Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
Compiled by Dawn Wolfe
FDA OKs HIV test that gives quick results
WASHINGTON – The government has approved the first oral HIV test; the new test gives results in 20 minutes. Until now, rapid HIV testing required pricking a person’s finger to test a spot of blood.
With the new alternative from OraSure Technologies Inc., health workers simply wipe a treated cotton swab along the gums, picking up not saliva but cells lining the mouth. Just as they do with OraSure’s rapid blood test, workers then put the swab into a sticklike testing device.
About one-fourth of the 850,000 to 950,000 Americans living with HIV don’t know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rapid blood test was hailed when it won approval in November 2002 as a way to dramatically increase the number of people who know they are infected. Until then, routine HIV tests took up to two weeks to provide results, and 8,000 people a year who tested positive at public clinics never returned to get the news.
The rapid oral test may further expand efforts to get more high-risk people tested – because some people shun blood tests and because needle-free testing is safer for health workers, too. Such testing is crucial not just so patients can seek HIV treatment, but because people who know they’re infected usually take steps to prevent transmission to their sexual partners, added CDC’s Dr. Dixie Snider.
It will take OraSure a few more months to be able to sell the rapid version of the oral test outside of hospitals and large health clinics. A law restricts who can use certain types of medical tests, and it will take a waiver of that law to allow the oral test to be sold in the same non-medical settings – like mobile testing vans and homeless shelters – that rapid blood tests already are.
Panel hears arguments over cost of AIDS drug
WASHINGTON – Patients’ advocates urged the government May 25 to intervene to reduce the cost of a popular AIDS drug. Industry officials defended their pricing, and the author of a law being invoked to lower the price said it was never intended to be used to affect drug costs.
After Abbott Laboratories sharply increased the price of Norvir, the National Institutes of Health was petitioned to allow other companies to make and sell the drug in an effort to reduce its cost. The government can take such action in rare cases of drugs that were at least partly developed using federal money.
For more informaiton, visit the National Institutes of Health: www.nih.gov
In Other News:
MTV Networks to launch LOGO, a new TV network for gay and lesbian viewers
NEW YORK – LOGO, a new cable television network targeted at LGBT viewers will be launched by MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. on February 17, 2005. The new channel will be advertiser-supported, targeting primarily gays and lesbians, 25-49, and will provide a mix of original and acquired programming.
LOGO will launch in markets across America, including Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco, through national cable operators including Time Warner Cable, RCN and additional distributors.
“Creating a network specifically for the LGBT community is something we’ve wanted to do for a long, long time, and it’s an idea we feel is overdue,” said Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks. “Despite our nation’s progress on civil rights and the growing visibility of gay people in business, society and even in television programming – what has been missing is a full-time home for this important and influential audience on television.”