Health News Roundup: Chinese capital steps up COVID measures as cases quadruple; WHO: 'Concerned' about Ebola spread as latest eight cases not contacts of others infected and more – Devdiscourse

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Chinese capital steps up COVID measures as cases quadruple
China’s capital, Beijing, has dialled up measures to stop COVID, strengthening public checks and locking down some residential compounds after a quadrupling of its case load in recent weeks, just as a key Communist Party congress entered full swing. The city of 21 million people on Thursday reported 18 new locally transmitted cases for the previous day, bringing the tally for the past 10 days to 197. That is four times more than the 49 infections detected in the previous 10-day period.
WHO: ‘Concerned’ about Ebola spread as latest eight cases not contacts of others infected
The eight most recent Ebola cases reported during the outbreak in Uganda have no known links with current patients, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, raising concerns over the spread of the deadly disease. In a briefing, the WHO said initial investigations into the cases by Uganda’s Ministry of Health had shown they were not contacts of people already known to have Ebola.
UK sees steep fall in new clinical trials over past five years
The number of clinical trials started in Britain each year dropped by 41% between 2017 and 2021, posing a “clear and serious threat” to its reputation as a clinical research destination, an industry report said on Thursday. The UK government has been vocal about cementing its position as a global science superpower and capitalising on clinical research conducted at the height of the pandemic that led to the discovery of multiple COVID interventions, from vaccines to drugs.
WHO to switch to one dose of two-dose cholera vaccine amid rising outbreaks
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday it will temporarily suspend the standard two-dose vaccination regimen for cholera, replacing it with a single dose due to vaccine shortages and rising outbreaks worldwide. The U.N. agency said “the exceptional decision reflects the grave state of the cholera vaccine stockpile” at a time when countries like Haiti, Syria, Malawi are fighting large outbreaks of the deadly disease, which spreads through contact with contaminated water and food.
U.S. committee recommends COVID shot for CDC’s free vaccine program
An expert committee on Wednesday recommended that COVID-19 shots become part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine program for children, which provides many types of free inoculations to millions of kids each year. While all COVID-19 vaccines are currently provided free in the United States by the federal government, the U.S. public health emergency is expected to end in early 2023 and the private market will take over the distribution of COVID vaccines and treatments.
Moderna says Omicron booster response stays high through 3 months
Moderna Inc said on Wednesday its COVID-19 vaccine booster targeting the BA.1 subvariant of Omicron generated a strong immune response against that variant, with antibody levels staying high for at least three months. Omicron-tailored shots by Pfizer Inc and Moderna are already authorized by regulators in several countries. The United States has given the go-ahead for booster vaccines that target the currently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron.
Indonesia finds some medicines with ingredients linked to fatal child kidney injury
Some medicinal syrups available in Indonesia contained ingredients linked to fatal acute kidney injury (AKI) in children, its health minister said on Thursday, as it investigates a spike in cases and 99 child deaths this year. Indonesia has temporarily banned sales of all syrup-based medications and has been looking closely at paracetamol syrups used locally to treat fever in children that contain diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.
U.S. FDA authorizes Novavax’s COVID vaccine as booster for adults
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized Novavax Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine as a booster for adults, helping the company’s shares reverse course and rise more than 3%. The authorization applies for people unable to get updated Omicron-tailored boosters, or those who would choose not to receive any other booster dose.
WHO says COVID-19 is still a global health emergency
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that COVID-19 remains a global emergency, nearly three years after it was first declared as one. The WHO’s emergency committee first made the declaration for COVID-19 on Jan 30, 2020. Such a determination can help accelerate research, funding and international public health measures to contain disease.
Swiss to destroy 9 million expired Moderna COVID-19 jabs
Switzerland will destroy 9 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that have reached their expiry date, with another 5.1 million vaccine jabs set to meet the same fate by February, the government said on Wednesday. The wastage reflects the Swiss strategy of ordering more vaccines than it needed to ensure its population of around 8.7 million would get sufficient supplies even in the event of supply bottlenecks or quality issues.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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