Health News Roundup: Russia tests COVID-19 vaccine as nasal spray for children - agencies; India cuts taxes on medicines and equipment to treat COVID-19 and more
As fears of a third COVID-19 wave grow in the hard-hit country, the ministry said late on Friday that officials from the health products regulator would assess the vaccines to ensure they are suitable for use. Australia's Victoria state expects further easing of COVID-19 curbs Australia's Victoria state expects to announce further easing of COVID-19 restrictions this week, acting Premier James Merlino said on Sunday, as the state reported one new locally acquired infection for a second straight day.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Russia tests COVID-19 vaccine as nasal spray for children - agencies
Russia has tested a nasal spray form of its COVID-19 vaccine that is suitable for children aged 8-12, and plans to launch the new product in September, the scientist who led the development of the Sputnik V vaccine said on Saturday. Alexander Gintsburg, who heads the Gamaleya Institute that developed Sputnik V, said the spray for children used the same vaccine "only instead of a needle, a nozzle is put on", the TASS news agency reported.
India cuts taxes on medicines and equipment to treat COVID-19
India on Saturday cut taxes on medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators and drugs used to treat COVID-19 infections, after widespread criticism over healthcare costs during a devastating second wave of the virus in April and May. The government cut taxes on medical grade oxygen, ventilators, the remdesivir antiviral drug, diagnostic kits, pulse oximeters and hand sanitizers to 5% from 12-18% with immediate effect.
WTO boss sees way for deal to speed COVID vaccines for poor nations
The head of the World Trade Organization said there was a pathway for a global deal to get more COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, despite a split over whether drugs firms should be stripped of their intellectual property rights. WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, speaking to reporters before joining discussions among leaders of the Group of Seven nations, said she was hopeful there would be more clarity on the way ahead for the IP waiver issue by July.
U.S. has administered 308.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, CDC says
The United States has administered 308,112,728 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and distributed 374,397,205 doses in the country as of Saturday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures were up from the 306,509,795 doses of vaccine that the CDC said had been administered as of June 11, out of 373,413,945 doses delivered.
Delta-variant COVID-19 cluster detected at Strasbourg art school
A cluster of Delta-variant COVID-19 infections has been detected at an art school in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, the regional health authority said on Saturday. The four cases, confirmed as the more contagious variant first detected in India, were found at the Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin, which was closed by authorities on June 10 until further notice.
U.S. FDA asks J&J to discard millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration on Friday said Johnson & Johnson must throw away millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine that were manufactured at a problem-plagued Baltimore factory but also cleared millions for use. Two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that the agency had cleared about 10 million doses. The New York Times said that the batches being discarded amount to around 60 million doses, citing people familiar with the matter.
Vietnam approves Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
Vietnam has approved the COVID-19 vaccine jointly made by Pfizer and BioNTech for domestic emergency use, the government said on Saturday. It is the fourth vaccine to be endorsed in the Southeast Asian country that is tackling a new outbreak.
S.Africa to analyse J&J vaccines made at U.S. plant halted over error
South African health inspectors will carry out further checks on a batch of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines following a contamination error earlier this year at the U.S. plant where the doses were produced, the health ministry said. As fears of a third COVID-19 wave grow in the hard-hit country, the ministry said late on Friday that officials from the health products regulator would assess the vaccines to ensure they are suitable for use.
Australia's Victoria state expects further easing of COVID-19 curbs
Australia's Victoria state expects to announce further easing of COVID-19 restrictions this week, acting Premier James Merlino said on Sunday, as the state reported one new locally acquired infection for a second straight day. The latest infection was a close contact of a previously reported case and had already been quarantined, Victoria's health department said.
UK PM voices 'serious concern' over Delta variant in hint at delay to lockdown end
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday expressed "serious concern" about rising infections of the Delta variant of coronavirus, reinforcing suggestions that he is set to delay lifting England's last remaining lockdown curbs. Johnson is due to announce on Monday whether the planned lifting of restrictions, which would see an end to limits on social contact, can go ahead on June 21 as set out under a planned 'roadmap'.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)