Health News Roundup: Pregnant woman sues to invalidate Kentucky's abortion bans; Gaza health situation is 'catastrophic': WHO chief and more
Casgevy, developed by partners Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics, and bluebird bio's Lyfgenia were approved for people aged 12 years and older. Hong Kong to cull 900 pigs amid outbreak of deadly swine fever Hong Kong authorities have ordered the culling of more than 900 pigs after detecting the presence of the deadly African swine fever (ASF) in animals at a licensed farm in the New Territories district.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Pregnant woman sues to invalidate Kentucky's abortion bans
A pregnant woman and Planned Parenthood sued Kentucky on Friday, seeking to invalidate its near-total ban on abortion, saying the law violates rights to privacy and self-determination in the state constitution. The lawsuit was filed by an anonymous woman, who is eight weeks pregnant and wants an abortion, on behalf of a proposed class of similarly situated women in Kentucky. It comes after the state's court ruled in an earlier challenge brought by Planned Parenthood and another abortion provider that providers did not have standing to sue on patients' behalf.
Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocks woman from emergency abortion
The Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocked a pregnant woman from obtaining an emergency abortion on Friday, shortly after the state's attorney general requested the block. The legal battle is a major test case since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the nationwide constitutional right to abortion last year, enabling states like Texas to pass near complete bans.
Merck-Eisai's endometrial cancer therapy combo fails first-line treatment trial
Merck said on Friday a combination therapy being developed with partner Eisai failed a late-stage trial testing it as a first-line treatment for a type of cancer in the uterus lining. This is the latest in a string of trial failures studying Merck's blockbuster drug Keytruda and Eisai's Lenvima combination as a treatment for various cancers.
Gaza health situation is 'catastrophic': WHO chief
The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Gaza's healthcare sector has been "catastrophic", the World Health Organization chief said on Sunday at an emergency board meeting, saying conditions were ideal for the spread of deadly diseases. However, he said it would be all but impossible for the WHO to improve the situation given the ongoing violence.
US FDA approves two gene therapies for sickle cell disease
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved two gene therapies for sickle cell disease, making one of them the first treatment in the United States based on the Nobel Prize-winning CRISPR gene editing technology. Casgevy, developed by partners Vertex Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics, and bluebird bio's Lyfgenia were approved for people aged 12 years and older.
Hong Kong to cull 900 pigs amid outbreak of deadly swine fever
Hong Kong authorities have ordered the culling of more than 900 pigs after detecting the presence of the deadly African swine fever (ASF) in animals at a licensed farm in the New Territories district. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said 19 of 30 pigs tested had swine fever and that transportation of pigs from the farm had been immediately suspended. The culling will start early next week, it said.
WHO 'very worried' about spread of mpox in DRC
The World Health Organization is “very worried” about the spread of a severe form of mpox that has killed nearly 600 people, mainly children, in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year, a senior official said. The country has reported over 13,000 cases in 2023, more than twice as many as during the last peak in 2020, with the disease occurring in almost every province. The WHO is working with the authorities on the response and a risk assessment.
Novo, Lilly rivals explore booming weight-loss drug market entry
Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have pulled ahead in the race for a slice of the weight-loss drugs market, expected to be worth $100 billion by the end of the decade, and rivals are looking to catch up through acquisitions and trials. The following are deals by big drugmakers and comments from top executives on the promising opportunity:
Vertex/CRISPR price sickle cell disease gene therapy at $2.2 million
Vertex Pharmaceuticals and its partner CRISPR Therapeutics said on Friday their sickle cell disease gene therapy Casgevy would be available at a list price of $2.2 million in the United States. Bluebird bio said it has set a list price of $3.1 million for its treatment, Lyfgenia, for the condition.
(With inputs from agencies.)