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Happy Thursday! Everyone might be buzz-ing about the vice presidential debate (get it?), but there’s plenty of healthcare updates to fill you in on… So let’s get to it.
For starters, President Donald Trump last night shared praise for Regeneron, the maker of an experimental cocktail of antibody drugs that Trump took as part of his COVID-19 treatment. Trump called for the treatment to be free, and for the FDA to approve it.
“I want everybody to be given the same thing as your president,” Trump said. “Because I feel great, I feel like perfect.”
Regeneron later said it submitted its treatment for emergency authorization. Trump received two other treatments for COVID-19, so it’s impossible to say what effect Regeneron’s drug had.
In other healthcare news: Speculation of a takeover is driving up Amwell’s stock, we spoke to the CEO of Lark Health about the startup’s lastest funding round, and Trump’s antibody test might be picking up his treatment.
Amwell’s stock is soaring, and analysts are pointing to speculation that UnitedHealth might acquire the $US9 billion telehealth giant
- The stock of the telehealth giant American Well is soaring.
- Speculation that UnitedHealth is looking to acquire Amwell is driving the surge, according to a healthcare analyst at Jefferies and another analyst.
- The deal is said to be unlikely, given Amwell just had an initial public offering and therefore is more expensive than it would have been just a few weeks ago.
A 35-year-old healthcare founder just raised $US70 million to help tens of millions of people better manage their chronic diseases
- Lark Health just raised a fresh $US70 million from investors led by King River Capital, including $US15 million in venture debt.
- Lark helps people prevent and manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
- Lark plans to use the funds to expand its relationships with telehealth providers and private health insurers, including a contract with Anthem.
- “The market really has changed so dramatically, much because of COVID,” Lark CEO Julia Hu told Business Insider.
Trump’s doctor says the president already has antibodies. That might not mean he is cured with long-term immunity â€” it could just be his medication.
- Trump’s doctor announced that lab tests showed the president had “detectable levels” of coronavirus antibodies on Wednesday, less than a week after Trump’s diagnosis.
- Your body creates antibodies to help fight off the coronavirus, but research shows these protective proteins take between one and three weeks to develop after you get infected.
- While hospitalized with COVID-19, Trump took a high dose of Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail.
- Experts suggest that the tests picked up antibodies from the cocktail, not antibodies made by Trump’s immune system. Regeneron said that is likely the case.
- If these are self-made antibodies, one doctor said, it suggests Trump may have been infected earlier than previously thought.
More stories we’re reading:
- A step-by-step flow chart breaks down how coronavirus cases typically progress â€” and shows what may still be ahead for Trump (Business Insider)
- A new kind of coronavirus treatment just showed it can help people who have COVID-19, and now the drugmaker wants the FDA to sign off on it (Stat News)
- 9 takeaways from ‘Totally Under Control,’ the new documentary filmed in secret about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response (Business Insider)
- Read NEJM’s editorial condemning US leadership for its response to the pandemic (NEJM)