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President Biden tests positive for COVID-19 again

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Yahoo Finance health care reporter Anjalee Khemlani discusses President Biden testing positive for COVID-19 after taking Paxlovid as well as the latest developments in the monkeypox outbreak.

Video Transcript


BRIAN CHEUNG: President Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 again, just a few days after emerging from isolation. This, the latest example of a rebound case after taking the Paxlovid treatment. Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani here with us to explain a little bit more.

We just got a notification from the White House just a few minutes ago, the president continuing to test positive here. Is there any interaction between specifically that Paxlovid treatment and these types of rebound cases?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Well, Brian, we know that already in the Pfizer clinical trial, there was an indication of rebounds. But what they found was a 1% to 2% rebound case. But that, of course, is a small subset of the population. We know that once you get into the real world, those numbers tend to play out a little differently, as we saw with vaccines.

And so what we do know now is that some experts are estimating that the rebound number could be closer to 5%, in fact. As you see there on your screen, the various analyzes that have been done. And it prompted the CDC to note that anyone who does have a rebound case should re-isolate for five days.

Now, this is something that comes as a side effect, not just with Paxlovid but also with Merck's Molnupiravir. And so we've seen those similar numbers of that. The technicality behind that, you know, getting into little nerdville for a second is what the interaction of the drugs do and how they, essentially, suppress infection.

They're not exactly clear-- experts are not exactly clear on why this is playing out this way. And there still needs to be more analysis done to understand what could possibly stop it and if anything needs to change as a result.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, Anjalee, we've talked in the past about the CDC guidelines and how the variants, in some ways, are coming much quicker than the guidance shifting as well. I mean, do you see this leading to a change? And you know, what do you say to those who have been infected who are still testing positive, who are not sure if there's going to be a bounce back? I mean, how should-- how should we all be thinking about it in light of these changing variants?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Err on the side of caution. Akiko, I know you and I have talked about this in light of recent infections. I think that the thought process is the CDC specifically looked at what is something that all Americans could follow, especially those who may not have access to the resources like testing?

In fact, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a recent interview with "The Washington Post" did say, quote, "As we put forward our CDC guidance, we have to do so they are relevant, feasible, followable by Americans. And she noted those who have resources or don't, those who live in rural versus urban settings, those who have work restrictions. Not everyone can take that much time off work.

But ideally, any time you test positive or if you're showing symptoms, the first thing to do is wear a mask and stay isolated. And to continue that until you test negative for multiple days in a row. And that's really what the concern has been is the access to testing and constantly being-- you know, erring more on the side of caution than anything else. And it seems something that maybe not everyone is physically capable of doing.

BRIAN CHEUNG: And then Anjalee, I want to shift to another major issue that we're talking about in terms of public health. Monkeypox cases rising in the United States. A lot of clinics being put up in New York City over the weekend. What's the latest on that?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So we know that the cases are rising. We've seen huge jumps. And that, of course, comes after we have expanded testing in the country. Now, we have five private testing companies in partnership with the CDC, increasing access to testing. So that's one thing that has helped identify cases.

We also know that this is starting to become a deadly disease around the world. We've seen at least three reports of deaths in other countries where this has been circulating more. While we still have to stay focused on what's going on in the US, we also have to keep watching, as we do with COVID cases, what's going on globally.

And this has prompted a lot of concern about the shortage of vaccines, the shortage of treatments that are available, various reasons why that's happened on the vaccine front. We know that the manufacturer ran into some issues and is working on that right now. But we are likely not to see more doses available until October, according to some reports.

And meanwhile, the treatments, because they're not approved for monkeypox, specifically, they're approved for smallpox, there's a lot of investigational technicality around it. So anyone who's prescribed this also needs to essentially become part of a safety monitoring trial with the CDC. So we actually heard from the CEO of that company last week, and here's what he had to say.

- When there's an outbreak, there's obviously a lot of discussion of, how severe is it going to be? And unfortunately, I think the original perception that this was gonna be a self-limiting infection with not a lot of morbidity and mortality just hasn't played out. We've--

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: So as you can hear there, not playing out. And that's surprising a lot of people who are watching this. We know that this outbreak first came across-- you know, in Africa about five years ago and has been sort of growing since. And so we're dealing with not necessarily being prepared in time and not being able to expand in time. Once again, lots of criticism from experts there as well. So just something that we have to continue to watch as cases grow.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani, thanks so much for that. Appreciate it.