Health News Roundup: COVID-19 infections dropping throughout the Americas, more vaccine needed, says health agency; WHO backs malaria vaccine rollout for Africa's children in major breakthrough and more
It was the first instance of a regulatory agency pledging to look into misdeeds at Prevent Senior, a major healthcare chain serving tens of thousands of patients in the Sao Paulo area. Booster shot improves immune response of chemotherapy patients; post-COVID depression helped by widely used drugs The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
COVID-19 infections dropping throughout the Americas, more vaccine needed, says health agency
The number of new COVID-19 infections has been dropping over the past month throughout the Americas, even though only 37% of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean are fully vaccinated, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday. In the last week, 1.2 million people were confirmed with COVID-19 in the region, down from 1.5 million new cases the previous week.
WHO backs malaria vaccine rollout for Africa's children in major breakthrough
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday the only approved vaccine against malaria should be widely given to African children, potentially marking a major advance against a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people annually. The WHO recommendation is for RTS, S - or Mosquirix - a vaccine developed by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.
Canada imposes COVID-19 vaccine mandate on federal workers, transportation
Canada will place unvaccinated federal employees on unpaid leave and require COVID-19 shots for air, train and ship passengers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, as he unveiled one of the world's strictest vaccine mandate policies. Federal employees will be required to declare their full vaccination status through an online portal by Oct. 29. Workers and passengers age 12 and older on trains, planes and marine transport operating domestically - which are federally regulated - must show they have been inoculated by Oct. 30.
A Chilean tree holds hope for new vaccines - if supplies last
Down a dusty farm track in Chilean wine country, behind a wooden gate wrapped in chains, forestry experts are nursing a plantation of saplings whose bark holds the promise of potent vaccines. Quillan trees, technically known as Quillaja Saponaria, are rare evergreens native to Chile that have long been used by the indigenous Mapuche people to make soap and medicine. In recent years, they have also been used to make a highly successful vaccine against shingles and the world's first malaria vaccine, as well as foaming agents for products in the food, beverage and mining industries.
Pfizer study to vaccinate whole Brazilian town against COVID-19
Pfizer Inc will study the effectiveness of its vaccine against COVID-19 by inoculating the entire population over the age of 12 in a town in southern Brazil, the company said on Wednesday. The study will be conducted in Toledo, population 143,000, in the west of Parana state, together with Brazil's National Vaccination Program, local health authorities, a hospital and a federal university.
Brazil regulator to probe hospital chain over use of hydroxychloroquine
The Brazilian agency that regulates health insurance plans has opened an investigation into allegations that a hospital chain tested unproven drugs on elderly COVID-19 patients without their knowledge, the regulator's director told a Senate inquiry on Wednesday. It was the first instance of a regulatory agency pledging to look into misdeeds at Prevent Senior, a major healthcare chain serving tens of thousands of patients in the Sao Paulo area.
Booster shot improves immune response of chemotherapy patients; post-COVID depression helped by widely used drugs
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Chemo patients' response to vaccine improves with booster
Sydney to exit COVID-19 lockdown next week after vaccination rate hits 70%
COVID-19 restrictions will be eased further in Sydney from Monday, authorities said, as Australia's largest city looks set to exit a nearly four-month lockdown after hitting its 70% full vaccination target. Fully vaccinated people in New South Wales (NSW) state will be able to leave their homes for any reason including visiting pubs, retail stores, cinemas and gyms, which will reopen under strict social distancing rules.
U.S. judge blocks enforcement of near-total abortion ban in Texas
A federal judge temporarily blocked on Wednesday a near-total ban on abortion in Texas, the toughest such law in the United States, following a challenge from President Joe Biden's administration after the U.S. Supreme Court let it proceed. The action by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin prevents the state from enforcing the Republican-backed law, which prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, while litigation over its legality continues.
U.S. to invest another $1 billion in rapid COVID-19 tests
The U.S. government is committing to purchase an additional 180 million rapid COVID-19 tests for $1 billion, adding to the $2 billion test buying plan it announced in September, a top U.S. health official said on Wednesday. The combined purchases will help quadruple the United States' test output by December to around 200 million tests per month, Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said during a press call.
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