Health News Roundup: Africa CDC says it has signed MOU with Pfizer for COVID pill; Shanghai back on alert as China battles COVID outbreaks and more

Data from a mid-to-late stage study in November last year showed the antiviral medication was nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalisations and deaths compared to a placebo, in adults at high risk of severe illness. Shanghai back on alert as China battles COVID outbreaks Millions of people in Shanghai queued for a third day of mass COVID-19 testing on Thursday as authorities in several Chinese cities scrambled to stamp out new outbreaks that have rekindled worries about growth in the world's second-largest economy.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 07-07-2022 18:37 IST | Created: 07-07-2022 18:29 IST
Health News Roundup: Africa CDC says it has signed MOU with Pfizer for COVID pill; Shanghai back on alert as China battles COVID outbreaks and more
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Africa CDC says it has signed MOU with Pfizer for COVID pill

Africa's top public health body said on Thursday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Pfizer for countries on the continent to receive supplies of the Paxlovid pill to treat COVID-19. Data from a mid-to-late stage study in November last year showed the antiviral medication was nearly 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths compared to a placebo, in adults at high risk of severe illness.

Shanghai back on alert as China battles COVID outbreaks

Millions of people in Shanghai queued for the third day of mass COVID-19 testing on Thursday as authorities in several Chinese cities scrambled to stamp out new outbreaks that have rekindled worries about growth in the world's second-largest economy. Unless local officials succeed in preventing the virus from spreading, they could be compelled to invoke prolonged, major restrictions on residents' movement, under China's "dynamic zero COVID" strategy.

Australia expands fourth COVID dose rollout amid fresh Omicron threat

Australia said on Thursday it would expand the rollout of the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccines from next week as it battles a steady rise in hospital admissions fuelled by the highly transmissible new Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5. The new subvariants have now become the dominant coronavirus strains in several countries, with pandemic experts warning they could lead to more hospitalizations and deaths because they spread more quickly than other coronavirus variants.

Macau shuts popular shopping mall in race to contain COVID outbreak

Macau shut down a popular shopping mall adjacent to MGM China's casino resort on the city's main peninsula after several COVID-19 infections were found, as authorities raced to the biggest outbreak yet in the world's biggest gambling hub. One Central shopping mall will be shut for one week, while more than a dozen other zones or buildings have also been ordered to close, authorities said.

Intercept to resubmit NASH treatment application for FDA review

Intercept Pharmaceuticals said on Thursday it would resubmit its application for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) treatment to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration based on new interim analysis of data from an ongoing late-stage study. The company is seeking approval for obeticholic acid to treat fibrosis or scarring associated with NASH, a serious progressive liver disease caused by excessive fat accumulation in the liver.

WHO reports two new monkeypox deaths, cases in new areas

The World Health Organization reported two new deaths from monkeypox since its previous disease update on June 27, bringing the total to three since the start of the year and said the disease had spread to new areas. Cases have shot up 77 percent since the last report to 6,027, the WHO said, with the bulk of them reported in the European region. However, all three deaths have been reported in Africa, the report showed.

U.S. FDA allows pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer's COVID-19 pill

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it had authorized state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 pill to eligible patients to help improve access to the treatment. The antiviral drug, Paxlovid, has been cleared for use and available for free in the United States since December, but fewer than half of the nearly 4 million courses distributed to pharmacies by the government so far have been administered.

Factbox-Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 549.28 million, death toll at 6,767,132

More than 549.28 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 6,767,132​ have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Merck in advanced talks to buy Seagen in nearly $40-billion deal - WSJ

Drugmaker Merck & Co is in advanced talks to buy cancer-focused biotech company Seagen Inc in a deal that could be worth roughly $40 billion or more, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The companies are discussing a price above $200 a share for Seagen, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. (https://on.wsj.com/3uu3tMa)

WHO: More than 6,000 monkeypox cases reported, emergency meeting set

More than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak, the World Health Organization said. The U.N. agency will reconvene a meeting of the committee that will advise on declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO's highest level of alert, in the week beginning July 18 or sooner, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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