Health News Roundup: WHO monitoring cases of pneumonia of unknown origin in Argentina; Bayer to pay $40 million to resolve U.S. whistleblower claims over three drugs and more
In July, CureVac had filed a patent lawsuit against BioNTech over its use of mRNA technology, seeking fair compensation from the company and two subsidiaries for infringement of its intellectual properly rights. Zimbabwe measles outbreak death toll rises to 685 - health ministry Zimbabwe's measles outbreak has so far claimed 685 lives, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday, more than four times the cases reported almost a fortnight ago even as a nationwide vaccination program continues.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
WHO monitoring cases of pneumonia of unknown origin in Argentina
The World Health Organization is monitoring a cluster of 10 cases of pneumonia from an unknown cause in Argentina in an outbreak that so far has included three deaths. The cases are linked to a single private clinic in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán, located in the northwest part of the country, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the regional office of the WHO.
Bayer to pay $40 million to resolve U.S. whistleblower claims over three drugs
Bayer AG agreed to pay $40 million to settle claims over its alleged use of kickbacks and false statements related to three prescription drugs, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Friday. The settlement arose from whistleblower lawsuits filed in 2005 and 2006 in New Jersey by Laurie Simpson, a former Bayer employee who worked in its marketing department and accused the German company of violating the federal False Claims Act.
Pfizer, BioNTech seek to revoke CureVac's patent infringement claims
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have filed proceedings at the High Court of England and Wales, seeking a judgment that their COVID-19 vaccine, based on mRNA technology, does not infringe on CureVac's European patents, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. In July, CureVac had filed a patent lawsuit against BioNTech over its use of mRNA technology, seeking fair compensation from the company and two subsidiaries for infringement of its intellectual properly rights.
Zimbabwe measles outbreak death toll rises to 685 - health ministry
Zimbabwe's measles outbreak has so far claimed 685 lives, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday, more than four times the cases reported almost a fortnight ago even as a nationwide vaccination program continues. "Zimbabwe had 6,034 confirmed cases, including 4,266 and 685 deaths," the ministry said in a posting on Twitter, adding 191 new cases and 37 deaths were reported in a single day on Sept. 1.
Britain approves Pfizer/BioNTech's updated COVID-19 booster vaccine
Britain's medicines regulator on Saturday approved Pfizer/BioNTech's updated bivalent COVID-19 booster shot for people aged 12 years and older. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the decision was based on data from a clinical trial that showed a booster dose with the bivalent Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine triggers a strong immune response against both the Omicron and the original strain.
U.S. veterans agency to offer abortions in cases of rape, health risks
The U.S. government will provide abortion services for the first time ever to veterans in cases of rape or incest, or when the pregnancy puts the life of the woman at risk, even in states that have banned or restricted the practice, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said on Friday. The agency said in a policy document that it decided to offer abortions to veterans in response to a wave of U.S. states enacting bans and restrictions on such services since the Supreme Court ended the nationwide right to abortion in June.
EU states urged to roll out COVID booster shots to fend off winter infections
EU countries should start offering COVID boosters to their populations now to contain a fresh wave of infections expected this autumn and winter, the bloc's executive said in a document seen by Reuters on Friday ahead of its official release. The Brussels-based European Commission said more than 2,300 people still die of COVID in the bloc every week, while other negative health consequences of the disease include long-COVID symptoms and mental problems.
China reports 1,848 new COVID cases for Sept 3 vs 1,988 day earlier
Mainland China reported 1,848 new coronavirus cases for Sept. 3, of which 384 were symptomatic and 1,464 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Sunday. That compared with 1,988 new cases a day earlier, of which 502 were symptomatic and 1,486 were asymptomatic infections that China counts separately.
Russia reports 50,000 COVID-19 cases for second day running
Russia recorded more than 50,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for the second day running on Saturday, the government's coronavirus task force said. Over the last 24 hours, 51,699 cases were detected across Russia - the most in a single day since March 9.
Shenzhen districts locked down as China battles COVID outbreaks
Most residents of the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen went into a weekend lockdown on Saturday as mass COVID-19 testing kicked off in much of the city of 18 million people. The lockdown, and the suspension of bus and subway services, came into effect two days after city authorities said rumours about a lockdown were based on a "misinterpretation" of the latest COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
(With inputs from agencies.)