Health News Roundup: U.S. FDA authorizes use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody cocktail; Japan's COVID-19 cases defy Asia rebound, yet fears remain for winter wave and more
The traveler, a health worker that resides in Cuba's Pinar del Rio province, returned to the island on Nov. 27 and tested positive for COVID-19 the following day, according to the ACN report. Act now to curb Omicron's spread, WHO's Tedros tells world Governments need to reassess national responses to COVID-19 and speed up vaccination programmes to tackle Omicron, though it is it too early to say how well existing shots will protect against the new variant, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. FDA authorizes use of AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody cocktail
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized the use of AstraZeneca's antibody cocktail to prevent COVID-19 infections in individuals with weak immune systems or a history of severe side effects from coronavirus vaccines. The antibody cocktail, Evusheld, is only authorized for adults and adolescents who are not currently infected with the novel coronavirus and have not recently been exposed to an infected individual, the regulator said.
Japan's COVID-19 cases defy Asia rebound, yet fears remain for winter wave
Japan's COVID-19 infections are falling in contrast with rebounds in other parts of Asia, baffling experts. New daily infections have slowed to fewer than one per million people, the least among major economies except China, and fatalities have fallen to zero in recent days.
BioNTech and Pfizer said on Wednesday a three-shot course of their COVID-19 vaccine was able to neutralise the new Omicron variant in a laboratory test, an early signal that booster shots could be key to protection against infection from the newly identified variant. The German and U.S. companies said two doses of their vaccine resulted in significantly lower neutralising antibodies but could still be protective against severe disease.
Johnson imposes COVID-19 'Plan B' in England to contain Omicron
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher COVID-19 restrictions in England on Wednesday, ordering people to work from home, wear masks in public places and use vaccine passes to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Undermined by accusations that his staff partied at Downing Street during a Christmas lockdown last year, Johnson said Omicron was spreading rapidly and he had no choice but to move to "Plan B" while a vaccine booster programme rolls out.
Analysis: Omicron is a wake-up call for COVID-19 vaccine developers
Arrival of the highly-mutated Omicron variant is a wake-up call to develop vaccines less susceptible to the rapid changes of the coronavirus, leading virologists and immunologists told Reuters. Most first-generation COVID-19 vaccines target the spike protein on the outer surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus used to infect human cells. Omicron has prompted alarm among scientists because it has far more mutations than earlier variants, including more than 30 on its spike.
Cuba detects first Omicron case - state media ACN
Cuba has detected its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in a person who had traveled from Mozambique, Cuban state media agency ACN reported late on Wednesday. The traveler, a health worker that resides in Cuba's Pinar del Rio province, returned to the island on Nov. 27 and tested positive for COVID-19 the following day, according to the ACN report.
Act now to curb Omicron's spread, WHO's Tedros tells world
Governments need to reassess national responses to COVID-19 and speed up vaccination programmes to tackle Omicron, though it is it too early to say how well existing shots will protect against the new variant, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. The variant's global spread suggests it could have a major impact on the COVID-19 pandemic, and the time to contain it is now before more Omicron patients are hospitalised, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
Japan's COVID-19 infections are falling in contrast with rebounds in other parts of Asia, baffling experts, while cases have been spreading in pubs and clubs in Australia's biggest city. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
Chinese woman dies from H5N6 strain of bird flu
A woman in China's Sichuan province died from the H5N6 strain of avian influenza last month, a regional health bureau said this week, in the latest human fatality from the lethal disease. The 54-year-old woman from Zigong city developed symptoms on Nov. 17 and was admitted to hospital on Nov. 21. She died on Nov. 23, according to a Wednesday statement on the website of the health bureau of semi-autonomous region Macau.
UNICEF warns of malnutrition and disease risk for migrant children in Mexican camp
Thousands of migrant children and adolescents living in a makeshift camp in southern Mexico are at risk of malnutrition, disease and potentially being separated from their families, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday. Camping outside a soccer stadium in the southern city of Tapachula, thousands of migrants including many children are awaiting responses to their requests for asylum or humanitarian visas.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)