Health News Roundup: EU signs deal with Bavarian Nordic for supply of 110,000 monkeypox vaccines; Factbox-Countries offering vaccine for monkeypox and more
In its annual report, the EU drugs agency said that new evidence was emerging of rising drug production in Europe, confirming its earlier warning about the continent turning into a global hub for narcotics, and no longer just a consumption market. Conflict in Ukraine could aggravate drug problems, EU body warns Russia's invasion of Ukraine could create "new vulnerabilities" in Europe to illegal drugs by triggering shifts in smuggling routes and potentially exposing more people to narcotics, the Lisbon-based EU drugs agency warned on Tuesday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
EU signs deal with Bavarian Nordic for supply of 110,000 monkeypox vaccines
The European Union signed on Tuesday an agreement with Bavarian Nordic for the supply of about 110,000 doses of vaccines against monkeypox, the EU Commission and the company said. The vaccines will be bought with EU funds and delivered to EU states, EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said. Doses are to be delivered in proportion to the population, starting with states with the most urgent needs.
Factbox-Countries offering vaccine for monkeypox
As more countries where monkeypox is not endemic report outbreaks of the viral disease, some governments have started offering vaccines to most exposed citizens. There isn't a specific vaccine for monkeypox, but data shows that vaccines that were used to eradicate smallpox are up to 85% effective against it, according to the World Health Organisation.
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine may pose a higher risk of heart inflammation in some age groups than Pfizer-BioNTech's shot, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday, citing recent data. The agency, however, said the findings on myocarditis and pericarditis, types of heart inflammation linked to both the mRNA shots, were not consistent across all of the U.S. vaccine safety monitoring systems.
Lebanon's north turns to apothecaries as healthcare costs soar
Once a gymnastics instructor, Mohammad Abadeen now runs a small apothecary in Lebanon's north, offering affordable plant-based treatments to clients tired of chronic medicine shortages and price hikes. The craft dates back thousands of years and is known as alternative or herbal medicine - relying on concoctions made from herbs, spices, and natural oils in an attempt to treat ailments including colds, coughs and stomach bugs.
Air pollution cuts life expectancy by more than two years - study
Chronic air pollution cuts average global life expectancy by more than two years per person, a study published on Tuesday showed, an impact comparable to that of smoking and far worse than HIV/AIDS or terrorism. More than 97% of the global population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds recommended levels, the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute (EPIC) said in its latest Air Quality Life Index, which used satellite data to measure levels of PM2.5, hazardous floating particles that damage the lungs.
European Union governments are intensifying pressure on Pfizer and other COVID-19 vaccine makers to renegotiate contracts, warning millions of shots that are no longer needed could go to waste, according to EU officials and a document. During the most acute phase of the pandemic, the European Commission and EU governments agreed to buy huge volumes of vaccines, mostly from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, amid fears of insufficient supplies.
Beijing in 'race against time' to contain COVID surge
Authorities in China's capital warned on Tuesday that a COVID-19 surge in cases linked to a 24-hour bar was critical and the city of 22 million was in a "race against time" to get to grips with its most serious outbreak since the pandemic began. The flare-up means millions of people are facing mandatory testing and thousands are under targeted lockdowns, just days after the city started to lift widespread curbs that had run for more than a month to tackle a broader outbreak since late April.
Amylyx's ALS drug would be more cost-effective if priced around $170,000- ICER
Amylyx Pharmaceuticals Inc's experimental drug for neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) would be more cost effective than other U.S.-approved treatments if priced around $170,000, an independent U.S. pricing watchdog said on Tuesday. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), however, also suggested in its draft report that policymakers debate short-term pricing options, including a price close to the production cost, until the benefits of the drug can be adequately evaluated.
EU warns of rising narcotics production in Europe as new drugs hit market
Narcotics production is growing in Europe, according to an estimate published on Tuesday by the EU drugs agency, which warned of a proliferation of new psychoactive substances being sold and consumed on the continent. In its annual report, the EU drugs agency said that new evidence was emerging of rising drug production in Europe, confirming its earlier warning about the continent turning into a global hub for narcotics, and no longer just a consumption market.
Conflict in Ukraine could aggravate drug problems, EU body warns
Russia's invasion of Ukraine could create "new vulnerabilities" in Europe to illegal drugs by triggering shifts in smuggling routes and potentially exposing more people to narcotics, the Lisbon-based EU drugs agency warned on Tuesday. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said in its annual report that many people who have suffered "severe psychological stress" during the conflict may be more vulnerable to substance misuse problems in the future.
(With inputs from agencies.)