Health News Roundup: Switzerland experiencing medicine shortages says pharmacists association; U.S. FDA declines to approve Spectrum Pharmaceuticals' lung cancer drug and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Switzerland experiencing medicine shortages says pharmacists association
Switzerland is experiencing medicine shortages due to supply chain issues linked to COVID lockdowns in China and war in Europe, the country's pharmacists association said. "We have the biggest problems with children's medications, especially fever-reducing syrup," Enea Martinelli from pharmaSuisse told Swiss broadcaster SRF.
U.S. FDA declines to approve Spectrum Pharmaceuticals' lung cancer drug
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined to approve its experimental lung cancer drug, citing the need for an additional study. The company now plans to de-prioritize the development of the drug, called poziotinib, and said it was in the process of cutting 75% of its research and development workforce.
China's widening COVID-19 curbs trigger public pushback
Frustration simmered on Friday among residents and business groups in China navigating stricter COVID-19 control curbs as the country reported another record high of daily infections just weeks after hopes had been raised of easing measures. The resurgence of COVID cases in China, with 32,695 new local infections recorded for Thursday as numerous cities report outbreaks, has prompted widespread lockdowns and other curbs on movement and business, as well as pushback.
In Britain, nurses prepare for unprecedented strike over pay
Chukwudubem Ifeajuna, a nurse in the south of England, loves his job, but next month will walk out for two days as part of British nurses' biggest ever strike action, which he says is necessary for staff and patient welfare alike. The industrial action on Dec. 15 and Dec. 20 is unprecedented in the British nursing union's 106-year history, and comes as the state-run National Health Service (NHS) braces for one of its toughest winters ever.
Fears Malawi's cholera outbreak could worsen in rainy season
Malawi is in the grip of a cholera outbreak that has spread across the country, killing 292 people and infecting 9447 since March when the first case was reported, according to health minister Khumbize Chiponda. Most deaths from the disease, which is spread through contaminated water and food, are occurring in four districts bordering Lake Malawi and in Blantyre, the country's second-largest city.
Avian flu outbreak wipes out 50.54 million U.S. birds, a record
Avian flu has wiped out 50.54 million birds in the United States this year, making it the country's deadliest outbreak in history, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday. The deaths of chickens, turkeys and other birds represent the worst U.S. animal-health disaster to date, topping the previous record of 50.5 million birds that died in an avian-flu outbreak in 2015.
British nurses to stage first strikes on Dec. 15, 20
Thousands of British nurses will go on strike on Dec. 15 and 20 for more pay, their union said on Friday, adding to a winter of industrial action and putting further pressure on the state-run health system. The strikes are the first of possibly several walkouts by National Health Service (NHS) nurses, which come after the government refused to meet demands for pay rises of 5% above inflation.
UK open to talks over nurses strike, but stands by previous pay offer - minister
British Health Secretary Steve Barclay said on Friday he was open to talks with nurses union RCN but highlighted the merits of a pay rise that was set out by the government in July.
Responding to news that nurses are set to carry out their biggest-ever strike action, Barclay emphasized that a previously announced pay rise of at least 1,400 pounds ($1,695.26) will mean a newly qualified nurse will typically earn over 31,000 pounds a year.
Researchers test mRNA technology for universal flu vaccine
An experimental vaccine provided broad protection against all 20 known influenza A and B virus subtypes in initial tests in mice and ferrets, potentially opening a pathway to a universal flu shot that might help prevent future pandemics, according to a U.S. study published on Thursday. The two-dose vaccine employs the same messenger RNA (mRNA)technology used in the COVID-19 shots developed by Pfizer with BioNTech, and by Moderna. It delivers tiny lipid particles containing mRNA instructions for cells to create replicas of so-called hemagglutinin proteins that appear on influenza virus surfaces.
Clitoris reconstruction offers hope to Kenyan women after childhood mutilation
Imagine having no sensation in a body part for most of your life and then being able to feel it at last. That was the transformation being sought by about 60 Kenyan women who had undergone female genital mutilation, or FGM, during childhood and came forward for reconstructive surgery of the clitoris during a recent humanitarian operation in Nairobi.
(With inputs from agencies.)