Health Sector News: IVF, Avian Flu, and More Breaking Updates

A summary of recent health news includes breakthroughs and updates in IVF embryo policies, bird flu vaccines for cattle, major healthcare mergers, and more. Topics cover rulings on embryo status, corporate health mergers, gene therapy trial outcomes, and U.S. healthcare statistics. Stay informed on these advancements.

Reuters | Updated: 13-06-2024 10:26 IST | Created: 13-06-2024 10:26 IST
Health Sector News: IVF, Avian Flu, and More Breaking Updates
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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Explainer-How freezing embryos plays a crucial role in IVF

The Southern Baptist Convention voted Wednesday to condemn the use of in vitro fertilization and commend congregants who use alternative fertility therapies or adopt frozen embryos. In February, the practice of freezing embryos was thrown into chaos in Alabama. The state supreme court ruled that such embryos should be considered children, exposing clinics to wrongful death claims in the event they are destroyed in the thawing process. The state later passed a law protecting IVF and allowing clinics to resume operations.

Two dozen companies working to find bird flu vaccine for cows, US agriculture secretary says

Twenty-four companies are working to develop an avian flu vaccine for cattle, as the virus spreads among U.S. dairy herds, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Reuters on Wednesday. Bird flu has infected 90 dairy herds across 12 states since late March, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Three dairy farm workers also have been infected with the virus, two in Michigan and one in Texas.

US Southern Baptists condemn IVF procedure

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., on Wednesday voted to condemn the use of in vitro fertilization, signaling the campaign by evangelicals against abortion is widening to include the popular fertility treatment. Earlier at its annual meeting, a proposed amendment to the church's constitution that would have banned women as pastors fell just short of the two-thirds majority vote it needed to pass.

Sigma's $5.9 billion merger with Australia's Chemist Warehouse raises regulatory concerns

Australia's competition regulator on Thursday flagged major concerns with Sigma Healthcare's proposed merger with retailer Chemist Warehouse Group to form a A$8.8 billion ($5.9 billion) company. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a statement the proposed integration across the wholesale and retail level would limit competition in a number of markets.

Pfizer's Duchenne gene therapy fails in late-stage study

Pfizer said on Wednesday its experimental gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) failed to improve the motion function of patients in a late-stage trial compared with a placebo. The therapy also did not show a significant difference compared to placebo in secondary goals of the study such the time it takes for patients to rise from the floor or improve speed in a 10-meter run or walk.

WHO says risk to public health from avian influenza A (H5N1) remains low

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that the risk to public health from the avian influenza A (H5N1) virus remained low despite its spread among dairy cattle in the United States. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said the virus had not shown signs of having acquired the ability to spread easily among humans, with 893 human cases reported since 2003.

Cancer victims ask court to block J&J talc bankruptcy

A group of cancer victims asked a federal judge to block Johnson & Johnson's proposed bankruptcy settlement of tens of thousands of lawsuits alleging the company's baby powder and other talc products caused their illnesses, according to a court filing. The plaintiffs filed a motion late on Tuesday in a New Jersey court seeking a temporary restraining order to stop a J&J subsidiary from filing bankruptcy in Texas or another jurisdiction outside New Jersey.

US health dept says UnitedHealth can notify patients of data breach

U.S. healthcare providers can ask UnitedHealth Group to notify people whose data was exposed during a hack on the company's Change Healthcare unit in February, according to an update on the health department's website. The news comes as a relief for U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers that had urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to shift the notification responsibility to UnitedHealth and its unit.

About 4% of US adults age 65 and older have a dementia diagnosis, survey finds

Some 4% of U.S. adults aged 65 and older say they have been diagnosed with dementia, a rate that reached 13% for those at least 85-years old, according to a report of a national survey released on Thursday. The report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was based on the 2022 National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults aged 18 and older. The survey in 2019 added the option to report dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, to its questions on doctor-diagnosed health conditions.

U.S. healthcare spending rises to $4.8 trillion in 2023, outpacing GDP

Healthcare spending in the U.S. is projected to have risen 7.5% in 2023 to $4.8 trillion, federal data showed on Wednesday, outpacing the projected annual gross domestic product growth rate of 6.1%. Spending on Medicaid and private health insurance drove the growth, with the insured share of the population surging to a historic high of 93%, data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) showed.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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