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The Readout Loud

News & Politics Podcasts

Podcast by STAT

Podcast by STAT


United States


Podcast by STAT






Episode 165: Paul Offit on the Covid vaccine booster debate, & Robyn Karnauskas' call of the decade

First, we sift through the week's news, with some disappointing Covid-19 vaccine data, a pair of setbacks for biotech, and the Wall Street debut of 23andMe. Then, vaccinologist Paul Offit joins us to explain the scientific debate over whether we'll need booster vaccine doses to stay protected from SARS-CoV-2. Finally, Truist Securities analyst Robyn Karnauskas calls in to talk about her bold 2020 prediction that Biogen's controversial treatment for Alzheimer's disease would eventually win...


Episode 164: Every angle on the FDA's polarizing approval of Biogen's Alzheimer's drug

We're devoting this entire episode to the FDA's polarizing decision to approve Aduhelm, a controversial Biogen treatment for Alzheimer's disease. First, we'll break down what happened and why it's such a big deal, and then we'll talk about the broader implications for science, medicine, and the drug industry as a whole. Finally, we'll zoom out explore how the FDA got to this moment in a conversation with Yale University professor and global health activist Gregg Gonsalves.


Episode 163: Marilynn Marchione on covering the CRISPR babies scandal

First, we discuss why it's so hard to predict FDA decisions, and why the latest big deal in biotech left investors cold. Then, STAT Washington correspondent Nicholas Florko joins us for a dive into the thousands of emails from Anthony Fauci made public this week, complete with a top-five countdown of messages both impactful and absurd. Finally, longtime Associated Press medical reporter Marilynn Marchione retired last week, and she calls in to talk about the biggest stories of her career.


Episode 162: Scott Gottlieb on Covid and grilling, plus how Zolgensma has changed SMA

STAT's Andrew Joseph joins us to talk about the two-year anniversary of the approval of gene therapy Zolgensma and the effect it has had on families dealing with the rare disease spinal muscular atrophy. Then, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb calls in with tips on Memorial Day grilling, notes on a recent Twitter spat, and thoughts on the origins of SARS-CoV-2.


Episode 161: Biotech meme stocks, the lessons of Spanish Flu, & becoming a pandemic celebrity

First, we discuss Ginkgo Bioworks, the multibillion-dollar biotech company with grand ambitions, a famous ticker symbol, and an affinity for memes. Then, STAT’s Helen Branswell joins us to discuss a topic on everyone’s mind: How will the Covid-19 pandemic end? Finally, we’ll talk about the modern phenomenon of the pandemic celebrity and the case of Ashish Jha, TV’s ever-present Covid-19 expert.


Episode 160: Global Covid-19 failures, a sluggish CDC, and a boisterous STAT Health Tech Summit

Can we prevent the next Covid-19? Has the CDC become too cautious? And how many sensors should be worn to bed? First, our colleague Helen Branswell joins us to discuss where the world went wrong with Covid-19 and how to prepare for the next pandemic. Next, STAT D.C. correspondent Nicholas Florko calls in to talk about the public health experts who believe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been too sluggish and conservative in recent months. Finally, our colleague Nick St....


Episode 159: Thomas Bollyky on patent waivers, plus vaccine riches, & a gene therapy for aging

First, Moderna and Pfizer are poised to make billions of dollars from their Covid-19 vaccines this year, and we discuss what that massive infusion of cash portends for both companies. Next, Thomas Bollyky of the Council on Foreign Relations joins us to explain what the U.S.'s support for waiving Covid-19 vaccine patents means — and doesn’t mean — for the global vaccination effort. Finally, STAT’s Megan Molteni calls in to share the story of a little-known biotech company recruiting patients...


Episode 158: Angela Rasmussen on Russia's vaccine controversy, plus Biden's drug pricing punt

First, STAT Washington correspondent Rachel Cohrs joins us to explain why President Biden's endorsement for drug pricing reform rang hollow to many advocates. Next, virologist Angela Rasmussen calls in to discuss the controversy around a Russian-produced vaccine for Covid-19. Finally, STAT's Kate Sheridan joins us to talk about how a shortage of cheap, little-discussed plastic tools is hobbling scientific labs around the world.


Episode 157: Mercedes Carnethon on outdoor masking, FDA in limbo, & gene therapy's uncertain upside

First, Northwestern University epidemiologist Mercedes Carnethon joins us to weigh on the nation's latest Covid-19 debate: Is it OK to go maskless outdoors? Then, STAT Washington correspondent Nicholas Florko calls in to talk about why the Biden administration is waiting so long to nominate an FDA commissioner and how that indecision could have real consequences. Later, we discuss the scientific promise of novel treatments for sickle cell disease — and the industry's growing concern that...


Episode 156: J&J's vaccine pause, talking about remote risks, & why no new drugs for Covid-19

How do you describe a one-in-a-million risk? What's heparin-induced thrombocytopenia? And why's it so hard to find drugs for Covid-19? We cover all that and more this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, Science Magazine reporter Kai Kupferschmidt joins us to discuss the U.S. decision to press pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and what researchers have learned about rare cases of dangerous clotting. Then, biotech analyst Josh Schimmer joins us to talk about why the...


Episode 155: AstraZeneca's vaccine woes, compassionate use, & giving out Covid vaccines

What's next for AstraZeneca? Are there any right answers when it comes to compassionate use? And how does it feel to give someone a Covid-19 vaccine? We cover all that and more this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, we discuss the latest in a long series of issues for AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and the implications for the global pandemic response. Next, we dive into the dilemma over compassionate use, talking to Biogen's former PR chief about the struggle over...


Episode 154: Eleanor Fox on Illumina’s FTC headache, plus Talkspace’s experiment

First, STAT’s Mario Aguilar joins us to discuss a fascinating experiment in Nevada, where one city is giving its residents free access to a therapy app — and getting a mixed reception. Then, New York University antitrust expert Eleanor Fox calls in to discuss the case of Illumina, the genome sequencing giant whose grand plans keeping running afoul of the Federal Trade Commission. Finally, we embark on a lightning round, covering the latest Covid-19 vaccine news, biotech’s biggest events over...


Episode 153: AstraZeneca and the very good, then quite bad, then deeply confusing week

We're devoting this week's episode to the week of whiplash news about AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, subject of a baffling international incident with consequences still unfolding. First, we explain the series of late-night announcements that made global headlines. Then, our STAT colleague Helen Branswell joins us to discuss the implications for AstraZeneca, vaccine confidence, and the global effort to get doses in arms. Finally, STAT's Matthew Herper calls in to talk about Pascal Soriot,...


Episode 152: Alison Buttenheim on Europe's vaccine scare, Lilly's Alzheimer's data, & a PR plea

First we unpack the crisis of confidence facing AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine in Europe with Alison Buttenheim, a University Pennsylvania professor who studies vaccine acceptance. Then, we explain the latest data on an Alzheimer's disease treatment from Eli Lilly and why it has polarized experts in the field. Finally, we make a modest proposal to the biotech industry: Give honesty a chance.


Episode 151: Natasha Loder on Covid vaccines, the demise of Watson Health, and a 'synbio' explainer

We're joined by Natasha Loder, the health policy editor at The Economist — and a London resident — to get her home-country perspective on the U.K.'s Covid vaccine development efforts. Next, we'll talk with STAT national technology correspondent Casey Ross about his yearslong investigation into the demise of Watson Health, IBM's AI health care initiative. Finally, STAT's Meghana Keshavan joins us for a primer into synthetic biology, including its role in making the mRNA-based Covid vaccines.


Episode 150: Ashish Jha on Covid-19 optimism, plus pharma cooperation, & the next pandemic phase

We discuss Merck's decision to help Johnson & Johnson manufacture vaccine doses and whether it'll be a turning point for the drug industry or a relic of Covid-19 history. Then, as we near the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, STAT's Andrew Joseph joins us to explain what experts think is in store in the months and years to come. Finally, Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, joins us to explain why he's optimistic about summer 2021.


Episode 149: Nancy Goodman on Covid vaccines for kids, & Greg Zuckerman on Novavax's remarkable rise

First, pediatric cancer advocate Nancy Goodman joins us to discuss why she believes Covid-19 vaccine trials need to be sped up for teens and children. Then, Wall Street Journal reporter Greg Zuckerman calls in to explain the unlikely story behind Novavax, a former biotech penny stock now on the verge of making history. Finally, we embark on a lightning round, featuring quick takes on the confirmation process for a new health secretary and the future of therapeutic stool.


Episode 148: Akshay Sharma on gene therapy's setback, biotech's brashest VCs, & the FDA's future

We discuss all that and more this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, we break down a significant setback for Bluebird Bio’s gene therapy program with some help from Akshay Sharma, a bone marrow transplant expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Then, STAT's Kate Sheridan joins us to discuss her deep dive into Flagship Pioneering, the superlatively successful and frequently grandiose venture firm behind Moderna. Finally, we dig into what the future might hold...


Episode 147: David Fajgenbaum on Covid-19 drugs, the state of the pandemic, & meme biotech stocks

When will we have enough vaccine doses? How many effective Covid-19 drugs are just waiting to be found? And what do Redditors think about biotech? We discuss all that and more this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, we check in with our colleague Helen Branswell for her view on the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing vaccine rollout. Then, we're joined by David Fajgenbaum, a physician and scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, to talk about...


Episode 146: Paul Offit on vaccine data, 23andMe is going public, & Merck's CEO is retiring

We discuss all that and more this week on “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, we recap a busy week of news, featuring 23andMe's move to go public through a blank-check company, Merck CEO Ken Frazier's retirement after three decades at the drug maker, and how the future of Biogen’s Alzheimer’s disease drug got a little more complicated. Then, Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, joins us to weigh in on the bounty of...