Health News Roundup: France reports 5,705 people in intensive care units with COVID-19; Portugal will only use AstraZenca shots for over-60s and more
France also counted 71,944 deaths in hospitals due to the virus, up 343 from the previous day, while the number of people in hospital for COVID-19 was down by 349 to 30,555. Portugal will only use AstraZenca shots for over-60s Portugal will from now on recommend the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine only for people aged over 60, the health authority DGS said on Thursday, amid concerns over possible links between the shot and very rare cases of blood clots.Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 09-04-2021 02:31 IST | Created: 09-04-2021 02:29 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Vaccine reaches descendants of runaway slaves as COVID-19 ravages Brazil
A ray of hope reached a community descended from runaway slaves outside Rio de Janeiro this week as it received its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine after a long fight for recognition at a time when Brazil has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. The community in Mage, 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Rio, is known as a "quilombo," a settlement founded by people who escaped from slavery and now inhabited by Brazilians of African heritage who maintain traditions stemming from their roots.
France reports 5,705 people in intensive care units with COVID-19
The French health ministry on Thursday reported the number of people in intensive care units with COVID-19 fell by 24 from Wednesday, to 5,705, the first decrease in eight days. France also counted 71,944 deaths in hospitals due to the virus, up 343 from the previous day, while the number of people in hospital for COVID-19 was down by 349 to 30,555.
Portugal will only use AstraZenca shots for over-60s
Portugal will from now on recommend the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine only for people aged over 60, the health authority DGS said on Thursday, amid concerns over possible links between the shot and very rare cases of blood clots. The coordinator of the vaccination taskforce, Henrique Melo, said the decision would only have a "small" impact on the vaccination rollout.
Australia and the Philippines limited use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, while the African Union dropped plans to buy the shot amid global shortages, dealing further blows to the company's hopes to deliver a vaccine for the world. The vaccine - developed with Oxford University and considered a frontrunner in the global vaccine race - has been plagued by safety concerns and supply problems since Phase III trial results were published in December, with Indonesia the latest country forced to seek doses from other drugmakers.
Indian PM rejects calls to widen vaccine access as infections hit record
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday rejected calls from states to offer coronavirus vaccinations to younger people to help contain a record surge in cases. Many states in India, the world's biggest vaccine producer, which has exported tens of millions of shots, have also complained of shortages even for the priority groups of recipients.
Exclusive: French health body to say mRNA vaccine should be used as second dose after AstraZeneca
France's top health body will on Friday say that recipients of a first dose of AstraZeneca's traditional COVID-19 vaccine who are under 55 should get a second shot with a new-style messenger-RNA vaccine, two sources aware of the plans said on Thursday. Reuters had reported on Wednesday that the Haute Autorite de la Sante (HAS), in charge of setting out how vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) should be used in France, was contemplating this possibility.
Spain to vaccinate 60-69 year olds with AstraZeneca shot, government says
Spain will continue vaccinating 60 to 65 year olds with AstraZeneca's coronavirus shot before proceeding to the next priority group of 66 to 69 year olds, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. The ministry announced on Wednesday it would limit the vaccine to people over 60 after regulators linked it to a rare form of brain blood clots.
Eli Lilly's arthritis drug fails to prevent mechanical ventilation in COVID-19 patients
(Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co and Incyte Corp said their rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib did not meet the main goal of preventing progression to mechanical ventilation in hospitalized COVID-19 patients under a late-stage study. Patients receiving baricitinib were 2.7% less likely than those receiving standard of care to progress to ventilation, which was not statistically significant, the data showed.
Britain reassures on AstraZeneca after advising under-30s take other vaccines
British officials and ministers sought to shore up confidence in AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, saying advice that most people under 30 should be offered alternative shots was not unusual and would not impact the pace of rollout. A pharmacist whose brother died from a brain blood clot linked to the AstraZeneca shot was among those calling for people to keep getting it, saying the doses would save lives.
Hundreds of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been flown to Australia from Britain but the source of the shipments was kept quiet to avoid any controversy in Britain, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. As countries race to vaccinate their populations against the coronavirus, the export of immunisations has come into dispute wherever large numbers of people are awaiting a shot. The European Union, hit by delays in vaccine supply, introduced export controls on EU-produced shots in January.
(With inputs from agencies.)