Health News Roundup: AstraZeneca examining impact of new COVID variant on vaccine, antibody cocktail; S.Africa says it is being punished for early COVID variant detection and more

Meanwhile, authorities in Amsterdam said that 61 out of around 600 people who arrived in the Dutch city on two flights from South Africa on Friday had tested positive for coronavirus.


Reuters | Updated: 27-11-2021 18:40 IST | Created: 27-11-2021 18:28 IST
Health News Roundup: AstraZeneca examining impact of new COVID variant on vaccine, antibody cocktail; S.Africa says it is being punished for early COVID variant detection and more
Representative Image Image Credit: Flickr

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Suspected Omicron case found in Germany, regional minister says

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has probably arrived in Germany, a minister in the western state of Hesse said on Saturday after mutations were found in a passenger arriving from South Africa. "Last night several Omicron-typical mutations were found in a traveller returning from South Africa," tweeted Kai Klose, social affairs minister in Hesse, home to Frankfurt airport, Germany's biggest hub and one of Europe's busiest airports.

S.Africa says it is being punished for early COVID variant detection

South Africa said on Saturday it was being punished for its advanced ability to detect new COVID-19 variants early, as travel bans and restrictions imposed because of the new Omicron variant threaten to harm tourism and other sectors of the economy. South Africa has some of the world's top epidemiologists and scientists, who have managed to detect emerging coronavirus variants and their mutations early on in their life cycle. The Omicron variant was first discovered in South Africa and has since been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.

India's Modi orders review of reopening on Omicron COVID concerns

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told officials on Saturday to review plans to ease travel restrictions as concerns rise over the new Omicron https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/japan-tighten-border-controls-s-africa-others-new-virus-variant-jiji-2021-11-26 variant of COVID-19. The world's second-worst affected country by the pandemic had only Friday decided to resume https://www.reuters.com/world/india/india-tighten-covid-19-testing-tourists-amid-new-variant-concerns-2021-11-26 international passenger flights from countries deemed "at risk" of the coronavirus, while ordering tightened border screening.

France detects highly pathogenic bird flu on poultry farm in north - farm ministry

France has detected a highly pathogenic bird flu virus on a poultry farm in the north of the country, the farm ministry said on Saturday. The authorities, which said they had yet to identify the strain, are to slaughter the chickens and disinfect the farm to prevent the spread of the disease, the ministry said in a statement.

CDC says no cases of Omicron identified in U.S. so far

No cases of new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa have been identified in the United States to date, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. The World Health Organization (WHO) designated the B.1.1.529 variant, dubbed Omicron, as being "of concern," the fifth variant to be classified as such.

Dutch find 61 COVID cases among South Africa passengers, looking for new variant

Dutch health authorities said on Saturday they had detected 61 COVID-19 cases among people who flew from South Africa on Friday and were now conducting further testing to see whether any are infected with the recently discovered Omicron variant. The cases were discovered among around 600 passengers who arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on two flights on Friday before the Dutch government halted air traffic from southern Africa due to concerns over the variant.

Explainer-How worried should we be about the Omicron variant?

The new Omicron coronavirus variant - identified first in South Africa, but also detected in Europe and Asia - is raising concern worldwide given the number of mutations, which might help it spread or even evade antibodies from prior infection or vaccination. News of the variant prompted countries to announce new travel restrictions on Friday and sent drugmakers scrambling to see if their COVID-19 vaccines remain protective.

Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna expect data on shot's protection against new COVID-19 variant soon

BioNTech SE said on Friday it expects more data on a worrying new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa within two weeks to help determine whether its vaccine produced with partner Pfizer Inc would have to be reworked. Pfizer and BioNTech said that if necessary they expect to be able to ship a new vaccine tailored to the emerging variant in approximately 100 days.

Concerns over COVID variant trigger more travel curbs on southern Africa

Australia and several other countries joined nations imposing restrictions on travel from southern Africa on Saturday after the discovery of the new Omicron coronavirus variant sparked global concern and triggered a market sell-off. Meanwhile, authorities in Amsterdam said that 61 out of around 600 people who arrived in the Dutch city on two flights from South Africa on Friday had tested positive for coronavirus. Health authorities were carrying out further tests to see if those cases involved the new variant.

AstraZeneca examining impact of new COVID variant on vaccine, antibody cocktail

AstraZeneca said on Friday it was examining the impact of a new coronavirus variant that is spreading rapidly in South Africa on its vaccine and its antibody cocktail, adding it was hopeful its combination drug would retain efficacy. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday designated a new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, detected in South Africa with a large number of mutations, as being "of concern".

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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