Health News Roundup: Updated COVID vaccines prevented illness from latest variants -CDC; FDA classifies recall of Getinge's heart devices as most serious and more
"Today we have additional evidence to show that these updated vaccines are protecting people against the latest COVID-19 variants," Dr. Brendan Jackson, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 response, told reporters in a briefing. FDA classifies recall of Getinge's heart devices as most serious The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday classified the recall of Swedish medical equipment maker Getinge's heart devices as its most serious type since their use could lead to death.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Lawsuits filed over U.S. state restrictions on abortion pills
A maker of abortion pills and a doctor have filed lawsuits challenging state restrictions on the medication, in the first lawsuits of their kind since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal constitutional right to abortion. In a complaint filed in federal court in Huntington, West Virginia, GenBioPro Inc said the state cannot override the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval from 2000 of mifepristone by banning the drug, the first in a two-drug regimen for medication abortions.
Updated COVID vaccines prevented illness from latest variants -CDC
The updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE and Moderna helped prevent symptomatic infections against the new XBB-related subvariants, offering new evidence of how the vaccines perform against these fast-spreading strains, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. "Today we have additional evidence to show that these updated vaccines are protecting people against the latest COVID-19 variants," Dr. Brendan Jackson, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 response, told reporters in a briefing.
FDA classifies recall of Getinge's heart devices as most serious
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday classified the recall of Swedish medical equipment maker Getinge's heart devices as its most serious type since their use could lead to death. Datascope, a unit of Getinge, had recalled 4,454 therapeutic devices in December following a death and four serious injuries from their use. The devices are designed to help the heart pump more blood.
U.S. FDA joins global regulators probing tainted overseas cough syrup
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday it is working with the World Health Organization and foreign regulatory authorities to support an investigation into the source of contaminated cough syrups that have killed more than 300 children in Africa and Asia. In a statement, the FDA said it had no indication that contaminated syrups had entered the U.S. drug supply chain, but it is "investigating the potential impact and scope of this hazard on FDA-regulated products." The agency recommended consumers only take medicines which were made to be sold in the United States, especially for children.
Merck scraps Keytruda trial for prostate cancer 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 to give COVID booster dose to higher-risk groups in autumn
British health minister Steve Barclay said on Wednesday a COVID-19 booster vaccination would be offered in autumn this year for those at higher risk of severe disease. Earlier on Wednesday Britain's vaccine advisers, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said plans should be made to offer such a booster vaccination.
China says COVID deaths, severe cases have fallen over 70% since peak
Critically ill COVID-19 cases in China are down 72% from a peak early this month while daily deaths among COVID-19 patients in hospitals have dropped 79% from their peak, the Center 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 had already been infected, making the possibility of a big COVID-19 rebound over the next two or three months remote.
Japan to downgrade coronavirus classification on May 8 - NHK
Japan is set to downgrade its classification of COVID-19 to that of a less serious disease on May 8, revising its measures against the coronavirus such as relaxing guidance that people wear masks in public indoor places, NHK public broadcaster said. The government last revised coronavirus measures in May 2022.
Roche launches new test to detect fast spreading Omicron sub-variant
Roche has launched a new PCR test to detect a fast-spreading sub-variant of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus, the Swiss drugmaker said on Thursday. The new test specifically targets the XBB.1.5 Omicron variant and will help researchers closely track the virus’s lineage and provide insights into the epidemiology and impact it has on public health, the company added.
Staffing woes set to weigh on hospital operator's profits
Hospital operators in the U.S. are likely to see a dip in fourth-quarter profits as an ongoing staffing crunch limits their ability to take advantage of an early onset of the flu season and boost admissions. Nursing shortages at hospitals have persisted for years and have worsened during the pandemic, driving up costs for hospitals as they seek to retain staff.
(With inputs from agencies.)