Health News Roundup: Increase in global COVID-19 infections; advice against hydroxychloroquine and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Global COVID-19 infections up for first time in seven weeks, WHO says
The number of new coronavirus infections globally rose last week for the first time in seven weeks, the World Health Organization said on Monday. "We need to have a stern warning for all of us: that this virus will rebound if we let it," Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO technical lead for COVID-19, told a briefing. "And we cannot let it."
U.S. downplays possibility of sharing COVID-19 vaccines with Mexico
The Biden administration on Monday downplayed the prospect of sharing coronavirus vaccines with Mexico, saying it is focused first on getting its own population protected against a pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans. The remarks by White House press secretary Jen Psaki came before a video conference between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. President Joe Biden, in which the Mexican leader was expected to ask the United States to consider sharing some of its COVID-19 vaccine supply.
Philippines reports first cases of COVID-19 South African variant
The Philippines has documented six cases of the South African coronavirus variant, its health ministry said on Tuesday, raising concern among its experts that the current vaccines might be less effective. The Philippines started its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Monday, an important milestone for a country among the hardest hit by the pandemic in Asia, but the discovery of another variant could complicate its recovery effort.
Fauci says U.S. must stick to two-shot strategy for Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines: paper
The United States must stick to a two-dose strategy for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci told the Washington Post newspaper. Fauci said that delaying a second dose to inoculate more Americans creates risks.
J&J COVID-19 vaccine shipping to U.S., but new deliveries hinge on regulators
Johnson & Johnson will ship nearly 4 million doses of its newly authorized single-dose COVID-19 vaccine around the United States this week, but a top executive said on Monday that the next round of deliveries is contingent on regulatory approvals at a new plant. The drugmaker expects to deliver another 16 million doses of the vaccine by the end of this month. But none is expected to go out next week.
Venezuela approves use of China's Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine
Venezuela has approved the use of China's Sinopharm vaccine against the novel coronavirus, the South American country's health ministry said on Monday, after it began administering Russia's Sputnik V vaccine last month. The ministry did not specify how many Sinopharm doses it would acquire or when they would arrive. President Nicolas Maduro had previously said the country was in talks with China over the possible use of its vaccines.
Amid scramble for COVID-19 vaccine, Latin America turns to Russia
LA PAZ (Reuters) - As Bolivia struggled late last year to secure deals with large drug firms to supply COVID-19 vaccines, the incoming president, Luis Arce, turned to Russia for help. By the end of December, Bolivia clinched its first major COVID-19 vaccine deal, with enough shots for some 20% of the population. The first Sputnik V doses arrived in the country in late January, just as virus cases were spiking.
New York virus variant harbors another worrisome mutation; vaccinating elderly adds most years of life
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. New York variant harbors a third worrisome mutation
WHO panel issues strong advice against hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19
The drug hydroxychloroquine, once touted by Donald Trump as a pandemic "game-changer", should not be used to prevent COVID-19 and has no meaningful effect on patients already infected, a World Health Organization expert panel said on Tuesday. The anti-inflammatory drug should not be used in the fight against the pandemic, the WHO's Guideline Development Group (GDG) expert panel wrote in the BMJ British medical journal, and is "not worthwhile" exploring in further research studies of possible COVID-19 treatments.
New U.S. COVID-19 cases hit plateau after steep drops
The United States reported a 3% decline in new cases of COVID-19 last week, a much smaller drop than in the previous six weeks, and health officials warned that progress against the global pandemic was stalling. New cases fell as much as 25% in the week ended Feb. 7 and 23% in the week ended Feb. 21, before plateauing last week, according to a Reuters analysis of U.S. state and county reports.
(With inputs from agencies.)