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June 18, 2021


This Week in Pharma


By MastersConnect

Our roundup of the top stories of the week. 

£36m Funding Boost for Artificial Intelligence

The UK Government has announced £36m of funding for Artificial Intelligence (AI) research technologies. The funding will go to winners in the second wave of the NHS AI Labs in Health and Care Award. 

The 38 projects join those from the first wave, in September, where 42 projects shared £50m, resulting in new technologies that have benefitted over 17,000 stroke patients and over 25,000 patients with diabetes. 

The award is planning to distribute £140m over three years, with new applications opening this month for round three. 

New NICE Guidance

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published new recommendations advising that shared decision making should become routine across all healthcare settings.

As defined by NICE, shared decision making is a collaborative process, involving an individual and their healthcare professional working together to reach a joint decision on their care. 

The guidelines offer advice on how to engage people in the process, through honest conversation and providing information before, during, and after appointments. Additional recommendations include appointing a patient director to focus on this area, organisational planning, and training to help reach staff and educate them about patient involvement. 

Arthritis Foundation Launches new App

The Arthritis Foundation has introduced a new app, called Vim, aimed at people with chronic pain from the condition. The app comes as a result of an ongoing study of arthritis sufferers, which found that 87% of surveyed patients had pain that interferes with their daily lives and activities. 

Vim, the app, includes goals, management help, and community support, as well as a feature to log both prescription and OTC (over the counter) medication. 

Scientists Develop New COVID-19 Antibody Tests

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with NHS Grampian and biotech group Vertebrate Antibodies Ltd, have developed new antibody tests that can detect whether people have been exposed to new variants of COVID-19.

The new technology is known as Epitogen, and can detect antibody responses to infection by SARS-CoV-2 virus with more than 98% accuracy - not only that, but it also has 100% specificity. In contrast, other tests currently available are only around 60-93% accurate and cannot identify unique variants.

The tests can assess whether the immunity comes from vaccines or from having been infected. Further, it can assess the long-term immunity of an individual and provide information to help estimate the duration of immunity provided by the vaccine. 

Bayer Teams up with 80s Band Twisted Sister

Founding member of Twisted Sister, Jay Jay French, has teamed up with Bayer in a prostate cancer campaign, drawing on the band's famous line, "We're not gonna take it". 

The campaign, which includes Zero - a prostate cancer patient organisation - will run until the end of the year, and includes social media, a digital campaign, a podcast series, and a 'Truth or Twisted' quiz to sort fact from fiction when it comes to prostate cancer. 

The teenagers who enjoyed Twisted Sister in the 80s are now the right age for prostate cancer screening, and early diagnosis drastically increases survival rates. 

 

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