Health News Roundup: AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate begins late-stage U.S. study; Scientists see downsides to top COVID-19 vaccines from Russia, China and more

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now: Global records Australia’s COVID-19 deaths in virus hotspot fall to two-week low

Australia’s second-most populous state Victoria, the epicentre for COVID-19 infections in the country, on Tuesday reported its lowest rise in virus-related deaths in two weeks as a second-wave outbreak eases. Victoria said five people died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the lowest one-day rise since Aug. 15, while 70 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a seven-week low.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro says nobody will be forced to have coronavirus vaccine

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has consistently downplayed the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, said on Monday that nobody will be forced to have the vaccine against the pandemic once it is developed. The comments come after the government earmarked millions of dollars for the purchase and future production of vaccinations as Brazil suffers the second worst outbreak of the pandemic outside the United States.

India’s coronavirus cases near 3.7 million

India reported 69,921 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the lowest daily jump in six days, taking its overall caseload to 3.69 million. India, the world’s second most populous nation, has been reporting the highest single-day caseload in the world every day for more than three weeks, according to a Reuters tally, and is the third worst-hit country behind the United States and Brazil.

Opening up without control of COVID-19 is recipe for disaster, says WHO

Countries with significant active spread of coronavirus must prevent amplifying events, as opening up without the virus being under control would be a “recipe for disaster”, the World Health Organization said on Monday. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recognised that many people are getting tired of restrictions and want to return to normality eight months into the pandemic.

Emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines needs great care: WHO

The emergency authorisation of COVID-19 vaccines requires a “great deal of seriousness and reflection”, the World Health Organization said on Monday after the United States announced it was considering fast-tracking candidate drugs. Although every country had the right to approve drugs without completing full trials, “it is not something that you do very lightly”, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a news conference.

New COVID-19 cases surge in U.S. Midwest, weekly deaths down nationally

Several U.S. Midwestern states are experiencing rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and positive test results, some linked to colleges reopening and others stemming from an annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. Iowa leads the nation with cases rising by more than 8,000 in the past week, or 116%, according to a Reuters tally of state and county reports. At the same time, positive test rates in Iowa shot up to 24% from 13% the prior week.

New Jersey and California allow indoor dining to resume, with limits

New Jersey and California on Monday took a big step toward letting businesses resume their pre-pandemic lives, by allowing restaurants to begin limited indoor dining, as coronavirus cases abated nationwide even as some new hotspots emerged. Most states have already lifted restrictions on indoor, according to the National Governors Association.

Scientists see downsides to top COVID-19 vaccines from Russia, China

High-profile COVID-19 vaccines developed in Russia and China share a potential shortcoming: They are based on a common cold virus that many people have been exposed to, potentially limiting their effectiveness, some experts say. CanSino Biologics’ vaccine, approved for military use in China, is a modified form of adenovirus type 5, or Ad5. The company is in talks to get emergency approval in several countries before completing large-scale trials, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate begins late-stage U.S. study

AstraZeneca Plc said on Monday it has begun enrolling adults for a U.S.-funded, 30,000-subject late-stage study of its high profile COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Trial participants will receive either two doses of the experimental vaccine, dubbed AZD1222, four weeks apart, or a placebo, the company said.

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