Health News Roundup: China's fresh COVID wave raises concern of trading volume slowdown; Indonesia confirms outbreak of African swine fever, WOAH says and more
The Biden administration's rules imposed in September 2021 requiring about 3.5 million federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated or face firing or disciplinary action have not been enforced for over a year after a series of court rulings. Drugmakers set strategy for legal fight against US pricing regulation Some of the world’s biggest drugmakers are laying legal groundwork to fight the U.S. plan to negotiate drug prices for its Medicare health coverage, including the argument that a ban against speaking about these talks violates constitutional rights, according to six industry sources.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
China's fresh COVID wave raises concern of trading volume slowdown
A fresh wave of COVID-19 is spreading through China as people return from public holiday travel, reaching trading floors and raising concern of an impact to trading volume - albeit likely not as pronounced as previous pandemic-induced disruption. More than half a dozen traders and banking sources told Reuters this week that they or colleagues had contracted the coronavirus recently, or had heard of peers testing positive.
Indonesia confirms outbreak of African swine fever, WOAH says
Indonesia has reported an outbreak of African swine fever on a farm on the Riau Islands near Singapore, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) said on Tuesday. The outbreak that killed 35,297 pigs in a herd of 285,034 on a farm located on Bulan island was detected on April 1 and confirmed on April 28, the Paris-based WOAH said, citing Indonesian authorities.
Gilead Sciences prevails in US government lawsuit over HIV drug patents
A federal jury on Tuesday found that Gilead Sciences Inc did not infringe U.S. patents with its HIV-prevention regimens using the drugs Truvada and Descovy, handing the government a defeat in its billion-dollar lawsuit. The Delaware jury found the government's patents were invalid and not infringed following a five-day trial and a morning of deliberations.
Novavax forecasts higher-than-expected revenue; shares surge
COVID-19 vaccine maker Novavax Inc on Tuesday forecast much higher 2023 revenue than Wall Street expected and announced plans to cut a quarter of its workforce, spurring hopes of a recovery for the cash-strapped biotech, and its shares jumped 40%. In February, the company raised doubts about its ability to remain in business, due to uncertainty about 2023 revenue, funding from the U.S. government, and pending arbitration with global vaccine alliance Gavi.
Baxter to divest biopharma business for $4.25 billion
Baxter International Inc said on Monday a private-equity group, which includes Warburg Pincus and Advent International, has agreed to buy its biopharma solutions unit for $4.25 billion. Medical device makers such as Baxter have been grappling with supply-chain shortages that began during the pandemic, while rising costs of raw materials, labor and transportation added more pressure.
Global push to tackle maternal and newborn deaths has stalled, WHO report finds
Progress in reducing deaths during pregnancy and childbirth and among newborn infants has stalled since 2015, and over 60 countries are on track to miss 2030 targets at current rates, a World Health Organization report released on Tuesday found. The COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, and worsening humanitarian crises have strained already pressured healthcare systems, the U.N. agency said in a statement.
Novavax's COVID, flu vaccine candidates show promise in study
Novavax Inc said on Tuesday that a mid-stage study of three of its vaccines, including a combination shot targeting COVID-19 and influenza, showed strong immune responses and were found to be safe.
US panel drops mammography screening age back to 40
Women at average risk for breast cancer should get screening mammograms every other year starting at age 40, according to a proposed guideline update from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), reflecting improved diagnostic technology and treatment. The update reverses a controversial recommendation made by the panel in 2009, when it advised against routine mammograms for women in their 40s and said biennial screening should start at age 50, unless women and their doctors decided earlier screening was appropriate.
Biden revokes COVID travel, federal employee vaccine requirements
President Joe Biden on Tuesday revoked requirements that most international visitors to the United States be vaccinated against COVID-19 as well as similar rules for federal employees and contractors. Biden's orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. ET May 12 with the expiration of the U.S. COVID public health emergency. The Biden administration's rules imposed in September 2021 requiring about 3.5 million federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated or face firing or disciplinary action have not been enforced for over a year after a series of court rulings.
Drugmakers set strategy for legal fight against US pricing regulation
Some of the world’s biggest drugmakers are laying legal groundwork to fight the U.S. plan to negotiate drug prices for its Medicare health coverage, including the argument that a ban against speaking about these talks violates constitutional rights, according to six industry sources. The Biden Administration’s signature drug pricing reform, part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), aims to save $25 billion through price negotiations by 2031 for Americans who pay more for medicines than any other country.
(With inputs from agencies.)