Health News Roundup: India tests samples of cough syrup linked to deaths of children in Gambia; Analysis-As China party congress looms, signals sought on easing COVID policy and more
The companies are rolling out the products across the nation after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August issued a rule easing access to hearing aids for millions of Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss. German COVID vaccine developer BioNTech signs research deal with Australia BioNTech SE, the German biotech that developed a widely used COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer Inc, will set up research and manufacturing centres in Australia based on the same technology, the company and Australian lawmakers said on Friday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
India tests samples of cough syrup linked to deaths of children in Gambia
India said it is testing samples of cough syrups produced by local manufacturer Maiden Pharmaceuticals for export after the World Health Organization said its products were linked to the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia. The deaths of 66 children in the West African country could deal a major blow to India's image as a "pharmacy of the world".
Analysis-As China party congress looms, signals sought on easing COVID policy
The mounting economic toll of China's zero-COVID policy is raising investor hopes that Beijing may finally begin laying the groundwork for the tricky epidemiological and political task of shifting course following this month's Communist Party congress. It is not clear whether the ruling party congress from Oct. 16 will shed any light on easing strict measures to extinguish all domestic COVID-19 outbreaks, rather than seek to live with the pandemic. Any change, economists and investors predict, would entail gradual steps for a reopening from the first half of 2023 at the earliest.
More than 2.5 million U.S. teens vaped in 2022, a 'concerning' health risk, officials say
An estimated 2.55 million U.S. middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes during the early part of this year, health officials said on Thursday, a level they described as concerning. One in four of those students said they used e-cigarettes daily, according to a national survey conducted between Jan. 18 and May 31, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday.
U.S. pharmacies to offer hearing aids by mid-October under new govt rule
Major U.S. pharmacy operators Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart Inc said on Thursday that in mid-October they would start selling hearing aids over-the-counter without the need for a medical exam, prescription, or audiologist fitting. The companies are rolling out the products across the nation after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August issued a rule easing access to hearing aids for millions of Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss.
German COVID vaccine developer BioNTech signs research deal with Australia
BioNTech SE, the German biotech that developed a widely used COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer Inc, will set up research and manufacturing centres in Australia based on the same technology, the company and Australian lawmakers said on Friday. The Nasdaq-listed company and Australia's Victoria state said they signed a partnership to create a centre, which would run clinical research of experimental messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, vaccines and therapies with the aim of attracting experts from around the world.
COVID rebound after Pfizer treatment likely due to robust immune response, study finds
A rebound of COVID-19 symptoms in some patients after taking Pfizer's antiviral Paxlovid may be related to a robust immune response rather than a weak one, U.S. government researchers reported on Thursday. They concluded that taking a longer course of the drug - beyond the recommended five days - was not required to reduce the risk of a recurrence of symptoms as some have suggested, based on an intensive investigation of rebound in eight patients at the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center.
Eli Lilly gets FDA's speedy review for obesity drug
Eli Lilly and Co said on Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had agreed to a quick review of its diabetes drug Mounjaro to treat obesity, months after a study showed it helped people lose more than 20% of their weight. The FDA granted the "fast track" status to the drug, which makes it eligible for an expedited review. The company now plans to submit data on a rolling basis this year and expects more data early next year.
CVS Health expects lower Medicare performance rating to impact 2024
CVS Health Inc said its largest health insurance plan for Medicare recipients received a lower performance rating from the Federal government program, sending shares of the company down around 5% in extended trade. In a regulatory filing late on Thursday, CVS said the newly-released Star Ratings for Medicare Advantage plans in 2023 lowered the rating for the company's Aetna National PPO plan to 3.5 stars from 4.5.
Europeans face big mental health issues despite COVID easing - survey
The number of Europeans reporting "bad" or "very bad" mental health soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, even beyond the end of lockdowns, new polling showed on Thursday. European Union agency Eurofound's surveys of 200,000 people found that those reporting "bad" or "very bad" mental health doubled from 6.4% in March 2020 at the onset of the crisis to 12.7% two years later even as restrictions were eased.
COVID wave looms in Europe as booster campaign makes slow start
A new COVID-19 wave appears to be brewing in Europe as cooler weather arrives, with public health experts warning that vaccine fatigue and confusion over types of available vaccines will likely limit booster uptake. Omicron subvariants BA.4/5 that dominated this summer are still behind the majority of infections, but newer Omicron subvariants are gaining ground. Hundreds of new forms of Omicron are being tracked by scientists, World Health Organisation (WHO) officials said this week.
(With inputs from agencies.)