We hate to discourage you from taking your next vacation, but scientists from Japan say their research suggests that dogs’ eyes well up with tears when they reunite with their owners following some time apart.
Today in health care, Anthony Fauci made some big news on his plans to step down, and Republicans say that won’t stop them from investigating him next year.
Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan, Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Fauci to leave Biden administration in December
Big news for an August Monday: Anthony Fauci is stepping down in December.
While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring,” Fauci said in a statement Monday. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field.”
Fauci, 81, has led the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 38 years and has advised every president since Ronald Reagan.
In a statement, President Biden praised Fauci as a dedicated public servant with a “steadying hand” who helped guide the country through some of “the most dangerous and challenging” public health crises.
Fauci has been at the forefront of every new and re-emerging infectious disease threat the country has faced over the past four decades, including HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, the 2001 anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, Ebola and Zika, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic.
Political clashes: Fauci has clashed repeatedly with Republicans in Congress, who are eagerly floating investigations into the Biden administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic if they win back control of the House or Senate in November’s midterm elections.
Fauci’s fiercest clashes have come from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a libertarian ophthalmologist who has repeatedly antagonized Fauci over the benefits of masks, vaccinations and the origins of COVID-19.
Read more here.
Republicans vow to keep investigating Fauci
Congressional Republicans are vowing to keep investigating Anthony Fauci even after he steps down from his government roles at the end of the year.
What they’re saying:
“Retirement can’t shield Dr. Fauci from congressional oversight,” House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member James Comer (R-Ky.) said in a statement. Comer would likely become the chair of the committee in a Republican majority.
“Fauci’s resignation will not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic. He will be asked to testify under oath regarding any discussions he participated in concerning the lab leak,” tweeted Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has gotten into heated exchanges with Fauci during Senate hearings and is in line to become chairman of the Senate Health Committee if Republicans win the majority in the upper chamber.
“In January, a GOP Congress should hold Fauci fully accountable for his dishonesty, corruption, abuse of power, and multiple lies under oath,” tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “Never in our nation’s history has one arrogant bureaucrat destroyed more people’s lives.”
Fauci became the public face of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, but he also became a top target of Republicans. He publicly disagreed with former President Trump over the level of threat the virus posed and unproven treatments, and he was among the leading voices calling for mitigation measures.
Republicans have already launched probes into the origins of the coronavirus and are planning further investigations and hearings if they win the majority in November, including possibly digging into Fauci’s own records.
Read more here.
HALF OF MEN IN STUDY REDUCED SEXUAL ACTIVITY DUE TO MONKEYPOX
Roughly half of men who have sex with men have reported reducing their number of sexual partners and encounters in response to the monkeypox outbreak, according to a survey released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Forty-eight percent of the poll’s participants said they reduced their number of sexual partners, 50 percent reduced their number of one-time sexual encounters and
49 percent said they had reduced how much sex they had with partners they met through dating apps or sexual venues.
Public health bodies including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that men who have sex with men consider reducing their number of sexual partners amid the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.
Instead of advising against having sex, officials have recommended that men who have sex with men practice safe sexual conduct. This includes making a visual inspection of any potential sexual partners to see if they have any possible monkeypox lesions, through which the virus is primarily spread.
While a large portion of monkeypox cases in the current outbreak are believed to have been contracted during sexual contact, the virus is not a sexually transmitted infection and can be spread through any prolonged contact with the skin, clothing or bedsheets of an infected individual.
Read more here.
FDA AUTHORIZES NOVAVAX COVID VACCINE FOR ADOLESCENTS
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday cleared Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in adolescents, paving the way to expand eligibility for the fourth shot available in the United States.
The two-dose regimen utilizes protein-based technology previously leveraged in vaccines to combat other viruses, offering an alternative for Americans skeptical of Pfizer and Moderna’s mRNA technology.
Providers can begin administering the vaccine to people aged 12 through 17 after a sign off from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has already authorized the vaccine’s use for adults. The two doses are given three weeks apart.
The FDA granted emergency use for adolescents after the company said its trial of 2,247 adolescents showed a primary efficacy of 78 percent.
“Having more vaccine options for use in both adults and adolescents, like the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted will hopefully help increase vaccination rates, particularly as we prepare for ongoing surges of COVID-19 with the start of fall and the back-to-school season,” Novavax President Stanley Erck said in a statement.
Novavax conducted the trial last year, when the Delta variant was predominantly circulating in the United States. The White House has continued urging Americans to get vaccinated and boosted amid the spread of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron, but questions remain as to how the mutations could impact the vaccine’s efficacy.
Read more here.
Pfizer submits application for COVID-19 vaccine booster
Pfizer said Monday that it has submitted its application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an updated COVID-19 vaccine targeting the omicron subvariant currently circulating.
What’s to come: The application comes ahead of a fall booster shot campaign. Assuming the FDA signs off, the shots are expected to begin in September.
The application, per instructions previously given by FDA, is for a “bivalent” vaccine that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron currently circulating, as well as the original form of the virus.
The company said that, following FDA guidance, it had submitted clinical data from a slightly different vaccine, targeting the BA.1 strain of omicron, as well as more preliminary data from the BA.4/BA.5 vaccine itself.
The big question: It remains unclear how many people will get the new boosters, despite the potential for a surge of COVID-19 over the fall and winter, given that uptake for the first booster shot has been lagging.
Only about half of people who got the first two shots received the first booster shot, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Read more here.
WHAT WE’RE READING
White coats in the state capital: OB-GYNs become political force in abortion wars (Politico) Wendy’s removes romaine lettuce used in sandwiches as CDC investigates E. coli outbreak in 4 states (ABC News) Frustrated pharmacists are opting out of the insurance system, saving some customers hundreds of dollars a month (NBC News)
STATE BY STATE
Kansas recount confirms landslide win for abortion rights, but highlights risk to democracy (The Kansas City Star) ‘People count on it’: In Boston, a mobile clinic meets health needs in the neighborhood (Stat) Grassroots work leads to vaccination success in Georgia refugee community (WABE)
THE HILL OP-EDS
Walensky deserves credit, not blame, for reforming a broken CDC
That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.
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