Health News Roundup: Merck's Ebola vaccine; Spravato wins European panel vote and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
WHO hails 'triumph' as Merck's Ebola vaccine gets European green light
The world's first Ebola vaccine was recommended for approval by European drugs regulators on Friday in a move hailed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a "triumph for public health" that would save many lives. The vaccine, developed by U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co, is already being used under emergency guidelines to try to protect people against the spread of a deadly Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Early menopause tied to heart problems before 60
Women who go through menopause earlier in life may be more likely to have a heart attack or stroke before they reach age 60 than their counterparts who go through menopause later on, a recent study suggests. Researchers examined data from 15 observational studies with a total of more than 300,000 women, including almost 13,000 women who survived events like a heart attack or stroke after menopause.
FDA approves Alexion's Ultomiris for another rare blood disease
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc's treatment for a second rare blood disorder, the company said. The treatment, Ultomiris, has already been approved in the United States, Japan and the European Union to treat adults with blood disorder called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it is recalling around 33,000 bottles of baby powder in the United States after U.S. health regulators found trace amounts of asbestos in samples taken from a bottle purchased online. J&J shares fell more than 6% to close at $127.70.
Current and ex smokers may lower lung cancer risk with exercise
Men who are current or former smokers may be less likely to develop or die from lung cancer when they're more physically fit, a recent study suggests. Researchers gave treadmill tests to 2,979 men - 1,602 who were former smokers and 1,377 who were current smokers - to assess their "cardiorespiratory" fitness, or how easily the circulatory and respiratory systems can supply oxygen to muscles during physical exertion. They assessed exercise capacity using a standard measurement known as metabolic equivalents (METs) which reflects how much oxygen is consumed during physical activity.
J&J's depression drug Spravato wins European panel vote
Johnson & Johnson's nasal spray for depression won recommendation for approval from a European Medicines Agency (EMA) panel, the regulatory body said on Friday. The treatment, Spravato, which is the chemical mirror image of the often-abused anesthetic ketamine, won U.S. approval in March, making it the first new type of drug for depression in more than 30 years.
Early life stress tied to increased pain sensitivity later
People who were exposed to more sources of stress in the womb and early childhood may be more sensitive to pain by early adulthood than their counterparts with little or no exposure to stress early on, a recent study suggests. Researchers focused on stressful life events that might occur in children's households during pregnancy or early childhood such as pregnancy complications, the death of a close friend or family member, marital problems or breakups, job loss or other financial hardships, or residential moves. Then, researchers tested pain sensitivity for 1,065 participants when they reached 22 years old.
Ebola concentrated in Congo mining area, still an emergency: WHO
Ebola is infecting and killing people in a gold mining area of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and the "complex and dangerous" outbreak still constitutes an international emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. The virus has infected 3,227 people and killed 2,154 of them since the outbreak was declared in August 2018 and went on to became the world's second worst outbreak, it said.
Sanofi pulls Zantac from U.S. and Canada after carcinogen found
Sanofi SA said on Friday it would recall popular heartburn medicine Zantac in the United States and Canada, after the medicines were linked with a probable cancer-causing impurity. The French drugmaker said it was working with health authorities to determine the level and extent of the recall, which it called a precautionary measure being taken due to possible contamination with a substance called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).
Opioid settlement talks fail, landmark trial expected Monday
A landmark trial over the U.S. opioid epidemic is on track to begin on Monday after drug companies and local governments failed to agree on a settlement on Friday that had been expected to be valued at around $50 billion. Top executives of the largest U.S. drug distributors and drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd left a Cleveland courthouse on Friday and lawyers for states and thousands of local governments said there was no agreement.
(With inputs from agencies.)