Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Portugal approves preventive monkeypox vaccination for risk groups
Portugal’s health authority widened its monkeypox vaccination strategy to include preventive shots for groups most at risk and approved the use of smaller doses, an approach known as “dose-sparing”, due to limited supplies, it said on Wednesday. The country has been one of the hotspots of monkeypox infections in Europe, with 908 confirmed cases, most of them men under the age of 40. No deaths have been reported so far.
Moderna exec: ‘eager’ to collaborate with China on supplying COVID vaccines
Moderna Inc Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said on Wednesday the company is “eager” to collaborate with China on supplying its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines to the country. The comments follow those of Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel, who last week in Tokyo said the company has held talks with the Chinese government about supplying vaccines but no decision has yet been made.
Federal investigators recommend changes to FDA’s EUA policy for tests
Federal investigators on Wednesday recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration revise its emergency use authorization (EUA) policies for tests to ensure better availability and quality during future infectious disease outbreaks. The recommendations were made by the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services after conducting a review of FDA’s EUA activities and decision making for COVID-19 tests in the early months of the pandemic.
FDA warns of cybersecurity risk with certain Medtronic insulin pumps
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday warned that certain types of insulin pump systems manufactured by Medtronic were vulnerable to cyberattacks and that hackers could potentially hamper insulin delivery by accessing the device. The agency issued a cybersecurity risk alert for the Medtronic MiniMed 600 Series insulin pump system, which has several components including an insulin pump and a blood glucose meter that communicate wirelessly.
Juul sues FDA for documents said to justify e-cigarette ban
Juul Labs has sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the agency’s refusal to disclose documents supporting its order banning the company, which has been blamed for fueling a teenage vaping crisis, from selling e-cigarettes on the U.S. market. In a complaint filed on Tuesday with a federal court in Washington, D.C., Juul accused the FDA of invoking the “widely abused” deliberative process privilege to improperly withhold scientific materials that are “central” to understanding the basis for the June 23 sales ban.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark diagnosed with COVID after attending funeral
Queen Margrethe of Denmark has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time this year, the royal court said on Wednesday. The 82-year-old head of state, who has been on the throne for half a century, has cancelled her appointments for the week.
PAHO says Brazil, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Peru at very high risk for polio as vaccination dwindles
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Wednesday said Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Peru are at very high risk for the reintroduction of polio, as dwindling vaccination rates during the coronavirus pandemic has led to historic lows in protection against . Regional vaccine coverage for polio has fallen to about 79%, the lowest since 1994, PAHO said.
U.S. CDC expects Omicron COVID boosters for kids by mid-October
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects COVID-19 vaccine boosters targeting circulating variants of the virus to be available for children aged 5-11 years by mid-October. The CDC said in a document released on Tuesday that it expects to make a recommendation in early- to mid-October on the use of the new bivalent vaccines in the group, if they are authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (https://bit.ly/3xFT5D0)
Malaria and diseases spreading fast in flood-hit Pakistan
The death toll from malaria and other diseases tearing through Pakistan’s flood-ravaged regions reached 324, authorities said on Wednesday, and actress Angelina Jolie said she feared many people she had met during visits to flood-hit areas this week would “not make it” if more aid did not arrive.
Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods were living in the open. Stagnant floodwaters, spread over hundreds of kilometres, may take two to six months to recede. Already they have led to widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever. (Graphic: )
U.S. FDA approves Fennec’s hearing loss therapy
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc’s intravenous therapy to prevent chemotherapy-induced hearing loss in children, according to the health regulator’s website. The approval, posted on the regulator’s website late Tuesday, for Pedmark allows it to be used to reduce the risk of ototoxicity in children aged over one month who have undergone chemotherapy using the drug cisplatin.
(With inputs from agencies.)