Health News Roundup: N.Korea reports first COVID-19 death as fever spreads 'explosively'; Shanghai aims to defeat COVID over next week as Beijing hunkers down and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Women who have fled to Poland to escape war must have access to reproductive rights that meet international standards, including abortions, a top UNHCR official said on Friday, amid reports of rape and sexual violence in Ukraine. Poland has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, and human rights activists have raised concerns about the difficulties victims of rape from Ukraine fleeing to the country may face if they need to terminate a pregnancy.
N.Korea reports first COVID-19 death as fever spreads 'explosively'
At least one person confirmed to have COVID-19 has died in North Korea and hundreds of thousands have shown fever symptoms, state media said on Friday, offering hints at the potentially dire scale of country's first confirmed outbreak of the pandemic. The data represents an unprecedented admission of an "explosive" outbreak in a country that had reported no previous confirmed cases since the pandemic began, and could mark a grave public health, economic and political crisis for the isolated regime.
Japan to offer up to $100 million in aid to help Indo-Pacific nations fight COVID
Japan plans to extend up to $100 million in aid to developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region to help them better battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Friday. Hayashi made the comment to reporters on the sidelines of a Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers meeting in Germany, where discussion focused mostly on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
N.Korea gets offers of aid to fight COVID as it lacks vaccines
North Korea is facing its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak with no known vaccine programme, sparking new calls for the government to accept aid that could save lives, help protect its battered economy, and possibly lead to a diplomatic opening.
Locked-down Shanghai aims to ringfence its COVID outbreak over the next week, officials said on Friday, while residents in China's capital Beijing largely heeded the advice of authorities to work from home to stem the virus' spread. Easing weeks of punishing restrictions in the commercial hub would bring relief to China's battered economy, although there is growing concern that Beijing may yet take a similar course of action if it fails to get a nascent outbreak under control.
U.S. FDA approves Eli Lilly's treatment for type 2 diabetes
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration said on Friday it had approved Eli Lilly's injected drug tirzepatide, which has the brand name Mounjaro, to help improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. The FDA said Mounjaro, along with diet and exercise, improved blood sugar levels and was more effective than the other diabetes therapies with which it was compared in clinical studies.
U.S. FDA says baby formula crisis will ease in coming weeks
The U.S. baby formula shortage should improve dramatically in weeks, the Food and Drug Administration director said on Friday as the Biden administration scrambled to reverse a shortfall that hits lower-income Americans particularly hard.
Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said the FDA will announce plans next week detailing how manufacturers and suppliers abroad will be able to import their products into the United States, as well as new options for U.S. companies.
Abbott says shipped millions of cans of infant formula from Ireland
Abbott Laboratories said on Friday it has air shipped millions of cans of infant formula powder into the United States from its facility in Ireland to address shortages here as it tries to reopen its Michigan manufacturing plant. The company said in a blog https://www.abbott.com/corpnewsroom/nutrition-health-and-wellness/abbott-update-on-powder-formula-recall.html it was shipping infant formula produced at its Cootehill, Ireland facility to be used by consumers eligible for the U.S. government's Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition assistance program for low-income families.
Blood marker identified for babies at risk of SIDS hailed as 'breakthrough'
A team of Australian researchers have identified a biochemical marker in the blood that could help identify newborn babies at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a breakthrough they said creates an avenue to future tragedy-preventing interventions. In their study, babies who died of SIDS had lower levels of an enzyme called butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) shortly after birth, the researchers said. BChE plays a major role in the brain's arousal pathway, and low levels would reduce a sleeping infant's ability to wake up or respond to its environment.
Switzerland authorizes Moderna's COVID vaccine for 6-11 year olds
Moderna Inc said on Friday Swiss drugs regulator Swissmedic had authorized the use of its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 to 11 years. The approval is for the vaccine's two-dose series of 50 micro gram per dose, Moderna added.
(With inputs from agencies.)