Trending News Today: Legislators Bash Manufacturer Over Leukemia Drug Cost Increase

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

Researchers have revealed how the Zika virus is able to spread in human cells to neutralize the body’s defenses, according to Kaiser Health News. In a study published in Cell Host & Microbe, researchers discovered that when Zika infects a human cell, the cell then modifies viral RNA to rid the body of the infection. However, the adaptation sets of human enzymes that may impact the protective shield around the cell. Furthermore, the virus induces modifications in human RNA. According to the study, this process of changing viral RNA gives the Zika virus the ability to “hide in plain sight.” It was noted that although this discovery will most likely not result in the finding of a vaccine for Zika, it could contribute to the discovery of drugs that prevent birth defects in infants birthed from women who contracted the virus while pregnant, according to the report.

An interim report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspector general revealed that the EPA had both sufficient authority and information as early as June 2015 to issue an emergency order that protects Flint, Michigan, residents from lead-contaminated water, reported The New York Times. In the report, Inspector General Arthur Elkins stated that the EPA waited 7 months before it declared an emergency, and that there should have been a greater sense of urgency at the agency to intervene in the Flint water crisis, reported the Times.

Lawmakers are demanding information from ARIAD Pharmaceuticals over the price hikes for Iclusig, which treats patients with chronic myeloid leukemia. According to The New York Times, Sen Bernie Sanders, (D-VT) and Rep Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote the drug manufacturer asking why the prices for the leukemia drug were raised, stating that a cost increase of tens of thousands of dollars indicates the company’s ideology of putting profits before patients.