Health News Roundup: UK panel calls for COVID booster dose for higher-risk groups in autumn; Merck ends Keytruda trial in prostate cancer patients after dismal interim data and more
The notice did not mention COVID-19 but said that residents in the city are required to stay in their homes through the end of Sunday and must submit to temperature checks multiple times each day, according to NK News, which monitors North Korea. EU must do more to tackle antibiotic shortages, say patient groups The European Union's drug regulator needs to do more to tackle shortages of some widely-used antibiotics in the region, according to a letter from a group of European patient and consumer organizations reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Eli Lilly to invest $450 million more to expand capacity as obesity drug decision looms
Eli Lilly and Co plan to invest an additional $450 million to expand the capacity of a plant in North Carolina, the U.S. drugmaker said on Tuesday, as it races to boost production ahead of a decision on its promising obesity treatment. The company has been struggling to meet strong demand for its incretin products, which include its blockbuster diabetes drug Trulicity and recently launched Mounjaro. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added both to its list of drugs facing shortages.
Merck ends Keytruda trial in prostate cancer patients after dismal interim data
Merck & Co Inc said on Wednesday it was discontinuing a late-stage trial of its blockbuster immunotherapy Keytruda in some prostate cancer patients after interim data showed it was unlikely to meet the study's main goals. The interim analysis showed the therapy did not extend survival or help extend the time a patient lives without the disease worsening, the U.S. drugmaker said.
UK panel calls for COVID booster dose for higher-risk groups in autumn
Britain's vaccine advisers on Wednesday said plans should be made to offer a COVID-19 booster vaccination dose to those at higher risk of severe disease this autumn. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation also called for an extra booster vaccine dose in the spring for a smaller group of people, such as older and immunosuppressed people.
Cholera death toll passes 1,000 in Malawi as outbreak spreads
The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Malawi has passed 1,000 while cases have risen to 30,621, the highest on record in the country, Health Minister Khumbize Chiponda said on Wednesday. Most of the deaths occurred in the two main cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre where children have recently gone back to classes after schools delayed opening to try and contain the spread.
CDC chief to create new offices to boost public health response - Bloomberg News
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky is creating new offices as part of the agency's revamp to prioritize public health response, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday. The CDC had said in August it would undergo a series of changes after months of criticism over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Mpox outbreak.
North Korea locks down capital city over 'respiratory illness' - report
Authorities in the North Korean capital Pyongyang have ordered a five-day lockdown due to rising cases of an unspecified respiratory illness, Seoul-based NK News reported on Wednesday, citing a government notice. The notice did not mentioned COVID-19, but said that residents in the city are required to stay in their homes through the end of Sunday and must submit to temperature checks multiple times each day, according to NK News, which monitors North Korea.
EU must do more to tackle antibiotic shortages, say patient groups
The European Union's drug regulator needs to do more to tackle shortages of some widely-used antibiotics in the region, according to a letter from a group of European patient and consumer organisations reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday. The letter to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes as antibiotics, including amoxicillin - used to treat bacterial infections and often prescribed for ear and chest infections in children - have been in short supply since October.
China says peak COVID infections exceeded 7 million daily, deaths more than 4,000 daily
China's daily new COVID-19 infections hit a peak of more than 7 million per day around Dec. 22, while deaths reached a daily peak of more than 4,000 on Jan. 4, the country's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. The figures, published on the centre's website, come after a prominent government scientist said over the weekend that 80% of China's 1.4 billion population have already been infected, making the possibility of a big COVID-19 rebound over the next two or three months remote.
WHO investigating links between cough syrup deaths, considers advice for parents
The World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating whether there is any connection between manufacturers whose contaminated cough syrups it has linked to the deaths of more than 300 children in three countries, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Citing “unacceptable levels” of toxins in the products, the WHO is seeking more information about the specific raw materials used by six manufacturers in India and Indonesia to produce medicines linked to the recent deaths, as well as whether the companies obtained them from some of the same suppliers, the person said. The WHO has not named any suppliers.
Abbott beats profit estimate on diagnostics, diabetes devices boost
Abbott Laboratories reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, underpinned by strong demand for the U.S. healthcare company's diagnostics business and glucose monitoring device FreeStyle Libre. Abbott's Freestyle Libre has been driving the sales of its medical devices, offsetting a fall in the numbers of COVID-19 diagnostic tests as infections wane.
(With inputs from agencies.)