Health News Roundup: Analysis-Test, test, test? Scientists question costly mass COVID checks; Texas doctor calls U.S. COVID deaths nearing 1 million 'mindblowing' and more
But two years into the pandemic, health officials in some countries are questioning the merits of repeated, mass testing when it comes to containing infections, particularly considering the billions it costs. Texas doctor calls U.S. COVID deaths nearing 1 million 'mindblowing' In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, pulmonologist Joseph Varon offered an opinion that made headlines around the world and went viral on social media.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Analysis-Test, test, test? Scientists question costly mass COVID checks
For many people worldwide, having cotton swabs thrust up their nose or down their throat to test for COVID-19 has become a routine and familiar annoyance. But two years into the pandemic, health officials in some countries are questioning the merits of repeated, mass testing when it comes to containing infections, particularly considering the billions it costs.
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, pulmonologist Joseph Varon offered an opinion that made headlines around the world and went viral on social media. He was fighting two wars, he said: one against COVID and one against stupidity. As the United States nears the grim milestone of 1 million coronavirus-linked deaths, Varon, chief of critical care and COVID-19 at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas said only one of those battles has been won.
BioNTech completes Phase II trial of COVID-19 vaccine in China
Vaccine developer BioNTech completed a Phase II clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in China in January but has yet to release its results, a registry of such trials showed on Tuesday. The vaccine, based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, is one of the most widely used worldwide against COVID but has yet to receive approval in China, which has relied only on the domestically developed vaccine.
Factbox-Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus
China's tough zero-COVID measures remain essential to defeat the pandemic and buy time to improve vaccination rates and develop new treatments, senior health advisers wrote in recently published reports. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
Baby formula shortage forces CVS Health to limit purchases
Pharmacy chain CVS Health Corp said on Tuesday it has limited in-store and online purchases of baby formula products to three per order, citing a supply shortfall and surging consumer demand. The move comes after Abbott Laboratories recalled some of its infant formula products including Similac in February due to complaints about bacterial infections in infants who consumed the products. Abbott maintains no formula that has been distributed has tested positive for bacteria.
Pfizer to buy migraine drugmaker Biohaven in $11.6-billion deal
Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it will buy migraine drug maker Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd for about $11.6 billion in cash, as the drugmaker seeks to beef up its portfolio ahead of patent losses for some cancer drugs. Through the deal, Pfizer will gain access to Biohaven's approved drug Rimegepant which belongs to a class of migraine drugs known as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors.
Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart begin $878 million opioid trial in Ohio
CVS Health Corp, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc and Walmart Inc on Tuesday begin a first-of-its-kind trial to determine what the pharmacy chains owe for their role in the opioid epidemic in two Ohio counties, which are seeking $878 million. A federal jury decided in November that the companies helped create a public nuisance with an alleged flood of addictive pain pills that wound up on the black market, in the first trial the companies faced over the crisis.
Novavax shares slide 20% on COVID vaccine demand uncertainty
Novavax Inc's shares plunged nearly 20% in premarket trading on Tuesday due to uncertainty over global demand for the company's COVID-19 vaccine following a slow start to deliveries.
The company said in September it had targeted for the delivery of at least 2 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2022. Novavax said on Monday it delivered about 42 million doses globally in the first quarter.
At least 3,000 have died in Ukraine for want of disease treatment: WHO
The World Health Organization's European chief said on Tuesday that at least 3,000 people had died in Ukraine because they had been unable to access treatments for chronic diseases. So far, the global health agency has documented some 200 attacks in Ukraine on healthcare facilities, and few hospitals are currently functioning, the official, Hans Kluge, told a regional meeting attended by 53 member states as well as senior colleagues from WHO.
World Health Organization members pass a resolution against Russia
Members of the World Health Organization's European region passed a resolution on Tuesday that could result in the closure of Russia's regional office and the suspension of meetings in the country in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The special session of the European region passed the resolution, supported by Ukraine and the European Union, with 43 in favor and 3 against (Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan) and 2 abstentions.
(With inputs from agencies.)