February 7, 2023

Biggest healthcare stories for the week ending October 9

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider


What a week it’s been. If you can believe it, it was just a week ago that we learned that President Donald Trump had been diagnosed with COVID-19. After a four-day stay at the hospital, he’s back at the White House, and somehow spending part of his days touting coronavirus treatments. We’ll get into it shortly.

But first — if you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter here!

trump walter reed discharge

President Donald Trump poses for a White House photograph to show him working during his stay at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Tia Dufour/The White House via Getty Images

Trump’s week with COVID-19

Last Friday evening, Trump was in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. To help him overcome the virus, he received treatments including the antiviral remdesivir, the steroid dexamethasone, and an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron. 

The idea was to target a “sweet spot” by treating his symptoms early, but experts cautioned that the data on all these drugs is limited. 

Along the way, Trump’s doctor was light on some details, making it hard to parse out the answer to questions like: When did Trump last test negative? How are his lungs looking?

Morgan McFall-Johnsen and Susie Neilson rounded up all the questions that didn’t get answered over last weekend.

That could in part be because Trump’s doctors can only share what the president authorizes them to share about his health, as Kimberly Leonard and Aylin Woodward explain here. What a moment for HIPAA.

What we did find out was puzzling as well. On Wednesday, Trump’s doctor said that he had detectable levels of coronavirus antibodies. But it seems that could be thanks to the Regeneron drug that he received.

In the meantime, Trump in videos released later in the week praised the experimental antibody treatment he received, calling for its approval and widespread use. At moments like this, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not clear what role the experimental treatment played in his recovery, since it was one of a number of medications he was given.

I found this flow chart from Aria Bendix and Shayanne Gal super helpful in parsing out what road may be ahead for the president, based on how coronavirus patients typically progress. Of course, as they note, Trump certainly is no average patient.

By Monday, Business Insider reporters had spoken to 20 doctors about Trump’s condition and the treatments he’d been given. They posited that he’s either been overtreated or could be more seriously ill than we know. 

Read the full story here>>

‘That makes no sense’: Doctors say Trump is either getting overtreated for the coronavirus, which could be risky, or is more seriously ill than we know

rising stars healthcare investors 4x3

NEA; Comcast Ventures; Tusk Ventures; Samantha Lee/Business Insider

The president’s health wasn’t the only news on our plates this week.

Megan Hernbroth on Tuesday released her list of the 16 rising stars of healthcare venture capital. The list is comprised of folks who have been VCs for less than five years.

When not working on that project, Megan also spoke with Oak HC/FT principal Billy Deitch.

Deitch explained why Oak HC/FT invested $35 million in the booming on-demand mental health market via the startup Cerebral. 

That, and the and the takes of Megan’s rising stars on the future of healthcare are all well worth a read. 

Read the full list here>>

RISING STARS: Meet the 16 up-and-coming investors changing the face of healthcare in the US

Roy_And_Ido_Schoenberg Amwell

Amwell’s CEOs Roy and Ido Schoenberg.


The rumor mill is buzzing about a potential bid for Amwell by UnitedHealth Group

It’s been a scoop-filled week for our reporter Blake Dodge!

For one, she got the scoop on a memo and transcript laying out exactly how Goldman Sachs plans to get its employees back to the office. 

That plan includes three (!) types of tests and the expected use of social distancing and mask-wearing. 

Read the full plan here.

Blake also picked up on chatter that Amwell, the telehealth company that just went public in September, is a potential acquisition target for healthcare giant UnitedHealth Group. 

Speculation around the potential deal has sent Amwell’s stock soaring, she reports. 

An Amwell representative declined to comment on the takeover speculation. 

Read the full story here>> 

Amwell’s stock is soaring, and analysts are pointing to speculation that UnitedHealth might acquire the $9 billion telehealth giant

26 best books disrupt US healthcare 2x1

Amazon; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

The books young healthcare leaders recommend

Last week, we brought you Business Insider’s annual list of 30 leaders under 40 who are transforming healthcare.  (I STILL can’t believe it was my fourth time doing such a list!) 

This week, we pulled together some more stories based on our conversations with the 30 honorees. 

For one, we asked every leader what book they’d recommend to anyone starting out in healthcare. Put another way, what book would they have recommended to their 22-year-old selves.

The list is filled with books from different perspectives — from books that go deep on the biotech industry, to lessons of Silicon Valley’s work at breaking into the industry. 


Be sure not to miss out on the book recommendations from our young healthcare leaders… then immediately add them to your wishlist or library hold list like I did! 

Read the full list >>

The 26 best books to read if you want to disrupt US healthcare, according to top young leaders in the $3.6 trillion industry

Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor of Operation Warp Speed

Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor of Operation Warp Speed


A vaccine approval by Election Day is looking less likely

Andrew Dunn caught up with Trump’s coronavirus vaccine czar Monef Slaoui again this week. 

Slaoui shared with Andrew his vision for how he expects the next six months will play out when it comes to vaccines. We’re looking at three waves of vaccine data and approvals, starting with Pfizer and Moderna’s shots. 

And — in case you missed it — Andrew chatted live with experts on Monday about the challenges in testing and distributing a vaccine across the US.

You can watch the entire discussion here.

The FDA this week released its guidance on how it’ll evaluate vaccines, standards Slaoui said he supports. 

An interesting — though not totally unexpected — wrinkle to the standards set by the FDA on vaccine data: It’ll make getting a vaccine authorized ahead of the election on November 3 very, very tricky. 

Read the full story here>>

Trump’s coronavirus vaccine czar is backing the FDA on safety standards that make a vaccine approval unlikely if not impossible before the election

I’ll leave you with one last dispatch from the land of health insurance startups. 

On Tuesday, the Social Capital SPAC led by billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya said it’s acquiring Clover Health in a $3.7 billion deal.

When talking about the deal, Palihapitiya projected the company will grow its membership roughly five times what it was this year.

I took a closer look at the projections and spoke with Clover’s president, Andrew Toy, to get a better sense of what’s going on. 

I found that the ambitious growth plans rely heavily on an untested Medicare experiment that’s slated to start next year. 

Read the full story here>> 

We’re only a few weeks away from the election! What are you watching out for when it comes to the election and healthcare? Send me your thoughts at [email protected], or you can find our whole team at [email protected]

– Lydia 

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