Health News Roundup: Britain says new COVID-19 variant is the most significant yet found; India's Serum Institute resumes exports of AstraZeneca shot to COVAX facilityand more

The updated rate on Friday is based on data from over 1,400 patients. Explainer-What we know about the COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa Global authorities have reacted with alarm to a coronavirus variant detected in South Africa, with the EU, Britain and India among those announcing stricter border controls as scientists seek to determine if the mutation is vaccine-resistant.


Reuters | Updated: 26-11-2021 18:53 IST | Created: 26-11-2021 18:28 IST
Health News Roundup: Britain says new COVID-19 variant is the most significant yet found; India's Serum Institute resumes exports of AstraZeneca shot to COVAX facilityand more
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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Britain says new COVID-19 variant is the most significant yet found

Britain said on Friday that a newly identified coronavirus variant spreading in South Africa was of huge concern, and considered by scientists to be the most significant one yet found as it could make vaccines less effective. The UK Health Security Agency said that the variant - called B.1.1.529 - had a spike protein that was dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are based on.

India's Serum Institute resumes exports of AstraZeneca shot to COVAX facility

Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's biggest vaccine maker, said on Friday it had shipped the first batch of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 shot to the COVAX vaccine-sharing platform after an eight-month hiatus. India in March put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca shot made by the family-run firm to inoculate its citizens during a devastating surge in COVID-19 cases.

Belgium seeks to curb social life to fight fourth COVID wave

Belgium brought in new restrictions on Friday such as the closure of nightclubs and an earlier end for bars and restaurants to reduce social contact and curb a rapidly spreading fourth wave of COVID-19 infections. "We are confronted with a situation now that is worse than the most pessimistic view of the experts from only two weeks ago," Belgian premier Alexander De Croo told a news conference, saying that the strain on the health service was mounting.

Europe, Asia tighten borders against COVID variant as WHO urges caution

Global authorities reacted with alarm on Friday to a new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa, with the EU and Britain among those tightening border controls as scientists sought to find out if the mutation was vaccine-resistant. Hours after Britain banned flights from South Africa and neighbouring countries and asked travellers returning from there to quarantine, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned against hasty measures.

WHO nears consensus on future international pact to prevent pandemics - diplomats

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is inching closer to a consensus to negotiate an international agreement to prevent future pandemics, although Washington is so far reluctant to make the pact legally binding, Western diplomats say. Health ministers from WHO's 194 member states open a three-day special assembly on Monday to try to clinch a deal with the aim of strengthening the agency's ability to address pandemics, after its handling of COVID-19 was criticised.

Croatia restricts travel rules due to new COVID-19 variant

Croatia will restrict the travel rules from several countries due to the new coronavirus variant, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told reporters on Friday. "We will ban arrivals from some countries or impose a quarantine of 14 days with obligatory testing," he said.

WHO meets to designate new variant, cautions against travel measures

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday cautioned countries against hastily imposing travel restrictions linked to the new B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19, saying they should take a "risk-based and scientific approach". A closed-door experts' meeting from Geneva, convened by WHO, began at midday (1100 GMT) to assess the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 and to designate it as either a variant of interest or a variant of concern, spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said.

Merck's COVID-19 pill shows lower efficacy in updated data

Merck & Co said on Friday updated data from the study of its experimental COVID-19 pill showed lower efficacy in reducing the risk of hospitalization and deaths than an earlier interim analysis, cutting them by 30% in the study. The drugmaker released interim data in October showing a roughly 50% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths in 775 patients. The updated rate on Friday is based on data from over 1,400 patients.

Explainer-What we know about the COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa

Global authorities have reacted with alarm to a coronavirus variant detected in South Africa, with the EU, Britain and India among those announcing stricter border controls as scientists seek to determine if the mutation is vaccine-resistant. WHERE AND WHEN WAS NEW VARIANT FOUND?

German air force to transfer COVID patients as some hospitals overwhelmed

Germany readied its air force to transfer COVID-19 patients from overwhelmed hospitals in the south as national case numbers rocketed and a new virus variant in South Africa caused widespread alarm. Germany posted a dip in the coronavirus infection rate over the summer but cases have risen sharply in recent weeks and daily new infections hit a record above 76,000 on Friday.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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