Health News Roundup: China COVID peak to last two-three months, hit rural areas next; Mainland Chinese head to Hong Kong for mRNA COVID vaccines and more
Infections are expected to surge in rural areas as hundreds of millions travel to their home towns for the Lunar New Year holidays, which officially start from Jan. 21, known before the pandemic as the world's largest annual migration of people. Mainland Chinese head to Hong Kong for mRNA COVID vaccines Scores of mainland Chinese travellers are rushing to Hong Kong to receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which are not available on the Chinese mainland, as the country grapples with a torrent of infections which have overwhelmed its health system.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
China COVID peak to last two-three months, hit rural areas next
The peak of China's COVID-19 wave is expected to last two to three months, and will soon swell over the vast countryside where medical resources are relatively scarce, a top Chinese epidemiologist has said. Infections are expected to surge in rural areas as hundreds of millions travel to their home towns for the Lunar New Year holidays, which officially start from Jan. 21, known before the pandemic as the world's largest annual migration of people.
Mainland Chinese head to Hong Kong for mRNA COVID vaccines
Scores of mainland Chinese travellers are rushing to Hong Kong to receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which are not available on the Chinese mainland, as the country grapples with a torrent of infections which have overwhelmed its health system. A private hospital in the special Chinese administrative region of Hong Kong welcomed the first batch of mainland customers on Thursday, just five days after China reopened its borders for the first time in three years, allowing quarantine free travel.
Countries ponder wider wastewater testing amid hope airports offer China COVID-19 clues
An international meeting this week will discuss setting up a global system of wastewater monitoring for COVID-19, including at airports, after several countries said they would start tests on flights coming from China. Countries including the United States and Australia have moved to set up wastewater testing on flights and in airports amid a surge of cases in China. The European Union also recommends a similar measure and has drawn up guidelines for member states.
California lawsuit accuses drugmakers of insulin overcharging
California is suing the United States' leading insulin makers and pharmacy benefit managers, accusing them of using their market power to overcharge patients for the life-saving drug, the state's attorney general announced on Thursday. The lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, targets Eli Lilly and Co, Novo Nordisk A/S and Sanofi SA, which together make more than 90% of the insulin drugs sold globally.
Factbox-Countries mandate COVID tests for China travellers
Authorities around the world are imposing or considering curbs on travellers from China as COVID-19 cases there surge following its relaxation of "zero-COVID" rules. China has rejected criticism of its COVID data. PLACES IMPOSING CURBS
Uganda declares itself Ebola-free after swiftly turning tide on outbreak
Uganda on Wednesday declared the end of a nearly four-month Ebola outbreak that it briefly struggled to contain but was then able to swiftly bring under control despite the absence of a proven vaccine against the viral strain in question. "We have successfully controlled the spread of Ebola in Uganda," Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said during a ceremony to mark the outbreak's end.
Olympus says fixing issues raised by U.S. FDA about facilities in Japan
Olympus Corp, a Japanese medical device maker, said it was taking action to address concerns raised by the U.S. health regulator related to violations found during the inspection of the company's facilities in Japan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Monday it had issued warning letters to Olympus' units pertaining to a category of devices known as endoscopes, citing violations at its facilities.
U.S. to announce list of drugs for pricing negotiations Sept. 1
The U.S. government will announce a list of 10 prescription drugs for which it plans to negotiate the prices for Medicare recipients on Sept. 1, and the prices a year later, a top Biden administration official said on Wednesday. President Joe Biden in August signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which among its provisions for the first time allows the federal Medicare health plan for people age 65 and older and the disabled to negotiate prices on some of the most expensive drugs.
U.S. extends public health emergency status for COVID
The U.S. health department on Wednesday extended the COVID-19 pandemic's status as a public health emergency, allowing millions of Americans to continue receiving free tests, vaccines and treatments. The emergency was first declared in January 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began, and has been renewed each quarter since then. It was due to end this week.
U.S. childhood vaccinations dip again in 2021-'22 school year -study
Vaccination rates among kindergarten children against potentially deadly diseases such as polio, measles and diphtheria fell in the 2021-2022 school year, extending the previous year's slide from pre-pandemic levels, a U.S. government study showed on Thursday. The fall in rates for the four most commonly required childhood vaccines reflects the disruption caused by COVID-19 on healthcare and the need to restore vaccination coverage to pre-pandemic levels, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said of the data it collected.
(With inputs from agencies.)