Some state Medicaid agencies are cutting payment rates for clinical laboratory testing below the Protecting Access to Medicare Act's fee schedule -- a move that is "drastic, unnecessary, and may threaten access to critical laboratory services," AACC and other organizations say. In a letter to CMS Secretary Seema Verma, organizations urged the agency to remind Medicaid directors about their obligation to "provide Medicaid reimbursement for laboratory services that is sufficient to ensure access to those services."
Australian regulators approved Genetic Signatures' antibiotic-resistant pathogens assay, the Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase and Carbapenemase Producing Organisms Detection Kit. The test can identify antibiotic-resistant pathogens within three hours and can rapidly detect carbapenem-resistant and 16 beta-lactam pathogen targets.
UniQure presented new data on its gene therapy candidate AMT-061 that showed the treatment was clinically beneficial for the 10 hemophilia B patients with pre-existing anti-AAV5 neutralizing antibodies who participated in the company's trial. The presentation was made at the annual meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in Chicago.
A study in the journal Science Advances found that the green, bile-tinted blood of lizards in the genus Prasinohaema is toxic to malaria parasites in laboratory tests. Researchers believe the trait developed independently in six species of lizards on the island of New Guinea.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has introduced a bipartisan bill to update the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, or PAHPA, several provisions of which would build on the current PAHPA framework that was enacted in 2006 and reauthorized in 2013. One provision would re-evaluate preparedness and response of the Hospital Preparedness Program and Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program in terms of existing performance measures, benchmarks and standards.
GeneNews and St. Louis-based reference laboratory AIM Laboratories have reached an agreement to provide each other's customer base access to their tests for undisclosed terms. GeneNews makes tests for facilitating early cancer risk stratification and diagnosis, while AIM offers therapeutic drug monitoring, routine blood testing and other lab services to corporate and health care groups.
In a study of people with HIV, more frequent use of methamphetamine was found to be associated with changes in gene expression and a 50% increased risk of disease progression, according to a study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. The findings were based on an analysis of gene expression in 55 people.
Two French gene therapy companies, Vectalys and FlashCell, are merging under the name Flash Therapeutics. Discovery and development of therapies for blood and liver diseases will continue.
The first experimental Ebola vaccines from the World Health Organization have arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the country will begin inoculations this weekend. Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said an Ebola case had been found in Mbandaka, a city of about 1 million.
The Cherokee Nation began a hepatitis C prevention program three years ago with the goal of screening 80,000 of its 350,000 members, and over 50% of the target group has been screened, while 90% of people with detected cases who have received care have responded to treatment. John Ward of the CDC said the program is "a trailblazing project for the entire country."
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