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Daily Recap: Docs are good at saving money; SARS-CoV-2 vaccine trials advance


Here are the stories our MDedge editors across specialties think you need to know about today:

Many physicians live within their means and save

Although about two of five physicians report a net worth of between $1 million and $5 million, about half report that they are living at or below their means, according to the latest Medscape Physician Debt and Net Worth Report 2020.

Net worth figures varied greatly by specialty. Among specialists, orthopedists were most likely (at 19%) to top the $5 million level, followed by plastic surgeons and gastroenterologists (both at 16%). Conversely, 46% of family physicians and 44% of pediatricians reported that their net worth was under $500,000. Gender gaps were also apparent in the data, especially at the highest levels. Twice as many male physicians (10%) as their female counterparts (5%) had a net worth of more than $5 million.

Asked about saving habits, 43% of physicians reported they live below their means. Just 7% said they live above their means. How do they save money? Survey respondents reported putting bonus money into an investment account, putting extra money toward paying down the mortgage, and bringing lunch to work everyday.

The survey responses on salary, debt, and net worth from more than 17,000 physicians spanning 30 specialties were collected prior to Feb. 11, before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Read more.

Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials launching in July

There are now 120 Investigational New Drug applications to the Food and Drug Administration for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, and researchers at more than 70 companies across the globe are interested in making a vaccine, according to Paul A. Offit, MD, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“The good news is that the new coronavirus is relatively stable,” Dr. Offit said during the virtual Pediatric Dermatology 2020: Best Practices and Innovations Conference. “Although it is a single-stranded RNA virus, it does mutate to some extent, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to mutate away from the vaccine. So, this is not going to be like influenza virus, where you must give a vaccine every year. I think we can make a vaccine that will last for several years. And we know the protein we’re interested in. We’re interested in antibodies directed against the spike glycoprotein, which is abundantly present on the surface of the virus. We know that if we make an antibody response to that protein, we can therefore prevent infection.” Read more.

FDA approves in-home breast cancer treatment

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a combination of subcutaneous breast cancer treatments that could be administered at home, following completion of chemotherapy.

The agency gave the green light to pertuzumab (Perjeta, Genentech/Roche), trastuzumab (Herceptin, Genentech/Roche) and hyaluronidase (Phesgo, Genentech/Roche), administered subcutaneously rather than intravenously, for the treatment of early and metastatic HER2-positive breast cancers.

Phesgo is initially used in combination with chemotherapy at an infusion center but could continue to be administered in a patient’s home by a qualified health care professional once chemotherapy is complete. Read more.


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