Health News Roundup: Eli Lilly to make COVID-19 antibody drug commercially available from August; EU says Novavax COVID shot must carry heart side-effect warning and more
U.S. agencies have been under pressure to ease access to the drug, which is being distributed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under a special "compassionate use" access that requires doctors to request it from the agency or their health department and enroll each patient in a study. Biden signs abortion order, says Republicans clueless about women's power President Joe Biden said on Wednesday the Supreme Court and Republicans are clueless about the power of American women as he signed a second executive order aimed at protecting abortion rights.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Eli Lilly to make COVID-19 antibody drug commercially available from August
Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday it plans to make its COVID-19 antibody drug commercially available to U.S. states as well as hospitals and other healthcare providers from August. The drug, bebtelovimab, had received authorization in the United States in February for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 among adults and children.
EU says Novavax COVID shot must carry heart side-effect warning
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is recommending that Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine carry a warning of the possibility of two types of heart inflammation, an added burden for a shot that has so far failed to win wide uptake. The heart conditions - myocarditis and pericarditis - should be listed as new side effects in the product information for the vaccine, Nuvaxovid, based on a small number of reported cases, the EMA said on Wednesday.
Kansas votes to preserve abortion rights in first post-Roe v. Wade election test
Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected an effort to remove abortion protections from the state's constitution, a resounding win for the abortion rights movement in the first statewide electoral test since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The amendment's failure in the conservative state lifted Democrats' hopes that the issue of abortion rights will draw voters to the party in November's midterm elections even as they worry about surging inflation.
New COVID case numbers in New Zealand trending lower, signs wave peaked
New Zealand's health ministry sees strong signs that the country's latest COVID-19 wave has peaked, as new cases continue to trend lower. The number of people in hospitals with COVID is also down in late July.
U.S. CDC expected to ease COVID-19 guidelines for schools this week - CNN
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to ease its guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19, including in schools as soon as this week, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the plan. The updated guidelines are expected to ease quarantine requirements for people exposed to the virus and would no longer recommend maintaining a six-feet distance at schools, according to the report.
Organ decay halted, cell function restored in pigs after death -study
Researchers have found that the decay of tissues after death can be halted and cell functions restored based on early experiments in pigs that may eventually help increase the number of transplantable human organs. Sixty minutes after stopping the heart in the anesthetized animals, Yale researchers were able to restart the circulation using a specialized machine and a synthetic fluid carrying oxygen and other components that promote cellular health and suppress inflammation.
Australia's winter COVID wave may have peaked early, health minister says
Australia's COVID-19 winter outbreak fuelled by the new Omicron sub-variants BA.4/5 may have peaked early, Health Minister Mark Butler said on Thursday, as hospitals reported a steady fall in admissions over the past week. Australia is battling one of its worst flare-ups of the coronavirus driven by the fast-moving new Omicron sub-variants, putting severe strain on hospitals and retirement homes. But Health Minister Mark Butler flagged the worst could be over.
U.S. regulators defend requiring more data on monkeypox drug
As U.S. monkeypox cases rise, U.S. health agencies in a medical journal article published on Wednesday defended their decision to require human trial data to show that SIGA Technologies' experimental drug TPOXX is safe and effective to treat the virus. U.S. agencies have been under pressure to ease access to the drug, which is being distributed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under a special "compassionate use" access that requires doctors to request it from the agency or their health department and enroll each patient in a study.
Biden signs abortion order says Republicans clueless about women's power
President Joe Biden said on Wednesday the Supreme Court and Republicans are clueless about the power of American women as he signed a second executive order aimed at protecting abortion rights. The order asks the federal health department to consider allowing Medicaid funds to be used to help facilitate out-of-state travel for abortions. Like Biden's first order signed in July, it is meant to address the recent Supreme Court decision to end the nationwide constitutional right to abortion.
Tennessee sues Walgreens pharmacy chain over opioid distribution
The state of Tennessee sued Walgreens on Wednesday, accusing the retail pharmacy giant of fueling the state's opioid epidemic by willfully flooding the market with an oversupply of prescription narcotics in violation of consumer protection and public nuisance laws. According to the lawsuit, Walgreens used its position as one of the state's largest pharmacy chains to dispense over 1.1 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills within Tennessee from 2006 to 2020, roughly equivalent to 175 tablets for every resident of the state.
(With inputs from agencies.)