Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Analysis-FDA vaccine advisers face thorny question: Are COVID-19 boosters needed?
Advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are expected to discuss two key questions when they meet on Sept. 17 to consider a COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign this fall: Is protection from the initial shots waning, and will boosters help? The debate will likely be heated following the Biden Administration’s announcement last month – before the experts could weigh in – that the U.S. plans to start booster doses on Sept. 20 if regulators approve them.
Australian PM seeks quicker reopening after COVID-19 vaccine swap with Britain
Australia will receive an additional 4 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this month after agreeing on a swap deal with Britain, to help accelerate its vaccination program amid a record surge in infections. The deal, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday, will double the availability of Pfizer vaccines this month, with the first shipment of vaccines from Britain expected to arrive over the weekend.
China faces difficulties in expanding COVID-19 vaccination drive, official says
China is facing growing difficulties in expanding its mass COVID-19 vaccination drive, but it will continue to inoculate more people and step up the program of booster shots, a health official said on Friday. Zheng Zhongwei, an official at the National Health Commission, did not specify the obstacles but stressed that those who have not been vaccinated could not rely on being protected by those who have had the shots amid concerns over the highly transmissible Delta variant.
AstraZeneca reaches settlement with EU on COVID-19 vaccine delivery
AstraZeneca and the European Commission have reached a settlement on the delivery of 200 million pending COVID-19 vaccine doses by the drugmaker, ending a row about shortages that had weighed on the company and the region’s vaccination campaign. The dispute plunged the European Union into crisis earlier this year as states, under pressure to speed up vaccinations, scrambled for shots. It also caused a public relations crisis for AstraZeneca, which is led by Frenchman Pascal Soriot.
As COVID surges, more Florida school districts revolt against governor’s mask ban
In a scene replayed across the United States, angry parents and activists streamed into a meeting of Florida’s Lake County school board on Thursday where it considered whether to mandate mask-wearing for students and staff due to COVID. Some opponents of the mask proposal brandished signs that read “Let Our Children Breathe.” Even with Florida seeing a record number of coronavirus cases, one attendee called the pandemic “overblown.” Another was escorted out by deputies after yelling at board members.
Novartis halts study of iscalimab in kidney transplant patients
Novartis has halted a clinical trial of CFZ533 (iscalimab) in kidney transplant patients after interim data showed it was not as good as tacrolimus-based treatment in preventing organ rejection, the Swiss group said on Friday. Its study of the medicine in liver transplant continues, as do studies exploring it as a potential treatment in other conditions, it added in a statement.
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Australian PM seeks quicker reopening
EU reviewing risk of rare inflammation after COVID-19 vaccinations
Europe’s medicines regulator said on Friday it was reviewing if there was a risk of a rare inflammatory condition after inoculation with COVID-19 vaccines, following a report of one case with Pfizer/BioNTech’s shot. The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) safety committee is looking into multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) after a 17-year-old male in Denmark reported the condition, the regulator said, adding that the teenager had since fully recovered.
South African health minister says C.1.2 variant not a threat for now
South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla said on Friday that scientists had told the government that at this stage the C.1.2 coronavirus variant detected locally was not a threat. The C.1.2 variant was first identified in May and has now been seen in all of the country’s nine provinces.
England’s COVID-19 prevalence unchanged at 1 in 70, ONS says
The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England was around 1 in 70 people in the week ending Aug. 27, Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday, unchanged from the previous week’s estimate.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)