Pfizer’s updated COVID booster shots are proving their mettle against emerging omicron variants, the company announced Friday. The latest version of the vaccine generated virus-fighting antibodies against four more omicron lineages, including the troubling BQ.1.1 variant. Notably, the immune response wasn’t as strong against these newer variants as it is against the BA.5 strain. But…  read on >  read on >

The Biden administration on Thursday offered assistance to communities and hospitals dealing with a surge in cases of pediatric respiratory illnesses, but it did not declare a national public health emergency. The Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics had asked President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra for…  read on >  read on >

It’s sort of like the Goldilocks principle — a room that’s either too dry or too humid can influence transmission of COVID-19 and cause more illness or death, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers say. Maintaining an indoor relative humidity between 40% and 60% is associated with lower rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths, they reported…  read on >  read on >

It might be tempting to buy prescription medication online, but buyers should beware, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns. While some pharmacy websites operate legally and can offer convenience, privacy and lower costs, others may be selling unapproved, counterfeit and unsafe medications, the FDA advises. Many unsafe online pharmacies do exist, offering prescription medications…  read on >  read on >

Researchers report they have created a vaccine to fight fentanyl addiction, in a potential breakthrough in the opioid epidemic. The shot would block the ability of fentanyl to enter the brain and cause the “high” that users crave. It could be used to prevent relapses in people trying to quit opioids, once it gets through…  read on >  read on >

People battling heart failure should make the time to get their flu shots now, a new study suggests. Not only will the shots help prevent influenza in this high-risk group, but it could also reduce pneumonia infections and cardiac complications, researchers report. “If you have heart failure, you should get your flu shot because it…  read on >  read on >

A crowded, overwhelmed emergency department raises the risk of death and suffering for patients throughout a hospital, a new study warns. “The more the emergency room was crowded, the more people were dying throughout the hospital,” said lead researcher Charleen Hsuan, an assistant professor of health policy and administration at Pennsylvania State University. Patients also…  read on >  read on >

In a finding that illustrates just how deeply racial disparities permeate the U.S. health care system, a new government report finds that suicide rates dipped slightly among white Americans while they rose for Black and Hispanic Americans. “Although the recent decline in suicide rates for non-Hispanic white persons is encouraging, the continued increase for non-Hispanic…  read on >  read on >