Health News Roundup: Abortions in U.S. rise, reversing a 30-year trend, new data show; U.S. FDA advisers overwhelmingly back Moderna COVID vaccine for ages 6-17 and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 15-06-2022 10:45 IST | Created: 15-06-2022 10:32 IST
Health News Roundup: Abortions in U.S. rise, reversing a 30-year trend, new data show; U.S. FDA advisers overwhelmingly back Moderna COVID vaccine for ages 6-17 and more
Representative image Image Credit: Pixabay

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Abortions in U.S. rise, reversing a 30-year trend, new data show

Abortions performed in the United States increased by 8% during the three years ending in 2020, reversing a 30-year trend of declining numbers, according to data released on Wednesday by the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights research group. The rise comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule this month in a case widely expected to end or severely curtail the right to the procedure, as indicated by a leaked draft of the court's opinion.

U.S. FDA advisers overwhelmingly back Moderna COVID vaccine for ages 6-17

Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday unanimously recommended that the agency authorize Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens aged 6 to 17 years of age. Around 77 million people in the United States have received at least a two-dose course of Moderna's vaccine, which has long been available for people aged 18 and older.

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 a 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.

WHO set to decide if monkeypox represents a 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, and 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.

FTC launches probe into mental-health startup Cerebral - WSJ

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun an investigation into SoftBank-backed mental-health startup Cerebral Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing a letter the antitrust body sent to the company. In the letter dated June 1, the FTC said it was investigating whether the company engaged in deceptive or unfair practices related to advertising or marketing of mental-health services, according to the WSJ report

(With inputs from agencies.)

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