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Potential return of smallpox; ‘preventative chemotherapy;’ National Minority Health Month – Morning Medical Update

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The top news stories in medicine today.

physician holding morning coffee: © batuhan toker - stock.adobe.com

© batuhan toker - stock.adobe.com

Smallpox comeback?

In 1980, the World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated, ending a disease that devastated people for centuries. The United States and Russia possess the last two known samples of the variola virus that causes it. But with advances in genetics, it is possible to recreate live smallpox virus, meaning it could reemerge as a public health threat. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has this new report on “Future State of Smallpox Medical Countermeasures.”

Immunoprevention of cancer

Cancer is a growing health burden around the world. Immunoprevention is an emerging field with researchers trying vaccines, nonspecific immunomodulation, checkpoint inhibitors, and lifestyle modifications to stop cancers before they start or have time to advance. The Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer has this roundup, and AJMC has this summary.

‘A future where health disparities are a relic of the past’

April is National Minority Health Month, rooted in Booker T. Washington’s creation of National Negro Health Week in 1915. Here’s what U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra has to say about that.

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