Page 6 - March 10, 2021
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{ 6 }  SNJ Today  |  MARCH 10, 2021                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MARCH 10, 2021  |   { 7 }
                COMMUNITY UPDATE

         Study: How Health Care Providers and Students                         make on its own, the officials said.  elsewhere, encountered setbacks in its
                                                                                                                   quest to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
                                                                                 Merck’s participation sets up a race to
           Speak to Patients with Mental Health Issues;                        see how quickly it can make an impact on   Merck announced January 25 that it was
                            Participants Sought                                Johnson & Johnson’s rollout. It could eas-  halting work on two experimental shots
                                                                                                                   for the virus. The vaccine did not stimu-
                                                                               ily take two months to get the “fill-finish”
                                                                               plant ready and a few more months to   late enough antibodies in Phase 1 human
          Health care providers—and health   students meet these challenges.   equip the other facility to make the vac-  clinical trials to justify continuing, the
       care providers in training—will soon   Their preliminary data find that   cine, according to a person familiar with   company said.
       have a more informed understanding   46 percent of respondents reported   the process who spoke on the condition of   Johnson & Johnson has been search-
       of how to talk to patients with mental   no change in their interest level, 43   anonymity because he was not authorized   ing the world for manufacturing sites
       health issues, thanks to a new Rutgers   percent reported an increased interest   to discuss the issue.     where it could produce doses of its vac-
       University–Camden study.           in the health field, and 11 percent said   Merck said Tuesday it would use the   cine on a global scale. It has publicly
          Researchers Charlotte Markey, a   they weren’t as interested or not inter-  federal emergency money for vaccine-  disclosed more than half a dozen manu-
       professor of psychology, and Kristin   ested at all in the health field. In addi-  related upgrades as well as enhancements   facturing sites on four continents that
       August, an associate professor of psy-  tion, of those who lost interest, most   for production of unnamed drug treat-  it said were winnowed from more than
       chology, will pay particular attention   expressed concerns due to the risks   ments. After abandoning two vaccine can-  100 possibilities.
       to how providers discuss mental health   associated with the health care field.  didates because they didn’t work, Merck   Its vaccine uses an adenovirus vac-
       issues as they relate to body image, eat-  The researchers note that they are   still has two potential covid 19 treatments   cine as a vector—a harmless cold virus
       ing, and weight.                   surprised to find how many respon-   in its clinical trial pipeline.     that does not replicate in the body—to
          “There are some concerns among   dents—comprised of nursing and medi-  “This funding from [the U.S. govern-  deliver DNA instructions into a healthy
       psychologists that physicians and   cal students—are still interested or even   ment] will allow us to accelerate our   human cell. The cell uses the genetic
       nurses get very little training about   more interested in a career in health   efforts to scale up our manufacturing   instructions to create a replica of a coro-
       mental health and how to talk to   care.                                capacity to enable timely delivery of much   navirus spike protein that triggers an
       patients about sensitive issues—includ-  “This is very encouraging, as we   needed medicines and vaccines for the   immune response that can recognize—and
       ing their weight,” says Markey. “This,   obviously need a large pool of future   pandemic,” said Mike Nally, executive vice   respond to—the real thing. The U.S. gov-
       combined with medical visits often   health care providers to be ready for   president, Human Health at Merck.  ernment paid the company $2 billion for
       being very short these days, can leave   and excited about joining the field   Johnson & Johnson said Merck’s   development and clinical trials and pre-
       patients feeling like their providers   in the context of a pandemic,” says   involvement would permit it to go beyond   orders at a price of $10 per dose just days
       don’t understand them and their health   August.                        the 100 million doses it has pledged to   after it received emergency authorization
       care needs.”                         According to the Rutgers–Camden    provide the United States under a $1 bil-  from federal regulators.
          The study asks participants whether   researchers, they hope that their find-  lion contract, but it did not provide any   After the FDA on Saturday authorized
       they discuss certain issues with their   ings can help shed some light on how   specifics.                  the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use
       patients related to behavioral/mental   health care providers are being trained   “We think it’s going to add consider-  in those 18 and older, the company said it
       health—among them, weight, body    to discuss vital mental health issues   ably to our capabilities, both near and   would immediately ship nearly 4 million
       image, health behaviors, and mental   with their patients. They also hope that   long term,” Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex   doses in the United States, and a total of 20
       health—as well as why they may or may   the data can guide intervention pro-  Gorsky told CNBC on Tuesday.  million by the end of March, which is 17
       not discuss these issues.          grams designed to inform medical and   Biden is wielding the powers of the   million less than expected under its gov-
          “We are also asking providers about   nursing training around mental health   Defense Production Act, a Korean War-  ernment contract.
       their own mental health experiences   issues and interpersonal skills in medi-  era law, to give Merck priority in securing   Its current schedule calls for a recov-
       to see if these impact their interactions   cal settings.               equipment it will need to upgrade its facili-  ery from those delays, with the company
       with patients,” says August.         “Research suggests that if patients   ties for vaccine production, including the   saying it is on track to deliver 100 million
          According to the researchers, the   don’t feel understood by their providers   purchase of machinery, bags, tubing and   doses by the end of June. A top company
       study will delve into these mental   they are less likely to follow prescribed   filtration systems.        executive told Congress last week that it
       health issues as they relate to the   regimens,” says Markey.             In teaming up with Merck, Johnson   has a goal of manufacturing 1 billion doses
       nature of health care in the midst of the   August and Markey hope to con-  & Johnson has a partner with a century-  worldwide by year’s end.
       COVID-19 pandemic. Given the context   clude the survey by the end of the   long tradition of making vaccines. In the   Most of Johnson & Johnson’s partners
       in which these providers are practicing,   spring semester, with plans to finish   United States, Merck is the sole supplier   disclosed to date are contract manufac-
       they note, it is imperative to under-  analyzing the data and publish their   of the combination childhood vaccine   turing companies, but now it is moving
       stand how COVID-19 has affected their   findings by the fall.           that protects against measles, mumps and   to team with larger drug companies that
       interests in practicing.                                                rubella. It developed Gardasil, which pro-  have seen their own vaccine projects
          Moreover, August and other col-  The Rutgers–Camden researchers are   tects against the human papillomavirus.   delayed or fizzled.
       laborators are conducting additional   currently seeking additional nursing or   And it won Food and Drug Administration   Sanofi—which had to reboot its clini-
       research on the Rutgers–Camden     medical students, or practicing nurses or   approval for an Ebola vaccine in 2019.  cal trials of a vaccine candidate after early
       campus to further understand how   physicians, to participate in the study.   But the company, which makes vac-  stumbles—announced last week that it
       students’ views about pursuing a career   Those interested in participating are   cines in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and   would help Johnson & Johnson with final
       in health care have changed, what chal-  asked to fill out a brief screening ques-
       lenges they are experiencing, and what   tionnaire at
       campus resources are available to help   jfe/form/SV_9LT3443YOSNEP2K
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