxoSmithKline plc announced today that a peer-reviewed study issued online by the New England Journal of Medicine has reported that GSK's FluLavalĀ® Quadrivalent reduced flu cases among children ages 3-8 by 55.4% overall and lowered the risk of developing moderate-to-serious flu illness by 73.1%. [More]
New report shows that Americans are making considerable progress in overall health

New report shows that Americans are making considerable progress in overall health

Americans are making considerable progress in their overall health, according to United Health Foundation's 2013 America's Health RankingsĀ®: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their Communities. Nationwide, Americans improved in the majority of the measures captured by the Rankings. [More]
Duke University receives $2.9M grant to develop HIV vaccine candidate

Duke University receives $2.9M grant to develop HIV vaccine candidate

Duke University has received a grant of up to $2.9 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to produce an HIV vaccine candidate that will be tested in humans. [More]
Largest-ever immunization campaign under way in the Middle East

Largest-ever immunization campaign under way in the Middle East

The largest-ever immunization response in the Middle East is under way this week, aiming to vaccinate more than 23 million children against polio in Syria and neighbouring countries over the coming weeks. [More]
New NIH guidelines for managing opportunistic infections in children with HIV

New NIH guidelines for managing opportunistic infections in children with HIV

Sharon Nachman, MD, a pediatric HIV and infectious diseases specialist at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, is a co-author of new National Institutes of Health (NIH)-issued guidelines for the prevention, treatment and management of opportunistic infections in HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children. The 2013 guidelines shed light on the most effective way to treat dangerous and deadly infections such as pneumonia or tuberculosis that can strike immunosuppressed pediatric HIV patients. [More]

Vaccination campaign launched to prevent outbreaks of measles and polio in Philippines

WHO and the Philippine Department of Health have launched a vaccination campaign to prevent outbreaks of measles and polio among survivors of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). [More]
Vaccinating kids against rotavirus may also reduce risk of seizures

Vaccinating kids against rotavirus may also reduce risk of seizures

A new study suggests an additional-and somewhat surprising-potential benefit of vaccinating children against rotavirus, a common cause of diarrhea and vomiting. Besides protecting kids from intestinal illness caused by rotavirus, immunization may also reduce the risk of related seizures, according to findings published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available online. [More]
DNA vaccine demonstrates potential to prevent and treat deadly MERS coronavirus

DNA vaccine demonstrates potential to prevent and treat deadly MERS coronavirus

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that preclinical testing of a DNA synthetic vaccine for the virulent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) induced robust and durable immune responses, demonstrating the potential for a SynCon DNA vaccine to prevent and treat this deadly virus. [More]