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SEOUL - North Korea reported 263,370 more people with fever symptoms, and two more deaths as the country battles its first confirmed outbreak of COVID-19, the North's official KCNA said on Friday. It did not report how many of those cases had tested positive for the coronavirus. (Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Chris Reese)...
By Nancy Lapid - The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Post-infection vaccination may reduce long COVID Vaccination after infection with SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to a reduction in the burden of long COVID symptoms, a new study suggests. Researchers tracked 6,729 volunteers ages 18 to 69, who got two shots of either AstraZeneca's viral vector vaccine or an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna after recovering from an infection with the coronavirus and who reported long COVID symptoms of any severity at least once between February and September 2021. The odds of reporting long COVID - symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks - fell by an average of 13% after a first vaccine dose, the researchers reported on Wednesday in The BMJ. The second dose, given 12 weeks after the fi...
- A panel of advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday voted to recommend that all children aged 5 to 11 should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose at least five months after completing the primary vaccination course. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)...
PARIS - A first suspected case of the monkeypox virus on French territory has been detected in the Paris/Ile-de-France region, the French Health Ministry said on Thursday, amid signs of the virus' spreading around the world. Monkeypox is a virus that causes fever symptoms as well as a distinctive bumpy rash. It is usually mild, although there are two main strains: the Congo strain, which is more severe – with up to 10% mortality – and the West African strain, which has a fatality rate in about 1% of cases. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leslie Adler)...
KOENIGSWINTER, Germany - The Group of Seven economic powers expect to meet a climate change financing goal for developing countries by next year, G7 finance chiefs said in a draft communique from a meeting in Germany. "We are strongly committed to achieving the collective climate finance mobilisation goal of 100 billion US dollars per year from a wide variety of sources through to 2025 to address the needs of developing countries... We expect this goal will be met in 2023," said the draft to be finalised before the meeting ends on Friday. (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Angus MacSwan)...
MONTREAL - Montreal public health officials said on Thursday they are investigating 17 suspected cases of monkeypox virus infections in the Canadian city, as more cases of the rare virus are reported globally. Several countries including Portugal and Spain have identified cases of monkeypox in recent weeks, with the first U.S. case identified by Massachusetts public health officials on Wednesday in a man who had recently traveled to the Canadian province of Quebec. Monkeypox, which mostly occurs in west and central Africa, is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder. It was first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s. The number of cases in West Africa has increased in the last decade. Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body. (Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Howard Goller)...
NEW YORK - The U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday said reports of heart inflammation linked to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been much lower in 5- to 11-year-old boys than in adolescents and young men, representing only a slightly elevated rate than normal. The agency, in a presentation to an advisory committee discussing on the need for booster vaccine doses for children, cited data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The CDC said the rate of reports for myocarditis in VAERS in 5- to 11-year-old boys after the second dose of the vaccine was 2.7 cases per million. That compares with 48.1 cases per million in 12- to 15-year-old males and 74.2 cases per million in 16- and 17-year-old males. The CDC said it observed no statistical signal for myocarditis in 5-11 year olds in an analysis of another safety database called Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD)....
By Ahmed Aboulenein and Susan Heavey WASHINGTON - Abbott Laboratories and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are on track to reopen the company's Sturgis, Michigan, baby formula manufacturing plant within one or two weeks, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said on Thursday. Abbott, the biggest U.S. supplier of powder infant formula including Similac, on Monday agreed with the FDA on steps needed to resume production at the manufacturing plant. "I think we are on track to get it open within the next week to two weeks, most likely at the outer bound two weeks," Califf told lawmakers at a U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. The company had initiated a recall of its infant formula products and closed the plant in February after reports of serious bacterial infections in four infants, worsening a shortage among multiple manufacturers that began with pandemic supply chain issues. The FD...
LONDON - Britain's vaccine advisers on Thursday said that an anticipated autumn COVID booster campaign would be aimed at people aged over 65, care home residents, frontline health and social care workers and all adults in a clinical risk group. Britain is offering a spring booster to the over-75s and immunosuppressed people, and ministers have spoken openly of plans for a further booster campaign in the autumn. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Kate Holton)...
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will act as soon as possible on Moderna Inc's application seeking approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5, the agency's chief told lawmakers on Thursday. "There's no delay in Moderna's application," FDA Commissioner Robert Califf told a U.S. House Agriculture subcommittee, adding the agency was preparing for public hearings on the company's bid "as quickly as possible." (Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein and Susan Heavey)...
LONDON - The European health regulator on Thursday endorsed the use of AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine, Vaxzevria, as a booster. The recommendation encompasses adults who have either been previously vaccinated by Vaxzevria or an mRNA vaccine, such as the ones made by Pfizer and BioNTech or Moderna. (Reporting by Natalie Grover in London; Editing by Angus MacSwan)...
PARIS - Gabon has reported a first outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, on a farm in the northern part of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday. The outbreak in the town of Ntoum near the border with Equatorial Guinea killed 15,000 birds out of a flock of 15,500 animals, the Paris-based body said, quoting information from Gabonese health authorities. "Many questions and no answers yet after the occurrence of avian influenza virus in Gabon. The disease that affects poultry had been absent in the country so far. Investigations are underway to identify the origin of the infection," the report said. Deaths have been reported at other locations, in particular in the live animal market, but also in other poultry, it said. (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by Gus Trompiz)...
- Siga Technologies Inc has received requests for the use of its smallpox drug for treating monkeypox as cases spread in parts of Europe, its chief executive officer told on Thursday. "As you can imagine with the outbreak in Europe, we have received requests and we are responding to those as we can. We're engaged with our colleagues in Europe about the best way to support that response," CEO Phil Gomez said. (Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)...
NEW DELHI - India has supplied COVID-19 vaccines to Cambodia and Thailand under an initiative of the Quad group of countries that also includes the United States, Japan and Australia, New Delhi said on Thursday. The leaders of the Quad countries could discuss the vaccine supply plan when they meet in Japan next week, Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a news conference. The Quad was originally supposed to supply India-made doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to countries needing them but so far only an Indian version of the AstraZeneca shot, known as Covishield, has been shipped, he added. (Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Edmund Blair)...
BERLIN - The question of COVID-19 vaccine patents was not discussed at a meeting of the health ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) countries in Berlin, German Health Ministers Karl Lauterbach said on Thursday. "We haven't discussed the release of patents because the question hasn't come up yet, but that can definitely happen," Lauterbach told a joint news conference with German Development Minister Svenja Schulze. "The problem we currently have is that of middle- and lower-income countries' willingness to use the vaccine," Lauterbach said, adding that there was more vaccine available than people ready to take it. Germany is against a planned intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, saying patents are a crucial way of encouraging companies to continue pushing ahead with new research. (Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Paul Carrel)...
- The World Health Organization on Thursday issued an emergency use listing for the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine from China-based CanSino Biologics. The vaccine, Convidecia, is the eleventh shot against the coronavirus to get clearance from the global health agency, whose advisory group recommended its use in people of age 18 years and above. The vaccine was found to have 64% efficacy against symptomatic disease and 92% against severe COVID-19, the agency said https://www.who.int/news/item/19-05-2022-who-validates-11th-vaccine-for-covid-19. Other vaccines that have similar clearance from the agency include those made by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax Inc. (Reporting by Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)...
MILAN - Italy has diagnosed its first case of the monkeypox infection at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome, the hospital said on Thursday, adding that the person, who arrived from a stay on the Canary Islands, was being kept in isolation. The hospital added there were two other suspected cases that had yet to be confirmed. (Reporting by Emilio Parodi, writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Keith Weir)...
LISBON/MADRID - Health authorities in Portugal identified nine new cases of the monkeypox viral infection, taking the total to 14, while in Spain authorities on Thursday reported the first seven cases. Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder. Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes. The outbreaks in Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States have raised alarm because the viral disease, which spreads through close contact and was first found in monkeys, mostly occurs in West and Central Africa, and only very occasionally elsewhere. The nine patients confirmed in Portugal are stable and being closely monitored, Portuguese health authority DGS said late on Wednesday, adding that experts were trying to "identify chains of transmission and potential new cases". Most cases in Portugal were reported in and around the capital Lisbon, DGS said. Spain reported its firs...
By Manas Mishra and Michael Erman - An advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is meeting on Thursday to discuss whether to recommend COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for children ages 5 to 11, a group that is just 29% vaccinated so far. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for those children on Tuesday as COVID cases are on the rise again in the United States. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) could recommend making boosters available for some portion of that age group, but may stop short of saying all children should get the extra shot, experts said. "Omicron and other Omicron-like variants have caused some degree of illness in children, but it has been less than Delta, so is there sufficient benefit (from a booster)?" said Dr. William Schaffner, who serves as the National Foundation for Infectious Dise...
JOHANNESBURG - Several outbreaks of monkey pox in Africa have been contained during the COVID pandemic while the world's attention was elsewhere, and outbreaks in Europe and the United States are a concern, Africa's top public health agency said on Thursday. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said outbreaks had been seen in Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon and Central African Republic. They had been contained "under the radar", he said. (Reporting by James Macharia Chege and Estelle Shirbon)...