Trending News Today: AstraZeneca’s Lupus Treatment Reduces Disease Activity in Phase 3 Study

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

AstraZeneca’s anifrolumab, an experimental treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), reduced disease activity in patients in a phase 3 clinical trial, the company reported. According to the press release, the study included 365 patients on standard therapy for moderate-to-severe SLE. Results showed that anifrolumab achieved a statistically significant and clinically meaningful reduction in disease activity at week 52, with 47.8% of patients receiving anifrolumab responding compared with 31.5% of patients on placebo, AstraZeneca reported.

A new report found that cholesterol levels in the United States are dropping, which may be due to a controversial change in the 2013 national guidelines for cholesterol treatment, The Associated Press reported. According to the article, the researchers examined records from the CDC that tracked cholesterol information from more than 32,000 adults between 2005 and 2016. Overall, the findings showed that low-density lipoprotein cholesterol dropped 21 points over the study period, predicting a 15% to 20% reduction in the risk of heart attacks and strokes, the article reported.

The European Commission granted marketing authorization to Merck’s vaccine, known as Ervebo, making it the first approved Ebola vaccine, STAT reported. According to the article, the vaccine is currently being used in the Democratic Republic of Congo under a “compassionate use” research protocol similar to a clinical trial. Merck said it has yet to set a price for Ervebo but has made a commitment to make the vaccine available to countries eligible for purchasing assistance through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, at the lowest price possible, the article reported.