A dark Black Friday

Black Friday brought with it some dark clouds last week. Omicron, the new Covid-19 variant with a “Frankenstein mix" of mutations, has scientists scrambling to test its vulnerability (or resistance) to existing vaccines. Meanwhile, the markets plunged into a tailspin, yielding the worst Black Friday trading day on record. Lockdown-friendly companies did see a boost—including telehealth platform Teladoc and remote fitness company Peloton—though both are still down on the year.

Amidst the uncertainty, a steady drumbeat of virtual care innovation continues. Last week Pear’s prescription digital therapeutic for alcohol use disorder, reSET-A, received Breakthrough Device Designation from the FDA, accelerating its review. The company, which plans to go public via SPAC in the near future, already has FDA-cleared digital programs for substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, and chronic insomnia. With alcohol abuse and opioid deaths climbing in the US, we hope all types of solutions can continue clearing barriers to treatment and recovery.

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