Yoshihide- Health News Roundup: England’s estimated COVID R number edges up; Japan widens virus emergency to three more prefectures and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Japan’s Suga: state of emergency broadened after rise in COVID cases
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that a state of emergency was being extended to a broader area due to a rapid rise of coronavirus cases in those regions. But he added that holding a “safe and secure” Olympic games was possible if tight preventive measures were implemented that would keep ordinary Japanese from coming into contact with those arriving in connection with the Games.
The man behind Brazil’s search for miracle COVID-19 cures
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, addressing the nation last month in a social media video, touted the latest in a string of unconventional drugs he says can ease the country’s COVID-19 crisis. Bolsonaro – a vaccine skeptic and promoter of discredited treatments such as hydroxychloroquine – said this new drug, Proxalutamide, would “soon be available to all Brazil.” He invited a little-known Health Ministry official, Helio Angotti, to expand on its promise.
England’s estimated COVID R number edges up
The estimated reproduction “R” rate in England edged up to between 0.8 and 1.1, Britain’s health ministry said on Friday, and it is less clear that the epidemic is still shrinking compared to last week. An R value between 0.8 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 8 and 11 other people. The R number has returned to its level of two weeks ago after last week when the estimated range dipped to between 0.8 and 1.0.
India’s Dr. Reddy’s to get 36 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine in next few months
Indian drugmaker Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd said on Friday it expects to get 36 million doses of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in the next couple of months under its contract with Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. India’s catastrophic second wave of the pandemic has led to huge demand for vaccines, which in turn has left the country, the world’s biggest vaccine producer, low on stocks.
India ‘on war footing’ as coronavirus infections pass 24 million
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of the coronavirus through India’s vast countryside on Friday, as the official tally of infections crossed 24 million, and 4,000 people died for the third straight day. The highly transmissible B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus first detected in India is also spreading across the globe, and Modi said his government was “on a war footing” in its fight against the contagion.
Japan widens virus emergency to three more prefectures
Japan has declared a state of emergency in three more prefectures hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Friday, a surprise move that reflects growing concern about the spread of the coronavirus. The latest declaration comes as Japan grapples with a surge of a more infectious virus strain just 10 weeks before the Tokyo Olympics are due to start on July 23.
Biogen’s experimental eye treatment fails to meet study goal
Biogen Inc’s experimental gene therapy for a genetic retinal disease that leads to progressive vision loss did not meet the main goal of a mid-to-late stage study, the drugmaker said on Friday. The treatment, BIIB112, did not show significant improvement in retinal sensitivity in patients with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, a rare eye condition that has no approved treatments.
India’s COVID crisis pushes up the cost of living – and dying
Ashok Khondare, a 39-year-old vegetable seller in the western Indian city of Pune, had already borrowed money to pay for his sister’s treatment when she died in a private hospital two weeks after contacting COVID-19. While trying to overcome the tragedy, he also had to deal with money problems that increased with his sister’s death.
Exclusive: Italy audit court rejects public funding for ReiThera COVID-19 vaccine – sources
Italy’s hopes of producing its own COVID-19 vaccine have been thrown into doubt after the state audit court rejected a plan to pump public funds into local biotech company ReiThera, two sources close to the matter told Reuters on Friday. A source at the audit court said it had ruled this week against a contract drawn up by state agency Invitalia to invest some 50 million euros ($60.62 million) as part of a deal with ReiThera to support its development of the new vaccine.
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Indian variant spreads around globe
(With inputs from agencies.)