The coronavirus will stick around forever

Hello,

We’ve made it to the middle of February! How’s everyone feeling about the fact that March is just a couple weeks away? I’m feeling a bit heartened hearing that case counts across the US are dropping, while an increasing number of people are getting vaccinated. 

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Variants, vaccines, and a potential endemic future

For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about the new wave of vaccine data facing off against emerging variants and what it means for ending the pandemic. 

Already, South Africa halted the rollout of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after a new analysis found it “provides minimal protection” from the new variant.

Even so, World Health Organization experts on Wednesday recommended AstraZeneca’s vaccine, even in places where variants are spreading. 

Thinking more about how effective vaccines are shaping up to be — especially in the face of emerging variants — Andrew Dunn, Aria Bendix, and Hilary Brueck teamed up to write about the reality of the coronavirus sticking around forever. 

In their reporting, they found both reasons to be concerned and reasons to be optimistic about our future.

Read the full story here>>

The coronavirus is going to stick around forever. Get ready for the new normal.

A demonstrator wearing a protective mask holds a sign during the “Stop Racism in Vaccination!” rally in Herald Square on February 4.Jeenah Moon/REUTERS

Inequity in vaccine distribution

The disparities that have been apparent at every stage of the pandemic have carried into our vaccine rollout as well.

Black and brown Americans received fewer coronavirus vaccines, according to CDC estimates from the first month of the vaccine rollout.

Hilary Brueck, Shelby Livingston, and Allana Akhtar teamed up to outline the ways to fix the inequity that’s played out. It all comes down to trust, access and transportation to vaccinations, and better data collection and communication.

Read the full story here>>

Black and brown Americans are receiving fewer coronavirus shots, despite dying at higher rates — but there are ways to fix the inequity

A scientist is seen in the Themis Bioscience laboratory in ViennaReuters

The varied road to exits

I just wanted to start by saying THANK YOU to everyone who joined our webinar this week chatting with VCs about the future of healthcare.

I hope you found it helpful — what other topics should we dive into? What would you like to hear more about? Let me know at [email protected]

Missed the session? No problem! You can watch the full conversation here.

As part of the chat, the VCs spoke about the various roads to an exit for a private company these days.

We saw that play out again over the past week, as Oscar Health — the original buzzy health insurance startup — dropped its S-1 filing as it prepares to go public. 

Shelby and I spent our Friday evenings poring over the filing so you didn’t have to. 

Here are the 4 key takeaways about Oscar, a business that may never become profitable.

Consumer genetics giant 23andMe’s plans to go public via SPAC — an alternate route to an initial public offering. That has the industry rethinking the potential for sequencing companies that map out everything from DNA to proteins. (Seeing sema4, a genomics and clinical data company, share its plans for a SPAC that’ll value the company at $2 billion, only reinforced that new look.)

Patricia Kelly Yeo took a look at what’s ahead for sequencing companies, speaking with CB Insights about how the future lies in drug development rather than genetic testing kits consumers send in to learn more about their ancestry or health. 

You can read the full story here>>

But not everyone is sold on SPACs. Biotech startups, a reliable group that tend to IPO with relative ease, aren’t clamoring for an alternative route to the public markets.

Allison DeAngelis spent her week talking to industry experts about the rise in biotech SPAC shell companies looking to make a deal. They’re meeting resistance and intense competition. 

Read the full story>>

Biotech investors raised $1.3 billion on the promise of disrupting the IPO process. But insiders aren’t sold on it.

With that, I’ll leave you to your weekends. We’ll be off Monday for the holiday. See you Tuesday!

In the meantime, you can find me at [email protected] You can reach the whole healthcare team at [email protected] 

– Lydia

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

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