Health News Roundup: Opko Health shares rise on Merck deal for experimental Epstein-Barr vaccine; U.S. FDA approves Amphastar Pharma's nasal spray for opioid overdose and more
Reuters and other outlets on Tuesday reported that the CDC plans to drop the testing requirements imposed in early January on Friday. Older Eli Lilly's drug fails Alzheimer's prevention trial An early-generation Alzheimer's drug from Eli Lilly and Co failed to slow cognitive decline in patients treated before they showed symptoms, but the large trial found a strong link between levels of brain plaques and disease progression, the company said on Wednesday.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Opko Health shares rise on Merck deal for experimental Epstein-Barr vaccine
Opko Health Inc said on Wednesday it signed a deal with Merck & Co Inc potentially worth up to $922.5 million for its experimental Epstein-Barr virus vaccine. Shares of Opko rose as much as 24%, before paring gains to trade 9.4% higher at $1.16.
U.S. FDA approves Amphastar Pharma's nasal spray for opioid overdose
Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Wednesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved its nasal spray for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. The company's naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray can be delivered in one spray by intranasal administration — delivering 4 mg of the drug in adults and pediatric patients — for an initial dosing, according to the FDA label. The regulator's approval allows its use only when prescribed.
Australia drops COVID testing requirements for travellers arriving from China
Australia will drop the requirement for travellers arriving from China to test for COVID-19 before departure from midnight on March 11, the country's health minister said in a statement on Thursday. The measures also apply to travellers from Hong Kong and Macau.
Philippines confirms African swine fever outbreak in Cebu
The Philippines' agriculture department on Wednesday confirmed an outbreak of African swine fever in central Cebu province, and has deployed response teams to detect the extent of infection. The department's Bureau of Animal Industry said 58 out of 149 blood samples from Carcar City in Cebu tested positive for the diseases, which is not harmful to humans but is highly contagious among pigs.
Five women who say they were denied abortions sue Texas
Five women who said they were denied abortions despite grave risk to their lives have sued the state of Texas, in the first apparent case of pregnant women suing over curbs imposed after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June. The lawsuit filed on Monday asks a state court in Austin, the state's capital, to clarify that doctors cannot be prosecuted for providing abortions, if in their good faith judgment the procedure is necessary to treat emergencies that threaten patients' life or health.
US CDC to lift COVID testing requirements for travelers from China
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed on Wednesday it plans to end mandatory COVID-19 tests for travelers from China, joining other countries in eliminating the requirements. Reuters and other outlets on Tuesday reported that the CDC plans to drop the testing requirements imposed in early January on Friday.
Older Eli Lilly's drug fails Alzheimer's prevention trial
An early-generation Alzheimer's drug from Eli Lilly and Co failed to slow cognitive decline in patients treated before they showed symptoms, but the large trial found a strong link between levels of brain plaques and disease progression, the company said on Wednesday. The experimental drug, solanezumab, was designed to target only soluble forms of amyloid beta, a toxic protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. The drug, which does not clear existing plaques, was abandoned by Lilly in 2016 after it did not slow loss of mental functioning in patients with mild Alzheimer's symptoms in clinical trials.
Former drug firm exec sentenced to more than 2 years for illegal opioid sales
The former chief executive of Rochester Drug Co-operative was sentenced to more than two years in prison on Wednesday for conspiring to distribute opioids illegally, in the first criminal opioid trafficking case against a drug wholesaler and its executives. U.S. District Judge George Daniels sentenced Laurence Doud, 79, to 27 months at a hearing in Manhattan. Daniels said Doud's crime was serious and "motivated solely by profit," but that the government's requested sentence of 15 years was more than needed.
Honduras lifts decade-long ban on 'morning after pill'
Honduran President Xiomara Castro signed an executive order on Wednesday ending a ban of more than 10 years on the use and sale of the "morning after pill," fulfilling a campaign promise long-awaited by feminist groups. Castro, the country's first female president, took office last year after running on the promise of rolling back the country's restrictive reproductive policies.
US FDA flags shortage of medication used to treat breathing conditions
The U.S. health regulator said on Wednesday that it is working to address a shortage of a particular form of albuterol, a medication used to treat breathing conditions, as its sole manufacturer Akorn has stopped production. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added that it is working closely with manufacturers in the supply chain to "understand, mitigate and prevent or reduce any related impacts" due to the shortage of the medication.
(With inputs from agencies.)