Health News Roundup: Biden administration to allow new injection method for monkeypox vaccine - NYT; Hong Kong cuts COVID quarantine stay for incoming travelers and more
The move comes days after Macau started to unwind stringent anti-COVID rules, including the resumption of travel to Zhuhai without quarantine from Aug. 3. China's Hainan expands COVID lockdowns to quell outbreak China's Hainan, an island province dependent on tourism, locked down more areas on Monday, state media reported, as it battles its worst COVID-19 outbreak after seeing very few cases in the past two years compared with many other regions in the country.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Biden administration to allow new injection method for monkeypox vaccine - NYT
The Biden administration has decided to stretch out its limited supply of monkeypox vaccine by allowing a different method of injection that uses one-fifth as much per shot, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing senior officials familiar with the planning. The United States declared monkeypox a public health emergency last week, in an effort to bolster the U.S. response to contain the outbreak.
Hong Kong cuts COVID quarantine stay for incoming travelers
Hong Kong will shorten the COVID-19 hotel quarantine period for all arrivals to three days from seven, taking another step to gradually unwind stringent pandemic rules that have isolated the Asian financial hub. The measures will be effective from Friday, the city's leader, John Lee, told a news conference on Monday.
Macau returns to mass COVID testing after case in the neighboring Chinese city Zhuhai
Authorities in Macau instructed residents to conduct at least two days of COVID-19 tests after a person who traveled from the Chinese special administrative region to the neighboring city Zhuhai was found to have been infected with the virus. The move comes days after Macau started to unwind stringent anti-COVID rules, including the resumption of travel to Zhuhai without quarantine from Aug. 3.
China's Hainan expands COVID lockdowns to quell the outbreak
China's Hainan, an island province dependent on tourism, locked down more areas on Monday, state media reported, as it battles its worst COVID-19 outbreak after seeing very few cases in the past two years compared with many other regions in the country. The province, which recorded just two local symptomatic COVID cases last year, has reported more than 1,500 domestically transmitted infections this month, including over 1,000 symptomatic ones. Although that is low by global standards, it is Hainan's biggest outbreak since the virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
BioNTech expects Omicron-adapted vaccine deliveries as soon as October
BioNTech expects to begin deliveries of two Omicron-adapted vaccines as soon as October, which will help spur demand in the fourth quarter, the German biotech firm said on Monday as it reaffirmed its vaccine-revenue forecast for the year. Demand for the vaccine, 3.6 billion doses of which have been shipped globally, is waning as most people in the Western world have received three or four shots already.
Parts of Tibet are running mass COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, including the Chinese autonomous region's two largest cities, to fight a rare flare-up, while clusters were growing in tropical Hainan and in Xinjiang in China's west. Subvariants of the highly transmissible Omicron are challenging China's strategy of swiftly blocking the spread of each nascent cluster. Regions that have seen relatively few cases for more than two years now battling outbreaks, raising the risk of persistent tight restrictions as the economy weakens.
Climate change puts Lyme disease in focus for France's Valneva after the COVID blow
With climate change spurring more cases of tick-borne Lyme disease, drugmaker Valneva is betting big on a vaccine as it looks beyond disappointing sales of its COVID shot. Although Valneva secured European Union and British regulatory approval, both walked away from contracts worth more than a billion dollars combined, wiping nearly 40% off the value of Valneva's share price in the past six months.
Analysis: Democrats score big wins on climate, drugs with $430 billion U.S. Senate bill
Democrats scored a major policy victory when the U.S. Senate passed a $430 billion climate change, healthcare, and tax bill that will help reduce the carbon emissions that drive climate change while also cutting drug costs for the elderly. President Joe Biden's congressional allies hope the bill, which they pushed through the Senate over united Republican opposition, will boost their chances in the Nov. 8 midterm elections, when Republicans are favored to recapture the majority in at least one chamber of Congress.
Group of 23 states tells the U.S. court CDC lacks authority to set transit mask rules
A group of 23 state attorneys general led by Florida told a federal court on Monday that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lacks the legal authority to impose a nationwide transportation mask mandate to address COVID-19. The CDC sought "an unprecedented masking mandate regulating every breath of millions of Americans," said the brief in support of the group that sued to overturn the mask mandate.
Novavax sinks after halving sales forecast on low vaccine demand, supply glut
Novavax Inc on Monday halved its full-year revenue forecast as it does not expect further sales of its COVID-19 shot this year in the United States in the face of a global supply glut and soft demand, sending its shares down 33%. Novavax said it now expects 2022 total revenue in the range of $2 billion to $2.3 billion, compared with its prior forecast of $4 billion to $5 billion.
(With inputs from agencies.)