Health News Roundup: Japan extends COVID-19 emergency curbs in Tokyo, other areas; Moderna developing a single-dose booster shot for COVID-19 and flu and more
"Our number one priority as a company right now is to bring to market a Pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine, which we plan to always customize and upgrade," Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel said during Moderna's R&D day. As Singapore pauses reopening, experts suggest 'bolder' COVID-19 strategy Singapore is ramping up COVID-19 testing and has warned it would not rule out reimposing tighter curbs as infections rise - moves some experts see as too cautious for the vaccine frontrunner that is preparing to live with the virus https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/singapore-prepares-long-term-life-death-with-covid-19-2021-08-17 as an endemic disease.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Japan extends COVID-19 emergency curbs in Tokyo, other areas
Japan extended emergency COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday in Tokyo and other regions until the end of this month to curb infections and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Announcing the extension, ratified earlier by an advisory panel, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said it was needed to shore up a medical system still stretched by serious cases even though new infections were falling and vaccinations were rising.
Moderna developing a single-dose booster shot for COVID-19 and flu
Moderna Inc said on Thursday it was developing a single-dose vaccine that combines a booster dose against COVID-19 and a booster against flu. "Our number one priority as a company right now is to bring to market a Pan-respiratory annual booster vaccine, which we plan to always customize and upgrade," Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel said during Moderna's R&D day.
France to give free access to contraception for women aged up to 25
France will make access to birth control free for women aged up to 25 years old from January 1 onwards, in a new measure that will cost the state 21 million euros ($24.8 million) per year, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday. The policy announcement comes as President Emmanuel Macron's government prepares for the 2022 election campaign.
As Singapore pauses reopening, experts suggest 'bolder' COVID-19 strategy
Singapore is ramping up COVID-19 testing and has warned it would not rule out reimposing tighter curbs as infections rise - moves some experts see as too cautious for the vaccine frontrunner that is preparing to live with the virus as an endemic disease. Strict surveillance and quarantine have been key to its success in dealing with the pandemic, but Singapore has reported a sharp rise in cases to one-year highs this week.
European regulator says more data needed on Sputnik, Sinovac vaccines
The European Union's drugs regulator said it was awaiting more data on Russia's Sputnik V and a rival COVID-19 vaccine by China's Sinovac Biotech before it can progress on its rolling reviews of the two shots. "For these vaccines, the discussion with the companies has been quite constructive but it looks like there are more data that need to be submitted to us before we can progress with the different rolling reviews," the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) head vaccines strategy, Marco Cavaleri, told a press briefing.
Biden to lay out 'path ahead' in COVID-19 fight
President Joe Biden on Thursday will press for new approaches to control the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, which rages on despite the wide availability of vaccines, with surging cases in some U.S. states overwhelming local hospitals. In a speech, Biden will focus on new plans to get more people vaccinated, enhancing protection for those who already have had shots, and keeping schools open, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
UK approves COVID-19 boosters but final decision on programme still pending
Britain's medical regulator on Thursday gave the go-ahead for Pfizer and AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to be used as booster shots but said any decision to proceed with a booster program was for others to make. Britain's Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is discussing whether booster shots for the elderly and vulnerable are needed, with planning underway for a booster program that could begin this month.
U.S. FDA declines emergency use approval for Humanigen's COVID-19 drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined Humanigen Inc's request for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its lenzilumab drug to treat newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the company said on Thursday. "In its letter, FDA stated that it was unable to conclude that the known and potential benefits of lenzilumab outweigh the known and potential risks of its use as a treatment for COVID-19," the company said in a statement.
U.S. govt set to release plan to lower prescription drug prices - WSJ
The Biden administration is set to unveil a plan that supports legislation to empower the U.S. federal government to negotiate drug prices in Medicare and pass along the benefits to the private sector, the Wall Street Journal reported https://on.wsj.com/3hbUEQL on Thursday. The COVID-19 outbreak, which has upended the U.S. economy and so far killed about 649,299 people in the country, has drawn renewed attention to healthcare costs.
Sydney pubs to open in mid-Oct as end of COVID lockdown looms - with cases set to rise
Sydney's cafes, restaurants, and pubs are set to reopen in the second half of October after months of strict COVID-19 lockdown, even as the Prime Minister warned higher case numbers will follow the easing of curbs and leaders must "hold their nerve". Authorities said Sydney bars and eateries, as well as gyms, across the city of five million people, would be able to reopen at reduced capacity within days once New South Wales (NSW) reached a 70% double-vaccination target, now expected around mid-October.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)