Health News Roundup: Trial of rheumatoid arthritis drug in COVID-19 patients; new Ebola outbreak in Congo and more
The authorities had reported 12 infections last week in the central African country, whose dilapidated health system is also combating a measles epidemic that has killed over 6,000 people and COVID-19, which has infected over 4,800 and killed 112.Russia's coronavirus death toll passes 7,000 Russia on Monday reported 8,246 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the nationwide tally of infections to 537,210, the country's coronavirus crisis response centre said.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Germany on Tuesday becomes the latest European country to launch a smartphone app that seeks to break the chain of coronavirus infection by tracking encounters between people and issuing a warning should one of them test positive. A growing number of countries in the region have opted to use Bluetooth short-range radio to measure the risk of exposure, after concluding that tracking people's movements using location data would be intrusive.
Norway to halt COVID-19 track and trace app on data protection concerns
Norway will halt its COVID-19 track and trace app and delete all data collected so far after criticism from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) said on Monday. The app was introduced by some Norwegian authorities to limit the transmission of the coronavirus.
Eli Lilly starts trial of rheumatoid arthritis drug in COVID-19 patients
Eli Lilly and Co on Monday said it was launching a study of its rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib in patients hospitalized for COVID-19. The trial is one of several efforts by the U.S. drugmaker to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 people globally, according to a Reuters tally.
Up to 17 infected, 11 dead in new Ebola outbreak in Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has recorded up to 17 Ebola cases in a new outbreak of the deadly virus in the western province of Equateur, and 11 of those infected have died, medical authorities said on Monday. The authorities had reported 12 infections last week in the central African country, whose dilapidated health system is also combating a measles epidemic that has killed over 6,000 people and COVID-19, which has infected over 4,800 and killed 112.
Chinese capital reinstates curbs as coronavirus resurfaces
Several districts of the Chinese capital put up security checkpoints, closed schools and ordered people to be tested for the coronavirus on Monday after an unexpected spike of cases linked to the biggest wholesale food market in Asia. After nearly two months with no new infections, Beijing officials have reported 79 cases over the past four days, the city's biggest cluster of infections since February.
Russia's coronavirus death toll passes 7,000
Russia on Monday reported 8,246 new cases of the coronavirus, taking the nationwide tally of infections to 537,210, the country's coronavirus crisis response centre said. It said 143 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, taking Russia's overall death toll to 7,091.
Crowds gather for coronavirus tests in Beijing amid new outbreak
On a sweltering Beijing afternoon, police vehicles blocked roads near the Guangan Sports Center complex and security guards warned the public to stay clear as residents filed in for testing amid the city's COVID-19 outbreak. Staff in white PPE suits with megaphones yelled directions from gates, telling the crowds to gather in groups according to neighbourhood and avoid touching each other.
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 192 to 186,461 - RKI
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 192 to 186,461, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. The reported death toll rose by four to 8,791, the tally showed.
Mutation in new coronavirus increases chance of infection: study
A specific mutation in the new coronavirus can significantly increase its ability to infect cells, according to a study by U.S. researchers. The research may explain why early outbreaks in some parts of the world did not end up overwhelming health systems as much as other outbreaks in New York and Italy, according to experts at Scripps Research.
A deal between AstraZeneca and France over potential COVID-19 vaccines involves doses being split between countries on a pro-rata basis based on population, a source at the French President's office said on Monday. The British drugmaker signed a contract with European governments at the weekend to supply the region with up to 400 million doses of its potential vaccine.
(With inputs from agencies.)