Health News Roundup: India's daily COVID-19 cases rise by record 273,810; South African variant may 'break through' Pfizer vaccine and moreDevdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 19-04-2021 10:37 IST | Created: 19-04-2021 10:30 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
New UK challenge trial studies if people can catch coronavirus again
British scientists on Monday launched a trial that will deliberately expose participants who have already had COVID-19 to the coronavirus again to examine immune responses and see if people get reinfected. In February, Britain became the first country in the world to give the go-ahead for so-called "challenge trials" in humans, in which volunteers are deliberately exposed to COVID-19 to advance research into the disease caused by the coronavirus.
South African variant may 'break through' Pfizer vaccine protection, but vaccine highly effective, Israeli study says
The coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa can break through the protection provided by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study in Israel found. However, the variant's prevalence in Israel is very low and the vaccine remains highly effective. The study was released on the medRxiv pre-print site on April 9 and has not been peer-reviewed. It compared almost 400 people who had tested positive for COVID-19, after they received one or two doses of the vaccine, against the same number of unvaccinated patients with the disease. It matched age and gender, among other characteristics. The South African variant, B.1.351, was found to make up about 1% of all the COVID-19 cases across all the people studied, according to the study by Tel Aviv University and Israel's largest healthcare provider, Clalit. But among patients who had received two doses of the vaccine, the variant's prevalence rate was eight times higher than those unvaccinated - 5.4% versus 0.7%.
Number of COVID-19 patients in French intensive care edges up
The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units in France edged up on Sunday, the health ministry said, amid a nationwide lockdown to try to stem the third wave of infections. Health ministry data showed that 5,893 people were in intensive care units with COVID-19, 16 more than on Saturday. The number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital rose by 460 to 30,789, ending a streak of five consecutive daily falls.
India's daily COVID-19 cases rise by record 273,810
India reported a record rise in coronavirus infections of 273,810 on Monday, taking its overall caseload past 15 million, second only to the United States globally. The country's deaths from COVID-19 rose by a record 1,619 to reach a total of 178,769, according to health ministry data.
China trials mixing of COVID-19 vaccines from CanSinoBIO and Zhifei Longcom: data
Chinese researchers are testing mixing two COVID-19 vaccines developed by CanSino Biologics and a unit of Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products respectively, according to clinical trial registration data. Earlier this month, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the country was "formally considering" giving people COVID-19 vaccines developed with different technologies as a way of further boosting vaccine efficacy.
Just more than half of U.S. adults have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose: CDC
Just more than half of U.S. adults have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Sunday, with nearly 130 million people aged 18 years or more have received their first shot. That figure makes up about 50.4% of the total adult U.S. population, according to the CDC, marking a milestone for the country that has seen over 560,000 deaths from the pandemic, the highest for any single nation, as the government ramps up the pace of vaccination.
Argentine court orders city schools in Buenos Aires to open despite COVID-19 surge
Schools in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires will open after all on Monday morning after a court overruled a federal order requiring classes go online for two weeks amid a surge in cases that has brought hospitals to near collapse. The Buenos Aires judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by non-governmental parents and some teachers' groups in the city, demanding a decree that suspended face-to-face classes in the capital region for 15 days be immediately nullified.
The Canadian province of Ontario will begin offering AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday to people turning 40 or older this year, according to a government source. The change will broaden access to vaccines as the third wave of infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals in Canada's most populous province, and should make it easier to use doses that in some cases have been accumulating at pharmacies.
Japan's Osaka to ask government to declare state of emergency: governor
Osaka will ask the Japanese government to declare a state of emergency in an effort to reverse the rise in coronavirus cases, the governor of the country's third-most populous prefecture said on Monday. Osaka and several other prefectures have been in a "quasi-emergency" state for two weeks, with targeted measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Fauci predicts resumption of J&J COVID-19 vaccine use
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday predicted that U.S. health regulators will end the temporary pause on distributing Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, adding he expects a decision could come as soon as Friday. "My estimate is that we will continue to use it in some form. I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it. I don't think that's going to happen. I do think that there will likely be some sort of warning or restriction or risk assessment," Fauci said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
(With inputs from agencies.)