Health News Roundup: Moderna in talks with FDA to expand COVID-19 vaccine pediatric study; How the Delta variant upends assumptions about the coronavirus and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Spain's COVID-19 incidence rate rises, but officials see signs of hope
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Spain continued to increase on Monday, with the 14-day incidence rate reaching 700 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, but officials said the situation was improving in some of the hardest-hit areas. The total number of cases in Spain reached 4.3 million amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, while deaths totalled 81,268, 47 more than in the last Health Ministry report released on Friday.
How the Delta variant upends assumptions about the coronavirus
The Delta variant is the fastest, fittest and most formidable version of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 the world has encountered, and it is upending assumptions about the disease even as nations loosen restrictions and open their economies, according to virologists and epidemiologists. Vaccine protection remains very strong against severe disease and hospitalizations caused by any version of the coronavirus, and those most at risk are still the unvaccinated, according to interviews with 10 leading COVID-19 experts.
People with allergic reaction to mRNA vaccines can get 2nd dose; Delta viral load over 1,000 times higher
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Most with allergy to first mRNA shot can get second dose
Israel weighing COVID booster shots for over 60s before FDA approval
Israel is considering giving a third shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to its elderly population even before FDA approval in order to help fend off the Delta coronavirus variant, a health official said on Monday. U.S. and European Union authorities are considering whether booster shots are needed for specific risk groups.
Moderna in talks with FDA to expand COVID-19 vaccine pediatric study
Moderna Inc is in talks with U.S. regulators to expand the size of an ongoing trial testing its COVID-19 vaccines in children aged between five and 11, the drugmaker said on Monday.
The objective of the discussion with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is to enroll a larger safety database, which increases the likelihood of detecting rarer events, the company said.
Russia approves trials of combined AstraZeneca/Sputnik V vaccine
Russia has given the green light for clinical trials combining a British shot from AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University with Russia's Sputnik V vaccine to go ahead, according to Russia's state drug register. The health ministry's ethical committee had in May suspended the approval process for the clinical trials, and requested additional information. According to the state drug register, five Russian clinics will hold trials that are set to finish in early March, 2022. Both the AstraZeneca/Oxford and Sputnik V vaccines involve two doses - an initial shot and a booster - but Sputnik V uses different viral vectors for its two shots. Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which promotes the use of the Sputnik V vaccine, has welcomed the decision to go ahead with the trials.
UK expands COVID-19 testing to ease shortage of key workers
Britain's government expanded a programme of daily COVID-19 tests on Monday to reduce a wave of staff absence created by a high number of new cases and strict rules on self-isolation for people who might have been infected by them. Hundreds of thousands of British workers, who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, have been required under public health guidelines to self-isolate for 10 days, creating staff shortages in critical areas.
Biden pushes for long COVID sufferers to be protected by law
President Joe Biden said Monday the White House is pushing for people with long-term symptoms of COVID-19 to be protected against discrimination, as he marked the anniversary of a landmark law for people with disabilities. U.S. agencies will coordinate to ensure people suffering from severe long-term health problems are protected after the end of their infections with the novel coronavirus, he said.
BioNTech aims to develop mRNA-based malaria vaccine
BioNTech wants to build on its success in COVID-19 by developing the first vaccine for malaria based on mRNA technology and aims to start clinical testing by the end on 2022, in an attempt to eradicate the mosquito-borne illness. The Mainz, Germany-based company, which developed a COVID-19 vaccine with its partner Pfizer in ten months, said on Monday it is also exploring vaccine production in Africa as part of efforts to build up manufacturing capacity on the continent.
New York City, California mandate COVID-19 vaccines for government workers
California and New York City will require government workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or be regularly tested for the virus, officials said on Monday, signaling a new level of urgency in their effort to stem a wave of infections caused by the Delta variant. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that the city would require its more than 300,000 employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 13 or else get tested weekly. His announcement came a week after the city passed a vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers at city-run hospitals and clinics.
(With inputs from agencies.)