Health News Roundup: U.S. FDA advisers back authorization of Moderna COVID vaccine for ages 6-17; Air pollution cuts life expectancy by more than two years and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. FDA advisers weigh Moderna COVID vaccine heart risk for young men
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine may have a higher risk of heart inflammation in young men than the Pfizer/BioNTech shot, according to data presented on Tuesday to U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers weighing its use for those aged 6 to 17.
An FDA official told the expert panel that while the data showed a higher risk for the Moderna shot, the findings were not consistent across various safety databases and were not statistically significant, meaning they might be due to chance.
U.S. FDA advisers back authorization of Moderna COVID vaccine for ages 6-17
Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday recommended the authorization of Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens aged 6 to 17 years of age.
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.
EU states step up pressure on Pfizer to cut unneeded COVID vaccine supplies
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.
Pfizer stops enrollment in Paxlovid trial in standard-risk population
Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it would halt enrollment in a trial for its COVID-19 antiviral drug, Paxlovid, in standard-risk patients after a study revealed the treatment was not effective in reducing symptoms in that group. The drug has emergency use authorization for high-risk groups in which it has been effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths.
Antibiotic drugmakers take steps to self-impose environmental safeguards
In the absence of global standards limiting toxic emissions produced by antibiotics at the point of manufacture, the pharmaceutical industry has come up with its own standard.
The AMR Industry Alliance - a coalition of drugmakers, biotech, diagnostic and other companies involved in the field of antimicrobials - said on Tuesday it was adopting its own standards to ensure the responsible manufacture of antibiotics.
Canada to suspend vaccine mandates for domestic travel, civil service
Canada will suspend its requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for domestic travel and to work in the civil service from June 20, the federal government said on Tuesday, after provinces lifted most health restrictions in recent months. The requirement was suspended due to Canada's high vaccination rate and a decrease in coronavirus infections, according to a government statement. Some 32 million, or nearly 90%, of eligible Canadians are vaccinated.
WHO set to decide if monkeypox represents health emergency
The World Health Organization will convene an emergency committee on Thursday next week to assess whether the monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern. That is the highest level of warning issued by the U.N. agency, which currently applies only to the COVID-19 pandemic and polio.
Omicron sub-variants BA.4, BA.5 account for 21% of COVID variants in U.S. - CDC
The BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron are estimated to make up about 8.3% and 13.3% of the coronavirus variants in the United States as of June 11, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday. The two fast-spreading sublineages were added to the World Health Organization's monitoring list in March and have also been designated as variants of concern in Europe.
(With inputs from agencies.)