Health News Roundup: Novartis fails again to reuse anti-inflammatory drug to treat lung cancer; Bill Gates, South Korea expand global health partnership and more
"In the U.S. we allow drug manufacturers to freely set prices for all brand-name drugs," Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told Reuters. UK's autumn COVID vaccination campaign buoyed by Omicron booster nod The United Kingdom's COVID booster campaign is set to kick off this September, after the country became the first in the world to approve an Omicron-adapted shot.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Novartis fails again to reuse anti-inflammatory drug to treat lung cancer
Efforts by Novartis to show that an established anti-inflammatory drug could also suppress cancer growth were dealt a final blow when a third big lung cancer trial failed to produce the desired results. The Swiss drugmaker said on Monday its canakinumab drug did not slow the progression of non-small cell lung cancer in a late-stage trial, when given to prevent relapse in patients that were diagnosed early enough for tumour-removal surgery.
Bill Gates, South Korea expand global health partnership
South Korea agreed on Tuesday to expand its global health partnership with the foundation set up by Microsoft Corp co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. The deal came after Gates arrived in South Korea late on Monday, calling for Seoul to play a bigger role in global health and to increase aid.
UK first to approve Omicron COVID shot with Moderna nod
Britain, the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine in late 2020, has now also given the first green light to a variant-adapted shot that targets both the original and Omicron version of the virus. The UK medicines regulator (MHRA) gave the so-called bivalent vaccine made by U.S. drug company Moderna conditional approval as a booster for adults on Monday.
Newly launched U.S. drugs head toward record-high prices in 2022
Drugmakers are launching new medicines at record-high prices this year, a Reuters analysis has found, highlighting their pricing power even as Congress moves to cut the $500 billion-plus annual bill for prescription drugs in the United States. At the same time, some pharmaceutical manufacturers are disclosing less information about the pricing of those treatments, which have come under greater scrutiny in recent years, Reuters found. "In the U.S. we allow drug manufacturers to freely set prices for all brand-name drugs," Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, told Reuters.
UK's autumn COVID vaccination campaign buoyed by Omicron booster nod
The United Kingdom's COVID booster campaign is set to kick off this September, after the country became the first in the world to approve an Omicron-adapted shot. Around 26 million people in Britain are estimated to be eligible for an autumn COVID-19 booster, having had at least two COVID vaccine doses already, a UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) spokesperson said.
Novavax Inc said on Monday it had filed for U.S. authorization for use of its COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose in people who had either received its shots or a different vaccine. The application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration comes in the face of a slow rollout in the United States, where the Novavax vaccine was authorized in July, despite expectations that it would convince vaccine skeptics to get inoculated.
Serum Institue of India's Poonawalla expects Omicron-specific vaccine in 6 months - NDTV
Serum Institute of India's (SII) Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla said he expects an Omicron-specific vaccine in the country in six months, NDTV reported on Monday. SII, the world's biggest vaccine maker, produces AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine under the brand name Covishield.
China to discourage abortions to boost low birth rate
China will discourage abortions and take steps to make fertility treatment more accessible as part of efforts to boost one of the world's lowest birth rates, its National Health Authority said on Tuesday. Support measures from taxation and insurance to education and housing would be improved and implemented, with local governments encouraged to boost infant care services and family-friendly workplaces, according to guidelines published on the authority's website.
Explainer - Why has polio been found in London, New York and Jerusalem, and how dangerous is it?
Polio, a deadly disease that used to paralyze tens of thousands of children every year, is spreading in London, New York and Jerusalem for the first time in decades, spurring catch-up vaccination campaigns. DREADED DISEASE
U.S. to provide states with up to 442,000 Jynneos doses to combat monkeypox
The U.S. government said on Monday it will provide states with up to 442,000 doses of Bavarian Nordic's Jynneos vaccine to combat the outbreak of monkeypox disease. The allocation, as part of Phase 3 of the national vaccine strategy, is double the number of doses originally anticipated, the Department of Health and Human Services said.
(With inputs from agencies.)