Weekly Roundup 5-18-12

I kept thinking that this was going to be Memorial Day weekend and I was wrong each time, but it is Victoria Day weekend in Canada, so perhaps I was just channeling a 3-day weekend from my northern friends.  Happy Victoria Day Canada!

And as we approach our regular old weekend, here is a bit of what happened this week:

  • FDA AdComm Gives Thumbs Up for First Home HIV Test – This was of particular interest to me after my many years of working on HIV testing and policy issues when working for HIV advocacy organizations in the 1980s and 1990s.  Back then there were a lot of concerns about how a self-administered HIV test might be utilized.  This week, OraSure saw a unanimous vote from an advisory committee meeting to consider the company’s at home HIV test called OraQuick.  This is certainly a development to watch.
  • First Stem Cell Drug Approved – And speaking of Canada and speaking of firsts, this week Health Canada approved the world’s first drug derived from stem cells for the treatment of graft-vs-host disease (GvHD) in children.  The drug, Prochymal (remestemicel-L) is made by Osiris Therapeutics will be administered to children with the condition who fail to respond to steroids.  The drug is manufactured from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which are derived from the bone marrow of health adult donors between 18 and 30 years of age.
  • First Approval of Generic Plavix! Ok, speaking of firsts, and speaking of approvals, FDA announced this week that the agency was approving the first generic versions of blood thinning Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate) which is used to treat patients who have had a recent heart attack or stroke and have arterial blockage.  Several companies received approval for varied doses.

I’m out of firsts, Canada connections and approvals for now.  If you are in Canada, have a wonderful holiday weekend!  If you are not, have a wonderful regular old weekend.

Note:  After initial publication, this post was modified to include the name of the at-home HIV test kit reported in the second item.

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