Health News Roundup: U.S. to allow temporary rise in impurities in anti-smoking drug; Biden says Facebook, others 'killing people' by carrying COVID misinformation and more
Scientists and regulators are watching closely to see whether the Delta variant, which is significantly more contagious than the original variant of the new coronavirus, will render available vaccines and treatments insufficient. India's daily COVID-19 infections rise by 38,079 India on Saturday reported 38,079 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 31.06 million, health ministry data showed.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. to allow temporary rise in impurities in anti-smoking drug
The U.S. drug regulator said on Friday it will temporarily allow manufacturers to distribute the anti-smoking drug varenicline with elevated levels of an impurity that may cause cancer, to maintain availability after Pfizer Inc halted distribution of its Chantix branded varenicline. Pfizer in June halted distribution of Chantix and recalled a number of lots after finding elevated levels of nitrosamines in the pills.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain worldwide, accompanied by a surge of deaths around the United States almost entirely among unvaccinated people, U.S. officials said on Friday. U.S. cases of COVID-19 are up 70% over the previous week and deaths are up 26%, with outbreaks occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday said social media platforms like Facebook "are killing people" for allowing misinformation about coronavirus vaccines to be posted on its platform, as the administration continued criticizing the company. "They're killing people. ... Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they're killing people," Biden told reporters at the White House when asked about misinformation and what his message was to social media platforms such as Facebook Inc's.
A COVID-19 vaccine developed by a unit of China's Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products largely retained its neutralising effect against the Delta variant but there was a slight reduction, Chinese researchers found in a laboratory study. Scientists and regulators are watching closely to see whether the Delta variant, which is significantly more contagious than the original variant of the new coronavirus, will render available vaccines and treatments insufficient.
India's daily COVID-19 infections rise by 38,079
India on Saturday reported 38,079 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 31.06 million, health ministry data showed. The number of deaths rose by 560, taking the total to 413,091, according to ministry data.
FDA investigating how a known carcinogen wound up in J&J sunscreen
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating how a cancer-causing chemical ended up in Johnson & Johnson sunscreens, after the company said it had done internal testing and found low levels of benzene in some, the regulator said on Friday. J&J, which issued a voluntarily recall of the five different Neutrogena and Aveeno brand products, began testing after Valisure - an online pharmacy that tests its products for contaminants - found benzene in dozens of suncare products and asked the FDA to look into it in May.
UK says it will expand its winter flu shot programme
Britain said on Saturday it would expand its winter flu vaccination programme to millions more people, making it the most extensive ever, as it seeks to avoid pressure on hospitals with the COVID-19 pandemic still circulating. The government said it would offer shots to 35 million people including older schoolchildren and all those aged over 50 as part of a programme starting in September that would be delivered alongside the possible delivery of COVID vaccine booster doses.
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 1,608 - RKI
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,608 to 3,743,389, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 22 to 91,359, the tally showed.
World leaders pledge to redouble pandemic fight at special APEC meeting
Leaders of the Asia-Pacific trade group APEC, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Russia's Vladimir Putin, and China's Xi Jinping, pledged on Friday to work to expand sharing and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the global pandemic.
The leaders, struggling to tame outbreaks exacerbated by the Delta variant of coronavirus, said they would encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies "on mutually agreed terms" as the region prepared for future health shocks.
Sydney tightens lockdown as Australia's COVID-19 cases rise
The Australian city of Sydney on Saturday ordered a shutdown of building sites, banned non-essential retail and threatened fines for employers who make staff come into the office as new COVID-19 cases kept rising three weeks into a citywide lockdown. Authorities in New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, also banned hundreds of thousands of people in the city's western suburbs - the worst affected area - from leaving their immediate neighbourhoods for work, as they recorded 111 new cases in the prior 24 hours, up from 97 the day before.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)