Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
EMA recommends Moderna’s updated Omicron-tailored vaccine
The European Medical Agency on Wednesday recommended authorization of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine-tailored booster shots for 12 and above ages to further vaccination campaigns in the region. The agency also authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s vaccines for children as young six months.
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.
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 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.
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.
U.S. FDA advisers recommend withdrawing preterm birth drug from market
Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday voted in favor of removing Covis Pharma’s drug for preventing preterm birth from the market several years after its approval, following a failed study. The FDA has been pushing to withdraw the drug, Makena, since 2020, while Covis insists the regulator wait for data from another confirmatory study and narrow its use in the meantime.
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 a 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.
France steps up bird flu checks as new cases rise in two regions – farming ministry
The French farming ministry on Wednesday announced it would step up precautionary measures as a spike in new bird flu cases was detected in farms located in the country’s Western Brittany and Pays de la Loire regions. 17 bird flu clusters have been detected in the two regions as of last Friday, the ministry said in a statement, adding it therefore put in place additional checks and ordered farms to keep their birds inside as tests for the virus are being carried out.
(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