Health News Roundup: Doctor shortage pushes Portugal's maternity units to the brink; Swiss COVID-19 vaccine purchase plan fails to pass parliament and more

The five-member commission, including two Republican commissioners, voted to increase scrutiny of discounts that pharmaceutical middlemen seek from drug companies to ensure their products are covered by the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM). WHO getting monkeypox tests for Africa, urges vaccine readiness The World Health Organization (WHO) is in the process of procuring thousands of monkeypox tests for Africa but is not recommending mass vaccination at this stage, WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said on Thursday.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 17-06-2022 10:35 IST | Created: 17-06-2022 10:29 IST
Health News Roundup: Doctor shortage pushes Portugal's maternity units to the brink; Swiss COVID-19 vaccine purchase plan fails to pass parliament and more
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Doctor shortage pushes Portugal's maternity units to the brink

A shortage of obstetricians has forced several Portuguese hospitals to temporarily shut their emergency maternity units or operate with reduced staff, raising fears for women's safety. Bank holidays and the spread of COVID-19 among medical workers have aggravated the structural problem of a long-running shortage of doctors in Portugal.

Swiss COVID-19 vaccine purchase plan fails to pass parliament

The Swiss parliament failed to finance the government's plan to buy COVID-19 vaccines in 2023, forcing the cabinet to try to renegotiate contracts with Moderna and Pfizer/Biotech for millions of doses. With the two houses of parliament split over the funding request, budget rules required the adoption of the cheaper version of draft legislation, the SDA news agency said in a report posted on parliament's website.

N.Korea sends aid to 800 families suffering from intestinal epidemic

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other senior officials prepared to aid to send to 800 families suffering from an unidentified intestinal epidemic, state media reported on Friday, as the country also battles its first COVID-19 outbreak.

North Korea revealed this week it was facing an "acute enteric epidemic" on top of a weeks-long outbreak of COVID. It did not elaborate what the disease was, but enteric refers to the gastrointestinal tract.

Beijing declares initial COVID victory as bar-linked surge eases

The city of Beijing on Thursday declared an initial victory in its latest battle with COVID-19 after testing millions of people and quarantining thousands in the past week to stem an outbreak prolonged by a sudden wave of cases linked to a bar. The flare-up at the popular Heaven Supermarket Bar known for its cheap liquor and rowdy nights emerged just days after the Chinese capital started to lift widespread curbs. Restrictions had been in place for around a month in Beijing to tackle a broader outbreak that began in late April.

Africa officials urge readiness for monkeypox vaccinations, fair access

The World Health Organization is procuring thousands of monkeypox tests for Africa and working to ensure the continent has fair access to vaccines should the need arise, WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said on Thursday. Monkeypox, a viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, is endemic in parts of Africa, but this year there has been an increase in cases both on the continent and in the rest of the world.

U.S. FTC fires warning shot at drug middlemen over rebates, fees

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously Thursday to increase scrutiny of pharmacy benefit managers that act as middlemen between drug companies and consumers in a renewed effort to combat soaring healthcare costs and drug prices. The five-member commission, including two Republican commissioners, voted to increase scrutiny of discounts that pharmaceutical middlemen seek from drug companies to ensure their products are covered by the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM).

WHO getting monkeypox tests for Africa, urges vaccine readiness

The World Health Organization (WHO) is in the process of procuring thousands of monkeypox tests for Africa but is not recommending mass vaccination at this stage, WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said on Thursday. She added that the continent should be prepared for vaccination should the need arise.

Prior infection plus 3 vaccine doses prove best vs Omicron; neurological COVID symptoms can last months

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Vaccination plus prior COVID best protects against Omicron

Roche's study flop marks yet another Alzheimer's setback

Roche's experimental Alzheimer's drug crenezumab failed to meaningfully slow or prevent cognitive decline in people at risk of a rare, inherited form of the disease, the Swiss drugmaker said on Thursday. The failure marks another blow to the hypothesis that targeting toxic protein plaque known as beta-amyloid in the brain is a viable approach to arresting the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

Omicron less likely to cause long COVID - UK study

The Omicron variant of coronavirus is less likely to cause long COVID than previous variants, according to the first peer-reviewed study of its kind from the United Kingdom. Researchers at King's College London, using data from the ZOE COVID Symptom study app, found the odds of developing long COVID after infection was 20% to 50% lower during the Omicron wave in the UK compared to Delta. The figure varied depending on the patient's age and the timing of their last vaccination.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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