Scott Hensley edits stories about health, biomedical research and pharmaceuticals for NPR's Science desk. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has led the desk's reporting on the development of vaccines against the coronavirus.
Hensley has worked on award-winning investigations in collaboration with journalistic partners.
He was the lead NPR editor on an investigation with the Center for Public Integrity in 2018 that exposed drug industry influence on the choices of preferred medicines by Medicaid programs. The work won the 2019 Gerald Loeb Award for audio reporting.
In 2017, Hensley was the lead NPR editor on an investigation with Kaiser Health News that showed how the pharmaceutical industry exploits government incentives intended to encourage the development of treatments for rare diseases. The stories won the 2019 digital award from the National Institute for Health Care Management.
Hensley has been editing in his current role since 2019. He joined NPR in 2009 to launch Shots, a blog that expanded to become a digital destination for NPR health coverage.
Before NPR, Hensley was a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal. He was the founding editor of The Wall Street Journal Health Blog, which focused on the intersection of health and business. As a reporter, he covered the drug industry and the Human Genome Project.
Hensley served on the board of the Association of Health Care Journalists from 2012 to 2020.
He has a bachelor's degree in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University.
Before becoming a journalist, Hensley worked in the medical device industry. He remains, now and forever, a lover of Dobermans, lacrosse and Callinectes sapidus.
The vaccines now in use are based on the form of the virus that circulated at the beginning of the pandemic and are less effective against the omicron variant. New options are in the works.
Pfizer and BioNTech are planning to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a second COVID-19 booster shot for people age 65 and older.
"We believe additional information regarding the ongoing evaluation of a third dose should be considered as part of our decision-making for potential authorization," FDA officials said in a statement.
The authorization comes in the midst of an explosion of COVID-19 cases nationwide driven by the omicron variant — a surge that has brought a spike in pediatric hospitalizations.
The medicine, called molnupiravir, is taken twice a day for five days and works by preventing the virus from replicating. Merck says it will have 10 million packs available by the end of the month.
The new at-home COVID treatment is currently available in limited quantities to states and territories. Some states will get as few as 120 courses of treatment at first.
The agency implemented experts' advice because of a rare and sometimes fatal blood-clotting problem known as TTS. More than 16 million people in the U.S. have received a shot of the J&J vaccine.
The research finds that the medicine, called Paxlovid, was effective in preventing hospitalization and death when taken by people with mild to moderate illness within a few days of symptoms.
If the Food and Drug Administration authorizes use of the drug, called molnupiravir, it would be the first oral COVID-19 treatment that could be taken at home.
A panel of vaccine advisors voted unanimously to expand authorization of boosters for anyone 18 and older. Just hours later CDC director Rochelle Walensky endorsed the recommendation.