Toclizumab in Short Supply Due to Pandemic

Some individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are treated with a monthly infusion of biologic tocilzumab (Actemra-Genentech). However, the drug is now in short supply because of the surge in COVID-19 cases.

In June, FDA gave tocilizumab its emergency use authorization to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.  This monoclonal antibody can help reduce inflammation by blocking a protein called IL-6, which causes RA-ralated damage.

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What might this flu season have in store?

Influenza cases and deaths in the United States and worldwide dropped to unprecedented lows between October 3, 2020, and July 24, 2021, according to CDC data. In a typical season, 75 to 150 children die of influenza in the United States, noted pediatric infectious disease specialist Paul Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in a recent JAMA Network article. Last influenza season, he said, one child was reported to have died.

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