Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
For the first time, a flu vaccine patch has been tested in human clinical trials. According to the Los Angeles Times, the patch contains microneedles that can hold vaccine for 3 strains of the flu. Health experts hope the patch will boost the number of individuals who get vaccinated against the flu. For the study, 100 volunteers were randomized into 4 groups: 2 were vaccinated with the patch, 1 received a traditional flu shot using a regular needle, and the fourth group received a patch containing a placebo. The real microneedle patch resembles a Band-Aid and is easily applied to the skin near the wrist for 20 minutes, the LA Times reported. Twenty-eight days after immunizations, the results of the study showed that flu antibody levels were significantly higher in the 3 groups that received the vaccine than in the group that received the placebo. The 2 groups that received the vaccine via the patch had the same antibody levels as the group who received the traditional shot. After 6 months, at least 75% of volunteers in all 3 of the vaccine groups were still protected, the LA Times reported. The authors noted that volunteers who put the patch on themselves received the same protection as volunteers who had health care professionals administer the patch.
In the most comprehensive study that assessed the impact of air population on American lives to date, investigators concluded that approximately 12,000 lives could be saved per year. According to NPR, data from federal air monitoring stations and satellites were compiled to create a detailed picture of air population. The investigators then used data from 60 million Medicare patients from 2000 to 2012 to analyze the impact of very low levels of air population on mortality. They concluded that thousands of lives could be saved per year by cutting the level of fine particulate matter nationwide by only 1 microgram per cubic meter of air below current standards.
Next year, Anthem Inc will stop offering health care plans under the Affordable Care Act marketplace in most of Nevada, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange—–Nevada’s insurance marketplace––stated that insurers have filed to only offer plans in Clark, Washoe, and Nye counties. This pullback will leave the remaining regions without any exchange options for 2018, the WSJ reported.