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A new variant dubbed “Deltacron,” that combines Delta and Omicron, was detected in Cyprus, though it is not expected to overtake the highly contagious Omicron variant. (Bloomberg)
Almost a quarter of U.S. hospitals are reporting a “critical staffing shortage” due to the Omicron variant, with many now “on the brink.” (CNN)
Novartis and Molecular Partners reported positive phase II data for their intravenous antiviral, ensovibep, which reduced hospitalization and COVID-related emergency department visits by 78% in a secondary outcome.
States are receiving shipments of monoclonal antibodies from the federal government that may not be effective against Omicron. (Washington Post)
New research suggests T cells from past colds may help protect against COVID-19 infection. (Nature Communications)
As of Monday at 8 a.m. EST, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll was 60,090,637 cases and 837,664 deaths, up 1,602,697 cases and 3,675 deaths since Friday.
The FDA approved of daridorexant (Quviviq) at two different dosages for treating insomnia in adults, drugmaker Idorsia announced.
The agency also warned the public in a tweet not to swab their throats with nose swabs used for COVID rapid tests.
Meanwhile, Israel’s health ministry is recommending exactly that for rapid antigen tests. (Reuters)
Starting this week, certain immunocompromised individuals who received a third dose of COVID vaccine last summer will be eligible for a fourth dose. (New York Times)
New York became the latest state to require boosters for healthcare workers, with only limited exemptions. (NBC New York)
A judge ruled that FDA now has about 8 months (versus 75 years) to produce thousands of documents related to the licensing of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine under a freedom of information act request. (Fierce Pharma)
The White House is finalizing plans with the U.S. Postal Service to ship over 500 million COVID test kits to American households. (Washington Post)
Coincidentally, the Postal Service has also sought a 120-day delay in complying with the COVID vaccine mandate. (NPR)
Several federal agencies are prepared to suspend employees who have yet to comply with the government’s vaccine mandate. (The Hill)
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, received media training last fall, as unnamed agency scientists vented their frustration about her leadership. (CNN)
Last month, a federal judge rejected Purdue Pharma’s restructuring settlement because it exempted the Sackler family from liability. Now a judge says the company can appeal that decision. (Reuters)
Relatedly, Georgia joined a $26 billion settlement against an opioid manufacturer and distributors. (Reuters)
A fire that burned down a Planned Parenthood building in Knoxville, Tennessee, was ruled an arson. (NPR)
Merck announced positive results from a phase III trial testing pembrolizumab (Keytruda) as adjuvant therapy in operable lung cancer.
New Zealand barred Jonie Girouard, a doctor who issued fake vaccine exemption cards, from practicing medicine. (New Zealand Herald)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has tested positive for COVID-19. (CBS News)
Molly Walker is deputy managing editor and covers infectious diseases for MedPage Today. She is a 2020 J2 Achievement Award winner for her COVID-19 coverage. Follow