Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. to boost monkeypox vaccine supply with 1.8 million extra doses
The United States said on Thursday it will boost its supply of monkeypox vaccine by making available an extra 1.8 million doses of Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos shot, as the number of reported cases in the country rose above 13,500. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gave the figure for reported cases as of Aug.17, which represent more than a third of the global total of 39,000, at a White House briefing.
Britain faces ‘humanitarian crisis’ as energy costs soar, says health lobby
Britain faces a “humanitarian crisis” this winter when the difficult choices forced upon low-income households by soaring energy bills could cause serious physical and mental illness, a healthcare lobby group said on Friday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted calls to provide more support to households struggling with higher bills, insisting his government will leave major fiscal decisions to the next prime minister who takes office in early September.
Bavarian Nordic signs up U.S. firm for packaging monkeypox vaccine
Danish biotech firm Bavarian Nordic said on Thursday it has signed up a U.S.-based manufacturer to package its Jynneos monkeypox vaccine and the production is expected to begin later this year. The company aims to finish the technology transfer in three months to Michigan-based Grand River Aseptic.
WHO recommends use of two antibody drugs against Ebola
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday recommended two monoclonal antibody treatments against Ebola, saying the use of such drugs combined with better care had “revolutionized” the treatment of a disease once seen as a near-certain killer. The drugs – Regeneron’s Inmazeb (REGN-EB3) and Ridgeback Bio’s Ebanga (mAb114) – use laboratory-made monoclonal antibodies that mimic natural antibodies in fighting off infections.
N.Korea’s Kim praises military medics for frontline COVID fight in the capital
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a ceremony to thank and praise military medics for spearheading the country’s fight against the coronavirus in the capital Pyongyang, state media said on Friday. Thousands of medics of the Korean People’s Army, who had been dispatched to the “emergency anti-epidemic front”, were discharged after Kim declared victory over COVID-19 and eased restrictions last week.
WHO recommends Valneva’s COVID vaccine?
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday recommended the use of French drugmaker Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine. The UN agency also recommended the use of a second booster dose for some individuals at high risk of severe disease.
Bluebird falls on worries over $2.8 million gene therapy’s commercial success
Bluebird bio slumped nearly 15% on Thursday as investors fretted over the sales potential of its newly approved ultra-rare blood disorder gene therapy which is the most expensive treatment to date at $2.8 million. The one-time treatment, Zynteglo, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday for patients with beta-thalassemia requiring regular blood transfusions. There are about only 1,500 of them in the United States.
Abortion drug maker drops challenge to Mississippi ban
A manufacturer of the drug used in medication abortions on Thursday dropped its bid to sell mifepristone in Mississippi despite the state’s recently enacted abortion ban. GenBioPro Inc said it was voluntarily dismissing its case in a filing in federal court in Jackson. The company had argued that federal regulators’ approval of mifepristone to induce abortion at up to 10 weeks of pregnancy overrode the state’s prohibition on nearly all abortions.
Germany’s constitutional court upholds measles vaccine mandate for children
The German constitutional court upheld the country’s measles vaccine mandate for children on Thursday, ruling against a challenge brought by parents. In its final decision on the matter, the court in Karlsruhe said that while the mandate interfered with the rights of children and their parents, this was justified due to the high infection risk with measles and potential for serious illness.
Axsome surges after oral depression drug gets FDA approval
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Axsome Therapeutics Inc’s oral depression pill, the company said on Friday, sending its shares soaring 38% in premarket trading. The approval clears the way for the drugmaker to make its treatment available for more than 20 million Americans in a highly competitive market. Axsome said the treatment, Auvelity, will be commercially available in the fourth quarter.
(With inputs from agencies.)