Health News Roundup: AstraZeneca vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants identified in India; FDA documents show struggle over approval of new Alzheimer's drug from Biogen and more
Taiwan's government has millions of vaccines on order but has been hampered by global supply shortages, though Japan and the United States this month donated 3.74 million doses as the island deals with a cluster of domestic infections. New Zealand brings back curbs in Wellington after COVID scare from Sydney visitor New Zealand raised the COVID-19 alert level in its capital Wellington on Wednesday amid concerns that the city may have been exposed to the highly infectious Delta variant that has triggered a fresh outbreak in neighbouring Australia.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
AstraZeneca vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants identified in India
AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against Delta and Kappa variants, which were first identified in India, the company said on Tuesday, citing a study. The study by the Oxford University investigated the ability of monoclonal antibodies in blood from recovered people and from those vaccinated to neutralize the Delta and Kappa variants, the statement said.
FDA documents show struggle over approval of new Alzheimer's drug from Biogen
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released a sweeping series of memos revealing a clear struggle within the agency ahead of its controversial decision to approve Biogen's Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm. The memos reveal disagreements within the agency, with some departments in support of traditional approval and others arguing against.
U.S. likely to miss July 4 COVID-19 vaccine target, White House says
The United States will likely fail to meet President Joe Biden's goal to deliver at least one COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of adults by July 4, officials said on Tuesday and warned the Delta variant first found in India poses the greatest threat to U.S. eradication efforts. They said the administration is poised to meet the target for adults 27 and older on July 4, U.S. Independence Day, but will fall short of Biden's goal for adults 18 and older.
Oxford University explores anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment
The University of Oxford said on Wednesday it was testing anti-parasitic drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID-19, as part of a British government-backed study that aims to aid recoveries in non-hospital settings. Ivermectin resulted in a reduction of virus replication in laboratory studies, the university said, adding that a small pilot showed giving the drug early could reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19.
School COVID-19 cases spur Israeli parents to vaccinate kids
A weak link in Israel's world-beating COVID-19 vaccination rollout until now, adolescents have found themselves on the front line of the campaign with fears of the Delta variant prompting reluctant parents to get their children vaccinated. About three-quarters of Israelis in eligible age groups have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. But that includes just 2-4% of 12-15-year-olds since they were made eligible this month, according to Health Ministry data.
A major Taiwanese Buddhist group said on Wednesday that it was hoping to buy 5 million doses of BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine, joining Foxconn and TSMC in trying to secure vaccines for the island. Taiwan's government has millions of vaccines on order but has been hampered by global supply shortages, though Japan and the United States this month donated 3.74 million doses as the island deals with a cluster of domestic infections.
New Zealand raised the COVID-19 alert level in its capital Wellington on Wednesday amid concerns that the city may have been exposed to the highly infectious Delta variant that has triggered a fresh outbreak in neighbouring Australia. Wellington will move to the country's 'Alert Level 2', one level short of a lockdown, until midnight on Sunday as a precautionary measure to curb any potential outbreak after an Australian tourist tested positive for COVID-19 on returning to Sydney from a visit to the New Zealand capital over the weekend.
India says new COVID variant is a concern
India on Tuesday declared a new coronavirus variant to be of concern, and said nearly two dozen cases had been detected in three states. The variant, identified locally as "Delta plus", was found in 16 cases in the state of Maharashtra, Federal Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a news conference.
Novartis aims to bottle more than 50 million doses of BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in 2021
Novartis aims to help manufacture more than 50 million doses of BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 at its Stein, Switzerland fill-and-finish facility, the Swiss drugmaker said, after the European Union's drug regulator approved the bottling plant.
Delta COVID-19 variant greatest threat to U.S. pandemic response -Fauci
The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus that was first found in India is the greatest threat to the United States' effort to eradicate COVID-19 in its borders, said U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Tuesday press call. "The transmissibility is unquestionably greater" in the Delta variant than the original variant of COVID-19, Fauci said, adding that "it is associated with an increased disease severity."
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)