Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Moderna to produce millions of mRNA vaccines in Australia
U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc will produce millions of mRNA vaccines a year in Australia after agreeing to set up one of its largest manufacturing facilities outside the United States and Europe. The deal, a second such commitment in the Asia Pacific by a western mRNA vaccine developer, underscores efforts by governments around the world to build up local production and prepare for future pandemic threats after limited early access to shots led to slow COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.
California to reinstitute statewide mask mandate amid rise in COVID cases
California will impose a statewide mask mandate in all indoor public spaces as COVID-19 case rates soar, the state’s senior government health official said on Monday as precautions ramp up against the Omicron variant. The mandate, which will take effect on Wednesday and last a month, is one of several measures the most-populous U.S. state is taking to slow a wave of infections that are already straining hospitals in areas where vaccination rates are low.
Malaysia gives conditional approval for use of Ronapreve COVID-19 treatment
Malaysia’s health ministry said on Tuesday it has given conditional approval for the use of the single-dose antibody cocktail Ronapreve, developed by Regeneron and Roche, to treat COVID-19. It has also approved a request from Merck & Co for a clinical trial import license for its COVID-19 pill Molnupiravir, to be used as part of studies being conducted in Malaysia, the ministry said in a statement.
U.S. urges Americans to avoid travel to Italy, Greenland over COVID-19 concerns
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday advised Americans against travel to Italy, Greenland, and Mauritius, citing COVID-19 concerns. The CDC now lists 84 destinations at “Level 4: Very High” classification, including nearly all of Europe. The State Department on Monday also added Italy and Mauritius to its “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisories.
Samsung Biologics, AstraZeneca expand tie-up to include COVID-19 and cancer therapy
Samsung Biologics Co Ltd said on Monday it would continue its partnership with AstraZeneca Plc on manufacturing biopharmaceuticals. Samsung said production of drug substance and drug products is valued at about $380 million, up from the initial $331 million after the companies expanded the deal this year in May 2021.
Production suspensions in Chinese manufacturing hub amid COVID-19 outbreak
Several companies in one of China’s biggest manufacturing hubs have suspended operations as local authorities try to contain a COVID-19 outbreak, halting the production of goods from batteries to textile dyes and plastics.
The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted activities in parts of Zhejiang, an eastern province with a large industrial sector, where many goods are manufactured for export.
Ireland estimates Omicron accounts for 11% of COVID-19 cases
The Omicron variant likely accounts for 11% of new COVID-19 cases in Ireland, its health chiefs said on Monday, predicting a very rapid increase in the proportion of Omicron infections in the coming days amid probable widespread community transmission. Ireland has so far confirmed 18 cases of the variant through whole-genome sequencing out of an average of 4,000 COVID-19 cases it has been reporting each day. A trait distinguishing Omicron from the dominant Delta variant suggests a much higher total, said the National Public Health Emergency Team.
Britain reports first death with Omicron coronavirus variant
At least one person has died in the United Kingdom after contracting the Omicron coronavirus variant, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, the first publicly confirmed death globally from the swiftly spreading strain. Since the first Omicron cases were detected on Nov. 27 in Britain, Johnson has imposed tougher restrictions and on Sunday cautioned that the variant could overcome the immune defenses of those inoculated with two shots of vaccines.
U.S. Supreme Court rejects religious challenge to New York vaccine mandate
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected challenges brought by a group of Christian doctors and nurses and an organization that promotes vaccine skepticism to New York’s refusal to allow religious exemptions to the state’s mandate that healthcare workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. Acting in two cases, the justices denied emergency requests for an injunction requiring the state to permit religious exemptions while litigation over the mandate’s legality continues in lower courts. Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch said they would have granted the injunction.
Canada could see surge in COVID-19 cases as Omicron spreads – health official
COVID-19 cases in Canada may rapidly rise in the coming days due to community spread of the Omicron variant, mirroring the situation in the country’s most populous province of Ontario, Canada’s top health official said on Monday. The surge of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, which accounts for almost 40% of Canada’s population of 39 million people, has prompted the provincial government to suspend the easing of restrictions that were planned to be lifted ahead of the holiday season.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)