Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Parts of China’s Hainan extend COVID lockdown, Lhasa in Tibet tightens curbs
A few cities in China’s tourism hub Hainan extended lockdowns on Friday, with some of the measures expected to last through the weekend, while Lhasa in Tibet also tightened restrictions, among the latest curbs to contain COVID clusters in the country. Under the “dynamic COVID zero” policy that aims at quickly stopping each outbreak from spreading, local governments have imposed shorter lockdowns where people were barred from unnecessary movements for a few days or weeks until clusters were contained within narrower areas.
Abbott to add 1,000 jobs in $450 million Irish investment
U.S. healthcare company Abbott Laboratories plans to hire 1,000 more people in Ireland in one of the biggest job announcements this year in the country’s booming multinational sector, state investment agency IDA Ireland said on Friday. Abbott, which is one of the largest multinational employers in Ireland with 5,000 staff, will expand its manufacturing facilities in the north west county of Donegal and build a new plant at the other end of the country in Kilkenny.
Novartis reports Zolgensma caused two deaths from liver failure
Novartis AG on Thursday reported two patient fatalities due to acute liver failure following treatment with Zolgensma gene therapy used to treat spinal muscular atrophy. The company has notified health authorities in markets where the drug is sold, including the FDA, and has informed relevant healthcare professionals as an additional step.
In Caracas, equine therapy offers hope for disabled kids from low-income families
Claireth Mendoza’s six-year-old son Drake squirms in his mother’s lap. She asks him to raise his head and the boy straightens up. Drake suffers from cerebral palsy, and until recently struggled to do something as simple as looking up at his mother.
Polio virus found in New York City wastewater, suggesting local transmission
Health officials identified the virus that causes polio in New York City’s wastewater, suggesting local transmission of the virus, state authorities said on Friday, urging unvaccinated New Yorkers to get vaccinated. “The NYC Heath Department and the New York State Department of Health have identified poliovirus in sewage in NYC, suggesting local transmission of the virus,” the city’s health department said in a statement on Friday.
Roche gets U.S. approval for flu drug for children aged 5 and over
Roche has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration for its Xofluza drug to treat influenza in children aged five years and older, the drugmaker said on Friday. The medicine has been approved to treat acute uncomplicated influenza in otherwise healthy children who have shown symptoms for no more than 48 hours.
Monkeypox spread may be slowing in Canada, health official says
There are early signs that the spread of monkeypox infections are starting to slow down in Canada, but it was “too soon to tell” whether cases had plateaued, chief public health officer Theresa Tam said on Friday. “The cases are not increasing at the speed at which they were increasing at the beginning of the outbreak and so we will just keep monitoring that trend in the next number of weeks,” Tam told reporters at a briefing.
Drugmakers’ shares stabilise after Zantac litigation slump
Shares in GSK, Sanofi, Haleon and Pfizer began to recover on Friday after the companies said that nothing material had changed regarding U.S. litigation focused on heartburn drug Zantac. The companies’ share prices had fallen sharply this week on investor concern about the litigation over potential cancer-causing impurities that prompted the drug’s withdrawal from markets in 2019 and 2020.
U.S. move to negotiate drug prices a rare defeat for Big Pharma
Big Pharma spent more than any other industry to lobby Congress and federal agencies this year, a Reuters analysis shows, but is still on course for a major defeat by failing to stop a bill that allows the government to negotiate prices on select drugs. Despite the pharmaceutical industry spending at least $142 million on lobbying efforts, the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act to change climate, health, and tax policies cleared its largest hurdle last week when Democratic lawmakers passed it in the Senate.
J&J to end global sales of talc-based baby powder
Johnson & Johnson will stop selling talc-based baby powder globally in 2023, the drugmaker said on Thursday, more than two years after it ended U.S. sales of a product that drew thousands of consumer safety lawsuits. “As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio,” it said, adding that cornstarch-based baby powder is already sold in countries around the world.
(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