Health News Roundup: U.S. FDA staff says Moderna did not meet all criteria for COVID-19 boosters; Russia to test COVID-19 vaccine in form of nasal spray and more
The German biotechnology company's shares were off about 8% after earlier plunging as much as 13%, hitting their lowest since going public in August last year. U.S. FDA staff says Moderna did not meet all criteria for COVID-19 boosters Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that Moderna Inc had not met all of the agency's criteria to support use of booster doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, possibly because the efficacy of the shot's first two doses has remained strong.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Russia to test COVID-19 vaccine in form of nasal spray
Russia will test a nasal spray form of its Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 among adult volunteers, according to a state document published on Tuesday, as the country struggles to rein in rising numbers of infections and deaths. Russia was quick to develop and launch its Sputnik vaccine when the coronavirus pandemic struck last year, but take-up has been slow, with many Russians citing distrust of the authorities and fear of new medical products.
Moderna's search for African site set to intensify - chairman
Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa could be potential locations for Moderna's planned vaccine factory in Africa, the U.S. drugmaker's co-founder and chairman said as it steps up its search for a site on the continent. Moderna said last week it would build a plant in Africa to produce up to 500 million doses of vaccines a year, including its COVID-19 shot, as pressure grows on pharmaceutical companies to manufacture drugs in lower-income countries.
New York must allow religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandate, judge rules
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that New York state cannot impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on healthcare workers without allowing their employers to consider religious exemption requests. U.S. District Judge David Hurd in Albany, New York, ruled that the state's workplace vaccination requirement conflicted with healthcare workers' federally protected right to seek religious accommodations from their employers.
CureVac drops COVID-19 vaccine, pins hope on next-generation shots
CureVac NV said on Tuesday it will give up on its first-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate and instead focus on collaborating with GSK to develop improved mRNA vaccine technology. The German biotechnology company's shares were off about 8% after earlier plunging as much as 13%, hitting their lowest since going public in August last year.
U.S. FDA staff says Moderna did not meet all criteria for COVID-19 boosters
Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that Moderna Inc had not met all of the agency's criteria to support use of booster doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, possibly because the efficacy of the shot's first two doses has remained strong. FDA staff said in documents that data for Moderna's vaccine showed that a booster does increase protective antibodies, but the difference in antibody levels before and after the shot was not wide enough, particularly in those whose levels had remained high.
Aspirin use to prevent first heart attacks not recommended for most older adults -U.S. panel
People aged 60 or older who are at risk of heart disease should not start a daily low-dose aspirin regimen to prevent a first heart attack because the risk of internal bleeding outweighs its benefits, a U.S. expert panel recommended on Tuesday. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said it plans to update its 2016 recommendation as there is new evidence that the risk of potentially life-threatening internal bleeding from regular aspirin use increases with age.
EU may consider deal on Merck's COVID pill after approval procedure begins -source
The European Union may consider signing a supply deal with U.S. drugmaker Merck for its experimental COVID-19 pill, but only after the company starts the process of seeking approval for the drug in the bloc, a senior EU official said on Tuesday. The oral antiviral treatment molnupiravir has been developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. If approved by regulators, it would be the first COVID-19 drug administered orally and also the first treatment for mildly ailing patients, whereas existing drugs are mostly used to treat the critically ill.
Sydney COVID-19 cases ease further as focus shifts to reviving economy
Sydney's COVID-19 cases fell to the lowest in two months on Tuesday as authorities rolled out support measures for businesses, shifting their focus to rejuvenating the economy after the city exited a nearly four-month lockdown a day earlier. Pubs, cafes and retail stores reopened in New South Wales (NSW), home to Sydney, on Monday after vaccination levels in the state's adult population crossed 70%.
U.S. FDA authorizes new e-cigarette products from BAT unit
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized the marketing of some new e-cigarette products by R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co, a unit of British American Tobacco Plc, allowing the products to be legally sold in the United States. However, the agency denied marketing authorization for certain flavored products submitted under R.J.'s Vuse Solo brand.
WHO says it awaits full data from Merck on antiviral pill
The World Health Organization is awaiting full clinical data on the antiviral pill made by Merck & Co Inc to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients, a WHO spokesperson said on Tuesday, a day after the company said it had applied for U.S. emergency use authorisation. WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier, asked at a U.N. briefing in Geneva about the drug, said: "Indeed, this is an interesting development. We would have to see the full data about it. If it holds true, then it is another weapon in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic."
(With inputs from agencies.)