Health News Roundup: Sage's depression drug study results show improvement in symptoms; Congo caps public gatherings as third COVID-19 wave builds and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Sage's depression drug study results show improvement in symptoms
Sage Therapeutics said on Tuesday its experimental depression drug showed significant improvement in symptoms compared to placebo in a late-stage study. The 543-participant study assessed Sage's once-daily oral drug, zuranolone, as a two-week course for the mood disorder that impedes patients' ability to carry out daily activities such as work, school or social interactions.
Congo caps public gatherings as third COVID-19 wave builds
The Democratic Republic of Congo will limit public gatherings to 20 people and close nightclubs as the country grapples with a third wave of COVID-19, President Felix Tshisekedi said on Tuesday. Congo has officially registered relatively few cases, but low vaccination rates have left the country vulnerable to more contagious strains, including the highly infectious Delta variant.
Ireland to lengthen quarantine for partially vaccinated Britons
Ireland will double the quarantine period for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated arrivals from Britain to 10 days but still plans to allow people to move more freely between the two countries from mid-July, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said. The change is due to the rapid spread of the more infectious Delta variant in Britain, which delayed plans to lift most remaining COVID-19 restrictions there by a month on Monday.
Astra antibody cocktail fails to prevent COVID-19 symptoms in large trial
AstraZeneca said on Tuesday a late-stage trial failed to provide evidence that its COVID-19 antibody therapy protected people who had contact with an infected person from the disease, a small setback in its efforts to find alternatives to vaccines.
The study assessed whether the therapy, a cocktail of two types of antibodies, could prevent adults who had been exposed to the virus in the past eight days from developing COVID-19 symptoms.
The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus first found in India - which experts estimate to be more infectious than other variants - currently represents 2-4% of confirmed COVID cases in France, said French health minister Olivier Veran on Tuesday. Veran added this meant France was registering between 50-150 cases a day of the COVID-19 Delta variant, which highlighted the importance of sanitary protocol measures and vaccinations to keep the virus at bay.
Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine to be made in India soon - govt official
The Serum Institute of India is preparing to produce Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine in the country, government official Vinod Kumar Paul said at a press briefing on Tuesday. The vaccine maker on Monday had said its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in a large, late-stage U.S.-based clinical trial.
Germany births jump 10% in March to highest in 23 years
Germany continued to buck the global trend for falling birth rates during the coronavirus pandemic, reporting a 10% jump in March to the highest figure since 1998, the Statistics Office said on Tuesday. Germany had already reported a 6% rise in births in February. The number of births in March came in at 65,903, about 5,900 more than a year ago and the first time the 65,000 figure was exceeded since 1998, the Statistics Office said.
Alarm rises in India over COVID-19 risks as crowds return to malls and rail stations
Having barely got over a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections, India was gripped with alarm on Tuesday over risks of a resurgence as crowds thronged railway stations and shopping malls a day after major cities relaxed curbs on movement. The capital New Delhi, in the north, and tech hub Bengaluru, in the south, were among the cities that have begun lifting strict lockdowns as the nationwide tally of new infections dropped to its lowest level in more than two months.
Health experts say India missed early alarm, let deadly coronavirus variant spread
A veteran public health expert warned top Indian officials in early March that a new variant of the coronavirus was spreading quickly in a rural district in the heart of the country and that the outbreak required urgent attention. Federal health authorities failed to respond adequately to that warning, Dr Subhash Salunke, who has 30 years of experience in public health in India, Indonesia and the United States, told Reuters.
Pakistan allows AstraZeneca shot for under 40s to help its expatriates
Pakistan has lifted a rule barring the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for people below 40 years old, in a bid to help inoculate people who need to travel for education or jobs abroad, particularly Saudi Arabia, a health official said. Pakistan, which relies heavily on remittances from its expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia, has primarily used Chinese vaccines - Sinopharm, CanSinoBio and Sinovac - in its inoculation drive and, till now, only used AstraZeneca for those above 40.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)