Dispensed: Vaccine updates — Coronavirus medical bills — COVID-19 skin complications

FILE PHOTO: A health worker fills a syringe with Ebola vaccine before injecting it to a patient, in GomaReuters


Welcome to Dispensed, Business Insider's weekly healthcare newsletter. We've made it to Memorial Day weekend! Hope everyone's found a restful way to spend the long weekend. Is anyone else getting nostalgic for past three-day weekend plans?

This week in healthcare news, we saw some vaccine developments and some new COVID-19 complications — medically and financially. Advertisement

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Scientist Xinhua Yan works in the lab at Moderna in Cambridge, MA on Feb. 28, 2020.David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

We're getting our first signs of how well a coronavirus vaccine might work

This week, we got results from not one but two vaccine efforts.

On Monday, Moderna Therapeutics released the first human results from coronavirus vaccine efforts, finding that in a small number of healthy volunteers, the vaccine created immune responses that could help protect people from being infected by the novel coronavirus.

Then on Friday, Chinese biotech CanSino published data from its vaccine trial, supporting additional trials of the vaccine.

Moderna and CanSino's efforts are among the six vaccine efforts analysts at Morgan Stanley think are the most promising of the 100+ in development. Should further research prove they're effective at preventing the virus, the vaccines could be here as soon as this fall, though it'll likely be mid-2021 before they're widely available. (New to BI Prime? Use my link here to get 20% off your BI Prime subscription.) Andrew Dunn spoke to Moderna's CEO Stephane Bancel after the company announced the results on Monday. One of his biggest worries at this point: making sure there's enough vaccine to go around. Advertisement

But to be sure, there are big questions we need have answered about the potential vaccine.

Andrew outlines them here:

We just got our first human results for a coronavirus vaccine. Here are the 5 biggest questions we still need answered about Moderna's injection.

An example of transient livedo reticularis in a 67-year-old patient who tested positive for COVID-19.Dr. Randy Jacobs

Meanwhile, Yeji Lee went deeper down the rabbit hole of skin complications popping up in patients who've tested positive for the novel coronavirus.Advertisement

While COVID-19 predominantly impacts the lungs, doctors are noticing everything from clotting complications to symptoms like loss of smell and dizziness.

Yeji reports the American Academy of Dermatology has logged 600 submissions of skin-related problems seen in patients with COVID-19 — including, of course, "COVID toes" as well as rashes, hive-like symptoms, and blisters.

You can read the full story here:

'COVID toes,' blisters, and splotchy red spots: Doctors share the new and unusual coronavirus symptoms showing up on patients' skin

Medical bill from Imad KhachanCourtesy of Imad Khachan

Medical complications aren't the only problems showing up in COVID-19. Financially, things are getting complicated both for patients and companies. Advertisement

Kimberly Leonard has been keeping tabs on the organizations that received stimulus money from the CARES Act. She found that CVS Health received $43.3 million and decided to return it. The funding was automatically sent to providers that bill Medicare in April.

Meanwhile, Republicans are clashing with Democrats over the next stimulus bill. In particular, Republicans want to shield companies from coronavirus lawsuits. Last Friday, the House passed the $3 trillion bill called the HEROES Act, which doesn't include those provisions. Kimberly has the roundup of all that Republicans are pushing for.

For patients, the financials are complicated too. The Trump administration has been working to make sure patients are shielded from high healthcare costs related to coronavirus treatment. Even so, Kimberly spoke with patients — both insured and uninsured — who have still faced high medical bills for treatment and testing. Advertisement

You can read the full story here:

Trump and Congress tried to make coronavirus testing and treatment free, but people are still getting big bills when they go to the hospital

The pursuit of accurate coronavirus testing

Blake Dodge dove further into the debate around the accuracy of Abbott's rapid coronavirus test.

Last week, a study out of NYU raised questions about the test's accuracy, finding that it often provides false negatives suggesting people don't have the virus when they do. Blake spoke with Philip Ginsburg, a senior medical director for Abbott's rapid diagnostics wing, who called the study "totally inadequate."Advertisement

You can read the full story here:

An Abbott scientist explains why studies trashing its coronavirus test are missing the point

Vertex; Saperta; Sanofi; Bristol Myers Squibb; Pfizer; Ruobing Su/Business Insider

How the pandemic is transforming healthcare

Last week, I mentioned the team had spoken with 26 healthcare leaders about what's in store for the healthcare industry in light of the pandemic. This week, the team pulled out some themes from our reporting.

And Andrew and Jeremy Berke spoke to 5 pharma/biotech CEOs about what the pandemic means for the drug industry.

You can read the full story here:

CEOs of 5 top pharma and biotech companies share how coronavirus is permanently transforming the drug industry

As always, please send all tips — healthcare related or long weekend related — my way! You can reach me at lramsey@businessinsider.com, or the entire team at healthcare@businessinsider.com.Advertisement

Have a great weekend!

- Lydia

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