Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Hong Kong cuts COVID quarantine stay for incoming travellers
Hong Kong will shorten the COVID-19 hotel quarantine period for all arrivals to three days from seven, taking another step to gradually unwind stringent pandemic rules that have isolated the Asian financial hub. The measures will be effective from Friday, the city’s leader, John Lee, told a news conference on Monday.
Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
China raced on Tuesday to stamp out COVID-19 outbreaks in the tourist hubs of Tibet and Hainan. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
U.S. to buy Siga’s IV drug worth $26 million to fight monkeypox outbreak
The U.S. government will buy Siga Technologies Inc’s $26-million worth of intravenous formulation of antiviral drug Tpoxx, the company said on Tuesday, as the country fights an outbreak of monkeypox cases. The company plans to deliver by next year the order for the IV treatment, which would be a vital option for patients unable to swallow the oral pill as monkeypox symptoms include rashes and blisters in the mouth.
Escaping Shanghai’s COVID lockdown only to get trapped in Hainan
Brian Hall fled Shanghai in June to avoid another lockdown of his residential compound, escaping to China’s tropical tourist island of Hainan where he could work remotely as a public health professor after undertaking 10 days of quarantine. Hall, who has worked at the New York University Shanghai for the past two years, is now stuck in Sanya, Hainan’s main tourism hub, with no clarity on when he can get out.
EU regulator begins review of Pfizer-BioNTech’s variant-adapted COVID shot
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started a rolling review of a variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, it said on Tuesday. The so-called bivalent vaccine targets two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID – the original strain first identified in China, and the Omicron offshoots BA.4/5 that are currently behind most cases in Europe.
China races to contain COVID outbreaks in tourism hubs Tibet, Hainan
China raced on Tuesday to stamp out COVID-19 outbreaks in the tourist hubs of Tibet and Hainan, with the authorities launching more rounds of mass testing and closing venues to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Mainland China reported 828 new domestically transmitted cases across more than a dozen provinces and regions for Aug. 8, with over half of them in Hainan, a highly popular tourist destination, official data showed on Tuesday.
Climate change puts Lyme disease in focus for France’s Valneva after COVID blow
With climate change spurring more cases of tick-borne Lyme disease, drugmaker Valneva is betting big on a vaccine as it looks beyond disappointing sales of its COVID shot. Although Valneva secured European Union and British regulatory approval, both walked away from contracts worth more than a billion dollars combined, wiping nearly 40% off the value of Valneva’s share price in the past six months.
Agency donates breathing devices for premature babies to Ukraine
Global health aid agency Unitaid is donating 220 specialised portable breathing devices to Ukraine that can help save lives of premature babies even in frontline hospitals where there is no electrical power. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 has seen hundreds of hospitals damaged or destroyed, disrupting supply lines and placing newborn babies at risk of death or disability from a lack of access to equipment and oxygen.
Group of 23 states tells U.S. court CDC lacks authority to set transit mask rules
A group of 23 state attorneys general led by Florida told a federal court on Monday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lacks the legal authority to impose a nationwide transportation mask mandate to address COVID-19. The CDC sought “an unprecedented masking mandate regulating every breath of millions of Americans,” said the brief in support of the group that sued to overturn the mask mandate.
Novavax sinks after halving sales forecast on low vaccine demand, supply glut
Novavax Inc on Monday halved its full-year revenue forecast as it does not expect further sales of its COVID-19 shot this year in the United States in the face of a global supply glut and soft demand, sending its shares down 33%. Novavax said it now expects 2022 total revenue in the range of $2 billion to $2.3 billion, compared with its prior forecast of $4 billion to $5 billion.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort