Health News Roundup: China eyes 10% cut in pesticide use on fruit, vegetables by 2025; Biden administration prepares to end mpox emergency declaration -Politico and more

Cases nationwide remain near record highs but the changes come as some cities have been lifting their lockdowns in recent days, and a top official said the ability of the virus to cause disease was weakening. U.S. FDA gives first-ever approval to fecal transplant therapy The U.S. health regulator on Wednesday approved Switzerland-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals' fecal transplant-based therapy to reduce the recurrence of a bacterial infection, making it the first therapy of its kind to be cleared in the United States.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 01-12-2022 18:36 IST | Created: 01-12-2022 18:30 IST
Health News Roundup: China eyes 10% cut in pesticide use on fruit, vegetables by 2025; Biden administration prepares to end mpox emergency declaration -Politico and more
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

China eyes 10% cut in pesticide use on fruit, vegetables by 2025

China, the world's top user of pesticides, aims to reduce their use in the cultivation of fruit, vegetables, and tea by a tenth within three years' time, the farm ministry said on Thursday, in an effort to curb chemicals in the food chain. High levels of chemical pesticides and fertilizers are used to produce crops on China's small, heavily-exploited plots, but overuse can degrade the soil and pollute water, while improper use can cause contamination and hurt biodiversity.

Biden administration prepares to end mpox emergency declaration -Politico

President Joe Biden's administration is preparing an end to its public health emergency declaration for mpox, Politico reported on Wednesday, adding that a final decision had yet to be made. Health officials are likely to issue a 60-day notice later this week for winding down the declaration, Politico said, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. The move would lead the declaration to officially expire by Jan. 31.

Chinese vice premier urges improvements in COVID measures as pathogenicity weakens

Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan called for further efforts to improve COVID-19 prevention and control measures, urging "optimization" of testing, treatment and quarantine policies, as the virus weakens in pathogenicity, according to state media. Her remarks come as cities across China take a more targeted approach to tackle outbreaks, fine-tuning 20 new measures released by the government almost three weeks ago.

Exclusive: China to allow home quarantine for some infected with COVID - sources

China will allow some people who test positive for COVID-19 to quarantine at home, among supplementary measures to be announced in coming days, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Home isolation for the infected would be a significant change in China's quarantine protocols. Earlier this year, entire communities were locked down, sometimes for weeks, after even just one positive case was found. Last month, new and easier quarantine rules required just the lockdown of affected buildings.

Driving simulator helps teens with ADHD keep eyes on the road - study

A computer simulation program for teen drivers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) helped them learn to keep their eyes on the road and resulted in fewer accidents or near collisions for a group at particularly high-risk when behind the wheel, according to a study published on Wednesday. By providing feedback when teens looked away from the road for two seconds or more, the training reduced the frequency of these long glances and lessened variations in lane position, researchers reported in The New England Journal of Medicine.

COVID hit HIV detection in Europe, threatens eradication progress

The number of people in Europe with undiagnosed HIV has risen as testing rates fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening a global goal of ending the disease by 2030, a report said. The joint World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report said that in 2021 a quarter fewer HIV diagnoses were recorded compared to pre-pandemic levels in the WHO's European region.

China set to loosen COVID curbs after week of historic protests

China is set to announce an easing of its COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the coming days and a reduction in mass testing, sources told Reuters, a marked shift in policy after anger over the world's toughest curbs fuelled widespread protests. Cases nationwide remain near record highs but the changes come as some cities have been lifting their lockdowns in recent days, and a top official said the ability of the virus to cause disease was weakening.

U.S. FDA gives first-ever approval to fecal transplant therapy

The U.S. health regulator on Wednesday approved Switzerland-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals' fecal transplant-based therapy to reduce the recurrence of a bacterial infection, making it the first therapy of its kind to be cleared in the United States. The therapy, Rebyota, targets Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile – a superbug responsible for infections that can cause serious and life-threatening diarrhea. In the United States, the infection is associated with 15,000-30,000 deaths annually.

Enfamil maker Reckitt sees formula shortage continuing until Spring

A shortage of infant formula that has hit the United States for most of this year - prompting White House intervention - is likely to "persist to some degree" until spring, according to the maker of Enfamil, now the biggest brand in the market. Earlier this year, baby formula aisles at supermarkets were emptied by panicked parents after former top U.S. manufacturer Abbott Laboratories in February recalled dozens of types of its Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formulas. The products, which were made at a plant in Michigan, were pulled after complaints of bacterial infections. Supermarkets like Target and Walgreens Boots Alliance were forced to limit sales of formula, putting pressure on the Biden administration to address the crisis. The White House in May took steps to address the shortage, invoking the Defense Production Act to help manufacturers obtain the ingredients needed to ramp up supply. Supplies are yet to return to normal since the peak of the crisis in May and June, despite the U.S. making progress in replenishing stocks, said Robert Cleveland, Reckitt's senior vice president, North America and Europe Nutrition.

China launches elderly vaccination drive but health fears linger

As China works to raise COVID-19 vaccination rates among its elderly, essential if the country is to open up again and live with COVID, many older people remain fearful that the treatment will make them sick. "If I were fit for vaccination, I would definitely get it," said Cai Shiyu, a 70-year-old retiree in Shanghai.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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