Health News Roundup: Brazil's top court to rule on patent case, may lower COVID-19 drug costs; Mexican private doctors say they've been left out of COVID-19 vaccine rollout and moreDevdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 08-04-2021 02:31 IST | Created: 08-04-2021 02:29 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Scientists call for new probe into COVID-19 origins: with or without China
A joint China-World Health Organization (WHO) study into COVID-19 has provided no credible answers about how the pandemic began, and more rigorous investigations are required - with or without Beijing's involvement, a group of international scientists and researchers said on Wednesday. The joint study, released last week, said the likeliest transmission route for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, involved bats and other wildlife in China and southeast Asia. It all but ruled out the possibility it had leaked from a laboratory.
Mexican private doctors say they've been left out of COVID-19 vaccine rollout
Mexico's private healthcare personnel are protesting being left out of the government's COVID-19 vaccine rollout, just as the country braces for a potential third wave of infections. Angered by what they see as discrimination by a government prioritizing the public sector, hundreds of health workers that had gathered outside a medical school last week hoping to get inoculated ended up chanting "we want the vaccine."
Brazil's top court to rule on patent case, may lower COVID-19 drug costs
Brazil's Supreme Court is set to rule on Wednesday on whether drug patents can be extended in the country, a decision that could lower costs for drugs critical to treating COVID-19 patients but also hurt the bottom lines of pharmaceutical firms.
In a case on the court docket, federal prosecutors asked the Supreme Court to reconsider parts of Brazil's Industrial Property Law, saying it protects patents for an "excessive time period," harming "social interest".
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Brazil deaths on track to pass worst of U.S. wave
Exclusive: Germany wants to buy Sputnik COVID vaccine if approved by EU, source says
Germany is about to start bilateral negotiations with Russia to obtain its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, a source told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that any final agreement depended on Russia providing key data to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The European Commission told health ministers of EU member states on Wednesday that Brussels was not planning to start talks with Russia on a preliminary contract for Sputnik V as it did with other vaccine providers, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
UK variant of COVID-19 is now most common strain in United States: CDC
The highly contagious variant of COVID-19 first discovered in the United Kingdom has become the most common strain of the virus in the United States as cases continue to climb, a top U.S. health official said on Wednesday. The strain, known as B.1.1.7, was identified in Britain last fall and has since been detected in 52 jurisdictions in the United States, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters at a White House briefing.
Italy, Britain suggest age limits for AstraZeneca vaccine but still recommend it
Italy recommended on Wednesday that AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot only be used on those over 60 and Britain that people under 30 should get an alternative, due to possible links between the vaccine and very rare cases of blood clots. More than a dozen countries have at one time suspended use of the vaccine, which has been given to tens of millions in Europe. But most have resumed, with some, including France, the Netherlands and Germany, recommending a minimum age.
EU health ministers fail to agree common guidance on AstraZeneca shot
European Union health ministers failed on Wednesday to agree a common guidance on the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, despite calls for coordination across member states to combat public hesitancy over taking the shot. Ministers held an extraordinary virtual meeting just after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) changed its guidance on the vaccine as it found possible links with very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelet counts, although it said the vaccine's advantages still outweighed risks.
Some Indian states warn of vaccine shortage as COVID-19 cases peak
India reported a record 115,736 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a 13-fold increase in just over two months, raising pressure on the government to expand its vaccination campaign. Some states, including hardest-hit Maharashtra and Odisha, have complained of a scarcity of vaccines during a second wave that has forced some centres to turn away people.
U.S. begins study on allergic reaction risk in Moderna, Pfizer vaccines
The U.S. National Institutes of Health said on Wednesday it had begun a mid-stage study to determine the risk of allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc. Several allergic reaction incidents, including serious episodes, known as anaphylaxis, have been reported in the U.S. after vaccinations of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots.
(With inputs from agencies.)