Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
India wants Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to seek a licence for their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible, a senior government official said on Tuesday, shortly after the government announced it would fast-track emergency approvals. “We hope and we invite the vaccine makers such as Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and others…to be ready to come to India as early as possible,” Vinod Kumar Paul, a senior government health official, told a news conference.
China’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine may start late-stage trial in May: state media
China’s locally developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate that uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology could start a late-stage clinical trial overseas as early as next month, official media said on Tuesday. ARCoV, the China-developed mRNA vaccine candidate that is furthest along the clinical trial process, may get overseas approval to conduct Phase III clinical trial by as early as end-April, China National Radio said in an article on its website.
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: India fast-tracks approval for foreign vaccines
Novavax says supply shortages delaying full-speed production of its COVID-19 vaccine
Novavax Inc has pushed back the timeline for hitting its production target of 150 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per month until the third quarter due to supply shortages including bags used to grow cells, a company spokeswoman told Reuters. Novavax executives had previously said full-scale vaccine production could be achieved by mid-year. The company told Reuters in January it expected to reach full production capacity by May or June.
Israel to start allowing limited entry of foreign tour groups in May
Israel will start allowing the limited entry of vaccinated tourist groups next month as its own inoculation campaign has sharply brought down COVID-19 infections, an official statement said on Tuesday. All foreign visitors will be required to present a negative PCR test before boarding a flight to Israel, and a serological test to prove their vaccination upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.
Scotland to ease some COVID-19 restrictions early
Scotland will ease some lockdown restrictions for domestic travel and outdoor meetings earlier than expected, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday. She said people would be permitted to travel anywhere within Scotland to see family and friends for outdoor meetings from April 16, ten days earlier than planned, and those meetings could from then take place with six people from up to six households rather than four from two households.
U.S. calls for pause to J&J COVID-19 vaccine over rare blood clots
(Reuters) – U.S. federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after six recipients developed a rare disorder involving blood clots, in a fresh setback to global efforts to tackle the pandemic. The move comes a week after European regulators said they had found a possible link between AstraZeneca‘s COVID-19 vaccine and a rare blood clotting problem that had led to a small number of deaths.
UK’s Johnson warns lockdown, not vaccines, behind drop in COVID deaths
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Tuesday that the rapid drop in COVID-19 deaths was largely down to a three-month lockdown, not the vaccination programme and that cases would rise once again as restrictions ease. The United Kingdom launched its inoculation drive in December and has already offered the first shot to all over-50s, the clinically vulnerable and health workers. The country is behind only Israel in the proportion of its population to have received at least one dose.
WHO, agencies urge countries to suspend sale of live wild mammals at markets
International agencies including the World Health Organization urged countries on Tuesday to suspend the sale of live wild mammals in food markets, warning they may be the source of more than 70% of emerging infectious diseases in humans. The guidance, aimed at ensuring the global food system is safe and sustainable, follows a WHO-led mission to Wuhan, China, to investigate the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Benefits of all approved COVID-19 vaccines outweigh risks, Spain’s PM says
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday the benefits of all the approved COVID-19 vaccines outweighed risks, after US authorities recommended a suspension of the shot developed by Johnson & Johnson. Sanchez added though that authorities would slow down the rollout of vaccines to evaluate the risks if and when serious side effects are reported.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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