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Covid-19

Nobel Prize awarded for COVID-19 mRNA vaccine development; The latest health stories from around the world

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2023/press-release/  The discoveries by the two Nobel Laureates were critical for developing effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 during the pandemic …

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New monovalent COVID-19 vaccines approved in US; The latest health stories from around the world

After the US Food and Drug Administration authorized new monovalent COVID vaccines on early last week, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices backed the decision a day later with a nearly unanimous vote in favour of universal XBB-containing shots. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/996378?  Reports of a mutating virus and COVID hospitalisations of about 17,000 people a …

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RSV

FDA approves RSV maternal vaccine; The latest health stories from around the world

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a vaccine given to pregnant women to protect babies from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The virus causes severe lung infections that are the leading cause of U.S. infant hospitalizations. https://www.science.org/content/article/rsv-vaccine-scientific-advisory-panels-and-biodiversity-hot-spot-risk?   Pregnant people who receive the vaccine, called Abrysvo and made by Pfizer, can pass protective antibodies …

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New COVID-19 vaccine to be made available next month; The latest health stories from around the world

A new COVID vaccine is due out next month, but health experts and analysts say it is likely to be coolly received even as hospitalizations from “Eris”, a variant of the Omicron form of the coronavirus, rise around the country. https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/new-covid-vaccines-are-way-eris-variant-rises-2023-08-14/ Fortunately, early data suggests that the new shots will still be effective against Eris. …

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New “Eris” COVID-19 strain shows 80 percent rise; The latest health stories from around the world

Following the detection of a new strain of the novel coronavirus, data put out by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows an 80 per cent rise in Covid-19 cases around the world. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/who-global-covid-19-cases-rise-updates-8889491/ The variant, known as EG.5 or “Eris”, is related to an Omicron subvariant called XBB.1.9.2, and is growing in prevalence globally, with …

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UK COVID-19 surveillance “flying blind”; The latest health stories from around the world

The UK is nearly “flying blind” when it comes to COVID this autumn, experts have said, amid an increase in cases. While the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) continues to track some metrics of COVID, including hospitalization numbers, many of the community surveillance studies tracking infection levels have finished. www.theguardian.com/world/2023/aug/05/uk-almost-flying-blind-on-COVID-this-autumn-experts-say? Now experts have said the …

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US Senate approves budget increase for biomedical research; The latest health stories from around the world

To the relief of biomedical research advocates, a US Senate spending panel has approved a modest budget increase of 2% for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bump to $47.8 billion roughly matches President Joe Biden’s request for the 2024 fiscal year that begins this fall. Although below the rate of biomedical inflation, it …

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More affordable tuberculosis medication on the horizon; The latest health stories from around the world

The pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in mid-July agreed to help make a therapy critical to fighting drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) more widely available and affordable. J&J said it would allow competitors to market generic versions of the lifesaving drug, bedaquiline, in 44 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where the company has active patents. www.science.org/content/article/news-glance-ben-franklin-s-anticounterfeiting-science-s-english-language-barrier? …

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Malaria vaccine to be trialled across Africa; The latest health stories from around the world

Twelve countries across different regions in Africa are set to receive 18 million doses of the first-ever malaria vaccine over the next two years. The roll out is a critical step forward in the fight against one of the leading causes of death in the continent. www.gavi.org/news/media-room/18-million-doses-first-ever-malaria-vaccine-allocated-12-african-countries-2023 The allocations have been determined through the application …

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Efficacy trials launch for tuberculosis vaccine; The latest health stories from around the world

A large-scale efficacy trial of a promising tuberculosis (TB) vaccine will soon launch with substantial backing from two major philanthropies. The vaccine, dubbed M72, has so far crawled through clinical trials. A placebo-controlled study completed in 2015 found that in adults who had latent infections with the TB-causing mycobacterium, those who received the vaccine had …

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