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Health News Roundup: H5N8 strain of bird flu in Hungary; China pneumonia outbreak and more


Health News Roundup: H5N8 strain of bird flu in Hungary; China pneumonia outbreak and more

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

H5N8 strain of bird flu found at turkey farm in Hungary

The H5N8 strain of bird flu has been found at a large turkey farm in northwestern Hungary, the National Food Chain Safety Authority (NEBIH) said on Monday. Slovakia, Hungary's northern European Union neighbour, reported its first outbreak of the same highly pathogenic strain of the virus in nearly three years in backyard poultry in the western part of the country on Friday.

Acasti's krill oil-derived drug fails late-stage study, shares tumble

Acasti Pharma Inc said on Monday its krill oil-derived drug candidate, CaPre, failed to show a statistically significant reduction in a type of fat found in blood compared to placebo in a late-stage study, sending its shares down 54%. The company said the drug, derived from shrimp-like crustaceans called krill, was not more effective than placebo in reducing high levels of triglycerides after 12 weeks and 26 weeks of treatment due to unusually large placebo effect.

Switzerland's Obseva eyes China re-start for fertility drug that failed trial

ObsEva struck a pact with China's Yuyuan BioScience Technology to develop and commercialize the fertility drug nolasiban, the Swiss drugmaker said on Monday as it seeks to inject new life into a medicine that had flopped a trial. In November, ObsEva said it was scrapping a development program for nolasiban to help women undergoing in-vitro fertilization after did not meet its primary endpoint of an increase in ongoing pregnancy. The Nov. 7 announcement sent the shares down more than 30%.

China pneumonia outbreak not spreading at present: WHO

An outbreak of pneumonia that has killed one person in China and infected 40 others appears to be linked to a single seafood market in the central city of Wuhan and has not spread beyond there so far, the World Health Organization said on Sunday. The cluster of infections had raised fears of a potential epidemic after China said last week that the virus causing it was a previously unknown type but came from the same family of viruses that caused the SARS and MERS epidemics.

Chinese woman with mystery virus quarantined in Thailand

A Chinese woman has been quarantined in Thailand with a mystery strain of coronavirus just days ahead of the Lunar New Year, when Chinese tourists flock to Thailand, authorities said on Monday, the first time it has been detected outside China. A 61-year-old man has died from pneumonia in the central Chinese city of Wuhan after an outbreak of the yet to be identified virus while seven were in critical condition, Wuhan health authorities said on Saturday.

Man infected with mystery virus in China dies after outbreak

A 61-year-old man has died from pneumonia in the central Chinese city of Wuhan after an outbreak of a yet to be identified virus while seven others are in critical condition, the Wuhan health authorities said on Saturday. In total, 41 people have been diagnosed with the pathogen, which preliminary lab tests cited by Chinese state media earlier this week pointed to a new type of coronavirus, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on its website.

AstraZeneca to discontinue Epanova trial, expects $100 million writedown

AstraZeneca said on Monday it will discontinue a late-stage trial for heart disease drug Epanova to treat patients with mixed dyslipidaemia and expects a $100 million writedown to hit its core profit in the fourth quarter. The biggest British drugmaker by market value said the decision, which followed recommendations from an independent data monitoring committee, was due to low likelihood of Epanova's benefit to patients with mixed dyslipidaemia.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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