Health News Roundup: Biden plans $100 million drive to combat drug-resistant 'superbugs'; J&J's lung cancer therapy combo succeeds in late-stage study and more
The contract is a part of "Project NextGen," an initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to advance a pipeline of new, innovative vaccines and therapeutics providing broader and more durable protection against COVID-19 infection. Newer antibiotic effective against deadly staph infection in trial An antibiotic already in use in Europe to treat pneumonia controlled deadly bloodstream infections with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria just as effectively as the most powerful antibiotic currently in use, according to data from a late-stage trial.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Biden plans $100 million drive to combat drug-resistant 'superbugs'
U.S. President Joe Biden will announce on Wednesday a $100 million research drive to fight deadly drug-resistant bacteria, according to a White House official. More than a million people worldwide lose their lives each year due to infections resulting from bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to the World Health Organization.
J&J's lung cancer therapy combo succeeds in late-stage study
Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday its cancer therapy combination met the main goal in a late-stage study testing it as a treatment for patients with a type of lung cancer. The drugmaker said an interim analysis of data from the study showed a trend "favoring" the combination of its antibody treatment Rybrevant and experimental drug lazertinib, when compared to AstraZeneca's cancer drug osimertinib or Tagrisso.
Gritstone bio wins $433 million US contract for COVID vaccine study
Gritstone bio on Wednesday secured a $433 million contract by the U.S. government to conduct a mid-stage study of its self-amplifying mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The contract is a part of "Project NextGen," an initiative by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to advance a pipeline of new, innovative vaccines and therapeutics providing broader and more durable protection against COVID-19 infection.
Newer antibiotic effective against deadly staph infection in trial
An antibiotic already in use in Europe to treat pneumonia controlled deadly bloodstream infections with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria just as effectively as the most powerful antibiotic currently in use, according to data from a late-stage trial. Ceftobiprole from Swiss drugmaker Basilea Pharmaceutica appeared to be equally effective as the older drug daptomycin in the roughly one-in-four patients who had particularly difficult to treat methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections, researchers reported on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Wegovy, other weight-loss drugs scrutinized over reports of suicidal thoughts
Dawn Heidlebaugh felt trapped in a disturbing pattern while taking Ozempic, the popular drug used to treat diabetes and obesity. Each Sunday for more than a year, the 53-year-old Ohio real estate agent took her weekly injection to help control her blood sugar. Then every Tuesday, she felt lethargic, depressed and sometimes suicidal, thinking her husband and four children might be better off without her. These feelings would last a few days, and the cycle repeated every week — except when she skipped a dose.
Schott Pharma shares jump 11% on Frankfurt trading debut
Shares in medical vials manufacturer Schott Pharma rose 11% on their trading debut on Thursday in Germany's largest initial public offering (IPO) so far this year. Shares in the company were changing hands at around 30 euros ($31.6) in morning trading in Frankfurt, up from the 27 euros paid by investors in the IPO, adding to signs that Europe's IPO market is picking up.
Merck's blood vessel disorder therapy receives US FDA's priority review
Merck said on Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted under priority review the company's application for an experimental therapy to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in adults. PAH is a rare, progressive disorder characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.
Ohio urges top court to revive abortion ban ahead of statewide vote
Ohio on Wednesday urged the state's highest court to let a ban on abortion at about six weeks of pregnancy take effect, just weeks before voters in the state will decide whether to enshrine a right to abortion in the state constitution. While the arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court focused on procedural questions and will not lead to a final ruling in the case, a decision reviving the ban even temporarily could draw attention to abortion rights in the weeks before the November referendum.
German court suspends mRNA patent trial against BioNTech
A German court on Thursday suspended a patent trial against BioNTech over the use of mRNA technology in the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the German company together with its U.S. partner Pfizer. The Duesseldorf regional court said it needed further clarification and suspended the case, brought by BioNTech competitor CureVac, pending a decision by the federal patent court on a lawsuit filed by BioNTech.
S.Africa's RCL Foods culls 410,000 chickens amid bird flu outbreak
South Africa's RCL Foods said on Thursday its poultry unit Rainbow has culled 410,000 chickens due to the country's worst outbreak of avian flu, heightening fears of chicken meat and egg shortages. The outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), a bird flu which spreads rapidly in an infected flock causing a high death rate, has already impacted table egg supplies in the country and producers have warned of chicken meat shortages in the coming weeks.
(With inputs from agencies.)