Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Few U.S. patients with hepatitis C get timely treatment, CDC says
Few U.S. adults diagnosed with hepatitis C virus infections receive timely treatment with antiviral drugs, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.
The drugs cure hepatitis C in more than 95% of patients, but a study of more than 47,000 adults diagnosed in 2019 or 2020 found that only one-third of those with private insurance and one-quarter of Medicaid and Medicare recipients got one of these drugs within a year, according to a report in the CDC’s Vital Signs.
UK faces danger of running out of monkeypox vaccine by this month – FT
Britain will run out of monkeypox vaccines in about two to three weeks as the country has little more than 8,300 doses of vaccine left, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. Shipments of a new order of 100,000 doses will not resume until late September, the report added citing an internal National Health Service letter https://on.ft.com/3P6naBv.
U.S. to buy Siga’s IV drug worth $26 million to fight monkeypox outbreak
The U.S. government will buy Siga Technologies Inc’s $26-million worth of intravenous formulation of antiviral drug Tpoxx, the company said on Tuesday, as the country fights an outbreak of monkeypox cases. The company plans to deliver by next year the order for the IV treatment, which would be a vital option for patients unable to swallow the oral pill as monkeypox symptoms include rashes and blisters in the mouth.
Escaping Shanghai’s COVID lockdown only to get trapped in Hainan
Brian Hall fled Shanghai in June to avoid another lockdown of his residential compound, escaping to China’s tropical tourist island of Hainan where he could work remotely as a public health professor after undertaking 10 days of quarantine. Hall, who has worked at the New York University Shanghai for the past two years, is now stuck in Sanya, Hainan’s main tourism hub, with no clarity on when he can get out.
EU regulator begins review of Pfizer-BioNTech’s variant-adapted COVID shot
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started a rolling review of a variant-adapted COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, it said on Tuesday. The so-called bivalent vaccine targets two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID – the original strain first identified in China, and the Omicron offshoots BA.4/5 that are currently behind most cases in Europe.
China races to contain COVID outbreaks in tourism hubs Tibet, Hainan
China raced on Tuesday to stamp out COVID-19 outbreaks in the tourist hubs of Tibet and Hainan, with the authorities launching more rounds of mass testing and closing venues to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Mainland China reported 828 new domestically transmitted cases across more than a dozen provinces and regions for Aug. 8, with over half of them in Hainan, a highly popular tourist destination, official data showed on Tuesday.
FDA says found possible carcinogen in certain samples of Merck’s Januvia
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday certain samples of sitagliptin, a compound in Merck’s diabetes drug Januvia, were contaminated with a possible carcinogen. The agency said it would not object to the temporary distribution of sitagliptin containing the impurity above the acceptable intake limit to avoid a shortage.
Agency donates breathing devices for premature babies to Ukraine
Global health aid agency Unitaid is donating 220 specialised portable breathing devices to Ukraine that can help save lives of premature babies even in frontline hospitals where there is no electrical power. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 has seen hundreds of hospitals damaged or destroyed, disrupting supply lines and placing newborn babies at risk of death or disability from a lack of access to equipment and oxygen.
U.S. FDA authorizes Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine for emergency use against monkeypox
The U.S. drug regulator on Tuesday authorized Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine for emergency use through intradermal injection in individuals aged 18 years and older who are determined to be at high risk of monkeypox infection. The authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will increase the total number of doses available for use by up to five-fold. It also allows individuals younger than 18 years to receive the vaccine by subcutaneous injection if they are determined to be at high risk of monkeypox infection.
Former asthma sufferer Biden has cough, but not COVID, White House says
U.S. President Joe Biden continues to test negative for COVID-19 but is suffering its lingering effects, the White House press office said on Tuesday, after he coughed repeatedly through a speech on the South Lawn. Biden spoke to dozens of Congress members, including Republicans, as well as business executives and members of his Cabinet, in sweltering midday heat before signing the a $53 billion bill aimed at boosting the U.S. semiconductor industry.
(With inputs from agencies.)